“I have gay friends but…”: A Discourse on SOGIE and the Importance of Allyship to the LGBTQ+ Community.

“I have gay friends. But I don’t want them to teach kids things that are not normal.”

“I’m not homophobic because I have trans friends, but I still think it’s wrong.”

“I have lesbian friends but I’m uncomfortable seeing them together with their girlfriends.”

The significance of individualism and the uniqueness of each person might be considered one of the world’s perceived treasured truths. The individuality that makes us whole might be the biggest factor in how we live our lives. Being different in a heteronormative society may be a struggle as one may be forced to suppress their individuality and identity in order to be accepted. 

The tolerance and sensitive acceptance of the LGBTQIA++ community in the 21st century may have been progressive compared to what it was 50 years ago, but we cannot deny that we still have a long way to go. The common notion “I have gay friends, BUT…” has been overused to cover up one’s tolerance (not acceptance) and internalized (unconscious) homophobia toward the members of the LGBTQIA+. 

As a step to move forward, Xilium Professional Services stands in solidarity with all queers in their fight for equality, human rights, and inclusivity. Our role as an organization is to be truly sensitive, empowering, and open-minded in order to foster a culture in which everyone can feel safe, free, and accepted. Creating a safe space for everyone does not only constitute creating policies but also ensuring that employees themselves are allies to the marginalized LGBTQIA++ community. 

In celebration of Pride Month, the company, organized by the branding team, conducted a Pride Talk last June 24, 2022, entitled – “I have gay friends but… a virtual discourse about SOGIE and the importance of Allyship.” Gracing us with his knowledge and expertise, Justin Francis Bionat, Executive Director of Youth Voices Count, Inc., a regional network for adolescent and youth LGBTIQ in Asia-Pacific, talked about what SOGIE really is and why it is important to be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.

Other than being enlightened and educated about the difference between Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sexual characteristics, as well as the updates about the SOGIE Bill in the Philippines, the 62 participants were also given the opportunity to win a limited edition tote bag and cash prizes through our informative games all throughout the event.

As our society now is way less unaccepting of the LGBTQIA+ community compared to how it is in the past, Xilium dedicates its practices to ensure that it is an accepting workplace that is open to all members of the gender spectrum, most importantly an ally to the LGBTQIA++ community making it a safe and inclusive space where human rights are recognized and protected – regardless of one’s gender. 

Looking forward to today’s society’s future, let us be one of those people who are confident to say “I have gay friends and I am proud to be an Ally.” No “buts,” NO excuses.