Thomasian writers discuss the role of works written by members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community on the first day of the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2017 last Aug. 25. Photo by Rhenwill James G. Santos

A Thomasian alumnus said bookstores in the country should add a section for works written by members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community for their literature to gain more readership and accessibility.

“‘Di ba maganda kung sa isang bookstore may section na LGBT? Hindi na nila (readers) kailangan pang maghanap kasi usually ‘di ba kalat-kalat [ang mga libro],” J. Neil Garcia said in a panel discussion held last Aug. 25 at Raffles Makati.

Garcia said drawing up a list of works by LGBT members is also a form of accepting them.

“By having a canon, we are also empowering the [LGBT] community. Forming a canon or listing of works is also a form of normalizing them,” he said.

Garcia also said LGBT writers do not necessarily have a limited market.

“It doesn’t limit your target if you write about LGBT. Mayroon ka pa ring ma-a-attract na reader kahit na magsusulat ka ng mga ganoong topic,” he said.

Chuckberry Pascual, fellow at the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies, emphasized the involvement of the LGBT community in national issues.

“Iyong mismong pagsusulat ukol sa LGBT ay isang political movement na rin. Kahit na bakla ka, Pilipino ka pa rin. Puwede ka talagang maging concerned sa kahit anong isyu,” he said.

The event, titled “Queering the Pitch: Voices in Philippine Literature,” was part of this year’s Philippine Readers and Writers Festival, a three-day celebration that featured international and local authors, as well as book sales, signing sessions and panel discussions.