Local officials urged to pass anti-discrimination laws-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
“STOP homophobia now” was the battle cry of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders community during Sunday’s 6th annual Baguio Pride Parade.
They said claiming increasing tolerance of their sector is not enough as they continue to face discrimination, harassment, bullying and hate crimes.
Cye Reyes of the Lesbians for National Democracy stressed the need for the passage of House Bill 1483 authored by Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño as their sector continues to face discrimination, harassment and violence from homophobic individuals
But aside from the law passed at the national level, Reyes emphasized Baguio officials should also do their part to end homophobia through local legislations.
Reyes claimed several local councils in Naga, Cebu, Davao and Angeles have already passed their versions of anti-discrimination ordinance to protect rights LGBT individuals.
Last year, numerous same-sex holy unions conducted by the Metropolitan Church of Christ-Metro Baguio caused uproar from conservative groups in the city leading to several protests and City Council inquiries with moves of declaring the LGBT community as persona non grata in the Summer Capital.
However, Reyes said this did not prosper as the local LGBT community remains vigilant to condemn continued abuses committed against them like discrimination in places of employment while several homophobic individuals continue to stigmatize and abuse members of the LGBT community.
“We are now studying how to lobby with local officials to author local versions of the anti-discrimination bill but we are still weighing our options as most of our local officials are still not supportive of our rights,” Reyes said.
At the national level, House Bill 1483 is still moving at turtle-pace in Congress as a great bulk of the country’s population remains homophobic, the LGBT leader added.
The local LGBT community stressed this does not mean they will be asking for marriage rights anytime soon as they are only emphasizing their basic gender rights not to be discriminated and harassed due to their sexual orientation.
“Baguio has long been a place where a high level of tolerance for the LGBT community have been seen compared to other cities in the country but we want this tolerance to pursued to a much higher level that no one will again suffer being stigmatized and hated for their sexual orientation,” Reyes added.
Pro-Gay Metro-Baguio secretary general Clyde Pumihic said several schools in the city continue not to allow students to cross-dress violating their rights to express their sexual orientation.
Pumihic added students who show signs of homosexuality are often bullied and discriminated with several school officials tolerating these actions due to lack of guidelines and policies that would protect their rights claiming the only way for them to be protected is the passage of anti-discrimination legislations.
Kabataan Party list filed in Congress a dual measure in the form of House Resolution no. 1333, which seeks to investigate various forms of discrimination experienced by LGBTs in educational institutions; and House Bill no. 5512, which seeks to integrate in the curriculum of all education institutions and levels age-appropriate lessons on education on sexual orientation and gender identity and gender rights, equality and welfare.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 26, 2012.