“Why so sensitive NYC?”
“Have you lost your sense of humor?”
“He was just being funny, is it illegal to make fun of LGBTs now?”
“Why should he apologize if he is just expressing his disgust or personal opinion?”
THESE were some questions raised on various online platforms in reaction to the statement of the National Youth Commission (NYC) last week on the on-air banter of a veteran broadcaster poking fun at the transition of a transgender man. The NYC’s Committee on Social Inclusion and Equity pointed out that such remarks made in a top rating news program on national television reinforce stigma and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (Sogie).
Transgender people are those who do not identify with their assigned sex at birth. For example, a transgender man was assigned female at birth who identifies as a man. This involves the basic right to self-identification; gender identity should be determined by the individual herself or himself. It something that cannot and should not be imposed by any other person, even parents and guardians.
The process of transitioning for transgender men and women is a sensitive, difficult, and very complicated experience, especially in a society that has deep-seated prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Coming out, especially for transgender people is sensitive because it is an easy never experience. Revealing one’s true identity to family, friends, colleagues, community, and the public requires immense courage, strength, and determination to overcome fear, rejection and even ridicule.
“NYC it's none of your business.”
“It's not part of your mandate, stop meddling.”
“Focus on the youth, that’s your job. That's what we pay you to do.”
Stigma and discrimination are sensitive and are relevant concerns for the NYC because of their impact on the lives of the marginalized and vulnerable specially the marginalized and vulnerable young people. These negatively affect the well-being of the young.
Wellbeing is a fundamental input in the pursuit of youth development. It is a basic requirement without which development will not be possible.
Stigma and discrimination are threats to development as they deter young people's full participation in the other dimensions of development like education, health, and employment to name a few.
Social inclusion and equity is one the nine centers of participation in the Philippine Youth Development Plan 2017 to 2022. In this center of participation, the main agenda is “for the youth to participate in a peaceful and just society that affords them with equal and equitable opportunity, social security and protection in all aspects of development, regardless of their gender, SOGIE, disability, specific needs, political beliefs, ethnicity, religion, and socio-cultural-economic status.”
The reduction of stigma and discrimination is not only beneficial for the vulnerable and marginalized, it is beneficial to all. In the ideal society, people have higher wellbeing, as it is the most ideal seedbed for young people to grow and develop. Because a society that is inclusive and sensitive to those in the margins is a society that is humane and just.
Youth development best thrives in a society that is sensitive and inclusive.
Cordillera Day with the youth. Congratulations to Barkada Kontra-Droga Baguio City Chapter, Light Youth Gathering Organization and Youth Vote Philippines-Baguio for the successful friendship games in celebration of Cordillera Day held last July 15 at Baranggay Lualhati.
By Perci Cendaña
Commissioner representing Luzon