NCCA holds gender conference

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is conducting a conference that will tackle LGBTQ+ issues, an area that the government agency seldom directly focuses on, as well as women’s concerns.

Kabaro: A Gender Awareness and Sensitivity Training Summit is spearheaded by the Philippine Cultural Education Program (PCEP), NCCA’s major project on promoting and deepening cultural awareness and appreciation in different sectors of society. With the theme: “Looking for Safe Spaces: Gender Equity and Equality in the Philippine Academy,” the conference will be held online via Zoom on 11 and 12 August, targeting educators, scholars, policy makers, activists and cultural workers. The convenor is Ferdinand Lopez, former professor at University of Santo Tomas (UST), who is finishing their doctoral degree at the University of Toronto.

The Filipino term used in the title, “kabaro,” literally means someone of the same dress, thus of the same kind. It is often euphemistically used to refer to an LGBTQ+ person.

“Originally meant as pejorative designation and derogatory insinuation of abject and aberrant subjectivity, we recuperate the term kabaro to signify similarity, solidarity, collectivity and queer belonging in inclusive imagined communities,” the organizer states.

Photograph courtesy of FB/FB J. Neil C. Garcia
UP professor and queer writer J. Neil C. Garcia is the keynote speaker.

The conference will deal with issues such as gender equity and equality; intersectional oppressions; gender stereotypes, roles and identities; equal opportunities and safe spaces; and SOGIESC-based violence and discrimination, towards the attainment of the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals, specifically on education and global citizenship.

The keynote speaker is the eminent professor and queer scholar and writer J. Neil Garcia of the University of the Philippines (UP), who will read “Critical Nationalism and Queer Decolonialities in the Philippine Literature Classroom: Preliminary Notes.” On the other hand, Robert Diaz of University of Toronto will deliver the closing keynote address with his “Creating Otherwise: Hope and Happiness as Conditions of Possibilities in Our Troubling Times.”

The conference will have four plenaries featuring Aldrin Darilag of the Commission on Higher Education with his paper, “Inclusion and Diversity: Issues and Challenges in Designing in a
Gender-Sensitive Curriculum;” NCCA Commissioner for the Arts Roland Tolentino with “Are Institutionalized Spaces in the Arts and Culture Inclusive, Gender Fair and Safe?”; Victoria Loanzon from the UP College of Law with “Safeguarding the Rights of Women and the BLGBTQIA+ in the Philippines;” and Shane Carreon from UP Cebu with “The Ever-Expanding Universe: BLGBTQIA+ in the Philippine Academe.”

Photograph courtesy of FB/John Iremil Teodoro
Writer John Iremil Teodoro of De La Salle University.

The panel discussions include “Gender Diversity and Inclusion in the Philippine Classroom: What Every Administrator and Teacher Need to Know” with Rebecca Anonuevo of Navotas Polytechnic College, Alvin Ringgo Reyes of UST, Naomi Fontanos of UP and George Lu of San Beda University; “Confronting the Issues of Gender Discrimination, Bullying and Gender Inequality in the Philippine Academy” with Christian Leonardo from the Department of Education Zamboanga, Jhoanna Lynn Cruz of UP Mindanao, Arlene Maneja of SycipLaw Center and Rheeno Tilde Cabangcalan, a freelance language teacher; “I Am What I Am: Representing the Rainbow of Hope in the Philippine Academy” with Nerisa del Carmen Guevara of UST, Jona Jimenez of Don Vicente Rama Memorial High School in Cebu, John Iremil Teodoro of De La Salle University and Crisanto Talla Diche of Quezon National High School in Palawan.

Poetry performances by Rebecca Anonuevo, Nerisa del Carmen Guevara, John Iremil Teodoro, Jhoanna Lynn Cruz, Joi Barrios and A Capella Manila will also be featured.

Kabaro hopes to come up with meaningful solutions to threats and violence and “adapt culture-based gender and sexuality framework, pedagogy and learning resources that are ethically produced by BLGBTQIA+ community and allies,” among others.

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