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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