4 LGBTIQ+ faithful from 4 different dioceses in 4 different conferences talk about their struggles and dreams
DOES IFI POSSESS the diversity of human sexuality within it? Absolutely.
With help from the Youth of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, the Ramento Project for Rights Defenders can now say, with great certainty, that the Church has faithful who belong to the LGBTIQ+ community. In fact, some of them are very active in the life of their faith communities — going to Church every Sunday, contributing to the ministries and even occupying key positions.
Thus, the fight for LGBTIQ+ rights and against inequalities based on SSOGIE should not be treated as distant concerns of the Church. With the people at the center of the issue worshiping with us and expressing their faith with our community, the advocacy is very much closer to home than we think.
To further prove that the issues exist within our fold, we talked to four youth leaders in four different dioceses and conferences of the IFI: Lyka Manuel Borromeo from the Diocese of Laoag in North Central Luzon; Christopher Saniel from the Diocese of Marinduque, Quezon, Batangas and Camarines (or MaQueBaCa) from South Central Luzon; Joy Chel Jan D. Infante from the Diocese of Iloilo in the Visayas Conference; and Rudy Labita from the Diocese of Cagayan De Oro in the Mindanao Conference.
They all noted the presence of judgment, discrimination and needless caution in their lives. Their circumstances indeed varied but, amazingly, their faith in God, pride in the Church that affirms them and hopes for justice are the same.
Below are our interviews with them:
The first interviewee is Lyka, 21, from the Laoag Cathedral. She noted that she can respect different views, but not actions that are meant to harm LGBTIQ+ individduals.
For transgender woman Jan, three things are necessary for LGBTIQ+ individuals to gain equality in society at large: acceptance, consideration and appreciation.
Christopher said LGBTIQ+ individuals are part of God’s beautiful Creation. The thinking that sexual and gender minorities must be judged, purged and feared are the works of humans’ flawed understanding of God’s work and will, he said.
Rudy, 26, encourages LGBTIQ+ individuals to see the sector’s struggle as part of a bigger crusade for justice in the world. All struggling members of minoritized sectors advocate the same freedom from tyranny and oppression, he said. There is no freedom for one without freedom for all.
It takes courage to share stories from the margins but it is courage that has changed many things. These young people hope their sharing can uplift LGBTIQ+ faithful and contribute to the larger advocacy for human rights.