Libulan Binisaya features queer identity in Philippine literature
The queer identity in Philippine literature in Binisaya remains underrepresented and almost invisible. This is what Libulan Binisaya Anthology of Queer Literature, the country’s first LGBTQIA+ literary anthology, aims to address.
“We offer these writers (queer and straight allies alike) from Visayas and Mindanao a platform where being queer and being different is celebrated. Through our biennial literary anthology, we offer a venue for queer writers and queer characters and queer sensibilities which is not restricted by genre, by a word limit, or a by marketability,” said Alton Melvar Dapanas and R. Joseph Dazo, editors of the anthology.
“We sincerely hope that Libulan also becomes a gateway for a literary revolution. Binisaya is the language of so many great writers but only a handful are as widely read as their English and Tagalog counterparts, and their options limited. Philippine literature in Binisaya has a lot of promise,” they added.
The queer anthology builds on the groundwork laid down by J. Neil Garcia and Danton Remoto who have curated the Ladlad: Anthology of Gay Writings series.
However, what makes Libulan different from Ladlad aside from its language and the inclusion of lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, and others in the spectrum, is that Libulan is biased towards the narratives of the mundane in the routinary spaces where the queer selves dwell—the classroom, the boarding house, the sidewalk, the office, among others.
“[I]t is in the clockwork cadence of life that narratives of what is right and proper are encrypted… [and] it is in the solid sediments of the everyday that fissures of resistance can crack open,” wrote Davao-born queer literature/cinema scholar Miguel Antonio Lizada of the University of Hong Kong in the anthology’s introduction.
The anthology features 26 established and emerging poets, fictionists, essayists, and playwrights from the southern Philippines who identify themselves as LGBT or straight allies.