With the rise of LGBTQIA+ themes on mainstream media like television and movies, Filipinos have never been more open to themes embracing the community. However, there is still an observable need to spread awareness and initiate conversations about important issues the LGBTQIA+ community faces. Understanding the SOGIE bill, enjoyment of basic rights, and protection against discrimination are some of these.
In line with its purpose, the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) is once again championing human rights, particularly those of the LGBTQIA+ community, by presenting a series of activities celebrating Pride Month this June.
The event’s theme is “over•coming.” This represents gaining control over one’s body, freedom, rights, and destiny (among others).
HAPI will be hosting an art exhibit and an eight-day series of nationwide talks that will feature a lineup of international artists and speakers headed by lead organizer Roma Jane Hechanova (HAPI-Dumaguete) with co-organizer for art exhibit Shyndel May Sastrillo (HAPI-Dumaguete), co-organizer for nationwide series of talks Junius Dale Capus (HAPI-Bacolod) and HAPI Pride team as co-facilitators. The activities aim to encourage members of society to come together and discuss issues that are significant to the lives of the queer community and humanity in general.
The art exhibit to be held at Dakong Balay Art Gallery, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental– which will be launched on June 19, – features 23 artists from all over the Philippines and one based in the US and will showcase various forms of medium from photographs, to fabric, digital, oil on canvas, installation art, film, etc. It will run until June 30; poetry written by Hechanova will also accompany the artworks.
The eight-day series of talks will feature various advocates and experts from all over the Philippines and one from Italy. It will be done via video call and is open to all interested participants worldwide.
HAPI-Bacolod Deputy Head Rayd Espeja will talk about “Curating Prism: Leveling our understanding of SOGIE and human rights” on June 20 (Monday). This will be followed by human rights activist Atty. Luke Espiritu’s discussion on “Debunking SOGIE Myths: Time to know you’re part of the spectrum and covered by the SOGIE Bill” on June 21 (Tuesday).
Gender Justice Advocate Rev. Kakay Pamaran will focus on “Unearthing (His)tory to (Her)story: the evolution of queerhistory in the Philippines” on June 22 (Wednesday) which will be followed by Negrosanon Youth Leaders Institute Member Jomar Borromeo’s talk titled “Let’s talk about sex, baby!: Sex Education and Awareness” on June 23 (Thursday).
Human rights lawyer and HAPI member Atty. Jesus Falcis will be shedding light on the feasibility of legislating same-sex marriage in the Philippines and the limitations of the Family Code pertaining to marriage and divorce; this will be done on June 24 (Friday).
Members of the Unitarian Universalist LGBTIQA Fellowship will be facilitating a round-table discussion on why religion is not in the way of being queer on June 25 (Friday); this will be moderated by Paula Maria Gregg, with Lui Sayre, May Gimang, Coriander Gunn, Rev. Leslie Minasalvas, and Bernadette Jumuad as speakers.
Young Humanists International European Regional Coordinator Andrea Ruggeri from Italy will talk about the struggles of men in modern society and why feminism is also FOR men on June 26 (Sunday).
To cap off the eight-day series of talks, Queer Safe Spaces Founder Roanne Carreon will explore the topic of “Inclusive Future: How to achieve a more equal society for all people through feminist movements” on June 27 (Monday).
The two-day Pride Walk is one of the event’s highlights. The first part to be held on June 18, dubbed the Negros Oriental Pride Walk, is a province-wide, inclusive rural, and multicultural gathering open to all members and allies of the LGBT community.
HAPI aims that through these major events, the struggle for equality and equity that will grant people – regardless of sex and gender – the same respect, privileges, and rights would reach more audience and garner more allies.
HAPI is partnering with local and national organizations to make this event possible.
For more information about the activities, visit hapihumanist.org.