When I was in college at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, one of the exciting things to look forward to every semester was the Alternative Classroom Learning Experience (ACLE). The ACLE was conceptualized by the University Student Council (USC) as a respite from the tedium of students' regular classes. It started out as a yearly activity which later became a semestral one. Every semester, the USC coordinates with different student organizations that volunteer to hold various fora on topics of their choice. The idea is for each organization (or in students' speak, org) to exercise as much freedom as possible and talk about issues that are not the usual fodder for classroom discussion. The best-selling ones would usually be around sexuality, religion, and politics. Of course, there is more to choose from than that.
Classes are suspended during the ACLE; but students who have classes on the day in which it falls are required by their teachers to attend an ACLE session. There, the students get an attendance slip which they need to present back to their professors. Each time the ACLE is held, the USC releases a list of organizations, the topics they will deal with and the venue of the forum, which are usually classrooms all around the UP campus. The orgs try to outdo each other in publicizing their ACLE activity by releasing catchy fliers and posters and going around or online to advertise. They also try to make things interesting by inviting speakers that catch students' fancy: celebrities, politicians and other high-profile personalities from different fields and professions.
This first semester, UP Babaylan, the first LGBT students' organization in the UP system, has invited me to be one of the speakers in their ACLE forum on coming out entitled Out Is In (see poster above). The poster uses the logo of a popular motel chain and has a line in Filipino that says "There are no secrets that won't come out." It's a really good poster and I'm sure it will be an equally enjoyable session. The forum will be held on Thursday, August 20 and I hope you can come and join me on that day. Along with a gay man, a lesbian woman and a bisexual speaker, I have been given 15-20 minutes to talk about being out and coming out from a trans perspective. I cannot wait to be among UP students that day. UP students, aside from being the best of their generation, are also known to be outspoken, irreverent and opinionated; so I am sure that this Thursday's talk will be an unforgettable experience.