Cebu City

Cebu parents on LGBTQ+ kids: ‘We should be the first to accept them’

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Cebu parents on LGBTQ+ kids: ‘We should be the first to accept them’

PRIDE. Members of Cebu's LGBTQIA+ community and their allies joined the Cebu City Pride March 2024 on Saturday, June 29.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

"As parents, we should be the first to understand and accept our children for who they are," mother Luisa Ordiz Hermosilla says

CEBU, Philippines – Parents showed support for their LGBTQ+ children and solidarity with the community by joining the annual “Gaksa Ko Bhe” celebration in Cebu City on Saturday evening, June 29.

This year’s celebration began with a Pride parade from Pantaleon del Rosario Street and ended at Plaza Independencia.

Luisa Ordiz Hermosilla, a native of Maasin City in Southern Leyte, marched with her three children – two of whom identify as lesbian and the other as gay.

Hermosilla emphasized the importance of parental acceptance, sharing that she had always embraced her children’s identities. 

For her, parents have a crucial role in providing support towards their children with the aim of preventing any form of harm that can arise from rejection.

“As parents, we should be the first to understand and accept our children for who they are,” Hermosilla told Rappler in a mix of English and Cebuano.

Support vs suppression

This year marked the first time Hermosilla was able to attend the event. She expressed joy upon witnessing the community’s acceptance of her children and of fellow LGBTQ+ people alike.

Another supportive parent at the event was Carmisa Sejas from Mandaue City. Sejas attended the celebration with her children. One of them, she said, identifies as a lesbian.

“From a young age, I accepted and have always supported my child,” the mother said. 

Sejas was excited to watch her child’s talent on display as they competed in the “That’s My Tomboy” segment of the event, which is a pageant dedicated to members of the lesbian community.

Former University of the Philippines Cebu University Student Council Gender and Development Councilor Christian Buaya, who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, criticized the way society expects children to act with regard to gender roles.

Buaya claimed that society expects men to be “macho” while women should be submissive. 

He said children, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community, are often made vulnerable to harassment due to them deviating from societal norms.

“Parents should be accepting because if we fail to protect LGBT kids, we fail to provide a society that allows them to nurture themselves as individuals…we fail to protect their dreams and feelings,” Buaya added.

Erik Justin Aya-ay, a Cebuano who identifies as gay, told Rappler that being accepted and comforted for being part of the gay community is a privilege that only a few children get to enjoy.

From a young age, Aya-ay experienced support from his family, which allowed him to express his sexuality freely and without fear.

“Having supportive family members did not make me encounter serious problems in expressing my sexuality,” Aya-ay told Rappler.

He said that celebrating pride is important for those who are not yet accepted by their family members in order to connect to the community that makes them valid and accepted.

“Find allies, find your colleagues, who make you realize that being who you are or feeling what you feel, showing what you want to do is not something you should be ashamed of,” Aya-ay added.

‘Defending’ LGBTQ+

Cebu City Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover Jr. also participated in the event, marking his third time attending the “Gaksa ko Bhe” celebration. 

Alcover was impressed by the growth and organization of the event. In an interview with Rappler, he stressed the need for parental support in guiding LGBTQ+ children toward success. 

“Parents should guide their children towards achieving their goals, they must continue their education and strive for success,” Alcover told Rappler in a mix of English and Cebuano.

Alcover noted the legal protections that Cebu City has passed to defend LGBTQ+ rights

In 2018, Cebu City enacted Ordinance 2660, commonly referred to as the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) ordinance, which forbids and penalizes acts of discrimination and violence based on SOGIESC.

Alcover also mentioned that the city is open to strengthening ordinances that protect LGBT rights based on feedback from LGBT leaders and the community. 

The city councilor was the author of the resolution that declared drag artist Pura Luka Vega persona non grata in Cebu City in August 2023.

Pura Luka Vega previously sparked controversy with her performance of the “Ama Namin” remix, which the Cebu City Council deemed “offensive and disrespectful to the religious beliefs of Cebuanos.” –

Ian Peter Guanzon is a Rappler intern from the University of the Philippines in Cebu.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!