Every year we celebrate Pride Month to continue empowering our LGBT+ community to take up space, be seen, and be accepted. Being at the forefront of this movement, LoveYourself aims to create and share safe spaces with its community members and supporters every time; and this year, this volunteer-driven organization highlighted these efforts last June 18 in Eastwood Mall Open Park with the comeback of its “Pride Night” celebration and movement.

Hosted by Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan, LoveYourself volunteer and social media darling MacoyDubs, and the ever-lovely Kaladkaren, LoveYourself’s Pride Night is an evening full of surprises. Tramo Cheerdancers opened the event with “flying” colors of the spectrum, wowing the spectators and even stopping the passers-by to join the celebration.

In his opening speech, LoveYourself Founder and Executive Director Ronivin “Vinn” Pagtakhan encouraged people to choose kindness over divisions and animosities. “We must strive to be kinder to each other to break down the barriers of internalized homophobia and self-stigma that may still linger with us — Teach not Punish; Educate not Block; Understand not Judge,” Vinn said.

For her part, LoveYourself volunteer-ambassador, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, said, “Each of us has a unique quality that is beautiful in the eyes of our beloved god, no matter how others see us. Let’s celebrate who we are, who we love, and who we can become. As our organization’s name says, Love Yourself, and do what works for you.”

Pia also highlighted social topics that need attention, such as the SOGIE Equality Bill, full implementation of the DepEd’s policy for gender-responsive basic education, and strengthening of the Anti-Discrimination Ordinances.

Miss World 2013 Megan Young graced the event with her powerful message of solidarity, representing the colors of the Pride flag. Megan emphasized, “The colors in the Pride Progress flag represent us — not just the LGBTQI+ community, but everyone here: members, allies and supporters, and even those with differing perspectives.”

Megan underscored that everyone must acknowledge and endure that inclusivity shall radiate to all, not just those at the front but also those at the back, in the corners, and beyond the shadows.

More beauty queens and pageant personalities, including the ever-radiant Binibining Pilipinas International 2021 Hannah Arnold, the gorgeous Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi, the striking Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee, the charming Binibining Pilipinas 2022 2nd runner-up Stacey Gabriel, the newly crowned Reina Hispanoamericana Filipinas 2023 Michelle Arceo, the dazzling Mister Gay World 2020 Kodie Macayan, the captivating Mister Gay World Philippines 2023 John Dela Serna, the wonderful Mister Supranational Canada Luis Portelles, and the ever-stunning Miss Universe 2019 Gazini Ganados, stood up for the community.

More faces of the advocacy joined in, including singer-host Markki Stroem, transgender health advocate Nick Escalderon, volunteer Asha Gutierrez, actor-advocate Paolo Pangilinan, the surprised guest Rhian Ramos, and the hot-topic Sparks Camp Boys.

Extravagantly, local and internationally acclaimed drags queens ruled the show. Name them, and they stole the show, including Queen of the Universe finalist Maxie, Captivating Katkat, the excellent House of Ding, Gorgeous Dawn, Martha Amethyst, Arizona Brandy, Bernie Barrantes, DeeDee Marie Holliday, Drag Den stars Maria Christina and Lady Gagita, the ever-talented Viñas Deluxe, and the first-ever winner of Drag Race Philippines Precious Paula Nicole.

Filipino exquisite singing talents also supported Pride Night, sharing their voices with the community. This roster of excellent singing prowess includes Raven Heyres, Rhap Salazar, Eumee Capili, Anton Diva, and Lucas Garcia. The Addlib ended the show with a bang, expressing their love for the pride community through their powerful dance moves.

Activity booths from our partners and allies in the advocacy also showcased diversity and inclusivity. Most importantly, our LoveYourself community of volunteers and supporters gather to celebrate pride, diversity, and inclusion!

Moreover, the event aims to give tribute to the meaningful lives of our LGBT+ friends who constantly fight for LGBT+ rights and spark a light of hope in people who are stigmatized and discriminated against by their SOGIESC.

Pride Night is co-presented by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, Eastwood City, Frontrow International, Sunnies Studios, Envie My Man, and Hotel Ava. Our official make-up partner is MAC Cosmetics. KimStore and Konsulta MD also sponsored the event.

LoveYourself Pride Night is also in partnership with Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Protects, Champion Community Centers, and AHF Philippines and is made possible through the generosity of the American people through PEPFAR and USAID via the EpiC project. The show is also brought to us by LUBIE, Camber Pharmaceuticals by Hetero, PREMIERE Condoms, Trust Condoms, and 27 Shaw; powered by Owl Right Studios and Spaces MNL; and official media partners are – Village Pipol Magazine, TikTok, Grindr4Equality, Fulitech, Mega Drag, and Zeen Magazine.

Pride Night would also like to thank Sunnie Side Group, IBM Philippines, White Flower, Beep, Lay Bare, Maya, Zoom Cares, SIP Drinking Water, and got-mood-ph for contributing to the show.

Catch Pride Night’s whole show streamed last night, July 24, on LoveYourself’s Facebook page.

Written by Bet Domingo / iCOMM Editorial