Ladlad and Parrhesiastic Pedagogy: Unfurling LGBT Politics and Education in the Global South



This article examines the political and educational activism of Ladlad, the first lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) political party in the Philippines and the only existing LGBT political party in the world. Founded in 2003, Ladlad fielded candidates for the 2010 national election in the Philippines, amidst seemingly insurmountable institutional and societal barriers. Audaciously visionary and fiercely resilient, Ladlad's leaders enacted what can be called “parrhesiastic pedagogy,” a juxtaposition of Michel Foucault's notion of parrhesia and of activism as public pedagogy. Parrhesiastic pedagogy is an oppositional form of teaching by subordinated subjects who assert their freedom to tell truths that challenge hegemonic understandings, in this case regarding non-normative sexual orientations and gender identities. Ladlad utilized the fearless tactics of scandalous behavior, critical preaching, and provocative dialogue not to alter people's opinions, but to grapple with self-reflexive accounts of their contradictions and inconsistencies. Ladlad's politics and practices also offer new ways of conceptualizing queer of color epistemology from the vantage point of LGBTs from the Global South. They provide insights into LGBT civic engagement with dominant institutions like the federal government, organized religion, and mainstream media, and with a general populace that considers LGBTs as immoral, second-class citizens. The article's focus on LGBTs in the Global South serves to caution queer of color scholarship of its potential imperialist slippage if the latter remains embedded within a Global North logic, yet asserts itself as universal and applicable to all racialized and sexual minority others around the world.