The British Embassy Manila and the British Council in the Philippines, with support from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) celebrated Pride month through ‘The road to Pride continues’.
‘We are proud to be champions of LGBTQ+ rights because it is the right thing to do...It is important to remember all the people who have worked so hard and lost jobs, loved ones, families, livelihoods – to do the right thing to get us where we are today,’ British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils noted during her welcome remarks.
Pride month is takes place every June to celebrate the pursuit of equal justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, as well as the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ individuals around the world.
With short films ‘Isaac and the Ram’ (2019, directed by Jason Bradbury, UK) and Alingasngas ng mga Kuliglig (The Gossips of Cicadidae, 2021, directed by Vahn Pascual, Philippines) kicking off the discussion, LGBTQ+ advocates, film enthusiasts and artists gathered on 16 June at the British Ambassador’s Residence.
The power of film
Bradbury’s film peeks into a night in the life of Isaac, a homeless gay teenager who was rescued from a male predator, by a bouncer named Hank. In the UK, one in four gay teenagers is homeless.
On the other hand, 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. 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,’ Pascual added.
Sharing best practices
FDCP Chair Liza Diño talked about the role of films and her institution in elevating the discourse on equality and inclusion. ‘We have created platforms to empower the youth,’ as she noted that FDCP recognises Pascual as a young ambassador for film.
ASEAN SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) Caucus Executive Director Ryan Silverio shared how their group empower local LGBTQ+ communities in the region. ‘Hopefully we will be able to share good practices with the government to protect the rights of the LGBTQs.’
‘It is important that everyday, really, or at the very least, every Pride month, we take time to reflect on...what [the LGBTQ+ community has] achieved for us and to hold the line and to celebrate, come together in a space that is safe, that is inclusive and to remember that love is love, and love is a human right and we are all unique in so many different ways,’ Ambassador Beaufils expressed.
The British Embassy and the British Council will be joining the Pride march in Quezon City this Saturday.