17 June 2021 – “I feel very safe in Baguio.  Even when the coronavirus-2019 pandemic started and the ensuing lockdowns, I really feel very safe here in Baguio.”      

This was the sentiment shared by LGBTQ+ advocate Francis Lopez in Monday’s flag-raising rites at City Hall in celebration of Pride Month before city officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong.      

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and more.      

Lopez said that when he transferred here as a student in 2007, he was scared of not being accepted or will be discriminated by local residents because of his sexuality.       

With a sigh of relief, he claimed that fortunately, his experience in the Summer Capital has been wonderful so far and that he felt accepted by who he is as a person.      

Lopez commended the city’s leaders for passing an ordinance that prohibits discrimination of any kind against any person in the city.    

He pointed out that members of the LGBTQ+ community, just like the rest, deserve respect and to be treated equally.     

“We, too, are human beings and are very much capable of loving and getting hurt,” Lopez stressed.      

He said that Pride Month encourages members of the LGBTQ+ community to be proud of their identity, individuality and of loving the person who they want to love.    

“We want our equality and our justice to be heard and that these be recognized and acknowledged by the public,” Lopez said.    

Pride Month is celebrated in June of every year to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in the United States and aims to achieve equal justice and opportunity for those in the LGBTQ+ community.-Gaby B. Keith