In a move to help make journalism as practiced in the Philippines more sensitive to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, Outrage Magazine has launched the Pink Ink.
Pink Ink is in line with the #HateWatchPH, which aims to: 1) document LGBT-related hate crimes happening in the Philippines, and 2) empower LGBT people to report, and/or do something when such crimes happen; and 3) form partnerships with like-minded organizations to eradicate – not just curb – LGBT-related hate crimes. It has numerous components as it attempts to help develop would-be journalists while they are still in campuses, and provide support to already professional media practitioners.
“We are aware of the continuing challenge faced by the LGBT community in engaging the media – whether to give us coverage, to begin with; or to provide us respectful coverage, if they choose to cover our issues at all,” said Michael David dela Cruz Tan, publishing editor of Outrage Magazine. However, “instead of only lamenting, we are opting to be more proactive in our attempt to engage the media. We believe that if we can help them see where we’re coming from, (and) if we can provide them with tools they can use to better engage with us, then we will be able to form good partnerships.”
STARTING ‘EM YOUNG
One of the components of Pink Ink is the provision of trainings in educational institutions (including student journalists, student leaders and journalism students) for them to start reporting on LGBT-related issues. Tan said that “proper documentation continues to be scant, but we know of cases wherein LGBT students encounter discriminatory practices that affect their access to education – e.g. transgender women being forced to wear male uniforms or risk expulsion; gay students mandated to go through ‘masculinity tests’ to prove their manhood; and bullying that could lead to suicide or at least suicide ideation.”
“If even early on student journalists can already report on these issues, then we’re on the right track in developing them to become more aware professional media practitioners,” Tan said.
Already, students from the Pangasinan State University (PSU) in Lingayen, Pangasinan underwent the Pink Ink workshop, with the support of PSU VP for finance, Atty. Jellie Molino.
More Pink Ink workshops are being planned for other schools all over the Philippines.*
Another component of Pink Ink eyes to get mainstream media involved via consultations with editorial policy makers. This is supported by the development of a stylebook that mainstream journalists may be able to use when covering LGBT-related issues.
“Lack of awareness about us is still apparent,” said John Ryan N. Mendoza, Outrage Magazine’s managing editor, who cited the case of Jennifer Laude, who continues to be cited by mainstream media as “Jeffrey ‘Jennifer’ Laude, instead of just ‘Jennifer Laude’. This may seem like a compromise, but is actually disrespectful of Jennifer’s self-identification, so that her suffering continues even after her death.”
Transwoman Laude was found dead allegedly in the hands of American Scott Pemberton; the case continues to be heard.
Yet another component of Pink Ink is the celebration of media practitioners who have been helping promote LGBT-related issues through the Bahaghari Media Awards.
Already, in 2013, five media personalities – Lea Salonga, Jessica Soho, Cheche Lazaro, Winnie Monsod, and Dr. Margie Holmes – were honored because of their incessant moves to better knowledge and awareness about LGBT Filipinos.
Earlier, at the launch of the Bahaghari Media Awards, Tan was quoted as saying that this move celebrates those who support the LGBT community, “hoping that others will follow suit.”
Outrage Magazine intends to continue recognizing people in the media who help promote LGBT issues in the Philippines.
MORE WORK TO BE DONE
Mendoza noted that “we still have a long way to go as far as empowering the media to report our issue appropriately. This is so unlike, say, the US, where the likes of GLAAD is able to monitor even the TV shows, and the portrayal of LGBT people in films,” he said. “But we believe that Pink Ink is a move in the right direction.”
As for Tan, considering that Outrage Magazine continues to be the only exclusively LGBT publication in the Philippines, it is but apt for it to be spearheading this effort. “We just hope that with Pink Ink we could somehow effect changes, particularly at this juncture in time when these changes are most needed as we strengthen our ranks in fighting for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos,” Tan ended.
*TO BRING ‘PINK INK’ TO YOUR CAMPUS, CONTACT (+63) 9157972229 OR (+63) 9287854244; OR EMAIL INFO@OUTRAGEMAG.COM.
One of Pink Ink‘s intentions is to inform student journalists and student leaders about LGBT issues so that, even early on, they can already start tackling LGBT-related discrimination, particularly as experienced in educational institutions.