By Arthur Yap
In life, there is always a combination of good and bad experiences. Well, with my story, it’s a combination of both. Deciding to come out publicly whether in school or at work can be one of the most challenging life events for LGBTI people.
Nothing is more important than being positive about your sexuality. Learning to accept yourself is the 1st step in coming out as a gay. I know that not everyone is ready to let go of the old prejudices, but by coming out and being a visible member of the community or in your school, you are making a difference in creating social change and acceptance.
In the context of the Philippines, schools, colleges and universities are bounded by religious influence. I came from a Catholic university when I was in high school. I also experience stigma and discrimination. But in order to fight the discrimination, I decided to come out publicly, speaking in front of all the students and faculty at my school. In my speech, I used colloquial language and a bit of humor. I put all my heart on that speech.
At the end of the speech, I was shocked by the unanimous standing applause and seemingly never ending series of hugs. I was moved by the reactions of my peers and teachers. Their response assured me that my decision to publicly come out was not a mistake.
In pushing for a SOGIE-inclusive education, we have to take not that is should be gender sensitive, age-appropriate and human rights-based.
Lastly, be proud of who you are. And remember that in speaking up for yourself, you have begun a lifelong movement towards a better society. And always believe that by just being yourself, you are destined to make a difference.
My name is Arthur.
I am a Filipino.
I am proud to be a queer.