The College of Development Communication (CDC) congratulates Asst. Prof. John Mervin L. Embate of the Department of Education Communication (DEC) for successfully presenting the research paper titled “Situating Queerness in Filipino Experience: The Bakla, the Parlor, and the Paglaladlad.” It was recognized as the Top Faculty Paper in the LGBTQ Studies Interest Group of the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference 2024 held on 20-24 June 2024 in Gold Coast, Australia. He shares the award with collaborator Assoc. Prof. Jonalou S. Labor from the College of Mass Communication at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Their research aimed to describe and understand the parloristang bakla (queer hairstylists) and their journey of becoming as told through their stories of paglaladlad. The paper argues that the Western narratives of gayness and queerness do not necessarily fit into the Filipino bakla experience, and looks at paglaladlad (unfurling) as an avenue to understand the parloristang bakla’s process of becoming. By framing paglaladlad as pakikipagkapwa, the study dialogued aspects of the queer hairstylists’ paglaladlad experiences with Filipino values and mindset. 

Asst. Prof. Embate presented their study at the ICA panel session on LGBTQ+ Engagements with Identity, Family, and Community, along with other communication scholars from the University of the Philippines Diliman, University of Texas at Austin, and Tsinghua University. Dr. Lik Sam Chan from the Chinese University of Hong Kong chaired the session. 

Their paper presentation fortuitously coincides with the celebration of Pride Month, held annually in June in commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. 

Around 2,000 communication scholars from different universities across the world participated in the ICA conference. (Renz Frances D. Abagat-Manrique)