By Gabriela Baron
Transwoman Gretchen Diez and Lagablab (Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network-Philippines) spokesperson Naomi Fontanoshave appealed anew to senators to pass the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Bill.
“Without SOGIE equality bill, we are being confined to certain industries. There are companies that we cannot enter, prohibit us from entering specific careers,” Diez said.
“Ramon Magsaysay once said, ‘Those who have less in life should have more in law’.And members of the LGBT community in the Philippines have so much less in life because we have experienced discrimination and violence… We deserve equality under the law,” said Fontanos in an interview with CNN.
There are some who get displaced from their jobs for simply expressing themselves, Fontanos added.
Diez, on the other hand, said creating a safer place for the LGBT community will “strengthen the fabric of democracy.”
“It’s not about being special, it’s about being equal. If you let the community feel like they are free to pursue their dreams, to pursue their careers, to pursue education, then that gives us a happier society, and a happier society means a more productive society which would eradicate our basic problems.”
Without elaborating, she added that the passage of the SOGIE Bill would also reduce substance abuse cases and HIV cases.
The bill would also protect the poor and the middle-class members of the LGBT community.
“Mas maraming Pilipino ang mahihirap at nasa middle class na kailangan ng proteksyon na hindi nakukuha. Kahit ‘yong mga mayayaman na LGBTIQ na Pilipino and in position of privilege or power, nakakaranas pa rin silang diskriminasyon at karahasan,” Fontanos said.
(There are a lot of poor and middle-class members of the LGBT community who need the protection they are deprived of. Even those who are rich, powerful, and privileged LGBTIQ members also experience violence and discrimination.)