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Pride Month Feature: Queer Artist Liah Gomez


Liah Gomez at UP Pride

 I'm Liah! I'm 23 years old and a student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. I like dogs, frogs, and gender equality.


WHAT WAS IT LIKE COMING OUT IN HIGH SCHOOL AND BEING IN AN OPENLY LGBTQ+ RELATIONSHIP?

I want to say it was all just rainbows and butterflies, but that would be a lie. While most of my peers were accepting and generally supportive, there were a few people whom I later found out to have thought I came out as bi for attention. My then-partner and I also had to deal with sexualization of our relationship at such a young age, particularly from a couple of boys in my grade.

I honestly think it came from a lack of SOGIE education, and that's something I hope schools can fix moving forward so that young queer kids never have to be uncomfortable in what's supposed to be a safe space for them.


Showing Support for UP Babaylan's Benefit Concert and Art Gallery for LGBTQ+ Artists

HAVE YOU EVER FELT LIKE PEOPLE TREATED YOU DIFFERENTLY OR SHOWED PREJUDICE TOWARDS YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR GENDER IDENTITY?

As a bi girl who's very femme, I do acknowledge that I hold a lot of privilege, especially having attended relatively progressive schools in high school and college. However, whenever I'm dating someone who isn't a cisgender boy, I do feel a lot more self-conscious in public.

Just walking around the mall holding a girl's hand makes me feel like there might be people around us staring. Nobody has actually said anything awful to me yet. So it's something I've been working on personally.


UP CMC Student Council Photo Announcing Maskom Pride 2020

WHAT WAS IT LIKE SPEARHEADING THE PRIDE MONTH CELEBRATIONS IN UP COLLEGE OF MASS COMMUNICATION? DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY RESISTANCE TO THIS?

Maskom is arguably one of the "gayest" colleges in UP Diliman. We're loud and queer and proud of it, so there was no resistance and just a lot of love. The first year we did it, we were still figuring things out, and it happened to coincide with other events happening around the campus, so our attendance wasn't as high.

The second year we planned to do it, the pandemic happened, but we were still able to have a free HIV testing booth in the college and give away free condoms. A lot of people even from outside Maskom came to our booth, and that made me really happy!


Liah's photo at Metro Manila Pride March 2018

HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR FELLOW FILIPINOS CAN BE BETTER ALLIES?

A true ally doesn't just care about our rights and celebrate our unique identities during Pride Month. They are one with us in our struggle all year round, and they use their privilege to help uplift and empower us.

An ally speaks up when injustices happen to people in our community and uses their platform to amplify our calls. An ally will also stand up for us in conversations we aren't a part of – if your friend is misgendered or dead-named and they aren't around, it's on you as an ally to correct and inform people.

As fellow Filipinos, one of the biggest things a good ally can do right now is join us in demanding for the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill, which will help protect us from SOGIE-based discrimination.


Liah with her Willow case by local artist Slow Folks

   IS THERE ANYTHING YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE OR WANT PEOPLE TO BE MORE AWARE OF IN REGARDS TO THE LGBTQ+ EXPERIENCE?

To any baby queers out there that are too afraid to come out: I see you, and I love you! Maybe you have conservative parents, or maybe you're afraid of what your friends will think... or maybe you're just not ready.

That's okay. You don't even owe anyone a coming out story. But you owe it to yourself to live your truth. I hope that one day you'll feel safe enough to show everyone your true colours with pride, but until then, we will keep fighting to make the world a safe space for you.

If you'd like to hear more from Liah, drop by her Twitter and Instagram. To view her art, visit her portfolio 
and to support her small business, check out The Krochet Kid.