May 17, yesterday, was International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. It might not have gotten enough attention due to the coronavirus pandemic hounding us all, but its a sensitive issue that we should talk about. All homosexuals one way or another have received some sort of shaming. What’s worse is even within the gay community, discrimination exists.
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement in support of May 17, noting that this year’s observation comes “at a time of great challenge“. “Among the many severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increased vulnerability of LGBTI people,” he said.
“Already facing bias, attacks, and murder simply for who they are or whom they love, many LGBTI people are experiencing heightened stigma as a result of the virus, as well as new obstacles when seeking health care,” Guterres added.
Right now, it’s a tremendous challenge especially for the members of the gay community who are living with HIV/AIDS. We could only imagine how difficult it can be at this time since they are immune-compromised. The ECQ has also restricted them to visit their centers and may not have access to their medicines. So, it’s not just the discrimination that the LGBTQIA is facing but the fear of survival as well. HIV advocates such as Catriona Gray and Pia Wurtzbach haven’t wavered in their support.
Many Filipinos in general, have become more tolerating, if not at all accepting. We are a gay-friendly country, with many people supporting gay causes. Numerous celebrities even have legions of fans and have become so influential like Vice Ganda and Tito Boy Abunda. Gay lingo has even become a popular dialect that even heterosexuals have become versed in using. Yet, there are still numerous incidents of discrimination the 3rd sex has been experiencing.
We Need a Law
People who experience discrimination go through emotional torment. They are ridiculed, intimidated, and even physically abused. Having to go through that can lead to depression and other mental health conditions. Dealing with it can cause so much emotional distress, anxiety, and even suicide. These are some of the reasons why it shouldn’t be taken so lightly and is a pressing matter that needs to be addressed.
The country has yet to pass a law that will address discrimination against LGBTQ+ members. An anti-discrimination bill, popularly known as SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression) Equality Bill, failed to hurdle the 17th Congress. Legally, it goes to show that we’re still so conservative about it and certain groups are less enthusiastic about it.
It’s still an enigma though why hasn’t it progressed if it merely tackles basic human rights such as equality? Some people still hate and even look down at them. But they should never be condemned, rather should be protected. We should all respect human dignity and discrimination must be stopped at all cost.
Had SOGIE BILL been passed, it could have been historic, a feat that the people in the community have been aiming for. Having it filed in Congress though is a huge step, a progress that could have been impossible in a Catholic country.
As of now, we’re thankful that more people have become tolerant of the Gay Community. We hope to see the day that the narrative will change and that the RAINBOW will shine when the community becomes a protected class. When it sees the day of light, no one will dare to discriminate against them, and it will be a breakthrough.
Arthur Tolentino is a creative who has diverse interests from creative writing to hairstyling and pageant coaching. Being passionate that he is, he loves pop culture and loves to talk about anything and everything under the sun.