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Babaylan & Baybayin: Gender Diversity in Precolonial Philippines

Babaylan and Baybayin 2017
What was the sacred role that two spirit people had in Ancient Philippines?
This question and others were the focal point of a recent knowledge building, cultural activity that I, and ultimately 30 other people, embarked upon around our own precolonial history to discover what Leny Mendoza Strobel calls our “sariling dwende.” (Strobel, 2010)
On June 16 2019, in collaboration with Beacon Arts, Julz Ignacio, Derek Dizon, and Elaine EJ Agoot and myself, Seattle saw what could be its very first Babaylan & Baybayin event, focusing on precolonial Philippines.The creation of B & B or #operationsarilingdwende as it came to be known, was a huge opportunity for young queer folkx with ties to the Philippines to come together to learn more about Philippine culture and to get in touch with our indigenous selves.Guests from the Northwest Two Spirit Society – Hiram CalfLooking, Robin Magnan, Alma dela Luna – were so supportive of my efforts and stood in solidarity wit…

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