In the past decade, the LGBT rights movement has become an increasingly international phenomenon. Media outlets have reported extensively on the steady advancement of LGBT rights in Western Europe and North America, where marriage equality and gay adoption have quickly become the norm. Concurrently, there has been increasing attention paid to the rapidly deteriorating situation for LGBTs in Russia, the Middle East, and parts of Africa, where political repression, hate crimes, and state-sanctioned violence are on the rise. But there’s been scant coverage of those countries that have historically acknowledged the existence of homosexuality and gender variance but where traditional and religious resistance impedes widespread acceptance of LGBT people, such as the Philippines. We were inspired to create OUT RUN to document the historic emergence of the only LGBT political party in the world, to trace its monumental effort to fight for a political voice and community dignity, and to witness the risks and compromises it must face in the process.
Our approach in OUT RUN was to use observational storytelling to provide a fresh and contemporary take on human rights activism, including a focus on the transgender leaders who are rising up to claim their own futures, unwilling to accept the narrow confines to which they have been traditionally relegated. Each of the film’s transgender protagonists embodies and articulates their gender identity differently, complicating pervasive stereotypes and challenging viewers to see beyond their anatomical makeup. Their serious drive for social and political change is countered by their sense of humor, the unique and colourful Filipino LGBT culture, and the pageantry and festivity of the transgender community.
Ultimately, we hope the film reveals the complexities of modern constructions of sexual life in the Philippines, and, by extension, in other countries where indigenous and globalized ideas about gender and sexuality co-exist and compete. By focusing on political transformation in a country where religious beliefs, cultural values, and democratic progress often conflict, we hope to cast light on the emerging future of the LGBT equality movement around the globe.