FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FiRE Honors LGBTQGNC Rights on National Lesbian Day in the Philippines
Reference: Irma Salvatierra Bajar, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment
New York City – On December 8, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) celebrates and honors National Lesbian Day in the Philippines. This day was established at the first National Lesbian Rights Conference on December 6-8, 1996 in Silang, Cavite. FiRE is committed to fighting for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and Gender Non Conforming people (LGBTQGNC), and ending all forms of gender violence, exploitation, and oppression. As an organization of Filipinas in the United States fighting for genuine democracy and national liberation in the Philippines, FiRE would like to honor and thank local New York City and Philippines-based organizations working tirelessly for the rights and safety of the LGBTQGNC community.
In the recent months, the United States has witnessed the tragic youth suicides caused by bullying and harassment. It is vital to provide ongoing education for children, teens, adults, community workers, and the government resources to deconstruct homophobia, heterosexism, and transphobia. Communities should come to the new understanding that LGBTQGNC are entitled to live a life free from violence, as it is a human right.
Earlier this year, the Philippine – based organization, LESBOND, Lesbians for National Democracy, launched an educational campaign which focused on creating understanding and awareness around homosexuality and homophobia. The curriculum was initially meant for universities and the media, but has since been redeveloped for outreach to elementary school students. “The module describes the history, sociology and societal behavior that has sustained homophobia in the Philippines,” said LESBOND member, Julie Palaganas.
LESBOND continues to advocate for gender equality and democracy on the foundation that the place of women, including lesbian women, is in the struggle for genuine liberation. Therefore, great reform must be made on various levels for LGBTQGNC people to acquire the freedom to express their sexuality and identity, create homes for homeless LGBTQGNC youth, access affordable health care and medical services, receive job security with partner benefits, and initiate policies for school and workplaces to be safe places for LGBTQGNC youth and adults.
Irma Bajar, Chairperson of FiRE states, “As a queer Filipina woman who has faced homophobia and heterosexism, it’s important to unite and create an all-encompassing liberation movement. We must ensure LGBTQGNC rights and commit to dismantling homophobia, heterosexism, and transphobia.”