By Daniella Balili
With the primary vision of promoting Gender Equality and Women Empowerment and debunking Toxic Masculinity, Communication Program Council (CPC) administered Kapihan 2019: Equals on November 21 at Bulwagang Jose Basa. Powerhouse set of speakers of different genders spearheaded the talk for equality and empowerment, as they have raised awareness among its audiences about various gender issues in today’s time. These included former DLSU-D USC Vice President and LGBTQ+ Advocate Gelo Dela Cruz, social media influencer Macauly Lofgren, and women empowerment advocate Samantha Sadorra.
Dela Cruz spearheaded the talk for equality as he continues to fight in debunking gender discrimination in the society. He shared his own experience regarding gender discrimination, where he was rejected in a work in Thailand due to his gender identity. Such kind of incidents pushed him to lead an organization, where he found his purpose in life.
Moreover, Dela Cruz clarified that even though the support for the LQBTQ+ is getting broader, LGBTQ+ community belongs to minority these days due to the discrimination that they encounter everywhere. “Let us be the change we want to see,” De La Cruz said as he ended his talk.
On the other hand, Lofgren led the discussion in ending toxic masculinity, reminding the audience how it is important for men to also show their vulnerability just like any other person. “Vulnerability is not a weakness, instead it is a growth,” Lofgren stated.
He emphasized that toxic masculinity is a huge social construct that was and is being taught among youth from then until today. Lofgren also reminded the audience about the importance of accountability when faced with such incidents, stating to make men accountable if they have shown tendencies of toxic masculinity.
In the latter part of the seminar, Saddora talked about women empowerment, where she told #HerStory as to how she became a women advocate. Saddora shared her experience of building a women desk in Far Eastern University to help women who can’t voice out their cry for justice.
Meanwhile, she also revealed that her own experience of violence and sexual harassment was the reason why she worked hard and did everything to build the organization. Saddora reminded the students that they can share their struggles or problems to her and promised that she is willing to listen and talk about it.
Moreover, students have also engaged in the talk for equality and empowerment through wearing colorful outfits and designing their empowerment-themed plackards. Patricia Corpuz (COM11) was hailed as the Best Dressed, while Trixie Bacunawa (COM11) bagged the Best Plackard award with her powerful statement “Babae ako, hindi Babae lang.”
Meanwhile, Kapihan 2019: Equals Project Head Deanice Reyes shared her gratitude and happiness about the outcome of the event. “For me…feeling ko naging successful siya kasi kahit after [the] event, some of the attendees, pinag-uusapan pa rin ‘yung event and ‘yung main reason talaga is to raise awareness about different issues [na] I think na achieve ng equals,” Reyes told Green FM.