As we usher in the Pride Month this June, may we also bring to remembrance those who came before us in our plight for equality and acceptance in the Philippines.
It was on June 26 1994 that Filipinos made history through ProGayPhilippines (Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines), with the likes of Oscar Atadero and Murphy Red, and backed by Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) under the leadership of then Pastor Richard Mickley in their very first Pride March held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.
First Pride March in PH: stonewall Manila
In honor of the anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Riots in New York that paved the way for the lesbian and gay movement be known worldwide, Filipinos took the streets to fight for their rights against discrimination, even dubbing it as “Stonewall Manila” or as “Pride Revolution.”
Moreover, these activists also used this venue to call against the imposition of the Value Added Tax (VAT) in the Philippines at that time.
While there were abundant reactions that contest calling it a march for the LGBT community since most of the issues raised were not only specific to gay rights and was not well-documented, it remains in the pages of history as the first step of Filipinos in pursuing the interests of those oppressed.
Outrage Magazine interview with Patrick King Pascual
In an interview with Patrick King Pascual for Outrage Magazine, he shared that the monumental happening gathered citizens concerned for all human rights and really in honor as well of Stonewall.
“We recognized that we now had open, not closeted, organizations. But the movement was still quiet or unknown. We felt we needed a (local) Stonewall”.
He also shared how small group of LGBT organizations marched along Quezon Avenue to Quezon Memorial Circle.
“We had no assembly permit. We sat by the roadside until the activists of ProGay ironed out the stumbling block. (After it was settled), we made our way to an assembly area with a stage,” Mickley said. “The first Pride March brought a publicity breakthrough. The purpose of the Pride March was realized – (to show) that the gay and lesbian people of the Philippines are real people, and they are not freaks in a closet.”
It should never be forgotten that there were those long before we were born that had our rights in mind. It was even recognized as the first Pride-related march to take place in Asia and the Pacific.