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Bahaghari, LGBTQIA students lobby for gender-inclusive uniform, grooming policies in EARIST

According to reports, EARIST will not admit transgender students who will not abide by its grooming policy, which states that students with a legal sex written as male must sport short hair. In another case, a student experienced bullying from a teacher who said that they “look like someone with HIV/AIDS”.

Photo by Joseph Chan from Unsplash.com

LGBTQIA students of Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) launched a silent protest to campaign for gender-inclusive uniform and grooming policies in the university.

Backed by LGBTQIA organization BAHAGHARI, the students also submitted a report to the school administration compiling alleged discrimination cases they have received over the past few weeks.

“Schools are students’ second home. Thus, it must be a place of inclusivity and understanding. Transgender and gender-nonconforming students who experienced discrimination from teachers in EARIST must instead be embraced, and the university’s repressive and backward uniform and grooming rules must be scrapped in place of a gender-inclusive policy,” said Arri Samsico, Bahaghari Secretary General.

According to the allegations of the students, the school administration of EARIST will not admit transgender students who will not abide by its grooming policy, which states that students with a legal sex written as male must sport short hair. In another case, a student alleged experiencing bullying from a teacher who said that they “look like someone with HIV/AIDS”.

“Backward uniform and grooming policies have no scientific basis that can be linked to students’ academic ability. In actuality, students, especially those who are members of the LGBTQIA community, perform better in schools when they can freely express themselves without fear of discrimination from their peers and their teachers,” said Samsico.

For Bahaghari, “this is but one of our many fights we will vow to stand firm in. We have achieved historic victories in changing policies in different schools in the Philippines such as Capiz State University, where we helped develop a technical working group to ensure that uniform and grooming policies enshrine the right to self-expression of its student as a human right. We work in earnest now in the hopes that we achieve this in EARIST and in all other academic institutions in the Philippines,” Samsico ended.

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