A recent workshop in Southeast Asia brought together regional leaders to discuss how to best promote family acceptance for LGBTI people.
The ASEAN SOGIE caucus is an LGBTI coalition from eight ASEAN member countries.
It hosted the weekend workshop with ICS of Vietnam (Information, Connection and Sharing in Vietnam) in Quezon City, Philippines.
The workshop was organized around the idea that families play a key role in the lives of every LGBTIQ person.
‘Southeast Asia is a place of great diversity,’ said Ryan Sylverio, Regional Coordinator of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus.
‘And what we want is simple: that people in Southeast Asia embrace that diversity, including sexual and gender diversity.’
Promoting family acceptance
Vietnam’s PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) were keynote speakers who worked on one of the key objectives of the workshop to provide a space to share good practices in promoting family acceptance.
The group also helped participants develop plans of action at the national and regional levels.
‘It is not up to debate that LGBTIQ people whose families accept them are happier and live better lives,’ said Dr. Judy Taguiwalo, Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Dr Taguiwalo used her keynote speech to call on local government units to support campaigns to promote acceptance of LGBTI people.
‘We cannot separate LGBTQI rights from the larger human rights struggle.’
Participants talked about what the main challenges were in reconciling LGBTI issues.
These included; with cultural norms surrounding family, engaging with religious communities and providing safe spaces for parents and other family members to share their concerns and fears openly.
One of the parents from PFLAG Vietnam called on everyone to engage with families.
‘Live true to yourself. Love will heal everything in the end,’ they said.
‘We will keep sending to you our love from Vietnam.’