Last Dec. 7, we went to San Mig Light’s 20th anniversary celebration in Filthy Rich Barbershop at The Pop-Up Katipunan. What better way to spend a Saturday than drinking beer, listening to good music, and hanging out with some cool people?
DJs Jia Menaces and Mang Melvin played indie soul music to set the mood.
In collaboration with Purveyr, San Mig Light showcased their 20 Light Years Collection, which included t-shirts, totes, scarves, beer mugs, and coasters. The designs aim to open minds and end gender-based discrimination.
In support of the collection, queer content creators Regine David, Celeste Lapida, and Chaz Requina, and moderator Mela Habijan also talked about gender equality—specifically its role in identity formation and how society still has a long way to go in turning it into a reality. They have some good news, though: According to the LGBTQ+ Danger Index, the Philippines is among the world’s most gay-friendly countries. But as the panel discussion went on, we thought: Is it, really?
The speakers talked about the criticisms they got for being queer when they first entered their current fields, saying that because most Filipinos only know four identities: girl, boy, bakla, tomboy. It’s hard for them to grasp the fact that one can identify as bisexual, non-binary, or gender fluid.
We had a mahaba-habang usapan (and inuman) about it, so we decided to list some of our favorite takeaways from the discussion.
“I was commissioned to do a shoot for a Hong Kong publication. My stylist is queer and he said that it’s important for us to show a different type of beauty instead of what we’re used to because normally in Hong Kong, they focus on a lot of Caucasian skin tones. And so we shot local queer and non-binary models. We shot them in Dior and Prada [clothes]. We submitted our story but we didn’t hear from the magazine for about a month. So my stylist called the editor-in-chief to ask why they cut us out. And they said it’s because they’re gay and brown and they don’t fit the image of Dior nor Prada. That got me so ashamed and angry and embarrassed. So we submitted our work to different international publications and fortunately, Document Journal, a magazine publication in New York featured our work.” — Regine, photographer
“If you guys don’t know, binary just means male or female. So when you’re saying non-binary, you don’t wanna check those boxes. And when I’m taking the SATs [scholastic assessment tests], they have these specific [gender] choices and I don’t wanna check those boxes either because I’m not [identifying myself as those]… Now that I think about it, my gender right now is black fabric.” — Chaz, creative director
“Gender is not a privilege, [but] the way you express yourself is. It shouldn’t define who you are, but your morals and your character.” — Celeste, filmmaker
“It’s cool to be straight. It’s cool to be a woman. It’s cool to be LGBT. It’s cool to be a person!” — Mela, digital content creator
Free entrance, free beer, free insight. Definitely one hell of a Saturday night.
Shop the 20 Light Years collection at purveyr.com/20lightyears
Photos by Jello Espino