'March with Pride': 394 LGBTQIA+ members participate in graduation rites in QC

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A total of 394 members of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQIA+) community participated in special graduation rites conducted by the Quezon City government on Saturday, June 22.

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(Photo from Hannah Nicol/Manila Bulletin)

As part of the city’s 85th anniversary celebration, the city government organized the first graduation rites for the LGBTQIA+ members, dubbed “Graduation Rights: March with Pride in QC.” The initiative marked the first major event during the anniversary celebration.

The event aimed to honor members whose life journeys have been marked by challenges such as discrimination and exclusion in various areas, including education.

It also highlighted the courage, resilience, and perseverance demonstrated by the individuals. 

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(Photo from Hannah Nicol/Manila Bulletin)

The initiative was spearheaded by AdHoc, an agency dedicated to being a true ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, fighting for and supporting the voices of the voiceless.

The graduates served as a testament to the power of authenticity and the importance of inclusivity across generations.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte expressed her gratitude and saluted the members of the LGBTQIA+ who proudly joined the ceremony.

"Nakakataba ng puso na makasama kayong lahat - as you truly are. Dito sa espasyo natin ngayong umaga, walang pretenses, 'di kailangang magpanggap. 'Di kailangang magtago. 'Di kailangang matakot (It warms my heart to be with all of you – as you truly are. Here in our space this morning, there are no pretenses, no need to put on a facade. No need to hide. No need to be afraid),” she said.

"Dito (here), you will get to march with Pride, dress as you wish, and be recognized for who you are," Belmonte added.

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(Photo from Hannah Nicol/Manila Bulletin)

The mayor also expressed regret that institutions and systems have made members of the LGBTQIA+ community feel denied, not valued, and unwelcome.

“Nakakalungkot na ipinagkakait ito sa maraming miyembro ng LGBTQIA+ community, dahil sa mga makalumang polisiya at paniniwala. Nakakalungkot na ipinagkait ito sa inyo (It is disheartening that this is denied to many members of the LGBTQIA+ community due to outdated policies and beliefs). I am sorry that institutions and systems made you feel that you were not valued and welcome,” she said.

“I hope that in our own way, this occasion will make up for lost time. Sana maibsan ang sakit o hiya na ipinaramdam sa inyo noon (I hope it eases the pain or shame you felt before) - and you can give space for the new and happier memories we will make today,” the mayor added.

During the event, anchor, actress and advocate Kaladkaren Davila emphasized that no students should be discriminated against, regardless of their identities, orientation, and expression.

Davila also reminded the members of the community to be an inspiration to others and to the society.

“Maging mabuting ehemplo sa ating komunidad (Be a good example in our community). Let’s be the first to combat certain prejudices in our society such as bullying,” she added.