To celebrate a decade of humanist activism, Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI) successfully held HAPI Con last December 7-9, 2023! The celebration took place at Canoe Beach Resort in Zambales.
Before HAPI Con, founder Marissa Torres Langseth (fondly called “Ms. M”) and attendees visited the St. Francis Learning Center Foundation, Inc., dedicated to the indigenous Aetas of Zambales. Volunteers from HAPI’s chapters in Cagayan De Oro, Alabang, Sorsogon, Bacolod, Zambales, Bulacan, and HAPI Pride collaborated to distribute goods like sacks of rice to the community. The visit included a brief program with student presentations and a speech from Ms. M.
Upon everyone’s arrival at the resort, the conference began with attendees introducing themselves and outlining their organisational roles. This marked the first in-person meeting for many members, as previous HAPI conferences had predominantly been held digitally.
Following the introductions, Dandan Marquez, HAPI Pride Ambassador and HAPI-Cebu Lead Convenor, delivered a talk on stereotypes and the representation of the queer community in both Philippine and global media. He explored the changes in depictions of queer individuals over the years, emphasising progress as diverse portrayals emerged in various media forms, including movies, films, and cartoons aimed at broadening the perspectives of children within the topic.
“Growing up exposed to these types of queer representations in the media, I was forced to make hasty generalizations about what queer people are, who and how they love, and how they live,” Marquez stated. “I want to live in a world where queer people can be superheroes, lovable and relatable people”.
The talk also addressed persistent harmful stereotypes in films and TV shows that box queerness to specific images. Following the talk, participants engaged in discussions, posing questions and discussing how these stereotypes in the media hinder progress in passing the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression) Bill.
“Beliefs inform actions and actions have consequences, and this can be harmful, especially to those in power and those who make decisions in making our laws,” said Marquez, highlighting the impact of such stereotypes on legislation.