Suspension of Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘lgbt hate crimes

The missing link

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Outrage Magazine | 24 June 2018

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Twenty-four years ago, the Philippines was introduced to the concept of parading for “Pride”. In fact, it wasn’t even just a parade when it started; it was a “march”. The former – in a gist – is mere celebration, while the latter has more weight, what with the political undertones. The coming of “Pride” helped in the continuation of the sparking of the local LGBTQI movement by serving as additional stepping stone of some sort.

Since then, in fact, the Philippines’ LGBTQI community has continuously experienced many firsts.

To name a few, the milestones included: LGBT-related crimes based on hate finally made the headlines; Ang Ladlad, a political party-list that was initially shamed and called immoral successfully joined the roster of electoral candidates; the anti-discrimination bill (ADB) crawled its way to the session halls of lawmakers; HIV prevalence and poor access to ARV (antiretroviral) drugs were discussed; the community was called “masahol pa sa hayop” by a senator; a transgender woman wins a congressional seat; and the issue of same-sex marriage continuously hounds everyone.

The first Pride March in the Philippines, held in the early 1990s, helped make happen the things that the younger generation are enjoying. It may be cliché, but those who came before us took a lot of the hit by being the first to confront erroneous systems that gravely affected (and still affect) us.

Here’s the interesting thing, though: NOT everyone believes we owe those who came before us any shit.

I was in an LGBTQI event (one of those that were held to – ironically – celebrate “Pride”) when a young “leader” infamously claimed: “They (the elder LGBTQI people) haven’t done anything for us (Millennials). What did they do for the community, exactly; and for us/my generation?”

That someone can even think so left me dumbfounded.

National hero Jose Rizal keeps getting upgraded to make him relevant to the youth; one of his latest iterations is via a manga comics (even available online). But it seems that aside from the “cool” reinterpretation, the lessons he taught aren’t necessarily learned. Otherwise, the oft-cited “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan (He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination) won’t be forgotten so quickly.

And then, just a few days after that (this time, in the “Pride” event of the US Embassy), I met another young member of the LGBTQI community who told me that – for all intents and purposes – “Pride” has ceased to be a struggle. This is, her insinuation is, for the oldies. At least for her (and her followers/supporters), for the young, “LGBTQI ‘Pride’ is now all about partying and celebrating.”

Yes, I agree with her, of course.

But no, I can’t agree with her completely.

Because while Pride is a time to mark all our successes, all the milestones, we should also use that moment to remind everyone that there is still a long way to go. That many members of the LGBTQI community are still struggling is a fact; ignoring this is not only ignorant, it is selfish.

She called me cynical, negative… and drunk.

If seeing the ongoing struggles of many LGBTQI people is cynical and gives many younger LGBTQI people negative vibes (that dampens their party spirit), then perhaps I am a cynic. And if being able to question erroneously held beliefs means being branded as “drunk”, then so be it, too.

Because – at the end of the day – even though “Pride” continues to evolve, two facts remain. First, that our concepts of “Pride” now (even the wanton partying) is because those who came before us made it possible; and second, that even if we just want to party during “Pride” nowadays, not every LGBTQI person can access these elitist “Pride” gatherings because they continue to experience hardships in life (many of these difficulties aggravated by their being LGBTQI).

Pride is a moment of reckoning. Yes, it’s a time to give each other a pat on the back. But it’s also an opportunity to remind the person standing next to us that there is still a long, long, long way to go, and that no one can do it alone.

Because in the end, let’s stop pretending that it’s all rainbows and butterflies. Without mincing words: We’ve taken steps, but we are still in deep shit.

And that’s not being negative or cynical or drunk; just plainly stating reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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LGBT hate crimes on the rise

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Published in Yahoo Philippines and VERA Files | 04 July 2011

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Television director Ricky Rivero thought he was having a nightmare. He woke up  morning of June 13 and Ivan Ruiz was on top of him, stabbing him continuously.

They struggled with each other, and when Rivero got the chance to grab Ruiz’s wrist, he pinned him down the bed. The rage coming from Ruiz slowly subsided.

Rivero got the chance to overpower Ruiz and drove himself to the hospital. He survived despite the 17 stab wounds he sustained.

In an interview with TV host Boy Abunda two weeks after the incident, Rivero recalled that Ruiz, an acquaintance with whom he had casual sex relations, was full of rage and his eyes were full of anger when he was stabbing him.

Asked if he considers it a “hate crime”, Rivero said he can’t be sure but considering what transpired, it seems it’s “leaning towards… yes, it’s a hate crime.”

Hate crimes generally refer to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against persons belonging to a certain social group, usually defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, social status or political affiliation.

Rivero is not the only one among those labelled as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) who experienced this kind of brutal crime;others were not as lucky.

Days before Rivero’s stabbing incident, the Metropolitan Community Church sponsored LGBT Flores de Mayo parade in Quezon City just ended, it was attended by members of different LGBT organizations including VJ Montefalco. It was the last time Montefalco was seen.

Last June 29, the Quezon City police found his body along EDSA, Kamuning MRT station with two stab wounds on his heart.

A study made by Marlon Lacsamana and Reighben Labilles of Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch showed the alarming rise of LGBT deaths from suspected hate crimes, which totalled 160 from 1996 to June 30, 2011. A total of 30 cases were recorded in the first six months of 2011 alone. Last year, there were 29 reported cases. The study was based on online data, e-mails sent to Lacsamana and Labilles by friends of the slain victims, and news reports.

Lacsamana, a Library Science graduate, began his study on LGBT-related killings after two of his close friends (Winton Lou Ynion and Vincent Jan Rubio) were brutally killed. For this study, he teamed up with Labilles, a graduate of Political Science.

Lacsamana and Labilles then started a group in Facebook called Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, now with more than 350 members. The online group aims to monitor all LGBT-related crimes and post the information in the group’s wall. (Those who have any information on LGBT hate crimes may send the details to: philippinelgbthatecrimewatch@gmail.com.)

In an event sponsored by the UP Pride team last July 1, Labilles cited the following examples of hate crimes:

• A gay was suffocated using a plastic bag, strangled with an iron wire and was poked in the eye by an ice pick.

• A gay’s body was left in a cemetery, and the dogs fed on it.

• A transgender’s body was left on a bridge. Her head was smashed and her brains splattered everywhere.

• A lesbian in Davao was shot on the face as she walked out of a grocery store.

• A gay was wrapped in a packaging tape then shot several times.

• A gay was found in his condominium, burned while his hands and feet were tied in nylon cords.

• The most number of stab wounds found on a slain victim’s body was 79. “We’re not making up these stories; these were what really happened to some of the victims.”, Labilles said.

Labilles laments the absence of an anti-Hate Crime law in the cPhilippines.”Prejudice, bias, or hate towards any minority group such as LGBT Filipinos is not at all considered when investigating crimes,” he observed.

Rep. Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna, author of House Bill 1483, or the Anti-Discrimination Bill on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties, announced last June 26 that he would pioneer a House probe on the growing numbers of hate crimes in the country.

 

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

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