Make Your Voice Count

Young Queer Theologians and Activists talk about the Importance of Safe Spaces in Faith Settings

By YVC Secretariat – Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Queer Theologian in Praxis (QTIPS) and Youth Voices Count officially launched its first online course on Queer Christian Theology. This unique engagement with faith-based organizations and queer theologians would hopefully pave a way in creating safe spaces for LGBTIQ youth in conservative faith-centered spaces. The classes are spread out over the course of four months and conducted via Zoom. Coursework and discussions are conducted via Google Classroom. Currently the course has participants from different countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Fiji, South Korea, Thailand, USA and Canada.

The course’s objectives are hinged on contextualizing the articulation of queer theology, utilizing queer theology to deepen and create safe and sacred spaces for sexual minorities, and to design and produce learning materials that would promote and advance the cause of queer justice.

The course explores academic literature on contemporary Christian Theology from renowned authors. The book collection which constitute as an integral part of the course syllabus include the works of Linn Tonstad (Queer Theology: Beyond Apologetics), Marcella Althaus-Reid (Feminist Theology to Indecent Theology: Readings on Poverty, Sexual Identity and God), Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. (The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament), and selections from Asian theology scholars and authors.

This course is even more relevant to the existing and volatile social and political environment across the world when we look into the 2019 “State Sponsored Homophobia Report” of ILGA World. The report paints an important picture of legislation and policy influenced by religion across various countries. The report provides a contextual background of legislation that criminalizes the expression of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These laws are heavily influenced by religious dogma, cultural traditions, belief and values and are therefore not easily averted. However, from the report, we can also discern that LGBTIQ-friendly and affirming religious institutions, faith-based organization, and faith leaders can be strategic and effective allies in the marriage equality and decriminalization advocacy spaces.

In the introductory class of the course, the group discussed Patrick Cheng’s book Radical Love: Introduction to Queer Theology. The introductory class gave the participants the opportunity to discuss the definition and sources queer theological teachings and principles. The vision of this online course is to develop transformative and radical spaces where queer theologians are equipt with practical knowledge and resources in doing advocacy work.. We are building a community of young queer activists with the mission to create inclusive, affirming, and queer-friendly faith spaces. We have asked some young participants of our online course about their aspirations and activism.

Amadeo Devin

(he/him/his or they/their/them) is from Jakarta, Indonesia

He is currently a staff member of the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Trauma Studies at the Jakarta Theological Seminary. He is a Pentecostal and belongs to a local Pentecostal church in Indonesia.

Q: What inspired you to participate in this queer theology course?
Amadeo: I was concerned by the fact that Pentecostal churches in Indonesia predominantly oppose sexual and gender diversities. The root of this opposition is limited openness to science, but also the lack of understanding of, and exposure to queer theology as a way of doing theology. Another underlying cause of this opposition is the high view of the Scripture to the extent that Scripture is unchallenged because it is a product of divine inspiration. My objective is to introduce queer theology to the churches, mainly the Pentecostal churches as a feasible way of doing theology. It should be understood that theology is not only construed out of the Scripture, but in dialogue with individual and communal experiences of God's many creations, including people of queer identities. I feel that it is important to familiarize our churches with queer theology and create a space for dialogue between the Pentecostal theology and queer studies to construct a Pentecostal queer theology, which is relatively unknown of among the majority of Pentecostals in Indonesia.

Q: What are the main obstacles in advocating for gender equality and social justice in faith settings? How can these be addressed?
Amadeo: I think the main obstacles lie in the high view on the Scripture. People read the Bible as a document of faith that is solely concerned with spiritual things. The Bible is regarded as a set of guidelines for a nourished and healthy relationship with God to make us more spiritual. There is a proclivity to overlook the fact that the Bible is full of narratives that show God's contempt for social injustice, and also gender inequality. For example, in the Book of Amos, the author expresses their despisal of the rich and powerful who amass their wealth at the expense of the poor. This is a telling and obvious denouncing of injustice that can be found in the Bible. Paul, in Galatians lays an important yet oft-forgotten creed of early Christianity, by saying that in the Christian community, there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female for everyone is one in Christ Jesus (for reference; Galatians 3:28). These are the evidences that the Bible is not impassive or silent when it comes to God's or the prophets' stance on social justice and gender equality. It is true that it can be found elsewhere that the Bible might sound misogynistic or unjust. Here we should be open to the possibilities that the Bible, regardless of being divinely inspired, was written with different motifs. A way of addressing this issue I think is by introducing a critical point of view of the Bible through Bible teaching classes, Bible discussions, etc. I think there should be a space for Christians to discuss the Bible critically, not with the intention to attack the biblical accounts of it, but to get a clearer sense of what the Bible actually says.

Q: What is the importance of queer theology in ensuring safe spaces for people of diverse identities in our faith spaces?
Amadeo: I wrote in a forthcoming article that queerness stands in opposition to any kind of fixation of one's identity, which produces hegemony and power-relation. I think queer theology is a critique of any fixation of the depiction of God or God's creation. Queer theology, built on postcolonial theories and postmodernism, is I think an acknowledgement of diverse identities. Queer theories -- major theoretical framework of queer theologies -- can even be critical of LGBT discourses that are excessively informed by the western notions of them, and hence neglect and exclude other modes of queerness in non-western contexts. This is why I agree that queer theology can be used as a foundation for the acknowledgement of multiple and hybrid identities in our communities of faith.

Amadeo advises young people, “not to invest your time in the people you cannot change, people who do not want to listen to your message; it is a waste of time. Find a common ground and spaces of negotiation to share your views with them; you will find it as you know them better”.

Julian Munro

(they/them) is from Toronto, Canada

They are a member of the United Church of Canada.

Q: What inspired you to participate in this queer theology course?
Julian: My queerness is encompassing of my whole self and therefore is engrained into the work that I do; my mnistry and my passions lie in putting the spotlight on queer individuals and fighting for justice. This course is going to give me the opportunity to learn about how God is working through others whom I never would have.

Q: What are the main obstacles in advocating for gender equality and social justice in faith settings? How can this be addressed?
Julian: Each person faces personal obstacles when engaging with unwelcoming faith settings, and I want to urge individuals to stay safe always. In my experience, many obstacles come when folks in congregations don’t want to “change anything” and keep the status quo. In these situations, I start small: find one or two people who are willing to listen and hear you. From there, you can rely on those people. It becomes less difficult as your “team” grows.

Q: What is the importance of queer theology in ensuring safe spaces for people of diverse identities in our faith spaces?
Julian: Queer theology helps ro radicalize our understanding of God’s love and God’s meaning of “ALL”. We are safe, seen, and grounded when our queerness is incorporated into our faith.

Julian advises young LGBTIQ people to remember that “God’s love is all encompassing. Anything that is within the human process (including all gender and sexual identities) is within God’s creation and is therefore precious in God’s eyes. That is the message we are spreading: we are just as loving and capable of spreading God’s word and our queerness makes us strong.”

Jonie Ben A. Marasigan

(he/his) is from the Philippines

He is a proud member of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines - Christian Youth Fellowship. Currently, he is the national chairperson for Christian Education and Nurture of the CYF and working at the national office of UCCP as a support staff. He is facilitating the gender justice discussions and also serving as an HIV peer educator and community based motivator in their church and wider communities.

Q: What inspired you to participate in this queer theology course?
Jonie: Being able to meet new international friends and to hear the struggles of my fellow gender minorities in different contexts and experiences in advocacy works is the main reason why I joined this course. It will help me to be a more equipped gender rights advocate and a youth leader of the church.

Aside from it, being blessed to be invited to participate in the Queer Theology Course without paying any expenses, without having to go anywhere during a pandemic, and in a safe space set-up, gave me a reason to accept the challenge in developing myself and to gain more knowledge on the matter. I contemplated that this opportunity is highly beneficial to our church, specifically my organization whenever my learnings will be applied and integrated in our programs.

Q: What are the main obstacles in advocating for gender equality and social justice in faith settings? How can this be addressed?
Jonie: One of the obstacles in advocating for gender equality and social justice in a faith-based setting is the standards and norms set by the society, as well as the church which have been continually passed on for generations. For a long time, the church has instilled the idea of God who only created male and female, that being in a same-sex relationship is a sin, that we should dress based on the standard clothing of being a male or female, and many more.

Another factor that serves as our challenge for this kind of advocacy is the privileged and selfish thinking of the members of the church. Even though they can see the struggles of others, some of them are neglecting and staying silent on the issue, just because they are not directly affected, and they are in a higher level of societal status.

Given these kinds of struggles in our advocacies, there is a great challenge for us to continue educating them in order to break these barriers and boundaries, and to obliterate the discriminatory, stigmatizing, and exclusive mindsets that the society inculcated to us.

Q: What is the importance of queer theology in ensuring safe spaces for people of diverse identities in our faith spaces?
Jonie: Generally, queer theology has opened up the church as a movement for inclusivity and diversity. It has essentially become an avenue to critically analyze the understanding of the bible, specifically with a gender justice lens. Furthermore, it transformed the conceptualization of the “church” and the underlying meaning of being a “church”. Alongside the society’s queer movement, this theology has advanced the call for the church to be a safe space for people of diverse identities and it strengthened and transcended the voice of empowerment into different faith communities.

Moreover, it transforms the embodied conservative theologies of the church to be inclusive to all wherein there is not just acceptance for the existence especially of the LGBTIQ+ community, but the struggles are acknowledged and fundamental rights are respected. And most of all, it helps to attain the basic mission of the church – to be a sanctuary for all.

For Jonie, acknowledging the continuous struggle of gender minorities, he mentions that the call to action, especially to young people, continues. This call to action, “will be attained if there is a consistent and collective action to arouse, organize, and mobilize.

            Arouse. We should awaken everyone from being close-minded as a result of the norms and standards set by the society through continuous education like theological studies on gender and sexuality, forum, etc. By having enough awareness, a fundamental change in approach will possibly occur.

            OrganizeAfter educating ourselves and others, we should organize ourselves and form advocacy groups that will serve as a safe space for everyone and will help to voice out the struggles that we have.

            Mobilize. Upon organizing, there should be an expression of our advocacies. We should strategize on how we can bring our advocacies on different levels. We can initiate model communities, programs, and campaigns where every individual can participate.

            Through this cadence, the youth will be deeply immersed and will be able to comprehend the purpose of forwarding calls for gender justice. Changing their mindsets implies changing their environment or the culture they are submerged in. And there is still a big gap which can be addressed through creating communities of the same mindset and shared purpose.”


When faith communities take a stand against bigotry, discrimination, and opppression of LGBTIQ individuals, they undoubtedly create a ripple of affirmative and positive messaging for LGBTIQ communities. One such landmark statement came from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), a mainline Protestant group and Christian denomination in the Philippines. The UCCP statement entitled “Let Grace Be Total (LGBT)” in 2014 recognized that the condemnation of LGBTIQ communities is largely due to the “cultural ethos and values that are so patriarchal in nature, legalistic in perspective, pharisaic in world view and self righteous in outlook”. The statement avers that the church’s role to address the prejudices of society is to “engage in educational seminars and fora on this issue for both members and the wider community”. Since the statement, UCCP has taken proactive steps in their programming and ministry for LGBTIQ individuals.

(Members of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines during the Metro Manila Pride March 2018. Photo taken by Irish Inoceto)

While the present course being offered by QTIPS and Youth Voices Count is focused on queer Christian theology, we are exploring opportunities and building the capacity of our membership to continue working with faith-based organizations in developing safe spaces for LGBTIQ communities within religious contexts and communities. Acknowledging that there are various religions across Asia and the Pacific, we hope to engage these faith communities through similar knowledge sharing and capacity building programmes.

Some links to information and resources on Religion, Sexuality, Gender, and Human Rights:

  1. The Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions – established during the 2012 ILGA World Conference, GIN strives to provide safe space to convene, document best practices, develop resources and together create local, regional, and international strategies for the decriminalization of LGBTI identities especially with LGBTI people of faith from the Global South.

  2. The Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum – a programme of the Salzburg Global Seminar seeking to advance the human rights of LGBT people and communities around the world.

    a. The Global Online Forum on LGBT* and Faith – an online discussion about the inclusion of LGBT* people in faith communities and religious and cultural traditions.

  3. ILGA Asia Reports and Publications – ILGA Asia is the Asian Region of ILGA, representing more than 100 member organizations  from 39 countries.

  4. The Christian Conference of Asia – an organ and fellowship of churches and ecumenical councils in Asia for initiating and facilitating dynamic Christian witness and action.

    a. Action Together in Combating HIV & AIDS in Asia (ATCHAA) Programme – the ATCHAA programme seeks to build HIV competent churches and communities and to build the capacity of its members to become inclusive and relevant for People Living with HIV and AIDS.

    b. Previous engagement of YVC with CCA during the “Asian Interfaith Consultation in Strengthening HIV and AIDS Advocacy

  5. Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) – GNRC brings together organizations and individuals who work for pastoral care and justice for LGBTQI people and their families in the Roman Catholic Church and society.

  6. Q Christian Fellowship – an ecumenical Christian ministry focused on serving lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer, and straight ally Christians.

  7. The Queer Muslim Project – a digital advocacy platform focused on creating visibility and awareness of LGBTQ+ Muslim issues in India and South Asia.

  8. Human Rights Campaign Resources on Religion & Faith – The Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBTQ advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States.

  9. Being LGBTI in Asia Country Reports of USAID and UNDP


ILGA World: Lucas Ramon Mendos, State-Sponsored Homophobia 2019: Global Legislation Overview Update (Geneva; ILGA, December 2019)

United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), Let Grace Be Total” (LGBT): UCCP Statement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Concerns (UCCP, 2014)

Written by Justin Francis Bionat ( and Abigail Amon ( For additional information on the course you can email QTIPS through Jerlo Jaropillo at 

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Advocacy and Network Engagement Officer

Karon was one of the founding members of the national YKP network in Nepal. In 2016, one child care home (CLHIV and CABA) was supported solely by Karon through fundraising, collaborations with corporations and celebrities. In India, she actively advocated to CCM India, concerned stakeholders, to incorporate YKP and YPLHIV’s agenda during the C19RM country proposal submission process and High Level Meeting. She is a Youth Steering Member of #GenEndIt and the Focal Point for Youth LEAD. SRHR and HIV have been her primary focus areas since 2010, especially for young people on different platforms of Sub-national, National, Regional and Global.

Aside from being YVC’s Advocacy and Network Engagement Officer, Karon is also currently working on her thesis to complete her Master in Arts of Sociology.


Social Media Officer

Jan Ella is currently taking up her undergraduate studies at the University of the Philippines Visayas and has been a consistent academic awardee since 2019. She is involved in various organizations such as the Catalyst UPV as the Volunteer Director in 2021, former Publications Committee Head for UP Lipad and former member of Iloilo Pride Team.


He/Him, They/Them
Deputy Executive Director

Mx. Toni graduated with a bachelor’s degree of secondary education majoring in English at the Capiz State University back in 2021. Aside from this, they sought out other educational opportunities such as Advocacy and Project Management at the Women Deliver Digital University (2015), International Women’s Health and Human Rights at Stanford University (2014), and Global Health and Humanitarianism at the University of Manchester (2013).

An advocate of many causes, they are members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, and Y-PEER Pilipinas, founder of the Y-Cap for SRHR, founder of United Colours of CapSU, and Alumnus of Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Back in 2018, they were awarded as the SDG 5 Youth Champion due to the amiable service they have rendered for gender equality.


Finance Manager

Johnmel M. Estimar is the founder and senior adviser of La Villa Pride, a grassroots-level organization for LGBTQI in Villa, Iloilo. They are also a member of the Iloilo Pride team, a Community Based Screening motivator for HIV and an LGBTQI Rights Activist. Miles, as they like to be called, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University-Molo, Inc. They also hold an Associate Degree in Cruise Ship Management in the same University.

They have ample experience in clerk and accounting work for nine years from their previous employer, they are currently employed with Youth Voices Count as Finance Manager since 2019.


Sri Lanka
Project Manager

Tharindi is currently a feminist activist and researcher based in Sri Lanka, and has worked with the Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka (YANSL). They are a trainer on advocating for comprehensive sexuality education and providing knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) where they actively advocate for safe abortion and bodily autonomy for women.

One of Tharindi’s brainchild initiatives is an Instagram page which mainly focuses on the process of reaching out to queer women in Sri Lanka, a platform that helps in providing them visibility and strategy direction on programming through social media and other means.

They have completed their Bachelors (BA Honors) in English and Linguistics at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka.


Marshall Islands
He/Him, They/Them
Project Officer for IGNITE! Empowerment Grants Program

Having done some activism for the Marshall Islands both locally and regionally with climate change, youth empowerment, LGBTQI rights, and nuclear injustice, Nenol takes pride in being an advocate for the causes he is passionate in, being a part of Youth Voices Count and taking a step in amplifying young LGBTQI+ voices. This also inspired him to co-found the first Marshallese LGBTQI Youth Support called Brighten the Rainbow. He is featured in “We Have a Dream” which is a collection of stories from young leaders around the world.


Project Officer

Ronan passed the Philippines nursing licensure exam in 2022 immediately after graduating his Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of San Agustin. While juggling his academics, he was elected governor of his college’s student council (Nursing Student Council) in 2021 and board member in 2019 where he was awarded the leadership award and Agustino para sa Tao award due to his excellence in service. He is also a certified Safety Officer (SO1) after completing his training.

He is currently a dialysis nurse in training. He handles the Intersex projects of YVC.


Admin Manager

An advocate at heart, Louela is a part of several youth-led organizations in the Philippines with various advocacies ranging from climate justice, environmental protection, gender equality, human rights, SRHR, mental health prioritization, youth empowerment and HIV/AIDS awareness. She is currently the Interim Chairperson of Iloilo Pride Team after serving the organization for 4 years as the Admin Officer, Executive Secretary at Proyekto Philippines, Member of Team Dugong Bughaw, and more.

She graduated as Summa Cum Laude at West Visayas State University majoring in English Language Studies and is currently taking up her Masters in English Language Studies at the same institution. During her stay at the university, she served as the Vice Chairperson at the University Student Council and Federated Student Council where she organized programs and initiatives that advocated for student involvement in societal causes and being the voice of the students that lobbies their concerns to the administration.

In July 2022, she was awarded by JCI Regatta as one of the Top Outstanding Students in Iloilo and a Top Circle Awardee which is the most prestigious recognition given by the award-giving body.


Legal Counsel

She is a graduate of AB Political Science from West Visayas State University (WVSU), in Iloilo City. In her days in college, she was the founding Prime Minister of WVSU Debate Circle, the ROTC Corps Commander and later a Volunteer Instructor in the Air Force Reserve Command. When she ran for the first time in their University Student Council, she was elected number one councilor. Her interest in leadership grew when she joined the 10th National Youth Parliament, organized by the National Youth Commission in 2014, where she later on became the Regional Convener for Western Visayas.

She then pursued her studies to take up law in San Beda University in Mendiola, Manila. As a law student, she was still active in student organizations: She joined moot court competitions, she served as layout artist in 2 of San Beda Law’s Official Publications: The Barrister and San Beda Law Journal. In her last year in law school, she was the President of San Beda Law Human Rights Advocate (HRA), where she was later conferred Leadership Award by the Association of Law Students of the Philippines (ALSP) and her organization, HRA was awarded top advocacy organization.

She passed the 2019 Bar Examinations and became a full-fledged lawyer by 2020.

She worked as Associate of Javier Santiago Torres & Panghulan Law Offices. She now runs her own RLB Law Office as a solo practitioner and serves as Notary Public for and in Quezon City. She serves as legal consultant to MSMEs and Non-profit organizations. At present, she is the Vice President for Communications of the National Society of Parliamentarians, Inc., the Chief Legislative Staff of Councilor Quin Cruz of Pasig City Council and part-time law instructor in Malayan Colleges Laguna – a Mapua School. Interestingly, she is the creator and blogger of The Young Lawyer PH. Recently, she served as Resident Parliamentarian during the Bangsamoro Youth Parliament held last Nov. 7-11, 2022 at Cotabato City.

A lawyer by profession and an artist by heart.


Accounting Associate

Marion graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting Technology which has made her suitable for being the Accounting Associate of Youth Voices Count. She lists watching movies as one of her hobbies that helps her wind down during her leisure time.


Project Finance Officer

Je-ann is the current Project Finance Officer under the Finance Department. She graduated from the University of San Agustin with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major
in Marketing Management.

Her involvement in her University’s Little Theater organization led her to find an interest in theater, films and the arts. Aside from theater arts, she also partakes in the company’s production work including stage management and most notably, heading the organization’s marketing team.


Graphic Designer

Currently, Nico is a college student studying in the Philippines and is simultaneously working for Youth Voices Count as one of the graphic designers for the organization. He lists producing the brand logo and look of HRPlus Asia as one of his significant achievements. His interests in literature and creating films have also honed and continued to improve his skills in graphic designing.


Corporate Treasurer

Heart is currently taking up her undergraduate at West Visayas State University with a Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Social Studies. At her third year in the university, she co-founded the first and only student-led organization towards gender-sensitive, responsive, and progressive aims known as DUAG-WVSU. 

She is the interim Secretary of Iloilo Pride Team and Chairperson of DUAG-WVSU which are both organizations in the city of Iloilo that have already established their significance in advocating for gender equality. Her contributions to her advocacies have led her to receive awards such as the 2017 Rotary Club of Iloilo City Boys’ and Girls’ Week Celebration (City Administrator) and the Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardee 2018.


Board Member

Jan is passionate about seeing through the potential contributions of psychological sciences and human rights advocacy in LGBT people’s lives. He is currently Program Associate of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus and is a member of the LGBT Psychology Special Interest Group of the Psychological Association of the Philippines. He has written for various platforms and publications on a diverse range of topics from gender and sexuality to human rights experiences in different contexts. Jan’s desire is to engage in productive and meaningful work that bridges scholarship with practice rooted in people’s real experiences.


Core Working Group

Tashi is the South Asian representative in the Core Working Group. He is affiliated with the Queer Voices of Bhutan.


Core Working Group

Rukshana is a transgender activist and blogger from Nepal who started sharing their personal experiences as a transgender person at the young age of 15. Currently taking up her bachelor of arts in Legislative Law at the Chakrabarti Habi Education Academy–College of Law, Rukshana shares an interest in intersections of language, SOGIESC and law wherein she works around policy changing through legal activism. As of present, she is the Executive Director of Queer Youth Group since October 2020 which is a youth-led network working for the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) rights in Nepal. A devoted advocate for SOGIESC, Rukshana holds officerships in multiple organizations such as Vice President at the Gender and Sexual Minorities Youth Network of National Youth Council, Organizing Committee at the Nepal Pride Parade, Chief Secretary at the LOOM Nepal, Individual Member at Amnesty International Nepal, Focal Person from Nepal at Youth LEAD,, and Board Member of the South Asia Hub, Innovation For Change. She is recognized as a speaker at the opening panel in Women’s Pre-Conference and contributor in the Women’s Manifesto during the ILGA Asia Conference in 2022.

Due to her outstanding contributions to her advocacies, she received the National Volunteering Award by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Government of Nepal in 2020, and Youth Change Maker Award by the United Nations Youth Student Association Nepal in 2018.


Core Working Group

Mandy previously worked as a Programs and Events Coordinator at Sayoni (Singapore), where she conducted research and supported the publication of a rapid research study on how the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacts lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) persons in Southeast Asia (“Making the Invisible Visible in Southeast Asia: How COVID-19 escalates violence and discrimination against LBQ communities”). She previously also volunteered at Inter-University LGBT Network (Singapore) as a Research and Advocacy Volunteer. Aside from being one of the members of YVC’s Core Working Group, she is also a volunteer with Young Out Here, a volunteer-based community group for queer youths in Singapore, and works as a Consultant in the social sector where she supports social organizations and government agencies in programme evaluation, impact measurement, strategic planning and organizational transformation.

She holds a Masters of Arts (Distinction) in Gender, Media and Culture from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Anthropology at the same institution.”


Core Working Group

As the longest serving member of YVC, Brian takes pride in championing for the rights and welfare of LGBTQIA+ youth in the Asia-Pacific region time and time again. Our resident scholar and academician has a master’s degree in Sociology and is a licensed professional teacher in the Philippines. He believes that education helps people to be enlightened about basic human rights that everyone must enjoy and thus explains his interests in working for the academe. He is also an active member of various organizations helping community members of LGBTQIA+ and people living with HIV in the Philippines including being the former OIC-Executive Director of Pinoy Plus Advocacy Pilipinas, Inc.



Board Member

John Michael is one of the current board members of Youth Voices Count and holds officership positions as President in ALIVE Support Group, member of Network Plus Pilipinas, and YPLHIV United Nation Youth Advisory Board Ph Sector Representative.

As part of the organizations mentioned, JM advocates in providing safe spaces for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors and continuous education on HIV/AIDS awareness to eradicate the stigma and discrimination surrounding it.  


Corporate Secretary

Atty. Rea proudly introduces herself as a human rights lawyer. She completed her Juris Doctor (JD) degree (Law Degree) from Central Philippine University and recently passed the Philippine Bar Exam.

At present, she is a part of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) – Panay Chapter where she serves as the Vice Chairperson. They are a group of lawyers who are committed to defend, protect, and promote human rights, especially of the poor and the oppressed. NUPL is an organization established to respond to any form of harassment, intimidation, and human rights violations in the Philippines.


Board Chairperson

Dr. Emmanuel D. Dayalo holds a doctorate degree in Education major in Educational Management and is currently an Associate Professor of Capiz State University-Roxas City Main Campus, Roxas City, Capiz. He is the co-adviser of United Colors of CapSU Roxas City Main Campus (UCC) which its organization’s advocacy is for the empowerment and capacitating the LGBTQIA+ students’ right, health programs and other organized activities to have a voice in the University. Presently, he holds the position as the Coordinator of the Student Organization and Activities of the campus.

He was recognized as the Outstanding Coach/Adviser of the Student Organization and received an award in Research and Extension of the University of Capiz State University, Roxas City Main Campus.


Executive Director

A learner for life and a seeker of knowledge, Justin graduated his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Political Science at West Visayas State University, Philippines and took on a Master’s of Arts in Human Rights and Democratisation (International Program) at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University, Thailand under the APMA / European Union Scholarship. At present, Justin is pursuing a Juris Doctor (JD) degree (Law Degree) from the College of Law, University of San Agustin, Philippines.

Justin entered Youth Voices Count, Inc. in 2018 while studying in Thailand. He later took on the role of Executive Director beginning 2019 and successfully set up the legal registration of the organization in the Philippines under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since then, he has been leading the organization in various programs and projects centered around LGBTIQ children, adolescents, and youth. Outside Youth Voices Count, Inc., Justin is active in other initiatives in the field of research and law. He was a law student fellow of the Legal Education Advancement Program (LEAP) of the Legal Education Board and the UP Law Center in 2022.

As an aspiring lawyer, he hopes to one day be instrumental in providing legal support for marginalized populations. Justin has also published reports, journal articles, commentaries, and book articles in the fields of law, HIV/AIDS, LGBTIQ, and Human Rights.

In 2018, he was awarded the Young Achiever HERO Award by APCOM Foundation during the HERO Awards reception at the Royal British Embassy in Thailand for his outstanding work on equality and human rights. He is one of the Youth Council members of the Global Fund, an international financing and partnership organization that aims to “attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria”, and a Board Member of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia Committee.