By Steve Angeles, ABS CBN North America Bureau

June 5, 2013

Los Angeles – The gay Filipino community honored some of its heroes past and present with the first ever Kapwa awards honoring gay, lesbian, and transgender Filipinos and their achievements in the battle of gay rights.

“It’s really important to acknowledge people in our community, organizations, who we partner with and create a safe space for our members, for Filipino LGBT members,” said Rob Maullon, president Barangay Los Angeles.

Activist Gil Mangaoang, who uses his HIV positive experience as a teaching tool to reach the youth recieved the Peter Corpuz Tribute award in honor of the late Corpuz a Filipino community pioneer in Los Angeles.
“My message really is there’s so much for the LGBT community to discover and declare, this is what our issues are for today,” Corpuz said.
The awards ceremony comes as the Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision on a pair of same sex marriage issues in a few weeks.

“I think this is the conclusion that we’ve been waiting for all these years, because marriage equality is now available in 11 states, and 14 countries so hopefully we’ll have a favorable decision from the Supreme court,” Richie Selva, a lifetime achievement awardee said.

Throughout the country, June is gay pride monthbut this year’s celebrations are expected to have more meaning as the fate of same sex marriage in the country’s most populous state rests in the hands of the Supreme Court.

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