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Rainbow Connections: Making UP safe for LGBTs

in PHILIPPINES, 04/08/2012

On March 1, 2012, UP made the news again when MS Applied Math major Heart Diño was elected as the first-ever transgender student council chairperson of UP Diliman. Her election prompted headliners to speculate about whether or not the Philippines, of which UP is said to be a microcosm, was itself ready for an openly lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender/transsexual (LGBT) president or national leader.

Two different scenarios in one campus. As the premier secular institution of higher learning in the country, UP takes pride in being a haven of liberalism, open-mindedness and independent thinking to a degree yet to be matched by the rest of the country. Heart Diño’s election as USC chairperson is only the latest case in point.4 But as Hender Gercio’s case shows, the university is hardly free from the discrimination, ostracism, harassment and violence inflicted upon LGBTs outside the UP campuses. Nevertheless, where else but in UP can we begin to create a safe place where LGBT rights and identities are not only recognized and tolerated but actively affirmed, included and promoted as well?

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