Image description: A collage of various elements from Philippine and world history. The background is a sepia map of the world. To the left is an image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe with her hands together. Under her are the Gomburza priests with their hands together too. To their right are peasant farmers and goods sellers. On top of them are the old bourgeosie. To the left of Gomburza are Spanish civil guards, and in front of them is a page of the book The Origin of Species.

The Colonial Roots of Binary Gender

Class, race, gender and sexuality are often considered as independent categories, especially in discourses of power and oppression. However, the history of how these categories evolved—from the rise of European colonialism driving a global shift to modernity—provides a crucial context for the conditions under which present-day inequalities based on identity were created and continue to be maintained.

This topic aims to provide a historical frame of reference behind dominant beliefs surrounding binary gender through examining ideas developed under western colonialism—specifically, how exclusion by class, race, sex and gender interact.

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Queer couple looking at a heteronormative family on TV

Understanding Power and Oppression

Power is not just an abstract concept or something exercised once every four years during an election. Power is a concrete reality which determines our quality of life, if we get to live at all. 

This topic aims to provide the reader with an expansive but incisive exploration of how power operates in Philippine society, and how it affects marginalized communities like LGBTQIA+ people. It begins with a historical overview of queerness in the Philippines, and discusses how power relations during a particular historical period leads to the privileging of certain viewpoints and experiences, and prevents marginalized communities from truly knowing their histories. It then discusses how seemingly politically-neutral concepts like culture and personal problems are manifestations of larger power struggles between different groups and institutions. Finally, the primer focuses on the stark inequalities of the present, and argues how we can address these inequalities.

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LGBTQI+ Issues and Philippine Law

Heteronormativity is the institutionalization of the idea that only heterosexuality is normal, and only particular kinds of heterosexual relations are normal. Stigma on the other hand, “refers to the dynamic devaluation and dehumanization of an individual in the eyes of others, which may be based on attributes that are arbitrarily defined by others as discreditable or unworthy.” Both define most of the provisions of law that references gender and the LGBTQIA+ community.

This primer discusses how the the pervasiveness of heteronormativity is reflected from the highest law of the land to the most mundane of state regulations.

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Trans Rights in the Philippines

One of the most misunderstood discourses in the Philippines is the discussion on human rights. Most citizens do not have a clear and rational understanding of how relevant human rights are in our daily lives regardless of social, economic, and cultural statuses. Thus, it is no surprise that transgender rights are often tackled with contempt, neglected by both the general public and several government agencies, and deprioritized, if not completely denied, by the Philippine legislature.

This primer seeks to shed light on the transgender rights situation in the Philippines, highlight and reiterate the continued deprivation of transgender people’s inherent right to self-determination, and the State’s obligations to Filipino transgender people under International Human Rights Law.

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Queering Labor

LGBTIQ people may experience oppression on the basis solely of their identities and orientation. This oppression ranges from invisibilization, discrimination and violence to the deprivation of the right to full participation in the public sphere. Attacks targeting LGBTIQ people come from individuals as well as social institutions. Whatever the source is of a particular act posing harm to an LGBTIQ person, that act can most certainly be attributed to organized systems of power that disfavor dissident identities and practices.

The incessant nature of queer trauma exposes LGBTIQ people to reduced opportunities and social mobilities making them land odd and dangerous jobs they are only compelled to take on for the sake of survival. This primer discusses how queer politics is intrinsically linked to labor politics, and how important it is to understand the cycle of queer trauma and how these traumas would generally place LGBTIQ people in conditions that would make their lives immensely connected to the lives of other oppressed peoples.

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KASAMA Method for Grassroots Organizing

People Power is a term greatly associated with social movements throughout history. It shows how people can come together to achieve social change and social justice. Working on the premise that—collectively—everyone has power, how can people hone and maximize this power to create social change? One effective way is through empowerment via Grassroots Organizing.

This primer aims to give a deeper understanding and appreciation of grassroots organizing. It will also attempt to provide guidance on how to start grassroots organizing using the KASAMA method.

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