By: Penn T. Larena
In honor of Pride Month, the Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI), a not-for-profit alliance of progressive secular humanists who aim to promote secular humanism in many Filipinos, is hosting a series of activities with its local and national allies to continue championing human rights, particularly those of the LGBTQIA+ community.
With the theme stylized as "OVER•COMING", which basically pertains to gaining control over one's body, freedom, rights, and destiny (amongst others), HAPI will be hosting an art exhibit and an eight-day series of nationwide talks both with an international lineup of artists and speakers, respectively.
HAPI and partner-organization Unitarian Universalist (UU) LGBTIQA Fellowship conceived the Negros Island Pride Collective, an initiative to hold a two-day Negros-wide Pride Walk on June 18 to 19, 2022 at Pantawan 1 at the Boulevard in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
This inclusive, intersectional and multisectoral group plans to highlight inclusivity and bring together members and allies of the queer community in recognition of their diversity and individual beauty.
The Pride Walks on both dates will commence at 4PM from Pantawan 2 going to Pantawan 1, followed by a short program and a picnic along the Boulevard; Negrosanons may pre-register via this link: bit.ly/NegrosPrideWalkRegistration
HAPI’s art exhibit will feature 23 artists from all over the Philippines and one based in the US, showcasing various forms of mediums from photographs, to fabric, digital, oil on canvas, installation art, film, etc; they will be accompanied by poetry written by HAPI-Dumaguete Pride Events Lead Organizer Writer & Poet Roma Jane Hechanova.
The 12-day exhibit will officially be launched at Dakong Balay Art Gallery in Dumaguete City on June 19 after the second day of the Negros-wide Pride Walk; it will culminate on June 30 with an Art Talk from some of the artists.
HAPI’s eight-day series of nationwide talks will feature various advocates and experts from all over the Philippines and one from Italy; it will be done via Zoom at 6PM from June 20-27, and is open to all interested participants nationwide and beyond.
HAPI-Bacolod Deputy Convenor/Federation of Negros LGBT Founding Member Rayd Espeja will talk about “Curating Prism: Leveling Our Understanding of SOGIE and Human Rights” on June 20 (Monday).
This will be followed by Human Rights Defender Atty. Luke Espiritu’s discussion on “Debunking SOGIE Myths: Time to Acknowledge You’re Part of the Spectrum, Too” on June 21 (Tuesday).
Gender Justice Advocate Rev. Kakay Pamaran will focus on “The Insurrection, Resurrection, and the Afterlives of the Babaylan” on June 22 (Wednesday).
On June 23 (Thursday), Negrosanon Youth Leaders Institute Inc. (NYLI) Co-Founder Jomar Borromeo will shed light on the topic titled “We Don’t Sext; We SexTalk: Back to Basics and Basic Instincts”.
Civil Rights Activist Atty. Jesus Falcis will discuss “Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow: Prospects of Legislating Same-Sex Marriage in the Philippines” June 24 (Friday).
Members of the Unitarian Universalist LGBTIQA Fellowship will be facilitating a round-table discussion on “The Genders of God: Why Religion is No Hindrance to Queer Love” on June 25 (Friday); this will be moderated by Paula Maria Gregg, with Lui Sayre, May Gimang, Coriander Gunn, Rev. Leslie Minasalvas, and Bernadette Jumuad as panelists.
Young Humanists International European Regional Coordinator Andrea Ruggeri from Italy will talk about “Femme-Men-Isms: Locating Masculinity and Maleness in Our Liberation” on June 26 (Sunday).
To conclude the eight-day series of talks, Queer Safe Spaces Co-Founder Roanne Carreon will explore the topic on “Feminist Organizing for Gender Equality and Justice in the Neo-Generation” on June 27 (Monday).
As bonus, a special segment with a surprise guest speaker will happen on June 29; watch out for the details! Register at https://forms.gle/Za2BW9F3xFnrbsXv5
Both events are headed by Lead Organizer, Roma Jane Hechanova and Co-Organizer for Art Exhibit Shyndel May Sastrillo (HAPI-Dumaguete), Co-Organizer for Nationwide Series of Talks Junius Dale Capus (HAPI-Bacolod) and HAPI Pride team as co-facilitators.