Anna Leah Sarabia: Author of Tibok “First Filipino Lesbian Book”

Anna Leah Sarabia: Author of Tibok “First Filipino Lesbian Book”

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Tibok, the first filipino lesbian book in the country.

It wasn’t long ago when I embraced the possibility that I was on my way to becoming a full-pledged lesbian. I thought it was just a mere curiosity and I would have outgrown it. I guess I should have paid more attention to the famous saying of a cat being killed out of curiosity. In my case, I was the cat.

I could still remember vividly the first lesbian book I read. The title of the book was “Tibok: Heartbeat of the Filipino Lesbian”. It was an anthology, meaning it was a collection of literary works perfectly hand-picked by the primary author, Ms. Anna Leah Sarabia.

The book was a compilation of essays, short stories, poems and comic strips that covered issues confronting the lesbians today. It showcased the different lesbian experiences that happened during the 80’s until the 90’s. It offered me a glimpse to the lives of lesbians who are disowned, liberated and even closeted. It served as a guide in my early years of accepting my new sexual orientation.

The title, TIBOK, a Tagalog word, which means heartbeat in English, symbolized the desire of every Filipino Lesbians to share their experiences and to become visible. As the status of being a lesbian and gay in our country being gradually demoted throughout the ensuing years, these lesbian authors wanted and yearned for changes. By sharing their experiences, it would help readers to open their minds to every lesbian and gay individual in a non prejudice and welcoming way. Afterall, regardless of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, we are all human beings. Nothing more and nothing less.

It was a great lesbian book, in my opinion. It served as an eye-opener to the pathway I chose. I realized that I wasn’t alone and I should hold on because in time, in the midst of confusion, I will find a place, a safe haven, to become comfortable with my own skin.

Ms. Anna Leah Sarabia, the primary author, has been a media advocate for women’s health and human rights issues since the 1980s. President of Women’s Media Circle Foundation Inc., she produced Asia’s first feminist radio and television programs in 1985. In 1993, Anna Leah founded the country’s first registered LGBT organization, Can’t Live in the Closet.

She was co-Secretary General of ILGA from 2001 to 2003, and representative of ILGA’s Women’s Secretariat from 2003 to 2006. Anna Leah has been actively involved in promoting the passage of Philippine laws and local ordinances on domestic violence, rape, trafficking, child pornography, discrimination and reproductive health, as well as the recently enacted Magna Carta of Women.

I would gladly recommend this book, especially to those who are confused. Not only would the experience be liberating but also it would be entertaining as well. I would like to finish this by invoking a quote from a French playwright, Jean Anouilh. He said, “Our entire life… consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.”


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