De La Salle University’s (DLSU) men’s basketball team angered the Internet over their cross-dressing performance during the Animo Rally last September 28. It has sparked debates on gender expression and whether or not DLSU remains to be a safe and inclusive school. Here’s what happened.
A video of the performance during the Athlete’s General Assembly went viral on social media. In it, some of the Green Archers were seen parading around in women’s clothing – padded dresses, rompers, skirts, etc. The performance is apparently an annual initiation rite for rookies, but only this year has the practice been called out online.
tbh the dlsu pep rally ruined my day becuz of the “crossdressing” portion cuz if queer ppl were to do that, would they get the same amount of support? at the same time, in reality, those who actually express that way are hate-crimed and discriminated upon. pic.twitter.com/59nwVZyQJc
— migs #NeverForget (@migseu_) September 29, 2022
“TBH the DLSU pep rally ruined my day because of the “cross-dressing” portion because if queer people were to do that, would they get the same amount of support? At the same time, in reality, those who actually express that way are hate-crimed and discriminated upon,” said one Twitter user who shared the video from TikTok.
The performance made many students “uncomfortable.”
“I thought we were past [these] types of ‘comedy’?” asked another on Twitter.
Many were offended by the cross-dressing performance
Love when cis het men can dress all cute and girly for comedic acts and its all fun and games, but when I do it, and when trans members of the community do it we have to come to terms with being catcalled, discriminated, & being called slurs. nothing like a pep rally amiright 🥰
— steve IBALIK NIYO SI VIÑAS (@joepete_steve) September 29, 2022
Those who saw the performance were more than “uncomfortable,” they were offended. Especially since LGBTQIA+ individuals aren’t often afforded the privilege to dress the way they want to.
“Love when cis het men can dress all cute and girly for comedic acts and its all fun and games, but when I do it, and when trans members of the community do it we have to come to terms with being catcalled, discriminated, & being called slurs. Nothing like a pep rally amiright?” commented one on Twitter.
Another Pinoy lamented that their “gender expression was used as a punchline for a horrible joke.”
“Legit like cis het men wanna put on the queer wig but don’t want the queer hate that comes with it,” said another.
DLSU USG president makes a statement
UNIVERSITY: University Student Government President Giorgina Escoto calls out the crossdressing performances during the Athlete’s General Assembly and Animo Rally yesterday, September 28. pic.twitter.com/u2d4LoByWB
— The LaSallian (@TheLaSallian) September 29, 2022
On September 29, DLSU’s University Student Government president Giorgina Escoto called out the event through a Facebook post. She reiterated that gender expression shouldn’t be a source of entertainment.
“It made many Lasallians feel uncomfortable, including myself,” she wrote. “This is not the #SafeandInclusiveDLSU we continue to lobby for,” Escoto said that she had already raised the issue to the university administration.
“With the recent establishment of the DIVERSE Taskforce, we will make sure to take action on this. This is a stark reminder that we have to strengthen the Safe Spaces Policy of the university.”
DLSU USG Gender Equality and Empowerment commissioner Moi Pulumbarit backed this statement. Pulumbarit said they are “working with the administration to create safer and braver spaces for every Lasallian daily.”
“This is disheartening to see when our community has always fought for our rights in all settings and all situations. Please know that we will continue to fight against cases like this that stem from the lack of awareness that we have to empower and ingrain in every Lasallian,” wrote Pulumbarit.
More groups call out the Animo Rally
It wasn’t only individual students who had something to say. Other LGBTQ+ organizations such as the UP Babaylan and Bahaghari shared statements condemning the performance.
“Hindi po dapat ginagawang katatawanan ang “cross-dressing”. What others consider a simple punchline is a serious ordeal for LGBTQIA+ persons, who courageously fight ridicule and abuse daily for the right to self-expression,” said Bahaghari on Facebook.
“Bahaghari is one with the LGBTQIA+ students of the De La Salle University in decrying messaging and jokes which demean our daily struggles.”