Paint your town pink
Going by the experience of Quezon City, where a proposed ordinance that sought to establish ‘toilets for the third sex’ was transformed into an ordinance to ban discrimination against homosexuals in employment, lobbying for LGBT rights at the local level has its advantages. For one, thanks to the Local Government Code, there is more space for community organizations to engage their local governments. Groups that oppose lesbian and gay rights also tend to focus on national institutions and ignore what’s happening at the local level. While the law generally provides a ceiling to the penalty that local governments may impose, having anti-discrimination ordinances can help push for a national legislation against discrimination.
So go paint your municipality, city or province pink. Talk to your councilors and urge them to file a proposed ordinance to penalize discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders at the local level. Ask them to author a resolution to support the Anti-Discrimination Bill in Congress, too. Use the hearings to articulate your issues, (re)claim your human rights, and demand for actions.
Click here for a copy of a draft anti-discrimination ordinance. Don’t forget to push for a local resolution, too, in support of the Anti-Discrimination Bill in Congress. In case you need our help, you know where to contact us.
Have fun, but be safe.
Based on the growing reports of physical assault committed against gay and bi-sexual men in country, we wish to remind the community to be generally cautious in going to areas where their safety might be compromised. Be it in bars or in streets, here’s some tips that we have compiled to help gay and bi-sexual men avoid danger.
Click here to download the document.
Discrimination is common. It happens within the family, in schools, and in the workplace. It happens everytime a father beats a gay son or a lesbian daugther to cure him or her of homosexuality. It happens in educational institutions in the form of ‘masculity tests.’
Discrimination is invisible. That’s exactly why despite the prevalence of discriminatory practices and policies against lesbians and gays, most Filipinos are glad to assume that homosexuality is widely accepted in the Philippines.
Discrimination remains unaddressed. Homosexual acts are not explicitly prohibited in Philippine laws and the country has signed numerous international agreements that protect basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. Equal protection is also enshrined in the Philippine Constitution. However, no laws protect lesbians and gays against discrimination.
Click here to learn more about discrimination.
Stop Discrimination Now!
Does criminalizing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity constitute granting “special rights” to Filipino lesbians and gays? Does it give the so-called “gay marriage” legal recognition?
The answer to both questions is no. Anti-discrimination legislation simply extends protection to the exercise and enjoyment of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms and it does not give lesbians and gays additional rights. It simply says that violations of basic human rights committed against lesbians and gays should be punished.
It is also not about same-sex marriage. Giving legal recognition to lesbian or gay partnerships requires a separate law. While the issue also refers to the right to form a family, something enshrined in our Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is a different subject altogether. Legislation follows the “one-law, one-subject” principle, and thus, it is wrong to assume that an anti-discrimination legislation would automatically make same-sex marriage “legal.”
To avoid misconceptions on the proposed Anti-Discrimination Bill and to understand why it is necessary and urgent, please read here.
How a Bill Becomes a Law
It’s no rocket science, but it can be very confusing.
To a large extent, representation within Congress remains limited and exclusive: the average representative is male, heterosexual, old and rich. However, there are enough ‘cracks’ in the institution that can be used to push for progressive laws and policies, especially after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship and the introduction of the party-list system.
Before one engages in lobbying, though, some preparations must be done. The first step is to get familiar with how the whole thing works. Here’s a quick guide on how a bill becomes a law.