Mirroring the mainstream Pinoy fascination with beauty pageants, the Deaf LGBT community is slated to crown the 2017 Miss Deaf Queen Philippines come December 2 in Cebu City.
Organized by the Pinoy Deaf Rainbow (PDR), the pioneering Deaf LGBT organization in the Philippines, with TransDeaf Philippines and Deaf Dykes United, the 2017 iteration of MDQP will be part of the 1st Visayas Pride Festival and 4th LGBT National Conference, organized by Cebu City-based Bisdak Pride Inc. with Outrage Magazine, the only LGBT publication in the Philippines. This is the first time that all these events will be held outside imperial Metro Manila.
According to Disney Aguila, who helms TransDeaf Philippines and is co-organizer of 2017 MDQP, “many may not give much credence to beauty queens. But – particularly in the case of Deaf LGBT Filipinos – we continue to be under-represented, so any means of exposing our issues to mainstream society matter.
As it is, differently-abled people continue to be under-serviced exactly because of under-representation, so that even projects that are supposed to benefit them are token in nature. Former versions of the anti-discrimination bill (ADB), for example, specifically mentioned “persons with disability”, but its author/s and LGBT leaders who pushed for this failed (with some even refusing) to have that same bill translated to Filipino Sign Language (FSL) for the Deaf community to understand the same. There are also no FSL interpreters for Deaf men who have sex with men who want to get HIV testing.
“At least (particularly) in terms of representation and getting image of us out there, we hope for the next queen to at least help do this for us,” Aguila said. “Representation is always a (small) step to eventually get our issues out.”