Sunday, December 9, 2007

National Lesbian Day in the Philippines

For Reference:
Joanne Alcantara
Chair, Pinay sa Seattle

Pinay sa Seattle Recognizes December 8, National Lesbian Day in the Philippines

Seattle, WA. On December 8, National Lesbian Day in the Philippines,
Pinay sa Seattle would like to honor our lesbian, bisexual,
transgender, intersex, gay and queer organizers in the struggle for
nationalism and democracy in the Philippines. According to Julie
Palaganas, founding member of Lesbians for National Democracy
(LESBOND), it was on December 6-8, 1996 that the Philippines held its
First National Lesbian Rights Conference in Cavite. From this
conference, National Lesbian Day was declared.

Today, LESBOND stands out as one of the only lesbian women's
organizations of its kind. Beginning in the early 90s as a support
group for lesbian women in Baguio City, it developed into a political
center for lesbian concerns and issues. In 1993, LESBOND organized a
forum called "Lesbianism and Homophobia," bringing a speaker to
discuss health care concerns for lesbian women. Understanding the need
to integrate lesbian issues into broader working women's concerns,
LESBOND joined with Innabuyog-GABRIELA to advocate for lesbian issues,
such as workplace discrimination and homophobia. LESBOND continues to
be an active force in pro-people demonstrations, linking issues of
poverty, corruption, land-grabbing, militarism and imperialism to
sexism and homophobia.

As sisters fighting in the same struggle for genuine democracy and
liberation in the Philippines, Pinay sa Seattle would also like to
honor our LGBTIQ kasamas* in the United States. With the majority of
the women in our collective identifying as lesbian, bisexual and/or
queer, we understand that in order to create a society where all
people are valued and their rights respected, homophobia and
heterosexism must be addressed. Joanne Alcantara, Chairperson of Pinay
sa Seattle states, "As queer Filipina women, we have even more reason
to join the National Democratic Movement in the Philippines. We are
part of the International League of People's Struggle, a unique
movement that is willing to address both imperialism and homophobia as
we work to build a more just society."

Happy National Lesbian Day!
Mabuhay to all the lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, gay and
queer kasamas in the struggle!


* Kasama means companion or comrade. It is used in this case as an
affectionate term for fellow organizers in the movement for
Nationalism and Democracy.