LGBTQ students notch victory in DepEd order

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PASAY, PHILIPPINES - 2022/06/25: Participants seen taking selfies with the LGBT flag in the background during the Metro Manila Pride March. LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) activists staged the annual Pride March and Festival at CCP Open Grounds in Pasay City. (Photo by Josefiel Rivera/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
PASAY, PHILIPPINES - 2022/06/25: Participants seen taking selfies with the LGBT flag in the background during the Metro Manila Pride March. LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) activists staged the annual Pride March and Festival at CCP Open Grounds in Pasay City. (Photo by Josefiel Rivera/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Department of Education National Capital Region (DepEd NCR) will finally allow students to wear clothes that are aligned with their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression during their graduation ceremony, a small victory for the LGBTQ community.

According to a memorandum released on June 23, DepEd NCR Director Wilferdo Cabral said that this is in accordance with the department’s “gender-responsive basic education policy” aimed at promoting gender equality and equity at the basic education level.

“School heads/administrations are hereby advised to allow students to attend initiated activities such as end-of-school year rites wearing clothes which are aligned with their gender identity, without restricting students’ gender expression,” the memorandum read.

This comes after Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Franco Habijan said in her social media that four graduating senior high school transwomen students will not be able to attend their graduation wearing clothes appropriate for their gender.

“Gender Identity and Gender Expression are hereby recognized from this day on! Wala [nang] Nicole, Jade, Kendy, at Rey ang masisikil dahil trans sila (No more Nicole, Jade, Kendy, and Rey will be oppressed because they are trans)!” Habijan said in a Facebook post, with a screenshot of the said DepEd Memo.

Habijan gifted the four transwomen with a graduation photoshoot after she found out that they were not permitted to march in their graduation rites.

But after a few weeks, she posted another update saying that they were already permitted to march on June 27, however, one of them was allowed to join on the condition that they put their hair up and wear a male uniform.

“To our DepEd and CHED (Commission on Higher Education) leaders, when you let us become us, when you let trans people march, no one loses. Instead, all of us win!” Habijan said.

DepEd Order No. 37 series of 2017 is seeking to allow the education department to discuss and tackle gender-mainstreaming in education to address gender and-sexuality-related issues in basic education, as well as promote the protection of children from all kinds of gender-based violence, abuse, exploitation, discrimination, and bullying.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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