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They’re united in hating us; why can’t we unite in facing them?

Michael David Tan: “Our haters can show strength in hating us; if we can’t unite in facing them, then let’s face it, we’re in deep shit.”

So, the past few days, one of the biggest news items in my (social networking sites’) newsfeeds and/or timelines was the rally held by self-proclaimed “Christians” who flocked to the Senate to express their opposition to the anti-discrimination bill (ADB).

A lot of them are unaware, believing/claiming that the ADB is pro-marriage equality. As Jesus is Lord (JIL) founder, Bro. Eddie Villanueva, said at the rally: “Same-sex marriage is an abomination to God. The Bible is so clear about the man marrying another man. This will invite kinds of curses that we cannot contain in our generation.”

But this is not just blinded; it is – I’d go to a stretch here – actually ignorant (and stupidly so). Because the proposed legislation actually only really wants to protect the rights of ALL Filipinos (including these haters, who – in case they do not know, also have sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, or SOGIE) from getting discriminated for who they are.

But – again – they were able to make some “noise” because they were able to rally their (blind) followers, and thereby managed to show some “force”.

Now, more than anger, here’s where it suddenly became sad for me.

That – even if these so-called “Christians” can only muster thousands to show their hatred of us – so many in the LGBTQI community’s response has been focused on… keyboard activism.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a writer, so I know the value of (written) words.

But I also know – and acknowledge – that words are not always enough.

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In this case, yes, just whining online about “these haters” does not suffice.

So, on the one hand, we need to start showing our ACTUAL forces. If we can’t, then our silence becomes a tool of our enemies, making us our own enemies.

We can “boast” having thousands attend a once-a-year commercialized Pride event. We boast about preparing like crazy to spend crazy amounts of cash to party en masse for Holy Week or LaBoracay. We spend P500.00 (considering the wage other LGBTQI Filipinos get per day is just half this) for cover charge on top of P10,000-P30,000 per table in “exclusive” bars.

BUT when talking about ADB (or actually lobbying about this), we’re content with… just typing?

But I understand that – on the other hand – those who (supposedly) fight for us (including our “allies”) should be also held accountable.

For instance, exactly how many of LGBTQI Filipinos actually know (or get information) about the hearings about the ADB? For those in-the-know, how many did you share this information with? For those not in the “in” crowd, where do you get information; and how can you participate?

In this sense, “advocacy” becomes exclusive; and it only strengthens our oppressors.

This is (just) a rant, yes.

But let me state this nonetheless: Our haters can show strength in hating us; if we can’t unite in facing them, then let’s face it, we’re in deep shit.

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The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia; and Master of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines-Open University. He grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City), but he "really came out in Sydney" so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing, and a developed world". Conversant in Filipino Sign Language, Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, and research (with pioneering studies under his belt). He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Art that Matters - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).

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