In line with the objectives established by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 5, Gender and Equality, Behavioral Science students under the Faculty of Arts and Letters held a webinar titled “Bahagi ng Bahaghari: An Inclusivity for the LGBTQIA+ Community Webinar” on June 2, 2022.
The webinar was held to spread awareness on gender inclusivity.
The webinar, presented in two parts, first gave insight on the history of the LGBTQIA+ community, their influence in society, and the labels and terms that emerged within the community throughout the years. This was followed with a discussion that highlighted inclusivity discussing ways on how to make members of the said community feel welcomed.
The guest speakers of the event were Attorney Chel Diokno, a lawyer, educator, and advocate for human rights, Dr. John Manuel R. Kliatchko, Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Department and member of the Ethics Committee of the Psychological Association of the Philippines’ LGBT Special Interest Group, and Ms. Lou Sheridan Manlapaz, a project manager at Cardinal Health International Philippines.
The webinar was organized in line with the 5th SDG of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. The organizers chose to conduct a webinar on inclusivity to underscore empowerment regardless of gender.
In his short speech, Atty. Chel Diokno expressed his beliefs as a human rights lawyer that the freedom to express one’s gender identity, including one’s relationship preference is firmly included in our rights. He thanked the youth for their call to action and reiterated his support for equality, stating that the journey towards equality is admittedly an uphill climb, but he too hopes for a day that no one would be judged for their gender identity.
Dr. Kliatchko gave his discussion on gender and sexuality in the workplace, starting with the history of the LGBTQIA+ community and its influence and changes in society, one of which is the SOGIE bill. He then began his discussion on celebrating diversity and informed the participants of the many different labels and terminologies of the LGBTQIA+ community as a precursor to the goal of the SOGIE bill which is to stop discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. Dr. Kliatchko expressed that in order to do so, everyone must be informed of the basics and that starts with language and how to properly address a member of the LGBTQIA+ community as it is the very first step towards inclusivity.
The second and last speaker, Ms. Manlapaz, shared her experiences in life and the workplace as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. She began her discussion by applying the information from the previous lecture and discussing what one should do if their child, family member, friend, or co-worker is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. She expressed that in order for one to be inclusive they must first initiate the conversation regarding the topic, following that, by being well-informed, one would be able to show their full support towards their friends and family, and lastly, support from the community will follow. She reiterated that an inclusive workforce starts with having a conversation, and from there, allies and members of the LGBTQIA+ community can further help and make society a better place.
The course facilitator, Mr. Gian Carlo M. Ledesma, concluded the event with his closing remarks by expressing his advocacy for the needs and rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. He stated that while the community has had challenges and successes throughout history, society still has a long way to go to achieve the desired acceptance and treatment for the LGBTQIA+ community.