The Balangaw Project : Empowering the LGBTQ+ Community through Education
by Glemir Sordilla
Bacolod City, Philippines
April 5, 2019
The Balangaw Project: Empowering the LGBTQ+ Community through Education is a series of continuous talks that the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International Jr (HAPI Jr) in partnership with the Supreme Student Government of Bata National High School and Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay Bata. The collaboration launched the first ever event last March 17, 2019 at Bata National High School. Balangaw, by the way, is the Hiligaynon term for rainbow, as to represent the LGBT spectrum.
This activity invited the youth sector of Brgy. Bata, and the energetic crowd from LGBTQ+ community. It aims to lessen and eventually end the discriminations and adversities that the LGBTQ+ people experience in their daily lives. This event wants to, overall, educate and to shed a light on what occurred with the involvement of the LGBTQ+ community; what happened before that shaped today, that will determine the future. With the participants eager to learn, they need commendable speakers that are also wholly passionate in sharing their knowledge.
The Fundamental Human Rights
Mr. Alvin John Ballares, HAPI Executive Director, was the first one to speak, blasted the stage with a boom! His pleasant stance added life to his content, as he talked about the general concept of Human Rights: the birth of Human Rights, the principles, and the application. He finished speech off by reminding the listeners to be more mindful, to arm themselves with basic critical thinking tools before whining against Commission on Human Rights.
A Brief History and the Current Struggles of the LGBTQ+ Movement
Mr. Rayd Espeja took the stage after to continue the momentum, with his silvery voice that talked about understanding LGBTQ+ that includes its brief history and SOGIE. Rayd walked us through the history of the LGBT movement, and the important markers of the advocacy. Mr. Espeja made it clear from the get go that the discussion on LGBT rights is complex as its own spectrum. Rayd also used the genderbread person, which made his topic clearer and more interesting.
ON LGBTQ+ Rights
Ms. France Sanchez capped off the day’s activity with her talk on LGBTQ+ rights and other significant milestones in the queer community. She made sure that the participants felt comfortable by her occasional jokes and a glimpse of her personal experiences.
The activity ended with a Q and A, plus a round of applause and cheers from a few but engaging participants.
Different barangays opened their doors for us as a result of the first-ever successful Balangaw Project by HAPI Jr. There will be more Balangaw Projects by HAPI Jr in the coming months, just very telling of how successful this event was.
We’re all in this together- together with those people who never fail to show support, facilitate empowerment, to the greater good of humanity.