Saturday, November 16, 2013

Over 10 years after the first Pride in the Philippines

Roxanne: We are planning to release a special print issue of Outrage Magazine this December to mark Pride 2013.
For the cover story that I will be writing, I was wondering if it's possible to ask answers to these questions:
A) Over 10 years after the first Pride was celebrated in the Philippines, do you think the LGBT community achieved anything to push for equal rights in the country? What do you think remain challenges for us before we can claim to truly have Pride? How do you think we should face these challenges?
Answer: Remarkably, the launching of the first Pride in the Philippines many years ago was a feat in itself; it inspired LGBT communities to replicate it in every sitios, barangays, towns and cities, and provinces and regions all over the country. However, to ensure a more meaningful Pride event, the LGBT  community should link up and join the struggle of various marginalized sectors of peasants, fisher folks, women and children, youth, indigenous communities, religious sectors, because, apparently, a significant minority of the LGBT community is present in all sectors and classes. Hence, it is imperative to tackle class and sectoral issues.
But it is easier said than done because to do so is to take a cursory look and study diligently Philippine history and understand from a scientific point of view the circumstances of sectoral and class marginalization.
B.) What are the key issues you think the LGBT community in the Philippines should focus on? Why so?
Answer: On the political aspect, we should focus on human rights issue because political oppression of the LGBT community is more apparent than ever. The more we push for the anti-discrimination bills/ordinances at various levels of governance, the more it is clear the viciousness of machismo, feudal and macho culture in our society. We should struggle for gender equality and respect which is the essence of our existence.
On the other hand, on the economic aspect, we should focus on breaking the chain of economic marginalization of the LGBT community, because a lot of LGBTs are still discriminated due to their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, save those working in more open ‘accepting’ industries. And even if an LGBT is working already, another economic issue that should be tackled head-on is to fight for a living wage and other labor benefits that are often violated.
As usual, thank you very, VERY much for supporting us.
Will wait to hear from you

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cinema Rehiyon: Cinema in the Regions (Binisaya Film Festival 2013)


Cebu City, Cebu (November 2013).

The Binisaya Film Festival (BFF) is proud to announce the film line-up in the exhibition category for its annual festival, which runs from November 22 to November 23 at the USC-TC CAFA Theater, Talamban.

The BFF will exhibit eight noteworthy regional short film productions on November 23 by Visayan filmmakers; among which are certified award-winners, such as Bambi Beltran’s “PIGADAGIT”(first short shot in Butuanon language), Aldo Banaynal’s “HAPPY ANG EMO NA IRO”, (Sinulog Short Festival 2012 Grand Winner), Victor Villanueva’s “ABOT KAMAY” (Grand Prize Winner, Active Vista Film Festival 2012), Remton Zuasola’s “RITMO” (Best Short Film, 36th Gawad Urian).

Other short films in exhibition on November 23 are Irene Gonzales’ “SIMBULO”, Chloe Veloso’s “INA-TAY”, Dani Bautista’s “TAGAD”, and “ITOM”. Also included in the screenings are the inter-island entries Chuck Gutierrez’s “ULIAN”, Glenmark Doromal’s “ANG WALAY KAHUMANANG ADLAW”, “BANTAY”, and “DEATHSQUAD DOGS”.

For its opening  in the USC CAFA Theater this November 22 at 5 PM, the Festival will exhibit a Cebuano full-length film, “DOMINGO DOMINGO” an omnibus collaboration by seven of the promising Visayan wave filmmakers in Cebu—Chloe Veloso, Grace Marie Lopez, Aldo Banaynal, Archie Manayon, Steven Atenta, Nicolo Manreal, and Jayvee Luib.

On the same day and venue at 7PM, the Festival is honored to screen the CineFilipino production “THE MUSES”, by Janice Perez, that is shot and produced in Cebu City, and featured many of Cebu’s local acting talents. Tickets are priced at 100 pesos, in support of the film.

On November 23, the BFF hosts a special talk with film scholars Teddy Co and Paul Grant on renowned Filipino filmmaker and National Artist for Cinema Gerardo De Leon’s “KULAY DUGO ANG GABI”.

In the evening, there will be special screenings of Panumduman Pictures’ “ABERYA”, a Cinema One Original 2012 (ticket price at 100 pesos) also in the USC-TC CAFA Theater. And “NGILNGIG”, a series of frightening Visayan shorts (free and open to the public courtesy of the Bomba Press) in Handuraw Pizza Gorordo.

The Binisaya Film Festival is a local film event dedicated to the rising Visayan cinema movement,  where filmmakers and audiences come together to create and celebrate Visayan identity, language and culture on-and-off  the silver screen. For further information and inquiries on schedules and screenings, please get in touch with the Festival Secretariat through or

For further information, please reach us through 0932-1488-678 or 0923-8720-288


Cebu City, Cebu (November 2013).

The Binisaya Film Festival (BFF) is proud to announce the film line-up in the competition category for its annual festival, which runs from November 22 to November 23 at the USC-TC CAFA Theater, Talamban.

Seven short film productions by local filmmakers are short-listed out of a hundred entries for this year’s competition. These are George Macapagal’s “UNOD”, Isaias Zantua’s “STARTING LINE”, Izabella Petines’ “TINGOG”, John Paul Pepito’s “TSANSA”, Carl Allocod’s “KANDILA”, Jaylou Dari’s “BAKOTE”, and Paolo Macachor’s “THE VANISHERS”.
These films in competition will have its screenings at the USC-TC CAFA Theater in Talamban.

Only one film will be heralded as the Winner of the 3rd Binisaya Film Festival, with special prizes provided by the Festival’s exclusive sponsors.

Other highlights of the Film Festival include a free screening of a Cebuano full-length film this November 22 at 5PM in the USC CAFA Theater, “DOMINGO DOMINGO” an omnibus collaboration by seven of the promising Visayan wave filmmakers in Cebu—(insert names of filmmakers here) Chloe Veloso, Grace Marie Lopez, Aldo Banaynal, Archie Manayon, Steven Atenta, Nicolo Manreal, and Jayvee Luib.

On the same day and venue at 7PM, the Festival is honored to screen the CineFilipino production “THE MUSES”, by Janice Perez, that is shot and produced in Cebu City, and featured many of Cebu’s local acting talents. Tickets are priced at 100 pesos, in support of the film.

On November 23, the BFF hosts a special talk with film scholars Teddy Co and Paul Grant on renowned Filipino filmmaker and National Artist for Cinema Gerardo De Leon’s “KULAY DUGO ANG GABI”.

In the evening, there will be special screenings of Panumduman Pictures’ “ABERYA”, a Cinema One Original 2012 (ticket price at 100 pesos) also in the USC-TC CAFA Theater. And “NGILNGIG”, a series of frightening Visayan shorts (free and open to the public courtesy of the Bomba Press) in Handuraw Pizza Gorordo.

The Binisaya Film Festival is a local film event dedicated to the rising Visayan cinema movement,  where filmmakers and audiences come together to create and celebrate Visayan identity, language and culture on-and-off  the silver screen. For further information and inquiries on schedules and screenings, please get in touch with the Festival Secretariat through or

For further information, please reach us through 0932-1488-678 or 0923-8720-288

Friday, November 1, 2013

Kinaiyahan batok Katawhan (Nature vs. Man)


November 1, 2013 (Adlaw sa mga Santos)

Human sa makalilisang nga 7.2 magnitude nga linog nga mi-uyog ug mi-ukang sa isla sa Sugbu ug Bohol, akong na hinumduman ang kontradiksyon nga nagtunhay, apan hinay-hinay nga mapapas: ang kontradiksyon tali sa Kinaiyahan (Nature) vs. Katawhan (Man).

Tungod niini, dili ko motuo sa pangangkon sa pipila ka mga siyentipiko (og padayon nga gipakuyanap sa medya) nga dili mahibaw-an kun kanus-a maabot ang linog og ang gikusgon sa enerhiya nga ilugya niini. Para nako, sukwahi kini sa natural nga dagan sa kaalam sa tawo, nga kanunay nag-ugkat og mga maluntarong tubag ug solusyon sa inadlaw-inadlaw niyang pakigbangi sa nagkalain-lain nga kontradiksyon sa atong katilingban: hut-onganon man o ang mga partikular niini sama sa, ekonomikanhon, politikanhon, kultural ug bangi nga may labot ang kina-iyahan.

Sa dagan sa pagsabot ug pagsulbad sa nagkalain-lain nga mga bangi kun kontradiksyon, ang tawo padayon usab nagka-abante sa pagpangita og mga tubag sa mga pangutana nga adunay labot ang kinatibuk-ang katawhan, sama sa, kun unsaon pagkontrol ang kina-iyahan. Sanglitanan niini mao ang linog.

Apan adunay diyalektikal nga relasyon ang pagsulbad sa kina-iyanhong kontradiksyon (nature vs. man) sa pagpaabanti sa kolektibong tinguha sa katawhan sa patas ug maki-angayon nga katilingban, o pagwagtang sa pagpanghimulos sa tawo batok sa isig-katawo (man vs. man), nga adunay nagkalain-lain nga hut-ongan nga kina-iya. Masabtan o matubag lamang kini sa tawo kun ang uban nga mga kontradisksyon tali sa nagkalain-lain nga hut-ong maka-angkon na og kantitatibo ug kalitatibo’ng pag-abante ug kasulbaran.

Aron andamon (o maandam) ang katawhan sa nagkabangis nga natural nga kalamidad, kinahanglan maandam sila og mabaid sa usa ka malahutayong proseso nga mopalig-on ug mopanday sa ilang proletaryado ug rebolusyonaryo nga baruganan, materyalismo nga panglantaw, ug siyentipiko nga pamaagi.

Para kanako, mao kini ang nag-una og ti-unay nga pamaagi aron hingpit ug tibuok bahin nga makaduyog ang katawhan sa bangis nga mga natural nga kalamidad.

Sa baruganan, kinahanglan kini nga proletaryado ug rebolusyonaryo aron wagtangon ang mga makika-ugalingon nga interes og ipatunhay ang interes sa kinatibuk-an. Sa materyalismo nga panglantaw ug siyentipikong pamaagi gikinahanglan kini aron langkaton sa tawo ang iyang mga metapisikal ug ideyalismo nga mga naandan nga panghuna-huna, pamaagi ug panglantaw.

Ang idealismo ug metapisikal nga panghuna-huna ug naandan, maoy mo-kitid sa panghuna-huna sa tawo nga mamahimong babag sa iyang padayon nga pagpangutana ug pagpangita og tubag ug solusyon sa mga nag-unang katilingbanong bangi.  

Diri mosulod ang akong pagsaludo sa katawhang Bol-anon nga makasagubang ug maka-abante sila taliwala sa natural nga kalamidad nga bag-uhay lang mihagpa. Ang kasinatian sa rebolusyonaryong kaisog sa mga Bol-anon batok sa mga kolonyalismong mananakop milungtad og sobra 80 ka-tuig. Ug ang bag-ong mga rebolusyonaryo, pinaagi sa Nasudnon Nagkahiusang Prente adunay taas nga kasinatian sa Bohol (nga gipundar, matud pa, sa mga madre ug kaparian nga rebolusyonaryo) nga naka-angkon og nagkalapad ug nagkalawon nga baseng masa.

Sa pikas bahin og personal kaayo nga rason, ang Bohol maoy nag-unang lugar sa Pilipinas nga maoy nihatag kanako og nipanday aron mamahimong tinuod nga estudyante sa radikal nga katilingbanong pagbag-o. Mao usab kini ang lugar diin naka-abag ko sa usa ka batan-on nga politiko nga karon matinud-anon nga gi-atubang ang makalilisang nga hagit sa iyang pangagamhanan.

Bohol usab ang lugar nga akong suroyon nga mag-inusara aron mangita og sepulchral silence.

Ni-adtung tuig 1998, nahimo usab ako nga honorary member sa Boholano Carolinian Community sa Talamban Campus sa University of San Carlos dihang kasagaran sa akong mga kaila sa College of Engineering puro mga Bol-anon. Ang Bohol usab maoy unang lugar nga nigitib ang akong ganghaan sa himaya, niadtong Mayo sa 1999 kauban ang akong mga klasmeyt sa engineering. Mao nga ang Bohol, pilit kaayo sa akong kasing-kasing, sama kapilit sa ilang kalamay.

Mao nga dili nako hikalimtan ang mga bungtod ug buho, ang mga basakan, maisan, ginagmay nga lasang, sudlonon nga kadalanan, hagip-ot nga lugar, sementado ug ispaltado nga dalan, liba-ungon ug lapukon nga agianan, ang gikahadlokan nga mga banakon nga maglatay-latay sa higdaanan, mga habal-habal drayber nga makabalanse sa hagip-ot nga pangpang, mga lapokon nga agi-anan, ginagmay nga pangpang, dinagko nga kapyot, kulba diri-kulba didto, ang pagkumkum sa mga tingog, ang paghinay og lakaw nga ang kada tikang murag galutaw, ang mga gagmay’ng bato nga talinis kaayo, ang pagbitbit sa mga tsinelas, ang kainit sa adlaw panahon sa kaudtuhon, ang kabugnaw sa kagabhiun, ang mga aninipot, ang ilang kahayag, ang mga sapa nga dili kaayo dagko, ang mga simbahan nga saksi sa pangpanglupig.

Ug ang ang katawhan sa Bohol nga maoy nihatag kanako og inspirasyon, mitudlo kanako sa sakto nga dalan, mipaambit sa ilang inato nga pagkaon, mipakatulog sa ilang hagip-ot nga higdaanan, mibahin sa ilang limitado nga pagkaon, miprotektar kanako pinaagi sa ilang manggialamon nga pamaagi, mipakatawa bisan sa tumang kawad-on, mipahilak apan wala nawagtangan og paglaum, kanunay nga mipalig-on, nihatag og walay kinutuban nga kaisog, migiya kun asa ang tuo ug asa ang wala, mitudlo kun unsa ang sakto ug unsa ang sayop, nakig-ambit ug nakig duyog hangtud sa kamatayon ug nipaposta kanako og jai-alai.

Ang tanan sa Bohol gibag-o sa kinaiyahan, apan ang katawhang Bol-anon nga gipanday sa taas nga rebolusyonarong kaisog, kaalam ug kaandam, mobangon og mamahimong malampuson, nga sama sa usa ka gerilyang pakiggubat, magmadaugon sila nga walay bisan usa ka bala nga gipabuto.

Og ang maong kadaugan mamahimong giya para mabali ug mausab ang kontradiksyon og mamahimo na kining: Katawhan batok Kinaiyahan (Man vs. Nature).

Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Possible questions for Econ 21 and Econ 1N:

Possible questions for Econ 21 and Econ 1N:

 1.     Explain Elasticity of Demand and its practical importance when government imposes a tax on a commodity.
 2.     What is your understanding of behavioral economics?
 3.     Is it possible to get so much of a good that it turns into a bad? If so, give an example.

 4.     Discuss “the short-run vs. the long-run in” in measuring costs.

 5.     Provide and discuss a good example of price elasticity of demand

 6.     Explain why earning zero economic profit is not as bad as it sounds.

 7.     Explain the requirements in a perfectly competitive market.

8.     Explain competition as a market structure.

9.     Under what condition will a monopoly firm incur losses?

10. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of regulation (as you see it).


Additional questions for Econ 1N.


11. Do you think land monopoly is a hindrance to economic development and national industrialization? Explain.

12. Why is land reform a centerpiece program of every regime?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Message from Abp. Palma

Office of the Archbishop
234 D. Jakosalem St., 6000 Cebu City, Philippines

13 September 2013


My dear brothers and sisters inChrist,

“Hate evil and love good and let justice prevail…” (Amos 5, 15)

In view of the pork barrel controversy, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP) exhorts the Catholic Faithful to fulfill the “Christian duty to transform society and
restore all things in Christ.”

The call is for everyone to be concerned, to be discerning, to be involved!

I am happy that in Cebu, the Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System is organizing a MarchRally on September 29, 2013 to scrap the pork barrel system and to denounce corruption.

Wherefore, I enjoin the whole Archdiocese of Cebu to be actively involved in this activity. The
following are some of the things through which we as Catholics support the good political
governance initiatives of civil society:

1. Ask the people to sign the attached UNITY STATEMENT. Explain its contents to the people
during homilies. Do the same thing in the schools and among our church organizations and
communities. Please submit the Signatures to the Chancery before October 5, 2013.

2. Send parish delegates from schools, lay organizations and movements, seminaries, and
religious communities to the September 29, 2013 activities in Cebu City:

• 1:00PM Assembly at Fuente Osmeña
• 1:30PM March from Fuente Osmeña to Plaza Independencia
• 3:00 PM Concelebrated Mass at Plaza Independencia
• 4:00-6:00 PM Interfaith Prayer and Program at Plaza Independencia.

3. Priests are encouraged to concelebrate the September 29, 3:00 p.m. Mass at Plaza
Independencia. Delegates may bring their banners and candles for the march and program.
May we continue to let God’s saving grace work through us. May Mary, our mother, always
guide our efforts in building God’s kingdom of justice, peace and love.

Non nobis Domine,

Archbishop of Cebu

N.B. Please reproduce the materials for signature campaign. For inquiries, please contact the
Archdiocesan Discernment Group through tel. # 032-406-8079; mobile # 09238720288 (Roxanne); email:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Keeping Pride Alive in the Philippines

Over half a decade ago, I was on my usual public utility vehicle (PUV) route to work in the province of Cebu in the Philippines, when an innocent conversation with a fellow passenger led to the unavoidable question on everybody’s lips.

The teenage girl next to me said aloud, “Black-Holes and Baby Universes and other Essays,” — reading the title of the book in my lap. “By Stephen Hawking.”

Eskwela diay ka?” she asked. (Are you studying?)

O, ngano diay?” I replied. (Yes, why?)

Ganahan sab ko mo eskwela, pero dili mi ka-afford,” she said. (I, too, wanted to study in the universitybut we don’t have money.) “Unsa imo course?” (What are you taking up?)

“Engineering…” I answered. “Unsa diay trabaho imo ginikanan?” (What do your parents do?)

“Clean and Green,” she said. (Clean and Green was the pet-project of former president Arroyo, employing mostly women to clean the streets and highways with a meager salary).

A long silence passed, and to bridge the gap, I asked her, “Asa ka padulong?” (Where are you going?)
“Sotto,” she answered. (Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center)

Mag-unsa ka didto?” I asked. (What are you going to do there?)

Regular check-up man nako sa psychiatrist,” she answered. (Visit my psychiatrist for regular check-up.)

Without much delay, perhaps so as to keep me at ease before asking her final and much more sensitive 
question, she asked, “Bayot ka noh?” (You are gay?)

After a millisecond of silence, I blurted, “NO…”

Sweating, my heart pumping alarmingly fast, and my surroundings going dark — but nonetheless fully conscious in a fully packed PUV, I lied and disowned myself, which is perhaps the greatest catastrophe of all.

With a sigh of relief, she said, “Abi nako og bayot ka.” (I assumed then that you were really gay.)

I was surprised because I am not a “typical” Filipino gay. Perhaps the effect of a deeply masculine culture, I present myself as more masculine than feminine. I am more “straight” acting — for lack of a more politically correct term. In the Philippines, gays are usually the parlorista or those working in beauty parlors who dress elaborately and often speak the uniquely Filipino gay lingo.

However, assumptions, and its twin, suspicions, are very common in the Philippines, and perhaps in other parts of the world where homophobia manifests itself in more wicked ways.

As an activist fighting and advocating for the rights of the marginalized (students and youth, workers and peasants, for example) since my early days in college, I was taught to be honest in all matters of public life. 

But when she pressed me on such a sensitive matter, I felt like I had been hit by lightning. Crippled for a few seconds, I lied.

Crimeless suspects

I’ve been asked by almost all the heterosexual females I know who know my sexuality, whether a male friend or acquaintance is gay or not. Interestingly, I haven’t had any heterosexual males ask me about another male’s sexual orientation, though I’ve observed many eagerly chiming in when conversation tackles issues on male gayness like our practices, perspectives, sexuality, love lives, and family affairs.

I use the word male instead of men because the demography of gayness in areas I’ve been to in the Philippines is getting younger, reflecting greater freedom of expression in regards to sexuality — through dress, language, and use of make up, for instance — things I did not see during my early childhood years.

While activism culture offers a more unbiased understanding of people, class, and society because of its intellectual nature and commitment to empathizing with and helping those who are marginalized, understanding gender and male sexuality issues lags far behind — a hindrance to fully appreciating the value of every human being. Heterosexual men in the Philippines tolerate gays but are rarely fully accepting.

Heterosexual women, on the other hand, are more open and sympathetic to the gay cause — perhaps because the common denominator between the two is their direct and indirect opposition to male supremacy and patriarchy.

Curiously, it’s mostly women who ask for my opinion on gay suspects they have “identified.” Women, like gays, often have this so-called “gay-dar.” I always answer their queries using my own way of subjectively assessing someone’s sexual orientation: observing their gestures, expressions, mannerisms, even styles, and of course by looking at their eyes, which express desires and feelings.

In fact, during family gatherings like birthdays, anniversaries, and clan reunions, the talk always unfortunately gravitates toward who is gay or not. The family, as the prime social unit where understanding, openness, and acceptance should prevail is held hostage by machismo and patriarchy. It is supposedly the place where one can freely open up about one’s sexuality, but unfortunately family gatherings often turn into convenient gay bashing forums looking for crimeless suspects.

In the workplace and in the community, half serious jokes coupled with sarcasm, are levied at various targets — comments such as “Kanus-a man ka maglad-lad yadz?” (Hey gay, when are you going to come-out?) or “Ikaw nalang wala kabalo nga bayot ka” (It seems you’re the only gay who doesn’t know your sexuality). Such commentary is especially common among the lower and middle classes perhaps due to living conditions in tight and densely populated communities where neighbors are aware of each other’s business or due to their lack of understanding in regards to sexuality and gender issues. Don’t get me wrong — it also happens among the upper classes, though they tend to be more indirect or discreet.

But all of this is just suspicion and when one’s sexuality is in the open, it deepens stigma, discrimination, and encourages oppression. It is all too common; I have experienced emotional and verbal abuse, but a social activist like me sees it in perspective — understanding the social and historical context of gender bias and discrimination. In the course of my heterosexual female friends’ queries, my only regret is offering them a positive answer to their assumptions.

While it is good to discuss equality and respect within the context of gender and sexuality, we must make greater strides toward ending male supremacy or even heteronormativity. Discussions and debates on LGBT issues should progress toward ending gender-based discrimination.

The current social set-up in an economically backward (agricultural based and pre-industrial) and third world country like the Philippines — deepened feudal relations, patriarchy, and macho-culture — cultivates more pronounced discrimination and intolerance on the basis of one’s gender and sexuality. But homophobia is more muted than in the West where bullying and homophobia has driven many to suicide, or resulted in incidents like the death of university student Matthew Shephard.

Perhaps it’s because tolerance, rather than hatred, is deeply ingrained in our social practices in the Philippines. I haven’t met anyone with eternal hatred toward another. We Filipinos easily forget and forgive, which is often tragic, because justice can often go unserved.

However, gay tolerance is truer in the communities I’ve been to where every fiesta celebration is not complete without the participation of the gay community, or in the schools where major roles in the classrooms are assigned to openly gay students and in workplaces where gay workers organize events for the company.

Western influences

In 1998, I learned to use the Internet and through chatting on the popular mIRC or Internet Relay Chat, I came to know and met some like-minded men.

In fact, the Internet was the source of my first sexual contact with someone of the same sex at age 18, and it completely changed my views on sexual roles between males who have sex with males. The Internet provided new possibilities for roles, concepts, and relations — often derived from the West.

When a chat-mate called me up, we discussed and shared our stories. He then asked, “Top ka or bottom?” (Are you top or bottom?). “Unsa mana?” I asked. (What is that?)

After explaining this differentiation, he said, “Ingon ana man sa West.” (It is like that in the West).

At first, I felt such sexual roles between gay men was too much and a bit too radical, because it isn’t typical within my local gay community. I grew up believing that gay men should partner with straight men — a common practice today and among the generations before mine.

The longing to be with straight men is perhaps due to the fact that we inherited from the Filipino gays ahead of us this notion that we are a sub-population within the female community.

However, with the new partner I met on the net, he introduced to me sexual roles between two gay men, which I had never tried or heard of from my close gay friends at that time.

We tend to seek straight men for short-term sexual escapades often in exchange for money or even emotional attachment and long-term relationships, in which the gay partner assumes the responsibility of caring for his straight partner. However, many gay men in the cities, mostly netizens, now practice this gay-to-gay sexual and/or emotional set-up. However, it is rare in far-flung rural areas.

Even now, discussions on sexual roles like top, bottom, and versatile often starts and ends in the cities and are often commonly practiced by active young gay netizens.

When my gay friends from the city and I, who are, let’s say — top — look for same sex partners who are straight in far-flung or rural areas, we always assume the traditional bottom role designated for Filipino gay men who are with straight men.

But the so-called liberalism of western gays in all aspects of social life is due mainly to their economic status. They tend to control their destiny and influence others by virtue of their economic power. When you have money and more of it, you are not only liberating yourself from poverty and want but also joining the club of influential individuals whose voices can greatly influence political policies and institutions and create new norms.

Hence, the word “pink market” was coined precisely to take advantage of western gays’ consumerist culture. 

Bisdak Pride

After years of activism doing community organizing and espousing the rights of youth and students, workers, peasants and women, I realized the importance of establishing an organization devoted to advancing the rights of the LGBT community. Bisdak Pride was born in 2005, focusing on the gay community whose vernacular is Bisaya (Cebuano), the native tongue of people in southern Philippines, the second most commonly used language behind Tagalog.

We comprise a significant portion of the Philippine population but are often neglected because the majority of LGBT support groups are based in Manila (the capitol region) — catering to Tagalog speaking populations. That is why we call our organization “Bisdak (Great Bisayan) Pride.”

We devote most of our time to organizing LGBT organizations in various communities and assisting existing LGBT groups in strengthening their advocacy abilities and commitment to furthering gender equality in all matters of public life. As we celebrate our eighth year, we rejoice in having reached 20 not yet fully rights-based LGBT groups — re-invigorated some and aided the formation of new groups.

Currently, on-going organizing efforts are in place to reach more than a thousand LGBT and non-LGBT individuals before the end of the year (through orientations and discussions) to ensure a wide and deeply rooted LGBT community capable of asserting its rightful place in the Philippines.

In ensuring solidarity and establishing our agenda, Bisdak Pride conducts a monthly Pride Night in partnership with Handuraw Pizza, the most gay friendly pizza restaurant in Cebu, where we address what we deem fit and necessary to advancing the LGBT cause — tackling issues such as health, wellness and environmental concerns and promotion of LGBT arts and culture.

We aim to ensure a healthier lifestyle for our fellow LGBTs through our queer health program focusing on HIV and AIDS prevention.

To fully realize our queer culture program, we facilitated in the implementation of a local independent film festival called “Binisaya” — so as to propagate stories on LGBT issues as well as those affecting other communities of people. Promotion of culture and arts is an integral aspect of our advocacy, as the local LGBT community is known to excel in dancing, singing, and acting.

We discuss the complex relationship between religion and sexuality as well as queer theology with our partner LGBT organizations so as to counter the attacks of so-called “moralists” who use religion to justify homophobia.

We also penetrate university students through our “We S.O.A.R.” project or “We Strengthen our Oneness, Advocating our Rights” in order for college students to appreciate and understand gender and sexuality from the context of a human rights LGBT group.

As we celebrate our eight year of continuous service to the gay community, we unabashedly promised to color the Bisdak communities pink by understanding and evaluating the issues and concerns of the local LGBT community and organize them into a potent force that will soon deliver a powerful blow to liberate every LGBT individual from the bondage of stigma, discrimination, and intolerance — so that, in the end, no one will dare say “NO” to a question that shouldn't be asked.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

US Peace Corps Interview

Fighting for the LGBT Community in the Philippines

(Note: AMELIA KENT, BSW, is a US Peace Corps Volunteer. Below are my kind reply to her questions)

1. Please describe the mission/goals of your organization, what events you organize and who are you members?
ROXANNE OMEGA DORON (ROD): The mission, vision and goals of our organization, anchored on the premise that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in particular, and the broad masses of Filipino people in general are marginalized and oppressed.
Our vision is, “We look forward for a society that is just, humane and democratic. Thus, we cry for Equality and Respect.” Our mission is, “We are committed to ensure the understanding and all-round promotion of the rights and responsibilities of the LGBT community.” Our goals, includes;
1. Assist LGBT organizations in the communities in their efforts to unite and collectively advance their problems and concerns so that their problems are addressed and their participation in community affairs improved.
2. Establish LGBT groups in communities where there is none.
3. Unite with non-LGBT sectors in their struggles and concerns and actively participate in the people’s movement for change.
4. To become a credible resource center in the Bisaya speaking communities on matters related to LGBT concerns.
We recruit LGBTs and non-LGBTs as gender equality advocates. We organize educational discussions to various communities like understanding gender and sexuality within the context of a feudal and patriarchal society, promoting human rights in the context of HIV and AIDS prevention, promotion of arts and culture activities and even traditional activities like joining Gawad Kalinga or giving slippers to poor and isolated towns.
2. Please describe some of the major issues or societal problems you think are facing the LGBT community in the Philippines?
ROD: Majority of the Philippine population, roughly 75% composed the peasantry, it follows that a significant portion of the LGBT community are within the peasant class or origin. Liberating the peasantry from the land problem is liberating the LGBT community from class and consequently gender issues.
The Philippines is a backward and pre-industrial country, therefore, feudal forms of exploitation remains a major issue faced by a significant portion of our population, including the LGBT community.
Hence, land monopoly is a major problem and backward agricultural methods deepened the oppression and marginalization of the LGBT community in the countryside. Due to the backward condition in far-flung areas, the LGBT community suffers the most since feudal, macho, and patriarchal culture is more deep and prevalent than in the metropolitan areas.
As a consequence, religion too (not only Roman Catholic) is deeply entrenched in the countryside and moralists castigating the LGBT community as sinful brought people to think LGBT is wrong. Even some LGBTs in rural areas think likewise and are affected by religious bigotry.
In urban areas, LGBT communities are somewhat tolerated but rarely accepted. Their talents, wit, and resourcefulness are taken advantage of for the benefit of the institutions they served. Even so, stigma, discrimination, marginalization, and oppression are still apparent than ever.
The LGBT community as part of the working class, which is roughly 15% of the entire population, in the cities also faced stigma, discrimination, marginalization, and oppression. Most working LGBTs prefer to stay in the closet than come-out due to the macho character of workplaces. However, the presence of contact centers as industries preferred by LGBTs is a welcome respite in a degrading macho working condition.
The gender issue is different from a class issue. While the presence of contact centers provided opportunities for the LGBTs, the working class issue on wages, security of tenure, benefits and other universally accepted labor rights are still issues which the working people, including the LGBTs, should confront head-on. In fact, in Cebu several years ago, LGBTs take the lead in facing issues confronted by the working people in business process outsourcing.
LGBT youth and students also faced discriminating school policies like the wearing of uniform, gender insensitive instructions and other archaic policies which affects the intellectual development of persons with different sexual orientation and gender identity but are implemented for various reasons, among them is intolerance.
And the openly LGBT youth in the communities and schools, while assertive of their gender and sexuality still experienced bullying and are stigmatized, often come from their immediate families, neighbors and school officials.

3. Describe how the Catholic faith plays a role in establishing an LGBT identity in the Philippines, what confusion or conflicts does it cause?
ROD: It is saddening that the Catholic Church in the Philippines coined a definition for LGBTs totally detached from reality. While it is understandable coming from their “moral” point of view and historical bias and bigotry, it does not make sense at all.
For example, it is totally OK with them for LGBTs to be “LGBT” as long as they will not practice the sexual act which is totally incomprehensible. It is an imposition with roots which can be traced way back during the Inquisition! They want to completely separate homosexual orientation from homosexual act.
They assumed that what you feel is “right” but when you practice what your heart and mind dictates it becomes a sin and you become immoral based on their own subjective interpretation on what morality is. But since the Philippines is deeply Catholic and at some point fanatical, it is a challenge to rightfully and objectively confront an institution which long betrayed the LGBT community but nonetheless takes advantage of LGBTs who are useful to them.
But I know a lot of LGBTs and heterosexual priests who are supportive of and proud to have worked with us.
4. In the Philippines how are LGBT usually treated when they “come out” to members of their family? How is it different for gays and lesbians?
ROD: I haven’t encountered a study regarding gays coming out and how they are treated or the difference of treatment between a gay (male-homosexual) and a lesbian. But sharing within the LGBT community and anecdotes will tell you that the more open the community or family, more LGBTs will come-out. Usually in urban areas, gays come-out a little bit easier especially if the family is more liberal and open. But it is much more difficult in rural areas where feudal exploitation is deep and religious bigotry is deep-seated. In general, it is still hard to come-out because the treatment is still harsh both psychologically, and some instances physically and sexually.
5. Can you talk a little about the ‘language of the gays’ in the Philippines?
ROD: Language exists, in fact it has been created in order to serve a specific community, as a means of intercourse between people irrespective of their social and economic status in life. On the other hand, the gay language, as I see it, is cultural assertion. It not only meant as a form of communication but also a means to code existing interactions to hide feelings, to express grief and most importantly to relate effectively within the LGBT community. The gay language, even if at most creatively constructed, is a grim reminder that gays can not effectively use its mother tongue or dialect to communicate with out fear.
6. Can you describe some differences in culture, policies or tolerance that you’ve noticed between the LGBT communities here in the Philippines compared to the LGBT community in the United States?
ROD: The advanced economic condition in the U.S. and the backwardness of Philippine society is a major contributory factor about tolerance and acceptance in each respective country. In the U.S some states are open to same-sex marriage or union, while the Philippines have a long way to go. In the Philippines, homophobia is more or less “sidelined,” while in the U.S. it is somewhat mainstreamed. In the U.S. reparative therapy as a means to “correct” or “cure” homosexuality is still in existence, in the Philippines traditional and far more destructive “conversion therapies” like a drunken father poured hot water to his gay son. Or a gay son whose father is a police man stripped his gay son naked on his way to school.
7. Please talk about the LGBT who are contributing to society in different ways which helps the general society “tolerate” them?
ROD: A portion of the LGBT community succeeded in penetrating different economic, political and cultural structures due to the fact that the LGBT community is often (and correctly) viewed as industrious, creative, active, participative, intelligent and even friendly. Their talents and attitudes are being taken advantage of and in some ways tolerated due to their contribution in any given undertakings. It is a fact, gays are embedded in almost all structures of governance and leadership, economic activity and most visible in the promotion of culture and arts. However, a truly heterosexual, or more precisely male-dominated society, like the Philippines, accommodated the LGBTs, tolerated its presence but never accepted it as part and contributor of a democratic society, because no significant laws protecting the LGBTs. Tolerance does not automatically translate to respect.
8. What role does the LGBT community play in events like Sinulog?
ROD: The LGBT community, specifically the openly gays are the planners, implementers of the Sinulog festival. A religious festival or any festival for that matter will never be the same without the involvement of the LGBTs.
You take a cursory look in any of the committees, from the top echelons of planning down to the bottom of it (even in the cleaning of garbage!) openly gays are involved – deeply involved. They create an exceptionally gay festival in a truly religious undertaking like what we have seen for decades. In an ironic twist of fate, beyond its materialism and consumerism lies the genuine expression of the LGBT community to their faith – the same faith that often echoed and brand LGBTs as immoral and sinful.
I suspect the reason why priest do not castigate LGBTs during the daily novena in preparation for any religious festivals is to tolerate gays as an important partner. Otherwise, no festival will ever succeed.
That is why, beyond its religiosity and fanaticism, lies the LGBT community’s expression of her/his faith. But there’s the rub, gays are being tolerated in any festivals like Sinulog as a cultural event, but not so much in some other areas of our life.
9. Can you share some information on the closeted gays in relation to spreading HIV?
ROD: The discreet or the so-called closeted gays are difficult to reach due to their covert behavior. Their being clandestine is truly understandable, given the fact that widespread stigma and oppression are apparent than ever. Coupled with a risky behavior, their vulnerability to STIs and even HIV infection is very high.
The risky behavior and vulnerability to diseases like HIV is the effect of widespread stigma, marginalization, discrimination, and oppression.
On the other hand, records of HIV cases are very alarming because the incidence of HIV cases is exponentially high among men-having-sex-with-men (MSM) and even the transgender (TG) community. But is, sadly, understandable because HIV cases affect communities which are already suffering from lack of human rights protection, for example lack of laws and enforcement of ordinances that protects LGBTs. A creative and innovative approach to penetrate the community of discreet gays is necessary coupled with a holistic understanding of their social behavior and community participation.
However, while laws are important instruments to protect LGBTs against stigma and discrimination, it is still the social system that allows LGBTs to be oppressed. And that social system should be changed.
10. What is the number one priority right now for the LGBT community?
Any other information you want to share about Bisdak Pride?
ROD: It is always a priority for the LGBT community to study society in order to move forward and to fully understand stigma, discrimination, marginalization and oppression. The LGBT community should study society from a progressive and scientific point of view, its history and background.
After studying history and analyzing the different social classes, the LGBT community should strengthen its organization and link with various sectoral and multi-sectoral organizations to advance its rightful place in our country.
No LGBT community will take pride in advancing its cause without the support and participation of different sectors and classes. An isolated LGBT community can not claim its place in our society. This is why Bisdak Pride, Inc. is not exclusively for LGBTs because we believe heterosexuals are also effective mouthpiece in our advocacy for gender equality and societal change.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pope Francis’s first request: ‘Pray for me’

"But Roxanne Doron, Bisdak Pride director, raised the concern of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and transexuals in Cebu.

He voiced hope that the pontiff would review some documents, particularly the declaration concerning certain questions on sexual ethics that was issued in 1975, among others."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Termino ug pagbiay-biay

Matud pa sa gimantala nga balita sa SunStar Superbalita (March 7, 2013), "4 ka mga bayot nga designers nasikop".

Adunay dakong kibhang ang maong balita og sexist kini.

Ug ang kibhang mo-resulta sa dili unya hitupngan nga pagbiay-biay sa atong mga kaigso-unan nga adunay lahi nga kinaiyahong matang ug hiyas sa pagkatawo kun sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).

Ang kalainan sa atong kinaiyahong matang ug hiyas sa pagkatawo mao ang gitawag nato nga defining characteristic in life kay innate man kini, sama sa race og color. Buot pasabot, wala gituyo, kabahin na sa pagkatawo hangtud sa kamatayon.

Sa pikas bahin, ang termino o bisan ang pulong nga gigamit adunay direkta nga negatibo ug positibo nga epekto. Ang ulohan sa maong balita, way duda, modugang sa pagpasiga sa kayo nga nagdaub sa atong mga kaigso-unan nga dili heterosexual.

Kinsay makalimot sa Vicente Sotto scandal o sa pellet gun victims sa Mango?

Dili angay ang pagmarka ni bisan kinsa tungod sa iyang hiyas sa pagkatawo. Samot, dili angay markahan ang tawo tungod sa atong pagdahom.

Tungod kay aduna man gud kita’y gitawag nga “unsa ang iyang tan-aw sa kaugalingon (self-concept)"  ug “unsa ang tan-aw sa laing tawo kaniya kun (community labeling)”. Apan ang “tan-aw sa laing tawo kaniya” kay suhitibo (subjective) kini og dili obhetibo (objective).

Ang paglikay sa subitibismo kun subjectivism adunay epekto nga positibo kaysa negatibo.

Busa, ako mosugyot nga mas angayan sa mga tigbalita mogamit pa guihapon sa kinaiyahong matang sa pagkatawo (pananglitan, ‘4 ka lalaki nga designers nasakop’) kay sa paggamit sa mga termino nga hiyas sa pagkatawo (sama sa, ‘4 ka bayot nga designers nasikop’).

Sultii ko, kun ibutang ta lang, mga pari, madre, militarypolice, mga tigbalita og mga politico ang mabutang sa ingon ana unya nga sitwasyon, ibutang kaha sa tigbalita nga, “4 ka mga paring bayot o militaring bayot nasikop”? 

Wala sa lugar to label people by virtue of their sexual orientation and gender identity, mao nga likayan kini, tungod kay dili sa tanan natong pagdahom sakto.

What does Courtney Act and Rich Fernandez have in common?

Self-proclaimed Courtney Act fanboy Rich Fernandez does a fun and quirky shoot with Filipino photographer Adrian Gonzales. So who is Ri...