To celebrate the pride month, Google Philippines held an important discussion on the importance of ally and safe distance online and offline, featuring YouTube creators who are members of LGBTQ+ community.
The event featured the stories of Marina Summers, Johnreyslife, JM Banquicio, Levi Reyes, and Sarah Guzman. Also in attendance was Miss Trans Global 2020, an actress, writer, and content creator Mela Habijan who hosted the event.
Google Philippines head of communications and public affairs Mervin’s Tips says the company places importance on how it supports the LGBTQ+ community. “In addition to this annual event, Google supports and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community through an inclusive workplace culture and benefits, product features and policies, humanitarian grants, and more,” he said.
With LGBTQ+ history passing through many societies around the world, many find solace in the content shared by LGBTQ+ creators who have found an outlet of their own for self-expression through YouTube.
“In the past I faced discrimination and hatred for simply being ‘brunette’ and ‘trans’. Today, thanks to YouTube and content creation, I was able to break the barriers in the beauty sphere and become a face of representation,” said beauty creator Johnreyslife. “Regardless of your sexual orientation, gender, or skin color, anyone is welcome and can succeed on YouTube.”
Meanwhile, for the Drag Race Philippines contestant Marina Summershis YouTube content is his way of reaching young LGBTQ+ kids who are still exploring their identity.
“This is my way of patting that little Marina on the back because she can finally see herself on the screen. It’s also for LGBTQ+ kids like me who are looking for people they can identify with on TV and social media,” said Marina. “We always talk about representation. It will really appeal to someone who is looking for a sense of belonging and representation in the media.”
Sarah Guzman on DarlingsPH said their digital journal for cycling trips eventually grew into a supportive community with the same interests as he and his partner, Levi Reyes. “We realize that the content we put out there is not only a source of information, but also a source of inspiration. Putting content out there drives a strong message that we’re for inclusion. We’re the weird people part of in this vibrant community, and they love us for who we are, they accept us, and most of all, they respect us for who we are,” Sara said.
LGBTQ+ creators also shared that they found allies in their families and friends.
“It’s different when your family supports what you do. You can do anything as long as you have the support of your allies,” said JM Banquicio, who considers his family one of his main motivations.
Allies can come in many forms. They can be family, friends, colleagues, an influential person, etc. They help ensure that LGBTQ+ people feel accepted, and allow them to live authentically and without fear, especially in a conservative country like the Philippines.
Despite her initial concerns, Mela Habijan’s mother Irene Franco Habijan said she has learned to accept Mela because she believes God created her this way. He also defended Mela from discriminatory remarks, stressing that “God has given us every assurance that we will all go to heaven, including people like Mela.”
Karina is not your ordinary supermom. He juggles his time bonding with his three amazing children while being in the loop on the latest happenings in the tech and lifestyle scene. Follow me on Instagram (@digitalfilipina) regularly visit www.digitalfilipina.com for daily dose of updates not just for mom but for everyone!