By Fire Sia
The Philippines is a small country in Southeast Asia that has seen
many firsts in the world, including the very first Pride March in Asia
back in 1994. During that time, the LGBT community was labeled
as the gay and lesbian community with very little recognition of
Since then, the struggle for bi visibility has taken many twists and
turns in Philippine LGBT history up to where we see ourselves today.
Side B Philippines was established in 2016 by Raffy, Rhye, and myself
as a message of visibility and unity to the LGBT+ community and
the rest of the country. We established the first bisexual organization,
which focuses on Employment Equality, Sexual Orientation
Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Education, and most
In 2019, we held the very first Bisexual Awareness Conference in the
Philippines, also known as BACon 2019. With fewer than 10 active
members, the conference brought into attendance representatives
from other LGBT+ organizations who were eager to learn about who
we as bisexual people really are.
This year, in the midst of the pandemic, BAConPH 2020 was held in
a virtual space that saw attendance of not only Filipino participants
but a number of foreign guests.
The topics for this year were carefully chosen to ensure their
meaningfulness and relevance to the current advocacy landscape.
We opened our conference with a keynote from our Quezon City
Mayor, Joy Belmonte, a staunch LGBT+ supporter, and were treated to a personal opening and welcome message from international bi advocate Robyn Ochs.
Through the program, participants enjoyed Raffy’s session on Bisexual Myths (which we discuss yearly because it never gets old), Fire’s presentation on Employment Equality in the Philippines, Lot’s session on Stress Management for Mental Health, and an activity on Coming Out Stories facilitated by Rhye.
The event was live-tweeted through our twitter account (@sidebph) as key highlights touched the hearts of our participants.
While Side B may still be a small organization, our members’ hearts are large and full of love and commitment to what we stand for. And this visibility resonates with our co-advocates where we find ourselves closely working with them as SOGIE educators, diversity and inclusion
consultants, and loud and proud bisexuals.
In the four years that we have existed as an organization, we have seen ourselves become a significant part of the growing LGBT+ community where we tirelessly advocate for the B in LGBT.
Fire is a Training and Quality Director in one of the largest Business Process Outsourcing companies in the Philippines. His literary compilation The Scent of Flowers, to be launched in December 2020, will be the first book in the
Philippines authored by an openly bisexual writer.