Last Sunday, 25 April 2010, we held our monthly Support Group Meeting (SGM). I was very pleased because a lot of girls showed up. We were 15 all in all (see pic above). Since December, we have been averaging between 12-16 members every meeting. I hope we can continue this momentum till the end of my term as chair in October.
For the April SGM we decided to have a session on basic self-defense. This came from one member’s suggestion after she had an unpleasant experience with street thugs. We invited Fire Sia, founder of the first online community of bisexual Filipinas, WomenBiNet, to give us a talk on ensuring personal security at home, in the streets and at work and a demo on basic self-defense moves. Fire began with an orientation on ensuring personal safety in different situations. She gave the girls tips on how to make one’s home more secure and what one could bring to call for help in case one was attacked in the streets. Fire said that maze and pepper sprays were unwieldy because you had to reach for them and sometimes you could actually accidentally spray it on yourself. She suggested for the girls to be more practical by bringing whistles or pens placed near their reach. If someone attacked them a whistle attached to an ID lanyard or a pen in the back pocket would be easier to work with than a spray.
After the talk, we moved to the garage so Fire could teach us some self-defense moves. She would demonstrate with a partner first then asked the girls in pairs to imitate her. Fire taught us how to react when our arm was grabbed or when we are grabbed from behind or when a knife is put to our side by an attacker. Fire would go around to check if every one got what she taught. It was great seeing the girls go at it. One of our new and very active members, Maffie immensely enjoyed herself while aping what Fire taught (see pic above).
We plan to hold more self-defense sessions like these in the future. It feels good to know that we are helping our own members empower themselves this way. We say no to victimhood and yes to transwoman power!