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Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista orders listing of LGBT gov’t employees

Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista signed a memorandum directing all heads of City Hall departments and offices to submit a list of all employees who identify themselves as belonging to the LGBT community. The same memorandum, however, fails to deal with forced outing, an issue still plaguing the LGBT community.

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GOOD – YET MISGUIDED – INTENTION?

Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista signed a memorandum directing all heads of City Hall departments and offices to submit a list of all employees – whether permanent, contractual or with job orders — who identify themselves as belonging to the LGBT community. This move is said to be aligned withCity Ordinance 2357-2014, otherwise known as The Quezon City Gender-Fair Ordinance.

According to The Quezon City Gender-Fair Ordinance, it is the policy of the Quezon City government “to actively work for the elimination of all forms of discrimination that violate the equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution, existing laws, and The Yogyakarta Principles; and to value the dignity of every person, guarantee full respect for human rights and give the highest priority to measures that protect and enhance the right of all people; regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).”

In his memorandum, Bautista stated that “the purpose of the said list is for registration, profiling and inclusion for (sic) the Quezon City Transgender Employees and Gay Association (QC TEGA).”

The same memorandum, however, fails to deal with forced outing, which is an issue that continues to plague the LGBT community, and even in places – such as Quezon City – with anti-discrimination ordinances (ADOs).

The deadline set for the submission of this list is on 15 September.

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LIVING HISTORY

Living History: Impetus of LGBTQIA movement in Phl

The 1990s saw the formation of numerous LGBTQIA organizations in the Philippines, many of them championing LGBTQIA-related issues. So the 1990s may be when at least an impetus of the LGBTQIA movement emerged in the country. 

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PHOTO TAKEN FROM THE HOME FOR THE GOLDEN GAYS

Formalized organizing.

As Michael L. Tan noted, as early as the 1960s-1970s, (particularly) gay men already formed organizations, albeit these were non-political. The 1970s, in fact, saw the formation of Kakasarian, a group that had members who were middle-class professionals who sought to champion gay rights. This group folded after less than a year, supposedly because bakla themselves did not see the need to fight for gay rights (Tan, 2001). The Home for the Golden Gays (then just called The Golden Gays) also marks its beginning in the 1970s.

Fast forward to the 1990s, when the formation of LGBTQIA organizations became prevalent. It is worth noting that during this period, championing LGBTQIA-related issues (among others) gave birth to many of these organizations, and then drove these organizations’ existence.

In fact, just prior to the first Pride march in 1994, various LGBTQIA organizations were already formed in the Philippines, so the 1990s may be when at least an impetus of the LGBTQIA movement emerged in the country.

Living History: Phl makes history with first Pride March in 1994

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but perhaps among the most noteworthy include:

  • ProGay Philippines, which was founded in 1993.
  • Metropolitan Community Church (which held its first mass in the Philippines in 1991) was established in 1992.
  • University of the Philippines (UP) Babaylan, the oldest LGBT student organization in the Philippines, was established also in 1992.

The spread of HIV helped galvanize the gay community in Western countries.  This similarly happened in the Philippines with the establishment of two Metro Manila-based NGOs, i.e.

  • The Library Foundation (then TLF) was established in 1990.
  • Remedios AIDS Foundation (though serving the general population, not just MSM) was established in 1991.
  • Katlo was established in 1992.
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As per Michael L. Tan, most of the members of these organizations were self-identifying as “gay” and were conscious about building a gay community (Tan, 1995).

TLF, in particular, received funding from USAID to start the first HIV/AIDS prevention program for men who have sex with men (MSM) in the country. The work of TLF brought MSM to the attention of the government so that when the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) was established in 1995, it allocated one seat for MSM. TLF eventually became the TLF Sexuality, Health and Rights Educators Collective Inc. (TLF SHARE Collective).

Notable lesbian organizations that emerged in the 1990s included:

  • Metro Manila-based CLIC (Cannot Live In a Closet)
  • Lesbian Advocates Philippines (LeAP!)
  • Lesbond (based in Baguio City)

Tan earlier noted that in the 1990s, compared with gay men’s groups, the lesbian movement had a “comparatively low profile… and yet it (was) able to move with such unity” (Tan, 2001).

Sources:

Tan, M.L. (1995). Tita Aida and Emerging Communities of Gay Men: Two Case Studies from Metro Manila, the Philippines. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services. The Haworth Press Inc. Vol. 3(3), 31-38.

Tan, M.L. (2001). Survival Through Pluralism: Emerging Gay Communities in the Philippines. Gay and Lesbian Asia: Culture, Identity, Community. Gerard Sullivan & Peter A. Jackson (Eds.). The Haworth Press Inc. 117-142.

UNDP, USAID (2014). “Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippines Country Report.” Bangkok.

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LIVING HISTORY

Living History: Phl makes history with first Pride March in 1994

On June 26, 1994, ProGay Philippines and Metropolitan Community Church helmed a march in Quezon City. Dubbed as “Stonewall Manila” or as “Pride Revolution”, it was held in remembrance of the Stonewall Inn Riots and coincided with a bigger march against the imposition of the Value Added Tax (VAT). With this, the Philippines gained the distinction of being the first country in Asia and the Pacific to host a Pride-related march.

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Aside from Fr. Richard Mickley, Oscar Atadero - then of ProGay Philippines - helped make the first LGBT Pride March in the Philippines happen, along with the likes of Murphy Red, et al.

On June 26, 1994, ProGayPhilippines (Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines), with the likes of Oscar Atadero and Murphy Red, and backed by Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) under the leadership of then Pastor Richard Mickley, held a march at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

This march – even dubbed as “Stonewall Manila” or as “Pride Revolution” according to various accounts – was held in remembrance of the Stonewall Inn Riots since 1994 marked the 25th year since the “modern” lesbian and gay movement “started”, thanks to the Stonewall Inn Riot in New York.

But it also coincided with a bigger march against the imposition of the Value Added Tax (VAT) in the Philippines.

Some actually contest whether this was really a “Pride March”, considering that: 1. it was not well-documented; and 2. even if a march happened, the issues raised were not only LGBTQIA-specific.

But – to start – if Pride as it is currently known marks the Stonewall Inn Riots, then this march, as an endeavor that did that, obviously qualified. Also, even with the reliance on mainstream media for most of the documentation in those days, the march actually received ample media attention. Lastly, for the organizers of that first march, the broadened approach actually “symbolized not only the solidarity of the LGBTQIA community but also LGBTQIA community members’ participation in mainstream social and economic issues.” The latter point remains valid now, particularly with the call to start looking at intersections within the LGBTQIA community, as well as with other minority sectors.

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Interviewed by Patrick King Pascual for Outrage Magazine, Mickley recalled that “there was no interference or harassment along the way, but a lot of noise and shouting in the ranks of the 50 or so marchers.” Nonetheless, the move was considered needed because “we recognized that we now had open, not closeted, organizations. But the movement was still quiet or unknown. We felt we needed a (local) Stonewall”.

The impetus for organizing LGBTQI Pride in the Phl

As the small group of LGBT organizations marched along Quezon Avenue to Quezon Memorial Circle, they were confronted by the park police and was asked, “Where are you are you going?”

“We had no assembly permit. We sat by the roadside until the activists of ProGay ironed out the stumbling block. (After it was settled), we made our way to an assembly area with a stage,” Mickley said.

But in the end, “the first Pride March brought a publicity breakthrough. The purpose of the Pride March was realized – (to show) that the gay and lesbian people of the Philippines are real people, and they are not freaks in a closet,” Mickley said.

In the end, “that first Pride March brought a publicity breakthrough. The purpose of the Pride March was realized – (to show) that the gay and lesbian people of the Philippines are real people, and they are not freaks in a closet,” Mickley said.

And with this very first march, the Philippines gained the distinction of being the first country in Asia and the Pacific to host a Pride-related march.

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Sources:

Pascual, P.K. (2018).   The impetus for organizing LGBTQI Pride in the Phl. Outrage Magazine.

UNDP, USAID (2014). “Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippines Country Report.” Bangkok.

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LIVING HISTORY

Living History: Emergence of LGBTQIA-related writing in Phl

Toward the end of the 1980s and into the early 1990s, the awareness of and on LGBTQIA Filipinos continued to grow. Helping increase particularly gay awareness, for instance, were the release of literary mats on this.

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The rainbow ink cometh.

Toward the end of the 1980s and into the early 1990s, the awareness of and on LGBTQIA Filipinos continued to grow.

And helping increase particularly gay awareness, for instance, were the release of literary mats on this.

Good examples include:

  • In 1994, Ladlad was released as an anthology of Philippine gay writing. It was edited by Danton Remoto and J. Neil Garcia.
  • In 1993, A Different Love: Being Gay in the Philippines was published by Dr. Margarita Go-Singco Holmes.
  • In 1998, Tibok was released as an anthology of lesbian writing.
  • In 1999, a lesbian primer was released by CLIC (Cannot Live In a Closet).
  • In 1999, ManilaOUT opened as the first LGBT newspaper in the Philippines. It was published by Bayani Santos Jr., with Fr. Richard Mickley serving as editor in chief.

The 1990s also saw the mainstreaming of LGBTQIA-related writing, with LGBTQIA people writing in mainstream media (perhaps a good distinction is being open about their SOGIE while doing so).

Also starting then, and this time from the academe, studies of the likes of Michael L. Tan also saw publication, providing insights particularly into the emerging communities of gay men. Meanwhile, a glimpse of the plight of members of the LGBTQIA community in southern Philippines was provided in 1997 with the release of an ethnographic study that focused on the experience of 40 parloristas (gay males or transwomen working in beauty parlors) from Sulu in Mindanao. This study highlighted the evolving notions of SOGIE, said to be both informed by Western concepts and yet affected by local sensibilities (Johnson, 1997).

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Sources:

Johnson, M. (1997). Beauty and Power: Transgendering and Cultural Transformation in the Southern Philippines (Explorations in Anthropology). Oxford & New York: Berg Publishers.

UNDP, USAID (2014). “Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippines Country Report.” Bangkok.

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LIVING HISTORY

Living History: 1992 as ‘turning point for lesbian activism’ in Phl

In 1992, a lesbian contingent, called Lesbian Collective, joined the International Women’s Day march. It was the first demonstration attended by an organized sector from the LGBTQIA community in the Philippines.

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Power to the lesbians.

In 1992, what is considered “an important turning point for lesbian activism” (Mohideen, 1996) happened in the Philippines when a lesbian contingent, called Lesbian Collective, joined the International Women’s Day march in March of that year.

This made a mark in our history, as it was the first demonstration attended by an organized sector from the LGBTQIA community in the Philippines.

Sources:

Mohideen, R. (1996 May). Lesbian movement emerges in the Philippines. Green Left Weekly (Issue 230).

UNDP, USAID (2014). “Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippines Country Report.” Bangkok.

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LIVING HISTORY

Living History: How int’l exposure affected local LGBTQI concepts

It goes without saying that our current LGBTQIA-related concepts were greatly influenced by international media and local reinterpretations of LGBTQI people who spent time overseas. This “development” also reflects the social divide from within the LGBTQI community, with the “society’s class stratification being reproduced in the gay scene”.

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Patterned after what we see.

It goes without saying that our current LGBTQIA-related concepts were greatly influenced by international media (and, according to Michael L. Tan, local reinterpretations of LGBTQI people who spent time overseas).

If the practice in the past was for a gay guy to only sleep with a hetero-identifying man (because having sex with another gay guy is said to be tantamount to “lesbianism”), then changes started to happen. In the 1980s, for instance, gay men exposed to the Western notion of “gay” started having relationships with other gay men, instead of with heterosexual-identifying men, as the bakla used to do (Tan, 2001).

Living History: ‘Conceptual history’ of gay culture in Phl started in the 1960s

This “development” actually reflected the social divide from within the LGBTQI community. Particularly, since many of these gay men belonged to the middle- or upper middle-class, this marked what Tan described as the “Philippine society’s class stratification being reproduced in the gay scene” (Tan, 2001).

Incidentally, this “patterning” continues to this day.

Sources:

Tan, M.L. (2001). Survival Through Pluralism: Emerging Gay Communities in the Philippines. Gay and Lesbian Asia: Culture, Identity, Community. Gerard Sullivan & Peter A. Jackson (Eds.). The Haworth Press Inc. 117-142.

UNDP, USAID (2014). “Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippines Country Report.” Bangkok.

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LIVING HISTORY

Living History: ‘Conceptual history’ of gay culture in Phl started in the 1960s

The bakla have actually been organized since the 1960s in the Philippines, usually as neighborhood organizations with low-income members, and mainly to provide entertainment. And so it can be argued that the 1960s was when the conceptual history of Philippine gay culture started.

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PHOTO TAKEN FROM THE HOME FOR THE GOLDEN GAYS

No, darlings (or as they say, ‘mga mahal’), the LGBTQIA “community” did not start with “us”.

The bakla have actually been organized for many years in the Philippines, usually as neighborhood organizations with low-income members. Of course, it is worth noting that these organizations functioned mainly to provide entertainment (Tan, 2001). One such community association was Sining Kayumanggi Royal Family, established in 1968 to hold parties, including beauty pageants.

And so it can be argued that the 1960s was when the conceptual history of Philippine gay culture started.

It was also around that time when swardspeak/gayspeak/baklese emerged. This is said to be the “‘subcultural lingo’ of urban gay men that uses elements from Tagalog, English, Spanish and Japanese, as well as celebrities’ names and trademark brands” (Ricordeau, 2009).

It was also at that time when homosexuality-related writings that were Philippine-centric were published, including those from Victor Ganmboa and Henry Feenstra, and Lee Sechrest and Luis Flores (Garcia, 2008).

The bakla presence continued into the 1970s, when many bakla entered niche industries like fashion and entertainment (and where many continue to belong).

Also at that time, gay men called Kakasarian formed a group that had members who were middle-class professionals. Now get this: the group was actually formed to champion gay rights. Unfortunately, this group folded after less than a year, supposedly because bakla themselves did not see the need to fight for gay rights (Tan, 2001).

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The discourse on the “third sex” at that time also included the lesbians (Garcia, 2008).

Sources:

Garcia, J.N.C. (2008). Philippine Gay Culture: Binabae to Bakla, Silahis to MSM. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

Ricordeau. G. (2009 February). Review of “Philippine Gay Culture: Binabae to Bakla, Silahis to MSM”.  Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, Issue 19.

Tan, M.L. (2001). Survival Through Pluralism: Emerging Gay Communities in the Philippines. Gay and Lesbian Asia: Culture, Identity, Community. Gerard Sullivan & Peter A. Jackson (Eds.). The Haworth Press Inc. 117-142.

UNDP, USAID (2014). “Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippines Country Report.” Bangkok.

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