Roanne Carreon and Tina Boado Build More Queer Safe Spaces for the LGBTQIA+ Community

Roanne Carreon and Tina Boado Build More Queer Safe Spaces for the LGBTQIA+ Community


Pride isn’t only a month in the year—it’s a lifelong advocacy. Roanne Carreon and Tina Boado declare so with Queer Safe Spaces PH 

The month of June is synonymous with love and pride. Many LGBTQ+ members believe that the best way to get a foothold in an ever-evasive equality is through organized marches or challenging restrictive legislation. In the midst of these, a vibrant network of LGBT organizations has emerged with initiatives that advance the movement, even while legal and cultural resistance still remain. The doors are open at Queer Safe Spaces PH, by couple Roanne Carreon and Tina Boado.

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Roanne Carreon and Tina Boada Queer Safe Spaces couple lgbtqia+ philippines
The couple at work for Queer Safe Spaces

Opening the Doors of Queer Safe Spaces PH

“This [Queer Safe Spaces PH] is the embodiment of the support that we needed when we were younger,” Roanne begins sharing. “Growing up, we had nowhere to go and no one to help us navigate our sexuality. We lacked role models, representation, and resources about the LGBTQ+ community. Personally, I kept it all alone and almost lost my life to depression.”

While there is now a remarkable surge of visibility and activism for the rainbow community, this wasn’t the case then. Deviance from society’s established gender roles would lead to more prominent social condemnation and even legal consequences, causing fear for both members and allies.

Roanne Carreon and Tina Boada Queer Safe Spaces couple lgbtqia+ philippines
Roanne and Tina started the initiative during the pandemic

Today, the efforts to represent and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ come in many forms: organizations fighting for the rights of the community; celebrities drawing upon the power of pride and allyship; more media representation in films, movies, and songs; and larger and more festive protests.

Roanne and Tina actively participate in these movements for their fellow members. “As a closeted queer couple in the early days of our relationship, we often felt unseen and uncertain about our future. We lacked visible examples of other LGBTQ+ couples who were thriving and enjoying long-term stable relationships. The absence of legal protections, such as recognition for same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws, left us feeling particularly exposed and vulnerable,” Roanne shares with MEGAStyle.

Queer couple Roanne Carreon and Tina Boado are the co-founders of Queer Safe Spaces PH

This particular absence led to these then-closeted queers now openly championing safe spaces for Filipino queer people. 

Letting Queer Love Grow

During the COVID-19 lockdown, when many were stranded in unsafe domestic areas, Queer Safe Spaces PH expanded rapidly to 17,000 members. But many great things began with small beginnings—the organization sprouted from a single, tiny decision, a concept during a late-night talk between the couple. The rest was history.

“Then Facebook believed in our vision and provided funding to establish it as a full-fledged nonprofit organization. In just two years, our impact was being recognized globally, but we are just getting started,” Roanne elaborates.

Queer Safe Spaces PH community members
Queer Safe Spaces PH

While the co-founders embraced the impact of digital frontier, they also recognized the evident need for more than mere online support as the community grew. “We realized that the challenges faced by queer individuals extend beyond the digital space. There was a clear gap for physical safe spaces where people could gather, connect, and access resources and services in a more direct manner,” Carreon stresses.

And so they addressed this with the Safe Space Center—a flagship institution and physical sanctuary for the Filipino queer community. In their words, “Our aspiration for the future is anchored in the growth and sustainability of this Center, ensuring it becomes a cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ community in the Philippines.”

Google Pride Conversations
During Google Philippines’ Pride Conversations, president and co-founder Roanne Carreon introduced the flagship initiative, the Safe Space Center

Clearly, there’s no such thing as too much love in the queer sphere, as long as they get to celebrate this openly, loudly, and take the space they deserve both online and offline.

Leading a Pride Movement

Spearheading this lifelong advocacy is no easy task, but when the leaders care very deeply about the work and the people it touches, it breeds a passion and fulfillment fueled by the impact and positive change they impart on queer people’s lives. 

However, it doesn’t come without its cons. When it comes to the most challenging part, Roanne expresses, “It’s managing funding and preventing burnout. Securing adequate funding to sustain our operations and expand our services is an ongoing challenge. It requires constant effort and creativity to secure resources while maintaining our commitment to serving the community effectively.”

Roanne Carreon Community Engagement Exchange Program LGBTQIA+ Community Queer
Carreon expresses that fighting for a cause is not one without challenges

Despite these, the organization has made great strides in asserting LGBTQIA+ rights and welfare, and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Building Queer Traditions

Queer Prom, the second initiative of the organization’s project, will be happening on June 29 at SPACE at One Ayala. According to Queer Safe Spaces PH, this is “a second chance to experience a prom that embraces our authentic selves; where LGBTQ+ individuals could reclaim their prom experience on their own terms.” A Filipino rite of passage and an evening not to be missed, this is the opportunity for the community to dance the night away with fellow queers.

“Traditional prom events often reinforce heteronormative standards, which makes LGBTQ+ individuals feel excluded or unable to fully express themselves. Queer Prom aims to combat that,” Roanne declares.

Queer Prom June 2024
Queer Prom 2023

Amidst the continuous fight for their rights, a Queer Prom celebrates the assurance that being queer isn’t the explosive, dramatic thing that society paints it out to be. Its aim is for events like such to become the norm. Until it becomes a tradition, for now, this is a step.

“You can wear the outfit that makes you feel most comfortable, and you’re free to dance with the partner of your choice. It’s more than just a celebration; it’s owning our truth and forming connections with others who understand and support us,” Roanne assures. “As someone who understands the importance of representation and sense of belonging, I wanted to help create an event where LGBTQ+ individuals could feel seen, accepted, and celebrated for who they are.”

The bonus part of this event? Nica del Rosario, drag queens Salmo Nella and MC Black will be performing at this year’s Queer Prom.

The Brighter Side of the Rainbow

As the co-founders and couple march on, their hope for everyone on the rainbow is: “a future where LGBTQ+ individuals have a dedicated space to gather, access resources and services, and build connections. The establishment of the Safe Space Center will be a groundbreaking milestone in our journey toward fostering inclusivity, support, and equity for the Filipino LGBTQ+.”

Photos and Featured Image: QUEER SAFE SPACES PH, ROANNE CARREON, TINA BOADO (Via Instagram)

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