Vibrant LGBTQIA+ Pride March in Albay

Members and advocates of the LGBTQIA+ community in Albay came together for a rainbow parade or pride march on Saturday, June 15, in celebration of Pride Month this year. 

The event was a colorful and lively spectacle with over 150 participants walking while holding banners and flags, donning vibrant clothing symbolizing unity and equality.

The march commenced at Peñaranda Park and concluded at Bicol University Main Campus, where various activities awaited the attendees. 

According to Stacey Daniel Alamares, the newly elected chairperson of the Bicol University Student Council and the event organizer, the primary goal of this event was to champion equality and inclusivity not only within Bicol University but across the entire province of Albay.

“Usually, when we think of Pride Month, we see it as a celebration, but this time we believe that Pride Month is a protest. We need to take action. It’s not enough to just say ‘happy pride month,’ we need to create actions to fight for equality and inclusivity not only here in Bicol University but also throughout Albay,” Alamares emphasized.

Despite various challenges, Alamares mentioned that their group had long planned to hold a pride march, and they were immensely grateful for the support from the university administration and the students. 

“We have been planning to have a pride march for a long time, but it only materialized now, and we are really grateful that our administration is very supportive, and of course, our students are very supportive of the University Student Council’s events,” she noted.

The event was not exclusive to Bicol University students. Invitations were extended to different communities and groups outside the university.

“We actually invited them; we sent emails and invitations to organizations. We will not just celebrate inside the university because we have many external organizations with the same vision and goal, which is to fight for inclusivity, equality, and diversity,” Alamares added.

For those who still struggle to accept the LGBTQIA+ community, Alamares expressed hope that over time, everyone would learn to accept and respect each other. 

“I can see that even now, many still hate our LGBTQIA+ community, and I believe that the reason behind this is sometimes religion. But, you know, I believe that religion will never be an excuse to hate. It’s time that we accept our LGBTQIA+ community because, after all, they are not doing anything wrong to us. We need to fully accept the LGBTQIA+ community this time,” she stated.

Following the parade, a short program was held at the BU-Integrated Laboratory School-High School Department, featuring performances, manifestations from various representatives of external organizations, and the signing of a pledge of commitment to LGBTQIA+ rights. This was an opportunity to deepen understanding and support for the advocacy of the LGBTQIA+ community. | Jeric Lopez, Regina Dioneda