Hundreds of thousands showed up for the 39th annual Pride Parade in downtown Vancouver on August 6.
Among those who marched in the summer event were members of Pinoy Pride Vancouver, the first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group in the Canadian Filipino community in B.C.
Pinoy Pride Vancouver officially came out in 2011 with the aim of fostering acceptance of LGBT people in a community that is steeped in traditional values.
Except in 2015, the group has participated in the Vancouver Pride Parade, the largest of its kind in Western Canada.
This year, Pinoy Pride Vancouver marched to support efforts to pass an anti-discrimination bill in the Philippines.
There is no legislation that exists to protect the rights, and ensure equal opportunities for LGBT people in the Philippines.
Philippine lawmakers have been trying to pass an anti-discrimination bill for almost two decades.
A proposed Anti SOGI (Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity) Discrimination Act is currently pending in Congress.
One of the authors of the measure is Geraldine Roman, who made history by becoming the first transgender woman to be elected to the House of Representatives in 2016.
Stella Reyes is a founding member and co-chair of Pinoy Pride Vancouver.
“Every year, we try to be visible to remind everyone that we are very lucky to have a more liberal attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community here in Canada,” Reyes said in a media statement. “Unfortunately, our kababayans (fellow countrymen) back home in the Philippines are still trying to pass an Anti Discrimination Bill for more than 16 years now.”
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival opened on August 10, marking its 29th year of showcasing movies about the life journeys taken by members of the LGBT community around the world.
This year’s festival, which runs until August 20, includes a movie from the Philippines that tells the story of a girl who falls in love with her female friend.
Sana Bukas (Maybe Tomorrow) is scheduled to screen at the International Village on August 12 and August 16.
Manila-based director Samantha Lee informed Canadian Filipino Net in advance of her arrival in Vancouver that she will be present during the second exhibition of her film in the city.
“It's really exciting, because for the longest time, people have been leaving comments on our Facebook page asking when it's coming to Canada,” Lee stated in an email, “so I'm happy that we're finally going to get to bring the film there.”
Sana Bukas (Maybe Tomorrow) is the first feature film of Lee, who currently works as the multimedia editor for CNN Philippines Life, a lifestyle site that provides an in-depth look into Philippine culture.
In her director’s notes, Lee wrote that the title of the movie “evokes a feeling of hope”.
“Maybe tomorrow, we can all live a life where we're free to love whoever we want to love,” Lee explained.