At the Rainbow Ball, some walked front to back in bold attire, while others danced and twirled their props, like LED-lit wings Thor Viking ancestors shirt . “My favorite moments [from the Rainbow Ball] were hearing people chanting and supporting their favorite competitor, and seeing international voguers walking different categories,” says Mother Xyza, adding that they had participants from the UK, Thailand, Malaysia, and more. As the look is always critical at a vogue ball, the ensembles were over-the-top tie-dye bodysuits, neon crop tops, and rainbow-striped skirts. “[I also loved] the smiles on everyone’s faces appreciating those are competing and of course the loud ‘yaaaaass’ and ‘weeeerk’ I heard from all over the place.
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”These events are significant to offer in Manila, given the LGTBQ+ community still faces prejudice in the Philippines Thor Viking ancestors shirt . Currently, the country’s Supreme Court still has a ban on gay marriage, and there is little to no legislation that protects LGBTQ+ people from discrimination, especially queer youth. “The Rainbow Ball is not just a competition. It’s a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community to be free—free of judgment, free of limitations, free of being told what to do,” Mother Xyza says. “It is where the community can be as creative as possible, where they can truly be who they are, and where they can find their chosen family and feel loved.” .Though nonprofit organizations such as Metro Manila Pride are dedicated to providing safe spaces for queer folks in the city, the LGBTQ+ community is 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 is currently no legislation 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 raise awareness and support for queer people who have experienced gender discrimination and harassment.”
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