RAQUEL S. GACHO
Board Member, GALANG Inc.
Unit Manager, GMA Network Inc.
“I have a gay brother who took care of me since I was four years old,” recalls Raquel S. Gacho, unit manager (music research and production) of GMA Network Inc. “He took in odd jobs to help my parents send me and my siblings to school.” The same brother, at that time, “was living on his own since he was 19 because my father didn’t want to accept him.”
And though “all is fine now, my brother and father are in good terms now, understandably, I admire him for striving to be where he is now, despite the obstacles that he had to go through. I thank him for inspiring me to be me, and be the best that I can be in my chosen field (music research).”It is, thus, no wonder that Gacho ended up becoming an LGBT advocate, as a Board Member of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Network for Gender Equality Inc. (GALANG), which is dedicated to assisting vulnerable Filipino LGBTs become ‘conscienticized’ and empowered members of society.
“It started August of 2008, when I attended the GALANG launch. I’ve attended a number of exclusive parties that made me think and assess what I can do to give back more to the community than the simple P150 that I spend for the entrance fee. I have been blessed, and I figured it’s about time to pay it forward and reach out to a group that would take in a newbie like me,” Gacho says, adding that a month after that realization (and contact with GALANG), “I was invited by GALANG to become part of their board, and I accepted right away.”
A graduate of AB Communication Arts from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, Laguna (1986-1990 – where she was also a member of the Sigma Delta Phi Sorority), Gacho started working as a marketing manager cum feature writer of People’s Magazine Inc. (1990-1991), multitasking by soliciting ad placements for the publication while also responsible for the layout and writing of the features and showbiz section.
Her true calling beckoned, though, as she got a chance to work as a music researcher for ABS-CBN (1995-1997), assisting the head of music in all the musical shows of the network, and maintaining and archiving the music library of the network. She eventually became head of the music research department (1997-2002), handling all noontime musical variety shows by conceptualizing themed production numbers for such programs as ASAP and MTB.
While Gacho also had experiences in, among others, the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, having worked as customer/sales service associate of West Contact Services (2007) and Convergys Inc. (2006-2007), she found a home at GMA Network Inc. – first as a music researcher (2002-2004), organizing the rented libraries of the network, and responsible for the use of popular music as themes for Chinovelas; and, subsequently, as unit manager for music research and production (2004 to the present), responsible for providing music for GMA’s on-air plugs and program body, increasing knowledge on network-wide proper music use, and helping build the original music library by producing three commissioned works in one year.
For Gacho, as far as advocating LGBT issues are concerned, “the major challenge would be finding people to believe in GALANG’s cause, enough for them to give us funding for us to execute our projects,” she says, adding that “we’ve had a number of fund raising activities, and have sent proposals to organizations abroad – but if push comes to shove, we become the funders ourselves and try to make do with what we can provide.”
It doesn’t help that “if I am to give one (thing that is disappointing in the LGBT community, it) would be the issues that members of the community have against one another. This makes working together difficult, (yet) exciting at the same time,” she adds.
Gacho is, nonetheless, “very optimistic that we will pull this off and get things done in no time. The focus and passion that most of the people in the community have in achieving goals that we set which makes existing issues and differences trivial.”
For the activist, many LGBT activists have already done a lot to better the LGBT community’s status. “Most groups in the LGBT community have done, and still continue to do projects to educate, empower, and inspire. For me, access to a support group such as this is more than enough to better our situation. The rest of course is up to the individual,” Gacho says.
Gacho believes that the LGBT community still has to “get our LGBT act together nationwide for us to be recognized. We may be big in numbers but if we don’t work towards a common goal, it’s useless.”
This unity is most important in pushing for legal recognition, because “we can go to the streets all we want, hold as many gatherings as we can, but without legalities, we do not exist,” Gacho says. “Sad to say that our government is busy with a lot of things, which are important, as well. But until laws are drafted by an LGBT for the LGBT community, it’s only then I can say that I am recognized and accepted.”
Gacho adds: “I’d say we still have a very long way to go mainly because in some countries, laws already exist that support LGBTs; here in the Philippines, we have yet to exist in law. Being heard is a major step that would lead to acceptance and, eventually, gender equality.”
The focus now, for Gacho, as it ought to be for the LGBT community as a whole, is to “take one day at a time,” she says. “Stay focused and never stop learning ways in giving more back to our community.”
VP Robredo extolls LGBTQIA community’s spirit; recognizes a lot of work still needs to be done
Vice President Leni Robredo expressed her support to the LGBTQIA community, even as she acknowledged that a lot of work still needs to be done, including passing an anti-discrimination law that will protect the human rights of LGBTQIA Filipinos.
Vice President Leni Robredo expressed her support to the LGBTQIA community, even as she acknowledged that even as the LGBTQIA community marks June as Pride month, a lot of work still needs to be done, including passing an anti-discrimination law that will protect the human rights of LGBTQIA Filipinos.
In a messages posted on her Facebook page, Robredo noted the uncertain times. “many of the things we once cherished and held on to are now being questioned and challenged,” she said in mixed Filipino and English. “Sa kabila nito, marami pa ring bagay ang di nagbabago at nagpapatuloy: tulad ng ating laban para sa patas na karapatan, dignidad at kalayaan.“
Robredo noted that “for many decades, the LGBTQIA+ community has been tirelessly fighting for equal rights and representation at the frontlines. It has provided a shelter to the oppressed, a voice to the marginalized, and a family to those who have been abandoned by their own communities. Ito ang dakilang ambag ng LGBTQIA+ community sa ating (b)ayan.”
She added: “Sa bawat Pride March na inyong inoorganisa, isang teenager ang mas nagiging proud na yakapin kung sino siya. Sa bawat awareness campaign na inyong sinisimulan, isang komunidad ang mas nagiging bukas ang isipan. At sa bawat pagpiglas ninyo sa tangkang pag-agaw ng ating mga kalayaan, isang bayan ang mas natututong lumaban.”
There are – nonetheless – members of the LGBTQIA community “who hold positions of power in our society”, such as lawyers, executives, doctors, educators, artists, policymakers and public servants. The VP hopes that they will “use your influence to change mindsets, promote acceptance, and push for reforms on the ground. Now more than ever, we need to set an example to the younger generation. Ipakita natin sa kanila, na wala silang dapat ipangamba at na malaya silang maging kung ano at sino sila,” Robredo said.
The VP similarly recognized that teaching people to open their minds may be challenging, but “huwag sana kayong panghinaan ng loob.”
She suggested doing small steps to push for Pride, including forming support groups; reaching out to the needy; and introducing concepts re SOGIESC to relatives who may not be well-versed on the same.
“Darating din ang araw na babalikan natin ang lahat ng ito at sasabihing, everything was worth the effort. Everything was worth the sacrifice. Everything worth the fight. Push lang ng push, mga besh,” Robredo added.
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach voices support for LGBTQIA community
Pia Wurtzbach said she’s making a stand so “that our friends and family in the LGBTQIA community have the right to take up space in our society… that their voices should be heard, that we don’t invalidate trans women as women.”
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach voiced her support for the LGBTQIA community.
Via an Instagram post, Wurtzbach said she’s making a stand so “that our friends and family in the LGBTQIA community have the right to take up space in our society… that their voices should be heard, that we don’t invalidate trans women as women.”
She added: “We can learn to accept these concepts by having a dialogue. By listening and understanding our differences. we will grow and uplift one another as one community in strengthening equality and diversity.”
View this post on Instagram
Learning is always a two-way process.. we listen as we understand each other’s points of view. This #PrideMonth, we stand for the rights and advocacies of the LGBTQIA+ community. 🏳️🌈 Being an ally is someone who gives a sense of a safe and affirming space for our loving community… Let’s provide higher platforms for community members to openly discuss issues and concerns that affect us. 🙏 Here we can discuss our differences and remind ourselves that we are together on this journey, and achieve our shared goals for equality. ❤ . I know we may differ in opinions today.. but our constant discourse will make our tomorrow better because we understand one another better. This will also enable our broader community, especially those with differing views, to ponder on things that matter to our fellowmen. . Let me just make a stand that our friends and family in the LGBTQIA+ community have the right to take up space in our society…that their voices should be heard, that we don’t invalidate trans women as women. We can learn to accept these concepts by having a dialogue. By listening and understanding our differences.. we will grow and uplift one another as one community in strengthening equality and diversity. 😊🙏❤ Happy Pride! 🥰🏳️🌈
Wurtzbach’s statement of support came after she co-hosted an online discussion involving Kevin Balot, who was crowned Miss International Queen in 2012. Balot reiterated her segregationist perspective, saying that when transgender women ask to join beauty pageants traditionally only for those assigned female at birth, “hindi na siya equality eh, parang asking too much na (this is no longer about equality; it’s already asking too much).”
In her Instagram post, Wurtzbach said that even if people had different opinions, it’s still important to provide platforms for community members to openly discuss “issues and concerns that affect us.”
For Wurtzbach, “this will also enable our broader community, especially those with differing views, to ponder on things that matter to our fellowmen… [O]ur constant discourse will make our tomorrow better because we understand one another better.”
This isn’t the first time Wurtzbach expressed her support to the LGBTQIA community.
In 2017, for instance, she called out the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) following a drug bust involving 11 men in Bonifacio Global City. “Because of what PDEA and the news outlet have done, some people are now associating drugs and immorality with being gay. It’s ridiculous,” she said then.
In 2018, she urged decision makers to address the causes that put young people at risk of HIV.
‘Riverdale’ actress Lili Reinhart comes out as bisexual
Lili Reinhart – from “Riverdale” – announced that she is a “proud bisexual woman” in a post on Instagram.
Lili Reinhart – who plays Betty Cooper in “Riverdale” – announced that she is a “proud bisexual woman” in a post on Instagram.
Reinhart’s revelation was linked with her post that she would be attending an “LGBTQ+ for Black Lives Matter” protest in West Hollywood in the US. Underneath a poster for the march, she wrote: “Although I’ve never announced it publicly before, I am a proud bisexual woman. And I will be joining this protest today. Come join.”
Reinhart dated co-star and onscreen partner Cole Sprouse, who played Jughead in “Riverdale.” The two had recently split.
Visibility, obviously, matters.
Earlier in June 2020, a study noted that those who have seen LGBTQIA representation are more accepting of gay and lesbian people than those who haven’t (48% to 35%). They are also more accepting of bisexual people (45% to 31%), and of non-binary people (41% to 30%).
Emma Watson speaks out for trans rights after J.K. Rowling’s transphobic comments
“Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned.”
Emma Watson – who played Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series – is the latest actor to speak out in support of transgender rights after author J.K. Rowling made controversial comments on Twitter that were deemed transphobic.
On June 6, Rowling posted a tweet equating womanhood with being able to menstruate.
When called out, she seemed to own up to the TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist, or women who claim to be feminist but do not believe transgender women are female). She also backed her perspective via a lengthy post that cited a study criticized for its transphobic bias.
Claiming to have read “all the arguments about femaleness not residing in the sexed body, and the assertions that biological women don’t have common experiences, and I find them, too, deeply misogynistic and regressive,” Rowling wrote. “Women (are told they) must accept and admit that there is no material difference between trans women and themselves… But, as many women have said before me, ‘woman’ is not a costume.”
Watson appeared in all eight of the big-screen adaptations of the books by Rowling. By expressing her support for transgender rights, she joins former costar Daniel Radcliffe (who played Harry Potter), and “Fantastic Beasts” star Eddie Redmayne who also voiced their disagreement to Rowling’s warped thinking and defense.
“Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” Watson tweeted.
In a subsequent tweet, she added that she wants “my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”
Eddie Redmayne joins Daniel Radcliffe in opposing J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments
Eddie Redmayne joined “Harry Potter” lead actor Daniel Radcliffe in criticizing J.K. Rowling comments about transgender people. “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process.”
Eddie Redmayne joined “Harry Potter” lead actor Daniel Radcliffe in criticizing J.K. Rowling comments about transgender people.
In a statement, Redmayne said: “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process.”
Rowling wrote the “Harry Potter” series that starred Radcliffe, and the “Fantastic Beasts” series that starred Redmayne. In a series of tweets starting June 6, where she actually owned the TERF tag (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), Rowling used the “I know and love trans people, but” argument by tweeting to her 14.5 million Twitter followers that transgender people are “erasing the concept of sex”.
Redmayne – who similarly starred in “The Danish Girl”, the 2015 biopic of Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery – said: “As someone who has worked with both JK Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and nonbinary identities are valid.”
Redmayne continued that “I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”
Radcliffe said as much earlier, when he wrote for The Trevor Project that “transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations, who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”
Transgender women are women – Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe
“Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations.”
Following the backlash the “Harry Potter” author, J.K. Rowling, got for statements deemed transphobic, Daniel Radcliffe wrote on The Trevor Project that “transgender women are women.”
On June 6, Rowling used the “I know and love trans people, but” argument by tweeting to her 14.5 million Twitter followers that transgender people are “erasing the concept of sex”.
In response, Radcliffe said: “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo (i.e. J.K. Rowling) or I.”
He added that with 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reporting being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity, “it’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
Radcliffe stressed that while certain press outlets may paint his statement as proof of infighting between J.K. Rowling and himself, “that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now.”
In closing, Radcliffe said: “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.”
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