Philippine Affiliation: University of the Philippines – Diliman; LAGABLAB Network
U.S. Affiliation: Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Educational and Professional Background
Zachary Frial recently completed their undergraduate degree at Georgetown University. Majoring in Culture and Politics, Zack’s studies focused on the intersections of queerness, biopolitics/necropolitics, and postcoloniality, specifically in a South East Asian context. Their senior honors thesis examined the postcolonial relationship between the United States and the Philippines, focusing on the experiences of transgender women. The project employed the framework of necropolitics to analyze the murder of Filipina trans woman Jennifer Laude and map out the “death-worlds” that subject and shape the lives of transpinays in the Philippines.
This summer, Zack participated in a ten-week study program in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, led by the United States-Indonesia Society. Having only previously been to the Philippines, Zack used the opportunity to gain more exposure to the region of South East Asia. In Yogyakarta, Zack took a language and cultural immersion course in Bahasa Indonesia at the Universitas Sanata Dharma and volunteered at the Center for South East Asian Social Studies at the Universitas Gadjah Mada. Additionally, Zack was able to connect with local LGBT organizations like PLUSH and the Pesantren Waria al-Fatah to explore how local LGBT folks are resisting the recent government crackdown on human rights.
Fulbright Research and Future Plans
Through the U.S. Fulbright Student Program, Zack hopes to continue their studies of LGBT life in South East Asia. Their Fulbright project seeks to uncover the ways in which the “death” of Malate, the heart of the gay “scene” in Metro Manila from the 1970s to the early 2000s, has reinforced social inequality amongst LGBT individuals in the Philippines. Zack hopes that their findings will aid local LGBT Filipino groups like GANDA and LAGABLAB in adapting toward the drastic urban and political changes taking place in Metro Manila.
Zack is currently applying for the Marshall Scholarship, through which they hope to be able to pursue an M.A. in South East Asian Studies and Intensive Indonesian at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Afterwards, Zack intends to earn a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and eventually publish a book based on their findings from the Philippines.