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.
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A message to all of our PLHIV brothers and sisters. ❤ A message from #RiseAsOnePh, an online concert for HIV and CoVid19 prevention. @loveyourself.ph If you are in need of services related to HIV, head to my IG Story Highlight to see all listed Primary Care Facilities across the Philippines. 🇵🇭 You are not alone in this. No one will be left behind for we are all in this together. 💛
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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.
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Care to participate in this survey (link in bio)? It only takes 10 minutes. This will help the IATT gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 is affecting your communities. More details below. @unaids_ap The Interagency Task Team (IATT) on Young Key Populations (YKPs) in Asia and the Pacific is conducting a survey on young key populations’ needs during the COVID-19 Pandemic to assess information needs, medication on hand and ability to access HIV services and support networks among young key populations and young people living with HIV from Asia and the Pacific region during COVID-19 pandemic. Pag sinagutan nyo po itong survey na ito, matutulungan nyo po yung IATT na mas maintindihan kung ano ang mga pangangailan ng mga PLHIV lalo na ngayon sa panahon ng COVID-19. Makakatulong ang pag sagot ng survey para mas maintindihan ng IATT kung pano mas mapabuti ang pag bigay suporta sa mga kababayan nating may PLHIV.
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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.