Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — As the sun went down, a sea of rainbow-colored flags filled up the People Power Monument on Saturday, March 17. A sign sparked to life, spelling out “EQUALITY” but missing the “I.” “Ikaw ‘yung ‘I’ sa ‘equality,’” said the hosts. The gathering, attended by allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community, was a rally for the passing of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.
Previously known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill, the SOGIE Equality Bill has finally reached the Senate after nearly 20 years of being put on the backburner. But the bill has met staunch opponents in legislators like Manny Pacquiao, Tito Sotto, and Joel Villanueva, who often cite religious rights as reason for barring it from moving forward.
At the rally, leaders and representatives of various LGBT groups took center stage, often calling out the lawmakers in their speeches. Performers such as drag queens and spoken word artists also got the crowd roaring. The air buzzed with a mix of hope and uncertainty.
CNN Philippines Life talked to various people at the rally and asked them why it was important for them to join, and what the passing of the SOGIE Equality Bill meant to them.
Below are edited excerpts from the interview. Read more via CNN