Padilla: What’s with the SOGIE bill?

Obiter Dictum

LET me begin with what the SOGIE bill is not. It is not about same-sex marriage and it is not about changing the sex indicated in the birth certificate. Now, after having said that, let’s do the specifics.

SOGIE stands for Sexual Orientation (SO), Gender Identity (GI) and Expression (E). Sexual Orientation is to whom a person is sexually attracted and often this is represented by the rainbow because of the different colors. The most common sexual orientations are: Asexual (not sexually attracted to anyone or has no desire to act on attraction to anyone; bisexual (attracted to people of one’s own gender and those of other genders); gay (man attracted to another men; Lesbian (woman attracted to another woman), straight (attracted to the opposite sex).

Gender Identity is about how a person presents/identifies gender. A cisgender feels that the gender assigned at birth is true to what s/he is. A transgender is the opposite. The birth assignment is different from what s/he feels. So in the Philippines we have transmen and transwomen. Think of Aiza Seguerra, Jake Zyrus, Angie Mead-King and Vice Ganda.

Gender Expression is how a person expresses self-image through appearance, language and even lifestyle.

So, if one really thinks about it, everyone has SOGIE.

The SOGIE Bill protects Filipinos from anti-discrimination. It has no special rights for the LGBTQIA but if they are maligned because of their SOGIE, the law, if passed, is a safeguard. For example, when a transwoman is not allowed entry at a bar because of her attire as she “should dress like a man”, that is discrimination and anti-SOGIE. When someone who expresses one’s self akin to Aiza Seguerra or Jake Zyrus is banned from using the fitting room for “not looking female” that is also discrimination and anti-SOGIE. When I, a cisgender female, is cited for being un-feminine because I sit “de quarto” while listening to a lecture, that is also discrimination and so is shaming a male speaker for wearing a pink shirt and probably turning gay.

The violations would include: denial of access to medical and health services, refusal or revocation of accreditation, formal recognition or registration of any organization, or institution, forced medical or psychological examination to determine and/or alter a person’s SOGIE, harassment by the police or military.

Those guilty then are fined (100k to 500k) or can be imprisoned (one to twelve years).

Passing a law then means that ignorance about SOGIE is not an excuse and would then require institutions like schools to educate their students and organizations to make their employees of SOGIE. As my favorite nun, Sister Mary John has expressed: The SOGIE equality bill does not give special rights or any privilege to these people. As a religious woman I believe in respect and compassion.”

You see, the bill goes beyond which toilet one goes to and really what could probably solve that: a third rainbow (all gender) toilet.


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