LOOK: This Campaign is Exposing the Harsh Reality of Filipino Trans Students

Apr 24, 2023 0 comments


Yes, we're in 2023, but unfortunately, the world is still struggling to create safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community. But what's even more disheartening is the fact that educational institutions, which should be a safe and accepting place for students, are failing to improve their policies to be more inclusive. We all know that education is vital for everyone, regardless of identity. And institutions do a disservice to their students when they don't prioritize inclusivity. It's time to recognize that being LGBTQIA+ is not a choice, and everyone deserves a safe and accepting environment to learn and grow.


With that being said, in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, Pride PH, a non-profit organization, released a poignant video entitled "Batang Hinarang sa Lupang Hinirang," as part of the #MakePHSchoolsInclusive movement.


The video featured a transgender woman who was denied her gender expression, depicting her being forced to dress and present herself in a masculine manner. In the video, her long hair was cut off, her makeup was wiped away, and her female uniform was forcibly removed. Unfortunately, this is still a prevalent form of "discipline," particularly among older generations who perceive it as such.


The one who was featured in the video, Jelai Balbaera who experiences these kinds of struggles and stigma firsthand within the school as she is a transgender herself, shared "Kailangan po namin ng tulong dahil dini-discriminate po kami ng school namin." In addition, events like moving-up day rites bring discomfort and anxiety for people like her as the majority of schools prevent them from expressing their SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics). She said, "Hindi daw ako pagma-martsahin kung hindi daw ako mag-comply sa requirements sa hair for boys."  


#MakePHSchoolsInclusive

In 2017, the Department of Education (DepEd) released a memorandum indicating a policy that provides Gender-Responsive Basic Education to integrate the ideals of human rights, non-discrimination, gender equality, and equity in the delivery of basic education. 


In 2022, DepEd reiterated its memo after some trans students were forbidden to attend their graduation rites unless they conform to the school’s policy by cutting their hair. Sadly, many schools still choose not to conform to this memo even at the present. One of the reasons, no penalty or punishment will be given to those who refuse to comply.


In a recent Instagram post, PridePH National Convener and Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan says, “We still receive heartbreaking stories of trans nenes and trans totoys who are not allowed by their schools to express who they truly are. But we will keep the fight moving”



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Let’s reiterate that every student deserves to grow and learn in a safe environment. Even teachers deserve a place where they are free and welcome to embrace and confidently show who they are. May this be a reminder for us to continue working hand in hand to put a stop to nonsense hatred, prejudice, and discrimination towards our non-binary and transgender people.





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