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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Hidden Lives: Violence Against LGBTQ+

Filipinos may think of themselves as progressive thinkers and open to changes but when it comes to LGBTQ+, majority are still silent about it. Maybe we can attribute it to our conventional approach to how we live our life and having a boxed archetype of a man and a woman. 

It has been said that the Filipinos have openly accepted the LGBTQ+, but I don't believe that. In my family alone, I have relatives who belong to the LGBTQ+ community but we are not permitted to talk about it. There are also instances when my nephew was mercilessly teased by his male cousins about being "bakla." Then there's a female cousin who caused scandal by running away with a "tomboy," I think her mom even called in a priest to have her exorcised. Yes, my relatives (especially those in the province are strict Catholics).

Last December 10, Ms. Karen Davila hosted a FamiLigtas that focused on Violence Against LGBTQ+ People in Families and Communities. 

I guess the topic is also timely since we are still in the midst of pandemic and quarantine restrictions. Even without having an LGBTQ+ family member, it is already quite emotionally stressful for most of us since we haven't been going out of our homes since the community lockdown last March. Cases of domestic violence have risen and this is also true with those with LGBTQ+ family member. 

Let us admit, not all of us think the same when it comes to accepting an LGBTQ+, much more if it is a family member. There are instances when parents disagree about a son being a "bakla" or a daughter being a "tomboy." Most often, it is the mother who is openly accepting but when it comes to the father, there's usually a violent approach to make the child conform to what is normal. 

Aside from being criticized, ridiculed, physically abused at home, the LGBTQ+ person is also not safe outside his/her home. There are cases when a group of people will gang-up on a "bakla" or worse case scenario, rape a "tomboy." LGBTQ+ people are really discriminated even in schools and in the workplace. 

About a decade ago, we have an LGBTQ+ messenger in the office. Then she moved back to her province because of her ailing mother. A few months afterwards, she posted on her Facebook her bruised face. It was frightening to know that she was raped inside her own home by neighbors. She deactivated her Facebook after that post who I don't have any idea on what happened afterwards. Did she call in the police and have the neighbors arrested? - are just some of the questions running in my mind.

One of the panelist in FamiLigtas is Mommy Vie who happens to have not just one, but two kids who are LGBTQ+. But is is cool about it, instead of treating her kids are different, she has embraced that imperfection with love because according to her, she can't expect other people to accept her kids are LGBTQ+ if she herself won't do it for them.

"We don't need special rights, you don't need to treat us differently. Just treat us with equal respect."

In line with this FamiLigtas Violence Against LGBTQ+ People in Families and Communities discussion is about the SOGIE Equality Bill which was recently approved by a panel in the Senate of the Philippines. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality Bill (SOGIE) also known as the Anti-discrimination Bill. 

Senate Bill #1934 was passed by the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality which was chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros. This Bill aims to protect those who belong to the LGBTQ+ from discrimination especially those who are applying for jobs, protection from those who discriminate them in schools and community, etc.


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