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United Lesbians of Davao: Uniting for a cause

The United Lesbians of Davao was only established this September, but it already has numerous achievements – e.g. outreach activities. “We established United Lesbians of Davao because we felt the need to have a group that will give us a voice,” says Astrid Joy D. Padillo, co-founder of the group. But with this group, “we’re not only creating an organization; we’re creating a culture that is more civic conscious.”

The United Lesbians of Davao was only established in September (“September 28, to be exact,” said Astrid Joy D. Padillo, co-founder). But “considering it’s new, we’re proud to say we’ve done many (things) already.”

The “achievements” – if we may – are because of the core reason for existence of the organization.

“We established United Lesbians of Davao because we felt the need to have a group that will give us a voice,” Padillo said.

And so – with her partner Ziekent dela Pena – United Lesbians of Davao came into being as a “group of civic-minded lesbians” in these parts of the Philippines.

Mind you, there have been other “groups” of lesbians (as well as transmen) that existed in Davao in the past, so Padillo said that they’re not exactly “pioneering”. But what sets the United Lesbians of Davao apart is its focus on “not just the partying.”

“In Davao, at least, the concept, the sense of a (lesbian) group is to belong to a ‘clan’*,” Padillo said. “There already exist groups for lesbians, but these are known to be just for dating.”

With the United Lesbians of Davao, therefore, “we’re not only creating an organization; we’re creating a culture that is more civic conscious.”

When the organization was started, “we did the reaching out through Facebook, and we started with (our) friends.”

There were 20 initial members, though this soon grew to 70.

“We’re trying to filter the members,” Padillo said. “We want for the members to be involved.”

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Padillo added – with emphasis: “If they’re looking for a dating group, then this isn’t the one for them.”

Already, United Lesbians of Davao has done numerous outreach activities – from reaching out to impoverished children to raising funds for homeless seniors. And “the intention is to continuously get engaged,” Padillo said.

There are challenges, of course. For one, “people don’t know us yet.” Secondly, “even as we grow our membership, we have to deal with ‘acceptance’ – that is, we have members who are not out, so they can’t even be seen involved in our efforts.” And thirdly, particularly because they’re very new, “we don’t have connections; even the LGBT community does not know of us.”

But Padillo said these are challenges they intend to face head-on, particularly as they intend to show to the community that “lesbians in Davao are here, and we’re (integral) in building society.”

For those who want to link up with United Lesbians of Davao, and to those who want to join/be part of the organization, contact Astrid Joy D. Padillo via the organization’s Facebook page; or call/send SMS to (+63) 936-429-7878.

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