“Community Education on Human Trafficking for the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender) Community in Central Visayas”

 

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PRESS RELEASE

April 1, 2014

NGOs join hands to educate LGBTs in Cebu versus human trafficking

Bisdak Pride, Inc., a non-stock non-profit non-government human rights organization for persons with different sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in the Bisaya speaking populace fighting for gender equality is proud to partner with Good Shepherd Welcome House, Inc., a center devoted to support abused women and children in Cebu to conduct series of  this coming April 5, 12 and May 3 (Saturday) from 1:00pm to 7:00pm at Handuraw Pizza Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City.

Human trafficking, which victimizes women and children recently bannered several front pages of local dailies in Cebu. The victims are mostly women, children and are living in abject poverty and want.According to some reports, at least 105 suspects in human trafficking cases have been arrested since the Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RAHTTF) Central Visayas started operating five years ago.

The group, on the other hand, has also rescued 582 victims, 62 of them minors, including those involved in cybersex operations.

However, human trafficking does not only involved women and children, at its worst; it also victimizes the gay community. Anybody can be a victim. In fact, last February RAHTTF Central Visayas rescued 11 persons during an entrapment in a mall in Mandaue City, one of them was a 16-year-old gay. Because, apparently, they also produce gays depending on the clients’ request.

For reference:

Roxanne Omega Doron                                                       Sr. Antonietta Go, RGS

Executive Director                                                                  Program Coordinator

Bisdak Pride, Inc.                                                                   Good Shepherd Welcome House

+63 921786 2022                                                                  Tel # 254 5598

+63 923872 0288

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Community Education

“Community Education on Human Trafficking for the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender) Community in Central Visayas”

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Forum on Philippine Legislation to end VAW C

Last March 16, 2013, equality advocates of Bisdak Pride, Inc. (BPI) attended a forum on “An Overview of Philippine Legislation to End Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC)” at the MarceloB. Fernan Cebu Press Center upon the invitation of Zonta Club of Cebu II, which is a member of Zonta International.

Myrna C. Tan, the president of Zonta Club Cebu II opened the gathering hoping that each participant will learn from their forum. On the other hand, a VAW C survivor shared her tragic experiences and triumph to the audience.

Remarkably, Atty. Ray Paolo Santiago, executive director of Ateneo Human Rights Center remarkably emphasized the need for women to mobilize themselves to protect and advance their rights. He also shared various Philippine legislation protecting women in our country. He added that laws are just instruments which can be used by victims of VAW C to punish culprits.

Atty. Joan Saniel-Amit likewise deepened the discussion on the salient points of R.A. 9262 of the Violance Against Women and Children Act.

The program ended with the distribution of Symbols of Commitment to the participating organizations and individuals.

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HIV Prevention in Big Cities Project

Last March 11, 2013, at the Cebu Grand Hotel, leaders from government, civil society, non-government, and academic organizations gathered, discussed and decided a strategy to decide on the implementation of a project dubbed as, “HIV Prevention in Big Cities,” funded by the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The project covered two major metropolitan areas, namely, Cebu and Manila where the incidence of HIV cases is exponentially high among male who have sex with males (MSM) and transgender (TG). 

Discussions included sharing on current experiences of HIV and AIDS on interventions and policy for MSM, people who inject drugs, and prison populations in the Philippines and beyond. 

Each organization was asked to share their experiences on HIV prevention highlighting interventions and/or policy work. In lieu of multiple PowerPoint presentations, participants used poster presentations and asked to describe key features telling each organizations story.

 The sharing focus on five important questions:

Why, what is the purpose of the intervention or policy?

Who are the key people engaged?

What are your interventions or policy components?

How do you get things done? (by what methods or means)

Results of your efforts

Roxanne Omega Doron, the executive director of Bisdak Pride, Inc. attended the event and is hopeful the project will significantly reduced stigma and infections to most at risks populations.

 

 

 

 

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Public Consultation on the IRR of R.A 10354

A public consultation for the Visayas dubbed as, “Usapang Kalusugang Pampamilya” on the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the R.A 10354 otherwise known as Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law last March 6, 2013 at the Crown Regency Hotel organized by the Department of Health (DOH) Region 7.

Hon. Madeleine Valera, MD, DOH assistant secretary gave an overview of the IRR and laid down the importance of R.A 10354 for the general population which will define the mechanisms, processes and responsibilities for the application of the Law to concrete programs.

Discussions revolved around the general provisions, provision and financing, public awareness and education, governance, and prohibited acts and penalties and other miscellaneous provisions of the law.

Significantly, the whole-day public consultation emphasized the following:

The national policy and guiding principles on responsible      parenthood and reproductive health.

  1. How does the IRR ensure that the law will be implemented      properly?
  2. How can the DOH ensure that all have adequate access to family      planning, especially the poor and those in remote areas?
  3. Will the government force people to use contraceptives and have      fewer children?
  4. Will public health facilities now start performing abortions?
  5. Will private hospitals, health facilities and professionals be      forced to provide family planning services even if they don’t want to?
  6. How will the information about reproductive health be provided      to the public, especially adolescents?
  7. Will sex and sexuality education promote promiscuity among the      youth?
  8. Can government ensure that family planning and other      reproductive health resources really reach those who need them?

The event was attended by four members of Bisdak Pride, Inc. management committee, namely, Roxanne Omega-Doron, Lucky Maglalang, Ronnie Sanchez and Cresologo Mondejar.

 

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BPI Executive Director invited as reactor to a Clinico-Sociological Conference

Last February 22, 2013, Roxanne Omega Doron, the executive director of Bisdak Pride, Inc. (BPI) was invited by the Cebu Institute of Medicine – Community Medico-Social Services as panelist during the “Shades of Gay: Clinico-Sociological Conference.”

Among others, the general objective of the said conference presented the case of a 25 year old male with jaundice and the family dynamics.

Specific objectives includes, creating a family profile showing the structure and interpersonal relationships among the family members; determine the functionality using the three assessment tools: APGAR, SCREEM and Smilkstein’s Cycle Family Function; present the medical, social, and economic problems identified; present the diagnostic algorithm and management for the approach to a patient presenting with jaundice; present the epidemiology, etiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and management of Acute Hepatitis B infection; formulate and present a family wellness plan, as well as sample dietary plans for specific family members; and, conduct community awareness program discussing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) to the local high school.

Prior to the activity, BPI invited the patient to attend some activities of BPI, most notably the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women and children and sharing and discussions related to certain behavioral aspects of males having sex with males (MSM).

During his discussion as panelist, Roxanne Omega-Doron, outlined his discussions into three: understanding the term “MSM” by using the policy brief of World Health Organization on MSM; the Yogyakarta Principle protecting MSMs from medical abuses; and, results of sharing and anecdotes from community-based organizations (CBOs).

His reaction ended with a call to strengthen CBOs as an important aspect to assert, understand and prevent stigma, medical abuses and discrimination to MSM and transgender (TG) patients, pass the Anti-discrimination ordinance and bills at various levels of local/national governance and set-up mechanisms to protect MSM and TG patients from medical abuse in hospitals and other clinics.

 

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Sinulog 2012

Sinulog 2012

Together with Cebu Model’s Society, we joined the Sinulog Margi Gras 2013 to mainstream our advocacy and to show devotion to the Holy Child

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With Prof. Ted Jennings

With Prof. Ted Jennings

International Campaign Against Homophobia (Phils, S. Korea, Mexico, Japan, USA) 24 February 2008

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Queer Theology at San Fernando, Cebu

Queer Theology at San Fernando, Cebu

Queer Theology: Impact to Queer Communities in Third World Countries 24 February 2012, Cebu

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Fighting for the LGBT Community in the Philippines

by Amelia Kent

March 27, 2013

LGBT communities worldwide face great difficulty in obtaining gender equality and claiming their rightful place in society, but in the Philippines this task is further complicated by cultural norms and religious ideology. One organization tirelessly working to support the LGBT community is BISDAK Pride.  BISDAK pride is based in Cebu City, a vibrant city struggling with modernity.  The charity recruits gender equality advocates and organize educational discussions to various communities to help Filipinos understand gender issues while promoting human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS prevention.

philippines 10 10 05 gay political party Fighting for the LGBT Community in the Philippines guest writers blogs The Philippines deep commitment to the Catholic faith, which includes traditional religious festivals, are triumphed as a great display of religious dedication. The Sinulog festival in Cebu City, draws four million people every year but there is little acknowledgement of the conflicted participation of the gay community who are deeply involved on every level, from the planning committees, to the choreographers and costume designers. According to Roxanne Doron the President of BISDAK Pride, “We create an exceptionally gay festival in a truly religious undertaking. In an ironic twist of fate lies the genuine expression of the LGBT community to their faith – the same faith that often brand LGBTs as immoral and sinful.”

 Fighting for the LGBT Community in the Philippines guest writers blogs Despite the daily intolerance of the Catholic Church, when it comes to organizing cultural events like this one, the LGBT community is tolerated because they are recognized as an integral partner. One remarkably subversive aspect of the LGBT movement unique to the Philippines is their use of a ‘gay language.’ The language, according to Doron was “created in order to serve a specific community, as a means of intercourse between people irrespective of their social and economic status in life.”

278px LGBT flag map of the Philippines.svg Fighting for the LGBT Community in the Philippines guest writers blogs Members of Biskdak Pride view the language as a cultural assertion, but also as a grim reminder that gays cannot effectively use their mother language to communicate their feelings and express frustration without fear. The extreme stigma experienced by those who are openly gay drive many in the Philippines to maintain a double life by engaging in covert behavior. According to Bisdak Pride these closeted individuals are more likely to engage in risky behavior increasing their vulnerability to HIV.

Doron writes that, “A creative and innovative approach to penetrate the community of discreet gays is necessary coupled with a holistic understanding of their social behavior and community participation.” Similar to the United States, individuals who identify as LGBT in the Philippines face discrimination from their immediate family, classmates, neighbors as well as school officials and religious leaders. According to Doron, in more extreme instances, a drunken father has been known to pour boiling water over his gay son, and in one incident, a police man stripped his son naked on his way to school after learning about his sexual orientation.

These heinous acts are especially concerning as the LGBT community in the Philippines still does not yet benefit from any civil rights protection, the members of BISDAK Pride are planning to change that. Doron proudly stated, “We look forward to a society that is just, humane and democratic. Thus, we cry for equality and respect.” Members of Bisdak Pride recognize that they cannot gain support for their cause alone but must reach out to allies from different classes and sectors in society.

If you would like to learn more about how to support Bisdak Pride you can visit their facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/ bisdakprideinc.

About the Author:

Amelia Kent has a degree in social work from Seattle University and is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cebu City, Philippines. Amelia works with victims of sex trafficking and prostitution at an agency that does outreach, provides shelter services, job readiness programs and conducts advocacy and HIV/AIDS education in the community. Amelia is a dedicated advocate for democracy and social justice. She hopes to continue fighting for human rights and equality through direct service, and writing about her experiences from abroad in what Peace Corps calls, “The hardest job you’ll ever love.” You can read more about Amelia’s Peace Corps experience on her blog: http://amelia-philippines.blogspot.com/
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