HAPI: A Pride Month Worth Celebrating

June is observed as Pride Month due to its historical significance linked to the LGBTQIA+ movement. The selection of June as Pride Month can be attributed to the Stonewall Riots, a series of events that occurred in New York City in June 1969.

During the Stonewall Riots, customers of the Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay bar in New York City, fought back against the persistent harassment and prejudice they had experienced during a police raid in the location. The riots, which lasted for many days, led to a surge of queer activism. Many years later, this became an annual tradition in the United States and abroad, including the Philippines, that not only celebrates the start of the modern LGBTQIA+ movement but also highlights the ongoing struggles and achievements of the community.

The inaugural Pride March in the Philippines occurred in 1996. Since then, it has transformed into a commemoration of diversity while serving as a form of protest against discrimination. This year, the Philippines witnessed synchronised Pride Month celebrations across the country, which reflect the remarkable progress made by the Filipino LGBTQIA+ community. One notable event was the Pride March Festival held in Quezon City and Makati on June 24, 2023, with separate festivities in Baguio and Cebu City on different dates. These events welcomed the public to participate in the parade and enjoy various performances actively.

HAPI National, HAPI-Alabang, HAPI-Bulacan, and HAPI-Zambales were among the organisation’s chapters that actively participated in the event. This is not the first time that HAPI has been involved in such events where they can demonstrate their support and advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community. Their consistent presence reflects their ongoing commitment to promoting inclusivity, acceptance, and equality for all individuals.

A single day falls short when it comes to fully experiencing and appreciating the incredible variety of stalls offering diverse services during the Pride event. These stalls go beyond providing free massages, stickers, and merchandise. Additionally, the event featured engaging drag competitions, workshops, and performances by renowned individuals such as Lady Morgana. Furthermore, educational discussions were also held, adding to the enriching experience of the event.

To combat shame, social stigma, threats, and violence, it is crucial to promote visibility. Pride events play a significant role in fostering the celebration of diversity and showcasing the unwavering determination of the LGBTQ+ community in its pursuit of equality. Numerous individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community have openly shared their personal experiences, highlighting their motivations for participating in the parade.

“Nagmamartsa kami para sa pangarap na pagkakapantay-pantay. Ang pride ay protesta at pangangalampag sa kinauukulan upang bigyan ng proteksyon at bigyang halaga ang karapatang pantao ng LGBT community na madalas na nadi-diskrimina sa trabaho, sa paaralan at kanilang komunidad,” said Van Catayong and Garry Rabang, leaders of HAPI-Zambales. “Gusto rin naming ipakita na ang pagmamahal ay walang kasarian, na walang pinag-iba ang mga bakla pagdating sa kakayahan nitong umibig at maging mabuting mamamayan.”

To confront shame, social stigma, threats, and violence, it is essential to be visible. Pride events play a crucial role in promoting the celebration of diversity and sending a powerful message that the LGBTQIA+ community is resolute in its pursuit of equality. These events provide a platform to showcase solidarity, resilience, and determination, demonstrating that the LGBTQIA+ community will not retreat in their demands for equal rights.

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