Today I join the LGBTQIA+ community, both in the Philippines and in other nations across the globe, advocates of human rights and gender equality, and each and every person that aspires for a world free from hate and discrimination, in celebrating Pride Month.

Pride Month is an opportunity for each of us to celebrate humanity’s wonderful and awe-inspiring diversity, and, more importantly, to recognize the fundamental truth that this diversity need not lead to division. That our differences in the identities we claim for ourselves, in the people we choose to love, and in the lives we choose to lead, do not inevitably set us against each other, so long as we can act with openness and respect.

Of equal significance is the strong, united assertion we make every Pride Month against discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A core principle of our human identity is respect for the dignity of others and equality of rights for all. Let this celebration also be a moment for each of us to renew our commitment to upholding these principles, both through legislation – such as the Anti-Discrimination Bill – and in our daily interactions.

Like all of you, I continue to dream of a Philippines, and a world, where all of us, regardless of differences, can act with respect, walk free from fear, and stand with pride and dignity. And every Pride Month, seeing firsthand the energy, the commitment, the courage, and the love, I am inspired in my belief: We will make it real.

Happy Pride Month to everyone.