Fil-Ams join National Coming Out Day in LA
LOS ANGELES – October 11 marks the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, and Filipinos came out to show that they are part of, as well as support the lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
"Were not different from everyone else," said Deney Tuazon, Malaya Project.
The nation’s second largest public school system, the Los Angeles Unified School District, has announced an out-for-schools campaign, which encourages faculty to wear badges in support of the LGBT community.
"This is about LAUSD being very clear in having an ambiguous message that it is safe to be you. We are proud of who you are. Our campuses don’t want only tolerance, we want acceptance,” announced Superintendent John Deasy.
LGBT advocates said that such an initiative would curb bullying, school dropout rates, and suicides linked to being gay.
The out-for-schools campaign includes a series of multilingual public service announcements by faculty and students. It will feature a Tagalog version, which cites the Pope Francis’ recent softening on gay rights.
Filipinos also celebrated the day with the Malaya Project; a photo exhibit that shows LGBT individuals and families and their struggles for acceptance in the community, something the founders said is needed because the Philippines lags other nations when it comes to LGBT acceptance.
"The Filipino community hasn’t been more accepting as we get more laws in support of LGBT Filipinos. There’s also been a rise in hate crimes so I think it’s a good balance. I think there are more images, possibilities and dreams for LGBT Filipinos," explained Malaya Project co-founder Greg Pacificar.
National Coming Out Day first started in 1988 as a way to commemorate the 1987 gay pride march in Washington DC.
The Gay rights movement has found victories since, with several states now recognizing same sex marriage and the abolishment of the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented gays and lesbian couples of from getting federal benefits.