THE Metropolitan Community (MCC) Church of Metro Baguio led by pastor Myke Sotero lauded the passing of the anti-discrimination law in the city.

Sotero said the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community in the city has long been advocating the passage of the law.

“We welcome its passage and celebrate the long fought struggle against all forms of discrimination especially on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Sotero.

The local law prohibits discrimination and enforces equality and espouses equal protection of the law regardless of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, health status, Disability, and age.

In the national level, Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat is pushing for the passage of the long-pending Anti-Discrimination Bill giving credence to rights of the LGBT community.

Baguilat said there is a growing acceptance of the needs and aspirations of the LGBT community in the country but discrimination has remained.

In a previous paper prepared by the Rainbow Rights Project, violence against LGBTs ranged from physical to emotional violence, sometimes at the hands of family members, particularly male members including fathers, brothers, uncles and stepfathers who want to “punish” the LGBTs for their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The paper likewise identified instances where lesbians, bisexuals and transgender women faced discrimination when applying for jobs. They are often denied employment despite being better educated and having either equal or better qualifications than other applicants just because of their sexual orientation.

It also revealed there are cases where transgender women experienced harassment and discrimination when applying for passports and other documents for international travel.

Police officers and members of the military have also been known for harassing, bullying and ridiculing transgender women, according to the paper. In some instances, LGBTs were arbitrarily detained, asked or ordered to provide sexual favors just because they are different.

In the region, the Lesbians for National Democracy (LESBOND) made studies and revealed there are reports of solid LGBT communities in Tadian and Sabangan town in the Mountain Province.

There are also organized groups in La Trinidad town estimated to reach over 300 now, groups like the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (PROGAY- Baguio), Cordillera Women’s Education, Action and Research Center (CWEARC), Gabriela Women's Party, Thunderbirds Association of the Cordillera and Suburbs, Inc. (TACSI) in support for LGBT rights.