The queer experience cannot be untangled from all the other beings of a person. The intersections of gender, livelihood, and politics create the complicated systems we struggle against. But it is also in recognizing these intersections that communities can find each other, unite, and push forward. This is the heart of this anthology by the Kabataan Para sa Karapatan.

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Read the vision statement of KPK below:

“// TW: rape, violence //

We’ve come a long way, and yet many things remain the same: many queer folk still experience systemic violence in a macho-feudal society. In the Philippines, these ideals manifest themselves into acts of violence.

Transman Ebeng Mayor was raped and murdered in Quezon City. Less than one month later, Lenie Rivas, another member of the LGBT community, who’s a Lumad-Manobo, was raped and murdered by the military while harvesting abaca hemp on their farm. Duterte pardoned the convicted killer of Jennifer Laude after swearing to her family that the killer would never see freedom so long as he was president. He placed his ability to negotiate for more military aid from the US above his duty to Laude’s family and the Filipino people. Even in Bacong, Negros Oriental, transwoman Franzie Escalante was murdered less than a month into the year. Despite this, there are still those that insist there is no need for a SOGIE Equality Bill; that we live in a tolerant and accepting society that does not discriminate based on sexuality or gender identity.

All that our community faces, we still resist. We have survived and thrived through the criminalization of our love, through disease, and through hatred from our friends, family, leaders, and religion. Every time we are able to push through and leave cracks in the barriers that have stopped us: to make it easier for those that will follow, until there are flowers where walls used to stand.

We see this sentiment echoed in the continued organization and mobilization of Pride20 who were detained at last year’s Pride but were released due to the outcry of the LGBT community and our allies. The SOGIE Equality Bill, in some form, has existed in the legislative branch of our government for over 2 decades. Each time it is lobbied, we are reminded of a people yearning and ready to be rid of discrimination and to continue the democratic work needed to end the oppression of all people. We recognize the efforts of cities, municipalities, and other local governments that are not content to wait for the passage of this bill and uphold the rights of all its constituents by creating and passing their own Anti-discrimination Ordinances. We recognize the courage, dignity, and strength of all community leaders, human rights defenders, volunteers, and organizers that continue to plant and tend to the seeds of resistance.

It’s important to recognize that the struggles of the LGBT community cannot be separated from the struggles of all other sectors that suffer from a system that purposely exploits our bodies, our labor, and our dreams of betterment. There are queer workers, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous people, who also experience discrimination, but also do not have access to basic social services, are not compensated properly for their labor, or are displaced from their own lands, among other forms of systemic violence.

Thus, the KPK Pride Anthology 2021 focuses on the themes of growing, breaking down boundaries, and constructing a world together where we can all collectively thrive. Like roots that heave the pavement, like vines that crack walls, asserting our presence in a society that would like to see us wither away is how we can resist the violent systems that stop us from moving towards a future where all of us can realize our full potential.

Arundhati Roy imparts us with a hopeful message: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

It’s time to take root, grow, and construct a better tomorrow together.”