Video by JP Pangan
Written by: Sophia Balod-Lorenzo. Video by JP Pangan. Photos by: Ad Astra Photography, Gener Esquibil Photography, LHR Photography, and Ben Batz Photography.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Premiering at the Eyefilm Museum in Amsterdam on October 14th, the film Tulipa received a standing ovation from more than a hundred participants who joined the gala event including the delegation from the Philippine Embassy The Hague and humanitarian officials from other countries. Tulipa is the first Filipino film shown at the historic cultural and film center Eyefilm Museum.
TULIPA is a film about Filipino LGBTs who sought a life outside the Philippines to assert their rights to gender equality, representation, and most importantly, freedom of expression. The film features personal experiences and life stories about survival, hope, and the continuous struggle of Filipino LGBTs living in the Netherlands. One of the most pressing campaigns explored in the film is the call to pass the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression) Equality Bill, which aims to legalize measures to prevent various acts of discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.
This film is a product of collaboration with The Filipino LGBT Europe Foundation, the Philippine Embassy The Hague, The Netherlands Embassy Manila, Commission on Human Rights Philippines, the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, and MUJER LGBTQ+.
Senator Risa Hontiveros gave a recorded welcome speech during the event highlighting the importance of passing the SOGIE Equality Bill. “SOGIE Equality is an important step towards universal health care, universal quality education, and livelihood for all. This is not just the fight of the LGBTQIA+ community but also our fight to build the Philippines we aspire for,” Hontiveros says.
Chairperson and film Executive Producer Chris Sta Brigida Kopp said in his welcoming remarks that Filipino LGBTQ+ migrants do not just leave the Philippines due to financial reasons alone, but also due to the lack of legal protection in the country. “Filipino migrants have aspirations to go back home, but the lack of legal protection stops many in our community from going home. In most cases, coming back home could mean giving up the rights and protection that allowed them to grow and prosper while living overseas,” he adds.
Highlighting the struggles of Filipino LGBTQI+ migrants is an important step in bridging the connection among Filipinos around the world and how laws in the Philippines ultimately impact not just Filipinos living in the country but also Filipino migrants.
“As I journey in the fight for the SOGIE Equality Bill along with my peers in the Philippines, I realized that it seems we have forgotten about the biggest export of our country…our people,” film director Rhadem Musawah says.
“They were always invisible in the narrative of our equality movement back home. Leaving their home country because of these inequalities in the Philippines, the agony they go through from leaving to living. That is why we made this short film, not to entertain people but to start a conversation of inclusion, to spark awareness of the aspirations of Filipino LGBTIQ+ in the diaspora.”