LGBTQIA+ students gain some ground via DepEd memo | Inquirer News
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LGBTQIA+ students gain some ground via DepEd memo

/ 05:20 AM June 30, 2022

LGBTQ rainbow flag. STORY: LGBTQIA+ students gain some ground via DepEd memo stock photo

MANILA, Philippines — LGBTQIA+ students scored a “win” in a memorandum released by the Department of Education National Capital Region (DepEd NCR) office allowing them to attend their graduation ceremony wearing clothes that align with their gender identity.

In the memorandum dated June 23, DepEd NCR Director Wilfredo Cabral reiterated the department’s “gender-responsive basic education policy” intended to promote gender equality, equity, and sensitivity at the basic education level.


“School heads/administrations are hereby advised to allow students to attend initiated activities such as end-of-school year rites wearing clothes which are aligned with their gender identity, without restricting students’ gender expression,” Cabral said, adding that the approval of the students’ parents or guardians was necessary.


Mela Habijan, the first-ever Miss Trans Global 2020, posted on Twitter on Sunday that she had offered to do a creative photoshoot for four graduating senior high school transwomen—Nicole, Kendi, Jade and Rey.

The four had been prohibited from taking part in their respective graduation marches because of their long hair and the dress code in their schools.

“They’ve been told: ‘It’s a formal event!’ ‘[Your hair] will grow longer again!’ ‘We accept you but…,” Habijan said.

“Such painful explanations to hear. Why can’t they be themselves [on] an occasion they worked hard for? Why aren’t they allowed? Why do they have to compromise their identities?” she said.

Moving mountains

In an update she posted on Monday, Habijan said Nicole, Kendi and Rey were allowed to march during their graduation on June 27. Jade was also able to attend hers on June 29, but was told to put her hair up and wear the uniform for male students.

Habijan said she “tried to move mountains” by discussing the matter with certain DepEd officials.


She said the recent release of the memorandum came as a victory for the LGBTQIA+ community, which continues to experience discrimination and harassment.

“To our DepEd and CHEd (Commission on Higher Education) leaders, when you let us become us, when you let trans people march, no one loses. Instead, all of us win!” she said in a separate post.

Addressing issues

DepEd Order No. 37, series of 2017, seeks to allow the agency to tackle gender-mainstreaming in education, “to address both enduring and emerging gender and sexuality-related issues in basic education.”

The policy is also aimed at promoting the protection of children from all kinds of gender-related violence, abuse, exploitation, discrimination, and bullying.


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