Manila,Philippines- Austria stands together with the Philippines against gender-based discrimination and violence at its first-ever MNLxVIE Equality Fest on June 25, a five-day campaign championing the LGBTQIA+ community through creative activism.“On this 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Austria continues to take a strong stance against isolation, hatred and discrimination, while honoring self-affirmation, dignity and equality: We are more than our borders. We are more than the languages we speak and the color of our skin. We are more than our gender and who we want to love. This was the mission statement and message that EuroPride 2019 hosted in Vienna this Pride Month successfully delivered. Today, we look back on a great deal of progress, but all along in the sober realization that there is still a way to go. And our ambitions are not restricted to just one country: because LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights – and as Austria we will always stand up for them all over the world”, says Austrian Ambassador Bita Rasoulian. Under the theme “LGBTQIA+ Greatness in Leadership and the Arts” the Austrian Embassy and its partners Frontrow Philippines and Love Is All We Need bring together Austrian and Filipino equality advocates from the disciplines of photography, visual arts, fashion and makeup, performance art, film and music in a celebration of diversity, unity and equality.

On June 25 the festival opens with a launch party at Tarzeer Pictures, Makati, by Amb. Rasoulian and equal rights advocates RS Francisco and Queenmelo Esguerra. The launch is accompanied by the photo exhibit “RECORD, RECORD” on Austria’s LGBTQIA+ history and excerpts from the book “Anong Pangalan Mo Sa Gabi?” by UP Babaylan, Babaylanes, Inc. and UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, as well as works by renowned and upcoming local LGBTQIA+ photographers. Flying in straight from Austria to join the festival are Austrian intersex rights activist Noah Rieser, filmmaker Gregor Schmidinger and drag queen Tamara Mascara.

Drag Queen Tamara Mascara.

On June 26, the Intramuros Administration unveils a Pride-themed public mural.
Situated across Museo de Intramuros, the art work is a collaborative project of the Austrian Embassy, Austrian artist Katharina Kapsamer and Salzburg Global Forum fellow Ralph Eya.

Filmmaker Gregor Schmidinger

On June 26, drag queen Tamara Mascara, heading cosmetics giant MAC’s Viva Glam online campaign for Pride month in the Philippines, performs at Tomatito, BGC with Filipino queens MC Black, Precious Paula Nicole and Queen Viña! Don’t miss Tamara on June 28 as DJane at at XX:XX’s Elephant Night closing party.

Image result for Katharina Kapsamer
Austrian Artist Katharina Kapsamer

On June 27, intersex activist Noah Rieser leads the panel “LGBTQIA+ Greatness in Leadership: An Equality Talk” on Austria’s recent legislation allowing for a third gender option in legal documents. Joining him at the De la Salle-College of Saint Benilde are Myla Escultura of Intersex Philippines, 2018 bar topnotcher Sean Borja and Filipino artist fellows of the Salzburg Global Forum Reymart Cerin, Mark Salvatus, Andrei Venal and filmmaker Cha Roque.

On June 27, Austrian filmmaker Gregor Schmidinger in cooperation with the FDCP premieres his film “NEVRLAND” in Manila at the Cinematheque Centre. On June 28, Schmidinger and renowned Filipino filmmakers Joel Lamangan, Moira Lang and Samantha Lee discuss LGBTQIA+ films in a Q&A at the UP Film Institute. On June 29, the  MNL-VIE Equality Fest culminates with the Metro Manila Pride March, where Amb Rasoulian and all festival participants and partners march together with The Red Whistle campaign #FuelTheLove and #ExtinguishTheStigma.

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