June 27, 2015
Judy M. Taguiwalo
University Center for Women’s Resources
University of the Philippines
Pride is a struggle. The Stonewall Riots in 1969 was a protest against systemic violence against the LGBT people and other minorities in the US. It served as a precursor for the movement for LGBT liberation, a movement that was cognizant of the fact that it is not enough to ask to be included in a system that excludes. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the first Pride March in 1994 was a protest against the government’s enforcement of the Value-Added Tax and State violence against LGBT people.
On the occasion of the success of the 21st celebration of the Pride movement in the Philippines, I wish to congratulate and express my solidarity with the Filipino LGBT people. I am one with you in fighting for the transformation of the society into becoming kinder and more caring of LGBT people.
The Metro Manila Pride March that was held last Saturday, June 21, made history when workers of Tanduay linked their arms and marched with LGBT people as an act of solidarity. Among the workers of Tanduay is Claire, a transwoman and a unionist actively fighting for the regularization of the contractual workers of Lucio Tan. The workers of Tanduay marched with Kapederasyon, an LGBT organization working for an end to discrimination of LGBT persons and justice for all working class people. Together, they called for justice for LGBTs and workers, with the recognition that these two struggles—the struggles of the working class and of the LGBTs have a common vision: a society where injustice, oppression and exploitation are non-existent.
We have victories to celebrate. In the spirit of international solidarity, we celebrate with LGBT people all over the world who have won their struggle for marriage equality, more recently in the United States. We celebrate with transgender people in some parts of the world for successfully struggling for the state to recognize their gender identities and right to self-determination. We celebrate with Filipino LGBTs in Quezon City, Angeles City, Davao City, Cebu City and other cities who succeeded in pushing for ordinances that protect them from discrimination.
But we still have a lot of struggles to win. In the US, LGBTIQ illegal immigrants continue to subjected to structural violence and remain vulnerable to sexual violence in prisons. In the Philippines, LGBTs living in areas affected by the VFA are forced into perilous jobs, putting them at the risk of being the next Jenifer Laude. Homophobic and transphobic structures allow for Filipino LGBTs to be harassed, bullied, beat up and killed with impunity.
Women, too, struggle for liberation from class and gender oppression. Women understand what it is like to be doubly enchained. Our bodies are policed, we are seen as sexual objects, and we are vulnerable to many forms of violence. Women also know from history that gender discrimination is the fruit of a system that puts profit above people, and commodities above dignity.
None of us are free until everyone is free. We struggle with you, but we also celebrate with you. Bringing together LGBT people and the Tanduay workers in the 21st Metro Manila Pride March adds to vibrancy and diversity of the event. But that is only the beginning: women, workers and LGBT people will continue to build on, and strengthen, our solidarity. The spring of the LGBT struggle is coming and that spring cannot be separated from the spring of the struggle of working women and men of our country.