Kris Alcantara Pasion became an LGBTQI advocate “only” in 2014, she said, after noting that “while in the Philippines being LGBTQI is not criminalized (like in other parts of the world), LGBTQI individuals here still continue to face discrimination and prejudice. The Philippine society itself – and as a whole – does not guarantee us equal protection (of our human rights), so that we are being discriminated against continuously, judged, marginalized and neglected. This inspired me to be an advocate because I really feel the needs and feelings of my fellow LGBTQI people.”
Kris’s advocacy led to her helming the Candon City LGBT Pride Council.
The progress made by the local LGBTQI community in Candon can’t be underestimated. Though the country continues to lack a national law that protects the human rights of LGBTQI Filipinos, in 2014, Candon City passed an anti-discrimination ordinance.
“When Candon City did this, it became the first city in Northern Ilocandia to have its ADO,” Kris said. With this, “we are truly proud (to say) that we are not only culturally celebrated but also politically recognized.”
NOT that having the ADO automatically means everything is already perfect, admitted Kris.
To start, even the LGBTQI community continues to be in disarray. And this perhaps affects actual representation.
Of course “it really disappoints me seeing how local LGBTQI people continue not to be (widely) recognized,” Kris said. It is thus “not surprising that we don’t always get the support system (we deserve).” This is also why “I always say that we should focus on LGBTQI empowerment (for the) protection of our rights as human beings, and recognition of our real worth as persons.”
With an ADO and a Pride council empowered by this very ADO, it is this that Kris now eyes to deal with – “To ensure that our voices are included in decisions made also affecting us, LGBTQI people from Candon,” Kris said. “I say for us to all work for a common goal; let us all be united as we continue touching the lives of others, particularly LGBTQI people who are in need of our helping hand.”