SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
In line with its legislative efforts to end intolerance, discrimination, and oppression against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons and other persons with Diverse Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE), the House of Representatives approved on second reading House Bill 9094 seeking to declare May 17 of every year as the "National Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia."
HB 9094, primarily authored by Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Party-list, BAYAN MUNA) and Rep. John Marvin "Yul Servo" Nieto (3rd Distrct, Manila), seeks to promote public consciousness about the rights of LGBTs and other persons with diverse SOGIE and end the violence, discrimination, and hate that they face.
In accordance with the observance of the International Day Against Transphobia and Homophobia, the "National Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Other Phobias on Persons with Diverse SOGIE" shall be commemorated May 17 of every year in recognition of LGBT rights in the country, the bill provides.
All government offices, private institutions, schools, colleges, and universities are encouraged to extend full support for exercises and activities in the observance, promotion, and protection of LGBT rights, particularly through a massive multimedia information campaign.
In their explanatory notes, Zarate and Nieto pointed out that much still needs to be done for LGBTs in the country to achieve full legal and social equality for them. People who do not conform to socially prescribed sexual and gender codes continue to be targets of stigma, discrimination, and violence.
According to them, many are refused employment, and the use of public facilities or health care services, among others, because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
There have also been increasing reports of violent crimes perpetrated against LGBTs.
According to Hate Crime Watch, which monitors media reports on rights violations against LGBTs, there have been 54 reported cases of killings against gays and lesbians documented in media since 1996. But it is the undocumented cases outside media coverage which are estimated to be much greater, according to the authors.
The bill acknowledges the reality of homophobia and discrimination.
It hopes to provide more opportunities to discuss and search for solutions to the problems confronted by our fellow human beings. | Czarina Engracia