By Russell Ku
Chalk Campus Correspondent
After the results of the Bar Exams 2018 were being released, it did not take a while until its topnotcher, valedictorian of the Ateneo Law School for Batch 2018, Sean Borja made an immediate impact with his personal story and advocacy. Sean's story and insights after this moment shows how our society still has a long way to go when it comes to accepting and celebrating people who are able to accomplish big things despite being part of the minority.
With issues such as mental health and LGBT rights coming to light in our society today, more people are able to be open about who they are and how they feel. However, discrimination is still commonly seen for those who are "different" despite the efforts of those who push to advocate equal rights and treatment for everyone. In an interview after his topnotcher result, Borja stated how he experienced discrimination and was made to believe that being part of the LGBT community means being second-class and nothing "beyond mere providers of entertainment."
What we could learn from Sean's story is that being part of the LGBT community does not limit us to do great things, but pushes us to greater heights. Sean stated in his valedictorian speech that being part of such a community has pushed him to "excel even further, to prove his worth, and to work twice as hard." We should remember that our differences is not what makes us; it is our character and the way we take on life that will help us achieve our goals.
Aside from this, we should know that through our differences, we can become agents of change in our society. However, the first thing before we become such is to evaluate how our actions affect others especially those who are being treated poorly in our society. In order to create change, we must be able to listen to every single person who matter in making it possible.
Borja aims to “provide a voice for people who don’t necessarily have... the courage to speak up... [for] what they want." Through his story, perhaps we can use our truest identity as a powerful tool to create positive change rather than being ashamed of or limited by it.
Congratulations to all our new lawyers! Here's to sparking the change that our society needs!
ALSO READ: #ChalkGen18: Laine Pardilla On Advocating LGBTQ+ Rights With UP Babaylan