BACOOR CITY, Cavite— Hundreds of Bacoorians gathered here for the city’s staging on Saturday night of the “Drag Race Competition” at the Bacoor Government Center Strike Gym in observance of “World Aids Day” and the city’s drive to fight HIV/AIDS.
City Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla led city officials, stop HIV/AIDS advocates, employees and hundreds from the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) community for the “fabulous and grand finale night” of the drag race.
Revilla, through the city government and private sector organizers, has pioneered the ‘drag race’ which is not about the popular car race but rather a twist for embarking on aggressive roles and innovative strategies on staging a “drag tilt” which refers to transvestites or cross-dressing on women’s clothing to signify to move or pull something across the ground to fight the dreaded HIV/AIDS.
The city mayor urged constituents to undergo HIV test to protect them from the disease and encouraged those persons found positive with HIV to seek help from government health authorities as their cases would be kept under strict confidentiality.
“‘Wag matakot labanan ang HIV para di lumaganap sa ating pamayanan (Don’t be afraid to fight HIV to avoid its spread in our communities),” Revilla underscored as she assured them their names would not be revealed.
Organizers said the pioneering competition hopes to bring awareness and send the message across various segments of the population to address the problem.
The Saturday event drove city folks and families who had rooted for their best transgenders and transvestites contenders for the crown of the “Drag Queen” following a tight contest based on talent, personality, song interpretation, best in costume, among other criteria.
Cash prizes, plaques, title sashes and certificates of participation were at stake for the “drag queen” winners and candidates who were only allowed to use their nom de guerre, aliases or monikers, based on competition rules to protect their real identities.
City officials said the “Drag Race” to fight HIV/AIDS was conceptualized by various non-government organizations (NGOs) especially among the LGBT community to stop discrimination and bullying against the “third sex” who are regarded as “second-class citizens.” The event started in 2016 to intensify the information campaign on the disease following the Philippine Health Office (PHO) data which showed Bacoor as among the cities in Cavite with the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases.
The Cavite health office has recorded an upsurge of some 30 cases per day of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the province.