On the morning of June 19th, 2021 L.E.A.D Filipino held our inaugural Queer Lakbay Summit.
Lakbay was formed as a direct response to the lack of Queer programming specifically made for Filipinas/xs/os in San Jose, CA. With Lakbay coinciding with Juneteenth, we recognized how FilAm community organizing must be done in solidarity with the Black community.
The opening keynote by Eufrosina Gates reminded us that our journeys are not linear, and called us to action in rebuilding systems that have been used to oppress Queer communities of color. Our closing keynote by Dr. Rod Penalosa emphasized preserving our peace and focusing on our mental health.
Each speaker, workshop facilitator, panelist, and performer brought forth their lakbay (journey) to the event. The summit served as a site for storytelling. “Storytelling is prime technology for transmitting data and is key in changing the hearts and minds of others,” were words shared in Sera Fernando’s workshop. Lakbay offered two other workshops along with Sera’s, led by James Binauhan and Dr. Gel Cortez. Each workshop represented a theme of past, present, or future. The workshops served as an intimate space for participants to learn, bring forth their knowledge, and build with other Queer Filipinas/xs/os.
- Bakla – History of Gender Fluidity in the Philippines led by James Binauhan
- Transgender Liberation – Activism Through Storytelling led by Sera Fernando
- Around the Rainbow Table – Queer Identity, Service, & Leadership led by Dr. Gel Cortez
Lakbay included a career panel discussion facilitated by Daniel Lazo. The panel featured Jenelle Borja, Richard Cross, Luzanne Batoon, and Joyce Zara. The panelists spoke about how their Queerness impacts their careers, along with who has been a pivotal part of their personal journeys. We honored the diverse experiences of the four panelists who come from various backgrounds ranging from STEM, to higher education, to birthwork.
To stay connected with us and our Queermmittee, please contact me at Celeste@leadfilipino.org.
This post was written by L.E.A.D Filipino’s Queermmittee Director, Celeste Francisco.