In June 2016, prior to their attendance in the Metro Manila Pride March, a group of LGBT community leaders who helmed an organization in Sto. Tomas in the province of Batangas had a chance encounter with members of the Home for the Golden Gays (formerly a halfway house for elderly gay and trans people based in Pasay City). “Naisip namin, ano pa kaya ang magagawa namin para sa ikakabuti ng mas nakakaraming LGBT hindi lamang sa Sto. Tomas, kundi sa busong probinsiya ng Batangas (We thought, what else can we do to better the lives of more LGBT people, not only in Sto. Tomas, but in the whole province of Batangas)?” said Rusty Dela Cruz.
This led to the formation of Batangas Pride-LGBT Alliance of Batangas Province, which eyes to unite “as much as possible the LGBT communities in the 31 municipalities and three cities of the province. “Naniniwala kami na kung magiging kaisa namin (sila), alam naming magtatagumpay kami (We believe that if we unify them, we’d succeed),” Dela Cruz said.
As is common in community organizing, this has not necessarily been easy, with a major challenge facing the organization “convincing already existing organizations to ally,” Dela Cruz said. “But I tell them that there’s strength in working as one, and this is a good way ng pagpapalakas ng boses ng LGBT community sa buong probinsya ng Batangas (to strengthen the voice of the LGBT community in the entire province of Batangas).”
Dela Cruz also said that this is a good way to promote the anti-discrimination ordinance of the province.
The group already has 10 LGBT organizations that are members, with community organizing now a priority to increase the membership.
“Kung mas marami kami ay mas malakas ang aming boses at kami ay maririnig at maintindihan ng mga taong hindi naniniwala sa aming adbokasiya at hindi naniniwalang mayroon kaming magagawa katuwang ang lokal na pamahalaan sa pag-unlad ng ating pamayanan (If there are more of us, our voice is louder and we will be better heard and understood particularly by the people who doubt our advocacy and not believe that there are things we can do to help the local government in the betterment of society),” Dela Cruz ended.
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