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Perseverance in pushing for LGBTQIA issues

Glenn Ricaroz always had a welcoming family that allowed him to express his being part of the LGBTQIA community. But because not everyone is as fortunate as him, the current president of Diwata ng Muntinlupa advocates for LGBTQIA issues, and takes pride in drafting the Muntinlupa City ordinance declaring the last Saturday of June as “Muntinlupa City LGBT Pride Day”.

Photo by Luwela A. Rodrigo

Glenn Ricaroz has no coming out story. “Simula bata pa lang (ako), ramdam ko na (Even when I was young, I already felt my being part of the LGBTQIA community),” he said.

He was fortunate that, to start, “hindi pinag-usapan ang pag-a-out (sa karanasan ko), naramdaman na lang ng parents ko ‘yun. Walang: ‘Mommy, daddy, mag-a-out po ako’ (this was never discussed at home since my parents just felt it. For me, there wasn’t a situation where I had to say, ‘Mom, dad, I’m coming out gay’).”

His grandmothers were also teachers, and “lagi nila akong ifo-front. Gusto nila kasali ako palagi sa school presentations. Gusto nilang sumali ako rito, sumali ako riyan (they wanted me to join all the presentations in school. They made me join this and that).”

That they let him be who he is without discrimination, and that they allowed him to express himself even made Glenn realize “na malandi ka, na maarte ka (that you’re flirtatious, you’re fussy).”

Not surprisingly, Glenn believes that “kung pinanganak kang ganyan, ganyan ka talaga (if you’re born LGBTQIA, you’d be LGBTQIA).”

But since – particularly nowadays – much weight seems to be given on coming out, even if “ngayon na lang ‘yang coming out (coming out is just ‘normalized’ these days)” – Glenn believes that nearly every day involves coming out. That is, one’s identity is expressed in layers to different people; and these – by themselves – are coming out processes. Thus, “coming out and being out are continuous process.”

Growing up, Glenn was exposed to Diwata ng Muntinlupa – an LGBTQIA organization established in 1977 in Muntinlupa City. Particularly every summer, he recalled watching volleyball games and seeing members of the organization.

Eventually, he became a member (in 2003).

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The initiation for new members was to dance in public. Glenn hosted.

His belonging to the LGBTQIA organization pushed him to advocate for LGBTQIA issues.

In 2007, he worked for the local government as the Supervising Tourism Operations Officer for the City Tourism Office. And there, “I made sure na priority and Diwata ng Muntinlupa,” he said. “Binigyan ka ng pwesto para makatulong at para makapag-share (You were given a position to be able to help and share). So I made it sure I did that (particularly to other LGBTQIA people).”

Glenn also takes pride in drafting the local ordinance declaring the last Saturday of the month June of every year to be known as “Muntinlupa City LGBT Pride Day”. In a meeting in 2016, Councilor Lucio Constantino said that at least one of the activities for Muntinlupa Grand Centennial in 2017 should be for the LGBTQIA community; and this ordinance was what Glenn advocated for.

At that time, the “norm” was just to hold a Miss Gay beauty pageant, which Glenn saw as “off”. He just wanted for LGBTQIA people to be “recognized lang sana“. After almost six months, Ordinance no. 17-084 was signed (in May 2017).

Glenn Ricaroz also takes pride in drafting the local ordinance declaring the last Saturday of the month June of every year to be known as “Muntinlupa City LGBT Pride Day”.
Photo by Luwela A. Rodrigo

Glenn eventually resigned in December 2018 and started working as a full-time freelance events host.

He was elected president of Diwata ng Muntinlupa also in 2018.

And after years of being in the LGBTQIA advocacy, he learned of perseverance in pushing for LGBTQIA issues.

When the pro-LGBTQIA ordinance was signed in Muntinlupa City, for instance, religious groups sent letters of protest to the City Council. “Pino-protesta nila ‘yung pagkakaron at pagde-declare ng LGBTQIA Day sa Muntinlupa (They were protesting the enshrining of an LGBTQIA Day in Muntinlupa City).”

But while the rejections from numerous groups in the society remain tragic, the circumstances can be improved, he said, until being LGBTQIA is no longer simply tolerated but becomes a non-issue.

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