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Now on its 23rd year, the Metro Manila Pride continues its annual tradition of opening the “biggest safe space” for theLGBTQ+ community with the Metro Manila Pride March and Festival 2017 slated on June 24.

For this year, the theme “Here Together” is an invitation for the LGBTQ+ community, its allies, friends, and even strangers, to come together and celebrate love, equality, and pride.

The march and festival primarily aim to shed light on the SOGIE Equality Bill’s #PassADB campaign, as well as to cultivate a stronger sense of community among Filipino LGBTQ+ persons, and the allies that stand with them.

Last April 2017, an online survey released by Metro Manila Pride showed that the top three issues experienced by the LGBTQ+ community are: lack of acceptance and violence in the home, discrimination in the workplace, and bullying in schools.

“Many LGBTQ+ people are scared. They deny themselves their truths because they face discrimination and violence in the very places where they should have been safe,” said Nicky Castillo, Co-Coordinator of Metro Manila Pride.

“At the Pride March and Festival, we provide people with a space where they can express their true selves without fear. But this year, we also want to call on the non-LGBTQ+ people who support us to stand up, speak out, and march on for us. Our voices have been loud these last 23 years. But in our campaign for equality, we need more voices. We need your voices.”

Co-coordinator Loreen Ordoño adds: “Even after 23 years, we continue to march. We march for the people who came before us, we march for the people who can’t, and we march for the people who stand with us, here together.”

There will be a lot of exciting and empowering surprises for the attendees like the Proud Street Fair  – an open marketplace for LGBT-owned and -themed businesses. The Pride March proper begins at 4 p.m., ending with a two-hour post-march program jam-packed with performances.

This year’s march will be held in Marikina City. The city is known to be an ally of the LGBT community, showing its support through local initiatives and even a locally-organized Pride March in 2016.

“The reason why we’re going to different venues is because we are trying to make an effort for the Pride March to be the largest safe space for all,” she added.

The organizers are expecting 6,000 people to join the march. Metro Manila Pride March and Festival will be held at Plaza De Los Alcaldez, Marikina City on June 24, 2017 starting at 12 noon.

Let us express our love and support to the LGBTQ+ community. Happy Pride! 🌈

Photos from Metro Manila Pride

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