During the 60th National Student Press Convention and 30th Biennial Student Press Congress of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) sometime in May 2000 in Itogon, Benguet, Roxanne Omega Doron recalled that openly out gays met after the whole-day activities, ending up “unabashedly calling ourselves the ‘Pink Collective’.”
It was then when “my understanding of LGBT rights, hand-in-hand with the people’s movement for social change, became more visible as (the Pink Collective) discussed until the wee hours,” Roxanne said.
Roxanne, of course, acknowledged that “the issues confronted by LGBTs are not separate from the issues faced by peasants, workers, women, youth and professionals… For example, unabated oil price increases, onerous school fees, unfair taxation, high prices of basic commodities, unemployment and underemployment, low wages and less benefits and genuine land reform are issues all sectors and classes, including the LGBTs confront daily. Because LGBTs also ride public utility vehicles, send someone to school or self-supporting students, budget family income, breadwinners, toil the land and even manage small and medium enterprises.”
Roxanne eventually established (and is now the executive director of) Bisdak Pride Inc. (BPI).
For Roxanne, from a macro-level, the LGBT community, along with various sectors and classes, should study the historical circumstances of stigma, discrimination, marginalization and oppression based on gender, sexuality and class. For instance, “from a micro-level, the LGBT community, specifically, the sub-population of gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM) and even the transgender (TG), should consider the issue on health a major concern in order to prevent the spread of HIV to the general population and maintain it at its alarming level within the MSM and TG community,” he said.
If there are things he is proud of, it may well be the “collaboration with various individuals and groups. I dare say it is an achievement to maintain people with the same caliber and commitment as me… my equals within the BPI organization are my important comrades in this struggle. Maintaining them, encouraging them (and they encourage me), and knowing someday they will run this organization with their own style, intellect, fervor, principle, commitment and hope is a feat I want to see soonest,” Roxanne said.
Roxanne continues to be happy that “wherever I go, community-based LGBT groups sprout like mushrooms in the wilderness… Whatever the circumstances of their existence, it is notable to see and help them in a way because directly or indirectly, it is a form of political assertion. Several inquiries within and outside Cebu province are also in the offing on how they can establish their own group.”
Eyeing to help in the eventuality of the Anti-discrimination Bill becoming a law, Roxanne also wants to help out in encouraging LGUs to pass their own LGBT-friendly ordinances. And as he moves to “ensure visibility of BPI on issues that affects the LGBT community and the people, continuing expanding and strengthening LGBT organizations and decisively link them to the people’s movement for social change,” as he put it, he is on the right track.