Bakla Show co-producer, Shannon Lee L. Pacaoan, attended The 12th Annual Queer Pin@y Conference at UC Santa Barbara — [Re] Generation: Reviving Our Past, Creating Our Future. This is the second post of a three-part series, focused on the workshops she attended while at the conference.
Session II Workshop:
Who do you think I am?: Coming Out of Crises and Reclaiming Identity
Paulo Gutierrez, Abraham Delacruz with Kapatirang Pilipino
From the workshop description:
Come to Kapatirang Pilipinos Political Workshop on facing identity amongst people of color and amongst LGBTQQIA individuals. Learn more about the different micro-aggressions that can cause identity confusion in youth and adults in our society. We will also focus on the different issues LGBTQQIA individuals encounter in the Filipino Community.
*WARNING: Strong language used in this post.
I was greeted with these posters strewn about the room when I first walked into the workshop, and I knew it would be a special hour.
Our facilitators opened with citing Kevin Nadal’s definition of Racial Microaggressions as
‘brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to people of color because they belong to a racial minority group,’ (p89, Filipino American Psychology).
Taking it a step further, we collectively explored microagressions based in gender and sexual orientation. Posters (like the ones pictured above) were hung along the walls of the room, and we were instructed to individually identify the term we found most offensive. Creating smaller groups with those who felt the same, we were then asked to write our group’s term on a name tag and wear it throughout the duration of the workshop.
The terms that gathered the largest groups were faggot, bitch and pussy (the group I was in).
Within these smaller groups, we deconstructed why we were triggered by the term. Though I was surrounded by men in my group, we all agreed it was our gender that was most offended by the term ‘pussy’. The difference was in the men’s affliction to being identified as weak when called ‘pussy’, but I am more perturbed that the term is even synonymous with being weak.
By wearing the simple identifier and discussing constructs with individuals who loathed the term as much as I, I felt I was able to claim some ownership of the term. I even wore the name tag for the rest of the conference (to the dismay of others).
But I understood the lesson from this workshop as having purpose and safety in identifying yourself, despite the thoughts of the outside world.