Meet a Freethinker: Joie Cortina

No two freethinkers are exactly alike; a group of freethinkers contains a great diversity of perspectives, so there is no one, official perspective shared among all of them. This makes the freethought community a truly vibrant source of ideas and opinions!

In this light, Meet a Freethinker is our series featuring freethinkers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We want to introduce you guys to the people who make up the proverbial melting pot of this growing movement.

Our next freethinker is Joie Cortina.

  1. Can you briefly introduce yourself (one short paragraph/bio)?

Hello, sinners! Just kidding (though “sinners” sounds sexy to me). I’m Joie, and I wear many hats, but all of these hats have a feminism feather (or gender glitters?) on them. I am a gender specialist focused on SRHR. I am completing my MA in Women and Development Studies. I am part of feminist covens here and there like the Feminist Media Lab, Young Feminists Collective, and SheDecides Philippines. 

You are also free to forget about all of that and stick with my standard intro on dating sites –  I am a collection of carbon atoms that refuse to be just a porn category. 

  1. How would you define a freethinker?

To me, a freethinker is one who is reflexive, and always tries to locate themself (hah – is “themself” an actual pronoun), in the contexts that they find themselves in. A freethinker interrogates the values and world views that they were born into/raised in, to forge their own values that better align with fairer, kinder, and more loving spaces.

And for me, a freethinker is a feminist (or aspires to be one). 

  1. What belief system do you subscribe to?

I am feminist AF. So I don’t believe in a believe in a Papa God (TM).  

  1. What’s your freethinker story? What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told them that you were a freethinker/atheist/non-religious?

It involved a standard Bible placed in the nightstand of one of those 12-hr hotels in Palawan, condoms, and a white Baptist guy. I could tell you, but you need to get me sangrias at Novotel. 

But what I can share is that one time that I had pork sisig delivered on a Good Friday. The food rider was puzzled. I told them that that was not the most sinful thing that I did that day. And I’ll probably do more before Jesus rises again. 

  1. How did you get to know Filipino Freethinkers?

I got to know these sexy sinners through their work in the campaign to pass the RH Law. 

  1. What are some of your initiatives in the realm of human rights or the betterment of society?

I was involved in the campaign to enact the RH Law, and then, to implement it (still ongoing). I was also active in campaigns to oppose proposals to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility and to reimpose the death penalty (yes, when You Know Who became prisidinti). In the last three years or so, I also have dipped my toes (more of, water ballet-ed) in research on gender and development, and sexual and reproductive health. 

  1. Is there anything people can do to help these initiatives?

It starts with being (a bit) better informed about these critical issues. It doesn’t have to be the sort of “better informed” that has to do with reading political analyses or peer-reviewed journals and the like (but that can be loads of fun). I’d borrow my friend Muriel’s way of putting it – we could aim to be a little less wrong than yesterday.  It can start with conversations with people with whom we feel safe and not judged. And if we are a bit better informed, we can also initiate these conversations. Too many people are afraid to join these dialogues. I think it is because what started as good intentions for accountability in political spaces, morphed into these diminishing and utterly toxic cancel cultures. My answer to this, ultimately (probably an oversimplification), is that we try not to be assholes to each other. 

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