LGBTIQ+ ally calls for freedom online

3 February 2021

Raymart, 22, is a proud member of the LGBTIQ+ community and is using his voice to advocate for an end to abuse online for everyone.

Raymart, 22, is an LGBTIQ+ rights advocate. Just like any young person today, it is Facebook and Messenger that he always uses because it is his way of communicating with his family and friends. These applications make it easier for Raymart to get updates from his friends.

When asked how important it is for him to be mindful of the internet he shares, “It definitely is important because you share your identity on it. Always remember that when you share something on the internet, it will stay there forever.”

He recollects that as a public servant, there was a time when he felt like quitting social media. Despite this, he reiterates the importance of resilience and continues to do what he needs to do, in his case, serve the people.

Raymart started working with Plan International Philippines in 2018. During this time Raymart was already active in his barangay. It started as a support group but it became a vehicle for advocacy.

“I learned a lot from the project but one thing for me was unforgettable. I learned how to protect our children and take care of them. Help them be safe and help them achieve their dreams.”

When asked if there were specific cases that he handled as part of his job, Raymart reveals that “As an SK chairperson who never leaves the barangay I witnessed many cases about abuses relating to cyber safety. One of which was a young girl who was abused and was used by her own parents to earn money. It was during this time when I realised that as a barangay staff we need to be aware of cyber safety. We cannot let wrongdoings continue to happen on the internet because that would mean destroying each child’s life in the barangay.”

As an LGBTIQ+ rights advocate, Raymart also shares some challenges he faced in advocating for cyber safety for that community.

“As a proud member of the LGBTIQ+ community, there are some problems that we’ve encountered in terms of using the internet like abuse and discrimination. There was a point where other members of the LGBTIQ+ community were still questioning their gender especially the younger ones who were still confused about their identity. Other people use social media to discriminate against them and not give them a chance to find themselves.”

He hopes for all the people to be mindful of using the internet and be mindful in posting the right things on social media. “We should be more sensitive about other people’s feelings online,” he concluded.

Protection from violence, Youth empowerment, Gender-based violence, LGBTIQ+