#SulongVAKLASH: Metro Manila Pride Reenergizes the Mantra “Pride Is Rooted in Protest”

#SulongVAKLASH: Metro Manila Pride Reenergizes the Mantra “Pride Is Rooted in Protest”

The non-profit organization kicks off Pride Month with a new theme and announces its second virtual Pride March and Festival

Metro Manila Pride greeted June with a resounding, “SULONG, VAKLASH! Sama-samang pag-aklas ang ating lunas.” A theme that doubles as a call-to-action, #SulongVAKLASH tackles head-on the various socio-political issues that LGBTQIA+ Filipinos, across all sectors, continue to face.

“COVID-19 cases are still on the rise worldwide, including in the Philippines,” the organization said in a statement posted to social media. “Along with this is the unyielding strife experienced by the LGBTQIA+ community––cases of discrimination exacerbated by the pandemic, amid the prevalence of macho-fascism that underlies the current administration.”

They continued: “Despite everything, we will not falter […] We will continue to advocate for our rights, especially the rights of LGBTQIA+ Filipinos. We will continue the movement alongside celebrating the colors of our rainbow––the colors that reflect the vast talents, voices, joys and creations, the lives and the kind of love that we continue to support.”

RELATED: #Pride2019 Through The Lens Of A First-Timer

At Metro Manila Pride’s community meeting on May 28, the advocacy group not only expounded on its chosen theme for Metro Manila Pride 2021 but also touched on the timely issues they hope to address with it. While indeed a celebration, the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies are called to continue to fight for equal rights, demand more accountability from the Philippine government and work toward ensuring that discrimination, in all forms, is eliminated. Pride, the organizers reminded, should remain a protest especially in 2021.

With representatives from partner organizations Babaylanes, Inc., Pinoy Deaf Rainbow, Pioneer Filipino Transgender Men Movement, Kaduwa Movement, The Red Whistle Foundation, KASARIANLAN and Bahaghari, Metro Manila Pride opens the floor this month: for discussions on the importance of intersectionality, the overlap between Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) and healthcare, SOGIE Equality and protecting trans lives. (It isn’t lost on these groups that in the past year, there has been a spike in the number of trans lives lost to hate crimes and violence.)

Such discussions are tucked into the Pride 2021 roster of month-long events. Highlights include Pride Speaks, which are slated to take place twice a week, the official Metro Manila Pride AR filter, and Hangouts and Community Convos. Advocates and allies can also tune in for the following:

  • Sulong Sining 2021 on June 12: a platform celebrating queer creators via a viewing party. (Filipino LGBTQIA+ artists are encouraged to join and submit their work. More details coming soon.) 
  • Sulong Sabay-Sabahay on June 19: a virtual get-together where members of the community can celebrate Pride from home, get to know one another and participate in various activities.
  • #AKLASRUM on June 25: a workshop and hangout on protest art-making that brings together different organizations to discuss their creative process as LGBTQIA+ artists.

The string of events culminates with the virtual Metro Manila Pride 2021 March and Festival on June 26, Saturday.

This is the second year Pride takes place online in lieu of its highly-anticipated on-ground parade. Amid the ongoing onslaught of COVID-19, the community and its allies alike can celebrate Pride while staying safe at home.

RELATED: Love, Light, Family: Stories of Coming Out Featuring Parents of the LGBTQ+

For the latest updates and more information, visit the Metro Manila Pride official Facebook page.

Featured Image Metro Manila Pride

Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

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