After signing the Manila LGBTQI Protection Ordinance of 2020, Mayor Isko Moreno unveiled what he described was proof of how sensitive the city is to the plight of the LGBTQ+ community―a rainbow on the street (again).
You can now find a rainbow-colored pedestrian lane in front of Plaza Rajah Sulayman on Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
Rainbow-colored pedestrian lane! ?
LOOK: The rainbow-colored pedestrian lane can now be spotted in front of Plaza Rajah Sulayman on Roxas Blvd., Manila. | ?Isko Moreno pic.twitter.com/cfZUOZhfCi
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) December 9, 2020
This is not the first rainbow-colored pedestrian lane in Manila though. Last year, Mayor Isko unveiled a similar colorful crossing lane at the corner of Arroceros and Natividad streets, which, however, was not favorably received.
“Pinangako ko sa LGBTQ society that we just want to show you in our own little way how sensitive we are (to) your plight,” Mayor Isko said in a Facebook livestream.
While the intention may be valid, it comes off as performative when Pride 20’s case is still ongoing. Protesting in Mendiola on June 26, the group of 20 was arrested, ironically, during Pride Month. Bahaghari spokesperson Rey Valmores-Salinas, who is part of Pride 20, said there was a case of misgendering when police refused to let her join the female detainees and kept referring to her as “sir.”
The members of Pride 20 were charged with resistance and disobedience to authority, illegal assembly and violation of Republic Act No. 11332 or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases. Three members were initially released as they were minors, while the remaining 17 were released on June 30 for further investigation.
It’s also worth noting that the prosecutor who approved their release was shot dead about a week after and members of Pride 20 received a subpoena for the charges filed by Manila police. They received it on Sept. 21, a day when multiple protests occurred, and only had three hours to respond to the subpoena. As of writing, the charges filed by Manila police have yet to be dropped.
#PRIDE20: Today, we formally received our subpoena for the trumped-up charges filed by the Manila Police District against us. We have only 3 HOURS TO RESPOND TO THE SUBPOENA.
All this on the very day we mount one of the biggest protest actions of the year against dictatorship ? pic.twitter.com/awFG89mw0p
— Rey Valmores-Salinas (@rosereyde) September 21, 2020
Sure, the rainbow is always a pretty sight, but if allies truly want to be sensitive to the plight of queer people, they should start with acceptance, and allow it to grow into building safer spaces for them.
With the local LGBTQI community group in Manila, “Ang Bekshies ng Maynila” thank you for the support ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9w4wCaw4Z1
— Isko Moreno Domagoso (@IskoMoreno) December 9, 2020
Rainbow-colored pedestrian lanes don’t equate to safe spaces, not when the SOGIE bill is still sitting in a corner, waiting to see the light of day. And no, please don’t tell queer people that the current laws are “enough” and the SOGIE bill is “special treatment” for them, not when discrimination still abounds (i.e. microaggressions).
And remember that pride is a protest, while a rainbow is more than an aesthetic.
Four months after Pride 20’s arrest, Manila passes an anti-discrimination ordinance
Here’s why the SOGIE bill is for the straights™️ too
LGBTQ+’s sexualities are not for straight people’s entertainment
Photo from Mayor Isko Moreno’s Twitter