Free To Be Me

Babaylanes, Inc. is currently conducting a program funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the ‘Power of Voices’ subsidy framework to strengthen civil society entitled, “Free to be Me”.

Free to be Me is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at fostering a network of confident and diverse LGBTIQ+ organizations and advocates committed to championing their human and socio-economic rights. Operating across 14 nations spanning Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, we offer vital support to empower LGBTIQ+ individuals in asserting their rights and driving transformative change at the grassroots, national, and international levels.

Our program empowers LGBTIQ+ individuals to assert their rights and catalyze positive transformations within their communities, nations, and on the global stage. To achieve this, we extend invitations to these individuals to participate in secure and inspirational environments known as ‘Communities of Action’ (CoA). Within these spaces, members of the entire LGBTIQ+ spectrum can convene, strengthen their bonds, and collaboratively devise and execute strategies for advocating their rights. Free to be Me empowers local organizations with sustainable resources and positions them as leaders in shaping public opinion, effecting legal and policy reforms, and securing access to socio-economic rights.”

Here are some activities hosted by Babaylanes under the Legal Advocacy and Policy Change cluster under the Free to be Me project:

Last January 2023, Babaylanes conducted a strategic communication design and consultation workshop for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill this workshop were attended by 27 (twenty-seven) organizations of Free to be Me’s Communities of Action.

Lobbying efforts: Babaylanes with the Free to be Me CoA members together with Lagablab Network celebrates Valentine’s Day at the House of Representatives. Lagablab gave out rainbow cupcakes, primers and position papers to our house members to promote support for the SOGIE Equality Bill.

Babaylanes with the Free to be Me CoA members together with Lagablab Network and SARI (Student Advocates for Rights and Inclusion) Network delivered the collected Lavan Letters to the members of The Senate.  The Lavan Letters are the love letters of the communities and its allies expressing their support for the urging passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill. 

Campaign efforts: Babaylanes together with CoA members created the strategic communication plan entitled “Mas Happy ‘pag may Equality” and adopted the Lavan Letters as one of the campaign expressions  for the 19th congress for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill. 

Babaylanes also conducted community rallies and press conferences urging the call for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill.

Lavan letters are love letters to our lawmakers reflecting our need for the passage of the Equality Bill that will protect everyone against SOGIESC-based discrimination. Through our love letters, we want to show a huge clamor for equality and nondiscrimination through the Equality Bill. 

Mas Happy Pag may Equality Campaign Video