Philippine Embassy promotes LGBTIQ rights

The Philippine Embassy in Berlin hosted a documentary and a panel discussion focused on LGBTIQ issues

October 22nd, 2019
Marina Natsia and Marta Faraoni, News from Berlin
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On October 21st 2019, the Philippine Embassy in Berlin hosted a screening of a 30 minute documentary and panel discussion related to LGBTIQ rights in the southern Philippines. Among the speakers were documentary director Rhadem Camlian Morados, PhD candidate Chris Hiller and the coordinator of the LGBTIQ Centre of the Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque, Tugay Sarac.

“Lupah Sug” is a documentary directed by Rhadem Camlian Morados which depicts LGBTIQ issues in Mindanao, a region in the southern Philippines which is home to a Muslim minority group called Bangsamoro. On the 21st of October, this documentary was screened by the Philippine Embassy in Berlin as a part of a series of initiatives entitled “Gender and Development” (GAD) organised by the Philippine Embassy to show and discuss the role of gender differences as a mechanism of societal inclusion or exclusion. Many German and Philippine guests attended the screening of this documentary, which was followed by a panel discussion led by a member of the Philippine Embassy.

Rhadem Camlian Morados is the director of this documentary, and also a council member of the Mindanao PRIDE organisation. He grew up in Mindanao, and in 2018 won Best Director in Monaco Charity Film Festival for his documentary film “HUGO: A Hidden Past Revealed”. Among all of Moraos’ film documentaries, “Lupah Sug” was the most controversial, which caused him to have trouble finding funds to finance its production. Another speaker was Chris Hiller, a PhD candidate at the Institute of Geography at the University of Potsdam, who researches “Safe Spaces for LGBT” within a postcolonial framework. In October 2018, in collaboration with his team, he delivered a public lecture at the University of the Philippines in Diliman on “Securitising LGBT Refugees in Germany”. Another speaker was Turgay Sarah, the German-Turkish coordinator of a progressive Muslim Centre in Berlin which offers a safe space for LGBTIQ Muslim men and women to seek support, help and advice.

As a member of the Embassy said in the introduction: “The Philippine community’s gathering is promoted through stories”, and they decided to tell a story about “Lupah Sug” to depict the discrimination and battles the LGBTIQ community face. “Lupah Sug” means “The land of the brave”, and this documentary shows the lives of people in the LGBTIQ community in the Philippines. A variety of people, with a variety of social and professional lives, share their experience of being in the LGBTIQ community in a range of Philippine cities. Rhadem Camlian Morados, a human rights activist and filmmaker, focused on the Muslim LGBTIQ community in this documentary. Religion can always be a backstop for these people,he says, but they have to “be brave”.
The documentary was followed by a discussion with a group of advocates for LGBTIQ rights. The panel consisted of Rhadem Camlian Morados, the director of the film and a human rights activist in the Philippines; Chris Hiller a PhD candidate at the Institute of Geography at the University of Potsdam on "Safe Spaces for LGBT”; and Tugay Sarac, the coordinator of the LGBTIQ Center of the Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin. The main topics discussed in the second part of the event were the experiences of Muslims and refugees in the LGBTIQ community, the definition of a “safe space”, and the differences between LGBTIQ communities in the Philippines and Indonesia.

At the end of their discussion, they all agreed that education is the most important way to ensure the LGBTIQ community gain the rights and treatment they deserve. Not only education, but also cultural and social exchange can also help with this issue. Human rights are an important part of cultural diplomacy, and it is crucial that the Philippine Embassy in Berlin promotes LGBTIQ rights in Germany so that both countries can help eachother through their shared experiences. If all societies are open to learning from each other about LGBTIQ rights, and to fighting for them, one day we will all live in “the land of the brave”.


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