Suspension of Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘LGBT Equality

And Ryan met Sebastian

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Outrage Magazine | 18 June 2016

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“He has been my crush since I saw ‘Bubble’ (Sebastian Castro’s music video),” Ryan Chua said.

But initially, there were no intentions for the two to have an actual face-to-face meet-up.

“I was (just) thrilled when he added me on Facebook and followed me on Twitter,” Ryan added.

As is common with online friends, the two chatted now and then.

But then fate had other plans for them.

In 2013, they finally met when Sebastian invited Ryan to his art exhibit. And that first time they met, “no one had to put his best foot forward or send chocolates and flowers just to please each other,” Ryan said to Outrage Magazine.

It was not an immediate “thing”; there wasn’t even any second meet-up. At that time, Sebastian had to fly to US and Ryan had to prepare to leave for the UK for his journalism scholarship.

But their communication continued. That is, while they were away from each other, they would Skype on a regular basis and talk about different things – from Philippine politics and entertainment gossips, to ideas for Sebastian’s new songs. And there were also surprise visits in between.

Ryan-and-Seb“We became best friends first even before any love confession was made,” Ryan said.

When Ryan finished his scholarship, he returned to the Philippines. The two started living together.

As a couple, they were almost always present in LGBT-related events. But as their relationship grew stronger, it also attracted bashers, many even from within the LGBT community.

“Hearing (negative) views comes with making a relationship public, especially when it’s between two men,” said Ryan, who nonetheless noted that the observations were somewhat superficial, comparing Ryan and Sebastian on “how we look.” “But we don’t let those comments affect our relationship. Most people see only the physical. Often, they don’t see the emotional and intellectual connection.”

But just as they’ve started establishing a life together in Manila, an opportunity came up for Ryan to work for a media outlet in Beijing, China.

Being apart from each other is not new to them; after all, they started out as online friends. Now, social media has become a tool for them to constantly communicate with each other.

“It is not always easy. Being away from each other always has challenges. I miss him every day. Nothing beats physical contact and intimacy,” Ryan said. “But we’re both mature enough to appreciate the joys of a one to three-hour Skype or Facetime call. When we don’t have time to call, short messages would do.”

Sometimes they would even watch movies or TV shows together while on a video call “because enjoying anything with him is always double the fun,” Ryan added.

Though they had not planned too far ahead into the future, they are currently focused on their own respective fields, so eventually, they could enjoy their successes together.

“I am very fortunate to have a partner who knows me more deeply than anyone does, who has big dreams like I do, and who understands that, sometimes, we need to be apart so that we could build a stable future,” Ryan ended.

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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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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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Amb. Goldberg urges Phl LGBTs to continue fighting

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Outrage Magazine | 28 June 2014

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE US EMBASSY-MANILA

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE US EMBASSY-MANILA

To recognize and support the plight of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines and to celebrate the LGBT Pride month, the US Embassy in Manila held a reception hosted by US Ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg.

The annual gathering was attended by over 100 guests, including members of different local LGBT organizations, human rights advocates, and allies who support the fight against discrimination.

During the reception, the ambassador recognized the triumphs that the LGBT community reached.

“The LGBT community has achieved a lot of things, this year in particular, and that’s a reason to celebrate,” Amb. Goldberg said.

This year in particular, parts of the US and some other countries worldwide now officially recognize same-sex marriages. Earlier, in 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled over DOMA(Defense of Marriage Act), declaring it unconstitutional.

The results of the SC ruling were felt all of the world, including in the Philippines, with one of the positive effects of the decision was that the US government can now grant visas to fiancés and spouses of same-sex couples.

We are honored to say that one of the first visas was issued issued here in the Philippines,” Amb. Goldberg said, “same-sex marriage is now officially recognized in 18 US states, as compared with only 12 last year this time around, and eight more state courts have ruled that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.”

Amb. Goldberg also highlighted the “Being LGBT in Asia” project, an initiative spearheaded byUnited States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nations DevelopmentProgramme (UNDP). It was a first-of-its-kind look at reviewing and analyzing the legal and social environment of LGBTs and the civil society. The national report derived from Being LGBT in Asia was authored by Outrage Magazine editor Michael David C. Tan.

“[That effort] is an example of our commitment to build respect and protect the human rights of LGBT persons everywhere,” Amb. Goldberg said.

He also noted that in the Philippines, when it comes to fighting for equal rights, they have strong ties, which “make our advocacy effective. [And] without them, who work every day for a more equal Philippines, our goal would be harder to reach.”

Amb. Goldberg also presented the “Visa Equality” video, a short feature on how fiancé visas changed the lives of same-sex couples.

 

“As members or advocates of the LGBT community issues, please be out, be proud, and know that the United States government supports you in your efforts to make the world more equal. [And] to all the LGBT and human rights advocates here with us, thank you for your work and I encourage you to continue your important efforts to bring equality to all Filipinos,” Amb. Goldberg said.

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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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