Connect with us

Blogs

Manila Liquor Ban: Shantay You Stay or Sashay Away?

After reading your replies on our recent #TalkOnTW segment, we’ve conducted a little “research” about a list of spots around the campus and we’ve indicated which among these are within Isko’s “danger zone”.

Published

on

Artwork by Aldrich Aquino
EDITOR’S NOTE: The measurements used in this article are based on the data taken from Google Maps. Although the authors provided radial (pinned at Plaza Mayor) and peripheral distances so as to avoid the confusion legislative loopholes may cause, they used the distance measured from the University perimeter wall to the establishment temporarily as the basis of judgment. Further, this article should not be regarded as a legitimate reference nor should it be considered as a guide to the recently implemented regulation. Moreover, this article does not, in any way, invite students to vice.

Recently, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno signed an executive order enforcing the cancellation of all business permits of stores that sell alcoholic beverages within the 200-meter range of schools and universities in Manila. With that being said, the mayor’s strict implementation on liquor ban received different reactions.

Aside from popular and affordable eateries, the University is also known for being surrounded by a number of inuman spots. From the bustling streets of Espana up to the food crawl and street food lined along the streets of Dapitan, there are a lot of (hidden) gems situated along these streets that surely became an instant hit for students.

After reading your replies on our recent #TalkOnTW segment, we’ve conducted a little “research” about a list of spots around the campus and we’ve indicated which among these are within Isko’s “danger zone”.

Dapitan

Four Monkeys Bar & Kitchen (63 meters from UST perimeter wall*) 

Known for its student-friendly prices and Instagram-worthy vibes, Four Monkeys Bar & Kitchen (also known as 4M), is a popular bar and restaurant in Santander Street that is not only jam-packed with Thomasians but also students from neighboring universities!

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

Tapsi (119 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

Found in Asturias Street, Tapsi gives off an old Manila vibe because of its vintage facade. Tapsi is popular especially to the alumni of the University as it has been one of the oldest inuman houses in Dapitan. They are best known for affordable rice meals and buckets of beer.

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

The Pit (130 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

Like Tapsi, The Pit is also a known landmark for drinking! Often visited by students and fellow alumni, The Pit serves affordable rice meals on their first floor. However, the real fun begins as you climb up the stairs where they serve you affordable cocktails as well!

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

Viewpoint (43 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

Viewpoint is a drinking establishment located at Antonio Street. Despite the area being cramped and hidden in view, it is known for its very affordable alcoholic drinks.

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

Fusebox Lifestyle Complex (119 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

Fusebox is a popular food establishment located along Laong-Laan Street. Serving a wide variety of dishes – from affordable rice bowls to Korean barbeque, Fusebox is known to be the drinking capital due to the number of restaurants serving alcohol at the top floor. There is also a pool table, perfect for unwinding after a tiring day.

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

Noval

Quesarito Mexican Cocina (10 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

Quesarito Mexican Cocina is a new gem situated right above Angkong, Tap N’ Chop, and Legit Restaurant. Aside from serving a wide variety of Mexican dishes and rice meals like liquored wings, they serve delicious flavored beers and margaritas that won’t make you break the bank!

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

España

Troika Resto & Art Gallery (140 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

If you’re searching for an artsy inuman spot that also showcases live music, then Troika is the place you’re looking for! Aside from being a drinking hub, Troika is also an art gallery that makes you appreciate the arts as you stay.

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

Breeze Resto Bar (155 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

Tucked in Moret, Breeze is a drinking spot that serves affordable pulutan and alcoholic beverages. Although the place is dark, the ambiance of the place is cozy enough that it will make you come back again.

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

Acustica Bistro & Lounge (34 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

Acustica Bistro & Lounge serves you with the usual drinks and meals that are not on the expensive price range. Unlike other inuman spots that are usually cramped, Acustica gives off a cozy ambiance that makes you feel at home. Moreover, this place is also a good drinking spot for those who enjoy live performances.

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

Lacson

Spotlight Restobar (321 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

Want to sing your heart out to Whitney Houston’s Where do Broken Hearts Go or Salbakuta’s Stupid Love? Spotlight is a known inuman spot in Maria Clara street where you can go belt out your notes with their karaoke while being served your favorite cocktails!

Verdict: SHANTAY YOU STAY!

 

The Roof (33 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

Located on the 34th floor of Pacific Skyloft, The Roof is the perfect place for those who want to escape reality for a bit. Though the price range will give you the “Haggardo Versoza” vibe, The Roof will never fail to give you a one-of-a-kind experience as you gaze at the buildings seen from the roof.

Verdict: SASHAY AWAY!

 

Chill Top (840 meters from UST perimeter wall*)

With their branches spotted in Cubao down to Buendia, Chill Top found its home in Lacson, too! Like other roof deck bars, Chill Top allows you to enjoy a variety of cocktails and hard liquor as you watch over Manila’s skyline, too. It is definitely a place where you can chill, drink, and forget life’s burdens for a little while!

Verdict: SHANTAY YOU STAY!

 

With the strict implementation of Liquor Ban by the Mayor, will this drastically affect drinking establishments that are still operating at this moment? Whatever the result may be, the best thing that we should always keep in mind is to be more mindful and responsible for our actions! 

Jia Pizarro Bote; Brin Raizulli Isaac and John Aaron Pangilinan contributed to this article.

 

*Radial Distances

Dapitan

Four Monkeys Bar & Kitchen: 337 meters from Plaza Mayor

Tapsi: 365 meters from Plaza Mayor

The Pit: 276 meters from Plaza Mayor

Viewpoint: 250 meters from Plaza Mayor

Fusebox Lifestyle Complex: 356 meters from Plaza Mayor

 

Noval

Quesarito Mexican Cocina: 267 meters from Plaza Mayor

 

Espana

Troika Resto & Art Gallery: 405.85 meters from Plaza Mayor

Breeze Resto Bar: 398 meters from Plaza Mayor

Acustica Bistro: 325 meters from Plaza Mayor

 

Lacson

Spotlight Restobar: 586 meters from Plaza Mayor

The Roof: 325 meters from Plaza Mayor

Chill Top: 1.10 kilometers from Plaza Mayor

Comments

Blogs

How June 2020 defined the world in this “new normal”

In response to current events, others have found a significant boost as people came together to express outrage and push for social change.

Published

on

Artwork by Patricia Jardin

While the world is essentially glued to their smartphones, computers, televisions, and radios, no injustice comes unrecognized as the public closely watches each event unfold and passionately seeks accountability from those responsible.

June 2020 has been yet another rollercoaster of events all over the world as each country does their best in trying to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It has brought out the ills of society and made people express their dissent and outrage at the respective responses of their leaders. With people spending more time on social media, the existing system has been subject to even deeper scrutiny causing the rise in awareness for problems that have persisted even before the pandemic struck.

Movements have been organized, with respect of course to social-distancing, aiming to address these issues on the international level. Beginning way before the quarantine and lockdown, some have found themselves gaining even more attention and support with most of the world glued to the internet. And in response to current events, others have found a significant boost as people came together to express outrage and push for social change.

1. Black Lives Matters Protests

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

A movement dating back to 2013, Black Lives Matter started as a response to the killing of Trayvon Martin caused by a suspicion of his eventual shooter, George Zimmerman. The movement has since been a strong voice of each racially-driven crime and a loud response towards the subsequent death of Eric Garner and others. 

This time, it serves as a response to the killing of George Floyd, who died of police brutality after being pinned to the ground with a knee over his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds. This event that prompted mass protests over racism and police brutality has touched everyone all over the globe, including prominent Filipino personalities such as Chris Ross, Joe Devance, and Kobe Paras among others.

2. Hong Kong Protests

Photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Stemming as far back as March 2019, the Hong Kong protests were primarily about upholding the democratic freedom and independence of Hong Kong. Initially starting as a protest against an extradition bill, it had quickly become a larger movement even after the bill had been dropped. 

Currently, it has taken the worldwide stage again with concerns of police brutality being rampant as the government tries to silence the protesters through shootings led by officers as well as countless arrests of protesters. Still, all these are being endured by protesters to fight for Hong Kong’s independence and democracy.

3. #SpeakingOut Movement

Photo from CBR

Professional wrestlers are typically known for bringing the action in the ring. This time, however, these larger than life characters are bringing the fight outside the ring and into social media with the #SpeakingOut movement.

Originating from stories of harassment and abuse in the UK pro-wrestling scene, the movement branched out into the US scene. Numerous stories have been posted and tweeted about abuse from trainers or misconduct from other pro-wrestlers towards fans and co-workers. These allegations prompted companies who have hired these wrestlers to suspend or terminate them from future shows.

4. The battle against COVID-19

Photo from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Serving as the proverbial push that set the vigilance of the world in motion, the over 3-month battle against COVID-19 has been the biggest example of the world’s unity and division.

Although some countries have seen tremendous success in containing the cases, others have seen a surge after attempting to re-open day-to-day operations. To prevent further spread of disease, businesses have considered using other means of payment and service to limit risks. This brought out the resourcefulness of business-owners coming up with innovative solutions to this problem while also minimizing lay-offs and for some, accommodating even more employees.

5. Mass lay-offs and economic recession

Photo from Forbes & Getty Images

With the closing of public establishments, profit losses are simply inevitable. This has caused companies to lay-off employees and for businesses in all scales to give pay-cuts or even shut down entirely.

Numerous businesses have considered shutting down operations due to their inability to pay their bills and employees, while some industries, like the food industry, found solutions in utilizing delivery services to continue serving their customers albeit on a lower scale. Other struggling industries found themselves backed against a corner as safety measures continued to prevent operations. Resorts and hotels have temporarily used their accommodations to shelter incoming OFWs for quarantine. Also, transport services have been utilized as shuttle services for companies operating under quarantine policies in the Philippines.

6. Brands pull ads out of Facebook

Photo by SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Recently, big name brands have decided to pull their ads from Facebook citing concerns over misinformation and hate speech.

Popular brands and companies, such as Unilever and Coca-Cola, have decided to boycott Facebook over hate speech in line with the recent Black Lives Matter protests. Concerns over political biases that Facebook have helped propagate over the years have also been raised. This pledge is in response to countless demands and requests for Facebook to better moderate the content that is published on its platform. Owing to public pressure, Facebook promised to tighten its content policies.

7. Facebook “fake accounts” fiasco

Photo from Rappler

While calls for change picked up steam all over the world, the Philippines has had its own share of battles, ironically not with the virus that has brought the world to its knees in the past months.

Earlier this month, numerous Facebook accounts which appeared to be clones of existing accounts, started to surface on the website and raised concern amongst citizens voicing their displeasure with the proposed Anti-Terror Bill. As a response, affected citizens banded together, making Facebook groups to mass report these fake accounts. There have also been efforts to create websites or tools designed to track and index these accounts based on their predictable format. 

8. Philippines’ transition from ECQ to GCQ

Photo from the Philippine National Police

Months after placing NCR and other regions under ECQ, President Duterte finally lifts the status of the community quarantine to GCQ, but not without consequences.

Last month, the president decided to lower the status of the country from ECQ to MECQ. A while later, he placed NCR and other areas under GCQ in hopes of boosting the economy after the decline under the ECQ period. This has sent thousands of workers back to the streets looking for a way to get to their workplace. Some employees wound up having to walk hours due to the lack of transport options while others waited long hours for the shuttle buses to arrive. The increase in foot traffic has unsurprisingly caused a surge in positive cases which has become a cause for concern for individuals all over the country.

9. Ballooning of national debt

Photo from FreePik

Citing lack of funds for medical response and relief efforts, President Duterte loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to aid in the country’s COVID-19 response.

In the president’s numerous addresses to the public, he has claimed the shortage of funds for the COVID-19 response efforts. Since then, multiple loans reaching millions of dollars have been made almost on a weekly basis. This has sparked concern for most as the increase in the national debt could be detrimental to the country moving forward. Numerous groups have sought reports stating the use of funds as, despite the loans, many families have yet to receive relief packages and subsidies. Multiple anomalies within local government units have also caused citizens to protest the distribution scheme for relief goods and subsidies.

10. Anti-Terror Bill and the fight for freedom of expression

Photo by JL Javier/CNN Philippines

Neither mutually exclusive nor inclusive, this has been the greatest concern of citizens this month of June. 

Earlier this month, President Duterte placed the Anti-Terror bill as urgent in line of perceived terrorist threat both inside and outside of the country. This has raised concern, however, in light of the countless abuses and anomalies in the laws present today, namely the violations made regarding COVID-19 protective measures by PNP Chief Major General Debold Sinas as well as Senator Koko Pimentel. Some lawmakers as well as most citizens fear that the enactment of this law could lead to abuse and the silencing of the president’s critics. In response, a “grand mañanita” was set into motion on June 12 to protest against the bill as well as the other injustices made by the administration.

11. The verdict on Maria Ressa and Rey Santos Jr.

Photo by Dante Diosina Jr/Rappler

 

 

Maria Ressa and Rey Santos Jr. of Rappler were recently convicted for cyber libel in what is seen as a clear attack on press freedom in the country.

An article from May 2012 has put Rappler in hot water after Wilfredo Keng filed a case for cyber libel against them years after its publication. Since then, Rappler has exhausted all possible avenues to fight against the conviction citing points such as the cybercrime prevention law not even being an actual law when the article was published. Despite these efforts, Maria Ressa and the article’s author Rey Santos Jr. were ultimately found guilty for committing cyber libel. Journalists from universities as well as from major networks protested this stating how it is an attack on press freedom and an oppression of journalists in the country.

12. #FreePride20

Photo by the League of Filipino Students

Finally, one of the marquee movements of this month is the Pride March which needs no introduction about what it stands for.

#FreePride20 made its rounds on social media after 20 individuals were arrested during the annual Pride march held in Mendiola. The arrested members from the organizations Bahaghari, Gabriela Philippines, and Karapatan were expressing their dissent towards the government’s recent actions, particularly on the passing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill which posed a risk to the country’s freedom of expression. The Commission on Human Rights has stated that they will perform an investigation regarding these arrests after organizations expressed their concerns over the police apprehending the protesters without a warrant.

13. NTC orders shutdown of Sky Cable operations

Photo by the Daily Tribune

After successfully terminating the broadcast of ABS-CBN in May, the NTC with the advice of Solicitor General Jose Calida is now setting its sights on shutting down the biggest satellite TV service in the country.

ABS-CBN ended its broadcast on free TV last May 5 after receiving a cease and desist order from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). Since then, hearings have taken place with lawmakers questioning Sky Cable’s continued operations despite ABS-CBN being off-air. If the shutdown of Sky Cable (and ABS-CBN TV Plus) pushes through, 55 million citizens will directly be affected. Foremost of these are families who live in areas where other television networks have poor or no reception at all that need information amidst this pandemic.

Having more time to spend keeping up-to-date with the latest news has given us the opportunity to better understand what is happening in the world and in the country. The social injustices that have been brought to the forefront because of recent events should be enough reason to speak out and demand actions. It is part of our duty as citizens of the Philippines to be vocal about the injustices in our country. Protesting, whether physical or virtual, brings a strong voice to demand solutions to these problems. 

Although protests have drawn the ire of some, considering them as irresponsible acts that could lead to a greater spread of the disease, this month’s events have shown that making their voices heard while taking proper safety precautions is still possible. The strong military force placed as a response to protests show that they are indeed being heard by those that they are meant for. While some lawmakers and law enforcers label these protesters as terrorists, it needs to be known and heard that activism is not terrorism.

Comments

Continue Reading

Blogs

Should intersex individuals be included in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum?

Because of their condition, intersex people are not immune to social prejudices and stigma for failing to conform to gender norms. If the simple ticking of a box as ‘M’ or ‘F’ is a struggle for them, just imagine the greater pressure of having to continue a career under an identity they do not completely believe in.

Published

on

Artwork by Ana Victoria Ereño

The first question parents often ask doctors is the gender of their unborn baby. According to the United Nations, more than 360,000 babies are born each day. In school, we were once taught that sex and gender are binary. As society gradually progresses towards equality, we come to realize and accept that the world is not only filled with Mars and Venus but also a combination of both and so much more.

The LGBTQIA+ continues to grow as a community as more individuals of various sexualities and gender identities are welcomed. Often included in the spectrum are intersex individuals who comprise about 1.7% of the world’s population. While some LGBTQIA+ groups and organizations prefer not to exclude the “I”, there have been debates whether it is logically correct to include intersex individuals in the expanding community.

Intersex is an umbrella term referring to persons who are biologically born with disorders of sexual development in which there are variations in their sexual, chromosomal, hormonal, and reproductive characteristics. This simply means that they both have biological male and female traits thus, making it difficult to distinguish them as traditional male or female. For instance, an intersex person may appear to carry female genitalia on the outside, but internally has XY (male) chromosomes. 

For years, doctors have concealed to parents the true conditions of their intersex children to the point that they would lie about it.

Intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis was born with an intersex condition known as androgen insensitivity syndrome. Rather than truthfully saying that Pidgeon has internal testes, doctors convinced their parents that their gonads might be cancerous if not removed and that their genitalia was not medically normal. Since the age of one, they were subjected to various corrective surgeries to alter their genitalia.

Because of their condition, intersex people are not immune to social prejudices and stigma for failing to conform to gender norms. If the simple ticking of a box as ‘M’ or ‘F’ is a struggle for them, just imagine the greater pressure of having to continue a career under an identity they do not completely believe in.   

South African Olympian Mokgadi Caster Semenya is an intersex individual born with XY chromosomes who publicly identifies as female. At only 18 years old, she won gold in the women’s 800 meters category at the 2009 World Championships. However, her victory was not always sweet as her win and record-breaking speed sparked suspicions and public scrutiny with some competitors, sports analysts, and media outlets calling her a man and a hermaphrodite–a term now considered to be a derogatory slur among intersex people.

Semenya was then subjected to a multitude of sex verification tests and incessantly analyzed by numerous experts. With her medical history even being divulged to the public without her consent, it seems as though her body was placed on display for everyone to gawk at and criticize. The IAAF World Athletics governing body stated that for her to be able to continue competing, she would then have to take hormonal medication to dial down her testosterone levels. However, she can also choose to compete with men without restrictions. 

Intersex bodies have been pathologized just as how homosexuals and transgenders have been treated in the past decades. Adding the “I” in the ever-growing LGBTQIA+ acronym could be a step forward for intersex visibility within society and allow more people to become aware and, eventually, more accepting of the conditions and realities faced by an intersex person.

The ostracism and problematic treatment of intersex persons have also been rooted with transphobia, homophobia, and sexualism. Being considered as part of the community would greatly contribute to educating society to recognize and counteract these cultural attitudes that could hopefully also create a safe space for them together with sexual and gender minorities that share their struggles.

While many believe that these reasons can suffice their acceptance into the LGBTQ+ movement, concerns were raised regarding this matter.

Pagonis and Dr. Alice Dreger of the Feinberg School of Medicine clarify that intersex is not a sexual orientation or a gender identity, but rather a biological sexual variation. They believe that including them in the spectrum would give the misconception that intersex people are inherently gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Some intersex people are, but some are not. This assumption has also caused the term intersex to be commonly misused as a synonym for transgender. The intersex community seeks to find their own recognition and intersex-specific treatment in society. Hence, including them in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum could further conflate the two and prevent them from receiving the proper and concrete attention towards their demands such as obtaining legal recognition of their sex in birth certificates.

Moreover, if placed under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella, some parents might have the misperception that their intersex child would transition as homosexual or experience psychological distress in the future because of gender dysphoria. Because of the queerantagonistic society we live in, it is not impossible for parents to pressure or even force to go under the knife and normalize their ambiguous genitalia—a common lived reality among many intersex individuals. This would, however, do more harm than good to the child as these relentless and irreversible corrective surgeries might sterilize them and cause them to take numerous medications in the future as an adult.

The reality of being an intersex person is very complex that even these individuals find difficulty to comprehend at first. Similar to how Caster Semenya chooses not to publicly identify as intersex, they are also entitled to their own decision to either include or exclude themselves from the LGBTQIA+ community based on their own opinions and motivations as an intersex person.

Whichever path they choose, this illuminated debate tells us that there is a need for more conversations regarding intersex people as their plea is a case of both social injustice and human rights issues in medicine and civil society. Thus, the question does not only lie in whether we should include them in the community, but also in whether we engage ourselves enough in conversations about their experiences to fully understand their reasons of wanting to be or not to be included.

The “I” in LGBTQIA+ should not stand for “invisible” and it is our job as a society to keep it that way. In this long fight for equality, our effort to educate ourselves on these matters plays a role in protecting future intersex infants and children from nonconsensual surgeries and ensuring that no intersex individual would be compelled to live a life of secrecy, shame, and trauma.

 

Comments

Continue Reading

Blogs

Harry Potter and the Audacity of J.K. Rowling: A Look on Transphobia and Selective Feminism

J.K. Rowling’s support on transphobic beliefs is problematic. Her act of publicly attacking transgender rights is a disregard for the LGBT+ community, especially during Pride month⁠—a celebration made possible by trans pioneers.

Published

on

Artwork by Maria Juvice Buñag

Social media has become a space to spread our activism. From the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd and many other black people at the hands of American police to the #HijaAko hashtag against victim blaming and rape culture, social media became a powerful tool to spread advocacies and make our voices heard. 

While social media is a great avenue for activism, it can be also used to spread harmful ideas like racism, sexism, homophobia, and others. With just one post, you can see if the people you follow have some backward beliefs, or in J.K. Rowling’s case, transphobic beliefs.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling came under fire after a string of transphobic tweets, which ended in a 3,600 word essay against trans activism. Her transphobic tirades not only spread wrong notions about the trans community, but also endanger them by promoting exclusion of trans people.

“TERF Wars”

The transphobia issue with Rowling started with a tweet last June 7 wherein the author shared an article about providing safe spaces for “people who menstruate,” together with a caption implying that only women menstruate.

“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she wrote.

People were quick to call out Rowling, pointing out that some men menstruate and some women don’t, and that menstruation is not a basis of womanhood but is a biological function not strictly reserved to cis women.

Rowling then tweeted about biological sex saying that if it isn’t real, then same-sex attraction also isn’t. And in saying so, the struggles of women all over the world are also erased. 

“I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of meaningfully discuss their lives,” she tweeted.

The series of transphobic tweets ended with a 3,600 word essay with the caption “TERF Wars.”

The term “TERF” refers to Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. In summary, TERFs believe that trans men and women are not real men and women. They also believe in excluding trans women in women’s spaces, such as fitting rooms and restrooms, because of the notion that trans women are a threat to women’s safety. People like Rowling claim that TERF is a slur used to silence female voices, but in reality, the term is just like “racist” or “misogynist” used to call people with backward beliefs.

In the essay, Rowling talked about five reasons for speaking up on “trans activism,” namely her charity, her experience as a former teacher, her interest in free speech, and her worry about the huge increase of women who want to transition. She also wrote of her experience as an abuse survivor as she is concerned for the “consequences of the current trans activism,” particularly for the safety of women from a “man who believes or feels he’s a woman.”

Rowling then wrote about gender dysphoria, saying that she could have also transitioned into a trans man when she was younger. She proceeded to talk about people being “influenced” to become a transgender, attributing the choice of people to identify as trans to a case of “gender dysphoria.” In the process, she repeatedly referred to cisgender women as “biological” and “natal” women, seemingly implying that trans women are unnatural or contrary to nature.

This is not the first time that Rowling was accused of transphobia. Last December, the author tweeted support for Maya Forstater, a researcher who lost her job for her transphobic tweets.  She also “accidentally” liked an article describing trans women as “men in dresses.” Under the pseudonym Robert Gailbraith, she wrote a scene in her book The Silkworm where the main character threatens a trans character prison time, along with implied threat of prison rape.

Many people slammed Rowling’s statements. Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, who played in the Harry Potter films, spoke in support of transgender people. Fantastic Beasts actor Eddie Redmayne as well as Harry Potter actors Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Chris Rankin, and Katie Leung also spoke out on Rowling’s issue.

#TransLivesMatter

J.K. Rowling’s support on transphobic beliefs is problematic. Her act of publicly attacking transgender rights is a disregard for the LGBT+ community, especially during Pride month⁠—a celebration made possible by trans pioneers.

The Stonewall riots of June 1969, the first Pride march and a pivotal moment for gay rights movement, was credited to trans activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Legend says that Marsha P. Johnson threw the first brick (or shot glass) that started the riots. 

Also, with trans people being murdered for their identity, Rowling’s tirades contribute nothing to the safety of the trans community. According to a report in 2019, there are at least 331 reported cases of trans killings. Among them are Filipina trans women Jennifer Laude and Jessa Remiendo. 

Aside from violence, transgender people are also a target of discrimination, from workplaces to restrooms. Last July 2019, trans woman Aeron Jade Parena posted on Twitter about how she was reprimanded for dressing inappropriately, with her human resources manager insisting that she wear male clothes. Also, in August 2019, trans woman Gretchen Diez was arrested after being denied access to a restroom in a mall in Cubao. 

With trans people being discriminated against and killed all over the world, the fight for trans rights is still far from done. By enabling and spreading harmful statements against the trans community on her big platform, Rowling’s words indirectly put trans lives in danger.

On Death Eaters and Transphobes

For someone like J.K. Rowling to claim that she champions women’s rights is antithetical. What she did in her essay was to weaponize feminism against the trans community. She claimed that she had extensively researched on the topic of trans activism, yet she failed to provide credible sources and only made assumptions and hasty generalizations against the trans community, comparing being a transgender person to mere “gender dysphoria.” She presented the idea of people being indoctrinated on being trans, as if she’s saying that it is a mere choice comparable to choosing one’s clothing.

Exclusionary feminism is not real feminism. You cannot campaign for equal rights if you are excluding someone in your fight for “equal” rights. Excluding trans women from the feminist narrative means that the “equality” you are fighting for is not real equality after all.

Rowling painted a dangerous picture for the transgender community. By publicly airing her transphobic beliefs, she failed a generation that looked up to her writings. She failed Harry Potter fans with her talk of “biological women” that reeks of the same ideas of purebloods and mudbloods spouted by the Death Eaters in her novel. She failed a generation inspired by Harry Potter, a generation who grew up listening to stories of toppling backward beliefs and standing up for what is right. 

As a generation who grew up with Harry Potter that fights oppressive systems and challenges backward ideas, we cannot let Rowling’s words spread the wrong ideas about the transgender community. Just like how Harry Potter fought Voldemort, we can all counter transphobia by advocating for true equality—one that is not selective and exclusionary, but is welcoming regardless of race and gender.

Comments

Continue Reading

Trending