Panel 4

Queerness, Community, and Resilience



This panel reflects on how LGBTQ Filipino/a youth, newcomers, and activists understand diverse notions of settlement. How are LGBTQ Filipino/as able to find spaces of belonging in their communities? What barriers do they face in achieving belonging—in familial, educational, and communal settings, to name a few? How might desires for genuine settlement influence LGBT Filipino/a activism in Canada? How might LGBTQ experiences with oppression link up with the experience of other marginalized communities? Participants in this panel will center on their experiences working with LGBTQ Filipino/as to resist their marginalization within Canada, as they exhibit multiple forms of resiliency in the process.

About the Speakers

Ken Santos, BA, BEd 

Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance of Ontario (UKPC/FCYA-ON)


Ken Santos is the Secretary-General of the Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance of Ontario,  a progressive Filipino Canadian youth and student organization that is committed to educating, organizing and mobilizing Filipino Canadian youth and the community for the just and genuine settlement and integration of Filipinos in Canadian society. He has been organising with UKPC/FCYA-ON and the Magkaisa Centre since 2009. He graduated from York University with an Honours B.A. in Political Science, French Studies and a Bachelor of Education in 2012. He works as a teacher.


Joy Sioson, BA

Philippine Women Centre of Ontario (PWC-ON)


Joy C. Sioson is a founding member and the Chair of the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario. She has a B.A. Degree in Women’s Studies and Psychology from Simon Fraser University. She started organizing with the Philippine Women Centre of B.C. in January 1999 as a volunteer for the first-ever Filipino Canadian women’s consultative forum under the theme of “Towards Filipino Women’s Liberation.” It was through this event that she started her involvement and committed herself in being part of a movement that advances genuine women’s liberation and empowerment.

Benjamin Bongolan, BA

The 519 Church Street Community Centre


Benjamin is the Newcomer Families Settlement Services Coordinator at The 519 Church Street Community Centre, working in a Citizenship and Immigration Canada Community Connections program. In this role he provides settlement counselling and holds weekly support groups for LGBTQ Refugees, Live-In-Caregivers, and newcomer youth who have undergone long-term family separation and reunification. Prior to working at The 519 Benjamin was a Youth Case Management Lead at a for youth by youth organization in Toronto where his focus was supporting at-risk and newcomer youth in the priority neighbourhoods of Lawrence Heights, Jane & Finch, and Weston Mount Dennis. Benjamin holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto and was the President of the Filipino Students' Association of Toronto (FSAT) at the UofT from 2007-2009.