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Turning a personal fight into an advocacy

Nimes Alvarez believes that becoming an advocate to fight for something you are passionate about (especially one’s rights) does not happen in a snap. Instead, it is something that has to be cultivated. Now the secretary of Diwata ng Muntinlupa, he bats for grassroots education to change minds.

In the 1980s, after attending LGBT Pride events in the US and in Paris in France, Nimes Alvarez was sure he became a “different person”. It is this that triggered him to want to be an LGBT human rights advocate, which came to fruition when he came back to the Philippines and then became a member of Diwata ng Muntinlupa in 1989.

“Becoming an advocate to fight for something you are passionate about (especially one’s rights) do not happen in a snap,” said Nimes.

Instead, it is something that has to be cultivated.

In Nimes’ case in particular, wanting to help his fellow LGBT Filipinos (particularly those in Muntinlupa) was “buried deep within (me) even before (I) decided to openly and loudly fight for (LGBT human rights).”

He added that the desire “just needs awakening” – and this is what he experienced during the LGBT Pride events he attended abroad: the awakening of his will to be an advocate.

Nimes is now the secretary of Diwata ng Muntinlupa.

Now as he helps push for the human rights particularly of Muntinlupa’s LGBT community as a member of Diwata ng Muntinlupa, Nimes believes that there are particular issues that need to be highlighted. For one, there’s the need to “focus on taking care of the elderly gays,” he said, adding that – for this to happen – perhaps reviving “Home for the Golden Gays”. For Nimes, every city should even have this kind of facility because “there are elderly gays who are alone (and) who have no one to take care of them.”

In a way, Nimes is “luckier” because “sa akin, wala namang problema sa akin kasi I have family (becoming homeless is not a problem for me because I have a family who will look after me/be with me),” he said, but “paano yung ibang less fortunate, you know, na ‘di ba walang pupuntahan? Parang nakakakurot (ng damdamin) ‘di ba (what about the less fortunate LGBT people who have nowhere to go to when they get older? It makes one sad, doesn’t it)?”

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To change minds about LGBT Filipinos, Nimes believes that the most effective way to disseminate information and to educate is to go the barangays. For him, by going to every streets of barangays and explain SOGIE concepts, grassroots people can be educated, and (hopefully) start changing their minds re LGBT people. This – for him – is a “preferable kind of information dissemination than (people) just getting information from TV.”

And perhaps it’s by educating that Nimes believes change can happen for LGBT Filipinos.

For him, if the Philippine education system “can tackle issues like HIV, AIDS and gender-based discrimination and bullying, then (we can change the mindset of the people even in their earlier years),” Nimes ended.

For LGBTQIA Filipinos in Muntinlupa City who may want to join Diwata ng Muntinlupa, visit and coordinate with the officers via the organizations Facebook account.

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