Battle Worth Fighting: Struggles of LGBTQIA+ Youth in the PH

June is known to be celebrated as Pride month. As it has recently ended, the fight against the discrimination faced by the LGBTQIA+ community here in the Philippines still has a long way to go. But we’ll get there — because after all, this is a battle worth fighting for. This controversial topic has long been on pages and screens for many years now, yet the problem exists nonetheless. For one, LGBT students have been bullied and discriminated in schools on the basis of their gender and sexuality according to the Human Rights Watch (HRW). Sexual and/or physical abuse were also recorded along with these acts. Isn’t it ironic that we, Filipinos, constantly seek justice and equality when in fact, these things aren’t practiced in our own circle — especially in our homes and our schools? After all, both should have been our main go-to for safe spaces. Amidst facing constant bullying and discrimination, unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there! These youth are also deprived of LGBT-related information which is an important foundation in knowing their own rights and even understanding more about their gender identity. In addition to this, school policies have also been found to be discriminatory that even school administrators settle and put these cases of bullying under the table. “I was depressed, I was bullied, I didn’t know my sexuality, I felt unloved, and I felt alone all the time. And I had friends, but I still felt so lonely. I was listing ways to die,” Benjie, a 20-year old gay man, expressed in an article by HRW. We do not want another youth to experience what Benjie had gone through. So what can we do? As cliché as it may sound, but it must, first and foremost, start within ourselves. Reach out. Listen. But don’t just listen. Understand. Empathize. Be a safe space. Fighting for a long-running battle sure is challenging — and questions may be thrown at you for doing such brave act. But they are humans, too. Humans that deserve protection. Peace. Love. Genuine happiness. And most of all, acceptance.

Reference: “Just Let Us Be.” (2017). Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/06/21/justlet-us-be/discrimination-against-lgbt-students-philippines

Kabanata Team

Kabanata Team