Suspension of Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘lgbt advocacy

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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The slow and painful death of Malate

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Outrage Magazine | 20 May 2013

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And then it happened, what may be considered as one of the most unexpected events in the history of the Philippine LGBT community – when the center of the LGBT goings-on, where almost everything began, the place everyone in the world considers as the “center of LGBT Philippines” is experiencing a slow and painful death.

It may have been emphasized early this year, in January 2013, when O Bar Malate decided to close its doors, and leave the corner of Ma. Orosa and Julio Nakpil, not with flashy lights, not with Kurrant 7′s, not with bottles and buckets of SanMig Light and Red Horse, but with colorful memories of what used to be a gay space open for seven nights a week for everyone. O Bar’s owners made a choice to just focus on their bigger (that eventually became their only) branch in Ortigas in Pasig City – a move that, at first, was merely an expansion of the business to reach a wider and a different crowd, but eventually ending in the closure of the original Malate branch to focus more on the latter.

The cardiac arrest didn’t stop there. Months after O Bar Malate closed, there were rumors going around the community that BED Bar would also be closing its doors. This news was taken with a grain of salt and was initially largely ignored. But as the weeks passed, the number of people going to BED Bar drastically reduced not only by a few numbers but by groups. Not surprisingly, regular patrons may have been worried, but still chose to ignore what was unfolding then.

And so, when April 2013 came, the largest and arguably the most influential LGBT club in the Philippines, BED Bar, announced that they’re closing their doors in Malate. They may re-open again (very) soon to a new location.

Everything happened so quickly, and when the month of May came, the only surviving LGBT club left in Malate, Chelu, remains as the only pink noise you could hear in the streets of Ma.Orosa and Julio Nakpil; the rest are now offering vibrations and chantings of the heterosexual crowd.

Years ago, when Club Government opened in Makati, it attracted so much attention, but it wasn’t a force to be reckoned with – Malate stood still and remained as the heart of the pink crowd.

But now, with just one huge bar, Chelu, and some small karaoke and chill out places like Midz Lounge, one question that needs answering is: Are they strong enough to keep Malate standing?

It’s not just the bars and clubs that made Malate the heart of the LGBT community, of course. The annual pride marches, the few LGBT awareness related events, and many others all used to be held in Malate, too. But they all slowly stopped. Advocates and allies alike found different venues to hold these events – which could be seen as a good thing, spreading the awareness and widening the reach of the LGBTs, though in the end, they didn’t link back to Malate.

Years ago, when an LGBT organization decided to hold the annual Pride March in Quezon City, among the reasons cited were: there wasn’t enough time to prepare and arrange permits in Manila, to coordinate with the bars and clubs in Malate, and (most importantly for them) the government of Quezon City offered to support the holding of the Pride March there. The organizers “swallowed” their “pride” and accepted the offer; and while it proved to be a successful celebration, it can be argued nonetheless that it was not “complete”. It was not celebrated “at home”.

And as years passed, the celebration of Pride never came back home fully.

We cannot blame club owners with the decision they made – to move to a better a place, to a more lucrative location for their businesses.

We also cannot blame LGBT organizations that are slowly moving away from Malate, if they find Quezon City, Ortigas or Makati a more convenient place to hold events and practice their advocacies.  If in that way they can be more effective, then it’s not a really bad call.

But mainly, it is the community that should be held accountable for what happened to Malate.

They forgot what Malate has given to them. How many guys/possible and failed relationships did they meet along the streets and inside the clubs? How many times did they scream for their rights, at times while holding a bottle of beer or trying to stand still in the middle of the crowd? How many gossips and stories have been told and heard in the streets of Ma. Orosa and Julio Nakpil, and on what Malate really means to LGBT community?

This is not an article about ranting, this is not an article about blaming.

This is an article full of regrets; this is an article full of shame.

After all, the party will never stop, the screams and chants for equal rights will continue, and the growth of the LGBT community will carry on, BUT it just won’t be in our home.

 

(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)

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