When Ladlad Caraga Inc. was founded in January 2009, the group’s intentions were admittedly – in the words of founder Ysang Semacio Bacasmas – simplistic. “It was established so there is a group that will hold Miss Gay beauty pageants in our locality,” Ysang admitted. But that initial impetus was soon replaced by the more socially aware drive to be more relevant to the lesbian, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of Caraga, as “we aimed to be a leading group in pushing for social acceptance of LGBTs, and conducting of public services to both LGBTs and the mainstream population.”
Not that the shift was easy.
“Many cisgender people see LGBTs as leaders in various industries – from entertainment to social services. And yet, there are those who still do not recognize our merits, thereby remaining not accepting of us,” Ysang said. “We still face discrimination.”
But Ladlad Caraga Inc. is not losing spirit. In fact, it confronts the challenges head-on.
“We have numerous efforts that we hope will help empower LGBTs, while also help teach acceptance of LGBTs,” Ysang said. For instance, for LGBTs, the group hosts the Miss Maanyag beauty pageant, which is the leading such pageant in Butuan and Caraga, providing a venue for gays and transgenders to gather; and there are information dissemination drives on LGBT rights. A more mainstream effort is the hosting of the Showtime Barracks, with Ladlad Caraga Inc. helping produce Loverkadakids, the grand champion of the show who represented the locality in the nationwide talent search Pilipinas Got Talent (third season).
There are numerous plans lined-up by the group, including the filing of an anti-discrimination ordinance in Caraga to push for the equal treatment of LGBTs. “We hope that eventually we’ll help unite the local LGBTs,” Ysang said, “as we continue eyeing for LGBT acceptance and ridding of discrimination.”
LGBTs in Butuan City and Caraga Region are welcome to join Ladlad Caraga Inc., now the leading and the only registered LGBT organization in Caraga Region. To join, those interested must register; and once accepted, members are obliged to be active and attend the meetings and activities. of the group.
For more information, call/SMS Ysang Semacio Bacasmas at (+63) 9309239497 or (+6385) 3416505; or visit https://www.facebook.com/ladladcaraga.