Our Stand-A A +A
Thursday, January 26, 2012
LAST year I wrote quite a lot about LGBT killings in the Manila area, one in Tuba, Benguet and the lack of responses concerning those killing. I wrote about how families almost always did not come forward to report the crimes because of feared perceptions about them and the victims. In passing, I also wrote about some perceptions from the police in some areas, that most likely gay men are killed because they did not pay their lovers enough, how they are blamed even for their own deaths. I wrote about how most communities do not know or deny the fact that these murdered LGBT were hate crimes. It is a fact that there is very little that is known about hate crimes.
When I wrote about those hate crimes, I was really emotionally affected, especially because my gay bestfriend was a victim of stabbing from a man who was supposedly a friend. My bestfriend’s near brush with death was a wake-up call for me about how real and present this danger is. No one from the LGBT community is safe, but even then I was fool enough to believe in a false sense of security because it was mostly happening in the Manila area.
I was wrong. Now it is here in our own backyard. It is a scary thought. I fear for every one of us who are openly and/or perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Since perception is such a fickle and relative thing, no one is safe. Especially because our local government and police force do not really care for anything but themselves and what will make them appear powerful, macho and righteous. I am aware that this is a heavy allegation. I cannot help it especially in the light of recent events where I foolishly thought I could count on the mayor, or DENR or corporations. I thought that public officials, the mayor, councilors and policemen are there to protect us and the city, and keep our interests and our collective future as their priority. I have been foolish. If they do not even care for the environment and the trees of Baguio, that is known to be the City of Pines, why would they care about a certain community, the LGBT community? What do they care that we are being murdered, bullied and discriminated? Why would they care about us when the Pope himself says that we do not deserve certain things that are given to ordinary people? Why would they care for us when according to some Christian communities, lawyers and councilors, we are sick, we are sinners? They cannot even publicly declare their stand (assuming they have those, of course) about the environment?
Here in Baguio and in Itogon, at least three reported gay men have been murdered, 1 survived. Knowing that we cannot count on the people who are supposedly responsible for our safety, what can we do? I am not saying that we take the law into our hands. I am saying we have to take a stand here. We have to stand united and say that this cannot go on. What needs to happen before this city wakes up? Who needs to die before we take a stand on anything? What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for our own sons and daughters to be at grave risk before we step up? Are we waiting for all our forests to die at the merciless hands of corrupt public officials and greedy corporations before we follow through with what we have started? We need to stay involved, we need to be vigilant and see this through. We need to constantly let all of them weak-kneed government officials and greedy people know, that we are watching, we are ready to engage, whether it be in conversation, dialogue, debate and whatever else is allowed by law and that if need be we will file cases. At every turn, we must remind them that we, the citizens of Baguio, hold them accountable for every result they show and that there is more of us than there are of them and we will not hesitate to show our power in our unity. We have to show them what real courage looks like. We need to show them how to take a stand. We will do that not so much for their benefit but for the benefit of our children and the city, the world that we borrowed from them
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Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 27, 2012.