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Iloilo LGBT community hosts event for bi women, lesbians and transmen

The Iloilo PRIDE Team hosted the “SU-GAY-LANON: BLAM!”, an event for the bisexual women, lesbians, allies and transmen in Iloilo City. Done in collaboration with Lezbien, BLAM! highlighted the “lack of a solid group for many bisexual women, lesbians and some transmen” in these parts of the Philippines, said Rhea Penaflor, founder of Lezbien.

The Iloilo PRIDE Team – fresh from organizing Iloilo City’s first LGBT Pride celebration – hosted the “SU-GAY-LANON: BLAM!”, an event for the bisexual women, lesbians, allies and transmen in Iloilo City. Done in collaboration with Lezbien, BLAM! highlighted the “lack of a solid group for many bisexual women, lesbians and some transmen” in these parts of the Philippines, said Rhea Penaflor, founder of Lezbien.

Penaflor said that while she and her partner are “out and proud”, they also recognize that not everyone is. With BLAM!, “we hope that we are able to help others realize that it’s okay to be out and be with the one you love regardless of SOGIE.”

In the end, BLAM! eyed to “show our fellow LGBTs to be inspired so we are #InvisibleNoMore,” added Penaflor.

The gathering had acqustic performances by local singers, games and activities for the community members to know each other, and poetry and literary reading. Resource persons included Ivanaka Custodio, chairperson of the BAHAGHARI LGBT Organization; Moniq Muyargas, LGBT Psychology professor from the University of the Philippines Visayas; and Dan Arrojado, board member of Bisdak Pride and a member of Transman Equality and Awareness Movement (TEAM) Cebu.

Rita Martinez, a contestant in Season 2 of The Voice Philippines, also performed at the event.

Event sponsors included Qualimed Hospital, Days Hotel Iloilo, Department of Tourism Region 6, Mr. Phil’s Bistro, Henry’s Wines & Liqueur, Kamil Coo, GABRIELA Partylist, Excursion Cafe Iloilo, Wawa Heritage Restaurant, The Daily Guardian, Nato & Helen’s Native and Seafood’s Restaurant, The Harriet Cruise, DOVA Brunch Cafe, Humans of Iloilo and Kwadro Photohgraphy. Congressman Jerry P. Treñas of the Lone District of Iloilo and the offices of Councilors Liezel Joy Zulueta and Love-love Baronda also supported the event.

Outrage Magazine was the media partner.

“We are positive (of the positive impact of gathering) our strength to have one voice for the greater good of our community. We cannot end discrimination by doing nothing. We have to take part in this struggle,” Penaflor ended.

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Justin is a proud Ilonggo, as much as he is a proud LGBT advocate for the youth. A political science student from West Visayas State University, he is the founder of The Student Advocates for Gender Equality (SAGE) Network. At 19 years old, Justin has already given SOGIE, HIV and AIDS, and human rights talks and lectures. He is also a Department of Health HIV and AIDS VCT counselor; and a volunteer and member of Youth Voices Count - Asia, a youth initiative led by young MSM and transgender women. As an advocate, he believes that "only when a brave few will raise the rainbow flag can the LGBT movement really reach its pinnacle."

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