Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are we required to be out (as LGBT) should we choose to join?

We do not require applicants and members to be out to their families and other friends. This is a choice that they would ultimately have to make for themselves. We understand that applicants and members are young LGBT people, and may find themselves in situations where they are not ready to be out or it is unsafe for them to be so. As a support organization, we remain open to accommodate all LGBT-identified UP students and empower them via education, so that they can eventually equip themselves with the knowledge and courage to advocate for their rights.

Q: Is it true that there is hazing or public humiliation in Babaylan?

UP Babaylan condemns hazing. Hazing is prohibited by law (Republic Act 8049), and engaging in acts that cause psychological or physical suffering or injury to an applicant runs contrary to the goals of a support organization.

The organization aims to instill confidence and positive self-worth in its members by (1) giving them a safe space in which they are free to be themselves, and be friends with people who may have similar experiences and struggles, and (2) educating them about concerns that affect the LGBT community today, with a focus on LGBT Filipino student/youth issues

Q: Are we required to cross-dress? Are we required to wear make-up?

A: No and no. UP Babaylan advocates for freedom of gender expression. How to express your identity through clothing and looks is your choice.

Q: I'm not sure if I'm lesbian / gay / bisexual / transgender, can I still join UP Babaylan?

A: UP Babaylan's membership is open to UP students who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. If you are unsure of or are questioning your heterosexual orientation or cisgender identity, then you are more than welcome to join us and attend our educational discussions while continuing to explore your identity.

Q: What is LGBT?

A: LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Lesbian: Term used to describe female-identified people attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other female-identified people.

Gay: (1) Term used in some cultural settings to represent males who are attracted to males in a romantic, erotic and/or emotional sense. Not all men who engage in “homosexual behavior” identify as gay, and as such this label should be used with caution. (2) Term used to refer to the LGBTQI community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.

Bisexual: A person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to males/men and females/women. This attraction does not have to be equally split between genders and there may be a preference for one gender over others.

Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth, including but not limited to transsexuals, cross-dressers, androgynous people, genderqueers, and gender non-conforming people.

"Lesbian," "gay" and "bisexual" are terms used to describe one's sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is the desire for intimate emotional and/or sexual relationships with people of the same gender/sex, another gender/sex, or multiple genders/sexes.

"Transgender" is a terms used to describe one's gender identity. Gender identity is a person’s sense of being masculine, feminine, or other-gendered.

*** "Transgender" definition adapted from the NCTE Transgender Terminology (http://transequality.org/Resources/NCTE_TransTerminology.pdf). The rest of the definitions adapted from Green & Peterson's LGBT Terminology (http://lgbt.newark.rutgers.edu/downloads/terminology.pdf)

Q: Is being lesbian / gay / bisexual / transgender bad / wrong / immoral?

A: A very resounding No! We are an organization that condemns all forms of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Being LGBT is nothing to be ashamed of or guilty about, and we urge you to not believe other people / groups / institutions who tell you otherwise. LGBT people are just part of the wonderful variety of sexual and gender identities that exist in nature, and UP Babaylan exists to support this diversity. Celebrate with us!

Q: Is having or not having a religion compatible with Babaylan membership?

A: UP Babaylan accepts members regardless of their religious affiliation. We have members coming from Christian, Muslim, agnostic and atheistic backgrounds. We are all united by the belief that being LGBT is not a sin or a disease, and that all human beings deserve equal rights regardless of one's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Q: I am a straight cisgender person, can I still join UP Babaylan?

A: Full membership in UP Babaylan is currently limited to UP students who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. However, we have granted honorary memberships to other deserving individuals who have demonstrated commitment to Babaylan's aims and activities. Everyone is invited to inquire further about how they can support the organization regardless of their school, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Q: Does UP Babaylan have discreet LGBT members?

A: If by "discreet" you mean "not loud or overly flamboyant," then yes. Being loud or flamboyant is not a prerequisite for membership. Babaylan is composed of members coming from different sexual orientations and gender identities, so expect to see a lot of diversity, in the same way as the LGBT community at large is composed of a diverse set of people.

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