Pride returns to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP).
The country’s first polytechnic university, PUP, located in the City of Manila marked its first Pride after over 10 years, highlighting the need to continue pushing into mainstream awareness LGBT-related issues, said Charley Urquiza, who helms Kabaro PUP, the recognized LGBT organization of the government educational institution.
An LGBT gathering was actually already held in PUP as early as the 1990s, but according to Urquiza, the effort was not sustained. This was mainly because of the organizational challenges encountered by the Pride event’s host organization. As such, with this year’s Pride march, this is “basically a return to (highlighting) the struggle,” Urquiza said.
This year’s event was actually supported by the PUP administration, particularly by the Center for Human Rights and Gender Studies, and the Department of Psychology (under chairperson John Mark S. Distor, M. Psych). LGBT organization Kapederasyon also helped facilitate this year’s gathering.
For Urquiza, the partnerships formed “ensured that we have a wider reach.”
Aside from the actual march, a forum was also held to help students – LGBT and non-LGBT – better understand sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE).
On the Pride march, Urquiza said that it was “overwhelming (seeing how we were warmly welcomed),” he said. This may be because “matagal na ang huling Pride event sa PUP (the last Pride event in PUP happened a while ago).”
But for Urquiza, this is also a “magandang senyales na ang mga tao sa PUP ay uhaw sa kaalaman tungkol sa LGBT (the people in PUP are thirsty for knowledge about LGBT people).”
And so “the Pride march is only the opening salvo.” Already, aside from the intention to strengthen the LGBT organization to ensure that the Pride celebration is sustained, other plans include continuing the education through SOGIE workshops/seminars/trainings, and “simultaneous communication with other organizations to continue disseminate information about LGBT to other students.”
In the end, “alam natin na laganap ang patuloy na diskriminasyon na nararanasan ng mga Pilipinong LGBT (we know how pervasive the discrimination that LGBT Filipinos still encounter),” Urquiza said, citing – among others – the cases of murdered transwoman Jennifer Laude.
It is because if this that “mahalaga na sa loob ng paaralan, nalilinang na ang isip ng students about LGBT people. Mahalagang malaman ng kabataan ang usaping LGBT; bahagi ito ng kailangan nilang malaman (it is important that we already help shape the minds of students about LGBT people. It is important for the students to know LGBT issues; this should be part of what they learn),” Urquiza ended.