After five years of unofficial operations, Benilde HIVE (BHIVE), a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) oriented student organization, achieved official accreditation from the College’s Student Activity Unit, last July—becoming the first ever accredited LGBT oriented organization in a school in the country’s Lasallian schools.
According to BHIVE Vice President for Internals John Carlo Lazo, it took half a decade for the organization to become recognized due to a number of factors. These included having several requirements to meet, yet lacking manpower; and the idea of having an LGBT oriented organization in a Catholic institution itself. “Feeling ko [in the past] hindi pa ready, kasi Catholic school,” shared Lazo.
But since then, Lazo has shared how happy he is with the outcome of the College’s decision. According to him, the announcement came with mixed emotions for the whole organization: tears of joy, excitement for new ventures, and nervousness for the future. When asked about the Benildean community’s readiness for an LGBT organization, Lazo said, “Oo naman, kasi first of all, 2016 na.”
BHIVE was established to create a safe environment for LGBT members inside the College according to Lazo. He added that just as other organizations advocate certain matters and inform the community on different issues, the presence of BHIVE can help eradicate prevailing problems, such as conflicts and discrimination, stemming from a lack of information.
In an e-mail sent by Vice Chancellor for Lasallian Mission and Student Life Carmelita Lazatin, she said “Benilde values the diversity of its population because it has always been one of its richest resources for learning and innovation. With Benilde’s commitment to honoring its stated mission of providing inclusive education, what Benilde HIVE stands for is an opportunity to explore the reach of the words inclusive and education.” Furthermore, she said that inclusive education also pertains to the experiences of a supportive community, and is not limited to the occurrences inside the classrooms. “Inclusive learning requires openness and courage and BHIVE opens new opportunities for conversation.”
Lazatin highly encourages the Benildean community to set aside conflicts in political affiliations and religious beliefs to overcome differences and come together as one. “What we want to communicate is that when Benilde states that it supports LGBT advocacies, it does so with profound self-awareness,“ she said.
Meanwhile, other members of the community shared their views. School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management student Jerome Dela Cruz had the following to say. He believes that gender should not be an issue in an institution. “We are all in college because we want to pursue our dream and passion or to land on better opportunities and get a better life. Respect begets respect, I don’t see the bearing of what your preferred gender is on what you want to do in life and the amount of respect you receive from other people,” said Dela Cruz.
This October, a major constitutional event “Sexual Orientation Gender Identities Expression (SOGIE) 101,” will be conducted by BHIVE for Benildeans to attend. This seminar will discuss sexual orientation, and the differences between gender identities. Following this, an advocacy talk on Sexually Transmitted Diseases will also be conducted on November 11. This is in cooperation with Center for Social Action and Benilde Red Cross to tackle issues surrounding such diseases, and the stigmas that surround them.
Anyone can join BHIVE, and in fact, straight male and female students are encouraged to join the organization.