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GMU Philippines: Helping form an alternative ‘family’

The Gentlemen’s University (otherwise known as GMU) was established in 2013 by Jeric Jade “Japoi” Parrocho to provide space for those experiencing discrimination based on SOGIE. Now it gathers mostly MSM as an alternative ‘family’ for its members. “By collaborating, we become bigger, and when we are bigger, we get stronger,” Parrocho says.

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GMUOn September 1, 2013, Jeric Jade “Japoi” Parrocho established a clan called the Gentlemen’s University (otherwise known as GMU). “Though I was part of other clans claiming to eye to provide space for those experiencing discrimination based on the SOGIE of their members, I wanted to establish one that would stand out not only by what it claims to do, but what it actually does,” Parrocho said. “One that would stand out not by (merely its) talk but by its walk.”

Parrocho added: “I wanted a (group where the members valued the concept of ‘family’.”

Like other starting groups, GMU was not immune to challenges. Time management was, for instance, an issue since most members held full-time jobs, so that “scheduling events was a challenge,” Parrocho said. And then there were the “individual differences of the members”, with most having different ideas of how the clan should move forward. All the same, there was an agreement to “maintain the quality and standard of the (group).”

“All challenges can be (successfully tackled) with great patience,” said Parrocho, who added that “there was also a realization to adapt to change (to remain relevant).”

Typical of groups of this type, activities done included: tree planting in Mt. Maculot, hosting of a sports festival, and holding of ‘eye balls’/gatherings.

“We work in silence,” Parrocho said. “We let our success be our noise.”

Already, GMU has started recruiting members from outside the Philippines – not a tall task, considering that the main link of the members use such technologies as the Internet that effectively allows people to challenge physical spaces. Going global, said Parrocho, is part of the plan not only to widen GMU’s scope/membership, but to continue redefining their concept of “family”.

“By collaborating, we become bigger, and when we are bigger, we get stronger,” Parrocho ended.

For those interested to become part of GMU, visit the clan’s Facebook page, or email gmu.official@yahoo.com.

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"If someone asked you about me, about what I do for a living, it's to 'weave words'," says Kiki Tan, who has been a writer "for as long as I care to remember." With this, this one writes about... anything and everything.

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