By KIMBERLIE OLMAYA NGABIT-QUITASOL
Posted by Bulatlat.com
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community of Cordillera rallied behind Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, calling for the enactment of an anti-discrimination law.
Lesbians for National Democracy (Lesbond) and Progressive Organizations of Gays-Metro Baguio (Progay) recently called on all LGBTs in the Philippines to unite and lobby for the passage of House Bill 1483 entitled An Act Defining Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties Therefor.
Casiño, who was at the Benguet State University (BSU) for a forum on the education budget said it is about time that a law protecting the rights of LGBTs be passed. He explained that LGBTs are often discriminated upon therefore the need for a law to prohibit discrimination.
He further said the bill seeks to ensure that LGBTs enjoy equal rights to social services and treatment from government agencies. He admitted that while the enactment of the said bill will not end homophobia, he said that the passage of the bill would hasten the eradication of homophobia.
“The cultural aspect of discrimination against LGBTs is beyond legislation and needs a longer period. We should go beyond established biases whether religious or cultural and accept LGBTs,” he added.
Casiño said the bill is not yet discussed in the house committee on human rights. He called on the LGBTs in the country to lobby for support from their district representatives to rally wider support and ensure the passage of the bill
William Villacampa, secretary general of Progay-Metro Baguio disclosed that they have already launched a signature campaign in support of the said bill. He said his group is already circulating an online petition with the name “One Love, One Call, Human Rights for All posted at www.progay.multiply.com.
Villacampa called on LGBTs, their friends and family and all rights advocates to support their online campaign. He added that the site provides easy instructions on how to participate in the said campaign.
Lesbond spokeswoman Cye Reyes said the passage of the bill will surely benefit all LGBTs in the country. She said discrimination spells a living hell for lesbian workers in the farms and factories in the Cordillera region.
“Tomboys are recruited for brute masculine strength, yet the capitalists insist on paying us wages they pegged for feminine load work,” said Reyes.
According to Reyes, the passage of the bill would mean LGBTs would enjoy equal rights to education, employment, health services and other social services.