Friday, January 22, 2010

Babaylan at Kapihan

January 22, 2010

by Mae Emmanuel Hernandez

Indeed, LGBT rights are human rights. UP Babaylan, the premier LGBT student support organization, was invited to participate in Kapihan on Human Rights at the Ateneo Professional Schools in Rockwell Center, Makati City last January 12. The event was organized by the Philippine Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism. It is a two-part forum series that focuses on human rights issues that affect each sector of the society. The Kapihan was the first of the forum series.

The objective of the event was to convene all sectors of the society and discuss every sector’s issues and concerns. These were integrated and documented as a civil society input to be presented at the second part of the forum series. The second forum will invite the presidential hopefuls and the participants of the Kapihan to further discuss the issues.

As one of the participants, I was able to share some ideas and concerns that I seemed necessary and needed urgent attention. I was also given the opportunity to present it to the entire forum. Below is the summary of the pertinent issues that we came up for the LGBT sector:

General Issues
- Discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation;

- Violence (hate crimes)

- Homophobic and Transphobic society

- Non-recognition of rights (marginalized groups)

- Education and awareness

Prioritized Issues
- the passage of Anti-Discrimination Bill

- adoption of the Yogyakarta Principles

Present Situation
- COMELEC rejected Ang Ladlad as party-list rep.

- pending bills that are anti-LGBT

- masculinity/femininity test in schools

- court cases on transgender issues

- LGBT sensitivity training for all LGUs/gov’t. agencies

- inclusion of LGBT topics in existing modules/mechanism

- more legal actions/legislative measures

- passage of ADB

- mainstreaming of Yogyakarta principles

- employment opportunities for LGBT people in media

The Kapihan forum opens doors for all the marginalized sectors of the society to air their views and needs and to recognize their rights as citizens. Being the LGBT community, it is our duty to fight for what is for us and to fight for the life we truly deserve. Thus, it is the government’s responsibility that all rights of human beings, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, are ensured and protected.
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