By Kayla De Los Reyes
Before we get into the “How I Met Your Brother” part, I’d like to introduce myself: I am a privileged, queer, genderqueer, mixed race Fil-Am scholar activist, and I really love freedom. Not the “freedom fries” kind, but the empowered ability to make one’s own decisions with proper access to information. The kind of freedom that makes libraries dangerous.
I am a radical doula, caregiver, and educator. I am also an organizer in theNational Democratic movement of the Philippines. I am humbled to have met an international community of good people working together to uphold their rights to life, health, education, environment, and dignity. Knowing they are all fueled by love to struggle for that brighter future really keeps me jazzed about life!
I first learned about Pat by reading Freeing Ourselves, a health resource guide by theBrown Boi Project for masculine-of-center and gender non-conforming people of color. My friends and I used it as one of our textbooks in a grassroots reproductive health self-advocacy workshop series. Pat is featured showing a sample workout routine because, of course, fitness is part of staying healthy! From the very beginning I knew Pat to be a promoter of queer visibility in fitness.
Later, I learned that my friend had been following Pat in the news because the International Amateur Boxing Association had been pushing for the female pugilists to wear skirts in the ring. Pat was publicly calling out the move as absurd and sexist. He was saying it should be a personal choice.
Next thing I know, my friend meets Pat at the Anarchist Book Fair in LA where he was promoting Freeing Ourselves. My friend learned that Pat was trying to gather folks around something he called the Buff Butch Project. We connected, he told me his vision, and we got to work on it.
I continue to be amazed and inspired at all the ways people’s identities and social issues intertwine. I see Buff Butch as part of a larger global justice movement. The Filipino people suffer under the same systemic oppression as poor and marginalized communities here in the US. As the Philippines is struggling to become a sovereign nation (while recognizing autonomous indigenous nations), I see the potential for Buff Butch to catalyze a queer people’s movement for body sovereignty. We will need to educate and organize ourselves, and take back power over our own bodies with a fitness culture that truly meets our needs. Buff Butch is that resource to help us get there.
Who’s with us?