Say yes to all kinds of love: My journey to becoming a better LGBTQ+ ally

Winona Sigue
Say yes to all kinds of love: My journey to becoming a better LGBTQ+ ally
This Pride Month, I educate myself more on the challenges and issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community

Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by closeup and was produced by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the production of this piece.

Having several friends who belong to the LGBTQ+ community made me believe that I understand them a lot better than everyone else. But in recent years, I realized that I have said insensitive remarks that may have hurt their feelings and disrespected their gender identity. 

Since then, I’ve started doing my own research and teaching myself proactive ways on how I can show my support to my friends and become a better ally for the LGBTQ+ community – a way to celebrate love and closeness in all forms.  

One of the reliable materials I found online is the Safe Spaces Manual published by University of the Philippines Diliman.

According to the manual, the majority of LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe at school due to bullying, name-calling, and harassment. Of course, this discrimination also happen to adults. And when they constantly feel unsafe, they go through emotional, mental, and physical distress, which can affect their well-being and performance at school and work. It’s that last thing we want to happen to our friends and loved ones.

A few years ago, I also came across inspiring videos that features stories of LGBTQ+ couples who faced discrimination and homophobic slurs throughout their relationships, but through their strong and enduring love, they were able to overcome challenges thrown their way.

The video series, which were part of closeup’s #FreeToLove campaign aims to spark meaningful conversations on LGBTQ+ relationships and redefine the way we talk about love. It made me realize how important it is to create more safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, to nurture an environment where they can be themselves, meet friends and lovers, and find the respect and emotional security they deserve.

This June, closeup is launching a campaign that reminds us to be more mindful when we talk about LGBTQ+ couples, and in fact, there are worse things than bad breath that can come out of our mouth – such as the bad words and hurtful labels we say toward the members of the LGBTQ+ community.

So how can we avoid saying bad words and hurtful labels toward our LGBTQ+ friends?

One of the basic ways is to recognize their preferred pronouns. According to the University of Wisconsin LGBTQ+ Resource Center, when someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected or invalidated. As such, using pronouns creates an inclusive space for them, a simple yet important step to reduce existing stigma toward LGBTQ+ persons in society.

If you unintentionally called your friends with the wrong pronoun (just like I did a couple of years ago), just make sure to apologize and correct yourself.

Another way to show support is by responding to anti-LGBTQ+ behavior and language like name-calling and harassment. When you see someone getting bullied, don’t be afraid to intervene and offer support to the targeted person.

The Safe Space Manual suggests the following responses: “That language is unacceptable.” “What do you mean by that?” “How do you think a gay person might feel?” Let people know that such behavior and language will not be tolerated.

Up to this day, I’m continuously educating myself on LGBTQ+ rights and issues and the ways I can contribute to creating safe spaces for LGBTQ+ persons in society, especially in the Philippines.

In celebration of Pride Month, let’s educate ourselves and encourage each other to say yes to all kinds of love. We can show our support online by using this closeup Pride filter on Instagram and Facebook and by watching this Rec-Create video on Youtube featuring LGBTQ+ couples. We can also actively participate in LGBTQ+ activities and campaigns such as closeup’s #FreeToLove campaign this month!

Say yes to all kinds of love: My journey to becoming a better LGBTQ+ ally

For over fifty years, closeup not only gives people the confidence to get close and love freely by helping fight bad breath, it also stands for diversity and inclusivity, striving to build a world that’s #FreeToLove one love story at a time.

The journey to becoming a better LGBTQ+ ally after all isn’t an overnight process. It takes effort, patience, and most importantly, love.  – Rappler.com

“Say no to bacteria breath and say yes to all kinds of love with closeup! Buy closeup products online via Lazada and Shopee. Get a free Pride tote bag if you spend at least P299 on closeup products from June 13 to 15!

For more information about the #FreeToLove campaign, follow @closeuph on Instagram and visit www.close-up.com/ph.