Pride 2019 is all about breaking barriers

Not even the weather can rain on Pride's parade.

Organizers said 70,000 participants – almost triple the 2018 turnout despite rain – flocked to this year's Metro Manila Pride March and Festival to #ResistTogether, making it the biggest Pride demonstration in the country to date.

The event on Saturday, June 29, offered educational discussions, solidarity speeches, and performances by bands and spoken word artists – all in an effort to break barriers and resist injustices.

Among the LGBTQ+ struggles tackled in the event was mental health. In a speech, Roy Dahildahil of the Mental Health Cluster raised the common misconception that non-heterosexuality is a mental disorder. Dahildahil also said the rampant discrimination against the LGBTQ+ makes them "vulnerable to mental illness."

The fight is yet to be won, especially with the SOGIE Equality Bill going back to square one in the 18th Congress. Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro however announced at the festival that he decided to sign the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance of 2019, his way of supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, author of the bill and one of the attendees of this year's Pride, told Rappler in an interview that she remains hopeful the bill will make it through the 18th Congress.

Beyond the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride also means to stand with other marginalized communities in their fight for human rights.

"At Pride, we come together to resist oppression and social injustice in all its forms, and through it, push for cultural and legislative change," said Metro Manila Pride overall co-coordinator Nicky Castillo.

This year's theme #ResistTogether – a round-up of the Metro Manila Pride's "together" campaign since 2017 – seeks to remind Filipinos that Pride is a protest against gender-related violence and discrimination.

No prejudice, just pride

Pride, after all, is about creating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community where they can express themselves however they want without having to deal with rude stares from others.

And what is the Pride parade without taking fashion to the next level?

Despite the weather, participants put on their most colorful and creative outfits and waved their rainbow flags – in stark contrast to the gray skies.

But rainbow antics aside, it's become anticipated in every Pride that some will go the extra mile – for style.

2019 Metro Manila Pride March participants

Photo by Lisa Marie David/Rappler

2019 Metro Manila Pride March participant

Photo by Lisa Marie David/Rappler

2019 Metro Manila Pride March participant in rainbow gown

Photo by Ponch Escobar

During the pre-march, participants were also dancing and performing splits – inspite of the wet grounds – to hits from Ariana Grande, Beyonce, and Blackpink.

The rain never bothered them anyway.

Onward march

Beyond rainbow outfits, Metro Manila Pride reminds everyone that Pride does not end in June, said Metro Manila Pride overall co-coordinator Loreen Ordoño.

"Pride doesn't end at the Pride March. It continues as we go back to our homes, our schools, workplaces, and communities," said Ordoño.

With only less than a hundred attendees in 1994, Metro Manila Pride has seen exponential growth notably since last year. It is the oldest – and still the biggest – Pride March in Southeast Asia.

This goes to show that the Filipinos are marching onward, and they're not stopping any time soon. –

Sofia Virtudes

Sofia Virtudes is a digital communications specialist for Rappler. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. She tweets at @fiavirtudes.