Suspension of Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘anti-dicrimination bill

QC LGBT Pride celebration: More than just a parade

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VERA Files | 13 December 2015

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More than the parade, more than the march and festival, this celebration is the delivery of actual programs and policies for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people,” Percival Cendaña, commissioner of the National Youth Commission, said of the recent LGBT Pride celebration in Quezon City.

The celebration took special significance held after the court ruling on Jennifer Laude’s case, which found US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton guilty of homicide.

Though many LGBT advocates and groups said that “murder” should have been the rightful verdict, they still see it as something that they can learn from. “Now, more than ever, especially because of the decision on Laude’s case, is the right time for the [LGBT] community to get together and reflect on what happened to Jennifer, and to also inspire the next course of action,” Cendaña explained.

Cendaña also said that the event is the highlight of all the achievements throughout the year, specifically the passage of the Gender-Fair Ordinance in Quezon City.

An ordinance providing for a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression signed November last year, is the first of its kind in the Philippines.

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The ordinance states: “It is hereby declared a policy of Quezon City to actively work for the elimination of all forms of discrimination that offend the equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution, and other existing laws and to value the dignity of every person, guarantee full respect for human rights, and give the highest priority to measures that protect and enhance the rights of all people.”

According to Councilor Lena Marie “Mayen” Juico (First District), author of the Gender-Fair Ordinance, “they (Quezon City officials) have tackled all areas where the LGBT community may experience discrimination.”

“The Quezon City government expanded the ordinance to be the most comprehensive so far. In fact, it is more comprehensive than the anti-discrimination bill that is still pending in Congress right now,” Cendaña added.

There were more young participants in this year’s Pride celebration, which was a good indication that LGBTs are slowly becoming aware of their rights, observed Juico.

“LGBTs in Quezon City [should] take the time to find out what their rights are. The city already has an ordinance that encompasses all areas where they can experience discrimination. It is all a matter of utilizing it and making sure that it is implemented,” she explained.

Juico also said that it is the desire of Mayor Herbert Bautista to see gay union or gay marriage happen in Quezon City. Adding, Bautista also knows, “it can only happen if gay marriage becomes a national policy.”

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(Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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LGBT activists: We did not feel Aquino’s presence

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VERA Files | 03 August 2015

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Kapederasyon members air their lament while the President delivers his last SONA. - See more at: http://verafiles.org/lgbt-activists-we-did-not-feel-aquinos-presence/#sthash.YMqOuJ9W.dpuf

Kapederasyon members air their lament while the President delivers his last SONA. – See more at: http://verafiles.org/lgbt-activists-we-did-not-feel-aquinos-presence/#sthash.YMqOuJ9W.dpuf

THE countdown has begun for the last months of President Benigno Aquino III.

Activists from the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community hold out little hope that the Aquino administration will address their grievances in its final months after it failed to respond to their needs in its earlier years.

Murphy Red, chairperson of Kapederasyon LGBT Sectoral Organization, lamented the fact that unlike other marginalized sectors that receive support from local government units or the social welfare department, not one agency caters to the needs of the LGBT community.

“Ang ibang mga marginalized sectors ay, kahit papaano, may mga institution sa pamahalaan na nag-ca-cater sa kanilang mga interest, tulad ng iba’t-ibang programa ng mga LGUs at ng DSWD. Pero sa mga LGBT, wala talagang institution na nasa gobyerno ang nangangalaga,” he said.

The LGBTs joined other protesters to express disappointment at the Aquino government when the president delivered his last State of the Nation (SONA) address last Monday, July 27. They braved the rains as they marched along the stretch of Commonwealth Avenue.

Murphy Red, chairperson of Kapederasyon

Murphy Red, chairperson of Kapederasyon

“Nakalimang SONA na siya, pero ni minsan hindi niya binanggit ang mga LGBT. Wala sa agenda niya ang kalagayan ng mga LGBT,” Red stated.

“Hindi na kami umaasa at nagiilusyon na magbibigay siya ng tulong sa huling taon niya. Pero sana lang sa huling pagkakataon, sa huling taon ng kanyang paninilbihan, mamulat siya sa katotohanang may LGBT sa lipunan na pinagsisilbihan niya, sa bayan na tinuturing niya na boss niya.”

Aside from the lack of support programs for LGBTs, Kapederasyon also regrets that Aquino has not backed the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill that would safeguard the rights and security of the community, saying it is not a priority of the government.

“Hindi priority ng rehimen na ito iyong pagpasa ng Anti-Discrimination Bill, para mapangalagaan iyong mga karapatan ng mga LGBT at iyong seguridad ng mga LGBT na nagreresulta sa sunod-sunod na pagpatay,” Red pointed out.

LGBTs stage their own SONA

LGBTs stage their own SONA

The Anti-Discrimination Bill, if passed, will enforce fines and jail time to anyone who commits discriminatory acts against LGBTs.

Some of the prohibited acts in the bill include the denial of access to public and military services; refusal of admission or expulsion from educational institutions; denial of access to medical and other health services; denial of access or use of establishments, utilities, or services including housing that are open to the general – all of which, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Contrary to government pronouncements that the LGBT sector is part of state’s gender advocacy, in reality, their needs and concerns are not being addressed, Red added.

As Aquino’s term comes to an end, Kapederasyon calls for the inclusion of LGBT issues in the platforms of the 2016 presidential candidates.

“Sa mga tatakbo sa 2016, para masiguro nila na makukuha nila ang boto ng mga LGBT, kailangan may malinaw silang agendang ilalatag para sa kagalingan ng mga LGBT,” Red concluded.

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(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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LGBTs pin hope on HB1483

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Published in Yahoo Philippines and VERA Files (060611)
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His name was Carlos Canlas. He was 29 years old and gay.

He was found dead inside a rented room in a resort hotel in General Santos City. He bore multiple stab wounds on his body and face which made him unrecognizable.

It happened early May this year. Carlos checked in at the resort hotel alone. Two men were spotted entering his room after a few hours.

According to the hotel security, several minutes before they found Carlos, 10 boys rushed out of his room. It was also reported that several pieces of jewelry and P40, 000 cash were stolen from him.

After initial investigations, the police dubbed it as plain robbery and homicide.

A blogger from General Santos posted on his site: “My researcher friend went to the police station to interview the local police about the murder of Carlos. They told him the same story they told media, and added: ‘Hindi siguro nagbayad ng maayos dun sa dalawang lalake kaya ninakawan at pinatay. Baka hindi kaagad maproseso ang kaso nito (He might not have paid enough so he was robbed and killed. His case might not immediately be processed)’ The police looked away and smirked.”

In 2009, Winton Lou Ynion, a Palanca awardee, was found dead in his condominium with his hands and feet tied. His body and face bore multiple stab wounds.

It happened after Winton took home two guys. Investigators said the case was plain robbery and homicide.

When a group of advocates followed up the status of Winton’s case, the answer they got was: “Sir, may mga kaso na mas priority, kaya yun ang inuuna. Baka tulad din yan ng ibang mga kaso dati, hindi nagbayad sa lalaki kaya nangyari sa kanya iyon. Balik nalang kayo. (Sir, there are more priority cases so they are being acted upon first. This might be just like similar cases where the victim did not pay his male visitors. Just come back).”

Both Carlos and Winton were gay.

There are several recorded crimes involving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) that followed the same pattern as that of Carlos and Winton’s. Majority of these are still unresolved.

There is still no law that can assure LGBTs equal treatment in pursuit of justice.

The Anti-Discrimination Act of 2010 (House Bill 1483), filed by Rep. Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna in August last year, remains pending in Congress.

HB 1483 seeks to protect the LGBTs against unlawful discriminatory acts in employment, education, health services, public service (including military service), commercial and medical establishments, including police and military harassment.

What happened to Carlos and Winton was a clear case of discrimination as defined by HB 1483, or the LGBT Rights Bill.

Pending the passage of HB 1483, LGBTs have to deal with discrimination every day without legal protection as seen in the following cases.

Bemz Benedito, chair of Ladlad Partylist, was denied access to the female area of Wensha Spa because she is a transgender. The spa administrator claimed that being a male, Bemz she should stay in the male area. Bemz told them that she considers herself a female and that should be respected. Wensha refused to bend its rules and still enforced the spa’s policy.

Jed Tanjutco is a local airline employee in his mid 30s. While looking for a place to eat during a night out in Malate, Jed and his friends were arrested by policemen who accused them of being male prostitutes cruising for customers. The police asked each of them to pay P1,000 pesos in exchange for their freedom. Jed and his friends had no choice but to give the police P3,000.

A 25-year-old HIV-positive gay was refused in a hospital in Manila. He went there to consult his recurring cough. Hospital personnel told him they do not admit gay HIV-positive patients. He left and went to a different hospital.

Section 4, Article E of the Casino bill makes it punishable to deny access to medical and other health services open to the general public on the basis of such person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

HB1483 ensures equal rights, not special rights, for LGBTs.

While the LGBTs’ situation has improved since the unenlightened days of long ago, it can still be a lot better if HB1483 is passed into law.

 

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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