Though nonprofit organizations such as Metro Manila Pride are dedicated to providing safe spaces for queer folks in the the city, the LGBTQ+ community is still often the victim of targeted attacks. Trans women, in particular, face violence in staggering numbers. According to The Fuller Project, at least 50 transgender or nonbinary individuals have been murdered across the Philippines since 2010, and there are currently no legislations that would protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination. “Gender-based violence remains rampant in Manila,” says Villanueva. “The sense of belonging and being part of the community helps in raising awareness and support for queer people that have experienced gender discrimination and harassment.”
For the House of Mizrahi, then, the Rainbow Ball—despite its infancy—has evolved to become an important space for queer people to come together and uplift each other (they’ve also hosted the Labyrinth Ball in 2016 and the Eclipse Ball in 2018). “It is important that the community sees and feels that they are accepted and that they are valued,” says Mother Xyza. “The Rainbow Ball is a venue for that. It is important that people outside the community see the potential and the work we put into it in order to be understood.” Mother Xyza adds that this is the way to create a larger sense of compassion and understanding within the city. “We have to be consistent in what we are doing, and to continuously provide support and opportunities to the younger generation—to make sure the kids are doing their best to break the boundaries, to make noise, and to be the best versions of themselves.”
Dips, duckwalks, and drops were on full display at this year’s Rainbow Ball in Manila, Philippines. Now in its second year running, the Pride Month event brought local and international ballroom performers alike to the Ayala Malls Circuit on June 11. Hosted by House of Mizrahi, a well-known voguing house in the Philippines, the ball encouraged the crowd to put forward their best dance moves and to celebrate inclusivity. “We were not really expecting too much, we thought it would be just a small crowd,” says Mother Xyza, the house’s founder and main organizer, of the event. “But it was amazing to see lots of people appreciating and getting to know more about the community and the culture.”
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