PRISM broke barriers after being established as De La Salle University’s first official LGBTQ+ student organization. It has been active since Academic Year 2020-2021, aiming to create a safe space for Lasallians, especially to those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, and to address the issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity expression.
Since PRISM then, many had high hopes for the organization. However, in previous months, there were concerns about the organization’s inactivity and “inability” to be more vocal about pressing issues that the LGBTQ+ community faces.
Fighting for inclusivity
In an effort to push for a more inclusive and socially aware Lasallian community, PRISM conducted several events throughout its years which tackled issues concerning the Philippine LGBTQ+ community, such as the lack of education on gender and sexuality and discrimination against the members of the community. To facilitate these, it has worked with several different organizations such as the Office of Counseling and Career Services (OCCS) and the University Student Government (USG) Legislative Assembly (LA).
PRISM also pushed for continued efforts to enact social change within the Lasallian community. “Even from the start, PRISM has been working to advocate for social change in the Lasallian community who envision that LGBTQ+ rights are also human rights,” incumbent PRISM President Samantha Cruz shares.
“Conducting various webinars, events, and writeups to further educate the Lasallian community on every individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics to bring awareness to the community’s issues [has been] our goal since then,” she adds.
She furthers that since their establishment, PRISM has attempted to bring more awareness on matters such as then-presidential candidates’ takes on same-sex marriage and events important to knowing the history of the LGBTQ+ community. “We also hope that the future of PRISM involves implementing projects on a nationwide level.”
However, following its accreditation, the young organization had also faced difficulties. Among these was the lack of manpower, forcing many officers to handle work beyond their job description; this led to more misunderstandings and issues within the organization. But Cruz explains that PRISM has made efforts to address these “complex problems” that have demanded the constant adaptability of its officers.
Among the other difficulties faced was the constant suspension of classes at the start of the AY, pushing back most of the organization’s planned activities to the second term. Cruz, however, says that this did not stop PRISM from hosting So G for SOGIE, a webinar that discussed the importance of passing the SOGIE Equality Bill in Congress, and initiating Love Me 4 Me, which gives an avenue for individuals to share their coming out experiences via Zoom.
And while these projects have allowed PRISM to further their advocacies, Cruz admits that they have been lacking in terms of being vocal on national issues.
“As much as we would want to address these issues, we have not been as vocal about our stand on our social media platforms. We admit that we could have done our part by taking action regarding the matter, which is something we should improve on,” the president expresses.
Despite this, she is certain that PRISM will continue to strive to become an organization that not only becomes active for these issues on social media but one that also provides formal and informal avenues to freely discuss and act upon these matters.
For a more informed and inclusive Lasallian community
While Pride Month is certainly a highlight for PRISM, Cruz is adamant that their efforts and activities will continue beyond the celebration.
“PRISM has since been focused on educating the Lasallian community about what the LGBTQIA+ stands [for]…After the celebration of Pride Month, we are sure that the next set of officers will continue to help others understand the gender spectrum and how one can cultivate safe [spaces].”
Noting PRISM’s plans, Cruz opens up on the possibility of the organization working with more units of the USG, as well as with the Lasallian Center for Inclusion, Diversity, and Well-being. Through such partnerships, PRISM aims to fully implement and inform the Lasallian community of the SOGIESC Equality Act, a policy that would protect all students regardless of gender and sexual orientation from discrimination and harassment.
Throughout June this year, the organization held its flagship events: Ang Totoong Bahaghari: A Celebration of Pride, a week-long celebration of “acceptance, love, and equality” to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which served as a catalyst for the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights; and a fundraising campaign for the Home for the Golden Gays, a non-profit organization that provides support and care facilities for elderly members of the LGBTQ+.