5 Iconic LGBTQ Pinoys That Inspired The Philippines and The World

Did you know that Pride Month is held every June to commemorate the Stonewall riots? According to BBC News,  they were significant protests in the United States in 1969 that impacted LGBTQ rights for many individuals in America and throughout the world. Similarly, this is the same time for Filipinos to celebrate the life of the LGBTQ community in the Philippines. Rainbow flags are raised high and crowds go to parades. This is also the time when people show off their best Pride garb, as well as their ingenuity in gender representation.


As we celebrate Pride Month, let’s take a look back at how our LGBTQ icons contributed to society. The colorful community raised its flag long ago to bring honor and respect to our country. Here are five prominent LGBTQ Pinoys who inspired the Philippines and the rest of the globe.


#1: Ricky Reyes

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Ricky Reyes is the first person on the list among the LGBTQ community who inspired others this Pride Month. He is often known as Mother Ricky, a hairdresser, philanthropist, and businessman. He is the proprietor of the Ricky Reyes salon chain. As stated by PhilStar, he worked as a floor sweeper in a beauty shop before becoming a hairdresser. He was able to launch his first branch in 1973. Soon after, his company expanded rapidly throughout the Philippines. 


In the LGBTQ community, Ricky Reyes is a well-deserved successful entrepreneur. But he is an even greater philanthropist. He founded the Ricky Reyes Learning Institute, which provides free instruction to aspiring beauticians. He also established CHILD Haus which provides temporary free accommodation, transportation, and medicine to ailing children undergoing treatment. Not to mention, he has established 10 livelihood centers in impoverished sections of the country.


#2: Jake Zyrus 

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Jake Zyrus is the second person on the list of the LGBTQ community who has inspired others this Pride Month. He is a Filipino singer and television personality. In an interview conducted by People Magazine, he began competing in local singing contests at the age of seven. He and his family did not have much money, and he wanted to contribute to their finances. He ultimately secured a seat on Little Big Star in 2005 after competing in over a hundred events. His projects and renown continued to soar after that.


After appearing on Philippine television, Jake sang on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2007. After a year, he appeared on various foreign television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show. He subsequently began touring with David Foster, Andrea Bocelli, and Celine Dion. Later in 2010, he joined the cast of the television series Glee as Sunshine Corazon. Not to mention, Pyramid, one of his tracks, has now reached No. 2 on Billboard’s dance charts. The song is still popular among the LGBTQ community today. 


#3: Rajo Laurel

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The third person on the list of the LGBTQ community who inspired others is Rajo Laurel. Rajo, a multi-award-winning fashion designer and Project Runway Philippines judge, is a local fashion icon. His youthful interest in fashion developed further when he attended the New York Fashion Institute of Technology and Central Saint Martins in London. At the age of 21 years old, he made his debut in the Philippine fashion world by winning the ASEAN Young Designers Competition. His collections include ready-to-wear, haute couture, accessories, women’s luggage, and pretty much everything in between.


Rajo is now a favorite among the country’s finest socialites and local celebrities, like Anne Curtis and Sarah Geronimo. Rajo is not only busy adorning his customers with his stunning creations. But he is also working to make the world a more beautiful place, especially for the LGBTQ community. He works as a designer and business consultant for Rags2Riches, a humanitarian venture that attempts to give job opportunities for experienced Payatas rug weavers. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Bantay Bata and has contributed to several of their projects.


#4: Vice Ganda

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Vice Ganda is the fourth person on the list of LGBTQ communities that is influential. He is a comedian, talk show host, television host, actor, entrepreneur, writer, fashion guru, and musician. According to The Famous People, he began his professional career as a vocalist. Because of his theatrical abilities, he was chosen to perform as a standup in ‘The Library’ and ‘Punchline,’ two well-known comedy clubs/bars in Manila. For many years, he achieved to work with Manila’s famed singer-comedians, John Lapus, Pooh, and Chokoleit, refining his satirical skills. His success as a slapstick comedian cleared the path for his breakthrough into the realm of television. 


Now, Vice Ganda is a regular host on ABS-CBN’s noontime variety show It’s Showtime. In agreement with Google Arts & Culture, he has starred in multiple films (eight of which are regarded to be the highest-grossing in Philippine cinema). Not to mention, he employs observational comedy, situational irony, and sarcasm in his stand-up acts to discuss Filipino culture and human sexuality. He is also a huge brand promoter for big brands such as Globe Telecom. In fact, he is the company’s first openly gay endorser for the LGBTQ community.


#5: Monique Wilson

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Monique Wilson is the fifth person on the list of LGBTQ people who have influenced others. She is a veteran theatrical and cinema actress. She began acting professionally at the age of nine, as claimed by One Billion Rising, a website founded by her that supports mass action to abolish violence against women. At the age of 18, she played the lead in the original London West End production of Miss Saigon. At 24, she returned to the Philippines and created the New Voice Company (NVC) theater group. Her goal was to awaken, inspire, and transform Philippine audiences through socially controversial and political theatrical work.


One Billion Rising said that Monique’s theater company has been producing The Vagina Monologues and V-Day events in the Philippines since 2000. With performances at the Philippine Senate and Congress, her projects helped modify the laws on sex trafficking and domestic abuse. She has garnered numerous honors for her work as an actress, as well as for her contributions to theater and activism. She also conducts theater empowerment workshops for migrant workers in London and Hong Kong, as well as children of migrants in the Philippines.


The LGBTQ community has existed for as long as humanity has. Even though others discriminate against them and pretend they don’t exist, they shaped history and made significant contributions to society. This Pride Month, make sure to appreciate your LGBTQ friends. Their skills and talents help shape the world into a better place. 

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