Butterfly Oblation, pink banners, gays

 

The Oblation was dressed anew – a butterfly wing with a colorful fabric stretched behind like a gown.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights organizations and students from the University of the Philippines waved rainbow-colored flags and pink banners to support gender equality, condemn discrimination, and call for the passing of the anti-discrimination bill still pending in the House of Representatives.

Councilor Heart Diño, Gender Committee Head of the University Student Council (USC) said the parade was in commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City.

The Stonewall riots were a series of demonstrations by the LGBT community after New York City policemen violently raided establishments that catered to the colorful gender groups.

Diño also said UP students must be given equal rights to education and treatment regardless of sexual orientations as he recalled the discrimination case of transgender Hender Gercio with a UP professor earlier this year.

“Ang iskolar ng bayan ay iskolar [din] para sa LGBT community,” she added.

Born this way

Participants also shared stories of how they came out of their cocoons.

Controversial priest Rev. Ceejay Agbayani of the Metropolitan Community Church, who was one of the priests who officiated the wedding of eight gay couples in Baguio City on June 27, said he came to know he was gay when he was a kid

During his childhood, he said he was already attracted his classmates’ boyfriends. His partner is a high school teacher.

Nevertheless, there are still some LGBTs who have never experienced discrimination. One of them is gay organization UP Babaylan president Bohn Benedict “Cynthia” Vergara who said he realized his identity “since birth.”

“I think it’s important that you acknowledge the full expression of yourself,” he said, “I believe it’s only that way where you can attain excellence.”

USC Councilor Alex Castro, a bisexual, meanwhile said she feels discriminated outside the University. She said she is discriminated because most people are still closed-minded on these issues.

Chris Begaso, a member of the UP Babaylan, was able to invite his German national partner in the parade whom he met one summer vacation in Boracay.

Sharing the same sentiments, Begaso’s partner said being with the same-sex is allowed in Germany but it is common practice to hide it from the public eye.

Anti-discrimination bill

Bringing their own supporters, the group Akbayan called for President Aquino to support the bill and listen to the United Nations’ move in promoting gender awareness.

Akbayan Representatives Kaka Bag-ao and Walden Bello authored the bill.

At the University level, Dino said the next step for the Gender Committee is to finalize the draft of the Magna Carta of Gender Equality and the campaigning of this resolution with all universities in the country.

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