While the Gen-Z youth is well-versed in matters relating to the LGBTQIA+ community and SOGIE, there are understandably other people who might not be as abreast of it. In alignment with the university’s commitment to inclusivity, Far Eastern University’s Gender and Development Desk, under the charge of its coordinator, Ameerah Milano released a podcast series titled “Sari-saring Queertuhan.”

Released in time for last year’s Pride Month, “Sari-saring Queertuhan” is a podcast that tackles issues faced by the LGBTQIA+ community. As of this writing, the series has four episodes hosted by Milano and Dr. Augustus Ceasar Latosa of the Department of Communication. Each episode features stories and narratives of members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Queertuhan’s pilot episode, “Narrative of a Transwoman” featured the story of then FEU Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) president, Dee Agojo. She spoke on the issues that transpeople face in Philippine society such as transphobia, lack of representation and acceptance, and gender-based violence. Hailing from Olongapo where transwoman Jennifer Laude was killed, Agojo said from a very young age, she saw society felt like it has a license to abuse and subject transpeople to violence.

“Our house was only across the street from where Jennifer Laude was killed. Ever since I was a kid, I was told that, ‘It’s okay if you’re a homosexual. Just don’t be like Jennifer Laude if you don’t want to be killed’,” said Agojo in Filipino.

Agojo also talked about what it means to be a genuine ally.

“It’s easy for someone to claim they’re an ally—just wave a rainbow flag, and you’re good to go. But to actually stand by us in our actual day-to-day struggles—that’s more difficult. Sometimes, you’ll get disappointed even in the people you know closely because they’re only an ally when it’s Pride month,” said Agojo.

The second episode, “How parents and peers should relate to those coming out,” featured Gee Marcos, faculty member of the Department of Psychology. In the episode, Marcos discussed the phenomenon of “coming out,” highlighting that the environment—family, friends, and other spaces members of the LGBTQIA+ community occupy—is the central reason for the challenges of coming out. Marcos said this is precisely why safe spaces are so important.

“People [who] are questioning themselves—regardless of their age—we should understand that they are in the phase of knowing who they are. If someone comes out to us as gay, we shouldn’t invalidate them and say, ‘It will pass.’ Instead, acknowledge them and say that it’s good that they’re exploring who they are, and that if there’s anything they need, you’ll be there for them,” said Marcos said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Marcos also emphasized how members of the LGBTQIA+ community tend to have increased challenges to their well-being.

“If the environment is not affirmative enough, they [LGBTQIA+ individuals coming out] are prone to [experiencing] mental health conditions. There’s always the fear that you will be rejected by society and the people you love, which can even lead to self-rejection,” said Marcos.

Episode 3 of “Sari-saring Queertuhan” centered on LGBTQIA+ relationships—maintenance and conflict resolution. Featured in the two-part episode were two gay and lesbian couples who shared their relationship struggles and strategies. The first couple, Cheryl Salvador and Kace Cabali, related how they make sure tasks and finances are shared fairly and according to ability.

The couple also discussed how going to therapy for their individual mental health concerns also helped their relationship.

“When we first got into the relationship, we were still finding out each of our triggers. We eventually decided to seek professional help and through that, we learned how to handle situations when we’d inadvertently trigger each other through setting up rules on how to de-escalate situations, giving space, and making sure that misunderstandings are discussed, and not pinalipas lang,’” said Salvador in Filipino. When the interviewees were asked what the most important ingredient of a relationship is, they answered: “communication and space for growth—things that are not that different from heterosexual relationships.”

The series’ fourth episode, “Small wins and Legal Battles” featured Anne Lim, co-founder and executive director of GALANG Philippines—a lesbian initiated and run NGO working to capacitate and empower LBTs in urban poor communities. Lim shared that Galang was born out of the realization that there is little progress in the LGBTQIA+ movement because the discourse is largely dominated by the petty-bourgeoisie class.

“If we’re not going to involve ordinary Filipinos, the movement will have little impact—because there’s no mass movement that will propel it forward,” said Lim in Filipino.

When asked what some of the challenges their organization faces in forwarding their advocacy, Lim cited three: visibility of lesbians, bisexual women, and transmen in the movement, ability of the masses to understand their relevance in the movement (thereby also impacting their willingness to participate), and bureaucratic red-tape from the local to the national level.