The Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) has partnered with the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) and LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) community to gather insights on creating a safer physical and cultural space inclusive for everyone.
A roundtable discussion dubbed “Umpukan sa Nayon” on June 10, 2022, held at the National Library of the Philippines in Ermita Manila has become an avenue for the foundation to gather insights on gender sensitivity while also raising awareness of our complex history with the LGBTQIA+ community.
The ideas gathered during the said discussion will serve as a guide in creating the Nayong Pilipino Cultural and Creative Hub in the Entertainment City in Parañaque.
These ideas include gender-sensitive designs like gender-equal comfort rooms, and a space showcasing the work of LGBTQIA artists, among others.
According to NPF Deputy Executive Director Dr. Jovertlee C. Pudan, “Umpukan sa Nayon” wants to shed light on pre-colonial practices within Indigenous Filipino Communities that involved members of the LGBTQIA+.
“Many of you might now know that long before the Spaniards colonized the Philippines, the country had a long history as far as the LGBTQIA+ community is concerned. The intention of this “Umpukan” is to also shed light on pre-colonial practices within Indigenous Filipino Communities that involve members of the LGBTQIA+,” he said.
“The NPF aspires to not only be a green space but also a safe and inclusive space for everyone from all walks of life, regardless of gender and sexual orientation,” Pudan added.
Among the speakers during the discussion were Dondy Ramos, assistant professor of History from the University of the Philippines, Alvin Cloyd Dakis, a trainer for gender sensitivity, Amber Quiban, a transgender woman from Cordilleras, and a UP Diliman student, and Daniele Guevarra of Philippine Normal University Katalonan.
Assistant Professor Ramos talked about the roles of the LGBTQIA+ community during the pre-Hispanic period.
According to Ramos, local men dressed up in women’s apparel and acted like women long before the Spaniards came and were called “Babaylan”, “Catalonan”, among other things. They were significant not only because they crossed male and female gender lines. To the Spanish, they were astonishing, even threatening, as they were respected leaders and figures of authority.
PNU student leader Danielle Guevarra emphasized that the LGBTQIA+ community was accepted and treated with high regard before.
“Ang mga babaylan ay may pinanghahawakan na significant role sa pre-colonial era. Bakit noon accepted ang LGBTQIA+ community, bakit ngayon may reservations?”
Meanwhile, Alvin Cloyd Dakis, a trainer for gender sensitivity, explained that a culture of acceptance will not be achieved if we don’t ask the involved persons and accommodate how they want to be addressed.
“The only way for you to know the pronoun that they use or their preferred name is to ask them with respect,” he said.
“One Day, hindi na natin kailangang ipaliwanag na ay trans woman ako, kasi tanggap na tayo [we do not have to explain that I’m a transwoman because we are already accepted] in the same way we were accepted thousands of years ago,” said Amber Quiban of the UP Babaylan.