“One of the goals of learning more about people is that we look at them more multi-dimensionally. They become more than just that good-looking gay guy in MenAlive. We learn about their struggles, their passions, their successes, and through this knowledge, they become someone we can relate to on many levels. So when John Panganiban volunteered to become the Hearts Alive Coordinator, an opportunity to learn more about him arose through “Man in the Spotlight.”
John, who’s currently single, is from a family of six people and two dogs. Although he states that coming out is an ongoing process, he is out to most of his family and relatives. He’s had many different jobs and learning experiences, but states that moving to the United States was one of the most important, because it allowed him to “meet some amazing people and partake of many wonderful things along the way.” Currently, John works as a caregiver and part-time yoga instructor. The flexibility required in both of those occupations will serve him well in the large, complex organization that is MenAlive, as will John’s experience as a volunteer coordinator for other organizations. And although John may not have to rely on his karaoke skills or experience dressing in drag for a benefit show, it probably wouldn’t hurt to have those skills as part of a MenAlive resume.
One of John’s passions has been working for the Soulforce Equality Ride. The Soulforce mission is simple- to visit the hundreds of schools in the United States that openly discriminate against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer individuals and their Allies (LGBTQA) and strive to begin conversations that result in non-violent, positive change. As part of this organization, Soulforce sponsors an Equality Ride:
“In 2010, I was chosen as one of the 25 Equality Riders which was a 2 month social LGBTQ bus tour into colleges that had policies against its students and faculty who are LGBTQ. Our goal was to get said colleges to remove detrimental policies aimed at queer students through meaningful and effective dialogue with the faculty, students, and other community members. Unfortunately, we didn't get all of the colleges we visited to remove the policies but we did get the conversation started on the intersections of faith, sexual orientation, racism, classism, and misogyny in their area.”
John is looking forward to serving with MenAlive. Although he is just getting started and still learning about the organization, John states that he’d like to provide additional opportunities for social activities, both within the chorus and in connecting to the community. Perhaps at one of these social functions, you can take the time to learn even more about John, his experience with Soulforce, and what has brought him to MenAlive. As Hearts Alive Coordinator, he’ll probably want to know more about you too.