On May 30, 2011, friends Gabs Gabrino, Kix Delos Reyes and Lei Habitan decided to form Lesbian Planet (LP) to “offer a supportive, empowering and non-judgmental environment; where lesbians can meet, make connections and proudly promote awareness and acceptance of their sexuality in society,” said Gabrino.
From the very beginning, the group’s goals were very specific: “(We wanted to) promote awareness, visibility, and cultural and legal acceptance of people with alternative sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI); help people to proudly affirm their sexual orientation; and (attempt to) bring Filipino lesbian communities all over the world as one.”
Gabrino recognizes that since LP has just been formed, “we’re still on the process of establishing the group. This is (still) the time when we need to search for members who will be with us, (so) building rapport and gaining trust is not that easy. But somehow we are able to do it with the directors, officers and other members of LP working together.
The group’s intentions reverberated with many. In just a month after LP’s formation, “we were able to gain almost 800 members.”
A disappointment in the LGBT community that Gabrino noted was how some members of the LGBT community “decided to take the ‘straight journey’. We thought they, of all people, would somehow understand our battles; but they are the ones who will attempt to change you into a person you are not.”
Nonetheless, the LGBT community – as a whole – remains inspiring. “What’s inspiring in the LGBT community? Those who continuously support, fight and face the LGBT battle. LGBT personalities who succeeded regardless of the existence of discrimination. Parents who accept their children for who they are. And the groups that keep working to empower everyone in the society, and believe that everyone should have fair and equal rights.”
As it looks forward to further growing its membership, LP is already eyeing “acquiring more support (for people to) stand for our colors; organize community services; set up various events that will push for the unity of LGBTs; and promote awareness on sexual orientations and gender identities.”
For now, for Gabrino, groups like LP prove to be relevant because, “here in the Philippines, there is still discrimination against persons like us (who they call as members of the ‘third sex’). The LP family helps other lesbians realize that they belong and are accepted in society, in our society. We let each other accept that there’s nothing wrong with being who you are; and being proud of what we are. We can be better persons in our own ways.”
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