Northern city in the Philippines passes local law banning discrimination against LGBT people
Local authorities in Angeles, a city north of Manila in the Philippines, passed a historic law yesterday that bans discrimination against LGBT residents.
‘I want Angeles City to be the most sensitive city and local government in the Philippines to gender equality and gay rights,’said Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan in 2011.
With the support of four other city councillors, Mayor Pamintuan passed the Anti Discrimination Ordinance (Prohibiting Any Acts of Discrimination within the City of Angeles on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) yesterday, after years of lobbying from local LGBT rights groups including the United Gay Power Movement (UGPM).
The passing of the law gives LGBT rights campaigners hope that a national Anti-Discrimination Bill, which has stalled in Congress for 13 years, may be passed.
The congressman who filed the bill, Teddy Casiño, is standing for election to the Senate this year. If he wins a seat he can help pass the law. Progay Philippines’ Jomar Amores said Casiño presence in the upper house ‘can boost the chances of the bill’s passage against opposition from conservative groups’.
The Anti-Discrimination Bill is the main priority of Ladlad, the world’s only political party solely dedicated to LGBT issues, who are standing for Congress in May’s election.
In an interview with Gay Star News last November, Ladlad’s congressional nominee Bemz Benedito said that every day they receive three to five complaints from LGBT people sharing their experiences of discrimination by educational institutions, employers or in public.
Benedito said she is standing for election because of her frustration at being powerless to do fight against the discrimination, because there is no law that says it is wrong to deny a person services because of their sexual orientation, for example.
BY ANNA LEACH
by© Anthony Venn-Brown
Shakespeare said “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” but in the ex-gay/conversion therapy world it’s all about semantics. I’m sorry honey, you may call it ‘unwanted same sex attraction’ but let’s call a spade a spade; YOU’RE GAY!
Whilst the fundamental beliefs (homosexuality is a flawed, unnatural human experience, a choice, a sin, and it can be changed) remain the same, many things within the ex-gay world have changed over the last four decades since its formal existence (Exodus founded 1976). The most dramatic of these being the recent rejection of the reparative therapy model.
Why the change in terminology?
Secondly, using the phrase ‘same sex attraction’ was a way of distancing themselves from the term ‘same sex orientation’ that was becoming popular in academia. A sexual orientation (same, opposite or bi) is far more fundamental/innate than an attraction. Having unwanted same sex attractions could be perceived as being more about feelings, thoughts or emotions than behaviour or who you are oriented to fall in love with. The term same sex attraction is often used in academia these days, particularly with youth. The acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) had a Q added to it. This often referred to the inclusive word ‘queer’ but was also used for ‘questioning’, meaning young people still trying to sort out their identity and not able or willing to take on a gay or lesbian identity at their stage in life.
Thirdly, an ex-gay philosophy often promoted is ‘no one is gay, deep down inside we are all heterosexual. You have attractions to the same sex because you are broken‘ Using the term ‘same sex attractions’ once again is an attempt to distance themselves from the reality of their true orientation. I cover that in more detail here. Acronyms like SSA or USAA are used to sound clinical, likean illness such as MS or PTSD. People with ‘unwanted same sex attraction will do anything to not adopt a gay identity, so acronyms like SSA or USSA is another way of doing that. Heterosexuals don’t walk around talking about their OSA or there unwanted opposite sex attraction.
Why is the same sex attraction ‘unwanted’?
- If you are locked in a Christian culture that is ignorant about sexual orientation then it is most likely ‘unwanted’.
- If you have heard ill-informed sermons or messages that Sodom and Gomorrah were full of homosexuals and that God condemns it, then it would be ‘unwanted’.
- If you think that the acceptance or rejection of your sexual orientation has eternal consequences (heaven or hell) then it would be ‘unwanted’.
- If you think that coming out or accepting your same sex orientation will mean your family, friends or church would reject you it would be ‘unwanted’.
- If you have only heard ‘stories’ about people who have ‘overcome’ their unwanted same sex attractions and are now married with children then it would be ‘unwanted’.
- If you have never met a well adjusted, fulfilled gay man or women or never heard anything positive about the LGBT community then it would be ‘unwanted’
Sponsored by Hon Cyd Ho Sau-lan
Conducted by HKU Public Opinion Programme
7 November 2012
|Table 9 [Q2] Do you think the public generally discriminates against people with different sexual orientation. If there is, what level of discrimination is it?|
|Frequency||% (Base figure=632)|
|A little bit||261||41.2%|
|Not at all||105||16.5%|
|Don’t know /hard to say||49||7.7%|
- 75.8% thinks there is discrimination against people with different sexual orientation.
|Table 11 [Q5] Regardless of whether there is the law or not, do you think there should be a law to protect people with different sexual orientation against discrimination?|
|Frequency||% (Base figure=503)|
- 75.2% think there should be a law to protect people with different sexual orientation against discrimination.
Hong Kong LGBT Climate Study 2011-12
Commissioned by Community Business
Conducted by HKU Public Opinion Programme
Sponsored by Barclays
- 85% of the Hong Kong working population say there is a need for greater inclusiveness on the subject of sexual orientation and gender identity in Hong Kong.
- This is a marked increase from the Government Survey (2005-06) where 54% said that the Hong Kong community should ensure equal opportunities for LGB individuals.
- 59% of the Hong Kong working population believe it is the responsibility of the Government (80% of the working population say companies should take proactive steps to ensure LGBT employees are treated fairly in the workplace).
Equal Opportunities Awareness Survey
Commissioned by the Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission
Conducted by Marcado Solutions Associates Ltd
17 January 2013
(Conclusion and Recommendations, 22f)
It reveals that in the past year, 6% of the general public have experienced incidents of discrimination, harassment or vilification which mainly occur in the workplace environment. Among them, discriminatory incidents on the grounds of age and sexual orientation are not within EOC’s ambit. To combat the discrimination, over 60% of the general public and the users have viewed the importance of introducing legislation in these two areas. Therefore, in response to areas of anti-discrimination work the public expect the EOC to move onto, EOC is suggested to undertake research studies on introducing the legislation against discrimination on the grounds of age and sexual orientation.
(Under Conclusion and Recommendations, 22g)
Legislation of anti-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation has been debated for many years in Hong Kong. To tackle the issue, the Government has launched public education campaigns to confront sexual orientation discrimination, issued non-binding declarations against sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, and established the Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Unit in handling complaints of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
However, both the general public and EOC users in this survey perceive that public concerns about people of different sexual orientation in receiving EO are inadequate, and the introduction of legislation against sexual orientation discrimination appears as a forthcoming EO issue of priority. In this respect, the Government might need to get an overhaul of its existing policies against sexual orientation discrimination, and furthermore, launch comprehensive consultation processes in order to measure public opinions on legislation to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Should the government conduct consultation on anti-discrimination sexual orientation laws?
贊成諮詢 For 58%
反對諮詢 Against 29%
無所謂 Neutral 13%
South China Morning Post
SCMP website poll
14 January 2013
Can religious freedom and anti-sexual discrimination law co-exist in Hong Kong?
Legislation banning prejudice against sexual minorities should not neglect the unique needs of transsexuals, activists say.
There has been a growing clamour this year for a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. It reached a peak when lawmakers voted down a motion last month, calling for public consultation on the issue.
But the momentum for action remains strong, with activists now lobbying for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to give a timetable for legislation in his maiden policy address on January 16.
A dozen groups championing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights will hand-deliver a letter with this message to the Executive Council this week. An online petition has so far collected 882 signatures.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen told a November 19 Legislative Council meeting that the government was “open-minded” about a law, and the chief executive would “give more details” at his policy address.
But while public discussions focus on homosexuals and bisexuals, the struggles of transgendered and transsexual people have been neglected. “People talk about LGBT, but they often forget about the T,” said Mimi Wong, 58, a man who had surgery to become a woman.
Reggie Ho Lai-kit, chairman of Pink Alliance, a network of LGBT groups, agrees not enough attention is given to transsexuals and transgendered people.
Transgendered people are those who do not conform to the sex to which they were assigned at birth, while transsexuals refers to people who undergo gender reassignment surgery. The Transgender Resource Centre estimates there are 200 to 300 transsexuals and 10,000 transgendered people in Hong Kong.
“Who you want to be with does not make you who you are,” said Ho, emphasising that transsexuals want to live in their choice of gender, while it is a matter of sexual orientation with homosexuals and bisexuals.
Transgendered people also faced prejudice from homosexuals, said Ho. He raised an example of a woman who was born a man and had surgery to become a woman. She remained married, which made her a lesbian.
“Some gays and lesbians questioned why she would do that, when she could have remained in a straight relationship to avoid discrimination,” said Ho. “That counts as prejudice. Even gays and lesbians sometimes think within the gender stereotypes society drills into us.”
She also referred to the legal challenge of a transsexual woman, identified as “W” in court.
W was born male, underwent surgery to become female, and had her identity card changed to reflect her gender. But the Registrar of Marriages told her that only a person’s gender at birth counts for the purposes of marriage, and that a union between people of the same biological sex cannot be celebrated.
The challenge by W, represented by human rights lawyer Michael Vidler, will reach the Court of Final Appeal in April after it was rejected in the lower courts.