Aside from being one of the speakers in the conference presenting regional and international mechanisms, Ging Cristobal, IGLHRC Project Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific Islands, attended the following meeting in her capacity as former executive director of LEAP, an organization promoting rights for lesbians and bisexual women in the Philippines, as well as IGLHRC’s liaison to the Filipino LGBT movement today
For years we, the lesbian, gay, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) groups in the Philippines, have always pushed forward the agenda of equality and respect from mainstream society and have been clamoring for due diligence from the government specifically for the passage of laws that will protect the rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
LGBT groups have held on to the promise and dream of every LGBT person in the Philippines: to live a life of dignity and respect, free from discrimination and violence.
Through the passion and commitment of LGBT groups to promote and protect LGBT rights, there has been significant progress in the different aspects of LGBT people’s lives in the Philippines. However, the dominant patriarchal and heterosexist ideologies that pervade the society, and the legal, cultural and religious taboos, that they have ingrained has made it more challenging for LGBT groups to fully realize the equality agenda.
Despite the growing tolerance towards LGBT people, acceptance is still yet to be achieved. LGBT persons in the Philippines still face violence and discrimination from the family, from civil society organizations, from medical and health institutions, in schools, in employment and from the government. We have been kicked out of our homes. We have been bullied at school. We have been denied basic privileges at work. We have been barred from establishments and ridiculed in public places. We have been denied the opportunity to participate in legislation. All these we experience because we do not conform to gender norms dictated by society, a society that is a witness to the worsening situation of violence against our ranks. Ours is a society that allows the media to perpetuate stereotypes. Ours is a society that doesn’t take seriously the rising number of hate crimes being reported – thereby tolerating impunity. But at the end of the day, this is still our society so we will demand of it what is rightfully ours.
We now come together to stop this oppression. We come together to remind our government that we, as a marginalized community, as guided by the Yogyakarta Principles, are protected by international treaties and conventions the Philippine government has ratified such as the OPICESCR, OPICCPR, CEDAW, CRC, and the Magna Carta of Women.
We demand from the government to protect and promote the human right of all people regardless of SOGI by:
• Passing laws that protect and promote the rights of LGBT people, particularly the anti-discrimination bill that has been languishing in Philippines Congress for the past eleven (11) years and other laws such as the Gender Recognition Law and Anti-hate Crime Law.
• Repealing anti-LGBT policies such as the Vagrancy Act, and reviewing and monitoring of application of ordinances and national laws used indiscriminately against LGBT people, such as anti-kidnapping and anti-trafficking laws.
We come together unified in our commitment to continue working for LGBT rights in the Philippines as guided by the Philippine National LGBT agenda that is comprised of the following strategies:
1. To do human rights research and documentation, particularly to hold documentation training and workshops, to research on violence and hate crime and consolidate researches in communities to come up with a documentation handbook and an annual Human Rights Status Report;
2. To provide services which include Spiritual, Health, Psycho-social support for the LGBT individuals and communities;
3. To conduct a comprehensive information campaign about SOGI to civil society, mainstream LGBT community, and LGBT groups;
4.To implement resource mobilization that would maintain the work and services of LGBT groups and the emergence of new groups doing LGBT human rights work;
5. To work on Community Organizing and Alliance building with LGBT groups and mainstream groups across the Philippines, in the region and international settings;
6. To continue Advocacy work, which includes legislative lobbying, passage of LGBT-related bills, ordinances and policies, review and/or repeal of laws that are used against LGBT people; and to establish a national LGBT database and network.
Full text of article available at link below –