Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Project Headshot ACT

Head shot

I almost forgot that for World AIDS Day this year, I was warmly invited by renowned photographer Niccolo Cosme and talented videographer Jethro Patalinghug to take part in the third offering of Project Headshot (see above). Project Headshot is an HIV and AIDS-focused photography campaign sponsored by UNAIDS Philippines with the tag line Saving humanity through profile pictures. It began in 2008 with the the theme "Aware". In 2009, they had a second round of shoots for the next phase called "Move." This year the campaign calls people to action to emphasize voluntary HIV and AIDS screening and counseling for the third installment called "Act." Project Headshot has a Facebook fan page that you can like here.
The head shots were released on 1 December 2010 and many web sites have carried it. You can see it on Spot here and at the Female Network here. To view the entire gallery, click here.

With Niccolo

This is not the first time I worked with Niccolo, who is a celebrated photography artist here (see pic above). I had the pleasure of being shot by him when he was not yet internationally famous for an anniversary photo shoot of one of my organizations. So it was really amazing to me when the next time I saw him was when he joined the local singing reality TV show, Duets. I am happy to note, though, that fame has not changed him one bit. He is still the self-effacing, nice and sweet guy I met years back.

With Jethro Patalinghug

I was also very happy to have met for the first time the talented Jethro Patalinghug (see above). Jethro is the person behind the promotional video for the 2010 Manila Pride March called One Love. He is also a singer and performer and his talent just inspires me. I hope we can work together some more in the future.

With Ana Santos

It was a great day doing the Project Headshot ACT shoot. Ana Santos, a long-time ally and editorial director of Sex and Sensibilities.com, was there as well (see pic above).

I would like to thank Niccolo and Jethro for inviting me to be part of the Headshot Clinic this year. For updates on the clinic, visit their blog here. The best part about ACT was the fact that I was the only transwoman there. Hopefully for the next installment, we will see more head shots of transpeople. That is definitely something to look forward to.

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 Manila Pride March


Last 4 December 2010, the Transgender Lesbian Bisexual and Gay (TLBG) community in Manila concluded another historical Pride Parade. For the first time, the TLBG Pride March was sponsored by the local government of Quezon City. Of course, the girls were there and we decided to come in fiery and radical red.

Affirm the right to self-determination

We had two calls this year: AFFIRM THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION and STOP DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION. We also brought back the red truck last year that we rented again out of our own pockets this year.

With Princess & Seanel

Our hardworking member Seanel Caparas (rightmost in the pic above) along with her best friend Princess Jimenez (leftmost in the pic above) decorated the truck and turned it into a parade float. I was so touched when I saw the truck. Seanel and Princess truly outdid themselves and I am so grateful to them up to now.

Once again, joining the march was a tiring but fulfilling experience. Every year, it just seems to get bigger and grander. I was so proud to see that many of the people organizing the march were the first-timers when I was the co-coordinator of  two years ago. I am glad that they kept the flame alive and served Task Force Pride Philippines this year. The TFP execom did a very good job this year and they deserve a big congrats!

With best friend Rey

At last I was able to get a picture taken with my best gay friend in the world, Rey Banag (see above). A week before, Rey sent me a "surprise" Christmas card which had a picture of him and his partner, JM. I cried when I saw the pic and fell in love with them all over again. They are one of the best gay couples I know and I love them both to pieces. I was so elated to receive their loving message with a beautiful picture of them to boot. Now I have their picture in my wallet and it can finally be said that yes I am a fag hag. I am a true-blooded girl who loves boys who like boys. And the pic with me and Rey is my favorite picture from the march.

With Arnel Pineda

During the program, I was surprised when one of the stage hands went up to me and said that Arnel Pineda, the front man of Journey just arrived. Arnel made every Filipino proud when he became Journey's lead singer around 3 years ago. It was such a treat for him to drop by and give a solidarity message to the LGBT community. And of course, it was great meeting him in person (see above)!

Awarding Akbayan

One of the highlights of the program that night was seeing old allies winning a special prize. Akbayan party, the partylist that originaly filed the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB) in Congress 10 years ago, attended this year's march with their usual huge contingent. The ADB seeks to penalize discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression but its passage has foundered since it was first filed 3 Congresses ago. Akbayan won Most Number of Participants in this year's parade. It was an honor to hand the award to Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros and Akbayan Chairperson Percival CendaƱa (see pic above).

With Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista

The best part of the night was meeting Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista again (see pic above). Mayor Bautista and I actually met 3 years ago when I was just a TFP volunteer and he was still the Vice-Mayor of Quezon City. We saw him in a restaurant and asked him to support the march which was going to be held in Manila then. He asked me to send in a letter to his office and I guess that gave him an idea to fully support the march in a bigger way in the future.

All in all, One Love was amazing. It was also heart-warming to see the media acknowledge the advocacy work of the transgender community. Many of the media write-ups and features on the March showed transwomen in the news. It beats me though why even if I kept saying LGBT during the program, most of the news agencies present called it the "gay pride parade" in the news the day after. I guess old habits die hard but at least now, they say LGBT as well and not only "gay and lesbian this" or "gay and lesbian" that, which is a good change.

Congratulations again to TFP. May this be the start of a long and good relationship between the annual LGBT Pride Parade and the Quezon City Government. We cannot wait for next year's Pride March!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One Love

On 4 December 2010, the Filipino Transgender Lesbian Gay & Bisexual (TLGB) community will come together once again in a show of unity to assert their right to love and their right to be which comes from one heart at the 2010 Manila Pride March. The March, still organized by Task Force Pride Philippines (TFP), is different this year as the celebrations focus on the fight against HIV and AIDS. It will also be held after a long time in Quezon City. See the publicity video for the march which features TLGB human rights activists here.