On June 29, a crowd 70,000 strong gathered at the Marikina Sports Center for the 2019 Metro Manila Pride March, breaking records and tripling the numbers from last year. It remains the largest Pride demonstration in Southeast Asia. People—LGBTQIA+ and allies—took to the streets and used their voices and their presence to stand up for their rights, celebrate who they are and to fight for equality.
On this page, people talk about Pride and look back on marches in Manila and elsewhere, because Pride—just like love—knows no boundaries.
“Pride for me is a combination of festivities: a commemoration of the first Gay Pride March in the US, a reunion of friends, a cry for unity, a call for acceptance, a celebration of humanity. It is a venue where one can witness love at its noblest form.”
“Pride is a celebration of who we are. For now, we get to have one day where who we are and who we choose to love is not something to hide or tone down to be tolerated in society, but something to embrace and celebrate without apology. For that one day, the reason we have been ostracized, ridiculed, even harmed, is now the reason we get to be the kings and queens and lead a whole parade. Isn’t that magical?
Pride isn’t just about us, the ones who march. We do this for the ones still unable to come out. That 10-year-old kid who knows he’s different but hasn’t quite figured it out yet. That middle-aged bachelorette who has never been to a single gay event. That closeted father of two who thinks his life will be over if he comes out. Pride is for all those people to show them that there is a life out here in the open, that you can live your truth. And that one day hopefully you can join us.”
“I want to tell the world that we march to show that the LGBTQIA+ community is together fighting our struggles. My most memorable moment was being able to attend World Pride in NYC and celebrating 50th year anniversary of Stonewall. It was so alive and felt very empowering!”
“For years, LGBT+ people had to hide themselves because being LGBT+ was illegal and frowned upon. Now, we are able to march out on the streets to show the world who we truly are. However, Pride is more than just a celebration—it is also a protest. We are fighting for our equal rights that we deserve and we will continue to do so.”
“Pride to me means owning your truth and standing up for what is right. It’s about making a statement that we would rather die being true to ourselves than live by hiding who we truly are.”
Nyko Condenuevo Rodriguez
“Pride to me is love. Love for myself. Love for others. Love for all. I want to tell the world that Pride is not just for the LGBTQIA+. Pride is for everyone.”
Alvin James Araneta Cariño
“It was my first time to attend and I was surprised when a group of people hugged me and said ‘you are loved.’ In that moment I felt the camaraderie and support from my LGBT Community.”
“I had always known Pride to be about joyous celebration and festivities but at Manila Pride March, perhaps because this year my partner and I crossed the line and are now on the ‘out’side, it suddenly occurred to me that Pride is actually a protest! I don’t know why I never saw it that way before.
Upon my arrival at Pride, I was shaken by a scene of a young man on a microphone at the gate of the Sports Center declaring in Tagalog that ‘Jesus will always win!’ while a crowd of young, smiling people chanted together as they held hands in response to him. It was at that very powerful moment that I realized that more than the happy partying and festivities, Pride March was about protest, protest that homophobia should be a thing of our past, protest that inclusion and equality should be standard, protest that society should be educated at the earliest level about the science and intricacies of LGBTQIA+, protest against discrimination/marginalization in everyday life, protest going back to the Stone Wall Inn police riots in 1969 when it was actually illegal to be LGBTQ+. The hashtag for this year’s Pride is #ResistTogether. So, it was not only mine and RJ’s first Pride together; it was also our first social protest for something we believe in, and it was incredible to be part of the voice of 70,000 people!”
“On our third consecutive year joining as a Church, we decided to push harder with the LGBTIQ+ advocacy. Young faithful worked through the unkind weather, and the breakdown in communications with organizers of Metro Manila Pride to make sure our group—with a float for the first time—got to the march itself. That photo of the reverends amid smiling young people from my Church reminds me that we gathered the largest number of faithful from my Church yet, and a group so diverse in SSOGIE, age groups and origins.Perhaps one day, the Church as a whole would be just like that.”
Roel O. San Juan
“We fight and celebrate our pride because we keep on battling for the world to accept us genuinely. For us to feel safe and accepted and not just tolerated because those two words are different. We want them to know how beautiful we are amd how we contribute good things to the world as us being a member of the LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY.”
“Pride is not just a parade of beautiful people and waving rainbow flags. It is a protest, a way to be seen and heard. It is a never-ending fight for equal rights and acceptance. As a gender nonconforming, I’ve always wanted to join a community where we can raise our flags, show our hearts, and demand equality.”
“My first ever Pride March was a summary of my life: A little bit of sun, a lot of fresh rain, a growing crowd of family and friends, full of joy, love and acceptance with a tiny bit of hate from a few… It wasn’t perfect but it was the most humbling, moving and colorful event I’ve experienced!”
“Pride shouldn’t just be celebrated in June. It’s something that should be celebrated every day. It’s also a protest. We must continue to fight for our rights, protection, and freedom to be who we are every day, so that, hopefully, the next generation doesn’t have to, and they can live in a world free from prejudice and discrimination just from being their true selves.”
“My coming-out story may not have been the most dramatic one. Walang paglalayas, pananakit at hindi pang ‘MMK’ (‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’), which sadly many of our LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters have to endure. I came out on TV and instantly got the unconditional support of my family and friends. Swerte ako. While it was easier and simpler for me than most, it was no less meaningful when I shared my story because I was able to tell it on my own terms and most importantly, in my own time. So whenever I’m asked about the actors who are still in the closet “kung kailan sila maglaladlad,” I just say it is nobody’s business but theirs. PRIDE ISN’T ALWAYS LOUD. Sometimes it can be found in quiet acceptance, even in slowly opening the door to show the world who you are is something to be proud of. What matters is you always come prepared to tell your story when the time is right.”