Froilan Jake Obeal: educator, proud LGBTQIA+ advocate

LIGHT MOMENT. In this June 3, 2024 photo, Froilan Jake Obeal (center) strikes a pose with the future generation of educators in a photo opportunity during one of his Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers classes.  / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
LIGHT MOMENT. In this June 3, 2024 photo, Froilan Jake Obeal (center) strikes a pose with the future generation of educators in a photo opportunity during one of his Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers classes. / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Froilan Jake Obeal, a senior lecturer at a review center, has touched the lives of thousands of aspiring educators.

He proudly identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and others.

Since he was 19, Obeal has been associated with the review center, which has branches in Cebu and Davao City. He considers this a privilege, as he has been employed without facing discrimination for his identity.

“In my profession, I am fortunate enough to have been employed in several institutions where my gender is seen as a part of me and does not define me,” Obeal told SunStar Cebu over Facebook Messenger.

However, he acknowledged that this is not the case for all members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and that he expressed his dream of fostering equality regardless of gender, especially this pride month– a time for celebration and reflection.

“My dream is to see people seeing the person, not the gender. This is how we push equality not only in my profession or in the workforce, but in all facets of life,” he added.

The college instructor began teaching at the University of Mindanao and has been with the review center for Education undergraduate degree holders planning to take up the Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers (LEPT) since 2018.

Purpose

In February, his life shifted when a video he posted on social media hit over 14 million views.

The viral video showcased his unique and fun method of allowing his LEPT reviewees to express themselves through singing. He explained that this is a “teaching strategy” he employs during review sessions, providing students the opportunity to just be who they are and express their capabilities.

He views his recent spotlight on social media as an opportunity to showcase the talents of LGBTQIA+ members and highlight their contributions to society.

However, despite the praise he has received, he believes that such attention perpetuates a “stereotype” that should be disregarded.

“This is a time to take control of the narrative. Oftentimes, people box LGBTQIA+ members in stereotypes; some of which are not truly representative of who we are as a community,” said Obeal.

He added that Pride Month is not a mere celebration of the diverse spectrum they represent but also their validation to society.

“I always tell people around me that all I do is a reflection of who I am. And who I am, as a gay person, believes that I should not be limited because of my gender, instead be celebrated because of it!” he said.

Obeal wants to remind the members of the LGBTQIA+ community to always remain true to who they truly are and be of service to others.

“I have come to realize that it’s the Lord’s way of making me understand that there’s more to life if you work hard. When the time’s right, your story will now become an inspiration,” said Obeal. / DPC

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