LGBT group unveils first ‘pride crosswalk’ in E. Visayas
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines — For some residents of San Julian town in Eastern Samar, the vibrantly-colored 10-meter crosswalk may just be an ordinary passageway.
But not for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community of the town.
The rainbow-colored crosswalk symbolizes what the local LGBT community has been fighting for — equality and recognition.
On Saturday (June 1), San Julian became the first area in Eastern Visayas to have a “pride crosswalk.”
Its unveiling coincided with the observance of LGBT Pride Month, which first started on June 27, 1970, which was incidentally, sparked by a riot involving the gay community in New York City calling for recognition and equality among its members.
The 10-meter crosswalk is a project of the San Julian Pride Advocacy Group, which was founded on Dec. 23, 2017, and which has 159 members to date.
The project was the result of three months of planning, with the approval of the provincial office of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Spending P3,000 of its funds, the group hired a painter, who finished the job in three hours the night before.
Roel Andag, the 42-year-old founder of San Julian Pride, said members had to use blowdryers so the paint would dry quickly.
“It symbolizes our call for equality and recognition,” Andag said in a Facebook interview. “It is located along a national highway in between Barangays 4 and 5 where our municipal building is located.”
In its Facebook account, the group said the crosswalk signified their “oneness with the rest of the world in celebrating the Pride month.”
For the group, the crosswalk proves that the people of San Julian have accepted its members as part of the town.
“Our pride crosswalk is our visual reminder that we have come a long way and we still have a long way to go,” the group said.
Group members were thankful that San Julian town officials had been very supportive of their campaign, particularly Mayor Dennis Estaron and the town councilors who passed last year an ordinance creating a local AIDS council.
The group has an HIV-AIDS awareness campaign, for which it gives lectures land distributes condoms donated by the Department of Health (DOH).
HIV-AIDS commonly affects members of the LGBT community.
In Eastern Visayas, there are more than 700 HIV-AIDS cases, with 48 deaths as of this year, according to the DOH.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)