LoveYourself opens LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Roel Hoang Manipon

This year’s celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month is shaping up to be a vibrant occasion, bustling with events and projects. It was ushered in, aptly, with a bang, as LoveYourself Inc. led “Pride Night,” a seven-hour long extravaganza, from 5 p.m. to 12 midnight, on 1 June. About 5,000 LGBTQ+ persons and allies, most of them young, trooped to the open grounds of development complex Bridgetowne Destination Estate at the border of Pasig City and Quezon City to celebrate who they are, show support for different causes and to enjoy the show that included drag performances and messages of celebrities, among others.

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncy.
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncy.Photograph courtesy of ig/piawurtzbach
MaxiePhotograph by Roel Hoang Manipon for the daily tribune
Miss Universe Philippines 2024 Chelsea Manalo.
Miss Universe Philippines 2024 Chelsea Manalo.Photograph courtesy of Miss Universe Philippines Organization
The Wall of Love Letters.
The Wall of Love Letters.Photograph by Roel Hoang Manipon for the daily tribune
‘Drag Den’ Season 2 Drag Supreme Deja.
‘Drag Den’ Season 2 Drag Supreme Deja.Photograph by Roel Hoang Manipon for the daily tribune
‘Drag Den’ Season 2 contestant Hana Beshie.
‘Drag Den’ Season 2 contestant Hana Beshie.Photograph by Roel Hoang Manipon for the daily tribune

With the theme, “Honoring Past, Present and Future,” to highlight the difficult journey, achievements and aspirations of the LGBTQ+ community, “LoveYourself’s Pride Night” featured performances by drag queens — the first winner of Drag Race Philippines Precious Paula Nicole, Drag Race Philippines Season 2 winner Captivating Katkat and Drag Den Season 2 Drag Supreme Deja. Viñas Deluxe, Brigiding, Bernie, Arizona Brandy, Lady Gagita, Deedee Marie Holliday, MC Black, Maxie, Hana Beshie, OV Cunt, Myx Chanel, Mrs. Tan, Matilduh, JQuinn, Dyxtruxia, Salmo Nella, Sexy Wanda Mina, Royalties, LY Queens, House of Ding, Alab Poi Fire and Mocha Gays also graced the stage, affirming that drag remains important in local queer culture.

They were joined by Phi Palmos, Anton Diva, Raven Heyres, John Saga, Makki Lucino and Jewel Jhonson, who offered songs. Social media personalities Miss Deliciousness and Poca (Warren Daniel Osinaga), on the other hand, served as hosts.

Beauty queens long been associated with queer culture made appearances to show solidarity with the community. Miss Universe 2015 and UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) Ambassador Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncy, who has worked with LoveYourself for several years now, waved the rainbow flag onstage, pictures of which she posted on her Instagram account (@piawurtzbach).

She wrote: “Waving this flag with PRIDE! For over a decade, I’ve cherished supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. And this time... exciting plans ahead! Teaming up with and the City of Taguig to establish a youth center, ensuring safety and happiness of this community. I couldn’t think of a better way of celebrating 10 years since the Miss Universe crown by giving back and making sure this advocacy has a dedicated space.”

Other beauty queens who also graced the event were Miss International Queen Philippines 2024 Sophia Nicole Arkanghel and the Miss Universe Philippines 2024 winners — Miss Universe Philippines 2024 Chelsea Manalo, Miss Supranational Philippines 2025 Tarah Valencia, Miss Cosmo International Philippines 2024 Ahtisa Manalo, Miss Charm Philippines 2025 Cyrille Payumo and Miss Eco International Philippines 2025 Alexie Brooks.

Candidates of Mr. Gay World Philippines 2024 also attended to express support.

“LoveYourself’s Pride Night” also featured a Wall of Love Letters, where attendees could write for and read love letters from other attendees in the hope of sparking connections and express opinions on issues; a “Rainbow History Lane,” an exhibit that featured highlights in LGBTQ+ history; and a Pride Magazine Photo Booth, where attendees could take photos to share and create personal memories. Various booths offered Pride merch, food and services.

Simultaneously happening with “LoveYourself’s Pride Night” was the Cebu Pride Festival 2024 Opening Night House Party at LoveYourself Cebu White House in Cebu City, Cebu, organized by LoveYourself Cebu and the Cebu Pride Movement team.

It was attended by 153 local LGBTQ+ advocates representing 72 community organizations, private institutions, brands, public sectors, media and entertainment groups. It served as a kickoff event for a month-long series of Pride events in the biggest city in Central Visayas.

“As someone deeply embedded in this community, I understand the importance of every voice, every story and every ally,” wrote Ronnievinn Garcia shared mission for equality and acceptance.”

In same post, he called on the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to advocate for “comprehensive sexual health services, robust mental health support and dedicated trans health care” and “for inclusive and affirming legislation that protects and empowers every member of our community.”

He encouraged them to choose kindness, saying, “When we encounter ignorance or misinformation, let’s commit to educating and uplifting, rather than condemning. We act better when we know more, and it’s our duty to spread that knowledge compassionately.”

Pagtakhan highlighted drag culture, writing, “Drag is not just performance; it’s a vibrant part of our culture and history. It embodies the creativity, talent, and unapologetic self-expression that defines us.”

He also remembered that “drag queens and kings started the first Pride protest,” quoting Sylvia Rivera, one of the Stonewall protesters who is now a historical figure: “We have to be visible. We should not be ashamed of who we are. We have to show the world that we are numerous. There are many of us out there.”

He also expressed gratitude to partners, allies, families and friends.

“Within our community, let’s advocate for the acceptance of all SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics) and practice respect and understanding towards those whose SOGIESC may differ from our own,” he added. “To those outside our community, we seek not just tolerance but true acceptance. We all deserve to live openly and authentically without fear of prejudice or discrimination.”

“Let’s celebrate our progress, recognize the work ahead and reaffirm our commitment to a future where every LGBTQIA+ individual is seen, heard, and valued. Let us reclaim the words ‘bakla’ and ‘tomboy.’ May they never be derogatory terms again, but words that signify pride, talent and gift,” he ended.

Daily Tribune