For the love of sport, and for the love of love, adidas brings together creators to keep an important dialogue going
Apart from celebrating the LGBTQIA+, one of the best things about Pride Month is being able to hear stories of the queer community. Some of these signal that we’ve made considerable strides. Others serve as a reminder that there is still a long way to go. And it’s here, at this bittersweet junction, where we realize the importance of allies: the groups or individuals who champion the LGBTQIA+ and their rights by lending their privilege to the cause. Of course, when an international brand like adidas does just that by offering up its massive platform, we keep our eyes peeled…especially when it endeavors to take on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports and fitness.
As part of its efforts to provide access, remove stereotypes and create visibility, adidas hosted an intimate hangout with figures in the sports and lifestyle communities to open up the dialogue. Entitled Love Unites, the hangout became a safe space, where issues concerning the LGBTQIA+ were taken head-on. Hosted by holistic wellness coach Nikki Torres, this was where the featured guests touched on SOGIE education and awareness, coming out stories, constructively disarming bigots, the dangers of passive allyship and ways to uplift the community once Pride Month is over.
Ahead, the best moments and key highlights from Love Unites, featuring trans Filipina makeup artist and Tayo Movement founder Rica Salomon, architect and athlete Karl Bautista, singer-songwriter Jason Dhakal, fitness trainer Hans Braga and content creator Macoy Averilla.
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On SOGIE 101
Rica Salomon: I want everyone to know that your Sexual Orientation doesn’t dictate your Gender Identity and vice versa––and neither does it dictate your Gender Expression. I think the beauty of knowing that we all have SOGIE is that we understand the complexities: that love has no boundaries and that as humans, we are all born unique.
On Allyship That Counts
Jason Dhakal: For me, it’s when people push either my music or anything related to my art. Because how I think about it is, even if people don’t know that I’m part of the LGBTQIA+ community, you support me, as a queer artist, when you enable me to continue making music. You help pay my bills, my rent. So there’s power in who you decide to support.
Hans Braga: I know friends who are allies that are always ready to celebrate with us. But I just hope that when you celebrate pride, you are also ready to hold our hands when we’re at our lowest or facing discrimination. If you are the first to celebrate with us, please be the first to defend us and support us, too.
Macoy Averilla: Sometimes also, allyship can be as simple as correcting people when they use the wrong names or call your friend who is a trans woman “sir.” When this happened to my friend, I said: “No, no. Babae siya. Call her ma’am or miss.”
Nikki Torres: And it’s important to speak up right in the moment. Don’t wait for the moment to pass. When you see something, you say something.
On LGBTQIA+ Rights and the SOGIE Equality Bill
Macoy Averilla: There are multinational companies that recognize same-sex partners with regard to things like HMOs. But the bigger picture is that same-sex partners are not acknowledged by the law in the Philippines.
Hans Braga: Asking for equality is not asking for special treatment.
Jason Dhakal: Having laws in place that protect the LGBTQIA+ is literally the bare minimum.
On Gender Rules in the World of Sports
Karl Bautista: It’s really important to remember that sports don’t build anything other than values. Discipline, hard work, teamwork and camaraderie. You learn respect for other athletes. Those are important to instill in you when you are younger and [regardless of where you fall on the spectrum].
On Body Diversity in Fitness and Shifting Priorities
Hans Braga: Fitness is about improving the overall quality of your life. As an instructor, I think we need to stop measuring progress based solely on how you look and, say, how much body fat you have. Because that’s just a small part of it. At the end of the day, you’re trying to measure how much healthier and stronger you are.
Karl Bautista: To add: things like your BMI are important to measure but it’s so you know your starting point. The end-goal, really, is for you to feel better and get stronger.
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Along with this hangout, adidas, for the first time ever, made its full Love Unites collection available in the Philippines. The Pride pack was first created in 2015 by adidas employees themselves, who wanted to offer something meaningful to more people. According to adidas Senior Manager Jen Dacasin, it was time. “We talk about our core belief that through sports, we have the power to change lives,” she shares. “But we haven’t really been talking to everybody, so this is a dream come true today: to not just have trickles of the collection but the full collection of Love Unites.”
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Art Matthew Ian Fetalver