Suspension of Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘june pride month

Divided we fall

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Outrage Magazine | 18 June 2016

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Faces-of-LGBT

We love to say that the LGBT community revels in diversity – after all, our multi-colored rainbow flag is supposed to highlight that even if there are many of us who may come from different walks of life, we are still united in our struggle for the same cause (i.e. seeking equal rights for all).

Suffice it to say, I have seen the various faces that constitute the LGBT community in the Philippines.

I have met some who claim to represent (and – perhaps reflective of the elevating of the rich in a largely elitist heterosexual society – with actual pride at that) the “coño/conyo/konyo LGBT”, the elite who fail to see their privilege.

I have met some of the “karaniwan (common)”, whose main concern is to ensure day-to-day survival.

And I have met some of the “bekinals (a play with “beking kanal” or gays from the gutters; a term that may be politically incorrect, but is still used by many when referring to themselves to highlight their lowly status), those who are at the fringes of society; and whose very existence is marked by the hardships encountered not only by being LGBT, but also by their social status.

I’d have to say that, unfortunately, these segregations do not at all “blend”. That is, at least as far as my experience in the Philippines is showing, there’s no “waving of the same banner/flag” for the LGBT community.

We are too… broken; too divided.

And this could spell our fall.

Hear so many of the “coño/conyo/konyo LGBT” speak supposedly on behalf of the “entire LGBT community” while only focusing on such issues as marriage equality and passing the anti-discrimination bill in Congress (they do this in between parties or photoshoots or the likes). The mainstream media gives them the platform; and their allies in the ruling class (from politicians to celebrities) only “consult” with them on just about every LGBT-related issue (before publicly claiming they already spoke with the entire LGBT community). But they remain mum on other day-to-day issues, e.g. the policies being developed in Muslim areas in Mindanao that also affect LGBT people there, the effect among LGBT pensioners of the veto for SSS pension hike, and the failure of the Department of Health and PhilHealth to deal with the disparity of services offered in treatment hubs. Here, there seems to be more concern with faux publicity stunts that supposedly banned the expression of LGBT love, than actually finding practical solutions to deal with those who perpetuate the ills that affect us.

And then hear many of the karaniwan and bekinal LGBT people, whose stance is – because they are often ignored anyway – to just keep to themselves.

We call our divisions “diversity”, as if by doing so the cracks from within are covered up and are therefore made more appealing. In reality, there is nothing empowering about this often unspoken great divide.

We have to bridge the divide.

Because there is always room for everyone on the table.

Start getting immersed in different contexts. Ask the karaniwan and bekinal LGBT people to speak about their issues (in Congress/Senate, in the media). Stop only talking about the glamorous and start including issues of those who are unable to speak.

Because only if everyone is represented will our community be truly united.

And only then will we be truly a “community of diversity”.

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(Established in April 2007, Outrage Magazine remains the only publication exclusive for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and allied community in the Philippines.)

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Baguio Pride 2014: Celebrating diversity of the Cordillerans

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Outrage Magazine | 25 June 2014

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Can’t stop Pride.

That was the spirit behind the Baguio Pride 2014, which was held despite a heavy downpour, with members of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as well as their allies, calling for more emphasis to be placed on the anti-discrimination, as well as HIV-related efforts.

In its 8th year, the Baguio Pride celebration – with the theme “Celebrating the Heritage of Struggle. Continue the Fight for Equality. Let a Thousand Flowers Rise.” – draws inspiration from the anti-war peace protests of the sixties, which started what is now known as the “flower power movement”.

“Compared to previous Pride celebrations, this year really improved a lot, but there are still some economic issues that we continue to face, there are still a great number of LGBT people who are not able to join these kind of activities because they would rather work,” Emerson Soriano, secretariat of Baguio Pride Network, explained. “Life here in Baguio, especially for LGBTQ people, is very difficult.”

As the parade left the assembly area, the rain became stronger. But, that didn’t stop the attendees, who continued marching along Session Road.

“The Pride celebration here in Baguio is going stronger every year. LGBTQ people who live in the suburbs and in far flung areas are coming here just to attend this annual event, and they are very interested to learn what this event is about,” Clyde Pumihic, spokesperson of Baguio Pride Network, said.

Baguio City is most known for its festival of flowers, and just like the people who live and visit the summer capital of the country, they’re also very diverse – thus, making it more difficult for LGBTQ people to practice and stand up for their rights.

“The Cordilleran culture is a very macho culture. In the far flung areas, especially in the provinces of the Cordillera, LGBTQ people really find it hard to be what they are, because generally speaking, people here tend to (just) tolerate rather than accept the members of our community,” Soriano explained.

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And for the LGBTQ community in Baguio, relying on the government to help them alleviate the struggle they experience every day is (unfortunately) their last option.

“The efforts of the local government is not enough to address the needs of the LGBTQs. And this is one of the reasons why we are connecting with other organizations, not just the ones here in Baguio, so we can get all the support that we need,” Josie Tacsi of Baguio Pride Network said.

After the parade, each organization gave a solidarity message.

“There are organizations here in Baguio who can help LGBTQ people.  We want to give them a voice and we want to give them the strength so they can come out,” Pumihic said.

There were also representatives from the local government during the event.

“I think Baguio’s progress in terms of accepting the LGBT community is improving, because we allow activities like these, and we are putting money in HIV programs,” Councilor Betty Tabanda explained.

And just like other areas in the country, Baguio is one of the many places that still doesn’t have an anti-discrimination ordinance.

“We want to continue pushing the government so they can already pass an anti-discrimination ordinance here. They (government) often focus on the problems of big cities and they tend to forget the needs of the ones who live in the provinces,” Pumihic ended.

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(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)

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LGBT Pride Month—more than just about street parties

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VERA Files and Yahoo Philippines | 13 June 2013

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Festive street parties, parades and marches usually mark the annual celebration of Pride month in June by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the country and elsewhere.

“But Pride Month is not just about parties,” Michael David Tan, executive director of Bahaghari Center for LGBT Research, Education and Advocacy, stressed. “What we want to do in Bahaghari Center, or in the LGBT community in the Philippines in general, is to change [public] perception and [instead] look at the conditions and situations of the LGBTs more closely.”

In recent years, LGBT organizations have resorted mainly to plain street parties to celebrate Pride Month, which do not fully convey the real meaning and message of such celebrations in the country.

This year, Bahaghari Center and the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay Philippines) aim to promote a more thorough LGBT acceptance and education in the coming Pride celebrations.

“We want everyone to know that LGBTs are not just about being happy-go-lucky or the stereotyped ‘softies’; we are just like everyone else [entitled to equal rights],” Tan said.

The LGBT community is holding the annual Pride celebrations to let everyone know that they are asking for equal rights (not special rights) in their daily activities— in schools, offices, public establishments like malls and restaurants, and many other places.

For instance, early this year a high school teacher in a province brought her girlfriend to one of the weekend school activities. After a couple of days, the principal asked the teacher to submit her resignation, saying that the school decided to revoke her employment for fear that she might teach the students the wrong kind of lifestyle.

Last year, Dr. Andres Gumban, 63 years old from Bacolod City, was bashed and then stabbed to death 35 times by two male sex workers. The worst thing about the crime was the recording of the incident by one of the teen suspects via his mobile phone, which eventually spread online.

The police said the suspects admitted they were drug users and that they had bad experiences with gays, which eventually turned them into gay haters.

“People need to know about these things, that LGBT killings and everyday discrimination have been happening in our country,” Oscar Atadero of ProGay Philippines said. “We (LGBT organizations) have been monitoring these kinds of instances, and yes there is really indifference when it comes to the treatment of the LGBT community.”

Pride Month is usually the only time when LGBT killings, discrimination and other issues are given enough attention. And so in the month of June, LGBT organizations in the country hold awareness programs in different locations, organize small festivals, and other related activities, which aim to empower LGBTs aside from merely showcasing their talents.

“We’re planning to have more extensive programs and festivals in the coming years, so as when Pride Month comes, people from all over the country can really learn and experience how diverse the LGBT community in the Philippines is,” Tan added.

The month of June was chosen by the LGBT community as their Pride Month because of the series of violent activities against the gay community, leading to demonstrations against the police that happened in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, USA.

In the Philippines, the first Pride celebration was held on June 26, 1994, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. LGBTs, led by ProGay Philippines and the Metropolitan Community Church Manila (MCC), marched and paraded along EDSA to Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

Through the years, the celebration of Pride Month in the country has evolved from just holding marches and parades within Metro Manila or in several provinces, to a more dynamic celebration involving improved partnerships with the local government (such as Quezon City and Makati). Thus, the celebration is becoming more and more effective in advancing the equality movement.

In 2003, organizers of the Philippine Pride events decided to move the annual Pride March from June to December to mark other significant events, namely: World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), Philippine National Lesbian Day (Dec. 8) and International Human Rights Day (December 10).

 

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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