Thursday, June 28, 2012

UP PRIDE WEEK : Rainbow Rights Statement


Rainbow Rights Project, Inc. (R-Rights) fully supports the UP Pride Week 2012 call for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) and LGBTQ-friendly policies in the student handbook of University of the Philippines (UP).

In 2011, UNESCO, education ministries from around the world, and other stakeholders released the Rio Statement on Homophobic Bullying and Education for All where they called for “all governments to live up to their responsibility to provide universal access to a high quality education by eliminating the barriers created by homophobia and transphobia, including the unacceptable and devastating prevalence of anti-LGBT bias and violence in elementary, secondary, and tertiary schools.”1 As the premier state university of the country, UP is lauded for the high quality of education it provides.

However, for as long as the safety, well-being, and education of LGBTQ students and staff are undermined because of SOGI-based discriminatory acts, UP falls alarmingly short of the expectations set by this acclaim.

Due to the persistent link between anti-LGBTQ “bullying and bias – including lack of access to accurate information regarding health, sexuality and other aspects of the curriculum – and negative social, educational and health outcomes, including increased vulnerability to HIV, mental health consequences and suicide”2 the universal right to education is endangered if these systemic discriminatory acts and stigmas against LGBTQ students and staff remain unaddressed in an educational institution.

Recognizing the lack of university policies to guard against the dangers of anti-LGBTQ bias and bullying, Rainbow Rights Project is one with the UP Pride attendees and supporters in urgently calling for the formation, inclusion, and enforcement of SOGI-sensitive and LGBTQ-friendly policies in the University of the Philippines' student handbook.

Let us establish safe and inclusive learning environments for the UP LGBTQ community!

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