Tag Archives: Women
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Of being a mom

27 May

http://baguiomidlandcourier.com.ph/animatedme.asp?mode=archives/2012/may/5-20-2012/animatedme.txt

I purposedly developed this article as a gift for my mom and to all other moms for the Mother’s Day celebration. And hey, it got published in a local publication which is circulated in 8 provinces in the Cordilleras! I couldn’t be happier! 🙂

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Of being a mom

14 May

It is always a wonder to me how the laughter of little kids could melt the toughest hearts. There is this particular comforting touch that seems to work magic that no matter how toxic the day was, hearing them giggle in a genuine manner could magically keep all those weariness at bay.

There are moments, too, when they drive you seriously crazy. Those times when it requires an enormous amount of patience to stay calm. Those moments when all you could do is release a heavy sigh, shake your head, and could think of nothing else other than how the day could get any worse.

Little kids, really. They are full of wonders.

No. They are not my own kids. They are my sister’s. I let these three kids stay with me for their summer vacation. And with that seemingly short span of time, it actually felt like years because my usual lifestyle had a complete 360-degree turnaround.

But more than knowing all this stuff about having kids around, I also learned how being a mom could actually become the most challenging role I can ever have. And if I am to be honest with myself, having them around took all the energy I have for every single day.

Those times when they randomly show up and throw random questions. If you know the answer, you feel quite like a genius. Otherwise, you try to pretend you know the answers but deep inside you are also wondering. I can’t help but think: “How can these children know a lot more than I could?!”

Those times when you bring them to department stores and they would point to something they‘d like to have. While you wanted so much to grant their wish as often as possible, you simply can’t. And they’d just stare on the floor and stay quiet. In those instances, I could hear my heart breaking because I knew there was nothing I could do for the moment other than to promise I’ll try my best to save for that something.

Those times in the office when one of them suddenly calls you in the phone and you hear all of them shouting or the other one crying or all of them fighting over a toy or whatsoever stuff they can fight over with.

Those times, when, no matter how much you want your sleep remain uninterrupted, it already becomes inevitable. Those times when they wake up in the middle of the night crying because they are having a nightmare and you have to keep telling them that everything is going to be all right until they fall back to sleep. That sometimes takes until the wee hours of the morning.

Those times when you have to leave them at home for a couple of nights because your work requires you to. Those times felt like torture because your mind keeps wandering back to them: how they are doing, what they are eating, and if they are already calmly sleeping, or having nightmares again.

Those mornings when you have to drag yourself out from the bed, no matter how little hours you were able to spare for sleep, just to prepare their breakfast.

Those late afternoons when you go home and they all come running to you asking for the “pasalubong” you promised to give them when they stayed behave for the day.

Those times when even if you no longer have enough energy left due to a toxic day in the office, you still have to use that minute energy left in your store to perform yet another motherly role for the rest of the hours—cook, clean, wash the dishes, and so on.

Those times, when, even if your eyes are already wanting to drop on the floor, you still have to grab that story book and read them bedtime stories in the hope that they’ll learn some virtues.

Those nights, when they are all soundly asleep, and you stare at them thanking the heavens that finally they are resting after exhausting so much energy, including yours, all day long.

Those times when you receive your salary and realize it won’t actually last in your hands for the time you wish to be.

But then, those sacrifices seem to be all worth it. Especially when they would always greet you in the morning and kiss you goodbye each time you head to work. When they see you coming home, they would all rush to you giving  a kiss and a hug like you’ve been away for years. And at night, just before they close their eyes, they would also kiss you good night. Those moments are simply heartwarming.

Tonight, my kids will be heading back home. And as I stare at their backpacks, I can hear my heart breaking yet again. These kids have been wonderful. While my pockets are already empty, my heart is filled with joy. But more than that, they taught me a lot about being a mom.

For just a month and a half, I realized how taxing being a mom could actually be. And only up to this time did I realize how much sacrifices every mom has to make for each of their children in every single day of their life. Yet, their sacrifices remain undervalued. I realize, if those simple acts of thoughtfulness or sweetness could drive my mom’s weariness away, how come I haven’t regularly done it?

I know it is not yet too late to show my gratefulness to my mom for being such a wonderful and an ever-patient mother of 10 kids for 27 years of her life and counting. And I know, too, that it doesn’t really entail for one to bear their own kids before they realize the countless sacrifices of their mom. And truth be told, being a mom is the most challenging role any one can ever have and the most amazing talent one can ever  possess. It is just yet to be further appreciated.

Happy mother’s day yesterday, today, and everyday!

19 things for 2012

12 Jan

I must admit I am one of those New Year junkies, failing to actually fulfill what I have set to attain for the New Year (sigh).

But I am not giving up yet. Since New Year’s Eve, I have already mentally noted what my resolutions will be. There has been a grand list, like 50 of them! But just as I start typing them off in my blog, I can’t seem to figure out how not to become another New Year junkie. So after reading some helpful blogs about making New Year resolutions more possible and realistic, I have trimmed down my resolutions to 19 and have given more specifics on each.

  1. Keep organized. Make a separate notebook for my organizations and my tasks in the office. Regularly fill-up my planner, too.
  2. Set priorities. First things first. Never get overwhelmed with whirlwinds both in my organizations and office works. F-O-C-U-S. Refer to my notes always.
  3. Wake-up early. My morning routine usually takes an hour and a half. I often get late since I need to head off to the office every day at 8 am because I usually wake up at 6:45, or worst, 7:15. So now, I should drag myself out of bed just as the hour strike at 6 am. Unless of course if I had a long night, specially working overtime, I still deserve at least 5-6 hours of sleep. Just in case.
  4. Sleep more. During weekends, that is. Since I usually exhaust all my energy and time every single day, from Monday to Friday, I will consider taking more time to let my body regenerate and prepare it for another bloody week at work.
  5. Be more patient. I have always been very impatient especially in waiting for people who have agreed to meet you on a set time; or people responding too slowly. I want things to keep going and beat every deadline as much as possible. And because I have been too wary of time, of deadlines, and of meeting-set-projects, I end up very, very frustrated and all the more perplexed. So this time, I will always take time to review the do’s and don’ts and will always take time to breathe.
  6. Buy myself a television. I N-E-E-D a TV! Period!
  7. A more balanced diet. Eat more vegetables (one vegetable viand thrice a week) and fruits (everyday).
  8. Value breakfast. I am a no-breakfast-fanatic. I only take coffee and head to works straightaway. This time, I won’t skip breakfast anymore. Not regularly, at least two to three times a week.
  9. Cook. I feel like losing my skills in cooking and baking so this year, I should at least cook something special and/or bake some goodies for myself. I could share it with friends, too. Cook at least twice a month (I barely have the time, I swear! My work is so taxing—travelling now and then); and bake sometime in February (Valentine’s Day!) and July (in time for my birthday).
  10. Exercise regularly. Go to gym at least once to twice a week.
  11. Read more books (one book per month). I just finished my first book for 2012—The Devil Wear’s Prada. Am currently reading Paulo Coelho’s “Zahir” and hopeful to finish it before February ends.
  12. Write more. Publish at least one blog per month despite loads of write-ups in the office.
  13. Relax. Find time to hang-out with friends to detoxify from stress and pressures from work. Go shopping or have dinner with friends once in a while, at least twice a month.
  14. Save more. Deposit 15% of my total salary to my ATM account every month.
  15. Learn another language. I should learn Spanish language! If I can’t enroll by June, I should ask someone who can teach me and by December, I should at least be able to speak in conversational Spanish. I should learn at least 20 words per month.
  16. Keep in touch with friends here and abroad. I will make a complete list of my friends whom I should be writing to and send them handwritten letters using snail mail. I was able to send at least 20 mails last year. This should be easy.
  17. Change hairstyle. I just got my hair treated for the first time for this year—long and straight. After seven months, I will get my hairs curled.
  18. Keep travelling. After going to various beautiful places around the Philippines, usually in the south, and being able to roam around New Delhi and Bangkok, I will travel to the north this time—the Cordilleras! Thanks to my work!
  19.  Love again. Majority of my posts in this blog is about what I have gone through in my relationships and how I am working on my self-love journey. I know I have come out a better, more matured person now than I ever was when it comes to falling in love. I might still have some perks and entertain some more stupidities, but I will still fall in love. After all, my heart is built to love and endure pain. Just a little more matured in dealing with this one this time.

I hope my resolutions are more specific this time. So… lemme hear yours, too!

I could be right, too

11 Jan

Sometimes, I loathe my bestfriend for completely nailing me in the head, knowing exactly what runs through my brain cells. But her ability to read me like an x-ray, I guess, is for my benefit.

At times, though, I wonder if she really has this innate psychic ability or if I am just really too transparent that I allow her (and other people) to see me bare and exposed.

But no matter how much I try to debate with this idea, I always end up realizing she was really gifted with reading my mind because she was always right.

She was right about S, my boyfriend for almost six years. It was beyond doubt when she told me that I was just trying to make myself believe that our relationship was “perfect” just because we never had any serious fight or just because our relationship lasted for more than five years. She was right because, really, I have blocked my mind from believing that S can love me as much as he does with his “first love” when signs were so vivid telling me he was just waiting for his “perfect timing” to exit. Of which, after five years and eight months, he finally bade goodbye.

She was right about M, whom I intended to call in this blog as “Mr. Charmer” and “Mr. Heartache”. She was damn right when she said that M will never be the man for me. That while M is the sweetest and most thoughtful man on earth who could make you fall in love in a split second, he is also the type of guy who can break your heart into tiny debris making it impossible to fix straightaway.

She was right about J whom I referred here as “Mr. Insensitive 1” when she gave me that sharp eye saying he is just one of those men who’ll come and go, who’ll just take and take and never minds to really give back.

She was right about P, about Y, and even about every man I eyed on every bar we’ve been before. Of course, I don’t jump right away with her intuitions even though my instincts tell me so. I have always wanted to see and find it out for myself. At the end, though (gasp!), she was always right.

And though I loathe her sometimes for being so right, I still find myself going back to her for my heart consultation—that is when I am being smitten in love. She has always been my eye when I get blinded with the red flags associated with those men I dated or trying to get involved with.

So last time, I told her about this guy whom I undoubtedly have fallen in love with. I told her that even though we seem to have “something”, I really can’t tell yet where our “thing” is going to. I related to her how lofty his dreams are and how he keeps a focus and priority on it. When I told her that I don’t know if it’s too early to tell yet whether we are going to something definable, she gave me that kind-of-stare again. The kind of sharp gaze that would wake me up into my fantasy.

With what she said, I found myself debating with the idea whether to follow her warnings this time or if I should just go on my own way and find it out for myself. But then I realize love is about taking risks. I said, if ever this love I have for him (and the unwavering patience to wait for him until he get decided) will translate into a love story and a concrete relationship, then I’d be happy, very, very happy. But if it goes the other way around, I know I’ll be ready to embrace whatever it will be. For sure I’ll be hurt again and experience that one-million-beat-per-second of my heart causing me to barely breathe nor sleep. But then, I won’t know what will happen unless I plunge into it, right?

And maybe, just maybe, this could be the start of something real.  After all, my instinct is rarely wrong, too.

The show goes on

3 Jan

It’s 2012.

I didn’t quite notice how 2011 finally gave in to its exit. The events from the past year seemed to have passed in a rapid-fire pace. And as I try to pen down my thoughts about what happened last year, I can hardly put my finger on it.

Perhaps, I was just overwhelmed with how my 2011 has turned out.

Like all the years that passed, my 2011 was full of unexpected turn of events; some were to my benefit and some weren’t. While remembering the little wishes I didfor myself in 2010, which have guided me toward dealing with 2011, I can see how my life was put on the verge of bursting forward.

My current profession has provided me with so many opportunities and room for further growing up. It has allowed me to roam around the Philippines, going to places which I thought would only happen in my dreams not until I reach 40 or something; those places which a lot of people would dream to set foot unto someday and those experiences that many people have been aiming to experience first-hand.

I have also met and made new friends who shaped my ordinary days into very special moments. They have made me realize how small things like going in a café or simply strolling under the trees could make the bond of friendship grow stronger.

A closer-knit relationship and fondness within my family also grew naturally among us. We have spent more quality time together throughout the year. While we still face old stories of unfathomable events, we are all making efforts to somehow mend the wounds to patch our family back again.

I have also gradually worked out my impatience in dealing with problems and challenges. I have come to embrace stress instead of shooing it away with imperviousness. My sensitivity in dealing with other people’s emotions has somehow pitched a notch higher as try to be always careful of my words and their feelings. I still get a little careless at times though.

AlthoughI already earn my own money, I constantly remind myself that while saving is a priority, I shouldn’t feel guilty for treating myself once in a while like going to spa, munching on expensive chocolates, and buying myself an expensive cellphone. Imake sure, too, that first things first in everything I do specially in my works both in my organization and my workplace.

I also came to develop my self-confidence that I can surpass whatever challenge at hand while recognizing that there are also instances that could be best done with a helping hand. In building self-confidence, I also came to realize, is about feeling good about myself knowing that real beauty is nurtured inside but also keeping in mind that I have to stay beautiful in the outside without the intention to lure men.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important, is that I was able to breeze through the state of my heart a lot easier this time than I have in the past couple of years when it felt like everything was spiraling out of control. I have gotten over heartaches and accepted the fact that there are things that are not meant to last; that my heart is built to endure pain; that my fate in love is not (and will never) be based upon fairy tales anymore; that love will never leave me because I already have the love that I need within myself; that the journey to self-love is never-ending but is worth-taking; and that love will always blossom around me because I deserve it too like everyone else.

It’s 2012 and it is the start of something fantastic. I can feel it.

 


There goes the change again

4 Nov

Yesterday, I was still recuperating from the sudden changes happening with my best friends M and J. The thought that these two lady girlfriends of mine are already going to tie the knot with their chosen partner made me chill to my bones. I mean, once they already did that, things would eventually change. I could no longer drag them to overnight parties or roam around whenever we please. I was seriously saddened.

And then came another news. My best friend, S (I got three best friends, by the way), is also set for a long table. Plus she’s having a baby. I mean, What?!!!!!  What’s going on?!

Since I can no longer contain my shock (yes, I was sorely shocked), I opted to go to the gym and exhausted my unexplainable shock (like I really have to reiterate this). For more than an hour on the tread mill, I was sweating heavily that my tears streamed down my cheeks quite unnoticeable. My mind was battling over the idea that my three best friends are already headed to the next level. And it is not just any other stage but a very serious stage that would require some important shifts in their lifestyles. Then I thought years have passed so swiftly that I actually didn’t notice they are already heading to that way while I am still enjoying the life of a single woman.

I needed more avenues to disclose what I was feeling ‘coz it really felt so heavy. It feels like as if the heaven and earth are caving in on me. I approached my boss, told her about my best friends and confessed what I feel and asked: Can you please assess what I am feeling?

She said: Your best friends already found their happiness. Perhaps they really are ready for a bigger, more serious commitment at this time of their life. As their best friend, won’t you be happy about it?

With her words, the feeling of shock and unexplained sadness gradually turned into a feeling of guilt. I realize I am already being selfish. Instead of fretting about it, why can’t I just be totally happy about their chosen path at this point in their life? Why can’t I just act as a real best friend to them instead of creating a fuss?

Until it dawned on me that I was just really still entangled with my own idea of forever-and-ever story. That at this point in time, they should still not get married because they should dig deeper to what they feel, to really know their partner-for-life to be more. That they should put in mind that getting married isn’t something you just dive into just because you thought you are already up for it. But then I also forgot that they are leading their own lives. Perhaps I have just been terrified of losing something that I was used to. True enough, sometimes we need to let go of things so as to search the unknown for something new.

They’ve found their happiness. And I should support them with every bit I can. Because they, too, has always been very supportive in every endeavor I take—from my profession to every opportunities here and abroad that I am receiving.  They’ve always expressed how supportive and happy they are about me. It’s high time I give equal share of support to them. After all, we are best of friends right?

BEWARE OF BOYFRIENDS/INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP PARTNERS LIKE THESE

10 Dec

Both men and women could be victims, but men and women abuse their partners in different ways. Women are more likely to yell, to threaten by hurting themselves, to pinch, to slap, to scratch, or even kick. Men injure their partner more than women. They are more likely to punch their partners, and they force them to participate in unwanted sexual activity. Violence and abuse affect all kinds of people everyday. It doesn’t matter what race or culture you come from, how much money you have, or if you have a disability. It is most common among women between ages 15 and 54, but it can happen to anybody at any age.

How can you detect boyfriends or suitors who will most likely become wife-beaters and abusers? What traits do they have and why should you avoid them and be wary of them?

Before you decide to commit to a long-term relationship with your boyfriend, pause for a minute and look into your past experiences with him.

The following are clear signals that you should heed and should not ignore. If your boyfriend has one or more of the following traits, this is the time to rethink your commitment to him:

•He deliberately hurts you physically, pushes or shoves you toward the wall or grabs your arms until they turn black and blue.

•He forces you to break the law or coerces you to go against your morals or ideals.

•He threatens or intimidates you by using his physical strength, or he does so with a knife, gun or any other harmful object.

•He dislikes or does not permit you to do things you were used to, like involving yourself in sports or hobbies.

•He dislikes or does not permit you to be with your personal friends and acquaintances.

•He watches your every move, He limits your activities to the point that you have to ask his permission to go out, He checks up on your friends and reminds you constantly that he is a jealous man.

•He blames you of his anger.

•He destroys your things whenever he is angry at you.

•He is often hot-tempered or he directs his anger at other people or animals (it is almost certain that he would soon direct his anger on you).

•He lowers or destroys your self-esteem or self-confidence.

•He looks down on you, insults or curses you, or calls you names even in front of other people.

•He treats you like a servant or not his equal.

•He does not respect his own mother or any women in general.

•He greatly fears being left by you and lets you know it.

•He threatens to kill or hurt himself every time you have a misunderstanding.

references:

http://www.womensandorthopedics.com

http://www.edvp.org/AboutDV/wheel.htm

saveourwomen, inc,

Celebrating women’s rights, human rights

10 Dec

November 25. This day marked the beginning of the celebration of the 16 days of activism worldwide. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign that was started by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) in 1991. The 16 Days runs from November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women (VAW) to December 10, International Human Rights Day, to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre in 1989, when 14 women students were massacred by a lone gun-man opposed to the affirmative action policies promoted by feminists at the University of Montreal.

I attended an international conference at New Delhi, India from November 21-29 which is the Oxfam International Youth Partnership (OIYP) Kaleidoscope 2010 organized by Oxfam International, an international confederation of 14 organizations working together in 99 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. OIYP is a global network of young people who share a vision of a just world and are committed to working for peaceful, equitable and sustainable social change within their communities.

To show our support to this campaign, I together with my “Gender group” went to Jahangeer Puri, North Delhi, as part of our community visit during the conference. There we joined the Action India, a group of feminists who campaign against foeticide, and its men and women allies who marched to fight for their rights, celebrate the lives of newly born babies and honor the mothers who fought for the right of their baby girls to be born.

In India, foeticide has been practiced as part of their culture of which female foetuses are being selectively aborted after pre-natal sex determination, thus avoiding the birth of girls. Female foeticide is an extreme manifestation of violence against women. As a result of selective abortion, between 35 and 40 million girls and women are missing from the Indian population. In some parts of the country, the sex ratio of girls to boys has dropped to less than 800:1,000. This connotes that the killing of women exists in various forms in societies all over the world. The Indian society pictures practices unique and particularly brutal versions among women which include dowry deaths (bride-burning) and sati (Hindu custom in India in which the widow was burnt to ashes on her dead husband’s pyre).

Seeing a group of men and women who marched together toward this cause was very inspiring. I may not know much about these customs in India but it is very clear that these are just but one of the many ways of which women’s rights are being violated and that those women are seen “menaces” in the society instead of being “part” of the society they thrive in.

November 26. Action partners from the Latin America initiated the “Light a candle to end Violence Against Women”. APs who are gender advocates from the different countries of the world joined the activity at the lobby of the Centaur Hotel, New Delhi. We convened to show our strong opposition on the abuses and violence suffered by women in different societies with different cultural practices.

We formed a circle while we pray for all the victim-survivors of abuses as we light up our candles. We echoed our support toward ending violence against women. I stepped up in the center of the circle, lift my lighted candle and prayed for all the victim-survivors of prostitution, domestic and intimate relationship violence, sexual abuses and harassments, killings and other forms of violence, and expressed my oneness to all the LGBTQs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queers), and men and women who are all working towards the same cause.

This simple activity unlocked the door toward understanding the different forms of violence under different contexts. It made us further realize that in this kind of inequality happening in our respective communities, women are the most disadvantaged. There enters our role to be their voices to be heard and their hands to be reached.

November 28. This day marked the celebration of the Third Queer Pride Parade. A large number of queer people, along with the ‘straight but not narrow’ allies of the queer community (and I belong to this J) came all together to celebrate the dignity and rights of sexually marginalized people all across India and the world.

The event was not just a celebration among the queer community. It was also an avenue to protest against the discrimination faced by queers and make a statement of hope for a world where all people live with freedom, dignity, and respect.

Originally, the word “queer” simply meant “odd” or “unusual”. In the past century, the word came to be used as a slur for anyone who isn’t gender normative or who deviates from society’s definition of sexually normal behavior. Recently, however, people across the world have reclaimed the word “queer” to empower, celebrate and unite all those who may feel marginalized because of their diverse identities and sexualities.

Queerness is about celebrating diversity. Queer people can be gay, kothi, lesbian, queen, dyke, transgender, transsexual, bisexual, hijra, butch, panthi, femme, fairy, MSM, FSF, genderqueer, androgynous, asexual, questioning, bicurious or even heterosexual queers. Queer Pride affirms diverse expression and calls attention to everyday struggle for respect and dignity.

The march was done to show that queer people in India face violence and discrimination from many different quarters. Queers and allies in Delhi marched with rainbow stripes to show diversity. People shouted for freedom, danced for joy, hugged for happiness, and held hands for oneness. Everyone shouted for equality among Indians, love over hate, and acceptance over tolerance.

Indeed, may they be lesbian, gay, or whatever we call them, still they are human beings who deserve to exercise their human rights.

Inequalities happen in many different forms in every part of the world. The battle continues toward attaining gender equality. It is still a long way to go, indeed. But as we see numerous groups of women and men, the feminist groups, rising in their respective communities for their rights to be recognized, and witness the queer community go out from their closets and freely express themselves, is highly gaining momentum to make us realize that winning this battle is not impossible.

As we join our hands to attain gender equality, it is very important to understand that gender equality is not only for men nor not only for women but both for men and women alike. We should understand that both genders play equally important roles in our society. After all, both are human beings and both need each other to survive.

It is then a challenge for us to keep empowered and stand tall on what we are fighting for. Inequalities happen in different contexts as different culture are also on the way. To all the women, we must believe in ourselves that we can stand for our rights and eventually believe in our co-women that they can stand for their rights too. To all the activists pursuing gender equality, kudos to all of you! It is still a long way to traverse but we can do it. WE WILL DO IT.

Let us show to the world that the partnership of both genders is indispensable to boost success, sustainable development and global change. We will serve as an inspiration to other marginalized men, women and queer community who also seek empowerment for success.

Thank you to Oxfam International for making me a part of the 8-day kaleidoscope in India. I learned a lot of experiences, diversities and respecting each other’s cultures. We will continue to work FOR and WITH our respective communities.// Joahna G. Goyagoy, Philippines

Sources:

http://www.iheu.org/female-foeticide-in-india

http://www.womankind.org.uk/16-days-of-activism.html

http://adaniel.tripod.com/sati.htm

Celebrating women’s rights, human rights

2 Dec

November 25. This day marked the beginning of the celebration of the 16 days of activism worldwide. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign that was started by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) in 1991. The 16 Days runs from November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women (VAW) to December 10, International Human Rights Day, to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre in 1989, when 14 women students were massacred by a lone gun-man opposed to the affirmative action policies promoted by feminists at the University of Montreal.

I attended an international conference at New Delhi, India from November 21-29 which is the Oxfam International Youth Partnership (OIYP) Kaleidoscope 2010 organized by Oxfam International, an international confederation of 14 organizations working together in 99 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. OIYP is a global network of young people who share a vision of a just world and are committed to working for peaceful, equitable and sustainable social change within their communities.

To show our support to this campaign, I together with my “Gender group” went to Jahangeer Puri, North Delhi, as part of our community visit during the conference. There we joined the Action India, a group of feminists who campaign against foeticide, and its men and women allies who marched to fight for their rights, celebrate the lives of newly born babies and honor the mothers who fought for the right of their baby girls to be born.

In India, foeticide has been practiced as part of their culture of which female foetuses are being selectively aborted after pre-natal sex determination, thus avoiding the birth of girls. Female foeticide is an extreme manifestation of violence against women. As a result of selective abortion, between 35 and 40 million girls and women are missing from the Indian population. In some parts of the country, the sex ratio of girls to boys has dropped to less than 800:1,000. This connotes that the killing of women exists in various forms in societies all over the world. The Indian society pictures practices unique and particularly brutal versions among women which include dowry deaths (bride-burning) and sati (Hindu custom in India in which the widow was burnt to ashes on her dead husband’s pyre).

Seeing a group of men and women who marched together toward this cause was very inspiring. I may not know much about these customs in India but it is very clear that these are just but one of the many ways of which women’s rights are being violated and that those women are seen “menaces” in the society instead of being “part” of the society they thrive in.

November 26. Action partners from the Latin America initiated the “Light a candle to end Violence Against Women”. APs who are gender advocates from the different countries of the world joined the activity at the lobby of the Centaur Hotel, New Delhi. We convened to show our strong opposition on the abuses and violence suffered by women in different societies with different cultural practices.

We formed a circle while we pray for all the victim-survivors of abuses as we light up our candles. We echoed our support toward ending violence against women. I stepped up in the center of the circle, lift my lighted candle and prayed for all the victim-survivors of prostitution, domestic and intimate relationship violence, sexual abuses and harassments, killings and other forms of violence, and expressed my oneness to all the LGBTQs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queers), and men and women who are all working towards the same cause.

This simple activity unlocked the door toward understanding the different forms of violence under different contexts. It made us further realize that in this kind of inequality happening in our respective communities, women are the most disadvantaged. There enters our role to be their voices to be heard and their hands to be reached.
November 28. This day marked the celebration of the Third Queer Pride Parade. A large number of queer people, along with the ‘straight but not narrow’ allies of the queer community (and I belong to this ) came all together to celebrate the dignity and rights of sexually marginalized people all across India and the world.

The event was not just a celebration among the queer community. It was also an avenue to protest against the discrimination faced by queers and make a statement of hope for a world where all people live with freedom, dignity, and respect.
Originally, the word “queer” simply meant “odd” or “unusual”. In the past century, the word came to be used as a slur for anyone who isn’t gender normative or who deviates from society’s definition of sexually normal behavior. Recently, however, people across the world have reclaimed the word “queer” to empower, celebrate and unite all those who may feel marginalized because of their diverse identities and sexualities.

Queerness is about celebrating diversity. Queer people can be gay, kothi, lesbian, queen, dyke, transgender, transsexual, bisexual, hijra, butch, panthi, femme, fairy, MSM, FSF, genderqueer, androgynous, asexual, questioning, bicurious or even heterosexual queers. Queer Pride affirms diverse expression and calls attention to everyday struggle for respect and dignity.

The march was done to show that queer people in India face violence and discrimination from many different quarters. Queers and allies in Delhi marched with rainbow stripes to show diversity. People shouted for freedom, danced for joy, hugged for happiness, and held hands for oneness. Everyone shouted for equality among Indians, love over hate, and acceptance over tolerance.

Indeed, may they be lesbian, gay, or whatever we call them, still they are human beings who deserve to exercise their human rights.

Inequalities happen in many different forms in every part of the world. The battle continues toward attaining gender equality. It is still a long way to go, indeed. But as we see numerous groups of women and men, the feminist groups, rising in their respective communities for their rights to be recognized, and witness the queer community go out from their closets and freely express themselves, is highly gaining momentum to make us realize that winning this battle is not impossible.
As we join our hands to attain gender equality, it is very important to understand that gender equality is not only for men nor not only for women but both for men and women alike. We should understand that both genders play equally important roles in our society. After all, both are human beings and both need each other to survive.

It is then a challenge for us to keep empowered and stand tall on what we are fighting for. Inequalities happen in different contexts as different culture are also on the way. To all the women, we must believe in ourselves that we can stand for our rights and eventually believe in our co-women that they can stand for their rights too. To all the activists pursuing gender equality, kudos to all of you! It is still a long way to traverse but we can do it. WE WILL DO IT.

Let us show to the world that the partnership of both genders is indispensable to boost success, sustainable development and global change. We will serve as an inspiration to other marginalized men, women and queer community who also seek empowerment for success.
Thank you to Oxfam International for making me a part of the 8-day kaleidoscope in India. I learned a lot of experiences, diversities and respecting each other’s cultures. We will continue to work FOR and WITH our respective communities.// Joahna G. Goyagoy, Philippines

Sources:
http://www.iheu.org/female-foeticide-in-india
http://www.womankind.org.uk/16-days-of-activism.html
http://adaniel.tripod.com/sati.htm