A reception was held at the residence of the Philippine US Ambassador Harry Thomas last week to celebrate the LGBT Pride Month together with distinguished guests from different embassies, LGBT groups, media and bloggers. Thanks to US Embassy for the invitation. 😀
Aside from the speech delivered by the Ambassador, we were made to watch the speeches of President Barrack Obama and US State Sec. Hillary Clinton (of course, they couldn’t grace the event :D) showing their support for the It Gets Better Project for LGBT Youth (and perceived as gay or lesbian). Even though we live in a different nation, I believe that we have common struggles and one of which is bullying. This suddenly made me think of my adolescent years.
We’ve heard of stories on young gay boys or are perceived to be gay being bullied in all-male schools. We’ve even heard some schools (usually Catholic all-male schools) giving “pink slips” to students who are perceived to be gay – a “sanction” given to those who do not behave like masculine boys. I studied in a Catholic school for girls and during my stay there, I didn’t hear any type of slip pertaining to sanctioning girls behaving like boys. My hypothesis, and I think others as well, is the traditional machismo culture still prevails in some all-male schools.
Quoting President Obama’s speech:
You are not alone. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you’re getting down on yourself, you’ve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it’s your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You’ve got to reach out to them, don’t feel like you’re in this by yourself.
(You can view the entire transcript here)
The keywords are YOU ARE NOT ALONE and REACH OUT.
The family should be the first people who the youth should reach out. What if parents are not open about homosexuality, which is very common in Philippine society? Now this is where problem starts. No need to worry LGBT youth, there are support groups in the Philippines where you can find PLUs (People Like Us). We can’t get absolute acceptance from everybody but at least let someone help you make it better. Remember kids, appreciate simple things. It will help you feel better. 🙂
Atty. Christine Sun
In another news, I am glad that the Philippine US Embassy is shedding some light on what the US does in terms of LGBT issues. Weeks before the reception, they brought in Atty. Christine Sun, a gay rights lawyer from ACLU. She had a separate round-table discussions with the media and LGBT groups here in Manila and in other parts of the Philippines. It was enlightening to speak with Christine on the present and past cases she worked on and at the same time we gave her a picture on the situation of the LGBTs here in the Philippines and of course the Anti-Discrimination Bill, Reproductive Health Bill and many others.
Lastly, some photo ops during the LGBT reception 😀
With Boy Abunda
With US Ambassador Harry Thomas