Suspension of Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘same sex marriage

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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Robin and Charles: Finding love in the Big Apple

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Outrage Magazine | 19 February 2014

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Robin-and-Charles

Robin Martin Tomas, the New York based fashion designer who is the son of comedienne and veteran actress Tessie Tomas, married lawyer John Charles Cocchiarella last December 20 at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. The move came after being together for 10 years.

Their story is not like the ones in the movies, although it was something instant. It was, in their own words, meaningful and real.

“We’re not the sappy type; we’re very chill about our relationship. And we complement each other – me the artist and he the lawyer,” said Robin Martin Tomas, the New York based fashion designer who is the son of comedienne and veteran actress Tessie Tomas.

Robin married lawyer John Charles Cocchiarella last December 20 at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. The move came after being together for 10 years, and Charles and Robin decided to formalize their union in a simple ceremony at the City Hall in Manhattan.

Robin and Charles first saw each other online back in 2003.

“We shared memorable conversations through our computer screens, and we decided to meet in person the next day at Central Park,” Robin recalled.

Their relationship may be seen as one of the few successful relationships that started online, particularly since – for most people, arguably especially among men who have sex with men (MSM) – meeting someone online is not done for something serious. No thanks to the abundance of (infamous) social networking sites and mobile phone apps, in fact, so many of meetings derived from online just end up to plain hookups or one-night relations.

But it was different for Charles and Robin, since “we were together ever since, and we both get along very well with our families.”

Although they grew up from two different cultures, it didn’t become a hindrance in their relationship.

Charles-and-Robin

“We’re not the sappy type; we’re very chill about our relationship. And we complement each other – me the artist and he the lawyer,” said Robin Martin Tomas.

“We have many things we like to do together, and at the same time we are somewhat still different, which I think make us a good couple,” the Pinoy designer said.

Robin’s mother, Tessie, has been supportive of everything her son does – like the time when Robin decided to establish his own fashion line in New York. The same support was given when Robin decided to marry Charles.

“She was very happy about the marriage. We are very blessed to have loving and supportive families, who support us and love us. We both get along very well with our families,” Robin said.

Unlike other cities in the world, where LGBT couples still experience discrimination, Charles and Robin feel lucky that they live in a city where equality is being recognized and slowly being accepted by everyone. Same-sex marriage is recognized in the State of New York, under the Marriage Equality Act which was passed in 2011.

“There is equality in all major industries in New York City, and the people we encounter everyday respect us; they respect our relationship. We never had any problems or experienced any kind of discrimination,” Robin said.

But in a city like Manila, where political power play is still more valued than equality among its citizens, Robin said that “the Philippines is not yet there in terms of same-sex marriage. Hell, the country can’t even allow to suggest birth control methods! But I think there’s still hope…”

When asked how he sees his relationship with Charles in the future, “I see it going strong. But no kids in the horizon,” Robin smiled. “We are blessed with amazing nieces and nephews on both sides, and we love them like our own.”

Robin added that “like any relationships, same or different sex, it is work, coupled by respect, trust, compromise and love. It’s not something to be taken for granted.”

Robin Tomas is a New York based designer for his own label, TOMAS.
Visit his online store at TOMASNYC.com.

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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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God loves LGBTs, says ex-seminarian author

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VERA Files and Yahoo Philippines | 15 June 2012

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Coming to terms with one’s self is not easy for homosexuals in a society where gender is limited to either male or female.

Raymond Alikpala, 46, a lawyer and formerly a seminarian, knows very well the anguish of living in the shadows having done so in the first 38 years of his life.

“I came out because I was tired of hiding who I really am. I wanted to be able to finally live my life honestly and proudly. I stopped caring about what others would think should they find out I  am bakla (gay),” says Alikpala.

He shares his story of growing up a devout Catholic and harboring the secret of his homosexuality in a book “Of God and Men” to be launched June 16, 2012 at  3  p.m. at  Bestsellers Bookstore,  4th Level, Robinson’s Galleria, Pasig City.

Alikpala said a number of his friends encouraged him to write his story “as catharsis for my years in the closet.” He felt however that “it was much more than that.”

Perhaps because of his years in the seminary, Alikpala’s objective in writing the book is more evangelical. “To spread the good news that God loves bakla, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders and transsexuals as much as She loves all Her other children.”

Alikpala narrates in the book his experiences growing up in a Catholic family and finishing his studies in a Catholic school. He recounts his struggles with living in the closet while practicing law and while engaged in humanitarian efforts with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cambodia.

He was a blue-blooded Atenean, an honor student from grade school to law school. He took up his Master of Laws in Singapore.

With his Master of laws, he came back to Manila and entered the seminary to train as a priest. He lasted only 16 months.

He began his law practice in Makati-based law firms, before he decided to go to Cambodia to join the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) working with asylum seekers and refugees. He also worked with a Cambodian law firm advising foreign investors.

He quoted in his book the advice of his Jesuit mentor: “Fr. Joel’s initial advice was to try to be at peace with myself, to learn to accept myself as I was. He told me to pray for the grace of peace and self-understanding. He said that I should learn to accept my homosexuality peacefully, and then learn to go beyond it, to transcend it, because it did not have to limit or define who I was.”

Alikpala believes, “Being gay is a special grace from God.”

He enjoins fellow gays who are still living in the shadows to “Embrace it, do not hide it.”

“God is happier if you recognize the gift that is homosexuality and live your life accordingly. This is the only truly lasting way to happiness and fulfilment,” he adds.

A milestone in Alikpala’s life was his getting “married.”

“Robert and I were married on 14 June 2008. It was not a legal ceremony; neither Philippine nor Vietnamese civil laws recognize same-sex marriages. It has been the fashion to call this a ‘commitment ceremony,’ but for Robert and me, ours is a real marriage, we have made our own vows before God,” he relates.

Describing himself as “an open-minded Christian,” Alikpala views US President Barrack Obama’s declaration of support for same-sex marriage as a monumental event for the entire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community.

“He said that his position on the issue has ”evolved” over the years, and this mirrors the experience of the majority of people,” says Alikpala.

The Philippine Catholic Church and conservative Filipinos have criticized Obama’s support for same-sex marriage. Alikpala asks people to have an open mind about it.

“Many of us grew up being told that being gay is something evil, but we have since come to realize that there is nothing wrong with being gay. Obama’s courage and leadership, I hope, will inspire others to open their minds and hearts toward greater compassion, tolerance and acceptance in our society,” he says.

Alikpala has joined Ladlad, the political party of Filipino LGBTs upon the invitation of Malu Marin, executive director of Action for Health Initiatives (ACHIEVE) and Danton Remoto, chairman of Ladlad Party List.

“I saw Ladlad as the natural progression of LGBT advocacy from the streets and into a more formal legislative struggle to win rights for all LGBT persons. Ladlad is a critically important platform and its legislative strategy appeals directly to me as a lawyer,” Alikpala explains.

In the 2013 elections, he will be the third congressional nominee of Ladlad partylist.

 

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

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San Francisco Gay Pride sa TV Patrol

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Courtesy: ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs

Written by Patrick King Pascual

June 28, 2011 at 4:21 am

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