Building a More Inclusive Socio-Economic Environment for LGBTIQ+ in the Philippines

Workplace Pride brought together the Business community and Civil Society organizations in Manila for a productive dialogue on LGBTIQ+ inclusion. The discussions revealed the invisible spaces and communities that intersected in significant ways and exposed the areas needing bold collaboration to define better what Socio-Economic Development means for LGBTIQ+ people of the Philippines. 

The five-hour event was hosted by IBM and brought over 25 representatives from the Business Community and Civil Society organizations, including Student organizations, to tackle the theme Building a More Inclusive Socio-Economic Environment for LGBTIQ+ in the Philippines.

Cristine Breva, Workplace Pride Regional Lead for Asia and event moderator, welcomed everyone. She then introduced Raul Hular, Project Manager of Yayasan Hivos, who spoke briefly to give the audience an overview of the Free to Be Me Program. After that, the Dutch Ambassador, Marielle Geraedts, made her opening remarks, followed by a welcome message from IBM’s Client Delivery Center Leader for Business Process Operations, Long Inton. Graham Sparks, Workplace Pride Project Manager, then proceeded to provide the group with an orientation of Workplace Pride, their mission and why Workplace Pride is prioritizing creating spaces to discuss socio-economic development.

Graham then presented the Civil Society Toolkit – a guide to support civil society organizations in their business interactions. Introductions and an audience discussion on stereotypes and challenges was facilitated shortly after. 

Breakout discussions on socio-economic development for the LGBTIQ+ communities in the Philippines followed after lunch. Representatives detailed their experiences and views on where the work lies further to push the inclusion and socio-economic development for the LGBTIQ+ agenda. Finally, a panel discussion on bridging the gaps between business and civil society occurred with good audience participation. Graham and Cristine made closing remarks and reminded the attendees that the day’s conversations were only the beginning, to expect more collaborations, and to keep the conversation going.

This event was made accessible to Deaf attendees through sign language interpreters.

For more information on Workplace Pride’s contribution to the F2BM program, please contact [email protected] 

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