In September of 2013, when I was more of an ‘activist’, I took part in the Advocacy Forum and Community Consultation for the Anti-Discrimination Bill. I attended as one of the community organisers of PinoyFTM, and was honestly filled with a lot of zeal about this all. At that point in time, I remember feeling hopeful, galvanized and determined. How could I have not? The community had been working so hard the past year to make great strides in education and activism!
The ADB (which was first drafted in 1998) was already long overdue and at the time. Young me thought: This is the time. We can do this. 2013 will be the year that the Philippines might at least concede the idea that LGBT people are not second class citizens and deserve the right not to be discriminated against. Sadly, we know how that turned out.
Fast forward to today.
If in the past, the fear was that you’d have so many friends who don’t even care to think about the fact that it is perfectly legal to discriminate against you, today, due to the issue getting more and more mainstream attention, what you have to contend with is an even worse heartache: the “I love my LGBT friends but…”s.
Twenty years later, we get another attempt with the SOGIE Equality Bill and the Philippines still can’t say “You deserve to not be treated like you are lesser.”
In 2019, you’ll have these homophobes and transphobes, under the guise of progressives saying “I respect you, but…” while touting out the same tired arguments I’ve been hearing since I was a teenager. I often try to sugarcoat the reason I left the PH, but the real reason has always been: I’m tired.
I am fed up with trying to ignore the fact that a majority of this country think I and people like me don’t deserve equal rights. I don’t want to constantly be reminded that my socioeconomic privileges are the only thing preventing me from sometimes suffering the same levels of discrimination as many of my LGBT brothers and sisters. I don’t want to have to grit and bear through all the small things cishets take for granted.
To anyone who dares say “I love/respect LGBT people but don’t think we should pass the SOGIE equality bill.”, you need to understand this: You do not love or respect them.
Saying you’re against the bill says:
You don’t care if LGBT people are denied jobs.
You don’t care if LGBT people are denied shelter and services.
You don’t care if LGBT people experience harassment and discrimination.
You don’t care if LGBT people suffer violence just for being who they are.
You don’t get the right to decide if we deserve equality.
I don’t know what kind of love and respect you were taught, but if that’s what those words mean to you, I don’t want it.