Suspension of Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘lgbt awareness

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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QC LGBT Pride celebration: More than just a parade

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VERA Files | 13 December 2015

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More than the parade, more than the march and festival, this celebration is the delivery of actual programs and policies for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people,” Percival Cendaña, commissioner of the National Youth Commission, said of the recent LGBT Pride celebration in Quezon City.

The celebration took special significance held after the court ruling on Jennifer Laude’s case, which found US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton guilty of homicide.

Though many LGBT advocates and groups said that “murder” should have been the rightful verdict, they still see it as something that they can learn from. “Now, more than ever, especially because of the decision on Laude’s case, is the right time for the [LGBT] community to get together and reflect on what happened to Jennifer, and to also inspire the next course of action,” Cendaña explained.

Cendaña also said that the event is the highlight of all the achievements throughout the year, specifically the passage of the Gender-Fair Ordinance in Quezon City.

An ordinance providing for a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression signed November last year, is the first of its kind in the Philippines.

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The ordinance states: “It is hereby declared a policy of Quezon City to actively work for the elimination of all forms of discrimination that offend the equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution, and other existing laws and to value the dignity of every person, guarantee full respect for human rights, and give the highest priority to measures that protect and enhance the rights of all people.”

According to Councilor Lena Marie “Mayen” Juico (First District), author of the Gender-Fair Ordinance, “they (Quezon City officials) have tackled all areas where the LGBT community may experience discrimination.”

“The Quezon City government expanded the ordinance to be the most comprehensive so far. In fact, it is more comprehensive than the anti-discrimination bill that is still pending in Congress right now,” Cendaña added.

There were more young participants in this year’s Pride celebration, which was a good indication that LGBTs are slowly becoming aware of their rights, observed Juico.

“LGBTs in Quezon City [should] take the time to find out what their rights are. The city already has an ordinance that encompasses all areas where they can experience discrimination. It is all a matter of utilizing it and making sure that it is implemented,” she explained.

Juico also said that it is the desire of Mayor Herbert Bautista to see gay union or gay marriage happen in Quezon City. Adding, Bautista also knows, “it can only happen if gay marriage becomes a national policy.”

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(Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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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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Fiona Solis: The transgender cometh

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Outrage Magazine | 29 March 2014

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She was recently named as one of the hottest transgenders in the world, along with Carmen Carrera, a RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni. She was also recognized as one of the famous transgenders in the world. She is a fashion model and a budding actress living in Thailand.

What may not be as known about her is that she ran away from home at a very young age to do what she wanted to do: that is, to make a name for herself. And several years later, she succeeded.

Meet Fiona Solis, a transwoman who originated from Ormoc City.

Fiona-SolisART IN PROGRESS

Fiona calls herself as an “ongoing piece of performance art”.  And this, with the countless things that happened in her life, only affirms who Fiona really is.

She grew up living with her grandmother, though she later moved in with her father. But because of the bitter relationship she had with her stepmother, Fiona decided to leave and start a new life on her own.

When Fiona was 15 years old, she was allegedly raped by three men. She recalled being asked to dance in front of them, and then she was forced to play with a 1.5 Coca Cola bottle in her ass, and then they abused her with guns pointed at her. But while it was a very traumatic moment in her life, Fiona used that situation to fight and become a better version of herself.

She worked in salons so she can earn a living. Eventually, Fiona discovered the world of beauty pageants.

“I was fascinated with the beautiful display of those women on stage. They are like gorgeous peacocks. And I identified very deeply with all the color and glitter,” Fiona said.  “It might also have been a reaction to my mother dying when I was three months old. Perhaps I was trying to bring the femininity back into my life.”

Fiona first joined a beauty pageant when she was 10 years old.  Luckily, she won the title.

It was in joining beauty contests that she mastered the art of beauty and used it to her advantage.

“Most of the transsexuals who were joining beauty pageants wanted their skin to be whiter, but I was not like them. I wanted to be who I am really. I’m proud of my skin,” Fiona said.

One of her achievements was when she joined Queen of Cebu, a prestigious transgender beauty pageant in the southern part of the country. She placed as one of the 21 finalists, chosen from over 100 participants. Even if she didn’t win the title, Fiona considers it as “the culmination of the display part of my life.  It was a chance to be the ultimate peacock.”

For Fiona, “it was also a way to re-emphasize to the world how important it is to stand up and be yourself in the world.”

Aside from joining beauty pageants, Fiona is also active in the world of fashion. She has modeled for several brands internationally – in print, in TV, and in the runways. Some of her notable modeling appearances on TV include: a luxury paper bag in Italy, handbags, online poker games, and cosmetic surgery. She also did several runway fashion shows for some local and foreign designers.

“There have been many turning points in my career, and I hope there will be more in the future,” Fiona said. “I was very lucky to have a very supportive parent, my father.”

Although she already achieved and reached many successes in her life, Fiona still feels that “I have one more mountain to climb, which is the international pageant held in Pattaya, Thailand, the Queen International. After that, I hope to focus more on fashion and acting.”Meet-Fiona-Solis

CONFRONTING DISCRIMINATION

She also noted that “I did grow up, we all have, in an environment where there is constant discrimination.” But instead of succumbing to the repression she encountered, she used it to reinforce her determination to stay in her course and to continue improving her craft.

“There have also been instances in government offices where I get odd looks from the officials every time they compare my appearance to the ones in my documents,” Fiona said, adding that for transgender people, “(we) have to go the extra mile just to be allowed to travel.”

Today, she lives and works in Thailand, juggling several jobs. She is a teacher and a tour guide, while she also waits for the agents to call her.

She said that the decision to live in another country was an “effort to escape the mild oppressive atmosphere of the Philippines when it comes to LGBTQ people.”

Fiona was also featured in several documentaries, and in radio and TV programs, where she discussed what it’s like to be a transgender. Here, she always narrates her experiences during her humble beginnings in Ormoc and Cebu, describing the ordeals of being a transgender.

She also posed for several photographers, depicting the “reality” of transgenders. One of which was by renowned photographer Ingetje Tadros, where Fiona was shot in full frontal, showing her augmented breasts and flaccid penis.

“The (photography) project was a matter of being proud of who I am, all of me. I am a unique individual, head to toe. I am not ashamed of it. I am promoting LGBTQ awareness in my own little way, through my personal example,” Fiona said.

In a world where discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression is still pervasive, the likes of Fiona may be considered as unsung movers that do not always get recognition. But while she may be dismissed by many as just another pageant queen or a transgender model who is making her way in the world stage, in her journey, Fiona helps change perspectives by never forgetting who she really is. “I want to keep exploring this idea of personal creation and helping others do the same,” she said.

When asked what Filipino transgendersshould do in times of repression, Fiona said: “We cannot let a set of outdated ideas on gender and roles dictate who we are, how we act, and what we do. Have personal integrity; love yourself first, not just the image in the mirror, but the person inside you as well. It is important for everyone to live a life that they can be proud of – that is the mark of success.”

For additional information about Fiona Solis, visit www.fionasolis.net or her Facebook page.

 

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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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A moment for the sunset beauty queens

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Outrage Magazine | 19 March 2014

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beauty-queensThe event was not grand, and there weren’t even many in attendance.  But the happiness and the sense of belonging felt by those who participated was immeasurable. It was, after all, an afternoon devoted to the lolas of The Home for the Golden Gays.

It was the Miss Golden Gay 2014, held at the Andres Bonifacio High School in Pasay City by Trippers Philippines.

It was a beauty pageant like no other. Arguably, many may see it as akin to a slapstick show. But really, it is more than just the aging beauty and the funny punchlines.  It was to showcase the elderly members of the LGBTQ community.

Sixteen lolas participated, each of them had a unique personality and a story to tell. And though they seemed to only flamboyantly parade their wares in front of the audience, the celebratory atmosphere wasn’t lost on them.

all-beautifulAlam naman namin na temporary lang itong kasiyahan na ito, kaya we are just living the moment. Dahil pagkatapos nito, babalik na naman kami sa kanya-kanya naming buhay, sa paghahanap ng pagkukuhanan ng sapat na pera para panggastos namin sa araw-araw. Pero kahit na ganito kami, masaya kami. Masaya kami dahil kasama namin ang isa’t-isa kahit na magkakalayo na kami,” Sophia Lorraine, an 85-year-old Golden Gays member, said with a laugh.

GATHERING OF LOLAS

“This is the second year we’ve been doing a project for the lolas of The Home for the Golden Gays,” Joseph Antony Zingapan, secretary general of Globe III cluster of Trippers Philippines, said. ”We want to give something back to the community, and with this kind of effort, it only proves that clans, like Trippers Philippines, can have functions beyond merely forming camaraderie.”

The nine-year-old all-gay organization has been making various efforts that, in their own way, reach members of the LGBTQ community who are in need of assistance. After registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) three years ago, their efforts doubled.  The gathering of the lolas is proof of this.

Particularly, Trippers Philippines’ effort for the lolas was designed while bearing in mind UNDP’s Millennium Development Goals; one of the eight goals is to focus on the elderly.

“We have an advocacy for the elderly within our community,” Romrico Salgada Luga, national president of Trippers Philippines, said, adding that “we might as well concentrate on them.”

HOME FOR THE ELDERLY

The Home for the Golden Gays officially closed its doors when its founder, Justo Justo (known to many as JJ), passed away last 2012. All its members were asked to vacate the house by the family of JJ, supposedly telling the former residents that “now that Justo is already gone, we’re closing our doors to you.”

Simula noong nawalan kami ng tirahan, nagkahiwa-hiwalay na kami. May mga iba sa amin na sa kalye na lang natutulog. ‘Yung iba naman, umuwi sa mga distant relatives nila. Nagkakasamasama lang kami kapag may mga ganitong activities. Kaya we’re very thankful for this wonderful opportunity for us para magkasama-sama uliand of course, napakalaking tulong para sa amin yung maibibigay nila,” Ramon Busa, president of The Home for the Golden Gays, said.

PERFORMANCE OF THEIR LIVES

The beauty pageant lasted for almost two hours. Some of the lolas continued to perform even after the actual pageant, as everyone waited for the judges to tally the scores. Some of them sang familiar songs from the distant past, and some of them narrated stories, delivered with witty punchlines. At that point, it became unlike other beauty pageants where there is pressure among the contestants to win for winning’s sake.

It became an afternoon for the lolas; an afternoon that, even if brief, eyed to make them smile.

Hilig ko talaga kahit noong bata pa ako na magsuot ng magagandang damit, mga gowns, ang rumampa sa entablado. At my age, kaya ko pa rin yan. Lahat kami sa Golden Gays,nakakaramadam kami ng panandaliang saya at nakakapagpasaya kami kapag nasabeauty pageants o kapag nasa outreach at ibang activities kami. Pakiramadam namin, kapamilya namin ‘yung mga nanonood at pumapalakpak sa amin. Napupunan nila yung kulang at nawala na sa amin,” 60-year-old Rica Ramasamy said, tearing up.

Five lolas eventually won in the pageant. And as the members of Trippers Philippines crowned the winners, the lolas were happy, some of them even teary-eyed.

And so, even for a while, spotlight was shone on the almost forgotten members of the LGBTQ community.

To donate or extend help to The Home for the Golden Gays, visit http://homeforthegoldengays.org/ or email homeforthegoldengays@gmail.com.

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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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Once there were dancing goddesses

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Outrage Magazine | 06 March 2014

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They are a group of eight gay men in their early twenties, living in a humble barangay in Las Piñas. At first glance, there’s nothing extraordinary about them. They’re not in a clan or a sorority, but they define their sisterhood like the ones you see in families. And while half of them are unemployed, they don’t fret about it. Although they don’t have regular 9-5 jobs, all eight of them are always busy practicing their complex routines, memorizing steps and mastering how graceful every move should be.

They call themselves the “Goddess of Death”.

But the people in their barangay call them the “dancing goddesses.”

“Ang pagsasayaw namin nabuo dahil sa tropa. Nag-decide kami na gumawa ng grupo. Tinawag ko ’yung grupo na Goddess of Death kasi may ka-grupo kami na ang nickname ay ‘Dyosatapos dinagdagan namin ng ‘of Death’ dahil para sa aminhangang kaya naminhangang mamatay kami sa kakasayawbasta maprove namin na kahit bading kami may kaya kaming patunayan, gagawin namin,” said Erich Arcilla, founder and leader of Goddess of Death dance group.

Their group is no different from the ones we see in fiestas and in barangay events.  But what makes them standout is the way the members present themselves on-stage. “Bading ang mga itsura namin, malalambot; pero kapag sumayaw kami, lalaki ang mga steps namin,” Erich explained.

Instead of doing the expected effeminate type of dancing, they focused and mastered the art of hip-hop dance, and every time they perform at any event, the audiences are left with amazement and shock.

The goddesses are not as privileged as other dance groups – they don’t have a decent place to practice, and most of the time they can be seen rehearsing in the streets.  At times, they don’t even get to finish their rehearsals because the barangay tanods or the homeowners ask them to leave the area.

Isa sa mahirap para sa amin ay ‘yung wala kaming mahanap na lugar para makapag-practice. Hindi naman namin afford mag-rent ng studio. Minsan, kapag nasa kalagitnaan kami ng pagsasayaw, pinapaalis kami kasi daw maingay kami at hindi daw pwede doon,” Erich said.

But this didn’t stop them from doing what they love doing. They still train every day, from afternoon to evening.

“Noong unang contest na sinalihan namin, hindi kami nanalo, pero maganda ang feedbacknila. Kapag tinuloy daw namin, may patutunguhan kami, kaya sinubukan namin ituloy-tuloy,” Erich said.

There was a time when they needed to focus on their dancing, so the members who had regular jobs had to leave their jobs and devote their entire time in the group. Kahit mas malaki and kita sa parlor, aanuhin mo namanyun kung wala naman ‘yung mga kaibigan mo, at ‘yung totoong kaligayahan mo?” Johnrey Articula, one of the Goddesses, said.

All their hard work paid off. They won almost all the contests that they joined. They even managed to dance for several rounds in the TV show “It’s Showtime”.

“Ang pagsasayaw namin ay para mabago ang image namin na hindi lang kami basta mga bakla na tumatambay lang sa kalye, na baklang salot sa lipunan. May mga talento kami na binigay ng Poong Maykapal, na shino-showcase namin sa kanila,” Erich proudly said. “Masaya din ang feeling, kasi kapag natapos mo ‘yung sayaw, parang mission accomplished. Tapos nakapagbigay pa kami ng saya sa tao. Ang sarap sarap sa pakiramdam kapag pinapalakpakan ka.

At times, winning becomes a must. “Importante na manalo kami kasi kapag natalo kami, nandiyan ‘yung kukutyain kami, sasabihin nila, sumali pa kayo eh matatalo din naman kayo.GOD3

But their biggest accomplishment (yet) was when the “World Supremacy Battlegrounds”, a dance contest in Australia, chose their group to represent the Philippines last December 2013. The Goddess of Death was the first all-gay group chosen to represent the country in such a prestigious international dance contest. Being chosen was in itself an honor, but being able to go could have been a historic event for the local LGBTQ community.

However, “sobrang laki ng pera na gagastusin para makapunta sa Australia. Kailangan namin ng almost half a million para sa processing ng visa naminsa pocket money, at sa iba pang gagastusin doon,” Erich explained.  “Hindi kami mga anak mayaman, mga mahihirap lang kami. Kapag nananalo kami, ‘yung premyong nakukuha namin, malaki na ang natutulong sa amin.

They joined all the contests that came along their way. They borrowed money from everyone they knew. But when they finally reached the needed amount, it was already too late. They were not able to fly to Australia.

Nanghihinayang kami, pero wala kaming magagawa, kasi wala naman kaming pera. Sinubukan namin humingi ng tulong sa barangay pero deadma lang sila. Kahit gusto kaming suportahan ng pamilya namin, hindi naman enough,” Erich said.

They dwell on the idea that if only the government has existing programs to support these kinds of endeavors, the Goddesses could have joined the World Supremacy Battlegrounds, becoming the first all-gay dance group to represent the country in an international event. The sad truth, however, is that the betterment and welfare of the LGBTQs in the country remain not prioritized by the government.

Today, the goddesses still continue to join all the dance contests that come along their way. Some of the members teach dance lessons in schools to have extra income.  They are also saving up so they can join another international contest in October, and they are hoping that this time, they will have enough money.

Hindi lang siya grupo ng pagsasayaw, pamilya na ang tingin namin sa isa’t-isa. Magsasayaw kami hangga’t kaya namin sumayaw, hangga’t hindi pa sumusuko ang katawan namin,” Erich said.

Once there were dancing goddesses, they continue to make a mark on their barangay, eventually making a mark on the LGBTQ community. Although the available resources are scarce, it doesn’t stop them from reaching their dreams. Their dancing is not only for themselves or solely for the money, it is also changing and uplifting the image of the LGBTQ community.

For additional information or for those who want to donate to the Goddess of Death, email crucialchicc.erich@yahoo.com.ph or visit the group’s Facebook page.

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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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The questions LGBT people have to face…

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Outrage Magazine | 09 February 2014

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Saan ka nag-C-CR (Which toilet do you use)?”

Hindi ka ba natatakot magka-AIDS (You’re not worried you’d get infected with HIV and get AIDS)?”

These are some of the commonly asked questions to members of the LGBT community. We hear it everyday and everywhere. Sometimes, the person asking this kind of question is just ill-educated about the LGBT community; but more often than not, people who fancy asking these kind questions are just poking fun at the members of the community.

In an effort to alleviate unnecessary discrimination and ridiculing of the LGBT people, while also promoting gender awareness, the University of the Philippines’ Center for Women’s Studies partnered with the university’s premier LGBT organization, Babaylan, for “Anong pangalan mo sa gabi? At iba pang tanong sa mga LGBT”, a photo book project.

This was inspired by L. Weingarten’s “A Series of Questions”, a collection of transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and gender-variant people photos, where the subjects hold signs depicting questions that each was asked personally. Anong pangalan mo sa gabi? At iba pang tanong sa mga LGBT followed the same idea, wherein members of Babaylan held placards, displaying the common questions asked to LGBT people.

The photo book is – in not so many words – an attempt to address the “discriminatory” questions through the answers of the subjects carrying the placard.

“With this project, people can understand all the struggle and discrimination the LGBT community has been experiencing. We’ve gathered the common questions that are constantly asked to LGBT people, and with the help of the members of Babaylanthey were answered. Some of the answers were serious and others were wittingly funny, but regardless of how they answered them, it gives the reader a glimpse of what it’s like to be LGBT in the Philippines,” UP Center for Women’s Studies director Sylvia Claudio said.

The selected questions varied from education and employment concerns, family matters, health issues, social constructs, and well being of a person.

For instance: “Hindi ka ba natatakot mapunta sa impyerno (Are you not afraid you’d go to hell)?” was asked, and the response of the Babaylan member was: “Ang alam ko masasamang tao ang napupunta sa impyerno. Hindi ako masama, bakla ako. Hindi masamang maging bakla. Pero Father, may impyerno nga ba? (As far as I know, only evil people go to hell. I am not evil, I am gay. There is nothing evil about being gay. Besides, is there really hell?)”

There were also questions on relationships, e.g.: “May seryosong karelasyon ba ang tulad mo (Will someone like you find a serious relationship)?” This was answered with: “Lahat naman dapat ng mga relasyon seryoso. Sa pamilya, sa mga kaibigan, at higit sa lahat, sa sarili. Sa jowa? Hindi pa naman ako na-ICU, pero lahat yun seryoso. (All relationships should be considered serious. Relationships with family, friends, and most importantly, with oneself. As for having a partner? I have yet to be rushed to the ICU, but I know all relationships should be considered ‘serious’).”

Yet another commonly asked question thrown to LGBT people is: “Hindi ka ba pineperahan ng boyfriend mo (Don’t you just end up financially supporting your boyfriend)?”, which was answered with: “Ang relasyon ay hindi isang transakyon. Kung gumagastos ka, dapat hindi mo sinasakripisyo ang sarili mong pangangailangan. Dapat lang walang napipilitan (A relationship is not a transaction. Even if you spend, it should not be at the expense of your personal needs. Nobody should be forced when in a relationship).”

“These questions range from well-meaning curiosity to expressions of discomfort to misplaced other to outright discrimination. These questions are already part of our life and unlike questions asked in beauty contests, they are not usually wonderful,” executive director of Babaylanes Inc. Ramille Andag explained.

Andag also stated that as Babaylan celebrates its 20th year, “it was just fitting to be part of the book project. Our organization will to continue make efforts that will educate and raise more awareness about LGBTs.”

Anong pangalan mo sa gabi? At iba pang tanong sa mga LGBT eyes to be one of the boldest and honest projects on gender awareness by challenging the discriminatory public.

“These questions are inhumane, discrimination against LGBTs is inhumane. These kind of actions, inhuman actions, contradicts what the Filipino culture really is,” Dr. Claudio ended.

Anong pangalan mo sa gabi? At iba pang tanong sa mga LGBT was made possible with the help of Eric Julian Manalastas (project director), BJ Eco and Adrienne Maguddayao (project coordinators), Rod Singh (photographer), Jason Angulo (cover and book designer), Tetay Mendoza and Joel Acebuche (editors).

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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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