Pardz Night has made a historic milestone in the Filipino-Canadian community as Canada’s longest Filipino LGBTQ+ social and network event. (Facebook)
Pardz Night 25th Anniversary
Toronto, ON – The Filipino LGBTQ+ community, supporters, and allies in the Greater Toronto Area gathered at Pardz Night’s 25th Anniversary on December 21, 2019 at BiM, a Filipino Restaurant, Karaoke and Sports Bar located at 361 Wilson Ave, in Toronto’s famously known as “Filipino District”.
2019 marks not only the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riot, which is also known as the Stonewall Uprising or the Stonewall Rebellion, Pardz Night’s 25th Anniversary Celebration also became a jam-packed Filipino LGBTQ+ event this year, attended by the community of many ages and different generations. Filled with dancing, music by featured DJs and emcees, and game contests, this networking event for and by the Filipino LGBTQ+s has been one of the most anticipated hangouts and get-togethers in the Filipino community as non-LGBTQ+ are also invited to attend.
Celebrants at Pardz Night. (Facebook)
Regie Sincero, who has been involved with Pardz Night for 21 years, emceed this event in the Filipino-Canadian community. Sincero also shared how Pardz Night started, “It started on a house basement of Marinel Lozano’s Aunt in Vaughan, ON then it grows until they moved to a club called Mabuhay at Bathurst.”
Although not officially a registered organization, Pardz Night has made a historic milestone in the Filipino-Canadian community as Canada’s longest Filipino LGBTQ+ social and network event. Surprisingly, Pardz Night do not have Board Members; it runs via the motivation and initiatives of the Filipino LGBTQ+ members themselves, such as Marinel Lozano, Louiela Morada and Regie Sincero.
“It’s not a smooth ride but still shows up when there’s a Pardz & Mardz Night,” Sincero said.
There are also other Filipino-Canadian LGBTQ+ groups who attended the Pardz Night 25th Anniversary Celebration. Members of Makulay atbp, a Filipinx LGBTQ+ social group based in Toronto, came to celebrate too. Makulay atbp is derived from the Tagalog dialect, which means “colorful” for Makulay and “many more” for atbp.
Mildred German (left) with Regie Sincero. (Provided)
“The intention of Makulay is to create a space wherein LGBTQ+ Filipinx folks can connect with one another,” according to Gabi Abis, a graduate of Bachelor of Social Work at Ryerson University and a Makulay atbp. member. “We want to build a sense of community while honouring our roots as well,” Abis added.
“We got invited to join the Pardz holiday party and we were so excited to join,” Abis shared. “Pardz has been organising events for the Filipinx LGBTQ+ community for 25 years, from performances, fashion shows, basketball tournaments, and other gatherings where folks can connect with one another.”
The Filipino LGBTQ+ community continues to tackle the barriers affecting them and their communities in and outside the Philippines. In the Philippines, Filipino LGBTQ+ rights and welfare are violated openly even in the Legislative level of government. In 2016 Senator Manny Pacquaio made a public homophobic remark calling gay people ‘worse than animals’. Although there was a massive outrage on Sen. Pacquaio’s open homophobia, he unfortunately remains in politics still.
In 2018, Filipino-American Director JP Raval, released a documentary film “Call Her Ganda” which talks about the 2014 death of a Filipina transgender named Jennifer Laude who died tragically in the hands of U.S. Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton. Laude’s case exposes the post-colonial U.S. throny, abusive, and toxic relationship with the Philippines. Pemberton, who was found guilty of murder, remains in US custody and not under the Philippine judiciary system.
Earlier this year, in February 2019, the film “My Name Was January” premiered in Canada. This indie-documentary film is about the life and death of January Marie Lapuz, a Filipino trans woman who was murdered in her own home in New Westminster, BC in 2012. This film aims to highlight the issues and challenges affecting trans women of colour. Produced by Alex Sangha of Sher Vancouver, Lapuz also was the Social Coordinator of Sher Vancouver before her tragic death.
When asked, “what do you look forward to re: Filipinx LGBTQ+ in this diaspora?, Abis, 27, answered, “Sometimes the community can still be so divided and only a good portion of Filipinx LGBTQ+ are more often heard or seen. I look forward to first gen, second gen, third gen Filipinx LGBTQ+ connecting more to one another.”