Two years ago, several students conceptualized and founded an organization to uphold the rights of the LGBT community within DLSU. The organization was later identified as the Queer Archers’ Alliance (QAA), and was established to provide an avenue where the LGBTQ students can express their respective views without fear of being discriminated and marginalized. Although the University is generally accommodating towards LGBTQ matters, these individuals still continue to experience discriminations within the university.
Moreover, population of LBGT students is estimated to take up about eight percent of the total Lasallian population, however, this remains debatable as the exact number of LGBT students can only be chanced upon based on certain factors.
As such, majority of LGBT students is afraid of raising their voices against discriminatory cases; the organization exists to serve this particular purpose.
Queer Archers’ Alliance
Currently, the QAA is a non-accredited organization with its mission to provide safe haven for LGBTQs. The QAA members as well as supporters can meet new people and discuss relevant LGBTQ issues, hoping to create educational functions for issue awareness building.
The organization has a far way to go due to internal conflicts, as it still is perched on the early stages of developing the organization. The publicity of the organization towards the students is one of the major concerns the QAA faces.
With the disadvantage of being non-accredited organization, the organization is restricted in formally recruiting members and raising funds for activities inside the University.
The recruiting scheme currently rests on the available networks. “We get members through connections. For example, if a friend supports us, or has gay friends, we invite them to come to meetings with us. Invitation is our recruitment.” says Maria Paz Laxamana (IV, BHS-ADV), current head of the organization. Moreover, the membership of the organization is not limited to LGBTQ students.
Aside from publicity concerns, the organization still needs to define clear identity of the organization to belong to one of the student organization classifications set by Council of Student Organization (CSO). Questions on to what sectors in the University should the organization extend its membership to and finding ways to reconcile, if possible, with Catholic foundation of the University are still to be addressed as well.
Accreditation for the organization is still in its planning stages, affirms Rikki Dabao (III, AB-PSM), co-head at QAA.
“Before [filing for accreditation], we want to focus on strengthening internal factors that will lead to the sustainability of the organization. Filing for accreditation has always been part of the plan, but we want to make sure that everything is set first before we try,” Dabao elaborates.
Them trying, however, is not spared from any hurdles which the organization has been carefully considering as they go along. “The biggest hindrance would probably be the reaction of the administration and possibly, the students. Although DLSU in general is tolerant, there are still a lot of people who are closed-minded and might not understand the reason [as to why] we are trying to set up an organization such as this,” Dabao shares.
Some of the members are said to face an internal dilemma because of continuing debates about Catholic faith towards the community. Moreover, on the collective level, the University’s predominant Catholic foundation causes the organization to be hesitant in pushing for official accreditation of the organization. As such, moral dilemma poses a complex predicament, and how they are to respond to it remains a grave problem to the organization.
Dabao furthers that sustainability of the organization is crucial, as in any other organization. Finding dedicated and committed members who will continually fight for their cause is also a factor being highly considered.
A modest pace
Despite the disadvantages and challenges the organization faces, QAA has been relatively active in holding activities and promoting the organization by tying up with other accredited organizations like DLSU theatrical performance group Harlequin Theatre Guild (HTG).
Activities held by the organization are mostly on forums through links with the minor course GENDERS. These tie-ups give the organization an opportunity to slowly showcase their cause without having to be preoccupied about heavy funding yet, being an organization that is starting up.
Despite the need to stabilize its internal systems and solve numerous problems, QAA continues to strive to achieve its vision and mission, guided by the principle that everyone is equal regardless of one’s preference.