By Mario Casayuran
Neophyte Senator Imee R. Marcos has sought to expand the list of punishable acts of discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay , Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community by filing Senate Bill 412 that also prescribes measures to preempt such acts.
Marcos said the incident of a transgender woman handcuffed by the police Tuesday after using a women’s toilet at the Farmer’s Market at the Araneta Center was “a blatant act of discrimination that defies Quezon City’s Gender-Fair Ordinance and makes me livid.’’
Marcos also pointed out the harassment of LGBT members by law enforcers will be a punishable offense in her Senate bill.
By prescribing gender-neutral toilets, as those specially assigned for persons with disabilities, the bill seeks to protect transgender women from public humiliation.
Among the punishable offenses against LGBT members that Marcos added to those in previous bills are: the refusal to admit a child in school due to a parent’s or guardian’s sexual orientation; preventing a child from exhibiting gender identity; denial of access to public services including military service; and exposing an LGBT member’s sexual orientation without prior consent.
If found guilty, offenders must pay a fine of not less than P100,000 or face one to six years in jail.
Although Filipinos are known to be tolerant towards LGBT members, hate crimes and unjust treatment in public venues like malls, restaurants, leisure establishments, schools, workplaces, and even within the family continue undeterred, Marcos said.
“We must establish the equal footing of LGBT members as Filipino citizens and as human beings,” Marcos said.
“LGBT members deserve the fullest measure of participation in society,’’ she added.