Suspension of Disbelief

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Rep. Miro Quimbo: ADB is very innocuous

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Outrage Magazine | 14 June 2017

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The campaign for the passage of the anti-discrimination bill (ADB), regardless of version, has been one of the battlecries of the LGBT community in the Philippines for over 17 years now. And getting people on board – especially politicians – continues to be a challenge.

The sad truth is not all lawmakers support ADB, said Marikina 2nd District Representative Romero “Miro” Quimbo, one of the authors of the latest version of the ADB, “because of [their] ardent refusal to recognize the new normal,” Quimbo said in an exclusive Outrage Magazine interview.

But waxing positive, Quimbo said that “it’s just a matter of time for people to really wake up. This is a free world that recognizes the weaknesses and strengths of each person; we need to contribute to those who can contribute to the society. And the quicker we (are) able to get over our biases, (the quicker) it’s going to be for the betterment of our country.”

Quimbo stressed: “I think it’s time for them to wake-up. No individual or sexual orientation has the monopoly of the truth.”

RECOGNIZING THE NEED

Quimbo believes in the importance of having an anti-discrimination law for LGBT Filipinos.

“First, it’s to prevent any form of discrimination, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or even religion. There are certain things that we managed to already set aside, in terms of hiring, in terms of promotion… It’s now time to recognize and penalize a particular behavior. People say it’s not a lot, but I think it’s a major first step for us to do,” he said.

As it was prior to his administration, during former President Benigno Aquino III’s term, several bills linked to LGBT discrimination were filed, but none of them prospered. After the change in administration, LGBT-related bills surfaced once again. But this time, they are – finally – already gaining traction.

“I’m almost certain that it will pass in the Lower House,” Quimbo said, adding that “I can’t really speak for the Senate.”

For Quimbo, “it’s very innocuous. Innocuous in a sense that it’s not very politically laden. I don’t see the major religious lobby groups opposing it because it does not really talk about same-sex marriage or thereabouts, which is more contentious. So I anticipate – and I’m quite hopeful – that it will become a law.”

ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Many lawmakers continue to dance around the concept of marriage equality, but Quimbo is open about his support at least for civil unions.

“I have always said that I think at the right time, a law will eventually be passed recognizing civil unions of individuals regardless of race, regardless of sexual orientation,” he said.

To date, the only country in Asia that legalized same-sex marriage is Taiwan.

“People should not complicate the matter. Homosexuality is no longer looked at as a psychological aberration, but a normal behavior. So therefore, they are entitled to the rights given to normal individuals; and marriage, common ownership, as well as protection of that union is part and parcel of it. They have the same rights that other people have. I think it’s as basic as that,” Quimbo said.

THE FATHER, THE ALLY

Quimbo is a father to three boys.

During the Outrage Magazine interview, he recalled what he told them about being who or what they want to be. “The other week, I talked to my three boys and I told them that, at the end of the day, you guys need to decide what you need to do when you turn 18. You can choose your religion, you can choose your political affiliation, you can choose your sexual orientation. But it’s better that you do it at a mature age, because it’s not influenced; meaning it’s a very conscious decision.”

Quimbo sees himself an LGBT ally who continues to remind LGBT people to “keep pushing. It will not be where it is if people were just sitting on their asses, literally. Meaning, people have to accept the fact that it’s a challenge, and people have to embrace the challenge and keep pushing the envelope, so people can get more educated,” Qumbo said. “And be examples. I think that’s very critical so more people can really be convinced.”

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(Established in April 2007, Outrage Magazine remains the only publication exclusive for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and allied community in the Philippines.)

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Sen. Sonny Angara expresses hope it’ll be a ‘great Pride month’ for LGBT Filipinos

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Outrage Magazine | 9 June 2017

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Sen. Sonny Angara – in a short clip dedicated to the LGBT community in the Philippines – extended his felicitations for the Pride month, just as he expressed hope it’ll be a ‘great Pride month’ for LGBT Filipinos.

Angara is – by and large – known as an LGBT ally, sponsoring one of the earlier versions of the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB), Senate Bill 948 (or the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Act).

SB 948 – which eyed to prohibit discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, SOGI, HIV status, relationship status, disability, language, physical features, health status and medical history – failed to pass. Under the proposed measure, acts of discrimination include promoting and encouraging stigma, inciting hatred or violence, inflicting harm on health and well-being, and engaging in profiling. Also to be penalized are denial of political, civil and cultural rights; right to education, work, organize, expression; and denial of access to goods and services. Had it become law, offenders may be penalized with not less than a year but not more than six years imprisonment or a fine of not more than P500,000, or both.

In 2016, while guesting on a noontime show in TV giant ABS-CBN, Angara promoted SB 948, which was then pending in the Senate. He was quoted as saying that “any form of discrimination threatens order and stability in our country. It is imperative that discrimination — or any act that establishes, promotes and perpetuates standing inequalities and disregards the right to equality of treatment — be reduced.”

Angara, who has yet to verbalize his position on marriage equality, nonetheless stated that “I believe… LGBT unions should have equal rights under the law, including rights to inherit and other property rights.

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(Established in April 2007, Outrage Magazine remains the only publication exclusive for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and allied community in the Philippines.)

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Cheche Lazaro: The quintessential journalist

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Outrage Magazine | 10 March 2014

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BAHAGHARI-MEDIA-AWARDS-Cheche-Lazaro

 

“I personally believe in the right of a person to make an informed decision. I subscribe to the right of human beings to make a choice. The LGBT community is part of our society and are entitled to the same rights available to all human beings.”

So said Cheche Lazaro, who – as early as 1994 – helped provide media coverage to the Filipino LGBT community by doing a story on the first-ever solidarity march in the Philippines (and in Asia), thereby helping facilitate mainstreaming of LGBT awareness in Philippine society.

Cheche is, of course, one of the most respected journalists in the Philippines.

Born Cecilia Aldaba-Lim in 1945 in Los Angeles, California to an engineer father and a psychologist mother, Cheche (the name she called herself when she first learned to speak) began her career as a journalist in the mid-1980s with ABS-CBN. There, she became director and manager of the Public Affairs Department, and was appointed to become the lead of then President Corazon Aquino’s visit to Indonesia and Singapore. In 1988, Cheche left ABS-CBN, and – with the help of her fellow journalist friends Luchi Cruz-Valdez (news head of TV5) and Maria Ressa (CEO and executive editor of Rappler) – Probe Productions Inc. was born.

In Probe Productions’ 24-year life, under Cheche’s leadership, it produced several revolutionary programs, including 5 and Up, Art Is Kool, Gameplan, Cheche Lazaro Presents and Probe Profiles. Eventually, though, Probe also decided to take a bow.

Cheche, unlike many other veteran journalists, has a reputation of someone who cannot be paid off or kept quiet when something needs to be said – these among many other things made Cheche as the most credible, reliable, concrete and consistent in the world of journalism.

Over the years, Cheche featured several LGBT stories in her special documentaries and reports, and in her talk show on ANC (Media In Focus), she tackled the LGBT Filipinos’ fight for equality, even as other journalists and networks deemed the issue as petty and irrelevant.

For her works, Cheche received several awards and recognitions, including the KBP Golden Dove Awards, Catholic Mass Media Awards (Hall of Fame), New York Festival, Malolos Heritage Foundation, Philippine Movie Press Club, Gawad CCP para sa Telebisyon, and citations from local government units for her outstanding contribution to broadcast journalism.

“Our argument was always that the star of the show is the story and if we can make a good story, then that in itself is a source of pride,” Cheche said.

Cheche, nonetheless, continued to make documentaries on pressing issues plaguing the country via a TV special called Cheche Lazaro Presents (CLP), which produced episodes on election automation, political dynasties, soap operas, pork barrel, sin tax, among others. It was CLP that, more recently, produced “LGBT”, which provided mainstream coverage of the plight of the Filipino LGBT circa 2013. Interviewees included celebrities Aiza Seguerra (a singer, songwriter and actor who exclusively came out as a transgender person in the episode) and Ogie Diaz; transman Nick Fernandez; Atty. Germaine Leonin and Toni Abuan (LGBT advocates and a lesbian couple); Tet Gallardo (lesbian minister of the Unitarian Universalist Association); Ramon Busa (president of Home for the Golden Gays); and Bemz Benedito (managing director of MYNP-LGBT). “LGBT” attempted to have a closer look and explain what it’s like to be an LGBT, and for the first time on Philippine television, it helped provide clearer definition of being LGBT.

“Like any other issue facing our society, our intention as media practitioners is to clarify, inform and give our audience information that is based on facts. Many times, our understanding of issues are based on wrong information or a lack of it as well as biased perceptions,” Cheche said. “The challenge to telling a good story is to get all the facts right, to present both sides of the issue and be fair to all parties concerned.”

In 2012, Cheche also showed her support for members of the LGBT community, when she joined the “I dare to care about equality” photographic campaign spearheaded by the Bahaghari Center for LGBT Research, Education and Advocacy (Bahaghari Center) and Outrage MagazineIn it, she said: “We all want to live in a world where our right to choose is guaranteed and respected… Let us treat each other not on the basis of the choices make, but on how we are as human beings.”

Today, as Cheche enters the world of retirement and starts to return to a more private life, she considers her moments as a full-time lola to a grandson who lives all the way in Boston as another milestone in her life. And yet, for many – including the LGBT Filipinos – she will always be remembered not only for her journalistic efforts, but on how she helped use journalism to advance equal rights for all, including the LGBT community.

“Hopefully, we are able to do justice in presenting the views of the LGBT community with fairness and accuracy,” Cheche said. “I think that being true to who you are (whether LGBT or not) is what matters most. Honesty and an openness to well-meant advise goes a long way. It moves past the superficial onto a more real appreciation of people as persons, not labels,” Cheche ended.

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

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