Panel 5

Queerness, the Body, and Notions of Health



This panel considers how queer Filipinos/as engage with issues embodiment, disability, and health. In the process, it seeks to foreground the experiences of scholars, activists, and frontline community workers with pressing issues relevant to queer Filipino/a communities in Canada. This panel engages with the following key questions: How might tensions of embodiment—around queer and transgender identity—have relevance to Filipino/a lives within Canada? How might notions of disability and illness affect the capacity building of queer Filipinos/as? How might the need to mitigate queer violence affect Filipino/a lives? What role does HIV/AIDS play in the way LGBTQ Filipinos/as understand themselves, and navigate their multiple communities in the process?

About the Speakers

Constantine Cabarios, BSW, MSW, RSW

Bathhouse Counsellor/Coordinator, TowelTalk Program, AIDS Committee of Toronto


Constantine was born in Paniqui, Tarlac and immigrated to Toronto with his family in 1975. He is registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and currently works as a TowelTalk bathhouse counsellor for the AIDS Committee of Toronto, providing brief counselling to a diverse group of gay and bisexual men. As a Filipino-Canadian, Constantine’s professional and personal narrative has been shaped by his experiences as a newcomer who had to navigate through the dominant discourse in Toronto as a racialized queer man while bearing witness to the effects of HIV/AIDS and mental health issues on friends and family. He has over 8 years of volunteer and work experience within the mental health, immigration and settlement, and HIV/AIDS sectors. He served on the boards of Silayan Filipino Community Centre, Asian Community AIDS Services and Community Resource Connections of Toronto, helping develop organizational policies, community outreach and program development initiatives. He is passionate about the communities he belongs to and always strives to address emerging issues and advance causes through advocacy, policy development, research and direct service provision. 

May Farrales, PhD (Candidate)

Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia


May Farrales is a PhD Student in Geography.  Her PhD project hopes to take the research she conducted for her Masters' thesis, which explored the geographies of Filipino-Canadian youths' educational experiences, in a new direction.  This new direction includes thinking through how sexualities articulate at the nexus of the gendered, classed and racialized subjectivities of Filipino-Canadians in the context of the specificities of the Philippine diaspora in Canada and its ever-evolving progressive politics. May earned her BA in Geography at Simon Fraser University and her MA in Geography at the University of British Columbia.


Kim Abis, MES (Candidate)

Finance Administrator and Communications Coordinator, University of Toronto


Kim is a queer Filipin@ revolutionary activist. Driven with an ambitious yet hopeful dream of uniting Indigenous and proletarian settler students across Turtle Island, Kim serves as a member of the Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) National Coordinating Committee. Kim works as one of the coordinators of the Centre for Women and Trans People at the University of Toronto. Kim is currently completing a Masters program in Environmental Studies at York University, examining how Filipina transnational activisms operate in settler colonial Canada.