Jul 14, 2013
Back in March I wrote about the sad state of LGBT activism in the country. The end of that blog post had a simple call to action - the need for more folks to get involved in the struggle for LGBT rights for Filipinos everywhere. And while a few months is too shot a time to expect any sort of significant change, I do find myself thinking about this subject again because of how things have developed - or have not developed.
Yes, I say this during a period when a show like My Husband's Lover is on the air as the first LGBT-focused prime time series in our nation's history. I say this after June's Pride festivities with so many different White Parties, Pride Parties and other LGBT Pride related events. Quantity is not quality you see and we certainly lack quality.
The LGBT rights movement in the Philippines is a splintered mess. Yes there are many different groups that advocate one or another aspect of the LGBT struggle. Yes there are different events and establishments that cater to the LGBT community. But we don't really have a single unified movement really making our presence known. There is little to no coordination among LGBT groups - in fact if we were to judge based on social media, then it seems these groups argue among themselves more than actually working together.
June is LGBT Pride Month for most countries. It's a great opportunity for the community to come together and make a serious push to remind everyone about the our struggle. Instead we have multiple isolated events because LGBT groups and business don't necessarily coordinate with one another ahead of time. We don't develop a single calendar of events and try to support one another's activities and make it truly a unified LGBT Pride celebration.
Instead we ended up with multiple uncoordinated White Parties (with some arguing over whose is the "official" White Party), multiple Pride Marches in the year with the main one all the way in December and pockets of LGBGT activity here and there.
This isn't even about one group being "in-charge" or "in-command" of all the others. This is about the basic need for the various groups to stand up and talk to their neighbors. Instead of groups waiting for people to come to them, they need to reach out and build those relationships with fellow activities and influence figures in the LGBT community. People need to stop thinking that their group is the only one that matter or perhaps the only one that they have time for. Given the state of how LGBTs are perceived in this country today, we will never achieve our goals with uncoordinated, isolated efforts.
Instead we remain in clusters like the socialist groups who try to be LGBT friendly as they want support in future elections or the activist intellectuals who take to social media to criticize every little inconsistency in government in media, all from the safety of their computers or whatever. We have the specialized groups dedicated to individual causes like HIV/AIDS or women's rights but who don't always talk to fellow LGBT groups that want the same things that they want as well.
So much is being done, but to so little effect since we don't work together. And the LGBT rights movement will fail until we learn to speak with one voice.