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LGBTs included in psych discussions

The Pambansang Samahan sa Sikohiyang Pilipino (PSSP) has announced the inclusion dedicated LGBT programming in the 37th PSSP National Conference. Says UP Diliman assistant professor Eric Manalastas: “We hope to build and sustain discussion about SOGI in Philippine psychology and counseling.”

The Pambansang Samahan sa Sikohiyang Pilipino (PSSP) has announced the inclusion dedicated LGBT programming in the 37th PSSP National Conference.

PSSP is the national organization for advancing indigenous psychology in the Philippines. It is composed mostly of Filipino psychologists, psychology teachers/educators, researchers, counselors, and other scholars interested in promoting contextualized, culture-based research, teaching, and psychological practice. The annual conference aims to gather these people to share research, exchange ideas, and develop continuing professional competencies.

This is actually the third year that PSSP included LGBT programming in the conference. The first time was in 2010.

“PSSP has always had a strong advocacy and social justice orientation. So in 2010, right after Ladlad vs Comelec, a bunch of us Filipino psychologists wanted to make LGBT issues a visible, integrated concern in Philippine psychology, to inform and build capacity of Filipino psychology professionals in addressing SOGI and to organize local psychology to participate in LGBT social issues. We did this for our big, mainstream professional organization, the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP); and we did it for PSSP as well,” said Eric Manalastas, assistant professor at the Department of Psychology of UP Diliman, and convenor of the LGBT programming at PSSP’s 2012 conference.

For Manalastas, this is a “definitely an important move”.

“In the past, LGBT concerns were always relegated to the vague ‘gender’ or ‘sexuality’ conference themes, even when our discussions and presentations weren’t directly about gender or had nothing to do with sex. So having the discursive space dedicated to LGBT psychology is a step forward,” he said. Also, the move is seen as beneficial “in terms of visibility, claims of legitimacy and importance, and participation in local psychology.”

Manalastas added: “The goal is to raise consciousness about LGBT Filipinos, their lives and families, their concerns and well-being. We hope to build and sustain discussion about SOGI in Philippine psychology and counseling, so that Filipino psychologists and counselors develop and adopt affirmative stances regarding LGBT rights and well-being, learn more about LGBT issues, and help create positive change for Filipino LGBT individuals and communities via teaching, research, and services.”

Already, there are plans to continue having a strong, visible presence in PSSP to get the organization to adopt formal policies against anti-LGBT stigma and discrimination; conduct and publish research on “Sikolohiyang LGBT” that is contextualized, critical and informed by culture.

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“The motto of Sikolohiyang Pilipino is it is a psychology that is ‘malaya at mapagpalaya’. We (a small group of Filipino psychologists and counselors fom UP, Ateno, DLSU Manila, University of San Carlos, UE Caloocan, DLSU Dasma, and Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School concerned with LGBT rights and well-being) aim to have a psychology that is free from heterosexism and is emancipatory for LGBT as well as non-LGBT Filipinos,” Manalastas said.

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