Friday, March 9, 2012

Message to Human Rights Council meeting on Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

Madam Lasserre, President of the Human Rights Council,Distinguished members of the Council,Ms. Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to address this historic Human Rights Council session. Some say sexual orientation and gender identity is a sensitive subject. I understand. Like many of my generation, I did not grow up talking about these issues. But I learned to speak out because lives are at stake -- and because it is our duty, under the United Nations Charter … and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights … to protect the rights of everyone, everywhere. The High Commissioner’s report documents disturbing abuses in all regions. We see a pattern of violence and discrimination directed at people just because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

There is widespread bias at jobs, schools and hospitals. And appalling violent attacks, including sexual assault. People have been imprisoned, tortured, even killed. This is a monumental tragedy for those affected -- and a stain on our collective conscience. It is also a violation of international law. You, as members of the Human Rights Council, must respond. To those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, let me say: You are not alone. Your struggle for an end to violence and discrimination is a shared struggle. Any attack on you is an attack on the universal values the United Nations and I have sworn to defend and uphold. Today, I stand with you … and I call upon all countries and people to stand with you, too. A historic shift is under way. More States see the gravity of the problem. I firmly oppose conditionality on aid. We need constructive actions The High Commissioner’s report points the way. We must: Tackle the violence… decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships… ban discrimination… and educate the public. We also need regular reporting to verify that violations are genuinely being addressed. I count on this Council and all people of conscience to make this happen. 

The time has come.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

UP Babaylan recommends Blue Repertory's BARE : A POP OPERA

In line with its 20th anniversary, the Ateneo blueREPERTORY, the Loyola Schools Performing Arts Cluster, and ETC proudly present “ BARE: A POP OPERA ”.

Due to insistent public demand following its initial sold-out three-week run in 2009, the Ateneo blueREPERTORY has decided to revive “ BARE: A POP OPERA ” as the featured season finale for school year 2011-2012, a marked precedent in the history of productions produced by the student organization.

So as to treat a bigger target audience with the musical’s powerful story, timely message and memorable music, “ BARE: A POP OPERA ” is set to open on February 29, 2012 - 8:00 p.m. at TEATRINO located at The Promenade, Greenhills, San Juan.

For tickets, inquiries and other information, please contact Chiz Jardin at 09165787618 or through email at For show buying, please contact Luis Marcelo at 09175025847.

Subscribe to Follow @_blueREPERTORY on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

UP Babaylan x YAHOO! News : Is PH ready for transgender leaders?

The University of the Philippines has been branded as a microcosm of the country. As its Diliman campus recently elected its first-ever transgender student council chairperson, is the Philippines also ready for a transgender president?

Gabriel Paolo “Heart” Diño, who won as UP Diliman student council chair, is hopeful.
“In electing a president, we should go beyond the sexuality, but rather focus on his or her credibility, ability, character and commitment to serve the nation,” Diño told Yahoo! Southeast Asia in an interview. 

“At the end of the day, whatever your brand of leadership or activism is, I think it is irrelevant with our sexuality,” she added.

As a transgender, Diño identifies herself and prefers to be addressed as a female although she was born male.

The newly-elected student leader stressed that she is unique from the other candidates not because of her sexuality but because of her brand of leadership which is “founded on the values of equality and inclusion.”

“I will make sure that in every issue and decisions that needs to be addressed, every perspective and every side will be heard because that is the true essence of student politics – democracy and non-exclusivity,” Diño said.

She revealed that serving the students through the council has been her way of thanking UP for embracing who she is.

Diño graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics last year and is now a first year MS Applied Math major.

“As a teenager, I endured stigma and discrimination from my classmates and peers because of my gender. And when I entered college, it is in UP where I got the opportunity to be accepted and grow,” she said in a statement from her political party UP ALYANSA.

Though she is aware that there is still some who doubt her capabilities, Diño said she is able to build her character and strengthen her faith through her critics.

“I know I cannot please everybody. All I have to do is to prove to them that I am worthy of the position and that I will do everything to be the best UP student council chairperson,” she said.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

UP Babaylan x Inquirer : You gotta have heart.

UP Babaylan x Erin Tañada : Transparency and accountability with a Heart

Tañada: “Transparency and accountability with a Heart”
06 March 2012 - Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” R. Tañada expressed his congratulations to Heart Diño, the University Student Council (USC) Chairperson-Elect of the University of the Philippines - Diliman. Diño, who ran under UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (ALYANSA), is the first transgender woman to hold such a post in the history of student leadership in the country.
“Beyond being a transgender woman, I would like to commend Heart, together with her party, because their main platform is not just to end gender discrimination, but also to ensure transparency and accountability in the student council,” Tañada said.
“Transparency in finances is often taken for granted in our institutions. This has to start in youth organizations such as the student council so they may become a shining example for government officials to emulate.  As the saying goes, ‘what better way to start than in your own backyard’,” he said.
Diño and UP ALYANSA ran under a platform of transparency and accountability that prioritized the release of accurate and honest financial statements that will reflect all transactions of the USC, especially since a bulk of its funds come from the students themselves.
Tañada, as an advocate of the Freedom of Information Bill, is pleased “that students in UP, through the leadership of Heart and UP ALYANSA, will be given what is due to them-- the knowledge that their money is being spent wisely by the student council in order to provide relevant campaigns, activities, and services. This is also how the government should be.”
“I'm also looking forward to meeting Heart and her USC in the upcoming budget deliberations, where I'm sure they will be present as they push for higher subsidy for state universities and colleges (SUCs).  I hope they also scrutinize how the University spends the money that government has been allocating to SUCs,” ended Tañada.
Ipinahayag ni Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” R. Tañada ang kanyang pagbati kay Heart Diño, ang  University Student Council (USC) Chairperson-Elect ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas - Diliman. Si Diño, na tumakbo sa ilalim ng UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (ALYANSA), ang unang transgender na babae na hahawak sa ganitong posisyon sa kasaysayan ng pamumunong mag-aaral sa bansa.
“Higit pa sa pagiging transgender woman, gusto kong batiin si Heart, kasama ang kanyang partido, dahil ang kanilang pangunahing plataporma ay hindi lamang para wakasan ang diskriminisayon base sa kasarian, kundi pati ang pagtitiyak ng pagiging bukas at pagkakaroon ng pananagutan sa sangguniang mag-aaral,” ani Tañada.
“Ang pagiging bukas pagdating sa pondo ay kadalasang nakakaligtaan sa ating mga institusyon. Kailangan itong simulan sa mga samahan ng kabataan kagaya ng mga student council upang maging matingkad na halimbawa sila para tularan ng mga pampublikong opisyal. Ayon nga sa kasabihan, ‘anong paraan pa ba dapat magsimula kundi sa inyong sariling bakuran’,” aniya.
Si Diño at ang UP ALYANSA ay tumakbo sa ilalim ng plataporma ng transparency at accountability na nagbibigay halaga sa paglabas ng maayos at tapat na mga financial statement na sasalamin sa lahat ng mga transaksyon ng USC, lalo na't karamihan ng pondo nito ay galing mismo sa mga mag-aaral.
Nagagalak si Tañada, bilang tagapagtaguyod ng Freedom of Information Bill, na “ang mga mag-aaral sa UP, sa pamumuno ni Heart at ng UP ALYANSA, ay maipagkakaloob ang nararapat na sa kanila-- ang kaalaman na ang pera nila ay maayos na ginagastos ng sangguniang mag-aaral para makapagbigay ng mga makabuluhang kampanya, aktibidad, at serbisyo. Ganito dapat ang pamahalaan.”
“Nasasabik na rin akong makilala si Heart at ang kanyang USC sa paparating na mga deliberasyon para sa budget, kung saan tiyak kong naroroon sila para igiit ang mas mataas na subsidyo para sa state universities and colleges (SUCs). Nawa'y kilatisin din nila kung papaano ginugugol ng Unibersidad ang pera na inilaan ng pamahalaan para sa mga SUC,” wakas ni Tañada.

UP Babaylan x Inquirer : You gotta have heart.


You gotta have heart

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True to its vaunted cutting edge, the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, has produced another first: a transgender as chair of the university student council. The election of Heart (nee Gabriel Paolo) Diño to the top post of the UP student body is a major victory for the LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders) community and, as far as the UP student population represents a cross-section of society, reflects a sea change in the public perception of its members—a clear recognition of their capabilities and potentials in the political realm. Think of the not-too-distant past when the likes of Diño were assaulted, insulted, and taken advantage of in all possible ways, and, on the other end of the spectrum, laughed at, indulged and patronized, and you get an idea of the significant stride that was made.
To be sure, it could merely have been because of Diño’s looks. Yet the winning candidate of the Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran is also a standout, academically speaking, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and going on to pursue a postgraduate course in applied mathematics. Hardly the expected “soft” field for a member of a community long handicapped and banished to the margins for going against traditional grain, in fact a radical departure from its stereotypical calling (couture, say, or the business of beauty). It is thus reasonable for attentive observers to expect the new chair of UP’s student council to take on the challenging post with a “scientific” perspective backing a survival instinct certain to have been honed to a keen point by discrimination, whether covert or blatant, willful or accidental.
Born male, Diño is female in looks, clothing and conviction. On those grounds (having discovered early on as a child the pain peculiar to her kind—“a girl trapped in a boy’s body”), and not merely by force of biology, does she lay claim to female references, including the right to use women’s restrooms. “It’s who I am.” One leg of her campaign platform, antigender discrimination, is predictable and announces the direction of her agenda; her own self, wearing her heart on her sleeve, as it were, can very well be “Exhibit A.”
The other legs of Diño’s platform, transparency and zero fraternity-related violence, may be viewed as an acknowledgment of the wide range covered by the post to which she was elected. Transparency in the affairs of not only the premier state university but also (and necessarily) of the government is devoutly to be wished, as is the stamping out of frat “rumbles” and the deadly practice of hazing that continues to prevail and flourish in educational and other institutions despite the law specifically enacted to address it.
But high expectations arise precisely because of Diño’s uncommon victory. From reports, she received 3,290 votes, 547 more than independent candidate Martin Loon of the UP College of Law, 1,072 more than Amancio Melad III of the militant Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP, and 1,390 more than Shaina Santiago of the Nagkakaisang Iskolar Para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan sa UP. Diño is thus called upon to take on more than the struggle being waged by the LGBT community and to address other pressing concerns, including tuition matters particularly as these apply to students from low-income families; the declining quality of instruction and the state of services in UP campuses nationwide; the sufficiency (or not) of the budget allotted by the Aquino administration to education (P238.8 billion in 2012, from P207.3 billion in 2011) vis-à-vis state schools, colleges and universities, as well as the crying needs of teachers; and, not the least, the position of UP students on the burning issues of the day, such as corruption in government, the accountability of erring public officials, even the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
All that, yes, and perhaps more, with the end in view of working toward a truly progressive society where gender sheds its false importance and where, borrowing from Sartre, it is possible to “act upon history and the world and bring about a different relation between [humans] on the one hand and history and the world on the other.”
How does that old adage go? That women’s work is never done?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

UP Babaylan x EURO Summit

UP Babaylan is a partner organization of EURO Summit 2012.

BREAK SOCIAL BOUNDARIES. Know the better on the current struggle against discrimination based on gender, race, nation, colour, and class.

UP EURO (Euro-Filipino Understanding and Relations Organization) presents
THE PHILIPPINE SUMMIT ON EUROPEAN STUDIES 2012 | Gender and Human Rights in the Philippines and Europe: Issues, Perspectives and Directions | March 10, 2012 | Engineering Theater - Melchor Hall, UP Diliman

Don't forget to pre-register!

Join the event for more details:

Saturday, March 3, 2012



Transgender heads UP student council | ABS-CBN News

UP Babaylan x SAKSI : Transgender, nanalo bilang student council chair sa UP Diliman

from :

UP Babaylan x Inquirer : Transgender heads UP student body

Marking a new milestone, students of the premier University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, elected their first openly transgender chairperson of the university student council (USC).
In elections concluded Thursday night, Heart Diño bested three other candidates, including independent candidate Martin Loon of the UP College of Law and Amancio Melad III of the militant Stand UP coalition.
Born Gabriel Paolo Diño, 22-year-old Heart recently completed a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, magna cum laude, and is currently an MS Applied Mathematics major. She led the Alyansa ticket (Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran) and campaigned on a platform of antigender discrimination, transparency and zero fraternity-related violence.
Before winning the top post in the state university council, she was a popular councilor who headed the USC committee on gender and a leader of the UP Babaylan, a group promoting rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) students.
‘Historic moment’
Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity and expression does not conform to socially constructed behavior associated with one’s sex at birth.
Danton Remoto, chairman of the national Ang Ladlad party called Diño’s election a “historic moment” and a victory that “opens doors for the LGBT community into the political sphere.”
“We applaud the UP constituency for voting Heart Diño,” he told the Inquirer in an interview.
“The party also lauds the election of Alex Castro, a bisexual woman, as vice chair of the UP Diliman USC,” said Remoto, adding “Ladlad hopes that this is the start of a new diversity that will emerge in mainstream politics.”
Another openly transgender student, film major Pat Bringas, also won a council seat.
Over 11,300 students cast their votes. Diño (Alyansa) got 3,290 votes; Loon (independent) got 2,743; Melad (Stand UP), 2,218; and Shaina Santiago (Kaisa), 1,900.
According to the Philippine Collegian, the official organ of the UP Diliman students, Diño’s party clinched 13 out of 34 seats in the USC, including six councilor seats and six college representatives. The Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (Stand UP) won 10 seats while the Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan sa UP (Kaisa) also got 10 seats.
The Collegian said voter turnout for the campus polls was higher this year at 48.91 percent from last year’s 48.5 percent.
Looking back, Diño said she was initially “a bit confused” as how to conduct her campaign—should she be a proper, formal-looking candidate, or be just her usual fun, easygoing self?
‘Just be myself’
“I decided to just be myself. Embrace yourself, because sometimes you don’t have to fit in. Sometimes, you just stand out,” she said, brushing away  a lock of her straight shoulder-length hair.
Asked if she thought the country’s premier university was ready for a transgender leader, Heart replied: “Well, we are beginning to be more open.”
At the UP College of Science’s Institute of Mathematics, Diño  always identified herself as female. She was often seen wearing jeans and a blouse to class.
But during special programs where she was the emcee, “Heart usually wore a dress,” said college dean Jose Maria P. Balmaceda.
She was always known as Heart. “No one really called (Heart) Gabriel Paolo, you know,” he added.
He recalled “Heart was not the type to draw attention to one’s self and was always quiet in class,” Balmaceda said.
‘Brighter gem’
But she stood out as one of their “brighter gems,” he said.
Things were not always as bright for Heart, who admitted she first had to deal with her family’s reaction to her gender, and that of her high school classmates as well.
She said that as a 5-year-old, she already knew she was “a girl trapped in a boy’s body.”
At Claret School, an adviser called up her parents to inform them about their child.
In the end, acceptance of her transgender nature came. “I tried (being masculine), but it’s  not who I am.”
As a transgender adult, going inside restrooms for females can be a test for Heart, who recalled a janitor at a Makati City mall who blocked her path as she was about to enter.
“He told me, ‘you’re not allowed in there, go to the men’s room.’ But I didn’t. So now I avoid going to public restrooms or just use a pay comfort room,” she said.
If a woman raises her eyebrows at her when she uses the female restroom, Heart doesn’t mind because “it is who she is.”
The chair-elect now faces the challenge of holding together different ideologies in the UP student council.
“We have to work together. We must learn how to listen to different points of view,” she said.

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