Del Domingo can still recall when she started becoming an advocate for the rights of LGBTQIA people in the Philippines. “(It was) when I attended the Metro Manila Pride March in 2007; it was my first time. My friend Raffy Aquino insisted that I should join. I did enjoy (it), and I got to know more about LGBT rights,” she said.
Looking back, though, Del could also recall how she encountered discrimination “back when I was a kid”. And this gave her the “urge to push for my rights. I thought I was alone in this fight, so I couldn’t do much but keep silent and just let things pass. But as I grew older and wiser, I slowly began to discover that I have the right to live my life to the fullest. From then on, when I met new people, I learned from them a lot.”
For Del, “discrimination is what pushes me to become an advocate.”
And so she is inspired by “people I met in the LGBT community who inspired me, and gives me the strength to promote and push for gender equality and sensitivity.”
Del believes that there are key issues that the LGBTQIA community in the Philippines should focus on.
“There are a lot of issues in the LGBT community,” she said. “Heterosexual people assume that we (members of the LGBTQIA community) live happy lives inside our community, but little do they know that there’s also discrimination among our fellow LGBT brothers and sisters, and this is a bad thing. I think we need to focus on stopping discrimination inside our community before pushing for LGBT rights.”
Del added: “It would be a shame if we are pushing for (the passage of an) anti-discrimination bill, and yet discrimination also occurs in our community.”
Del finds it disappointing that there are LGBTQIA people who “do not want to open their minds to realize their rights, to educate themselves, and to join in supporting (the push) for our rights.”
And yet, for Del, there are bright spots.
“I’m inspired by people who motivate others in creating awareness,” she said. “I’m always motivated whenever I see people working together for the good of the LGBT community. I love it when everybody cooperates well. Isn’t it amazing, how every Pride March you see all of these people coming from different cities and provinces just to show how united we are as a community? And the need to show society how we are also important, and are deserving of human rights.”
And so, in helping with LGBTQIA advocacy in the Philippines, “I’m taking things one step at a time,” Del said, adding that it is already an achievement being “an active supporter of various LGBT organizations.”
Because for Del, this is a good start, and “pushing for LGBT and rights will always be my long term goal,” she ended.