Even as many publications consider downsizing supposedly because the Internet is fast replacing newspapers, magazines and other forms of print media, Outrage Magazine is going in the opposite direction by releasing a print issue.
In time for the Pride celebration this 2016, Outrage Magazine has “gone back to the basics,” said Michael David dela Cruz Tan, editor of the only exclusively LGBT publication in the Philippines, “to further broaden LGBT-related discourses that are currently often metropolitan-centric to include those at the grassroots.”
OLD + NEW = RIGHT APPROACH
Even if the Philippines is largely considered as the “social networking capital of the world,” only a third of Filipinos actually have access to the Internet. According to the 2014 edition of the State of Broadband report of the United Nations, only 37% of Filipinos were able to use the Internet in 2013, below the world average of 37.9%; the country placed 106th out of 191 countries evaluated in the same report.
Internet connection in the Philippines continues to get flak, too, largely considered the worst in Asia.
OutrageMag.com – the publication’s online persona, which was established in 2007 – now gets on average north of 15 million monthly hits. But “we also know we can – and should – do better as we continue our attempts to reach out to as many LGBT Filipinos as we possibly can,” Tan said. “And so pairing up newer and older forms of media only makes sense.”
EMPOWERING THE GRASSROOTS
Beyond the figures, though, are “the stories of LGBT Filipinos that need to be told; and the existing online format may not always be the ‘ideal’ form in telling them,” Tan said, adding that “when discussing the LGBT movement in the Philippines, the moment you step out of metropolitan areas, the advocacy becomes a different beast altogether.”
For instance, Metro Manilans consider as somewhat of a norm the use of social networks to push LGBT rights; but there are still provinces that do not even have electricity, so that Internet access (thus the use of these social networks) remains a foreign concept. And then there’s the problem with terminologies – those in metropolitan areas already talk about transgender issues, while many in far-flung areas have not even heard of “transgender”.
Most of the recognized LGBT leaders are also from metropolitan areas, and often, it is their voices that are heard (e.g. they get access to funds from donor agencies, they get scholarship to attend gatherings supposedly to represent the entire LGBT community, and so on).
“What is unfortunate is that there are actually already efforts done outside of the metros, with many of these efforts even more successful than those done in metros. Consider that even the supposedly LGBT-friendly Quezon City only had an anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO), superseded by the cities of Davao, Angeles and Cebu,” Tan said.
This move, Tan said, is not to “hold one as better than the other. Instead, it is to link them, thereby: 1) ensuring that LGBT-related information reaches even those who are unable to access Internet; and 2) giving voice to both those in the metros and those outside the metros re LGBT representation.
“We recognize the inter-connection of the two, and we advocate that we focus on both. The LGBT movement has too many issues to deal with, and segregation will only harm us. That we can use as many hands as we can get never rang truer than now,” Tan said.
BROADENING THE REACH
According to John Ryan N. Mendoza, managing editor of Outrage Magazine, this move is also a “leveling up.”
“This move also allows us to further reach out to allies in the academe, media, government and even churches. We see this as a tool to educate non-LGBT people in these institutions on the continuing struggle for equal rights of LGBT people in the country vis-a-vis the added burden of other forms of structural oppression, such as poverty, unjust wages and labor practices, lack of access to basic social services and other human rights violations,” Mendoza said.
The Pride issue deals with, among others, continuing push of the LGBT community to have a law that will protect the human rights of LGBT Filipinos (whether this is relevant or not, considering the emergence of anti-discrimination ordinances in lieu of the national policy); LGBT-accepting faith-based organization via the Metropolitan Community Church in Quezon City; local LGBT leaders who help make change happen in different parts of the Philippines (even if they are not largely considered as “celebrities”); continuing problems faced by members of the LGBT community who also happen to be HIV-positive; LGBT-accepting venues; and LGBT love stories that prove that love is, indeed, genderless.
Outrage Magazine was supported by the Church of Sweden and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines; and Michelle Marie C. Tan-Kennedy.
Outrage Magazine is circulated for FREE via select LGBT organizations all over the Philippines.
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