In 2007, Ron de Vera had an opportunity to “join an affinity group for gays, lesbians and allies at work (in a corporate setting),” he recalled. But while it gave him an opportunity to connect with LGBT people and his network, in 2010, Ron decided to leave the corporate world, when he applied for a position in the human rights organization Amnesty International, and “it was there that I started what I consider real LGBT advocacy.”
“I can’t pinpoint a specific person or incident that made me decide to become an LGBT activist,” Ron said. “My work in human rights has exposed me to a spectrum of human rights issues, including LGBT rights. I’ve always been interested in fighting for causes close to my heart, so when I helped revive the LGBT group of Amnesty International Philippines, I knew it was just a matter of time before I would be immersed in LGBT activism.”
As an LGBT rights advocate, Ron believes there is a key issue that the LGBT community in the Philippines should focus on. “A lot of you might not agree with me but my opinion is that LGBT efforts in the Philippines can’t be considered a movement yet. It is a wide-scale activism that has several moving parts across the country, but without a harmonized vision and direction. I think that’s what we need to focus on in the LGBT community. We need a manifesto. We need united leaders. We need to channel these efforts and turn this activism into a nationwide LGBT movement,” he said.
Because of the non-harmonized vision and direction, “it can get frustrating when personalities and personal interests get in the way of progress,” Ron said. He waxed positive, nonetheless, adding that “given that LGBT activism is relatively young in the country, I’m hopeful that these growing pains will become a minor issue in the near future.”
The LGBT community itself, said Ron, can be a source of inspiration. “I find my inspiration in the people around me. I am inspired to work harder when I hear about friends finding the courage to come out. I am inspired when I see activists who used to be followers taking larger and more crucial roles. I am inspired when I see new faces joining our activism and finding a safe place within the community. These people inspire me because they are proof that activism changes lives in ways we can instantly see and feel.”
A graduate of the University of the Philippines, Diliman (BA European Languages, Major in Spanish), Ron used to work for Convergys Philippines Services (2004 to 2010) and ItouchPoint Pvt Ltd (2003). He also served as a foreign correspondent of Digital Journal, contributing writer of Filipino Freethinkers, and a member of Teachers without Borders.
Now as an LGBT rights advocate, “I like to think that I contribute to the LGBT movement in two ways: as a writer and as the national coordinator of our LGBT group,” Ron said. “I think my work as a writer sends the message that in today’s reality, we all have a voice, we can challenge anyone who attempts to violate our rights no matter how powerful or popular they may be. As an LGBT group coordinator, I contribute by providing LGBT education to our members and rights-holders and by providing them with opportunities to do LGBT activism. I think that’s something I’m particularly proud of – reviving, strengthening, and giving strategic direction to Amnesty International Philippines – LGBT Group.”
Ron is first to admit that “I feel that my knowledge of LGBT issues at this point is still a few levels detached from reality.” As such, “there are two things I want to dive deeper into. I see myself getting more and more involved in HIV and AIDS work and in providing direct services at the grassroots level (urban and rural). Getting into these circles will give me a better, more accurate picture of the needs of the marginalized members of the LGBT community.”
When asked how he wants the LGBT community to know, and remember him, Ron quipped: “This is a tall order, but I would like to be remembered by the LGBT community the way the feminist movement remembers my mother: an opinionated, circumspect, passionate, brave, loving friend and leader. Okay, maybe just the opinionated part,” he laughed. Then turning serious: “But seriously, I want to play a role in turning this activism into a movement and in preparing the next generation of activists. I want to be there to see that happen. I want the community to remember me as one of the people who helped change the face of activism and helped groom our future leaders.”
VP Robredo extolls LGBTQIA community’s spirit; recognizes a lot of work still needs to be done
Vice President Leni Robredo expressed her support to the LGBTQIA community, even as she acknowledged that a lot of work still needs to be done, including passing an anti-discrimination law that will protect the human rights of LGBTQIA Filipinos.
Vice President Leni Robredo expressed her support to the LGBTQIA community, even as she acknowledged that even as the LGBTQIA community marks June as Pride month, a lot of work still needs to be done, including passing an anti-discrimination law that will protect the human rights of LGBTQIA Filipinos.
In a messages posted on her Facebook page, Robredo noted the uncertain times. “many of the things we once cherished and held on to are now being questioned and challenged,” she said in mixed Filipino and English. “Sa kabila nito, marami pa ring bagay ang di nagbabago at nagpapatuloy: tulad ng ating laban para sa patas na karapatan, dignidad at kalayaan.“
Robredo noted that “for many decades, the LGBTQIA+ community has been tirelessly fighting for equal rights and representation at the frontlines. It has provided a shelter to the oppressed, a voice to the marginalized, and a family to those who have been abandoned by their own communities. Ito ang dakilang ambag ng LGBTQIA+ community sa ating (b)ayan.”
She added: “Sa bawat Pride March na inyong inoorganisa, isang teenager ang mas nagiging proud na yakapin kung sino siya. Sa bawat awareness campaign na inyong sinisimulan, isang komunidad ang mas nagiging bukas ang isipan. At sa bawat pagpiglas ninyo sa tangkang pag-agaw ng ating mga kalayaan, isang bayan ang mas natututong lumaban.”
There are – nonetheless – members of the LGBTQIA community “who hold positions of power in our society”, such as lawyers, executives, doctors, educators, artists, policymakers and public servants. The VP hopes that they will “use your influence to change mindsets, promote acceptance, and push for reforms on the ground. Now more than ever, we need to set an example to the younger generation. Ipakita natin sa kanila, na wala silang dapat ipangamba at na malaya silang maging kung ano at sino sila,” Robredo said.
The VP similarly recognized that teaching people to open their minds may be challenging, but “huwag sana kayong panghinaan ng loob.”
She suggested doing small steps to push for Pride, including forming support groups; reaching out to the needy; and introducing concepts re SOGIESC to relatives who may not be well-versed on the same.
“Darating din ang araw na babalikan natin ang lahat ng ito at sasabihing, everything was worth the effort. Everything was worth the sacrifice. Everything worth the fight. Push lang ng push, mga besh,” Robredo added.
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach voices support for LGBTQIA community
Pia Wurtzbach said she’s making a stand so “that our friends and family in the LGBTQIA community have the right to take up space in our society… that their voices should be heard, that we don’t invalidate trans women as women.”
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach voiced her support for the LGBTQIA community.
Via an Instagram post, Wurtzbach said she’s making a stand so “that our friends and family in the LGBTQIA community have the right to take up space in our society… that their voices should be heard, that we don’t invalidate trans women as women.”
She added: “We can learn to accept these concepts by having a dialogue. By listening and understanding our differences. we will grow and uplift one another as one community in strengthening equality and diversity.”
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Learning is always a two-way process.. we listen as we understand each other’s points of view. This #PrideMonth, we stand for the rights and advocacies of the LGBTQIA+ community. 🏳️🌈 Being an ally is someone who gives a sense of a safe and affirming space for our loving community… Let’s provide higher platforms for community members to openly discuss issues and concerns that affect us. 🙏 Here we can discuss our differences and remind ourselves that we are together on this journey, and achieve our shared goals for equality. ❤ . I know we may differ in opinions today.. but our constant discourse will make our tomorrow better because we understand one another better. This will also enable our broader community, especially those with differing views, to ponder on things that matter to our fellowmen. . Let me just make a stand that our friends and family in the LGBTQIA+ community have the right to take up space in our society…that their voices should be heard, that we don’t invalidate trans women as women. We can learn to accept these concepts by having a dialogue. By listening and understanding our differences.. we will grow and uplift one another as one community in strengthening equality and diversity. 😊🙏❤ Happy Pride! 🥰🏳️🌈
Wurtzbach’s statement of support came after she co-hosted an online discussion involving Kevin Balot, who was crowned Miss International Queen in 2012. Balot reiterated her segregationist perspective, saying that when transgender women ask to join beauty pageants traditionally only for those assigned female at birth, “hindi na siya equality eh, parang asking too much na (this is no longer about equality; it’s already asking too much).”
In her Instagram post, Wurtzbach said that even if people had different opinions, it’s still important to provide platforms for community members to openly discuss “issues and concerns that affect us.”
For Wurtzbach, “this will also enable our broader community, especially those with differing views, to ponder on things that matter to our fellowmen… [O]ur constant discourse will make our tomorrow better because we understand one another better.”
This isn’t the first time Wurtzbach expressed her support to the LGBTQIA community.
In 2017, for instance, she called out the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) following a drug bust involving 11 men in Bonifacio Global City. “Because of what PDEA and the news outlet have done, some people are now associating drugs and immorality with being gay. It’s ridiculous,” she said then.
In 2018, she urged decision makers to address the causes that put young people at risk of HIV.
‘Riverdale’ actress Lili Reinhart comes out as bisexual
Lili Reinhart – from “Riverdale” – announced that she is a “proud bisexual woman” in a post on Instagram.
Lili Reinhart – who plays Betty Cooper in “Riverdale” – announced that she is a “proud bisexual woman” in a post on Instagram.
Reinhart’s revelation was linked with her post that she would be attending an “LGBTQ+ for Black Lives Matter” protest in West Hollywood in the US. Underneath a poster for the march, she wrote: “Although I’ve never announced it publicly before, I am a proud bisexual woman. And I will be joining this protest today. Come join.”
Reinhart dated co-star and onscreen partner Cole Sprouse, who played Jughead in “Riverdale.” The two had recently split.
Visibility, obviously, matters.
Earlier in June 2020, a study noted that those who have seen LGBTQIA representation are more accepting of gay and lesbian people than those who haven’t (48% to 35%). They are also more accepting of bisexual people (45% to 31%), and of non-binary people (41% to 30%).
Emma Watson speaks out for trans rights after J.K. Rowling’s transphobic comments
“Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned.”
Emma Watson – who played Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series – is the latest actor to speak out in support of transgender rights after author J.K. Rowling made controversial comments on Twitter that were deemed transphobic.
On June 6, Rowling posted a tweet equating womanhood with being able to menstruate.
When called out, she seemed to own up to the TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist, or women who claim to be feminist but do not believe transgender women are female). She also backed her perspective via a lengthy post that cited a study criticized for its transphobic bias.
Claiming to have read “all the arguments about femaleness not residing in the sexed body, and the assertions that biological women don’t have common experiences, and I find them, too, deeply misogynistic and regressive,” Rowling wrote. “Women (are told they) must accept and admit that there is no material difference between trans women and themselves… But, as many women have said before me, ‘woman’ is not a costume.”
Watson appeared in all eight of the big-screen adaptations of the books by Rowling. By expressing her support for transgender rights, she joins former costar Daniel Radcliffe (who played Harry Potter), and “Fantastic Beasts” star Eddie Redmayne who also voiced their disagreement to Rowling’s warped thinking and defense.
“Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” Watson tweeted.
In a subsequent tweet, she added that she wants “my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”
Eddie Redmayne joins Daniel Radcliffe in opposing J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments
Eddie Redmayne joined “Harry Potter” lead actor Daniel Radcliffe in criticizing J.K. Rowling comments about transgender people. “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process.”
Eddie Redmayne joined “Harry Potter” lead actor Daniel Radcliffe in criticizing J.K. Rowling comments about transgender people.
In a statement, Redmayne said: “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process.”
Rowling wrote the “Harry Potter” series that starred Radcliffe, and the “Fantastic Beasts” series that starred Redmayne. In a series of tweets starting June 6, where she actually owned the TERF tag (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), Rowling used the “I know and love trans people, but” argument by tweeting to her 14.5 million Twitter followers that transgender people are “erasing the concept of sex”.
Redmayne – who similarly starred in “The Danish Girl”, the 2015 biopic of Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery – said: “As someone who has worked with both JK Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and nonbinary identities are valid.”
Redmayne continued that “I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”
Radcliffe said as much earlier, when he wrote for The Trevor Project that “transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations, who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”
Transgender women are women – Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe
“Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations.”
Following the backlash the “Harry Potter” author, J.K. Rowling, got for statements deemed transphobic, Daniel Radcliffe wrote on The Trevor Project that “transgender women are women.”
On June 6, Rowling used the “I know and love trans people, but” argument by tweeting to her 14.5 million Twitter followers that transgender people are “erasing the concept of sex”.
In response, Radcliffe said: “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo (i.e. J.K. Rowling) or I.”
He added that with 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reporting being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity, “it’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
Radcliffe stressed that while certain press outlets may paint his statement as proof of infighting between J.K. Rowling and himself, “that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now.”
In closing, Radcliffe said: “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.”
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