At a very early age, we were often taught that a person can only be identified as “male” or female” however, this isn’t the only way to identify yourself. In fact, many even confuse that one’s gender identity is one and the same as their sexual orientation. Because of this dominant social idea that we can only be male or female, we don’t openly discuss, question, or even explore the topics surrounding gender identity.
One of the reasons we don’t openly contradict or discuss our gender identity might have started before birth. Our gender identity is defined based on the assigned sex at birth based on our genitals.
This leads to a social assumption among immediate family members, friends, and even strangers to identify a child’s gender identity as only “male or female.” Gender-based toys and clothes are also predominantly believed to be associated with males or females. An example of this is that the male baby gifts are distinctly blue colors. In contrast, female baby gifts are pink in the majority.
Religion is another reason why topics such as “gender identity” aren’t an open conversation. Children that grew up in strict Christian households are taught what is right and wrong based on what was written in their scriptures or part of the beliefs in their family. Some of these teachings follow that "God created man and woman," and it leaves no room for interpretation that there are other gender identities out there.
It leads to more people being wary or even terrified of coming out for identifying themselves differently because of this fear of judgment and confusion from family members, peers, and even one’s society.
Other members even felt alienated and ridiculed in school or workplaces simply by their gender identity.
Some people even feel that being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community would make them an anomaly against the beliefs of their religion.
This is why it is more critical for us to better understand and educate how we see and treat these diverse and colorful community members. We must be more open-minded that a person's gender identity and expression are not fixed on their sexuality at birth. It also begs the question of why it is okay for people to grow and try new things. Yet, when members of the community try to understand and learn about their gender identities, it is considered immoral?
Thus, June is more known in the Philippines as a month to celebrate our freedom and independence as Filipinos. But it is also widely recognized around the globe as LGBTQIA+ visibility month or Pride Month. A time when members of the LGBTQIA+ community march the streets, be loud and proud of who they are and their stance against discrimination, hate, and abuse against the members of their community.
This is the time of the month when we see different types of LGBTQIA+ flags and members come out and fight for their rights and equality in our society. Because silence is no longer an answer when humans are not equally treated better.
As a brand that actively supports the LGBTQIA+ community, Unpopular Demand is here to do our part in helping the community and educating more people about our peers from this diverse community.
This year, it is time for their representation to be seen and heard. Unpopular Demand launched its Pride collection. As our way of honoring the Filipino LGBTQIA+ community, Unpopular Demand collaborated with members of the LGBTQIA+ community to show the broad spectrum and importance of every hue of the pride rainbow.
And while our collection showcases six of the many types of gender identities, we’re here to give you the fast facts about each gender identity that is part of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
Being more widely known inside and outside the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, being ‘Gay’ is not defined as a guy that loves to dress up and be like a girl. This common misconception, in turn, becomes a term to tease or even bully a male person that is considered feminine in action, tone, appearance, or style.
Gay’ is a term to describe people who are physically, romantically, and emotionally attracted to a person of the same sex. While ‘Lesbian’ is more commonly used for females, people who are gay are known publicly as same-sex partners.
Another misconception for the gay community is that their gender expressions mean that their style and appearance are more feminine, which isn’t the case. Gay people can style, act, or express their gender identity differently from one person to another. A gay person’s masculinity isn’t inferior to other straight men.
Because of how society has come to use “gay” as a derogatory word, adults, and youth who identify as gay tend to hesitate to come out.
Possibilities of being called out by peers or even family members for not behaving in a masculine manner pushes young boys to act a certain way or adapt to behaviors expected towards their age and assumed gender. Male students who identify as gay are bullied in schools or, in some cases, feel neglected or unaccepted by their family members for their gender identity as ‘gay.’
And while the Philippines is known to be a country that is accepting of gay men, in truth, society quickly judges soft-featured men as “gay.” A known example is how Filipinos view men who use make-up or dress well as “gay” by social standards. In a way, most Filipinos are more “tolerant” of gay men. However, they only accept them if their form of gender expression is still considered ‘straight’ in public.
These standards are also why actual gay members of the LGBTQIA+ community are cautious with their actions or interest around their peers or family.
Similar to the gay gender identity, a Lesbian is a woman whose primary sexual orientation and affection are attracted to the same gender.
Lesbians, like gay community members, also experience harmful discrimination and even unequal treatment by society for their gender identity. While we are, on paper, known as a ‘friendly’ country for the LGBTQIA+ community. It is still a country with a long way to go in creating better safe places for gays, lesbians, and other LGBTQIA+ community members.
Local media even depicts lesbians as masculine females with strong personalities. However, not all lesbians are similar to how the media shows them. Some lesbians still dress, act, and speak femininely but are attracted to other women.
While many lesbian members prefer to be called for their pronouns as “she/her.” Some non-binary people identify themselves as lesbians because of their primary attraction to women. This then leads to using pronouns such as “she/they.”
It further proves that Philippine society only has a surface level of understanding regarding gender identity and no deep knowledge or idea about gender expression. One reason for this minimal knowledge of facts about the LGBTQIA+ community is that the Philippines is still considered a “conservative” country due to its deep-rooted opinions and religious beliefs.
When it comes to gender identity, that can show affection and attraction regardless of the other person’s gender. The bisexual members of the community can show interest in more than one gender identity despite the other’s sex or gender.
A bisexual individual can form sexual and affectional orientation toward people of the same and another gender. Some may use bisexual and pansexual interchangeably.
Many who identified as bisexual first started out loving or being attracted to someone of the opposite gender. But bisexuals would also feel confused about having feelings or attraction to someone of the same gender.
Those who are unaware of the bisexual gender identity can lead to believing that they are conflicted about their own attractions to others. However, people that identify as bisexual can express and feel different levels of love and interest towards their partners. A bisexual person’s attraction to another gender may even differ in levels because they can consider these emotions more important than the person’s sex or gender identity.
Many bisexual members experienced being told that their emotions towards another person may just fleeting or confused about their true gender identity. This leads bisexual individuals to also question if their feelings are genuine or not. Yet, this is also why they are consistently questioned or doubted by others because of their innate ability to love more than one gender identity.
An umbrella term for individuals whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from their assigned sexuality and gender at birth. Members of the transgender community may describe themselves as having pronouns as “they/them” or associate with pronouns of the gender they choose.
According to the University of California San Francisco LGBT Resource Center, the term itself can be defined in more ways than one, such as:
- Someone whose gender identity or expression does not fit (dominant-group social constructs of) assigned birth sex and gender.
- A gender outside of the man/woman binary.
- Having no gender or multiple genders.
However, in terms of acceptance from society, the transgender community receives a lot of hate and criticism for changing their outer appearances to fit into their chosen gender identity. In recent years, the rise of hate-related crimes in the Philippines is related to discrimination and violence against an individual's gender identity, specifically those who are transgender.
There have even been debates on whether trans men and women can be considered to use public restrooms of their chosen gender identities. However, until now, it is still not regarded as acceptable by both the public and government. Trans men and women also don’t have access to good healthcare opportunities, especially for those transitioning into their desired gender identities. This, in turn, leaves trans men and women to self-inject hormones for their transition or even endanger their health.
No matter which country, trans men and women still suffer harsh criticism from the general public. Others would view transgender people's transition as a “deception” to straight men and women. Suspects of hate crimes towards trans men and women in the Philippines even spoke of such claims when asked about the committed brutality against the trans members.
This is why transgender awareness and support for the community are more crucial than ever within our country and worldwide.
For some in the LGBTQIA+ community, gender identity is more fluid and can change over time. These individuals may identify themselves as ‘Queer’ or ‘Genderqueer.’ For them, their gender identity doesn’t fit society’s expectations for their assigned sex or assumed gender.
Not to mistake this with the bisexual gender identity, a genderqueer is someone whose identity can shift and change without being tied to any particular gender identity.
However, the definition of ‘queer’ through history is first known to be hateful towards a person whose gender identity, expression, and/or sexuality doesn’t conform to social norms. This can be because it is generalized to a person unsure of their gender identity or that they are part of the LGBTQIA+ community but don’t fit into any labels.
Thus, using the term ‘queer’ depends on whether the individual is comfortable identifying with this gender identity or not.
While the term had a bad past, members of the LGBTQIA+ community reclaimed this term as their way of expressing themselves. They are not limited to any social standards. They are free to show their changing gender expressions and identities how they want.
Being an ally means you may not be a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Still, you also actively support the community and believe everyone should be treated equally and should have a chance for many opportunities.
For an ally, gender identity shouldn’t be the reason that members of the LGBTQIA+ should be discriminated against or alienated. Being an ally means understanding that people can grow and reinvent themselves to their chosen gender identity and gender expression. Allies are the individuals the LGBTQIA+ community can rely on, especially those who have been rejected or abandoned by friends or family because of their chosen gender identity.
Allies also remind the LGBTQIA+ community that there are still people who believe in them and support them for being true to themselves. It is up to every ally to help create more safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community to feel secure and valid for being themselves.
It is even known within the community that there are allies ready to fight with them against discrimination, oppression, and harassment. Thus, allies also have a special flag within the LGBTQIA+ community.
AsexualOne of the rarely talked about types of gender identity. The Asexual spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community is a broad umbrella term for people who experience little to no sexual attraction to the same or different genders.
For most outside the community, it can be confusing and hard to grasp the scope of asexuality. Because of how its definition and termed for other sub-identities, asexuality can be misinterpreted or misunderstood.
In a simpler definition, being asexual doesn’t mean they are heartless. Asexuals may not feel sexual attraction for another person but may feel a romantic interest.
As asexuality can be defined in more ways than one. It is still a gender identity that needs to be acknowledged and educated more among members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are still exploring their own gender identities.
Other broad assumptions, pressure, or questions for the LGBTQIA+ community would be the ability of an LGBTQIA+ couple or member to have their own children and/or start a family. It puts pressure on the members that having a family is the main goal in the future instead of being able to live and love freely without judgment for their gender identity.
However, on topics of LGBTQIA+ families, there are still instances like same-gender couples raising their adoptive children. Yet children raised by LGBTQIA+ parents aren’t too different from those raised by straight parents. It is still a misconception that the uniqueness of parental roles might affect the child’s growth.
The facts remain that there is still a long way to go for our society to be aware of the diverseness of this community. But for the community, their hope for the future is that there will no longer be a closet to come out from and that everyone is allowed to express themselves without fear of ridicule or hate.
And while these are only a small scope for the multiple gender identities under the spectrum, this is still a reminder that there is more to the community than just the seven colors of the rainbow. The LGBTQIA+ community covers every wonderful hue of colors that more people in our society need to understand and know more about.
In the last two decades, the Filipino LGBTQIA+ community has been fighting for equal opportunities for all genders by advocating the approval of the SOGIE bill. While it may seem like a small step towards supporting the community, the Philippines also has room for change and acceptance of our fellow LGBTQIA+ members. As more LGBTQIA youths are vocal online and even in our society for change and equality, our voices need to be louder and more deafening now.
This bill is not exclusively for just the LGBTQIA+ community but also for all genders. This is to stop gender-related abuse and discrimination and to allow equality to job opportunities regardless of gender.
Unpopular Demand’s Pride shirt collection is here to further boost the importance of this bill in our country. And to show our own way of support for this long fight for equality. All while giving more LGBTQIA+ members ways to be heard and seen in their versatile and gorgeous styles.
Never be apologetic for who you are because at the end of the day, HUE matter the most.