When Tam Cristobal established in the Philippines the LezWorld channel on August 8, 2010, it was a sort of an experiment. “We wanted to measure the scope of lesbianism among Filipinos – on how they would respond when provided with a mechanism to express themselves as they are,” Cristobal said.
But while it was just “sort of experimental” at first, the high volume of subscription that the channel received from Filipino lesbians led to the “formalization” of LezWorld’s establishment as a “channel that attempts to unite every single Filipina lesbian all over the world with each other”.
Even in the beginning, when LezWorld was getting established, teaching acceptance was always a priority of the group, so that in the first stages of the group’s formation, a focus was team building. “The individual’s behavior is driven by a desire to be accepted by the others, and to avoid controversy or conflict,” Cristobal said. With LezWorld, therefore, an approach was “to make the members not to feel that they are being judged”, which allowed them to share their opinions and views in the channel.
“We make new members feel very welcome; that being a part of LezWorld is something we value, that it’s something like another feet have been added to join the group towards its journey,” Cristobal said.
As a group that “strives to be socially relevant”, LezWorld holds peer sessions, and is planning to launch some projects that “can help others by sharing our talents and expertise”. “With all the issues that our society has, we intend to work on leaving a positive mark in the society – not that we have to please anyone, but because we want to be productive and be good examples. By sharing our talents and expertise, we can help equip others to be self-supporting individuals,” Cristobal said.
For Cristobal, an issue that the LGBT community in the Philippines needs to focus on is the promotion of “social equality – all people within a specific society or isolated group must have the same status”. But already, “there are several success stories that are inspiring for people like us – those successful individuals in their own fields, those who were awarded or recognized by doing some extraordinary work, and those whose day-to-day stories inspire us to do and be better,” Cristobal said.
LezWorld already eyes the continuous growth of the group – something alreadyhappening, and which “goes to show that we are executing our goals according to plan, which is to reach out to every unique person and unite them with us”.
Cristobal is cognizant that “we cannot please everybody. At the very least, we are glad that there are LGBT groups aiming to represent us and to push for our advocacies,” she said. But LezWorld intends to “continue to reach out and elicit a desired reaction from the Filipina lesbian niche/community,” Cristobal said. As stated, “we intend to leave a positive mark in the society, and hopefully lessen if not totally eliminate the stereotype that gay people are promiscuous and everything is about looking for and finding a partner. We want people to see that as a group of lesbians, we can make a difference and help other people – gay or not.”