Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Google PH holds forum for LGBT members to share ‘coming-out’ stories

In celebration of “Pride Month”, Google Philippines held on June 4 its “5th Pride Conversations event as part of its effort to promote diversity, equality, and inclusion in the country.

The forum, held at the Google Philippines office in Taguig City, was hosted by Baus Rufo and featured the following panelists:

  • Roanne Carreon from the Roanne and Tina #RoTin YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok channels, as well as the co-founder of the Queer Safe Spaces (QSS) community
  • Joshua Cruz, a trending influencer in TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, promoting the queer lifestyle and fabulous outfits
  • Jan Angelo Ong, the famous skincare specialist, who gives cosmetic and hygienic tips across multiple social media platforms
  • Yani Villarosa, a queer vlogger, social media mover, and co-host of the “Gabi ng Bading: The Podcast”

The panel members discussed their experiences as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community, and shared their coming-out stories. 

Ong, for his part, said that it is “not so much as about coming out to people but letting people in”.

The panelists shared how being part of an online supportive community created a safe space not just for themselves for also for their followers who look up to them. 

“It is all about being authentic and showing vulnerability to your community,” stated Villarosa, as she described how her content creation brought about like-minded people to her channel.

The panel then discussed how the LGBTQIA+ communities grew through digital interactions through YouTube and social media, adding that members can get support and acceptance by finding the right communities to follow.

“Being well-connected with their community also gives them the opportunity to help each other reach their potential as a person,” stated Carreon during the conversations. 

She pointed out that in the Roanne and Tina YouTube Channel, they show the good and bad sides of being in a women-loving-women (WLW) couple, as well as everything in between, like their regular daily lives.

Cruz mentioned how it is mostly being themselves and being understanding of others’ circumstances. They agreed that being part of the LGBTQIA+ community is a long journey, and Google and YouTube helped in navigating their self-discovery in a safe space.

The panelists were later joined by their allies, whether straight or also part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and shared their views on supporting Pride Month.  They emphasized that it does not have to be a big gesture, but what is important is to “step up and show up.” 

For their Pride Month celebration, Google Philippines is encouraging netizens to use the #PrideInProgress and #LabanWithPride hashtags and share their journey online.

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