De La Salle University (DLSU)-Manila accredited its first lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) organization on campus on Monday, July 27.
DLSU-Prism aims to amplify education on LGBTQ+ advocacies, promote inclusivity and support among the members of its community. (READ: A look at SOGIE anti-discrimination laws around the world)
The accreditation was a result of the collective efforts of LGBTQ+ advocates together with DLSU-University Student Government (USG) officers, who embraced the historical win for the LGBTQ+ community on social media.
“It is a victory for the LGBTQ+ community who have long been oppressed in the society. It is a victory as well as for the allies who spent countless hours making sure that the change will come,” DLSU USG president Lance Dela Cruz said in a statement.
In an interview with Rappler, DLSU-Prism founding president Josher Quizon underscored the significance of the accreditation of organizations in times of crisis. He pointed out that most discrimination against LGBTQ+ members happen behind close doors due to quarantine restrictions.
“We need to be there, as a safe haven for our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters,” Quizon said.
The organization, which had been in the works since September 2019, was presented to the accreditation committee in January 2020, 6 months before they received the accreditation of the university’s Aspiring Organizations Accreditations Committee (AAOC), which validates aspiring organizations committed in forwarding various advocacies within the campus.
“I honestly expected our organization to be accredited sometime before the academic year ends because of all the delays and the situation happening right now in our country, but to my surprise, it happened just when the term is starting,” Quizon said.
DLSU begun its final term for the academic year 2019 to 2020 on July 1.
Forwarding the advocacy amid crisis
Although the pandemic limited face to face encounters to purely virtual interactions, Quizon said that this wouldn’t stop them from creating programs that foster inclusivity and equality for the LGBTQ+ members and allies.
The plans will maximize the benefits of the online space as they are eyeing to implement projects through producing online awareness campaigns and hosting webinars that tackle the different struggles that the LGBTQ+ community face.
The webinars also aim to educate members and allies on the LGBTQ+ rights and the necessary strides needed to further achieve equality in the country.
Donation drives are also part of DLSU-Prism’s envisioned programs, in partnership with a nonprofit organization to extend help to the marginalized LGBTQ+.
More than 140 students have already signed up for the organization since they started to call for advocates in October 2019.
Quizon shared that it has always been his dream to establish an LGBTQ+ organization to provide a safe space for its members.
He recalled the times when he had to hide his true sexuality and the days when he was clueless on how he would navigate through his life as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
“The fear of discrimination keeps us from being our true selves and even in our own community, there is often a stigma in being yourself and so many are forced to conform the standards of being manly,”Quizon said.
On the larger scale
For Quizon, the accreditation of DLSU-Prism is a huge step for the whole community as the fight for LGBTQ+ rights continues.
Being one of the top universities in the country, Quizon expressed his hope of influencing and educating others about LGBTQ+ advocacies given DLSU’s wide reach.
“It [DLSU] is home to many influential people and I hope that it can influence an even greater population of youth to continue to fight for equality because this fight is far from over. We are just the beginning,” Quizon said.
He also remained hopeful that students who want to start their own LGBTQ+ organization in their own schools would not have to face an uphill battle.
The accreditation of DLSU-Prism is only valid for one year – from July 2020 to July 2021 – as they are still under the trial period.
During this period, DLSU-Prism will hold various events for the whole academic year, just like the veteran organizations in the university. After the trial period, the organization needs to apply for reaccreditation in the following academic year, which will be based on their performance in their first year run. – Rappler.com