In the last couple of years, issues in the LGBTQ+ community have been put in the spotlight. Not that they didn’t exist before, it just took many years for a lot of people to actually care and talk about it. There has definitely been progress but there’s still so much moving forward that has to be done.
Personally, I identify as cisgender heterosexual so the knowledge that I have of the LGBTQ+ community mainly comes from media and people I know who are part of the community. As someone on the outside looking in, information can get muddled and it’s hard to fully understand what goes on for those who are LGBTQ+. Queer movies and shows can only show you so much.
Last week I attended a panel discussion moderated by Team magazine. It was a talk “on queering up mainstream media and arming content with awareness.” As someone who works in media and just as a person not part of the community, I thought this would be a great way to educate myself.
The discussion started off with the panel talking about the word “queer.” Originally, queer was used as a derogatory word to describe homosexuals. However, in recent years, the community took it back and made it a word of power. The panel also shared how queer has become a limitless and all encompassing term that anyone in the LGBTQ+ community can use.
The panel also gave their thoughts on representation in TV and movies. They expressed than when casting a character who is LGBTQ+, it is better to have an actor who identifies the same. If not, the essence of the character and story gets lost.
They also talked about representation in general. Specifically, transgender woman Mela Habijan said, “Give an opportunity for us in any field possible. Whether it be acting, medical field, law; in anything possible. Because that’s what we lack. Yun yung kulang sa Philippine society (That’s what’s missing in Philippine society).”
How about for the people who aren’t part of the community, what can we do? Loreen Ordono of Metro Manila Pride shared that support is a big help. “Learn how to be better allies and better advocates so that we can learn more and push our advocacy better.”
So, if you’re like me and you’re not sure how to approach LGBTQ+ issues, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know everything. It’s always better to learn more than to remain ignorant, especially when it comes to these topics.
In 2018, I feel like society has to step up and make an effort to know more about our peers. This is not the time to be complacent. This is the best time to educate ourselves and stand for what’s right.
Art by Marian Hukom
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