By Akbayan Sen. Risa Hontiveros
YESTERDAY reminds us that our safe space can be with each other. Not a physical place, but a social space created by the LGBT movement that fosters acceptance, love, respect, and hope. It is a place that rejects prejudice, hatred, and bigotry. As an ally, I am humbled and inspired to be welcomed by this community.
Fifty years since the Stonewall Riots in New York, we’ve seen the movement achieve historic milestones. Last year, the World Health Organization reclassified “gender incongruence” under “conditions related to sexual health,” making transgenderism no longer a mental, behavioral and neuro-developmental disorder.
Bermuda, Finland, Germany, Malta and Australia recently joined the bandwagon of progress, and embraced marriage equality, while courts in Austria, Colombia, South Africa, and the US ruled that defining marriage between a man and woman only was unconstitutional. Just last month, Taiwan approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, the first in Asia.
Here in the Philippines, there are still those who are working to keep equality at bay. The 17th Congress was witness to that when the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Equality Bill was scheduled for interpellation more than 25 times, which resulted in delaying its passage. But the movement will not be stopped. We have gained new allies, we have gathered momentum, we are inspired more than ever to fight and hope. There is a rainbow wave coming.
Pride is finally living one’s truth without fear. Pride is going to work and getting work without discrimination. Pride is for our children not getting bullied for who they are. Pride means members of the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning) community getting the health care they need without judgment. Pride is walking our streets in safety. Pride is acceptance, not tolerance. Pride is courage. Pride is love. Pride is hope.
The 18th Congress will see the birth of a SOGIE Equality Law. Today, I am marching to tell everyone: Prejudice will fail. Pride will win.