DLSU student gov’t officials take action on athletes’ cross-dressing performance

September 29, 2022 - 6:51 PM
The Lasallian community during the DLSU Athletes' General Assembly and Animo Rally at the Henry Sy Sr. Hall Grounds on Sept. 28, 2022. (The LaSallian/Zoiga Caga via Facebook)

Two officials of De La Salle University‘s student government assured fellow students that they are taking action to address the cross-dressing performance done in their school event.

The performance was perceived to be insensitive to the LGBTQ+ community.

The DLSU University Student Government‘s gender equality and empowerment commissioner said she and USG president Giorgina Escoto “are working with the administration in creating safer and braver spaces for each and every Lasallian.”

“Seeing the pep rally yesterday and how this frustrated, hurt, and angered many students, including myself, shows how we have a long way to go as we create an inclusive environment here within the university,” Moira Pulumbarit said on Facebook on Thursday.

“Hindi katawa tawang bagay ang pinaglalaban ng komunidad namin. Hindi pinanggagalingan ng aliw ang bagay na hanggang ngayon, patuloy naming hinaharap, patuloy naming linalabanan na buhay ang nakataya. Sana sa susunod ay maalala natin na intindihin ang hinanaing ng kada sektor,” she added.

“Sana lagi’t lagi naalala natin na maraming pwede masaktan sa mga bagay na akala natin normal lang na itrato bilang pinanggagalingan ng ating katuwaan,” Pulumbarit continued.

She said that the university has a “Safe Spaces Policy” which describes discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, or restriction which has the purpose or effect of nullifying the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, or any other field.”

Pulumbarit said that they will “continue to fight against cases like this that stem from the lack of awareness” they have to empower and engrain in every Lasallian.

“I hope that this does not become a source of hate for anyone but I do call for sensitivity and continuous awareness for our community. We are here and proudly queer and our pain will not be erased,” she added.

Student publication The LaSallian also shared a Facebook post of Escoto where she called out the cross-dressing performance. She said it made many Lasallians, including her, “uncomfortable.”

“I have raised this issue to the university administration. With the recent establishment of the DIVERSE Taskforce, we will make sure to take action on this. This is a stark reminder that we have to strengthen the Safe Spaces Policy of the university,” she wrote on Thursday.

“Yes, you are free to dress however you want. Pero hindi source of entertainment ang gender expression ng mga tao. Not when so many people still face discrimination for it. This is not the #SafeandInclusiveDLSU that we continue to lobby for,” Escoto added.

‘Mere costume for purpose of laughter’

Pictures and videos of student-athletes doing cross-dressing performances during the DLSU Animo Pep Rally and the Athletes General Assembly on September 28 drew backlash from some Filipinos online, including those in the LGBTQ+ community.

The performers were also seen exhibiting stereotypically feminine mannerisms.

A communication arts major said that watching it “ruined” their day as a genderqueer.

“If queer [people] were to do that, would they get the same amount of support? At the same time, in reality, those who actually express that way are hate-crimed and discriminated upon [sic],” Twitter user @migseu_ wrote.

“For a lot of cishet [cisgender heterosexual] people, this type of gender expression is just a mere costume for the purpose of laughter and at the end of the day, matatanggal siya. Hindi siya ‘groundbreaking’ kasi hindi naman nila nararanasan at naranasan ‘yung trauma na dulot ng diskriminasyon sa LGBTQ+,” they added.

Bahaghari, a national alliance of LGBTQ+ advocates, organizations and formations, said that it is “more than willing to speak to the organizers and performers of the event for concrete steps in doing better, and in being conscious allies for equality.”

“Hindi po dapat ginagawang katatawanan ang ‘crossdressing’. What others consider a simple punchline is a serious ordeal for LGBTQIA+ persons, who courageously fight ridicule and abuse for the right to self-expression,” it added.

LGBTQ+ organization House of Iris VC also called the performance a “mockery” of their community’s gender expression and gave instances of how the subject “remains a struggle for trans and non-binary individuals throughout the country.”

“Who could forget Khaleed ‘Khay’ Abdulgajir or Tatiana ‘Tats’ Tumicad, who were both brutally murdered just because of their gender identity?” it said.

“In fact, there have been at least 50 cases of trans and non-binary killings in the Philippines since 2010. Moreover, gender-variant individuals continue to be suppressed in their workplace, such as Bunny Cadag, who was fired from her job just because of her gender identity,” the group added.