Sometime in January 2012, a group of gay and transgender Davaoeños formed the Boulevard League of Gays (otherwise known as BLOG) as a move for them to give hand to each other. “Ang mga bayot man gud, kung mu-sakit, wala’y mu-tabang (When gay men get sick, no one helps them),” said BLOG’s Melai Pabilan.
The group’s target people, as their name suggests, are those from Boulevard in Davao City.
That the help needed may – at times – just be small, such as “tambal sa sakit sa lawas (medicine for body pains),” as Melai put it, the push was for empowerment. “Na-huna-huna sa leaders sa grupo nga maayo nga tabangan na lang sa mga bayot ang laing bayot (BLOG’s leaders got to thinking that gays could help each other).”
In just a few months, the group’s membership grew, so that it now has approximately 100 members, with at least 50 of them “very active in all the efforts nga gina-himo namo (that we do).”
Also, the group’s focus has broadened. “Dili na lang taga-Boulevard amoang members (Our members are no longer only from Boulevard),” Melai said, with the group’s members also coming from Agdao, Sada and the likes. “Ga-daghan na giyud (We’re really growing).”
The efforts of the group have diversified, too.
Among others, they have provided libreng gupitan (free haircut in the community), held a sportsfest, and facilitated networking for the group to come together.
Arguably more substantially, BLOG is attempting to look after the health status of its members, particularly when dealing with HIV, through the provision of basic HIV information, as well as the referral of cases as needed to the right bodies. The importance of facing HIV is important, since “dako giyud ni nga problema (this is really a big problem) – we had positive members,” Melai said. “If we can help them, then maayo (good).”
According to Melai, for BLOG, there remain challenges. For instance, “usahay, labad ang mga members – sila mismo sige’g away (At times, some members fight with each other),” Melai said. And then “we all have various responsibilities, thus focuses – mga full-time job, busy sa parlor, raket… (some members have full-time jobs, run beauty parlors, sideline…).”
But Melai said that “we encourage for the members to work things out, and to be active within the group, because at the end of the day, the group exists for them.”
With this, BLOG has become a family of sorts; and it intends to continue growing as such.
For more information, coordinate with Melai Pabilan at (+63) 9184041296.