Despite increasing global acceptance of the LGBTQ community, many LGBTQ persons still live with the stigma associated with being lesbian, gay or transgender that prevents them from coming out in their workplaces.
According to a recent study cited by the Washington Post, the number of people in the United States who “remain closeted at work” have gone down only by a narrow four percent despite the existence of inclusive policies. Reasons cited by LGBTQ workers include rigid non-gender neutral requirements and biases—such as being requested to dress in more masculine or feminine styles of clothing, or hearing homophobic jokes.
Filipino LGBTQ individuals also experience the same discrimination from employers and colleagues. The public is no safe place either: A Kami PH social experiment posted on YouTube in June shows a gay couple being berated by a stranger for public displays of affection at a local mall. “Men shouldn’t be hugging each other,” the man told the gay couple. At one point, he also said, “You two should burn in hell.”
Currently, there are a number of local ordinances that directly protect the rights of LGBTQ individuals across the Philippines. None exists at the national level, but that could all change with the passage of the SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) Bill into law.
For now, LGBTQ-centered groups have to wait, push on and build on the momentum that they’ve started for their initiatives, so that more members can receive the support they need. One of these groups is The Rainbow Collective (TRC), whose advocacy centers on educating the community about their rights and fostering a positive and supportive place for lesbian, gay and transgender individuals. The group is launching the first LGBTQ planner, “I Want the World to Know,” on August 21st at the Pineapple Lab.
“I started The Rainbow Collective as a safe place for the LGBTQ community to learn to live life as themselves and be proud of who they are,” says founder, Lady Allyson Dulnuan. “Through the planner, we aim to reach more LGBTQ persons to let them know that they are not alone and that there are brave people who stand up for them. Someone out there supports them.”
The planner sheds the light on common misconceptions about sexuality, gender identity, and LGBT family life. It educates the community, and people in general, about what constitutes internalized homophobia and transphobic violence, how the community can protect themselves from these biases, as well as suicide prevention, mental health and HIV awareness. The planner also features literary works and arts that focuses on LGBT issues on a global scale.
The Rainbow Collective’s I Want the World to Know 2019 Planner is available for order at therainbowcollectiveph.com for P699.00. You may also visit TRC’s Facebook page to know more details and updates about future projects. Along with the 2019 LGBT Planner, the collective is also launching Project Halipan – a program that focuses on the rehabilitation of abusers in same sex relationships.
The group’s official partners for the launch are ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, Bahaghari, Bisdak Pride, Dakila, Discover Manila, Engayged, FEU SAGA, GALANG Philippines, GANDA Filipinas, Iloilo Pride Team, INQUIRER.NET, InqPOP!, LGBTBUS Philippines, Mental Health Philippines, Mindanao Pride, Outrage Magazine, Pioneer Filipino Trans Men Movement, Pineapple Lab, TEAM Magazine, The Red Whistle, UPLB Babaylan and When in Manila.
Aside from the LGBT Planner Launch last August 21, 2018 held at Pineapple Lab Makati, TRC will also have succeeding launch avenues in several areas in the Philippines including Baguio, Iloilo, Cebu, Tacloban, and Cagayan de Oro.
By: Sandy Miguel