Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chairperson of GABRIELA-USA
This June, in the midst of pride celebrations around the country, GABRIELA USA, a national alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations, is agitating, organizing, and mobilizing their communities in unwavering support for LGBTQGNC rights. Through a human rights and immigrant rights framework, GABRIELA USA sees LGBTQGNC issues as embedded in struggles worldwide for economic, political, and social justice.
For the Filipino community, LGBTQGNC rights are international in scope. Since its founding in 2009, GABRIELA USA has been committed to highlighting LGBTQGNC issues in the broader context of the national democratic movement of the Philippines and other social justice movements in the U.S. Every year, through exposure programs to the Philippines, GABRIELA USA women have had the opportunity to meet with Philippine-based organizations Lesbians for National Democracy (LESBOND) in Baguio City and ProGay in Quezon City. Both groups affirmed the important role of LGBTQGNC people in the struggle against gender-ans sexuality-based violence, exploitation, and discrimination as well as the struggle against poverty, foreign intervention, and the ever-worsening global economic crisis.
In the U.S., GABRIELA USA celebrated last year’s pride season by launching an official campaign to promote and defend LGBTQGNC people and relationships, and their equal access and ability to meet basic needs. This campaign continues today as GABRIELA USA organizations participate in various community pride events, and host workshops and discussions to educate members and the community to increase awareness, advocacy, and support for LGBTQGNC issues. This year is especially historic with the recent passage of gay marriage in New York, more than forty years after the Stonewall riots, marking another milestone in the gay rights movement. “The news of this victory is a strong reminder that organized power is truly the way to bring about change,” says Raquel Redondiez, chairperson of GABRIELA USA. “It is one of many steps that need to be taken for LGBTQGNC rights. We hope other states follow after New York, but there is still much to be done. A path to legalization for LGBTQGNC immigrants is an issue that must also be addressed.”
In New York, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) has endorsed the Trans Day of Action on June 24, 2011, a protest rally and march that highlights the issues of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, especially those who are people of color and of working class backgrounds. In addition, TDOA endorsers demand health care, full legalization for all immigrants, an end to profiling, harassment, and brutality at the hands of the police, and an end the U.S “War on Terrorism”.
In Seattle, Pinay sa Seattle kicked off their pride festivities with a fundraising event called “Solstice”, that raised money for members of the organization who will be partaking in this summer’s exposure program to the Philippines. They also conducted a Queer 101 educational discussion for the community. Pinay will also be participating in the Dyke March and Pride March, on June 25 and June 26 respectively.
In the Bay Area, Babae San Francisco will mobilize for the Dyke March on June 25 at Dolores Park. They will also conduct post-Pride events, such as a Queer Pinay Brunch for the queer pinays in the community.
In Los Angeles, Sisters of GABRIELA Awaken! (SiGAw!) focused their efforts on building community partnerships to strengthen their forces for gender and sexuality issues. They also fundraised for the founding assembly of the International Women’s Alliance to take place this July in the Philippines.
In celebration of our LGBTQGNC sisters and brothers, and in advancing the fight for LGBTQGNC rights and welfare, we we hope you can join us in any of the above activities!