By Jimwell Aquino

“Education is a human right.”

The calls for more gender-inclusive schools in the Philippines are still raging, and LGBTQIA+ advocates are now seeking the support of higher education in making the country’s state colleges and universities more diverse.

Photo Courtesy of Mela Franco Habijan (Facebook)

Miss Trans Global 2020 and LGBTQIA+ advocate Mela Habijan shared a copy of her letter to the key officials of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), addressing the issue and urging them to enact a policy that ensures LGBTQIA+ inclusion and recognition.

Habijan also highlighted the community’s concern regarding the “acceptance of gender diversity, gender identity, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, and gender expressions in all colleges and universities in the Philippines.”

“While there are colleges and universities which have recognized and accepted gender diversity, there are still educational institutions that need to be educated about SOGIESC, diversity, inclusion, equity, and belongingness,” Habijan said.

In her letter, she also mentioned the Department of Education's decision to strictly enforce its Gender Responsive Basic Education Policy, which recognizes and affirms gender diversity in the country and protects students and teachers from gender-based violence and discrimination.

This occurred in response to a viral photo of LGBTQIA+ students who were apparently forced to get haircuts in order to comply with their school's policies.

Edited by Audrei Jeremy Mendador