TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Depression remains one of the top mental disorders worldwide, affecting anyone regardless of sexual orientation.
Yet, studies say that this disorder affects people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community at higher rates than heterosexuals.
Maxie Umoso, President of the Responsible Advocates of Gender Sensitivity and Awareness of Cagayan (RAGSAC) advised LGBTs who experience depression to get help and come up with a “very strong” support group.
“Be with the people na matatag, na na-conquer nila lahat ng mga trials sa buhay nila so that mas lalong ma-motivate ka na life is beautiful as long as you are in the company of the right people,” Umoso advised.
Umoso said RAGSAC, a group with over 1,000 members in Cagayan, is ready to help LGBTs, including those who are diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, in their problems.
“We are just not gays or lesbians or bisexuals or transgenders but we live life full of purpose and that purpose is for us to grow into a mountain and never to shrink into a grain of stand,” Umoso said during Tipon-Tipan sa PIA [Philippine Information Agency Region 02] on Tuesday, May 22.
For Peterson Patriarca, spokesperson of the City of Ilagan Gay Association (CIGA), openly-identifying LGBTs need to be firm and strong in their lives in order to overcome challenges in life.
“‘Pag naging bakla ka na, kailangang [mo maging matatag ka na dahil hindi mo na alam kung ano ang tatahakin mong daan [at] kung saan ka patutungo,” Patriarca said.
“Kung maging malungkot ka, gawin mong masaya yang buhay mo. Wala ka mang pera, gawin mong masaya yan para maiwasan mo yung depression sa buhay. Kung wala kang boyfriend maraming lalaki diyan, there are many men surrounding the world. Wag kang mawawalan ng pag-asa, magkakaroon ka din niyan,” Patriarca added.
Meanwhile, CIGA President Yonedick Pascua believes that one of the common reasons why gays get depressed is because of love life. Pascua cautioned gays of the dangers of “loving too much.”
“Ang mga beki pag magmahal sa isang lalaki, todo-todo kasi yan. Lahat kasi binibigay niya. Binigay niya lahat lahat ng kanyang makakaya na hindi niya alam yung katawan niya is nawawala na pala,” Pascua said.
The CIGA leader advised LGBTs to love 50-50, giving half of love to the partner while reserving the other half to the self. “Para kapag iniwanan ka niya, meron pa ring matitira sayo,” Pascua added.
The art of “dedma”
Studies also show that one of the causes of depression and suicide among individuals is bullying. With this, Umoso advised LGBTs to develop a certain kind of art.
“Sa amin ngayon, kung may naririnig, ang aming sinasabi most especially sa mga batang members ng LGBT ay you have to master the art of dedma,” Umoso said.
Having experienced no physical or verbal abuse from his parents, Umoso shared his happiness that his father was able to accept him.
Various research have pointed out that gays were more abused by their parents, mostly the father.
Umoso encouraged parents to understand their LGBT children, adding that there is nothing wrong in being gay. He also urged parents and other LGBTs to assume the role of caretakers especially to those with volatile emotions.
“You have to give the chance sa mga anak nyong LGBT members to grow and experience the beauty of the world by learning to understand them. Wala naman talagang mali sa pagiging isang bakla basta po ang direksyon ng buhay mo ay tama,” Umoso sad.
This is the reason why, Umoso said, an anti-discrimination ordinance must also be passed in the local level to address issues. (READ: Cagayan Valley LGBT groups push for local anti-discrimination laws)
For victims of bullying and abuse, CIGA is ready to provide lawyers to defend LGBTs from bullying and other forms of harassment. Yet, the group said they will not tolerate LGBT members who also violate rights of other persons.
Meanwhile, Patriarca shared that he was also one of those young gay children who were not immediately accepted by their parents.
“Alam ko yung papel ng isang bading at binibigyan ko sila ng importansya dahil konting panahon na lang yan siguro aalis na sila ako na lang ang matitira dito sa mababa, sa lupa.
Members of CIGA and RAGSAC guested in Tipon-Tipan to promote their programs for LGBTs.
Established in 2015, RAGSAC aims to strengthen and unite the LGBT community of Cagayan and come up with programs and activities that will help fight HIV and AIDS and discrimination.
Umoso said the group seeks to help LGBTs become more productive in society.
Meanwhile, recognized by the city government of Ilagan, CIGA was founded in 2007. The group is geared towards protecting LGBT rights and give help to gays.
Among the various projects of CIGA are the buntis congress, gupitan at kasalan ng bayan, scholarships tied up with LGU, and information dissemination on rights of gays. Northernforum.net