Author Archives: contributor


2 PERSPECTIVES: My take on the Marcos Years – 2

Thursday, 30 June 2016 | Written by



In the past few months, many people have been bombarded with the idea that the Martial Law Era – for the sake of argument, let’s put it at 1972-1986, because even if Martial Law had been lifted earlier, there was no doubt that authoritarian rule still continued – was actually a good idea. You see, it’s easy to spin new perceptions, because we’re coming up to the same problem that the Jewish Holocaust from World War II has: beyond a certain point, the younger generations would have been born after it, and would have no concept of how that era has affected so many levels of Filipino life today. So let’s go through it piece by piece.

Economic Benefits

The most common way to make the Martial Law era smell like roses is to say that things were better under Marcos (yes, folks, Marcos was the President of the Martial Law era). We can’t ignore the fact that there was still economic growth at the time, to the tune of 3.4% annually. However, per capita growth – that is to say, the economic improvement for the average person – was less than 1%. That would mean that it would have taken 85 years just for the average income per person to double.

Now, let’s take today’s economy. From 2003 to 2014, we’ve been experiencing an average of 5.4% a year, and per person, we’re at 3.5%. People, of course, can still argue that they don’t feel it today, but the facts do stand: our economy is actually doing better now than under Martial Law.


The issue of how Marcos built all the major infrastructure in the nation is a common myth. However, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find out two things. The first one is that many of these projects were actually from President Manuel Roxas, most of them part of the post-war restoration. The second thing is that these infrastructure projects weren’t funded out of the goodness of his heart. These projects are the reason why the Philippines has, up to now billions of dollars in debt to worry about. Yes, you can argue that the debt is being serviced these days, but you have to ask yourself: how did it get there in the first place. Oh, and speaking of pricing…


Corruption is the big catchword these days. One reason why many of the young people and the nostalgic elderly pine for the Marcos days was that things were better then, there wasn’t as much corruption as it there is now. Well, again: when did it start? When was it institutionalized? Well, while corruption certainly already happened before the Martial Law era, that time made it all encompassing. Remember the saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely”? Well, that’s what happened when cronies realized that all it would take would be to make sure that the higher-ups would get their cut. Government contracts, human interactions at the teller, you name: some sort of corrupt thing happened. Moreover, over the years, it became a part of “how things are done.”

That impunity that many of them exude? Hello, Martial Law. You taught generations of these people well.

Human Rights

The one big stain that the Marcos Family can never remove is the way that so many people disappeared or died while they were in power. Now, you can argue: it was the people under them who did it! But then, the instant question would be: so why didn’t they do anything about it?

Others also talk about how the people who died deserved it, being commie bastards. Did that also mean that people whose only sin was to be the sons of their fathers were meant to be tortured? Look up the name Mijares, and then Google it with “martial law” to see what could actually happen.

The sad thing is, many people lost loved ones – but even more simply carried on as if nothing happened – all they had to do was keep in line. But did those who simply questioned – or just had the bad luck of staying out late at night – deserve to be tortured, to be killed, to disappear? There are too many stories, and again, like corruption, this sort of system found its way to be embedded in the institutions that were supposed to protect the people.

Online Freedom

Now, here’s what I find really funny: All these people are using their freedom of speech to really just put the notion there that the Marcoses were gifts from God. Well, let me tell you this, true believers: do your research on how freedom of expression really was in those days. I mean, heck, the regime censored anime for the supposed reason that they were too violent, and for the reason that everyone else had in their minds: that Voltes V, the anime in question, had an aristocratic dictatorship overthrown by revolution. Oops.

If the happy days were really here again…

So, let’s say that all these kids and oldies got their wish, and Martial Law was restored, with a Marcos at the helm. Would things be better? Chances are, no. The fact that the family members who were government officials won’t even address the issue of missing billions is bad enough. They’d also have to address the desaprecidos – the disappeared. Hiding behind the statements that it was their father’s time, or that they knew nothing of it isn’t good enough. Because if it were, then heck, they were incompetent, and that’s another reason why they shouldn’t have power given back to them.

And of course, it’s a sure thing that many will say that this is a fluff piece by a person who just has an axe to grind with the Marcoses, and with Martial Law. But the truth is, the generations today have all these tools to find out what really happened, literally at their fingertips, and yet the Marcos family is inching closer to more power with every passing day.
Perhaps the following should be best remembered by anyone who wants to see the Martial Law era re-enacted again:

“Those who do not know the past are condemned to repeat it.”

“ Always question everything.”

And remember, just because you don’t think it will happen to you, does not mean it won’t in the future.

Further Reading:
When the link goes to a Wikipedia Article, do remember to check the sources at the bottom of the page:



Bakit mahalaga ang pagsali natin sa LGBT Pride March?

Saturday, 25 June 2016 | Written by

rainbow-828920_640ni Bruce Amoroto

I. Para sa pagpapasa ng Anti-Discrimination Bill at iba pang batas na magtataguyod at magtatanggol sa pantay na karapatan ng mga Pilipino kabilang ng mga LGBT

Sa ating Saligang Batas, nakasaad sa Article II, Section 11 na pinahahalagahan ng Estado ang dangal ng bawat tao at ginarantiya ang buong pagrespeto sa karapatang pantao. Bukod dito meron ding ‘Equal Protection Clause’ (Article III, Section 1) kung saan nakasaad ang pantay na proteksyon ng mga batas. Meron ding probisyon para sa Social Justice at Human Rights (Article XIII). Pero sa kabila ng mga ito, hindi tinatamasa ng mga LGBT ang patas ng proteksyon ng mga batas ng Pilipinas at ang pantay na karapatang pantao, bagkus ay merong umiiral na diskriminasyon batay sa ‘sexual orientation’ at ‘gender identity’ (SOGI) sa bansa. At ito ang tinutugunan ng Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB) na naka-pending sa Konggreso mula pa noong 1999. Para maisakatuparan ang pangako ng ating Saligang Batas para sa mga LGBT, kailangang maipasa ang ADB na nagbibigay kahulugan sa “diskriminasyon batay ‘sexual orientation’ at gender identity” at nagbibigay-parusa sa ganitong gawain. Ipinababawal sa loob ng ADB ang lahat ng klase ng diskriminasyon batay sa SOGI at may penalty para sa mga lumabag dito. Pero sa loob ng 17 taon, kinontra ng Catholic Church at ng mga mambabatas kaalyado ng Simbahan ang pagpapasa ng ADB dahil sa mali nilang pananaw na ang panukalang ito ay para sa pagpapasa ‘same-sex marriage’. Ngunit walang anumang katagang mahahanap sa ADB tulad ng ‘marriage’, ‘same-sex marriage’, ‘marriage equality’ o kahit pa ‘civil unions’. Sa loob ng ADB binibigyang penalty ang diskriminasyon sa ilang aspeto ng buhay tulad ng sa trabaho, edukasyon, kalusugan, public service, access sa public establishments, at harassment ng mga pulis at tagapagpatupad ng batas.

Ngunit bukod sa ADB, kailangan din sa Pilipinas ng isang ‘Gender Identity Recognition Law’ para makilala ang mga transpinays at transpinoys sa kanilang mga napiling kasarian na hindi na nangangailangan ng anumang surgery o anumang pagbabago sa katawan. Kailangan din ng isang batas na kikilala sa mga relasyon at magtatanggol sa kagalingan ng mga pamilya at mga anak ng mga LGBT. Bagama’t nakasaad din sa Saligang Batas ang karapatan sa kasal at sa pagbubuo ng pamilya, maraming LGBT na nasa isang relasyon at pamilya na may mga anak ang hindi saklaw at napoproteksyonan ng mga batas ng Pilipinas patungkol sa kasal at pagpapamilya. Sa kasulukuyan, sa ilalim ng Family Code halimbawa, ang kasal ay sa pagitan lamang ng isang lalake at ng isang babae. Kumpara sa mga benepisyong tinatamasa ng isang heterosekswal na pamilya, dehado ang pamilyang LGBT. Kung kaya’t kailangan ang isang batas na magtataguyod sa pantay na karapatan sa kasal at mangangalaga din sa kagalingan ng pamilyang LGBT.

Bagama’t hindi garantiya sa pagbabago ng lipunan ang pagkakaroon ng mga batas, kailangan pa rin ang mga ito para masimulan ang mas substantibo at mas makabuluhang pagbabago. At sa pamamagitan ng pagsali sa Pride March, sa sama-samang boses ng mga LGBT at ng kanilang mga kakampi, pinapalakas natin ang panawagan ng community para sa pagsasabatas ng mga panukalang magtatanggol sa pantay na karapatan at kagalingan natin bilang tao.

II. Para sa edukasyon at pagpapalawak ng kamalayan ng publiko tungo sa pagbabago ng lipunan

Higit sa pagpapasa ng mahahalagang batas, kailangang mabago ang puso at isipan ng mga Pilipino patungkol sa mga LGBT. Sa ngayon, meron pa ring stigma at paninino at marami pa rin ang mga may maling akala o pananaw patungkol sa mga LGBT. Kahit na natanggal na ang homosexuality sa listahan ng mga mental disorders, at kahit na lumalawak na ang consensus para sa pagtatangaal ng gender identity disorder bilang isang sakit, meron pa ring mga medical professionals sa bansa na naniniwala na may sakit (sa pag-iisip) ang mga LGBT at maaari silang magamot o mabago. Ang ilan naman ay naniniwalang isinumpa ang mga LGBT, samantalang ang iba naman ay nagsasabing maging compassionate sa mga LGBT pero igiit na kasalanan at imoral ang pagiging LGBT. “Love the sinner, hate the sin”, ika nga. Dahil sa mga ito, sa pamamagitan ng Pride March, makikila ng mga hindi-LGBT na tayo ay mga tao rin na may pantay na dangal at mga karapatan, at sa huli ay hindi tayo kaiba sa kanila. Bukod dito, ang Pride March ay isa ring pagkakataon para maipakita sa publiko ang diversity ng LGBT community. Sa 16 na taong nagmamartsa ang mga LGBT sa Pilipinas, dumami at iba’t-ibang klase ng mga grupo na ang sumali sa Pride March. Ipinakita natin sa ating mga grupo na tunay na magandang ang bahaghari kung nakikita ang iba’t-ibang kulay nito.

Mahalaga ang visibility hindi lang para makilala tayo ng mga hindi-LGBT kundi para lumawak din ang ating mga kaalyado at mga kaibigan na lalaban at magtatanggol din ng ating pantay na karapatan. Ang Pride March ay hindi lang para sa mga LGBT; para ito sa lahat ng mga naniniwala sa non-discrimination, sa pagkakapantay-pantay, sa karapatang pantao, sa pagkakaiba-iba (diversity), at sa katarungan. Maling isipan na para sa LGBT lang ang Pride March. Ang heterosexuality at asexuality ay mga sexual orientation din, samantalang ang pagiging cisgender at agender naman ay mga klase din ng gender identity, kung kaya’t sa huli bahagi rin sila ng Rainbow Community. Ang mga sexual orientation at gender identity na ito ay bahagi rin ng makulay at mayamang spectrum ng sexuality at gender na bahagi ng ating bawat pagkatao.
III. Para sa ating mga sarili

Ang Pride March ay isang pagkakataon at puwang para sa mga LGBT na yakapin at ipagdiwang ang ating mga sarili—kung sino ang ating minamahal at ano ang pagkakakilanlan natin. Ang March ay isang kolektibo at indibidwal na gawaing pulitikal ngunit ito rin ay isang masayang pagkakataon para makapagbahagi tayo sa komunidad ng ating mga kakayanan, husay at talento. Kakaibang pakiramdam ang makatulong sa komunidad na magorganisa ng isang event na ikakasiya ng marami. Ibang pakiramdam din naman ang maging kalahok lamang at pumarada nang malaya at walang pangamba kasama ng mga kaibigan at mga “kabaro”.

Ang Pride March ay isang lugar kung saan malaya tayong makapagpahayag ng ating mga sarili, ng ating “kaibahan” (queerness). Bagama’t ang paglalantad ay isang napaka-personal na bagay at walang LGBT ang pinupwersang lumantad o sumali sa parade, ang Pride March ay isang lugar kung saan pinapayagan tayong yakapin at ipagdiwang ang ating sekswalidad at kasarian. Ang Pride March samaktwid ay mapagpalaya at makapangyarihan hindi lang sa kolektibo kundi sa indibidwal-personal na level. At kahit na ilang parada na ang iyong nasalihan, bawat Pride March ay kakaiba. Pero ang espesyal at namumukod tangi sa pagsali natin sa Pride March ay ang pakiramdam na habang nagmamartsa ay mabigyan tayo ng pagkilala ng mga nanonood—kundi hiyaw ay palakpak o simple ngiti sa kanilang mga mata—na tama ang napili nating desisyon na maging matapang, na lumantad, na yakapin ang iyong tunay na pagkatao at ipahayag sa madla na ikaw ay bahagi ng isang makukay na komunidad. At yang pakiramdaman yan, yan ang tunay na kahulugan at pakiramdam ng magkaroon ng kalayaan at ng “pride”. Sana ay makita kita sa susunod na Pride March kapatid.



Sa likod ng nanay mo

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 | Written by

sunflowerBusy na ang mg tao. Malapit na ang graduation at kahit maulan, nakatayo at marikit pa rin ang mga sunflower sa University Avenue. Madaming feels ang graduation. Naalala ko pa noong nag-graduate ako. Ako ang pinakamatandang graduate. Ok lang. Basta natapos ko at napasaya ko ang mga magulang ko.

Magtatapos ka na sa UP. Pareho ng mga magulang mo. Masaya ano? Aakyat sila sa stage. Latin honors ba naman! Kahit na sinong magulang, ipagyayabang yun! Sa dami ng activities mo, hindi mo nakalimutang mag-aral at magpursigi. Anak ka nga ng nanay mo. Basta kung anong naisip gawin, gagawin ng maigi. Sigurado ako pati mga kapatid mo at mga kaibigan mo, proud. Proud din naman ako. Hindi ko lang kayang ipagsigawan. Mahirap na.

Maraming hindi nakakaalam ng nakaraan mo. Pero ang nanay mo, kahit kelan hindi iyon makakalimutan. Ikaw ang nag-alaga sa kanya sa panahong walang mag-aalaga sa kanya. Ang bilis ng pagtanda mo. Marami kang kelangang intindihin at gawin sa murang edad. Kaya hanggang ngayon, dala mo pa rin yung pasanin na ‘yun. Akala mo kasi, ikaw ang mag-aalaga pati sa mga kapatid mo. Hindi. Alagaan mo muna ang sarili mo. Sundin mo yung mga pangarap mo. Naniniwala ako na kaya mong gawin ang lahat pero wag kang tutulad sa nanay mo. Magpahinga ka rin. May bukas pa. Pareho kasi kayong grim and determined.

Kagabi, sumama ang loob ng Nanay mo sa akin. Akala niya kasi hindi ako natutuwa sa mga nagawa mo. Sana naintindihan niya na hirap akong mag invest ng emosyon kasi napaso na ako. Nasabihan na akong “sumasawsaw” at insensitive. Hindi siguro maganda ang ating pagkakakilala. Mahirap nga siguro tanggapin na may karelasyon nang iba ang nanay mo – babae pa. Hanggang ngayon, dala pa niya ang pagsisisi na hindi siya naging tapat sa iyo sa inakala mong kaibigan niya dati. Nagalit ka at hindi mo natanggap na sa murang edad, nalinlang ka. Hanggang ngayon, gusto pa rin niyang pagbayaran ang inaakala niyang kamalian niya. Marahil, hindi pa rin niya napapatawad ang sarili sa mga pagkakataong iniwan ka niya para makipagkita sa “kaibigan” niya.

Hindi ako kasama. Hindi ko pwedeng sabihing kasama ako sa pamilya. Dahil hindi naman talaga. Hindi ko alam anong mga pakiramdam ng anak ng magkahiwalay ang mga magulang. Hindi ko rin alam ang pakiramdam ng anak na nakikitang may kasama nang iba ang nanay niya sa buhay. Hindi ko rin alam anong pakiramdam ng isang magulang. Matanda na ako pero marami akong hindi alam. Sa lahat, I don’t know how not to care. Mahirap magbalat-kayo na wala akong pakialam sa inyo. Mahirap dahil hindi niyo nga ako magulang eh. Pero sa tagal na namin ng nanay mo, at sa dami ng napagdaanan na namin ay hindi ko maikakaila na napamahal na kayo sa akin. Hindi ko lang talaga alam paano ipapakita o kung ipapakita ko nga. Siguro, sabi nga ng mga Lola nila AlDub, sa tamang panahon na lang.

Ito lang ang masisiguro ko sa iyo. Mamahalin ko at aalagaan ang nanay mo sa abot ng aking makakaya. Kaya, mangarap ka. Abutin mo ‘yung gusto mong maabot. ‘Wag mo na munang alalahanin ang nanay mo kasi kaya ko pa naman siyang alagaan. Huwag ninyo ring kakalimutan ang tatay ninyo. Iparamdam ninyo sana sa kanya ang pagmamahal ng isang anak kahit na minsan hindi ninyo maramdaman ang pagmamahal niya sa inyo. Hindi lang siguro siya ganong klaseng tao. Hindi rin siguro abot ng kanyang pang-unawa ang mga ginagawa at mga gawain niyo. Walang magulang na hindi matutuwa sa isang anak na nagagawa ang gusto niyang gawin at masaya ito sa kanyang ginagawa.

Sa graduation mo,“buo” ulit ang pamilya niyo. Ako, sa gilid na lang. Sa likod ng anino ng nanay mo. Aaminin ko sa iyo na hanggang hindi formal ang kanilang paghihiwalay, ang tingin ng karamihan sa akin ay kabit. Masakit ‘yun sa akin at dala dala ko ‘yun. Lalo na’t hindi pa rin sinasabi ng nanay mo sa tatay mo kung sino ako at ano ako sa buhay niya. Pero hindi ito tungkol sa akin. Tungkol sa iyo ito.

Sa pagtatapos mo, sasabak ka na sa sinasabing “real world”. Huwag panghinaan ng loob kapag hindi mo agad makita yung hinahanap mo o hindi mo maabot ang gusto mong marating. Minsan talaga may mga “roadblocks”. Minsan talaga doon muna tayo sa praktikal kaysa ipagpilitan ang hindi pa maaari. Marami ka pang mararanasan. Sa trabaho at sa pag-ibig.

Sa trabaho, gawin mo lang yung pinapagawa sa ‘yo. Kung gusto mong mag extra effort, sige. Pero sasabihin ko sa iyo, hindi lahat ng ginawa mo pupurihin ka. Minsan, hindi ‘yun sapat. Minsan yung pinakamagaling mong gawa, basura ang magiging trato dito. Minsan sa sobrang galing mo, hindi sa iyo mapupunta ang papuri. Uso ang credit grabbing. ‘Wag panghinaan ng loob. Kakayanin mo yan. Marami ka na rin namang naranasan na sa Peyups. Mas marami sa “labas”. Pag hindi na kinakaya, tandaan mo lang na hindi masama magpahinga pag pagod na.

Sa pag-ibig, mas mahirap. Mas masakit minsan ang pagkabigo pero dahil anak ka ng nanay mo, kakayanin mo rin ito. Kung sino man ang iyong napupusuan, wag mong ikahiya. Ipaglaban mo. Huwag mo nang gayahin pa ang nanay mo na sinunod ang tingin niyang mas gusto ng mga magulang niya. Diba, sabi nga nila walang maling feelings. Bibigyan lang kita ng babala. Lalong matindi ang pagmamahal, lalo kang masasaktan kaya piliing mabuti kung sino man siya. Baka maunahan ko pa ang nanay mong patayin siya sa kurot nang malaman niya kung gaano kasakit ang ginawa niya. Hehe. Sorry at OA lang. Exxaggg. Pero siyempre, paki update mo naman minsan ang nanay mo sa mga nangyayari. Ikaw rin baka madala ka na lang sa “mommy moves” niya.

Humaba na ito. Hindi mo naman talaga mababasa. Pero ang tingin ko sa iyo, hindi na iba. Anak na siguro ang turing ko sayo pero hindi ko nga alam kung paano ‘yun dahil wala naman akong sariling anak. Goodluck! Gagawa ka na ng sarili mong buhay; sarili mong landas. Basta isipin mo na lang palagi na nasa likod mo ang nanay mo. Ako naman, nasa likod lang niya.



Editor’s note: Hindi nagpakilala ang awtor hindi dahil hindi siya out pero marahil ay ayaw niyang maging tungkol ito sa kanya lalo na kapag nabasa ng mga kaibigan at kakilala.

Photo c/o Some rights reserved.


The Lancet: Transgender rights are critical for the health and well-being of transgender people in Asia and the Pacific

Saturday, 18 June 2016 | Written by


Transgender rights received unprecedented recognition in Asia and across the world in 2015. However, a new Series published in The Lancet today reveals that public recognition has yet to translate into a concerted effort to support and improve the health and lives of transgender people.

The Series was launched at the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) 24th Biennial Scientific Symposium in Amsterdam. It was compiled with input from members of the transgender community and provides an assessment of transgender health worldwide.

The global study points to major gaps in our understanding of transgender health. According to the authors, there is a failure to recognize gender diversity in public health efforts, however, it is noted there is enough information about this marginalized group to act now.

In Asia and the Pacific, there are an estimated 9 million transgender people, many who share common experiences of discrimination. These experiences include issues of invisibility, isolation, exclusion from families, schools, the formal workforce and mainstream economy, and not being recognized as equal citizens.

According to the reports in The Lancet, transgender people lack legal protections that often push them to the margins of society. Routinely denied their rights, transgender people often face stigma, discrimination and abuse leading to marginalization. The report goes on to show that lack of gender recognition further damages their physical and mental health. As a result of this social and legal context, transgender people have high rates of depression, up to 60 percent globally, says the report.

Often excluded from families or the workplace, transgender people are at greater risk of engaging in risky behaviour – sex work or drug use for instance – and studies have shown transgender people are at almost 50 times greater risk of HIV than the general population. Violence against transgender people is widespread and between 2008 and 2016, there were 2,115 documented killings of transgender people across the world, with many other murders likely going unreported or misreported.

“Many of the health challenges faced by transgender people are exacerbated by laws and policies that deny them gender recognition. In no other community is the link between rights and health so clearly visible as in the transgender community,” says one of the lead authors for the Series, Sam Winter, Associate Professor, School of Public Health at Curtin University, Australia. “Faced with stigma, discrimination and abuse, transgender people are pushed to the margins of society, which leave them at risk of further ill health.”

“The 2030 Agenda is based on the principle of ‘leaving no-one behind’. Passing protective laws and policies that guarantee gender recognition is essential to the health and well-being of transgender people,” said Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support. “This groundbreaking Lancet Series on Transgender Health will contribute to the growing body of evidence on addressing the needs of a group that has been excluded in health and development,” he added.

The Series was led by authors from the University of Sheffield (UK), Johns Hopkins University (USA), Curtin University (Australia) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Several members of the transgender community also contributed to the Series, including as authors of the papers.

A majority of countries worldwide do not offer legal or administrative measures enabling gender recognition for transgender people. In the Asia Pacific region, New Zealand, Australia, Nepal, Pakistan and India have moved, or are moving towards, recognizing gender diversity beyond male/female.

The authors of the three paper Series call for action, including:

  • Revisions should be made to WHO’s diagnostic manual, due to be revised in 2018, including removing the diagnoses for transgender people from the chapter relating to “mental and behavioural disorders” and moving it to the chapter on “conditions related to sexual health”. A mental health diagnosis is widely regarded as inappropriate and potentially harmful by reinforcing stigma. The authors say this move would be ‘truly historic’.
  • WHO should reconsider the highly controversial diagnosis of “gender incongruence in childhood” for children below the age of puberty, and instead focus efforts on providing children with access to better support and information, to understand and express their gender identity.
  • Health care for transgender people, including access to feminizing and masculinizing hormones, should be funded on the same basis as other health care.
  • Physicians should be trained to understand the health needs of transgender people, especially in delivering general health care such as mental and reproductive health.
  • Governments worldwide must put an end to gender reparative therapies for children, adolescents and adults, widely condemned as unethical.
  • It is imperative that anti-discrimination laws are inclusive of transgender people.
  • Schools must be more inclusive of gender diversity and all teachers should be trained to work with, and educate about, transgender people and gender diversity.

To access the Series please visit:

Contact Information

Professor Sam Winter, School of Public Health, Curtin University, Australia
Tel: +61451425652

Dr Sari Reisner, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA
Tel: +1 571-243-7532

Natt Kraipet, Asia Pacific Transgender Network, Bangkok

Edmund Settle, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Read this press release on our website
Being LGBTI in Asia is a regional programme supported by UNDP, the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok and USAID which aims to address inequality, violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status, and promote universal access to health and social services.

Copyright © 2016 Being LGBTI in Asia, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you either opted in at our website or participated in one of our activities.Our mailing address is:

Being LGBTI in Asia

Bangkok Regional Hub, UNDP, 3rd Floor UN Service Building, Rajdamnern Nok Ave.



Add us to your address book

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp


Serg’s Chocolate: a case story in business risk-taking

Friday, 17 June 2016 | Written by

sergBy the SERDEF Media Bureau

Entrepreneurship is associated with taking risks in order to gain rewards in terms of material profit and personal fulfillment.

The risks abound and may faze the faint-hearted.  The dominant fear is, of course, the possibility failure plus its many consequences – losing one’s shirt, being mocked by friends and acquaintances, damage to one’s health, well-being and self-esteem.    The demands of the business can also be daunting as it entails hard work and 24/7 commitment.

There are also factors in the bigger economic environment hard to predict even by the most well-thought out business plan.  For example, the plunge of sugar prices in the world market wreaked havoc on the local sugar industry in the 1960s.  Of more recent vintage is the Asian Financial crisis of the 1990s which shook up Asian economies as their currencies took a blow and profitability of their businesses went down.

The case story of Serg’s Chocolates, which used to be a well-known and well-loved chocolate brand in the Philippines,  illustrates some of the risks entrepreneurs face especially from the macro environment.

Serg’s was firmly entrenched in the market from the sixties to the eighties.  It was successfully revived in the 1990s.  Today, however, it has all but faded not only from the store shelves but   also from public memory.

Mia Marcy explains the rise and fall and rise and fall again of the erstwhile thriving chocolate company in the article “Whatever Happened to Serg’s Chocolates.”

The confluence of disparate factors contributes towards the death of companies that one might assume were too big or too entrenched in the market, Marci says.  Serg’s Chocolates is one example.

Serg’s Chocolates was originally conceived in 1954 by Anton Goquilay as Serg’s Products Inc, in honor of his son, Sergio. “Almost as soon as they launched their brand in the fifties, they became that era’s darlings. Their candy bars were an instant best seller, able to go head-to-head with the international variants being sold in the country then. It stayed strong for the next two decades after its inception. In the eighties, however, things started to take a turn for the worse.”

At the height of socio-political and economic unrest during  the Marcos Administration, the Goquiolay family migrated to the United States. In the transition from the Marcos to the Aquino Administration, the company was absorbed by the government under the Asset Privatization program. Serg’s disappeared from store shelves all over the country.

In the intervening years that followed the Goquiolay family’s migration, the young boy that the company was named after grew up. After a stint as a professor in marketing in a US university, he found the courage to return to the Philippines in the early nineties and start over. His first move was to take back control of his family’s company. Sergio Goquiolay flew back to Manila to reclaim his family’s company, succeeding in putting Serg’s Chocolates back in the limelight.

With the reins of Serg’s Products Inc. back in his hands, Sergio Goquiolay gave the company a much-needed rebranding and started making chocolates again. In almost no time at all, the brand found its way back to store shelves and inside Filipino’s hearts. Even amidst tough competition from multinational companies, Serg’s clawed its way back into relevance. By the mid-nineties, the company was geared to expand its operations and ready to start exporting to neighboring Asian countries.

In 1997, the Asian financial crisis happened.  It plunged Serg’s into debt, despite consistently strong sales.  The company had taken on loans in dollars to finance its expansion, and suffered massive losses from the peso devaluation of the time. Sales were still good, but not nearly enough to pay back its loans. That, coupled with some labor disputes inside the Serg factory, plunged the company deeper into trouble.

With its numbers in the red, the company decided to cut its losses. In 2001, Serg’s Products Inc. filed for bankruptcy. That same year, Sergio Goquiolay passed away.

Marci concludes her article in a hopeful note: “Sources close to the family say that they are exploring ways to revive Serg’s again, and have started assessing the feasibility of starting the factory once again, especially for this day and age. Whetheranything will ultimately happen, only time will tell. “

Probing and picking up lessons from the Serg’s case will be a good exercise for businesses, big or small, established or starting up, especially in terms of protecting the business against dangers lurking in both the micro and macro business environments.

(Adapted from: Entrepreneurship Study and Practice, by Paz H. Diaz and Herminia R. Fajardo,  published by the Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation, 2015)

Photo credits:


Surviving Breast Cancer and Other Little Things

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 | Written by

bowl-240214_640by April Porteria

I was in second year college when my mom was diagnosed of second stage breast cancer in 2008. I could not express how devastating I was when I received that call, surely I was sad and afraid of what will happen to our future. And of course, of the finances required in order to respond to such problem. I turned off my phone and think for a while.

The next thing I did was research in the internet what a stage two breast cancer is. I looked for the treatment and how fast the recovery of patients will be. I learned that breast cancers are hereditary and at the same time, the easiest type of cancer to treat. This gave me some positive air to breath, but also some caution since it is hereditary. I called my mom after to ask what will be the next steps.

READ: Simple Steps to Breast Cancer Awareness

My mom learned of her condition when she felt a lump in her left breast. It was getting bigger each week so we decided to consult a doctor. The doctor instructed us to get a surgery and remove the lump. We followed so my mom underwent a surgery where the lump was removed. The lump was then tested through biopsy for any cancer stages. It was confirmed that my mom has a second stage cancer during this time.

It was never easy dealing with such a thing. My mom was already getting depressed and pessimistic. At this point, she thought of our future – since I am still in college while my younger brother is in highschool. All sorts of fears were imagined.

breastIt was fortunate that we have a relative to help us support the treatment. After getting the lump out, my mom’s left breast was removed completely to stop the spread of the cancer cells. It was both a relief but at the same time depressing to my mom since she felt losing a part of her womanhood. We kept telling her that it is still better than letting herself killed of the sickness. She will just laugh afterwards.

The next step of the treatment is undergoing chemotherapy. My mom needs at least 6 sessions. The number of sessions depend on the stages of cancer that will be diagnosed. Some patients with terminal stages will need to receive more than 6 at around 10 to 12 sessions in a year. This was actually the hardest part of the treatment, both physically and emotionally.

After sessions, my mom would feel dizzy and uncomfortable. She will vomit and complain of headaches. After 2 to 4 sessions, she will begin to lose hair. She cried when her hair fell off. It was here when she decided to shave all the hair that was left and buy a wig instead. She wore a maroon-colored wig with a hair clip. She would just again laugh and cry at the same time at the thought of wearing such things so she could go out in the streets and act normal again.

After the 6 sessions of chemotherapy, she also underwent radiation sessions. I think she had 6, this was still part of killing the remaining cancer cells. She would feel better during this time. Her hair is slowly growing and she would feel more positive in life as she survives each treatment. I will also feel more relieved during this time.

The finance part was never easy. You are fortunate if you have a relative who would voluntarily finance the treatment. One chemo session almost cost around 6,000 to 8,000 pesos. Getting one is never easy. In PGH, we see patients who will line up as early as 3:00 in the morning just to avail the free or the discounted sessions. But getting in line is not yet the hardest part, getting a schedule to get in line is worse.

My mom was declared cancer-free around one and a half year after her first operation. The doctor then prescribed her to come back every 6 months to 1 year for check up and monitoring. Her hair is also fast growing back.

If there is one thing I learned from this experience, it is how to appreciate the little things in between. It is very important to provide care and understanding to cancer patients especially during the hardest part of the treatment. They will lose hope or they will want to die, but as support systems, we must constantly remind them (and ourselves) that this will always be a battle that can be won. Science and experiences have shown that cancers can be treated in varying degrees. Medicine development as well as technology is providing the people the opportunity to lengthen and save lives.

Little things are those laughs and smiles of my mom during her treatment. Little things are also the tap at the back by the doctor, or the moments after every chemo and radiation sessions. Family love, support and care are the most important defense in surviving breast cancer, and these could be shown through the little things.

My mom is now 62 years old, she was 54 years old when diagnosed.


Ms. April Porteria is a program officer at the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) and a MA Philippine Studies student at the UP Asian Center. She enjoys drinking tea while reading or writing political pieces, and also a fan of organic and health-friendly consumer goods.

Images: “Woman” and “Bowl” from Used under Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.


LGBTs to Candidates: Don’t be like Sotto, Pacman  

Friday, 8 April 2016 | Written by

lgbtpressconLGBT groups yesterday challenged presidential candidates to reveal where they stand on LGBT-related issues in a press conference held at Max’s Restaurant, in Quezon City Memorial Circle.


LAGABLAB, a network of Filipino LGBT organizations around the country, cited the following issues they think candidates should be taking a stand on: HIV and AIDS situation in the country, SOGIE-based violence, and the Anti-Discrimination Bill that has been lagging behind since the 11th Congress.


“Marriage is not the only issue that affects us. There a lot more that need to be at least discussed that concerns our well-being “ said Tacing Marasigan, LAGABLAB spokesperson, “information on where candidates stand on these issues will help us elect public servants who have our interest at heart.”

The group also asked the candidates “not to be like Sotto or Pacquiao,” in the event they get elected.  “Sotto’s opposition to condom use fosters stigma that put a lot of LGBTs at risk of HIV and AIDS,” said Heart Diño of Babaylanes, Inc. “people like him should never see a day more in the senate.” As for Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, the group explained the outrage of the community over the boxer’s statement in an interview where he compared LGBTs to animals, “As he accumulated wealth and power, he instead chose to oppress us,” added Marcy Oculto of TLF SHARE Collective.  Both Sotto and Pacquiao remain to be within the winning circle in recent senatorial surveys.


LGBT advocates also surfaced issues on LGBT health, access to government social welfare programs, gender recognition, LGBT youth and education, and LGBT participation in the business and private sector.  “We need leaders in government who have the LGBTs’ interest at heart,” said.

The group also announced that they will conduct several campaign activities including a community viewing of Miss Universe 2015 pageant (won by Filipina Pia Wurztbach) on April 10, which is incidentally the same telecast of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight, and a solidarity walk ala Pride March on April 28 at the UP Diliman Campus. “We want to make sure that our voices are heard in this elections, “ said Marasigan.


LAGABLAB is composed of Association of Transgender People in the Philippines, Babaylanes, Cebu United Rainbow LGBT Sector, Galang Philippines, Gayon Albay, Rainbow Rights Philippines, Society of Transssexual Women of the Philippines, TLF SHARE Collective, and UP Babaylan.



Jessie Dimaisip

0918 3437001


Claire De Leon

0917 8542266


Joint Statement on the Deteriorating Situation of LGBTIQ Rights in Indonesia

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 | Written by

lgbt25March 14, 2016

We, civil society organizations and human rights defenders, express deep concern about the recent deteriorating situation faced by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer (LGBTIQ) community in Indonesia. We express grave disappointment over the Indonesian government’s lack of political will to put a stop to the wave of discriminatory statements and attacks against LGBTIQ persons, and its failure to ensure their safety and protection. We call on the Indonesian government to respect, protect and promote the human rights of LGBTIQ people.


Since January 2016, a number of government officials have made anti-LGBTIQ statements and undertaken other activities promoting anti-LGBTIQ sentiments. The Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir issued a statement suggesting that homosexual and transgender students should be banned from attending university. The Surabaya police ordered to stop the “#GueBerani Party”, a public event aimed at raising awareness on HIV/AIDS. An Islamic boarding school in Yogyakarta attended by transgender women was raided and forced to close by Indonesian authorities, who cited “security, order, and public comfort issues” as justification. The Indonesian Broadcasting Company released a statement forbidding “effeminate” and “crossdressing” men as well as transgender women from appearing on television. The Ministry of Information and Communication banned stickers and emoji carrying LGBTIQ-themes, and demanded mobile apps and social networking sites to remove such content. Moreover, the Indonesian Parliament is in the process of legislating a ban on public information with LGBTIQ-related content.


Indonesia has a history of discrimination and violence against LGBTIQs, but recent events suggest that the situation is getting worse. The Indonesian government’s failure to condemn anti-LGBTIQ statements has only encouraged anti-LGBTIQ groups like the Front Pembela Islam (FPI) and Ulama Council to continue issuing statements and undertaking other aggressive activities against the already marginalised community. On February 4, FPI reportedly harassed participants at a seminar in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta held to inform LGBTIQs of ways to access justice. With anti-LGBTIQ statements from Indonesian officials on the rise, it is easy for extremist groups to justify their own oppressive actions, including attacks against LGBTIQ people. The absence of a clear government response addressing discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ people is an apparent neglect of Indonesia’s commitment to uphold international and domestic human rights law.


With these issues in mind, we urge the Indonesian government to comply with its obligations under domestic and international law to respect, protect and promote the human rights of LGBTIQ people. Indonesia’s Law Concerning Human Rights (No. 39/1999) states that everyone in the country has the “right to, without any discrimination, the protection of human rights and obligations” (Art. 3.3). The said law obligates government to guarantee protection of persons who face discrimination and violence, and ensure they have access to effective remedies.


The Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, developed in Yogyakarta 10 years ago, provide a universal guide to applying international human rights law to abuses experienced by lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people to ensure the universal reach of human rights protections.


In particular, we urge the Indonesian government to undertake the following actions:


  1. Ensure that everyone in Indonesia is equally protected under the law. The Indonesian LGBTIQ community should not be used as a scapegoat to divert attention from other pressing issues in the country.


  1. Refrain from using LGBTIQ issues to paint a picture of civil disturbance. Labelling the LGBTIQ as threats to “security, order, and public comfort” encourages further extremist actions in the interest of perceived Internal Security.


  1. Order all government officials at all levels to refrain from making anti-LGBTIQ statements.


  1. Proactively address cases of violence against LGBTIQ, including by implementing measures to prevent all forms of violence, by investigating and penalizing such actions, and by undertaking necessary reforms in the justice system.


  1. Undertake measures to ensure the protection and safety of all LGBTIQ human rights defenders.


Signed By:

Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Executive Director, APCOM

Natt Kraipet, Network Coordinator, APTN

Niluka Perera, Program Officer, Youth Voices Count

Ryan Silverio, Regional Coordinator, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus

Sattarah Hattirat, Regional Coordinator, ILGA Asia


Endorsed By The Following Organizations:

  1. ASEAN Youth Forum, Regional
  2. Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma), Regional
  3. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, Regional
  4. Organization Intersex International Chinese, Regional
  5. The Brunei Project, Regional
  6. Destination Justice, Global
  7. International Lesbian, Gay, Trans and Intersex Association, Global
  8. ILGA World Trans* Secretariat, Global
  9. CamASEAN Youth’s Future, Cambodia
  10. Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Cambodia
  11. Day Ku Aphiwat, Cambodia
  12. Rainbow Community Kampuchea, Cambodia
  13. WGP Cambodia, Cambodia
  14. Chinese Lala Alliance, China
  15. Common Language, China
  16. Arus Pelangi, Indonesia
  17. GAYa Nusantara, Indonesia
  18. Institut Perempuan, Indonesia
  19. Partnership for Governance Reform, Indonesia
  20. Peace Women Across the Globe Indonesia, Indonesia
  21. Protection Desk Indonesia, Indonesia
  22. Yayasan Lintas Nusa, Indonesia
  23. Lao LGBT Group, Lao PDR
  24. Justice for Sisters, Malaysia
  25. Malaysian Humanist and Rationalist Movement, Malaysia
  26. Rainbow Connection, Malaysia
  27. Rainbow Genders Society, Malaysia
  28. SUARAM Malaysia, Malaysia
  29. Alin Mee Eain, Myanmar
  30. Angles, Myanmar
  31. Alun Tan Lay Myar, Myanmar
  32. Beauty Queens, Myanmar
  33. Burma Partnership, Myanmar
  34. Burmese Tomboy Group, Myanmar
  35. Colors Rainbow, Myanmar
  36. Equality Myanmar, Myanmar
  37. Ever Green Lover, Myanmar
  38. Gold Star, Myanmar
  39. Khiine Ninsi, Myanmar
  40. Kings N Queens, Myanmar
  41. LGBT Rights Network Myanmar, Myanmar
  42. Manaw Pan, Myanmar
  43. Mee Eain Shin, Myanmar
  44. Lady, Myanmar
  45. Radanar Ayar Rural Development Association, Myanmar
  46. Rainbow Myeik, Myanmar
  47. Rainbow Organization, Myanmar
  48. Sarnarmu Saytanar, Myanmar
  49. Saytanar Arr Mann, Myanmar
  50. Sky Dragon Tomboy Group, Myanmar
  51. Tamar Mar Myae Ma Lat Myar, Myanmar
  52. Thunder, Myanmar
  53. TRY, Myanmar
  54. Alpha Nu Fraternity, Philippines
  55. Downelink Philippines Community, Philippines
  56. Freedom from Debt Coalition – Women Committee, Philippines
  57. GALANG Philippines
  58. LGBT Christian Church, Philippines
  59. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Philippines
  60. Pinoy FTM, Philippines
  61. SHINE SOCCSKSARGEN, Inc., Philippines
  62. Society of Transexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP), Philippines
  63. Stop the Discrimination Coalition – Philippines
  64. WomanHealth Philippines, Philippines
  65. Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau, Philippines
  66. G-Spot, Singapore
  67. Oogachaga, Singapore
  68. Sayoni, Singapore
  69. 30+ Lesbian Group – Grutergi, South Korea
  70. Chingusai – Korean Gay Men’s Human Rights Group, South Korea
  71. Christian Solidarity for a World Without Discrimination (Chasegiyeon), South Korea
  72. Collective for Sexual Minority Cultures PINKS, South Korea
  73. Daegu Queer Culture Festival, South Korea
  74. Green Party Minority Human Rights Committee, South Korea
  75. Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism – Society and Labour Committee, South Korea
  76. Justice Party Sexual Minority Committee, South Korea
  77. Korea Queer Culture Festival Organizing Committee, South Korea
  78. Korean Sexual Minority Culture and Rights Center (KSCRC), South Korea
  79. Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights, South Korea
  80. GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation, South Korea
  81. Labor Party – Sexual Politics Committee, South Korea
  82. Lesbian Counselling Center in South Korea, South Korea
  83. Lesbian Human Rights Group “Byunnal” of Ewha Woman’s University, South Korea
  84. LGBTIQ Crossing the Damn World (It Means Totally Queer), South Korea
  85. Network for Global Activism, South Korea
  86. QUV-LGBTQ University Student Alliance of Korea, South Korea
  87. Rainbow Action Against Sexual Minority Discrimination, South Korea
  88. Rainbow Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights Daegu, South Korea
  89. RINBeyond the Rainbow Foundation, South Korea
  90. Sinnaneuncenter: LGBT Culture, Arts and Human Rights Center, South Korea
  91. Solidarity for HIV/AIDS Human Rights Nanuri+, South Korea
  92. Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea, South Korea
  93. The Korean Community Rainbow Group Lezpa, South Korea
  94. The Korean Society of Law and Policy on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, South Korea
  95. Unninetwork, South Korea
  96. Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, Sri Lanka
  97. RFSL -The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights, Sweden
  98. Buku Classroom, Thailand
  99. People Empowerment Foundation, Thailand
  100. Sangsan Anakot Yawachon Development Project, Thailand
  101. TEA Togetherness for Equality and Action, Thailand
  102. Thai Committee on Refugees Foundation, Thailand
  103. Freedom House, United States
  104. Institute for the Study of Society, Economy and Environment, Viet Nam
  105. Open Group, Viet Nam
  106. Trun Tam ICS, Viet Nam
  107. Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe



Endorsed By The Following Individuals:

  1. Dédé Oetomo, Indonesia
  2. Poedjiati Tan, Indonesia
  3. Gunawan Wibisono, Indonesia
  4. Widya Anggraini, Indonesia
  5. Lau Shu Shi, Malaysia
  6. Dr. Joseph N. Goh, Monash University, Malaysia
  7. Teo Han Hui, Malaysia
  8. Albert Angelo Concepcion, Philippines
  9. Bruce Amoroto, Philippines
  10. Jason Maglacas Masaganda, Philippines
  11. John Tigno, Philippines
  12. Patrick F. Bonales, Philippines
  13. Patrick Espino, Philippines
  14. Ceejay Agbayani, Philippines
  15. Joanna Lavares, Philippines
  16. Anpak, South Korea
  17. Candy Darim Yun, South Korea
  18. Choi Yehoon, South Korea
  19. Eun Seon Kim, South Korea
  20. Holic Ryu, South Korea
  21. Hyeonsu Kim, South Korea
  22. Jaehyeok Choi, South Korea
  23. Je Jin, South Korea
  24. Jeong Seol Ha, South Korea
  25. Jinhwa Lee, South Korea
  26. JinJu Kyung, South Korea
  27. Jung Woo, South Korea
  28. Kimhyunyoung, South Korea
  29. Kang Myeongjin, South Korea
  30. Kim Nayeong, South Korea
  31. Ko Kumsook, South Korea
  32. Lee Byung Hun, South Korea
  33. Lee Jong Geol, South Korea
  34. Lee Yong-suk, South Korea
  35. Lim SungGye, South Korea
  36. Minjin Kang, South Korea
  37. Na Young, South Korea
  38. Sijin, South Korea
  39. Yi Jae Hee, South Korea
  40. Yookyeong Im, South Korea
  41. Zeno Ki, South Korea
  42. Douglas Sanders, Thailand
  43. Sulaiporn Chonwilai, Thailand
  44. Supecha Baotip, Thailand
  45. William Nicholas Gomes, United Kingdom
  46. Ariel Herrera, United States
  47. Hudad Tolloui, United States
  48. Vi Tran, Viet Nam
  49. Diana Mailosi, Zimbabwe



Media Contacts:

Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Executive Director, APCOM, +66-85-360-5200 (Bangkok)

Natt Kraipet, Network Coordinator, APTN, +66-82-653-3999

Niluka Perera, Program Officer, Youth Voices Count, +66-94-835-1762 (Bangkok)

Ryan Silverio, Regional Coordinator, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, +63-917-879-7710 (Manila)

Sattarah Hattirat, Regional Coordinator, ILGA Asia, +66-82-339-5252 (Bangkok)


Ensuring non-discrimination towards LGBTIQ persons in education settings

Friday, 5 February 2016 | Written by

Poster-EqualityASC expresses concern over the recent discriminatory remarks of Indonesian Education ministers. We urge government to create safe spaces where LGBTIQ students can learn, do research and share information.

Minister for Research, Technology and Higher Education
Republic of Indonesia

Minister for Education and Culture
Republic of Indonesia


Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
Manila, Philippines Email:

National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia (KOMNASHAM)

Subject:           Ensuring non-discrimination towards LGBTIQ persons in education settings

Dear Excellency:

We are an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) advocates from different countries in the ASEAN region including Indonesia. Our advocacy is to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of all LGBTIQ persons as enshrined in international human rights instruments.

We express concern about the recent policy statements of the Indonesian government that have significant repercussions on the rights of LGBTIQ persons. As quoted from the Jakarta Post dated January 25, 2016, the Technology, Research and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir said “[t]he LGBT community should not be allowed to grow or be given room to conduct

its activities. Even more serious is those LGBT members who go into universities with scientific studies, or hold discussion groups.”

Such statement was made in reaction to information about the existence of the Support Group and Resource Center on Sexuality Studies (SGRC) that is based in the University of Indonesia. SGRC has been undertaking research, information sharing as well as peer support counselling for LGBTIQ students.

Meanwhile, an on-line article from  dated January 24, 2016 reported that Minister for Education and Culture Anies Baswedan considered that being LGBT among adolescents is a deviant behavior that goes against religious and cultural values, and the Pancasila. The Minister also urged teachers and parents to teach values to protect children from becoming LGBT.

We are concerned that such pronouncements resulted to fear and intimidation amongst LGBTIQ students across Indonesia. We think that as a result of such discriminatory remarks, Indonesia runs the risk of committing breaches to its human rights obligations the right to non-discrimination, the right to education, and the right to protection from violence. We have already received information about students who refuse to attend classes out of fear of discrimination or violence.

It should be noted that Indonesia has previous cases of violence against LGBTIQ people. On November 20, 2014, the Jaringan Perempuan Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Women Network) organized a Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) memorial in Yogyakarta to commemorate the lives of transgender persons lost due to hate crime and violence. The event that began at 8pm went on peacefully until disrupted by the 3 strangers who claimed to be police officers. The strangers violently dispersed the attendees and attacked 6 attendees, some were hit using a bamboo stick. Such case remains unresolved.

We recognize that the 2012 Higher Education Law (No. 2012/2012) affirms that the higher education system must be guided by the following principles, including, democracy and justice, and non-discrimination by holding high human rights, religious values, cultural values, plurality, unity and integrity of the nation.

We also recognize that the 1999 Law Concerning Human Rights (No. 39/1999) affirms that everyone has “the right without any discrimination, to protection of human rights and obligations” (Article 3.3). The law also recognizes that non-discrimination is essential in guaranteeing a person’s “right to protection of his [or her] self-development, to obtain an

education, to educate himself [or herself], and to improve the quality of his [or her] life…in accordance with his[/her] human rights” (Article 12).

In this regard, we request the government to undertake proactive measures to guarantee the rights of LGBTIQ persons in all education settings. We recommend that the government issues a policy directive to ensure all education/academic institutions to provide a safe space for students and academics to exchange views, undertake research and receive academic information about LGBTIQ issues. We recommend that the government in partnership with the Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia creates a monitoring, reporting and response mechanism to ensure that LGBT students and teachers facing discrimination and violence are provided with immediate response and support.

We believe that having a safe space for LGBTIQ persons in schools strengthens the Indonesian government’s efforts to maintain a diverse and plural Indonesian society.


Ryan V. Silverio
Regional Coordinator
53-B Maliksi Street,
Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City

(ASEAN SOGIE Caucus is a regional coalition of organizations and individual human rights defenders from 8 ASEAN Countries. We advocating for LGBTIQ rights in the ASEAN region. Our secretariat is based in Quezon City, Philippines.)

This letter is reposted from ASC site.


Transforming media engagement into results

Thursday, 24 December 2015 | Written by

ILGA1Repost from Being LGBT in Asia site. 

In 2015 the Being LGBTI in Asia programme, a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), received significant coverage in local and global media and achieved substantial growth in social media followers and online engagement. This wide and diverse coverage of the programme in news outlets and online forums shows the strength and impact of a well-implemented communication strategy.

The Being LGBTI in Asia programme promotes its activities and disseminates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) relevant content through its social media accounts. It utilizes FacebookTwitterYouTube,FlickrInstagram and Medium to communicate key results and distribute videos, press releases and blog articles to a wide audience. The impact of the programme’s social media engagement is measured by the number of people reached on social media, the increase in Facebook likes and Twitter followers and the number of views and shares on webpages and social media accounts.

In December of 2015, the Being LGBTI in Asia Facebook page surpassed 20,000 likes from over 45 countries, while the Twitter page has over 4,300 followers. The numbers were aided by strong communications efforts around the 26–27 February 2015 Regional Dialogue on LGBTI Human Rights and Health in Asia-Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand. During the dialogue, the hashtag #BeingLGBTI reached almost 6 million unique people on Twitter and a video of UNDP Administrator Helen Clark giving opening remarks was viewed on Facebook over 32,000 times. #BeingLGBTI continues to be used as the programme hashtag and is consistently used across all of our social media activities. Throughout the last year, an increasing number of partners and community members have begun to use the hashtag across their own social media accounts. The growth in followers and interaction with the Being LGBTI in Asia accounts is sustained and promises to continue into 2016.

During implementation of the Being LGBTI in Asia year one work plan, efforts were made to identify key messages in the following thematic areas (advancing rights and inclusion, health, education, access to employment, legal gender recognition, youth and families) and connect target audiences in order to maximize impact utilizing specific distribution channels.

One of the highlights in media coverage was a 10-part series published by the Huffington Post on LGBT rights in Southeast Asia, Being LGBT in Southeast Asia: Stories of Abuse, Survival and Tremendous Courage. The Huffington Post has over 5.5 million Facebook and 6.5 million Twitter followers and is one of the most popular international online newspapers with over 200 million unique readers each month. Over 10 days the Huffington Post profiled the situation of LGBT people in 10 Southeast Asian countries with an emphasis on criminalization and experiences of stigma, discrimination and marginalization. Five of the country articles (Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam) included specific reference to the Being LGBTI in Asia country reports and their findings. Other countries profiled included Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Singapore for which the author, in the absence of a Being LGBTI in Asia country report, included inputs from key LGBTI civil society activists such as Jean Chong in Singapore, Dede Oetomo in Indonesia, as well as UNDP’s Edmund Settle, the Policy Advisor for the Being LGBTI in Asia programme.

“An active civil society will likely further necessary progressive social and legal change that will advance LGBT peoples’ rights, health and well-being. All citizens have a right to be treated equally in society, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
— Klas Molin, Swedish Ambassador to Thailand at the launch of Being LGBTI in Asia phase two in Bangkok, 24 February 2015

In local English media, a number of news outlets including the Bangkok Post and the Fridae (Singapore) reported on the launch of phase two of the programme in February 2015. The New Zealand Daily News reported on the launch of the Report of the Regional Dialogue on LGBTI Human Rights and Health in Asia PacificThe Nation (Thailand) and Vietnam News published feature articles highlighting progress in the area of human rights for LGBTI people on the occasion of the launch of the flagship regional report summary Leave No One Behind: Advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

“The Leave No One Behind report outlines the many opportunities for collaboration and obstacles that lie in the path towards true equality and respect for the human rights of LGBTI people in the region. It provides us with a clear road map on how to overcome these obstacles and is therefore an incredibly valuable tool for governments, civil society and other development stakeholders.”
— Ted Osius, U.S. Ambassador to Viet Nam at the launch of the Leave No One Behind report in Hanoi, 14 October 2015

LGBT advocates and UNDP China were noted for “changing the lives of LGBT people in China” by GaySpot magazine, the largest LGBT magazine in China (March 2015).
In China, 33 participants attended a media roundtable organized by UNDP in partnership with the Media and Communications Department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Beijing Gender and Health Education Institute.

In Thailand, 37 participants including journalists from print, TV and online media as well as academic and civil society representatives attended a media roundtable entitled “Thai Society and Gender Diversity in Thai Media” organized by UNDP Thailand in partnership with the ISRA Institute of Thai Press Development.

In Indonesia, UNDP in collaboration with the Indonesian Journalist Alliance (AJI) conducted a meeting of 20 editors from five cities (Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Medan, and Makassar) to enhance understanding of the importance of addressing stigma and discrimination against LGBTI people in media.

Perhaps one of the biggest indications of the successful communication efforts of the programme was the participation of Charles Chauvel, the Inclusive Political Processes Team Leader for UNDP, on the Pop Culture Hero Coalition panel “End Bullying: Becoming a Superhero in Real Life” at Comic-Con 2015. The Pop Culture Hero Coalition is the first organization to make a stand against bullying, racism, misogyny, cyber-bullying, LGBTI-bullying and other forms of hate at pop culture conferences, using the phenomenal popularity of comics, film and TV to discuss social justice issues. The invitation to discuss the programme at a major international popular culture event demonstrates that the programme is overcoming barriers between the public and private sphere and is reaching people beyond general activist and governmental circles.

Being LGBTI in Asia would like to acknowledge our partners for their guidance and outstanding support, including Out Leadership, Pink Dot (Singapore) and B-Change, and the communications teams from UNESCO, UNDP, USAID and the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok.


Photo by Edmund Settle of UNDP during the 6th ILGA Asia Conference and Pride in Taiwan.

Plugin by Social Author Bio