February 28, 2024

With the aim of providing an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community to discuss diversity in the workplace, the Philippine Financial and Inter-industry Pride (PFIP) successfully a dialogue centering on diversity organized on Sept. 22.

PIFP Project Manager Dawn Mendoza said the forum is one of their avenues to encourage more discussions and participation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, or another diverse gender identity community.

With the theme, “Arapaap: Workplace inclusion forum”, this year’s forum was held in Baguio to expand the group’s reach, which mostly held its previous forums in the National Capital Region. 

Speakers talked about the LGBTQ+ community in terms of innovation, struggles, milestones, and researches and studies about their community.

Dr. Jennifer Josef, associate professor and chairperson of the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology and Program coordinator, Indigenous Studies Program of the University of the Philippines Baguio, discussed intersexuality, stigma, and stereotyping in the workplace.

“Gender equality is what they’re always imposing but the community need is the equity, the equal access to opportunities not only on the rights but on the equal access and treatment,” Josef said.

Trans advocate Kyra Isabelle Antonio also shared her experiences and journey as a transgender woman

“Transitioning means going through different phases. As a transgender person, it starts with acknowledging who you really are, accepting that this is what I want to identify with, then eventually start making changes to your social life,” she said. 

Antonio said trans people do not need to go through all of these phases in order for their gender identity to be valid. “Transitioning is not all about gender identity, transitioning is a long process.”

Also tackled is the Rainbow Youth Academy, a scholarship program for graduating LGBTQ+ youth. It is a transformative force that provides a safe environment for the LGBTQ+ youth to explore their identity, build their self-confidence, and develop their leadership skills and to aspire to become a powerful voice to the LGBTQ+ community.

The academy initially had 10 scholars but through to the generosity of some individuals and member organizations, scholars increased to 25. 

“We discovered that most of our LGBTQ+ scholars are breadwinners to their organizations, in their family, so, imagine if you made that impact in that level, you’re not only making an impact to the life of the individual but the entire family,” Mendoza said.

The forum was organized in partnership with IHG Hotels and Resorts, Foundever, and Teleperformance. – Debbie E. Gasingan with reports from SLU interns