CEBUANOS SPEAK GAY LINGO: THE ILAB-ILAB WAY
ILAB-ILAB: Celebrating Diversity through Cebuano Gay Lingo was held last August 18, 2017 at the Sinulog Hall of the Jose Rizal Memorial Library and Museum along Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City. The event was organized by the Student Advocates for Gender Equality (SAGE), a progressive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) student organization of the University of San Carlos (USC).
In attendance were Alem Garcia, social media influencer and alumni member of SAGE together with a number of students who support the cause of SAGE. Other organizations such as the Carolinian Residents Association (CRASS), Rotaract, Rainbow Rights and Psychological Association of the Philippines were present during the event.
The event was held to celebrate LGBT culture the distinct communication formed around it – the ilab-ilab and in light with it, Buwan ng Wika. It was done to define the impact of Cebuano Gay Lingo to the local scene.
SAGE President, Dmitri Cortes gave the welcoming remarks to the audience. He explained the significance and impact of Ilab-ilab in LGBT culture and various LGBT organization in Cebu. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to those in attendance.
Magdalena Robinson, one of the speakers of the event, discussed the history of the LGBT culture. Cebuano gay lingo existed during the 1960s to 1970s. On the same time period, the first drag queen pageant was held in Cebu in 1962 together with the first locally significant celebration of LGBT culture. She also talked about the formation of LGBT school organizations and the LGBT cultural movements that happened 1990 up to the present.
“Cebuano gay lingo is an intimate communication between the LGBT communities and its allies.” Robinson stated.
All the attendees were aware of the existence of Cebuano gay lingo. However, the use and understanding of the language were only up to a certain extent. Magdalena also pointed out that the language is mostly peer-to-peer and starts through friendly relationships.
Showcasing the ilab-ilab lingo, Joer Ivan Gallur sung an original composition by Judy Gitamondoc entitled Shodi na Ngal from the Cebuano play Gugmang Giatay: The Musical. Gallur was an Offbeat Productions theater member and a performer of the play.
Cortes, SAGE President and head organizer, emphasized that SAGE is a Catholic organization and one of its advocacy is the promotion of Christian values. He further explained the connection between Christian theology and homosexuality and the underlying Biblical references pertaining to the two concepts. He said that while the people is more open to LGBTs today regardless of religious backgrounds, there is still more to improve and build especially on anti-discrimination laws and ordinances.
“There is a call to become advocates.” he said. Cortes hopes to further extend the acceptance of the LGBT communities through holding events such as ilab-ilab. An upcoming, open-for-all, SAGE teambuilding event will also be held from August 27 to 28, 2017 at the USC Talamban campus.