Online concert to benefit 4 LGBT groups in Mindanao

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — A group is organizing a live online concert as a fundraiser for four groups representing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Plus (LGBTQIA+) communities in Mindanao.

Mindanao Pride, a group of gender equality advocates, allies, and human rights activists, convened LGBTQIA+ organizations in Mindanao to collaborate and raise funds to ease the impact of Covid-19 on the LGBTQIA+ community.

Dubbed “Mindanao Pride LIVE,” the concert will be streamed from the Mindanao Pride Facebook Page on June 20, Saturday, at 8 pm.

The organization expects to raise a minimum of PHP100,000, which will be equally distributed to the four partner beneficiaries: Kagay-an PLUS Inc. (Northern Mindanao), Ladlad Caraga Inc. (Caraga region), Mujer-LGBT Organization Inc. (Zamboanga Peninsula), and Olympus Society of Davao Inc.

Hamilcar Chanjueco Jr., Founder of Mindanao Pride, said Friday the concert is also part of the Pride Month 2020 celebration.

“For us, Pride is also an opportunity to show solidarity to those who are heavily affected by Covid-19. Not even a pandemic can stop the community in celebrating Pride,” he said.

Chanjueco said the pandemic has caused a significant impact on the LGBTQIA+ community.

In Mindanao, for instance, the group said many LGBTQIA+ individuals are at risk of homelessness and unemployment. Worse, a number of LGBTQIA+ members are suffering from deteriorating mental health because of isolation, it added.

The group also said that people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) had serious challenges in accessing treatment, made even more difficult because of movement restrictions.

“The Mujer-LGBT Organization Inc. has taken the initiative to conduct a relief operation in the midst of a pandemic as a response to our social responsibility in addressing the needs and concerns of the LGBT Community. As of writing, we were able to reach 500 recipients. We look forward to being able to be of help to those in need, especially those who are not able to receive help,” said Alvin Toni Gee Fernandez, president of Mujer-LGBT Organization, Inc.

Queen Pia Paolo, Mindanao Pride LIVE Lead, said that organizing an online event is challenging, but added she accepted the responsibility because “every part of the job is new.”

“I eventually understood that what I am doing is not a job but advocacy, and one that is very close to my heart. And what it aims to achieve made me realize some things— that I am lucky enough to survive in a relatively comfortable situation and privileged enough to help people who are in need,” she said. -PNA

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