LoveYourself Inc. continues its celebration of Pride Month with two new installments of Usapang ATBPride, shining light on the different rays of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Ally, and more (LGBTQIA+) spectrum. This week, we took the viewers on a peek of different issues affecting bisexuals, pansexuals, and the transgender community.
Episode 3, “Love EveryJUAN, Love Everyone” aired on June 16th, 2020, and featured bisexual and pansexual individuals in a virtual discussion hosted by entrepreneur Ann Rodrigues, and joined by writer, sex educator, Now Open community co-founder and Burlesque PH performer, Trisha O’Bannon (sex educator, writer, co-founder of Brlesque PH, and a performer), CASTRO Communications PR Director Janlee Dungca, and bartender Cholo Mall. The hour centered on breaking stereotypes on bisexuals and pansexuals by acknowledging their similarities, and telling apart the differences: mainly that pansexuals are attracted to all genders, whereas bisexuals are drawn to the same gender as themselves, as well as the opposite gender. They also tackled the issue on the dangers of bisexual erasure and how dangerous it is that it happens even within the LGBTQIA+ community, and how the simple virtue of respect and a strong sense of self-identity can help eliminate this alienating concept.
The importance of respect and self-confidence carried onto Episode 4 which happened on June 18th, 2020. Miss Wanda facilitated Transition Talks with guests YanYan Araña, Center Coordinator of Victoria by LoveYourself, Mela Habijan, freelance writer, actress, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and school directress at Gentle Angels School who’s also affiliated with The Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP), and AJ De La Paz, a Canada-based pharmacy assistant, mixed martial artist, kickboxer and trainer, and a member of TransMan Pilipinas. The discussion let viewers in on the intricacies and of transitioning, and how it goes beyond the changes in the physical body. Everyone chimed in on how equally crucial it is for one to be mentally and psychologically prepared and determined to undergo drastic changes, which is why counseling comes into play. The dangers of self-medication and lack of readiness were also highlighted.
Both sessions left audiences with an important takeaway: each and everyone’s identity and preference is the sole discretion and responsibility of oneself, and no one is obligated to explain and expose themselves to the public. It is a strong message at a time when labels tend to restrict and the public feels entitled to judge and reduce one person based on perception. Self-assurance and confidence allows the individual to fully understand their identity, get a good grasp of who they are and what they want, and fully function in the society regardless of who they decide to be.
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Fruitful discussions from Usapang ATBPride is supported by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, Pilipinas Shell Foundtion, Inc., PhilHealth, Macare, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Cove Manila, Camber – a subsidiary of Hetero, Frontrow Cares, Victoria Court, and Lauvette.
Text by Ulysses Konstantin Largado