APCOM HERO Awards 2022’s honourees list

By November 15, 2022 December 2nd, 2022 Newsroom, Regional, What We Do

Covid-19 Hero Honourees

Mindanao Pride

(The Philippines)

1. Tell us about your organisation

Mindanao Pride (MP) is an organization composed of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and allies (LGBTQIA+) in Mindanao working on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) and Human Rights issues. Founded in June 2017, MP utilized the power of the internet for online organizing complementing it with on-the-ground mobilization. It works towards recognition of LGBTQIA+ individuals in Mindanao that are considered an “invisible minority” in the Philippines and we put our issues at the center of the table.

MP had its first initiative in partnership with private, public and civil society organizations in the form of a queer festival called Kadaiyahan (inspired from the Bisaya term for “diversity”). The celebration highlighted the unity between LGBTIQ+ individuals and allies. The festival culminated with Mindanao Pride’s first Pride March held in Cagayan de Oro City that attracted more than 2,000+ marchers and was considered the largest Pride March in Mindanao to date. Our organization was recognized as a Pride Organization Group (POG) by TLF Share and Babaylanes Inc. and was recently recognized for the prestigious Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations in the Philippines (TAYO) Award in 2021.

2. Tell us about your work

Our organization’s mantra is “reclaiming a culture of peace and love”. Our work is grounded in the context of years of insurgency in our region, which has involved multiple armed groups and has been ongoing since March 1968. With this, our work revolves around the intersections of LGBTQIA+ inclusion in peace and development efforts through SOGIESC Awareness, LGBTQIA+ Economic Empowerment and Community Organizing. Our organization continues to serve as a resource and advocacy group in the protection and promotion of the human rights and welfare of the LGBTQIA+ community in Mindanao. We aim to be a leading organization which promotes the equality of treatment and opportunities and celebrates the achievements and diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community.

3. What one achievement your organisation accomplished that it is most proud of?

More than the awards we have received, the achievement we are most proud of is successfully establishing our organization in an island region where LGBTQIA+ issues drown in cultural, religious, and armed conflict. Despite the fear of hate, exclusion and discrimination, we have been lobbying the unique issues to be placed at the center of the table through various programs, projects, and activities in the last five years. Most notably, the #KulturaSaGugma (Culture of Love) campaign which has received national, regional and even international attention to our organization.

4. What work did your organisation do differently due to Covid-19?

The ongoing COVID19 outbreak didn’t stop our work. At the onset of the pandemic, MP organized the Pride Against Pandemic – a webinar series of different foci on the impacts of the pandemic on the LGBTQIA+ community. This was followed by a fundraising concert called Mindanao Pride LIVE that provided financial assistance to other LGBTQIA+ organizations who were at the forefront of addressing the immediate needs in their communities. MP also launched Bulan Merkado–an online display that features LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs and service providers to help them recuperate from the negative impacts of the pandemic in their livelihood.

5. How has your organisation catered to the mental health needs of your staff?
We organized regular check-ins with the team members for their physical, emotional, personal and social well-being. Unfortunately, due to inaccessibility to mental health services and financial constraints, we could not provide in-house professional services to our staff. Alternatively, if mental health concerns arose, we refered them to organizations that handle such cases, including but not limited to, the National Center for Mental Health and the Philippine Mental Health Association.

6. You have been nominated for the Covid-19 Hero Award category. What was your reaction?

It was unexpected, so we were surprised. It is quite overwhelming that we were nominated for an international award despite being a small NGO in the Philippines. If we win this award, this will position our organization for greater things in the future, but being nominated is already an honor.

7. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 is still with us, what hopeful message would you like to share with the communities in the Asia Pacific?

No one can argue that the impact of the coronavirus is something we had not experienced before, even to this day. An invisible enemy, deadly and unaware of borders, homophobia and transphobia. United as one LGBTQIA+ community, we are in solidarity with our siblings around the world who are sick, who are currently struggling with the virus and other types of illnesses, and those living in fear and anxiety. Let us continue to win battles the way we have fought many years of hate, exclusion and discrimination through our collective effort to live in a society that is peaceful, regardless of who you are and who you love.

8. Anything else you want to add? 

We are grateful for the nomination and we are looking forward to hearing about the next steps.


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