E-Numan: A Cafe Humanisté Amid Crisis
by Donna T. Darantinao
Indeed, time constantly pushes humankind to evolve into every bit of its potential we wish we could have reached in the past. Although humanism has since existence during the 13th and 14th centuries, we can never deny that it has become more prevalent in today’s times. As an organization that advocates for humankind, humanism is a fuel to start advocacy and spark a sense of revolution against stereotypes and norms that should be corrected.
Just like how the recently concluded Cafe Humanisté spearheaded by the HAPI Scholars on December 5, the virtual even centered on secular parenting and coming out. Now, if one must ask why the scholars had to go on and choose these topics for the event, one good reason is that these topics are among the many things that Filipinos evade since the country had always been known for being conservative and reserved.
The first talk was about Secular Parenting and was graced by two of our HAPI moms, Ate Angie Driskell and Mars Mutya Valenzuela, discussing the pros and cons of raising children in a secular home despite the religiosity of the very nation they so reside in. Fans of Angie from ‘godless longganisa’ and Mutya’s son (Shawn, who is also a HAPI Scholar) joined in the webinar.
Angie and Mutya discussed how important it is to have a voice in the community because if you have that, then you have power over your oppressors. As per Angie, “You have to fight smart.”
Moreover, Mutya reiterated that whatever her child wants to be, she will support regardless if it would be contrary to what her principles are because the main essence of secular parenting is not to force your kids into secularism but to allow them to grow and be the person they will choose to be someday.
Further, Mutya and Angie were able to answer questions from the virtual audience regarding their topic, most especially religiosity in schools and how they have dealt with similar instances.
One of the attendees, Reychmever Credo from The NORSUnian, said, “I got enlightened by the fact that there’s not an appropriate time for parents to discuss religion with their kids. After all, it’s the kids who shall learn and discover this through their growth. But despite this, I believe family dynamics could surely and hugely affect their forthcoming decisions in life. I also learned things how “unpleasant” it is to live in a reality where many parents assume that raising kids with some measures of religion is the best way to teach children how to behave ethically.”
He furthered that some of the parents do not ponder upon the human core values like simple happiness, safety, financial stability, and others.
Franz Sotingco of HAPI Dumaguete said the talk made him realize that we should not push our ideals onto our children. Instead, we should let them decide what they want to do.
The second talk was centered on the challenges of the members of the LGBTQ+ as they come out into society. Coming out should not even be something someone should fear but a lot of Filipinos still struggle on how to come out.
Our guest speaker Mr. Rene Gandeza who is a Gender and Development Specialist explained that coming out becomes a privilege for many people. Further, some individuals never even get to come out at all. He also said that there is a certain struggle that one must have to be at their peak of success if they should long for acceptance in society in exchange for being a part of the LGBTQ+ and that this should not even be the case at all.
Moreover, we must know what words to say every time we comment regarding the LGBTQ+ because these may come off as offensive. Indeed, coming out is a sensitive topic.
“In the local setting alone, there are a lot of forms of microaggression (especially gender-based) mentioned by the speaker and indeed, these behaviors are very problematic. And to better understand the issue, people need to cultivate ideas based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and perhaps social class,” Reychemver said.
Furthermore, there were a few games and winners received HAPI goodies as prizes. There were also feedbacks from participants all over the Philippines and some were even watching from overseas. The event was also attended by notable organizations namely UP Alyansa, Ang Sugilanon, The NORSUnian, HAPI Youth, HAPI Northern Mindanao, and HAPI Dumaguete.
This is a Café Humaniste event, an event series by Humanists International, bringing people together to discuss questions of interest and concern to humanists, wherever they are from.