Voice x Pride: Dialogue x Film
By Kayla Lapiz, Voice Linking, Learning and Communication Officer, Indonesia and Philippines.
Film is one of the best ways to encourage dialogue and to collaboratively create inclusive spaces. Within, a number of grantees have been working on creating films as a way to empower the different rightsholders groups. Films give a sense of openness where anyone is allowed to participate despite where they are. It creates varying spaces around the world and enables different audiences to see, understand, and reflect. More importantly, it can serve as a creative tool that can amplify issues, facilitate advocacy, and stories thus far unheard— which is exactly what the Voice x Pride did.
June is celebrated as Pride Month around the world. It is a time when the LGBTI community and its allies celebrate together in spirit and amplify their voices through various activities. Voice is one of the community’s allies and is in full support of their call for inclusion and stop to abuse and criminalisation. To express this support, Voice in the Philippines organised a film screening event, Voice x Pride, featuring documentaries produced by Human Rights in the Picture Foundation with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and Hivos. Entitled “Out and About” and “m/f/x”1, both feature the stories of LGBTI individuals from different parts of the world.
The event was attended by various LGBTI and non-LGBTI organisations, including ISEAN and Gayon, Inc., two of Voice’s grantees focusing on LGBTI initiatives. After the screening, an open discussion was facilitated by Yanyan Araña, a transgender woman from Victoria by Love Yourself, the first community centre focusing on Transgender health and wellness services in the Philippines. Participants expressed how watching the films warmed their hearts and opened their eyes to different struggles in different contexts. Key reflections shared by the participants were:
- Parental support significantly affects the empowerment of LGBTI individuals;
- There is a need to bridge the gap between the LGBTI community/allies and those in disagreement and parents can serve as bridges; and
- It is important to continue mass education on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE) to harness inclusion.
It became heartwarming when one parent who had come with her daughter shared their story. The day her daughter came out to her, she remembers not feeling angry but instead, felt FEAR. Fear of how the world was going to treat her daughter. Together with her husband, they made a promise to their daughter that their home would always be HER safe space. She very much related to one of the parents featured in “Out & About” who said that having a gay child made her kinder and more understanding of people from different walks of life.
As the event concluded, it was emphasised that:
Pride Month is not just about the colourful celebration of the LGBTI community and its allies, but also about paying homage to those who led before them making Pride possible.
If you are an organisation or activist interested in using the films to spark conversations, you can contact the director Nadja Houben at firstname.lastname@example.org for arrangements and support.