Tag Archive | "lgbt"

On Gay Labels and Gay Memories


“The mass of steel started to crawl away from the train station. The smell of rust was drowned out by a deafening noise that signaled our departure. I reached for the nearest handrail as the ground beneath me started to move. The whole cabin swayed to a rhythm that was random and measured at the same time. In between sobs, my heartbeat tried to catch up with this rhythm but it soon took its own cadence. I was three or four years old. It was a few years before the people power revolution. But all I cared about was where my mother was. And the man seated next to me, who claimed to be my grandfather, had promised that she would be waiting at the next stop.”

This is my earliest memory. I wrote it as part of a writing challenge I accepted for 2013. I have also secretly doubled up this challenge by seeing if I could consistently frame anything I wrote with an LGBT perspective. But my earliest memory does not have anything gay about it, unless I turn it into fiction and “gay it up.” I am, after all, a gay writer. I have also occasionally introduced myself as a gay activist. I am also a freethinker, a photographer, and a teacher. But I have never called myself a gay freethinker, a gay photographer, or a gay teacher.

So when is it appropriate to make something or someone ‘gay’ simply by adding the ‘G’ word? If you’re gay and you’re reading this, does it make you a gay reader? And as my partner (who happens to be gay, so perhaps I should say my gay partner) properly posited, should someone self-identify as a transgender in order to be a transactivist? And how about marriage? Why do some people reject the term gay marriage and prefer marriage equality?

Ascribing labels is a basic concept in identity politics and serves multiple functions. Minority groups use labels to claim an identity, or define an experience that would otherwise be assumed to belong to the majority. For example, we do not usually hear someone say “I am a straight statistician” as the heterosexual majority has made us assume that everyone is straight unless they say they are not. But one could be a gay statistician if one so chooses because it is his way of claiming an identity in a field dominated by straight men. Guy Branum, in his article “Yes, Nate Silver, You Are a Gay Statistician,” slams Silver for rejecting the word gay in his title. By dropping the word ‘gay’, Silver is attempting to detach his identity from his experience. It is as if calling himself a gay statistician would require him to use a pink computer and to “gay up” his calculations.

This same hesitation is shared by those who do not embrace the term gay marriage. According to detractors, if we follow this logic, we would have to append the word ‘gay’ to everything that is currently not accessible to gay people. We would have to fight for gay adoptiongay inheritancegay visitation rightsgay immigration, and so on. It would seem too obvious to point out that the labels matter less than the actual benefits and improvements to our lives.

This is where identity politics comes in conflict with political correctness. Political correctness is a hungry monster that devours unsuspecting words to sustain its relevance. It then spits out neutral labels that have been stripped of their rich history, political conviction, socio-cultural value, and ultimately, their original identity. And that, to me, is a pity.

Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that political correctness has its place in social discourse. In fact, for the sake of interpersonal relationships and political harmony, I will continue to use marriage equality and whatever other permutations. However, I will keep calling myself a gay writer. If I wear a rainbow shirt and use a fluffy pen when writing about gay characters, it would be of little to no consequence. What matters is that I am a passionate writer who also happens to be proud of his sexual orientation. And if I become successful, I would prefer to be remembered as a successful gay writer and not simply a successful writer. Perhaps, when the time comes, I would figure out how I can be a gay freethinker, a gay photographer, or a gay teacher. For now, I am happy being a gay writer.

The train behind me sped away taking with it all worries I had. In place of my mother, there he stood, the boy of my dreams.

 

 

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Men in Uniform, the Fantasy and the Reality


[ Read original article here | Read more from the same writer here ]

Inquirer’s article on gays enrolling in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) shows us that although LGBT activism has gained traction in the fight for equality, there is still a long way to go.

 

Sexual Orientation is not Gender Expression

It’s a well known fact that the general public (LGBTs included) is still struggling with terms and definitions related to LGBT topics. This is made even more difficult when these concepts (most of which come from the west) have no equivalent in our culture. Sometimes it is because there is no direct translation and sometimes it is because of differences in popular stereotypes. Take for example the following statement from Inquirer’s “PMA now open to gays but don’t show it“:

“From experience, there are (gay PMA graduates). Maybe he was able to graduate because during the training in the Academy there was no opportunity for his (gay) tendencies (to show). When he left the academy that’s when it came out,” – Captain Agnes Flores, PMA spokesperson

Flores was clearly referring to being effeminate (gender expression) when she said “(gay) tendencies” and “it came out” not to being gay (sexual orientation). This is because in Philippine culture, the effeminate gay male (who, at times, is actually a transgender woman) is the more visible stereotype than the masculine gay male. Thus, Filipinos associate being gay (sexual orientation) with being effeminate (gender expression). What Flores fails to understand is being gay has more to do with attraction and not outward expression.

In the Absence of Specifics, Generalize!

I have yet to hear of an institution which is able to or dares to profile its students based on sexual orientation. But if PMA’s claims are accurate, then it may very well be the first.

“In any case, they say, gay cadets eventually leave the PMA anyway before completing the four-year course because they cannot stand the rigors of training.”

“Flores claimed that school officials had observed that gay cadets apparently could not cope with the demands of training.”

It would be interesting to request data that would show what percentage of the PMA dropouts are gay. In simplistic terms, this is asking how many dropouts said “I’m dropping out because this is too much for a gay man to handle.

Yes, getting these data is moot and academic. But Flores not only has a responsibility to ensure her claims are based on facts, she also has the responsiblity to ensure that her statements do not put a specific sector of society in a bad light. By claiming that gay men are not able to stand the rigors of training, she has effectively made gay men inferior to straight men even without factual basis. This, by the way, is a discriminatory act. And if House Bill 1483 or 515 (both Anti-Discrimination Bills) were already in force, any PMA officer who dismisses a cadet using Flores’ baseless claim would face imprisonment of up to 6 years or pay a fine of 250 to 500 thousand Pesos.

Perpetuating Gender Norms

Discrimination is often justified by invoking social constructs. It may be summarized by the statement “I am not discriminating against gay men and lesbian women, I just expect them to act like straight men and women because that’s what society accepts.” What people do not realize is that gender norms reinforce discrimination because it forces people to meet expectations created by heterosexuals.

“So anyone who displays gay behavior would be reprimanded because that’s not what is expected of them. They enter our institution and they are to follow the rules and regulations of our organization,” she stressed.

This statement needs careful unpacking so I will dissect it one homophobic thought at a time.

So anyone who displays gay behavior would be reprimanded…” – This is where I would ask Flores to define what is “gay behavior” and what is the corresponding reprimand. Similarly, I would also ask if females are reprimanded for displaying “lesbian behavior.” And finally I would ask for a report on the kinds of “gay behavior” they have actually documented.

…because that’s not what is expected of them…” – So what is expected of them to display, “straight behavior”? Taking off from the previous paragraph, I would also ask for a definition of “straight behavior.” But semantics aside, the following statement takes the cake as far as discrimination is concerned:

…they are to follow the rules and regulations of our organization,” – If a group of people is singled out by rules and regulations solely because of this group’s gender expression, then ladies and gentlemen, that is discrimination.

Unintended Discrimination is Still Discrimination

My gut tells me that Flores has no malicious intent. It may be that she is not aware of the slimy worm of discrimination slithering in the core of the pretentious apple of tolerance she is parading about. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, unintended discrimination is still discrimination. And while half-baked tolerance is still the lesser evil than an outright ban, there is still much to be desired as far as the LGBT education of these PMA officers is concerned. We can only wish Flores and the rest of the PMA would one day understand the true meaning of acceptance and equality. Until that day becomes reality, equality among men in uniform will remain a fantasy.

[ Read original article here | Read more from the same writer here ]

 

Image Credit: Philippine Information Agency

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An Official Statement from Ladlad-Negros


The following is the official statement of Ladlad Negros, as written by Pol Escubido Cabalfin.

Ladlad Negros is still alarmed as two members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community have been killed in the month of June.

The two recent victims, one from Silay and the other from Victorias, suffered from more than 20 stab wounds each. On top of this, two cases were also reported for the month of May.

The successive killings of the LGBT members should be treated seriously . We are calling the attention of the local police to further investigate these untimely deaths. We also urge our local government officials to work with the local LGBT groups and associations to fight this grisly trend of murders of LGBTs.

The local governments of Bacolod, Victorias and other cities and municipalities of Negros island must enact legislations against discrimination, bullying and homophobia as these all lead to hate crimes.

The killings here in Negros are just part of the greater whole. In the entire Philippines, around 20 reported LGBT killings have been recorded by the Pink Watch this year, with most of the victims suffering from fatal stab wounds.

At the close of the Pride Month (June), still no justice was given to most of the murdered victims. We demand that justice be brought to these deaths.

We in Ladlad strongly condemn all LGBT killings here in Negros and in the whole country. Like everybody else who have rights, we demand that ours be respected and looked after.

End Discrimination. Stop Hate. Stop LGBT Killings. Forward Equality. Spread Love.

Image from www.lehman.cuny.edu

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FF Podcast (Audio) 009: How straight allies can fight for LGBT rights


FF Podcast Episode 9 – How straight allies can fight for LGBT rights

In our 9th episode, Red is joined by our LGBT advocacy group to talk about how straight allies can help in the fight for LGBT rights, especially this week, UP Pride Week.

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in Audio, audio podcast, Media, Politics, Religion, SocietyComments (0)

FF Podcast 009: How straight allies can fight for LGBT rights


FF Podcast Episode 9 – How straight allies can fight for LGBT rights
In our 9th episode, Red is joined by our LGBT advocacy group to talk about how straight allies can help in the fight for LGBT rights, especially this week, UP Pride Week.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes


Posted in Advocacy, Gender Rights, Media, Podcast, Society, VideoComments (0)

Why Lady Gaga is Loved and Hated


On the Lady Gaga issue, a friend of mine said: “If you’re going to a country where people are predominantly Christians and Catholics, don’t sing songs about ‘bringing down a King with no crown because you’re in love with Judas.’ Most of her songs are great and it empowers so many people, but I do hope she also respects the sanctity of other people’s religions, even if she doesn’t believe in them.”

I agree. I don’t blame people for being offended by her song Judas. But sometimes it’s hard when the party calling for respect to go both ways is the dominant body that, for the longest time, has failed at showing this respect for others, mostly due to dogma.

I will admit that these days the terms “Christian” and “Catholic” strike me as very negative whenever I hear them.  Whenever I hear those words, it’s automatic for me to picture an intrusive group of people around whom you can’t really be yourself. I picture a group of people whose capability of truly understanding you for who you really are is very limited. These are the people who discriminate my homosexual friends and shout NO to things that aren’t necessarily for them, like free condoms and reproductive rights.  They don’t believe in it, so no one can have it!

I’m reminded of my friend who, when I told her about the first time I made out with a guy, went all, “EEEEEEWWWW!!!” on me because, Holy Mother of God, it was a “dirty” thing to do.  It appears like “Christians” and “Catholics” are people you can’t be real to lest you be judged; they’re the be-on-your-best-behavior crowd. Not all of them, of course, but when you’re a human being who’s had a number of unpleasant encounters, it’s hard not to come up with generalizations even when you know they aren’t necessarily right or true, and even when you continue to meet Christians and Catholics with whom you actually like being around.

Lady Gaga is loved and hated for the very same thing, and perhaps with equal measure.  She is hated because, in my opinion, she is grossly misunderstood. She is disturbing and unsettling and that rattles people. They take her music videos, her costumes, her performances, and her lyrics and blow them all out of proportion. They take things far too personally, even if there is no such law that requires anybody to listen to her music, watch her videos, or pay thousands of pesos to see her in concert. Suddenly, she’s the demon lady, the Anti-Christ—seducing us with her music and her skin to bring us all down to Hell.

They gather all that without meeting her or even reading one of her interviews. I even read another theory from a certain priest that her mission is to advocate homosexuality so that no more babies will be produced, thus eradicating the entire human race. Said priest therefore concluded that Lady Gaga = culture of death.  (You are the culture of death, Father. Some of my brain cells just died.)

And just the same, Lady Gaga is loved fiercely by her so called “Little Monsters” because she is the epitome of being misunderstood, and she stands for all the people who, just like her, get blown out of proportion by their peers. In her concerts, she provides a space wherein they feel safe and can celebrate who they are without the risk of judgment. She reminds them that there is someone out there who truly empathizes with them—someone who neither wants to judge them nor believes that they are in need of saving.

She stands for that gay couple that lives next door that is, instead of being recognized for the love, light and commitment they share with one another, often seen as the “lie of the Devil.” She stands for that cross-dresser many like to make fun of, and that girl people call a slut just because she’s had more than the usual share of sexual encounters, as if her vagina was anybody else’s business. She stands for that transvestite, who some insist is a disgusting creature out to fool the rest of manhood. She stands for the agnostic/atheist daughter who wants to share with her family who she truly is, but won’t because they’ll just think she’s living an empty life headed for Hell.

Lady Gaga stands for this part of the world that so many Christians and Catholics refuse to acknowledge, or believe should be fixed. She stands for all the people who are condemned before they are understood. She stands for those who are never truly seen or appreciated because of how they are perceived in the Bible.

There are people who are rooting for Lady Gaga not even because they are fans, but simply because they are tired of the Church claiming to see demons and witches everywhere. But I think an even bigger chunk of those who run to her defense do so because, whether or not they realize it, they’re actually defending themselves. They’re aching for the world to realize that they’re not trying to wreak havoc, be disrespectful or even be non-conformist. This is just who they are. And they wish you could just acknowledge that and give them the freedom to fully express themselves without making it mean so many other things. Different as they are, they want the same things everyone else does, respect being one of them.

Image from oopside.blogspot.com

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In Defense of Miriam Quiambao


So former Bb. Pilipinas titlist Miriam Quiambao has been taking a lot of criticism from the pro-LGBT crowd for her anti-gay statements on a tv show and on her twitter. I regret that I too have tweeted some pretty angry messages about her regarding this issue. I should have taken my own advice about not tweeting when angry, because I now wish I could take back what I’ve written about wanting to take a shower after reading this Rappler article.

Miriam Quiambao (Photo taken from http://nudefilipina.blogspot.com .)

(Photo taken from http://nudefilipina.blogspot.com .)

Yes, Ms. Q has shown herself to be a homophobe. But it’s not her fault. Not really. Because she loves God — the one who says that the gay lifestyle is evil — and therefore she has to believe that homosexual behavior is immoral. She obviously doesn’t want to believe this — she says she loves the LGBT folks — but since her god tells her that gay sex is wrong, she clearly doesn’t have a choice. If a Christian saves a bunch of orphans from starvation, do we give them our gratitude for it? Of course not — you give thanks to the Chrisian God. Being a Christian, they didn’t have a choice but to save the orphans. In the same way, we can’t blame Ms. Q for her actions or her opinions. She was doing her duty. Like she said: don’t shoot her, she’s just the messenger.

This brings me to my second point: that getting angry at beauty queens for their opinions is silly. First of all, they’re not supposed to have opinions in the first place. At least not opinions of their own. Oh, I’m pretty sure a lot of of these contestants have their own views, values and opinions, and will stand up for them (I knew a lovely girl who once braved public derision in order to follow her heart, and years later she won the Bb. Pilipinas-International title). It’s just that they have to make it seem like these views come from somewhere that is acceptable, like their parents, their priests, and their gods. That’s why a lot of interview answers at pageants include disclaimers like “This is how my parents raised me”, “The bible says…” and “As a Christian, I was taught to believe…” After all, in this age of female doctors, female lawyers and female heads of state, beauty pageants are here to remind us all not just that a woman’s main role is to be decorative (that swimsuit competition is there so we can judge the size of her boobs, not her IQ) but also that she cannot have an opinion that goes against her society, her parents or her god. How many beauty pageant contestants do you know who espouse something really controversial like, say, insisting that women be not be paraded around like meat for entertainment purposes? Or that a person shouldn’t have to be skinny to be considered beautiful? Why, she’d be laughed off the stage. By taking absolutely no responsibility for her anti-gay views, Ms. Q has proven beyond doubt why she deserved to be crowned Bb. Pilipinas and declared first-runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant.

So yes, I apologize for my angry tweets. In my own defense, it was only because I have very strong opinions against people espousing prejudice and using religion as an excuse for their bigotry. Especially since I don’t agree with most religions and I’m not sure if the wars, witch burnings, child molestations and general oppression of women and gays that arise from them make religions worth having around. Furthermore, I absolutely claim these views as mine and am not blaming my parents or a deity for my views and opinions, but it just goes to show why (among many other reasons, including my unladylike fat hips) I, unlike Ms. Q, am not beauty queen material.

Tania N. Arpa blogs about being a geek in the city in The Entropy Blog. She is also on Twitter.

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World-Wide LGBT Civil Rights March (Saturday, April 21)


Where: Quezon Memorial Circle (Google map)
When: Saturday, April 21, 2012
Time: 8:00AM to 12:00PM

RSVP at the Facebook Event

On April 21, 2012 Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), will join the Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March to call for equal rights for all people and demand respect for human rights!

In the Philippines, simultaneous Civil Rights Marches will be held in Isabela, Bacolod City and in Quezon City, Manila. In Manila, the event will be in Quezon Memorial Circle from 9:00am to 12:00 noon where everyone will march around the memorial circle and gather at the Peace Bell inside the park to collectively celebrate the gains achieved by LGBT groups in the Philippines in pushing forward LGBT rights in mainstream society and to re-affirm our commitment to continue the fight for equal rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).

The Philippines LGBT Civil Rights March is a call to action to:

• Remind us of the need to address the grave human rights violations against LGBT Filipinos; that victims of these violations must be given justice and that perpetrators must be arrested and punished.

• Respect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all people regardless of SOGI by the passage of the Reproductive Health bill – House Bill 4244 and Senate bill 2865

• Safeguard the retention of SOGI provisions of Senate Bill 2814. The bill, “the Anti-Ethnic, Racial or Religious Discrimination and Profiling Act,” which aims to penalize all forms of discrimination, has passed third reading in the Senate and is close to being finalized in Congress. The LGBT community is gravely concerned that anti-LGBT forces led by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will succeed in removing the SOGI provisions of SB 2814.

• Demand the inclusion of SOGI in the ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights, which is being finalized and will be presented in the ASEAN Plus Summit in November 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

It is hoped that the April 21 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March will impress upon our legislators the urgent need to pass the anti-discrimination law to include the protection of LGBT rights. This will be helped greatly by a large show of numbers of the LGBT community and its supporters this coming Saturday.

It is time to make a stand for the civil and political rights if LGBT persons in the Philippines so April 21, 2012 will be a celebration of LGBT rights and a testament to our continued fight for equal rights.

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What Would a True Catholic Philippines Look Like?


It is quite clear that in an allegedly secular nation, politicians here in the Philippines are largely guided by their religion, which is more often than not Roman Catholicism. This is evident from the chapels in public institutions such as Philippine Science High School to the President’s “advisers” that invariably include at least one man of the cloth. And, there is truly no cause for complaint, if Roman Catholicism is, in fact, the one true religion.

If you allow that no politician is simply abusing the gullibility of their constituents and that they actually believe in the truth of Roman Catholicism, then the people who govern us are simply running on what they think are accurate observations of the universe. Every prayer before Congress and every “year of our Lord” in Presidential Proclamations are not mere statements of opinion or rhetorical flourishes, these are reiterations of accepted facts. Or, rather, “facts.”

The claims of the religious, whether moral or theological, are factual claims. For the former, moral claims are facts about conscious experience. For the latter, theological claims are facts about how the universe in general operates. Both are claims about how material stuff (particles and such) interact with the world.

Avoiding the unimpressive arguments for the existence of the specific Catholic flavor of Yahweh, let us, like millions of Filipinos, simply take this on faith. How would the much-desired fully-realized Catholic Nation of the Philippines look?

For a start, all faith-based holidays not in the Roman Catholic calendar will be erased. This is because the truth of Catholicism necessarily negates the contradictory truth claims of all other religions, from similar Paganism to largely foreign Hinduism. This shouldn’t worry kids who pray for school cancellations since there’s still pretty much a saint for anything and any day. Secular holidays such as Labor Day may continue to exist, but in the form of feasts for one of the myriad saints “venerated” by Catholics. It may perhaps be replaced by a day for Saint Joseph the Carpenter, a model laborer and cuckold, or for Saint Matthew the Tax Collector, to remind us of the price of civilization.

A Catholic Nation of the Philippines would be different from the Vatican in that it would be a real state—with a permanent population, a defined territory, a functioning government, and a real capacity for diplomatic relations with other states. These are the criteria for statehood set out by international law, which the Vatican arguably does not meet.

Assuming that the Catholic Nation of the Philippines will continue with its sham democracy label (as it does now), there will be an entirely new branch of government to buttress the executive, legislative, and judicial branches—the ecclesiastical. This branch will oversee all actions of the government to make sure that they are in line with the will of God. The head of this branch will be the person who is most keen to discern that will, most likely a Cardinal (someone who God “communicates” with, on matters such as who deserves to be pope). This branch will also supplement (maybe event supplant) departments such as Education, Science and Technology, Health, Treasury, and Public Works and Highways, through prayer. It will hire battalions of “prayer warriors” in lieu of civil servants, since prayer would be enough anyway.

Perhaps surprisingly, religious freedom will have a place in a Catholic nation. Albeit, this will be limited to the private sphere. The Church no longer has any teachings advocating hate against other religions. They have already apologized for their indefensible establishment of the Crusades and the Inquisition. The humanism of the Enlightenment has seen to it that even our historically cruel religious institutions will find the torture and sadism of their past unthinkable. However, religious tests will be required of all members of government to ensure that the nation maintains its course following the will of God. While citizens may be free to believe anything in private, to hold beliefs contrary to Catholicism, when Catholicism is true, is like believing that circles have corners. It’s just absurd. Given the fact of Catholicism, religious freedom would exist as the freedom to be ignorant or insane.

 

 

 

Judas' Cradle, one of the brutal eroticized torture methods used during the Spanish Inquisition

 

Needless to say, most changes in our legal system will revolve around sex, the favorite whipping boy of Catholicism. Of course, all kinds of pharmaceutical birth control will be outlawed. And, given their definition of human personhood as beginning at some vague point called “when the sperm meets the egg”, all miscarriages will need to be investigated whether foul play was involved. All terminated pregnancies, whether intentional or not, will require death certificates for the unborn. Reflecting the Church’s “pro-life” stance, in vitro fertilization (IVF) will be illegal, and those who participate in it will be accessories to murder (since IVF involves fertilizing multiple eggs and discarding some embryos). Sex outside marriage will be expressly forbidden and periodical hymen checks for the unmarried will help enforce this law. Unwed women who no longer have hymens as a result of strenuous activity (such as horseback riding) or due to congenital or medical reasons will require permits to walk around with their ungodly genitals.

Homosexuality, as a “disordered sexual inclination”, will obviously be regulated. LGBT persons will be sent to ineffective psychiatric care. While they may remain homosexual in orientation, they cannot engage in “homosexual activity,” which will be illegal. Anti-sodomy laws will be passed and those suspected of homosexual activity will be prosecuted.

Like here in our universe, child rapists who happen to be priests will continue to enjoy impunity from the Catholic Church. The worst punishment, if any, they will ever receive would be removal from Holy Orders.

Jails and prisons will continue to exist, and the Philippines might even serve as the Vatican’s prison system (like Italy). Convicts will be forced to undergo religious counseling in order to save their souls (which will include the Sacrament of Penance for baptized Catholics).

But what exactly would a Catholic legal system protect us from? While earthly laws might be used to protect citizens from physical or material harm, Catholic laws will be constructed to protect citizens from hellfire. Dying or temporal suffering is trifling when compared to eternal torture. It would only be rational to true believers of hell to frame all laws in this context. If an act will lead to the eternal damnation of a citizen, it will be forbidden. Since Catholicism is true and all religions are false, the Catholic government’s control over you will not end in death. It will merely be continued by the true celestial dictator in the afterlife.

To accept the rule of Catholicism means that we must surrender our so-called liberties in this life for salvation in the next. The only true freedom is the freedom to choose God’s will over that of our own. This is what gets the monastics through their ascetic lifestyles. This justifies the personal sacrifices of those in religious orders, not to mention the torture and execution of heretics in the past. What is a hundred years in agony and discomfort if it means eternity in bliss? What is the point of establishing peace on Earth if it lasts only in a world that is destined to boil in five billion years from a dying expanding star? The true point of life here is to prove ourselves for the next.

What I’ve painted here is fictional, though I assert that it is not very far from how our world would look if we take Catholicism to its logical conclusions. Because of the cherry-picking of cafeteria Catholics who largely comprise the country, we can be thankful that this vision is rather unlikely. The Roman Catholic Church is far from the monolithic bloc of devotees the CBCP likes to present. We do not live in this disgusting world because most people who identify as Catholics are unconvinced of the orthodox conservative Catholic lifestyle choice of the minority, which is so vastly disconnected from the reality of temporal suffering and tangible well-being.

However, it is only fair to point out that if indeed Catholicism is the right religion, this vision would not be so bad, since it would deter people from acts that would lead to eternal damnation. But it is irredeemably repulsive if heaven does not. This would mean that the sacrifices conservative Catholics force upon pregnant victims of rape and victims of child indoctrination are wasted on nothing. This would mean that we would have to actually build a lasting society here on Earth and stop worrying about what God thinks about our private thoughts.

We have but one life to live. If the conservative Catholics are right, the best way to spend this life is in strict conformity with the will of God. If they are wrong, as tens of thousands of incompatible religions necessarily assert, then the best way to waste your life would be to listen to them and avoid enjoying this life.

Image Credit: Weird Worm

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (104)

13 Comments that Put dboncan in My LGBT Spotlight


Dear dboncan,

Thank you for reading my article “Why LGBT people must get personal with the Catholic Church.” I read through the comments you made on the Filipino Freethinkers site and picked out 13 that I thought I could address immediately. The rest of your comments were clearly opinions that I know you will hold on to dearly so I will treat them with respect by setting them aside.

Let me be transparent with you. My objective for taking time and responding to you today is, at the most, to turn you into an ally, and at the least, to change some of your perceptions by giving you needed information.

Of course, this is only possible if both of us keep an open mind and remain calm and objective. So if, at any point, you show signs that you have closed your mind about the topic without hopes of turning you into an ally, or make personal remarks similar to your verbal attacks against the other commenters, then I will respectfully withdraw from the discussion.

Here goes.

 

Comment #1:

“Let’s see you are pissed because violence is done to them, well so am I. But the law protects everyone and if there is violence, are you telling me that the police won’t act on it just because the victim is homosexual?”

My response: Yes. There are several reported cases of police not enforcing the law because the victims or complainants were not heterosexual. There are even cases where police take advantage of the situation and harrass the complainant or extort money from them. If you need further information. I will refer you to the right organizations but I cannot post cases here because of confidentiality issues. The bottom line is, to say that “the law protects everyone” is only good on paper but it is not implemented in reality.

 

Comment #2:

Are you telling me that you want legislation that will penalize bullying of homosexuals… but what not weaklings, handicapped, etc… the bullying of homosexuals is because of the perception that they are weak.”

My response: Yes, we want that kind of legislation. But just because we cite examples of discrimination against LGBT people most of the time, it doesn’t mean we do not acknowledge the existence of discrimination against other vulnerable sectors. It only means that we are able to expound on these examples because they are closer to our daily experience. In the same manner, people with disabilities (PWDs) normally cite discrimination against PWDs but it doesn’t mean they don’t recognize the existence of discrimination against others, like, say, indigenous peoples. SB2814 is a bill that will give us, and other vulnerable sectors, that kind of protection.

“Legarda Hails Passage on Third Reading of Anti-Discrimination Bill” –http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2011/1122_legarda1.asp – accessed 2011-12-11

 

Comment #3:

“A comment above says he is pissed because he can’t hold hands in public without being looked at strangely, should we penalize staring behavior as well?”

My response: Please do not put words in my mouth. This is what I said:

“The truth is, the “Marxist mold” and the politics behind the LGBT movement are irrelevant to me when I can’t hold hands with my partner in public. To me, it is hardly political, it is personal.”

In the context of that paragraph, I did not say I was pissed, I did not say anything about being looked at strangely, and I did not demand penalizing staring behavior. All I did was illustrate my point that not everyone in the LGBT movement has a political agenda and not everything about LGBT activism is political. Sometimes, the discrimination we experience is very personal in nature and has little to do with the politics that Acosta was refering to in her presentation.

If you are referring to someone else’s comment, please post it here and I will gladly apologize for assuming I was the subject.

 

Comment #4:

“How can marriage be an absolute basic human right?”

My response: Because that’s what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says and as a member of the United Nations, the Philippine government has the obligation to protect, respect, promote, and fulfill this right as many countries have already done:

“Article 1. – All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

“Article 2. – Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

“Article 16. – (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” – http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml – accessed 2011-12-11

 

Comment #5:

“Can minors marry? why not if it is an absolute right? can mentally handicapped people marry? can humans opt to marry their pets?”

My response: These are all false analogies. Please refer to Article 16 Section 2 (above). You cannot get “free and full consent of the intending spouses” if your intending spouse is a minor, a pet, or mentally handicapped.

 

Comment #6:

“Some “rights” are not absolute some are.”

My response: This is simply incorrect. Being absolute is not a characteristic of human rights. Human rights are “Universal, Inalienable, Interdependent, Indivisible, Equal and Non-discriminatory”

“What are human rights?” – http://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx – accessed 2011-12-11

 

Comment #7:

“Tell me how the LGBT are sidelined politically? Has any LGBT been disallowed the right to suffrage or to run for public office, given a drivers license, cedula, taxed higher, refused enrollment in school or refuses police protection solely by their orientation?”

My response: Yes. Ladlad Party List was disallowed in 2009 to run for public office. They were eventually allowed to run when the Supreme Court ruled in their favor but the case is a clear example of discrimination in politics based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, the Supreme Court blasted the Commission on Elections for using the Bible and Quran in its decision. Here are the first two paragraphs of the Supreme Court’s ruling:

“Our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 5 that “[n]o law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” At bottom, what our nonestablishment clause calls for is “government neutrality in religious matters.”[24] Clearly, “governmental reliance on religious justification is inconsistent with this policy of neutrality.”[25]

We thus find that it was grave violation of the non-establishment clause for the COMELEC to utilize the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang Ladlad. Rather than relying on religious belief, the legitimacy of the Assailed Resolutions should depend, instead, on whether the COMELEC is able to advance some justification for its rulings beyond mere conformity to religious doctrine. Otherwise stated, government must act for secular purposes and in ways that have primarily secular effects.”

“G.R. No. 190582 – SC Decision on Ladlad vs Comelec” –http://icj.org/dwn/database/Ang%20Ladlad%20LGBT%20Party%20v.%20COMELEC.pdf – accessed 2011-12-11

People who live with partners of the same sex and raise a family are taxed higher because in the eyes of BIR, the tax status of both individuals is “single” and not “married with dependents.” But in reality, their expenses are comparable to expenses of heterosexual couples who enjoy tax benefits of being legally married.

We have documented cases of schools who conduct masculinity tests and reject students who fail this test. This discrimination also affects even heterosexuals who show signs of femininity.

 

Comment #8:

“I oppose this because its repercussions introduce a society where morality becomes relative to a persons preference and taste!”

My response: Morality has always been “relative to a persons preference and taste.” What is moral for a Christian might not be moral for a Muslim and vice versa. Thankfully, our government operates on the rules of law and not the rules of morality. As I’ve already mentioned above, the Supreme Court favored Ladlad Party List and struck down Comelec when it used morality as grounds to bar Ladlad party list from running for the 2010 elections.

Same-sex marriage is already legal in the following countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden

Can you explain the “repercussions” of same-sex marriage in these countries?

 

Comment #9:

“I oppose certain moves in granting homosexuals sweeping “rights” which should be rightly reserved for heterosexuals like marriage or adoption.”

My response: There are no rights that are “rightly reserved for heterosexuals” as this is clear violation of Article 2 of the universal declaration of human rights.

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”

 

Comment #10:

“it does not follow that just because someone is productive, they can also contribute to the growth of society in the sense of which i was referring to, i.e. propagate and raise children.”

My response: There are heterosexuals who are unable to propagate and there are heterosexuals who simply want to marry but do not plan on having children. Since they are unable to contribute to the growth of society in the sense that you are referring to, should they be disallowed to marry?

 

Comment #11:

“It falsely imparts to children that there is such a thing as a third sex when there isn’t.”

My Response: You are right. There is no third sex. There is a whole spectrum of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. And that is what children need to learn and understand.

 

Comment #12:

“It is a pretentious union with pretentious results.”

My response: I take offense in this statement. There is nothing pretentious about the celebration of two people being in love and committing their lives to each other. There is nothing pretentious about a person being able to claim inheritance benefits of their spouse, being a beneficiary to health insurance, visitation rights, etc. These results are very real and contribute to the well-being of a person. Please do not trivialize them by calling them pretentious.

 

Comment #13:

“cisgendered” seriously there is a term? the terms cis and trans used to be a chemical prefix and the word gender used to refer to parts of speech.” I am so amused, we get a chemical prefix and combine it with a reference to a part of speech and we have a sex that is somewhere in between male/female and homosexual.WOW!”

My response: Again, I take offense in your tone. All kinds of terms come up regularly in order to define human experience. Words like insulares, peninsulares, flips, chinks, jejemons, hipsters, dorks, nerds, squatters, kasambahay, whether with negative or positive connotations, were all coined because of the psycho-social need of certain sectors to create a group they can associate with or have an available term to refer to a sector of society. I highly doubt that international law experts, civil society groups, humanitarians, and diplomats said “WOW!” and were as “amused” as you were when they used these terms in drafting the Yogyakarta Principles and the UN resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Also, there is no “sex that is somewhere in between male/female and homosexual.” Both males and females can actually identify as homosexual, transgender, or cisgender. Once you understand the intricacies of these terms, you might be less amused and might find more respect for the people who self-identify with these terms. Here are a couple of sites that might help you understand the terms:

“Transgender, Genderqueer, Cisgender… What Do These Terms Mean?’ –http://kinseyconfidential.org/transgender-genderqueer-cisgender-terms/ – accessed 2011-12-11

“TRANS 101: CISGENDER” – http://www.basicrights.org/uncategorized/trans-101-cisgender/ – accessed 2011-12-11

 

So again, I hope you take the information seriously. If, as early as now, you’ve already made a decision that I will be unsuccessful in either or both of my two objectives, then feel free to ignore this.

Thank you for your time.

Ronald “Ron” de Vera (aka rondevera)

 

| Read more from the same writer here |

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LGBT Pride March 2011: Putting the ‘Fun’ back in ‘Fundie’ (Again!)


The LGBT Pride March is one of the happiest days of the year for me.

Last year’s march, when my boyfriend and I suited up as Buttman and his Ladyboy Wonder, was great. It was one of my first major events with the Filipino Freethinkers, and the first time I ever photobombed a fundie and made out in public. FF even won Best Theme that night, although what our theme actually was still remains a mystery, even to us. Whatever it was, it was rewarding enough to be part of the celebration and show our love for the LGBT community. And make out in public.

A year later and FF is still putting the ‘fun’ in ‘fundie.’ We had a solid theme this time around: No Bigots, No Closets. We wanted to express our support for the newly established yet increasingly influential Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, as well as the passage of the anti-discrimination bill. (As of this writing, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines wants the bill stripped of its gay rights provisions, which is downright stupid and incredibly infuriating.)

The team put together three closet costumes and named them Dogma, Authority, and Tradition, then had one FF-er march in each, acting out their discomfort and despair (which wasn’t that hard, since they were, you know, in a box). We also had our usual Bigot Bishops, and was also blessed with the presence of none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Once fundies were spotted on the route, these characters came a-runnin’ and made fresh batches of epic photobomb goodness. Good times all around.

 

The other groups had great gimmicks, too. A personal favorite were the brawny blushing brides of the Metropolitan Community Church of Quezon City (MCCQC). It was also the first time for our friends from Deaf Rainbow Philippines to participate, and even though they were few, I was happy to see them there.  I actually saw a lot of familiar faces from the 29 Steps event from a few months ago; it really goes to show that the LGBT community here is very tightly-knit and highly supportive of one another.

Rarely do I get to walk the streets of Manila surrounded by hordes of happy, fearless people. The march is really a party of the purest kind, where individuals, no matter how they define themselves, just come to have fun. Hopefully, in the near future, more and more folks — LGBTs and straight allies both — join in and allow this event to evolve into a far greater celebration of humanity than it already is.


Oh, and “Kiddie Kollege?” Seriously, people.

Photos c/o Michelle Keng, Garrick Bercero, and Troy Espiritu

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Filipino Psychologists Take A Stand Against LGBT Discrimination


On October 27, the Statement of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) on “Non-Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression” was made public on PAP’s website.

According to the website, PAP’s non-discrimination statement aims to “eliminate stigma, prejudice, discrimination and violence against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender)” people by supporting efforts to:

• oppose all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression;

• repeal discriminatory laws and policies, and support the passage of legislation at the local and national levels that protect the rights and promote the welfare of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions;

• eliminate all forms of prejudice and discrimination against LGBTs in teaching, research, psychological interventions, assessment and other psychological programs;

• encourage psychological research that addresses the needs and concerns of LGBT Filipinos and their families and communities;

• disseminate and apply accurate and evidence-based information about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to design interventions that foster mental health and wellbeing of LGBT Filipinos.

By releasing this statement, the PAP joins the ranks of other mental health professional organizations around the world in affirming that “lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations are normal variants of human sexuality.” These organizations include the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, British Psychological Society, the Colombian Society of Psychology, Psychological Society of South Africa, the Australian Psychological Society, and the International Network on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns and Transgender Issues in Psychology, among others.

A Society of Tolerance not Acceptance

The statement includes a general list of how LGBT Filipinos still experience stigma, prejudice and discrimination in Philippine society such as “bullying, teasing and harassment of LGBT children and adolescents in families, schools and communities; media portrayal of LGBTs as frivolous, untrustworthy and even dangerous or predatory; denying transgender Filipinos entry into commercial establishments; pigeonholing LGBT Filipinos into particularly limited roles and occupations; or curtailing their rights to participate in the political sphere.”

In addition to these cases of discrimination, there have also been an increasing number of reported LGBT killings. According to The Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, a monitoring group that documents hate crimes in the Philippines, there have been more than 141 reported cases of LGBT people killed in the Philippines since 1996.

Long Journey

The release of this statement traces its roots all the way back to the beginning of 2011. In February, a PAP-certified clinical psychologist guested on the morning show Umagang Kay Ganda (Beautiful Morning) and stated on national TV that LGBT people can become straight and achieve a happy life by going through therapy.

According to Eric Julian Manalastas, an assistant professor of Psychology at the University of the Philippines – Diliman and a member of the PAP, this was a “misleading, inaccurate, and unethical statement.” It prompted him to write to PAP to ask the organization to take action on the matter. On October 8, the board of directors approved a statement that Manalastas drafted along with Prof. Jay Yacat, a professor from the same university.

The Real Work Begins

But the long journey doesn’t stop with the statement’s approval. “…when I saw it finally released on the official PAP mailing list and the website, I was thinking, wow now the work begins,” said Manalastas. He expects that out of the several commitments, the last one (disseminate and apply accurate and evidence-based information about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) will have an immediate effect on the lives of LGBT Filipinos. “I would like to see all Filipino psychologists know that diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity is a compelling reality of human life…and that they apply and share this knowledge when they teach students, do research, talk to the media, and deliver professional services like counseling and therapy,” he added.

Personal Connection

Manalastas said he got a lot of personal satisfaction when the statement was released. He holds a strong connection to the issue as he and Yacat personally worked on the statement together until its approval. Despite the long journey and the challenge posed by society, Manalastas seemed hopeful and shared that “though few compared to in other countries, Filipino psychologists are well-placed (in schools, universities, organizations, clinics, etc.) and have a good opportunity to impact directly on the well-being, self-esteem, and personal identity of LGBT and non-LGBT Filipinos.”

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Kissing and Coming (Out of the Closet) with the Filipino Freethinkers


Wait! What’s this? FF RH Advocacy Director Kenneth Keng and FF President Red Tani sharing a tender kiss? After all those months of putting up a front, claiming -4 on the Kinsey Scale and trying very hard not to pat each others’ asses, they’re ending up in a Public Display of Affection? How could this be? What environment could have led them to shed their fears and just admit to their raw, pulsing brahmance?

Answer: The 29 Steps for LGBT Human Rights festival, which was held last July 2 at the Quezon Memorial Circle’s People’s Hall. Presented by the Lesbian Activism Project (LeAP!) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the event aimed to promote awareness of the Yogyakarta Principles—a set of principles on the application of international human rights laws on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

There were film showings, musical performances, and several booths manned by pro-LGBT organizations, the Freethinkers included.

There was international human rights group Amnesty International Philippines, which recently voiced its support for the RH Bill

…the AIDS Society of the Philippines…

…STRAP, the fabulous Society of Transexual Women of the Philippines, and many other groups out to advocate gender equality and a prejudice-free society.

FF wanted a particularly interactive booth, and came up with the “Come Out for a Kiss or a Kiss” concept.

The idea was fairly simple: come out of a literal closet as absolutely anything you desire–gay, lesbian, straight, transgender, Belieber, atheist, hipster, human–and after being cheered on and getting your picture taken with your Coming Out Certificate, you have the choice between a chocolate kiss, or a kiss from one of the Freethinkers.

For instance, cheery Ging and Chris came out as Trans-Men…

…and got to kiss FF’s LGBT Advocacy Director Beatriz Torre!

Transgender beauty Magdalena came out as a Gender Non-Conformist…

…and got to kiss Kenneth. (As it turned out, Kenneth was a particularly popular choice, and would receive quite a few more kisses as the day went on.)

There were several participants who came out in pairs, like lovely lesbian couple Jam and Joey…

…bewitching singer Tao Aves and her partner AK, who came out as Mrs. Tao…

…and super-sexy sisters James and Angel from STRAP, who came out as Transexual Dyosas.

It was also great to have many participants from Deaf Rainbow Philippines (DRP), such as DRP’s President Bibo, who came out as a Beauty Queen…

…and Cutz, who came out as an Adventurer.

Suffice it to say that lot of people got very creative with their certificates. Aldrin, for instance, came out as a Freesexual.

While JM came out as Fabulous, Teng went for specificity and came out as an Ali-Top-Top!

Cy came out as a Bear Lover (as opposed to, say, an Otter or Twink Lover)…

…while Reighben came out as a Bottom Lover! The booth, it seemed, served an excellent secondary purpose as a Want Ad.

Not to be outdone, Pepe came out as a Delicious Treat to the crowd’s libidinous screeching.

Jack was very particular about his spelling of “Duqueza.”

UP Psych Prof Eric did away with the lengthy psych jargon and came out as a Gay Nerd.

Lia came out as a Gold-Star Lezzie, which she explained was a lesbian who has never had sex with a man. You learn something new everyday!

Jeiel came out as a Hipstersexual, which we can only assume entails obscure sexual acts in underground bunkers to the strains of a shoegaze band.

Babs came out as Human. ‘Nuff said.

Taking a break from sucking face with strangers, Kenneth came out as a Token Christian.

Sexy Lexi from all-girl rock group General Luna went for simplicity and came out as Bi-Sexual…

…as opposed to Ena Terol, the event’s official photographer, who went by the name Optimus Prime and came out as a Lezbatron.

The event’s co-host and singer Maegan Aguilar professed to being Bilingual in Sex…

…while Elmo fetishist MJ came out as Queer.

However, there was one particular “out-ing,” so to speak, that led these boys to show their unbridled enthusiasm. What, pray tell, could have made these boys so motherfreaking happy?

This, of course!

STRAP Founder Sass and her friend Santy came out as Lipstick Lesbians…and how! If that’s not coming out, I don’t know what is.

The moment was such fun, in fact, that Santy decided to go for a second round. This time she came out as a Nudist and, well, we don’t blame her.

All those sexy silhouettes aside, both the 29 Steps for LGBT Human Rights festival and our Coming Out booth were a definite success. It was very awesome to see everyone taking great pride in who they were, blind to their differences and working together for a Philippines free of bigotry. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.

I’ll leave you now with a chance photograph of the G-mik Barkada circa 2011. The Pajero in the background was paid for legally.

Did you come out of our booth and have your picture taken? Check out our FB photo album for your special shot! 

(Thanks to Garrick Bercero for the photos!)

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Hate Crimes: Definitions and a Call to Action


Over the past few months, the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch has compiled records and reports of the violent deaths of LGBT Filipinos from 1996 to the present. As we continue to share these data with fellow LGBT activists and human rights advocates, we have encountered recurring questions, including: How do we know if these acts are hate crimes? What are hate crimes, anyway?

According to Preventing and responding to hate crimes,1a publication from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, an act can be considered a “hate crime” if it (1) “constitutes an offence under criminal law”; and if (2) “in committing the crime, the perpetrator acts on the basis of prejudice or bias.” Perpetrators of such crimes select their victims because of their negative opinions, intolerance or hatred towards the members of a social group on the basis of any of the following characteristics: race, ethnicity, language, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity or other status.

Hate crimes are also known as bias crimes. The U.S. Department of Justice Training Guide for Hate Crime Data Collection2underscores the role of bias in the following definition of hate crime: “a criminal offense committed against a person or property which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offenders’ bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual orientation.”

Stonewall UK’s publication, Homophobic hate crime: The Gay British Crime Survey 20083, presents yet another definition of hate crime taken from the UK’s Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). It is: “any hate incident, which constitutes a criminal offence, perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate.” The document further clarifies that “hate incident” is defined as “any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate.”

Unfortunately, our Pilipinas has neither official policies nor rigorous studies on the issue of hate crimes. Prejudice, bias, or hate towards any minority group (such as LGBT Filipinos, Indigenous Filipinos, Filipinos of Foreign Descent, Filipinos from non-major religions) are not at all considered when investigating crimes. The absence of an established mechanism in our country to prevent, identify, or resolve hate crimes does not mean they do not happen. It does mean that, if and when hate crimes happen to members of a minority group, the authorities do not recognize them and deal with them as such.

The alarming number of LGBT Filipinos who have been killed in recent years is strongly indicative that hate crimes may indeed be happening. As of this year alone, twenty-eight LGBT Filipinos have been murdered. Twenty-nine were reported to have been murdered last year. Looking at available reports for the past twenty-five years, we found that 103 LGBT Filipinos have been murdered from 1996 to the present.

The brutalities done to the murdered LGBT Filipinos also suggest that they were victims of hate crime. Thirty-six of the victims were stabbed multiple times. Six were tortured before they were killed. Others were raped, or killed with a blunt object, or suffocated, or dismembered, or burned alive.

It is important to note that hate crimes are not limited to murder. There may be an even greater number of crimes—theft, assault, rape–committed against members of minority groups because of the prejudice, bias, or hate against them.

Now is the time to uncover the truth. We call on our government to conduct a national inquiry on crimes involving victims who were known or perceived to be a member of a minority group, and to investigate the possibility that these crimes were motivated by prejudice.

The Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch is thankful to all its members, advisers, and supporters. We are also grateful for Rep. Teddy Casino’s call for a congressional inquiry on the murders recorded in the Watch’s database. That is a start.

But for this advocacy to succeed, we call on all elected officials,  individuals, advocates, and organizations who value human rights above all. People who will do all they can to protect, promote, and fulfill eveyone’s human rights without prejudice, bias, or hate against any sector or group. Despite all that divides us, we must unite so that all of us will live and grow in liberty, equality, and justice.

There is hope that the nature, occurrence, perpetrators, and targets of hate crimes in the Philippines will be better understood. Greater hope still that marginalized and stigmatized sectors of Philippine society will be protected and given justice when victimized. And this hope may come to fruition if all of us work together.

You may download resource materials on hate crime and human rights from this link:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=11a3f2713fdfa524&resid=11A3F2713FDFA524%21119


[1] Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. (2009). Preventing and responding to hate crimes: A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region. Retrieved from http://www.osce.org/odihr/39821

[2] U.S. Department of Justice. (1996). Training guide for hate crime data collection. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/trainguidedc99.pdf

[3] Dick, S. (2008). Homophobic hate crime: The Gay British crime survey. Retrieved from http://www.stonewall.org.uk/documents/homophobic_hate_crime__final_report.pdf

 

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