Google and LGBTQ+ YouTube creators advocate for safe spaces and allyship

Google Philippines recently held the fourth installment of its annual event, Pride Conversations, in a bid to highlight the significance of allyship and the need for safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community. This enriching discussion was anchored by YouTube creators who embody the spirit of the LGBTQ+ community.

Actress, writer, and content creator Mela Habijan, who was crowned Miss Trans Global 2020, presided over the gathering that spotlighted the life stories and experiences of Marina Summers, Johnreyslife, JM Banquicio, Levi Reyes, and Sara De Guzman, all celebrated LGBTQ+ YouTube creators.

Mervin Wenke, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Google Philippines, underlined Google’s unwavering dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which finds expression not just in events like these but also through an inclusive workplace culture, progressive policies, and a multitude of other initiatives.

LGBTQ+ folks in the Philippines and around the world are still wrestling with marginalization and discrimination. Progress may be on the horizon, but the battle for acceptance and equal treatment is far from over.he journey towards true equality, it seems, is far from over.. These challenges underscore the necessity of safe, inclusive spaces where LGBTQ+ individuals can freely express their identities.

The advent of platforms like YouTube has given LGBTQ+ creators a refuge to share their stories. Beauty creator Johnreyslife highlights how YouTube has helped her live authentically and drive change in the beauty sector. Similarly, Sara De Guzman from DarlingsPH found that her biking trips’ digital journal burgeoned into a thriving community that mirrors her interests, as well as those of her partner, Levi Reyes.

Marina Summers, a contestant on Drag Race Philippines and a drag queen, launched her YouTube mini-series “Chasing the Sun” as a beacon of representation for young LGBTQ+ individuals exploring their identities. It represents Summers’ attempt to tell stories close to her heart while inspiring the younger generation.

Allyship, or the active support for the LGBTQ+ community, is often manifested through family, friends, colleagues, or public figures. JM Banquicio, a travel vlogger, credits his family as one of his main motivators, emphasizing that their support fuels his creativity.

The impact of allyship extends to Mela Habijan’s mother, Irene Franco Habijan, who learned to accept and support Mela’s identity, despite societal norms. This sense of unconditional love and acceptance is echoed in Johnreyslife’s friendship with Kat Reyes, who has been a constant pillar of support.

Even when coming out to her family, Sara De Guzman found an ally in her youngest sister, Clarisse De Guzman. They cried together, fearing the family’s potential reaction, which, to their relief, turned out to be one of acceptance and love. Sara’s partner, Levi, shares this sentiment of gratitude towards Clarisse and their community, DarlingsPH.

Baus Rufo, content creator and Bekenemen producer, collaborates with Marina Summers, ensuring drag queens are given their due respect and recognition. His unwavering support stands as a shining example of the essence of allyship within the LGBTQ+ community. Ultimately, the focus goes beyond just carving out safe spaces where LGBTQ+ individuals can find solace and acceptance. It also lies in acknowledging the invaluable contribution of allies who steadfastly stand with them.As Marina Summers eloquently put it, “Sometimes we don’t need to go to safe spaces. Sometimes the safe space is us.”

Image created via Midjourney 5.1