The United States Embassy in Manila celebrated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month with a reception in Cebu hosted by US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.
The occasion marked the first time the reception was held in the Visayan capital, though fittingly too since Cebu is considered a pioneer in advancing LGBT rights in the Philippines. It was the city’s local government, which passed the country’s first-ever anti-discrimination ordinance in 2012.
Over 100 guests attended the reception, including leading LGBT rights activists, government officials, local business leaders, and friends and allies of the LGBT community. In his welcome message, Ambassador Goldberg reiterated the United States’ commitment to support the Philippines in the advancement of LGBT equity.
Ambassador Goldberg stated, “We firmly believe that human rights are universal—meaning that gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights. We stand with you in seeking tolerance, respect, and the freedom to express yourselves without fear.”
Goldberg also highlighted the ongoing work of the “Being LGBT in Asia” project spearheaded by the United States Agency for International Development during the reception. This project has been instrumental in encouraging networking between LGBT people across the Asia-Pacific region, developing an understanding of the capacity of LGBT organizations to engage in policy dialogue, and spurring community mobilization.
While in Cebu, Goldberg also met with Cebu Governor Hilario Davide, the president and students of the University of San Jose Recoletos, the American Chamber of Commerce Cebu, and local HIV and LGBT groups.
The LGBT Pride Month reception in June is an annual tradition of the US Embassy Manila, in solidarity with the international community, in upholding and protecting the rights of LGBT persons around the world.