CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Outrage Magazine, the Philippines’ only exclusive LGBT publication, linked up with the LGBT and HIV activists and advocates of Northern Mindanao. Leading discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE), Outrage Magazine publishing editor Michael David dela Cruz Tan also tackled the situation of LGBT people in the Philippines, particularly as contained in the Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report, which Tan himself completed in 2014 for USAID and UNDP.
The gathering was organized by the Northern Mindanao AIDS Advocates Society (NorMAA).
“One of the failings of the LGBT movement, no matter where that movement may be, is the over-centralization of the struggle usually in cosmopolitan areas. Because of this centralization, members of the LGBT community who happen to live in far-flung areas are often ‘represented’ by people who do not even know the issues that these LGBT people deem more relevant to them. If we want to be truly inclusive, we have to hear them out; and to do so, we who are able to need to go to them,” Tan said.
Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro City-based LGBT and HIV advocate, Stephen Christian Quilacio – who also helps out with NorMAA – said that “there is a need to enhance the learning of advocates at the grassroots. We are often left out of so many programs, and this is a shame because we are just as affected by the LGBT issues. The way to help us is to empower us, and this is a good step to do this.”
Participating the discussions were representatives from non-government organizations and community-based organizations, including NorMAA, Kagay-an PLUS, Misamis Oriental-Cagayan de Oro AIDS Network (MOCAN), Pagbantug Kagayan, and the Cagayan de Oro City Health Office.