The FAST2012 batch government held an open forum yesterday entitled “Kasariang Liberal” to discuss the daily struggles and issues faced by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community at the Enrique Yuchengco Hall Rooms 507-508.
FAST2012 Batch President Levin Garcia explained that the open forum was organized in line with one of the United Nation’s Millenium Development Goals (MDG), which seeks to promote gender equality and women empowerment among the world’s least developed countries. The MDG is composed of seven other goals, all of which aim to improve the lives of the poor.
The first speaker was Vani Altomonte, former president of the Queer Archers’ Alliance (QAA), an organization that caters to the needs of the LGBT community at DLSU. Altomonte talked about how accepting the LGBT community as they are already helps in preventing gender discrimination. He furthered, “What’s there to accept when it [being gay] is a sexual preference and orientation?”
Arguing that being bisexual or transgender is a regular sexual preference or orientation, Altomonte said that such forms of gender need not be accepted, since they’re already part of the social norm. He concluded by saying that what the LGBT community is longing for is genuine acceptance.
The second speaker was Pat Bringas, current head of the University of the Philippines (UP) Babaylan, a student group consisting of LGBT and gender equality advocates. Bringas discussed several issues related to the LGBT community and he also shared an advocacy project of UP Babaylan depicting the different questions commonly asked among the LGBT. These questions, he said, are often gender-biased. He also expressed dismay on how the skills and competencies of some members of the LGBT community are being wasted due to discrimination in workplaces.
Last June 2013, a global survey was conducted in several countries asking whether homosexuality should be accepted in the respondents’ countries. 73 percent of those surveyed in the Philippines agreed that it should be accepted and since then, the country has been dubbed by local broadsheets and online news platforms as a gay-friendly country.
Bringas said that although the survey results may be true, the country hasn’t entirely accepted the LGBT community. This is a lingering concern that serves as one of the main reasons that various LGBT groups — including QAA and UP Babaylan — are being formed.