How the British in Manila commemorate Pride Month
The British Embassy in Manila and the British Council in the Philippines, with support from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), celebrated Pride month through an event called “The Road to Pride Continues.”
The event brought together LGBTQ+ advocates and allies, film enthusiasts, and artists. Short films Isaac and the Ram, 2019, directed by Jason Bradbury from the UK, and Alingasngas ng mga Kuliglig (The Gossips of Cicadidae), 2021, directed by Vahn Pascual from the Philippines were shown, and a panel discussion ensued.
“It is important to remember and honor all the people who have lost jobs, loved ones, families, livelihoods—to fight for LGBTQ rights and equality and to get us where we are today,” says British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils. “It is important to continue to live our values and show up at these events, and to always push forward to ensure every member of the LGBTQ community feels safe, supported, and empowered.”
Bradbury’s film peers into a night in the life of Isaac, a homeless gay teenager, who was rescued from a male predator by a bouncer named Hank. Pascual’s silent film features the love story of a tikbalang (elemental beast) and the son of an albularyo (healer).
“I just wanted to say that love is equal,” says Pascual. “I want my viewers to know who the real monsters are. Are these the people who are just showing their real feelings or those against it? As a filmmaker, you have the power to change people’s minds. That’s why we are here—to send our personal sentiments through the arts.”
The panel discussion focused on the power of film to tell different narratives, and touch hearts and minds. Panelists compared the two films, and shared their personal experiences, and what they had done to support LGBTQ+ rights in the Philippines and elsewhere.
FDCP, according to its chair Liza Diño, has given a platform to young people and helped support a broader discourse on equality and inclusion. She noted that Pascual is a young FDCP ambassador for film.
‘It is important to continue to live our values and show up at these events, and to always push forward to ensure every member of the LGBTQ community feels safe, supported, and empowered.’
ASEAN SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression) Caucus executive director Ryan Silverio explains how their group empowers local LGBTQ+ communities in the region. “With hope, we will be able to share good practices with the government to protect the rights of the LGBTQs,” he says.
“Pride should not just be every June. It is every day that we should both celebrate and push boundaries, come together in a space that is safe and inclusive, and remember that love is love, and that we are all different in so many ways, not just sexual orientation and gender identity—and we all belong,” says Amb. Beaufils.
The British Embassy and the British Council will be joining the Pride march in Quezon City this Saturday. Pride month takes place every June to celebrate the pursuit of equal justice for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, as well as the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ individuals around the world.