Inaugural Boy Abunda Awards Honor LGBT Champions

The first ever Boy Abunda LGBT Awards (BALA) honored lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders in Philippine society. The awardees included individuals and groups that have made significant contributions to create further visibility of the LGBT advocacy and raise awareness about LGBT struggles.

The list was an exciting combination of respected personalities in the LGBT community, young and up-and-coming voices, as well as institutions that have committed to uplifting the LGBT plight. The trophies were distributed to the winners last May 17. BALA may be considered by some as bold and brash, mirroring the personality of its founder– Boy Abunda, Ph.D.

Dr. Abunda and his team of close-in panel of advisers and advocate/activist friends selected the winners through a tedious deliberation process. Dr. Abunda, who is a known television host and gay rights advocate, was the final determinant of the list of winners.

BALA is Dr. Abunda’s own personal recognition of the awardees’ work as LGBT advocates. It is an award that recognizes the leadership and contributions of LGBT leaders and personalities in different fields of society. The award is his modest contribution to the LGBT community, with the goal of motivating the younger generation of LGBT-rights advocates and activists.

True enough, the awardees were not the ‘usual suspects’ and amid the expected raised eyebrows, the merit of the awardees and their bodies of work for the advocacy speak for themselves. Even the awards ceremony was unconventional. Instead of the usual fête for awardees in glittery and glamorous ceremonies, the awards were formally and personally given to the awardees without much fanfare.

Dr Abunda was inspired by his GLAAD Media Awards and Eric Butler Philanthropy Award in establishing BALA. The awards are as brave and as no-nonsense as the giver. The awardees are as follows:  

VENIR CUYCO - the founder of UP BABAYLAN, the first LGBT STUDENT ORGANIZATION, and LAGABLAB, the earliest LGBT organization in the country

J. NEIL GARCIA - champion of LGBTs in Philippine Literature and the Academe

CHRISTIAN BRYLE LEANO - student leader and activist

KRISTINE MADRIGAL – one of the founders of TAO, Transpinay of Antipolo Organization 

DANTON REMOTO – founding chair of ANG LADLAD Party-List — the first and only LGBT party-list in the world

AIDA SANTOS - lesbian and women’s rights development worker and poet

JOHN L. SILVA - Filipino writer, arts and culture savant, blogger and modernist vanguard

JOSE MARIE VICERAL - LGBT Superstar in multimedia platform

MONIQUE WILSON - world-renown artist actively advancing issues that matter to LGBTs

(ProGay Philippines) - for more than two decades of service as an LGBT organization in the Philippines

TEAM MAG - the only existing LGBT lifestyle magazine in the country today, courageously facing the odds to publish content that reflects the lives and concerns of the Filipino LGBT community

OUTRAGE MAGAZINE - the brave and trustworthy online source of LGBT stories, editorials, and opinions in the Philippines

NIKE – LGBT ally and corporate brand that promotes pride, terminating Manny Pacquiao as endorser after he made homophobic remarks

PHILIPPINE EDUCATIONAL THEATER ASSOCIATION (PETA) – a theater company that features LGBT themed plays and performances

Dr. Boy Abunda is also the founding chairman of the Make Your Nanay Proud (MYNP) Foundation. 

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