By Albert Hans F. Lipura

Following various viral posts about LGBTQIA+ students who were forced to cut their hair to abide by their school's heteronormative policies, the Department of Education (DepEd) has released a memorandum reiterating its policy that allows all students to freely express their gender expression inside its institutions nationwide.

Photo Courtesy of DepEd/Mel Habijan (Facebook)

Miss Trans Global 2020 and LGBTQIA+Mela Habijan happily shared the good news on her social media accounts, citing an email she received from DepEd with the memorandum.

“I just received the email f[r]om DepEd. In a memorandum signed by Usec Revsee Escobedo and Asec. Panchet Bringas, it REITERATES ‘the strict implementation of and compliance to DO 32, s. 2017, especially in consideration of the upcoming opening of School Year 2022-2023 and the gradual return of learners to in-person classes.’” Habijan said in her Facebook post.

The memorandum highlights once again the role of school officials and personnel to address gender and sexuality-related basic education concerns to protect all students from gender-related violence, abuse, exploitation, discrimination, and bullying, and to promote gender equality and non-discrimination at all governance levels.

According DepEd Order No. 32, s. 2017, called as “Gender-Responsive Basic Education Policy,” the department is committed to “integrate the principles of gender equality, gender equity, gender sensitivity, non-discrimination, and human rights in the provision and governance of basic education.”

“From this day on, all trans and non-binary students and teachers can express in the gender that they identify as! No LGBTQIA+ students will be discriminated due to their identities, orientation, and expression,” Habijan also declared in her post.

She expressed her sincere appreciation to DepEd for cooperating with them in the battle against discrimination.

Habijan earlier called the attention of DepEd after reacting to a viral post of three queer children who were forced to cut their long hair to a “male haircut” as required by their schools. This sparked an online discussion about the issue and received support from the public, urging the department to react on the matter. 

Edited by Annika Gorgeana Maningo