The Lead Organizer for these two events, Roma Jane Hechanova, was formerly inducted as a member of HAPI Bacolod in 2015; she recently transferred to Dumaguete in the Philippines. She herself is an artist and an advocate for human rights, feminism, and education, among others. She graduated summa cum laude and has a master’s degree in literature.
As part of its advocacy, the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) is once again taking up the torch to continue championing human rights, particularly that of the LGBTI+ community, by holding a series of comprehensive activities celebrating Pride Month this June.
With the theme “over•coming”, which basically pertains to gaining control over one’s body, freedom, rights, and destiny (among others), HAPI will be hosting an art exhibit and an eight-day series of talks both with an international lineup of artists and speakers, respectively.
Headed by Lead Organizer Roma Jane Hechanova (HAPI-Dumaguete), with Co-Organizer for Art Exhibit Shyndel May Sastrillo (HAPI-Dumaguete), Co-Organizer for Nationwide Series of Talks Junius Dale Capus, and HAPI Pride Team as co-facilitators for the series of talks, the activities aim to beckon members of the society to come together and discuss issues that remain significant to the lives of the queer community and humanity in general.
The art exhibit featuring 23 artists (with one based in the US) will be held at Dakong Balay, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental and will showcase various forms of medium from photographs, to fabric, digital, oil on canvas, installation art, etc.; it will run until June 30, 2022. The artworks will also be accompanied by poetic citations written by Hechanova.
The eight-day series of talks will feature Young Humanists International European Regional Coordinator Andrea Ruggeri, HAPI-Bacolod Deputy Head Rayd Espeja, human rights lawyer Atty. Jesus Falcis, and human rights activist Atty. Luke Espiritu as some of the speakers.
The nationwide talks will be held via Zoom from June 20-27, 2022 and will discuss topics like: SOGIESC Bill and the Safe Spaces Act of 2019; the history of queerness in the Philippines from pre-colonization to the present; status of sexual reproductive health rights of the queer community among third-world countries; the feasibility of legislating same-sex marriage in the Philippines; why feminism is also for men, among others.
HAPI aims that through these major events, the struggle for equality and equity that will grant people – regardless of sex and gender – the same respect, privileges, and rights will reach more audience and garner more allies until the cause effectively succeeds.
Apart from these highlights, HAPI chapters will also be conducting their own specific, localized activities including the symbolic Pride Parade.
HAPI is partnering with Queer Safe Spaces (also a nonprofit organization committed to educating, empowering, and supporting the Filipino queer people and advocating gender equality) in the marketing of the former’s events.
The Unitarian Universalist (UU) LGBTIQA Fellowship of the UU Church of the Philippines is also participating in both events, and some members thereof will be panelists for one of the Zoom sessions.
For more information about the activities, please follow HAPI’s and Queer Safe Spaces’ official Facebook pages, as well as Art Moves PH moderated by founder Nemeño.