LGBTQ+ groups call out cross-dressing of Lasallian athletes in pep rally

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — Several lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) groups have condemned a performance of members of the De La Salle University's (DLSU) men's basketball team for cross-dressing and making gender expression a joke.

While it could be argued that wearing of dresses or skirts to mock one's gender expression is a harmless display of fun, the groups stressed that the Filipino LGBTQ+ community is still struggling and being discriminated against for their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).

"Considering the lived experiences of gender non-conforming people in the country and the discrimination they continue to face, the performances displayed by the student-athletes were not only tasteless, but also diminishes the struggles of LGBTQIA+ individuals and Lasallians," House of Iris VC, a group founded by students near Vito Cruz in Manila, said on Thursday.

It added this mockery is "normalized" by a patriarchal culture, which reduces gender non-conforming persons to caricatures and targets of jokes with negative media representations.

University of the Philippines (UP) Babaylan and national group Bahaghari also stood with Lasallian queers as they underscored that gender and self-expression are not a joke but a serious ordeal for the LGBTQ+ community.

Meanwhile, Moi Pulumbarit, Gender Equality and Empowerment commissioner of the DLSU University Student Government, said the performance "frustrated, hurt and angered" her and many other students.

She also called for sensitivity and continuous awareness of the student body to the calls of the LGBTQ+ community.

"This is disheartening to see when our community has always fought for our rights in all settings and all situations," Pulumbarit said in a Facebook post. "Please know that we will continue to fight against cases like this that stem from the lack of awareness that we have to empower and engrain in every Lasallian."