With the theme Isolation or Inclusion: #CreatingSafeSpaces for the LGBTQ+ community in the new normal, Far Eastern University- Sexuality and Gender Alliance (FEU-SAGA) welcomed the new batch of members of the executive committee with a general assembly and a webinar entitled “Advocating Over the Rainbow” last September 26, 2020 at MS Teams.
The central focus of the webinar and general assembly is the advocacy of fighting for the formation of safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community, which is part of the mission of the organization.
The webinar consisted of speakers namely Mark Geronimo, CK Ricafort, Trish O’Bannon and Joey Andrew Lucido Santos are known for their efforts in advocating for human rights, sexual and gender identity awareness, and LGBTQIA+ rights.
“[The community and the people itself] yun yung nagbibigay sa’tin ng feeling na ligtas tayo (are the things that are giving us the feeling that we are safe)” said Mark Geronimo, social media influencer and human rights advocate, when asked about the state of safe space in the Philippines.
“Take your time to understand who you are. Don’t obsess about labels – what you want to call yourself will come more naturally when you’re sure of yourself. You don’t have to decide now, or ever. Sexuality is fluid and ever-evolving. Keep an open mind, trust your instincts, and follow where it leads.” Said Trisha O’Bannon, co-founder of Now Open PH, for the students who are learning about their sexuality.
CK Ricafort, former president of FEU SAGA, talked about how LGBTQIA+ members representing the community itself is important to better tell the experience and struggle of the community. They also stressed out the importance of the organization in not being blind to sociopolitical issues, and making SAGA a safe space and gender-inclusive family figure for the students.
Lastly, Joey Andrew Lucido Santos, a linguist and LGBTQIA+ advocate, made a lecture about the background and influence of the oppression and discrimination of the community from homophobia and transphobia, and how we can end the culture of hate and start the culture of acceptance. “Break the preconceived notion of ‘has been’ and ‘that’s just the way it is’” he added.
The webinar was also presented on Facebook live and now up for replay.