Davao’s Pride Parade: more pomp, less advocacy, says LGBT leaders

Jun. 27, 2024
Photo by Kath Cortez/davaotoday.com

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Leaders from Davao City’s LGBTQIA+ community and supporters express disappointment on how the city government-sponsored Pride Parade last June 23 downgraded social awareness on LGBT rights into a lighthearted activity.

The Pride Parade was organized as part of the Duaw Davao 2024 campaign, which aims to increase tourist visits to the city.

The parade last Sunday drew a strong turnout of around 8,000 participants from 110 organizations representing LGBTQIA+ communities in Davao City.

But unlike past Pride March events in Davao, organizers of this parade placed restrictions, prohibiting “chanting of foul language and anti-government expressions”.

Pride Parade event organizer Harold Quibete said in a press conference earlier that the difference between the Pride event this year lies in the city’s slogan ‘Disiplinado’ which is to follow the ‘templated guidelines’ that also apply in all other events in the city.

Quibete also said that the Parade should focus on achievements rather than “demanding what has not been achieved.”

These guidelines did not sit well with Atty. Cabarde, Coordinator of the Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy Center (APILA) of Ateneo de Davao University, who had joined Pride March in the past. 

“I left the Davao Pride Parade with a sense of disappointment. As one of only two participants boldly carrying a placard, it was disheartening to see the parade focus more on costumes and props than on advocacy statements that promote our human dignity and rights,” Cabarde told Davao Today.

Davao City’s Pride March started in 2016 held on June 1, the global Pride Month. The first rally made calls for the awareness and implementation of the city’s Anti-discrimination Ordinance passed in 2012. 

“This strays from the roots of Pride marches, which are grounded in resistance and activism. The participants seemed to lack a unified call to action and appeared co-opted by Duaw Davao. Let’s strive to honor the true spirit of Pride by amplifying our voices and demands for equality and justice,” added Cabarde.

Only a few courageous individuals among the thousands who attended the Pride March event in Davao City brought their placards to call for equality for the LGBTQIA+ community. (Photo by Kath Cortez/davaotoday.com)

The LGBTQIA+ student organization Mentefuwaley from the University of the Philippines – Mindanao decided not to join the Pride Parade after learning of the new guidelines.

The group had joined previous Pride March events but found the Parade wasted the chance to gather the community to voice issues such as gender-based violence happening in the community.

“Supposedly the Pride (activity) is about empowerment, it should be about us lifting up the LGBTQIA+ community because we experience discrimination. That’s why this Pride Month is about empowerment but that did not happen,” said Allaiza Gerodiaz, a member of Mentefuwaley.

Dr. Jean Lindo, spokesperson of Gabriela Southern Mindanao, said, “There is a mile of difference between a parade and a Pride March.”

“Parade means it’s just a show or a festivity or a fun activity. If the Pride March is being downgraded into a parade, that means that the state gets away with the social obligation of protecting and promoting the rights of the LGBTQ+ communities. If you deprive the LGBTQ+ individuals of expressing their calls, equality needs, and the need for inclusion, then it is indeed a parade with no intent for social transformation,” she said.

Lindo explained that the pride march commemorates the historical event called the Stonewall Riot in 1969 when police raided the bar which led to brutality against the LGBTQ+. Ever since the community and its allies have been doing the pride march to commemorate the event and advance the LGBTQ+ struggles all around the world.

She reminded public officials that the staging of these rallies should recognize the shortfalls of the LGBTQIA+ from enjoying their rights and that the state is committed to ensuring equality and just treatment for all genders. (davaotoday.com) 

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