HERMOSA, Bataan — Members of the LGBTQ community on Sunday night held a parade around the población here but in Santakrusan fashion in celebration of Pride Month and to show the municipality’s full support to the group.
The participants composed of 30 LGBTQ members from 23 barangays in Hermosa wore fabulous gowns, just like in common Santacruzan festivities.
Unlike the original though, where the sagala and Reyna Elena go on procession, the participants in Hermosa were first presented one by one at the town plaza filled with many onlookers.
Rea Gantang, 53, the oldest among the sagalas, said he was very happy in joining the Santacruzan and that with his age he felt like a child. He was very thankful to Hermosa Mayor Jopet Inton.
“Magaling ang mayor namin dahil sinusuportahan niya LGBTQ. Nagkaroon kami ng katungkulan at obligasyon sa munisipyo bilang kasapi ng Assamblea Delas Hermosas Personas (Assembly of Beautiful People) na tumutulong sa tourism,” he said.
The municipal tourism has formed the assembly composed of members of the LGBTQ to show that Hermosa is LGBTQ- friendly.
When asked for his message to non-members of LGBTQ, Gantang said “kahit kami nasa ikatlong lahi, sana ituring kami na normal na mga tao para igalang din kami bilang normal at hindi bilang LGBTQ.”
The Reyna Elena said he was very proud being a member of LGBTQ in Hermosa and was grateful to Mayor Inton for fully supporting their group. He said he was happy that his dream of becoming an Elena was fulfilled.
“Bilang isang LGBTQ, magpakatotoo sila at maging masaya at higit sa lahat iuna sa ating buhay ang ating Panginoong Maykapal,” the Reyna Elena advised other members of LGBTQ.
Sangguniang bayan member Luz Jorge Samaniego said that the LGBTQ activity was part of the program under the local tourism body led by Anne Inton, wife of the mayor, that coincided with the 124th Independence Day celebration.
“Gagawin ito ng tuloy-tuloy dahil sa pakikiisa ng mga LGBTQ na tumutulong sa mga proyekto ng munisipyo. Si mayor naman ay 100% ang suporta sa LGBTQ,” Samaniego said.
Municipal tourism head Clement Percival Penaflor said there are many members of the LGBTQ community in Bataan.
“It so happens na niyakap talaga ni Mayor Inton ang LGBTQ kaya maipagmamalaki namin ang Hermosa bilang friendly municipality ng LGBTQ kung pag-uusapan ang lalawigan ng Bataan. Ang aktibidad ngayon ang pagpapatunay na ang bayan ng Hermosa ay sumusuporta sa Assamblea Delas Hermosas Personas,” Penaflor said.