Press Statement on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

PRESS STATEMENT
17 May 2011

Reference:   Cristina Palabay, Tanggol Bayi Spokesperson (0917-5003879) 

On the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
WOMEN’S RIGHTS GROUP SAYS “LGBT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS”

With pride, Tanggol Bayi (Defend Women), an organization of women human rights defenders in the Philippines, stands together with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community all over the world in observing the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) today.

This date marks the removal of homosexuality from the World Health Organization’s list of mental disorders in its “International Classification of Diseases” in May 17, 1990. Since then, the IDAHO celebration has been an organized campaign world-wide which called on all governments to declare the day as an international day of remembrance for all those who were victims of hate and discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Recognizing LGBT rights as human rights, we condemn all forms of discrimination and violence practiced especially by the state against LGBTs. We join the chorus of voices in the country around the world for equality and the call to break free from the silence amidst threat of hate crimes and the multifarious forms of discrimination.

It is lamentable that such bigotry and prejudice still widely exist around the world as homophobia and transphobia, the irrational fear of homosexuals and transgenders, is deeply rooted in the predominantly patriarchal societies in capitalist countries or in neo-colonial states.

Recently, in Uganda, the state tries to legitimize discrimination against LGBTs through the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that broadens the criminalization of homosexuality in the country. In the Philippines itself, LGBT killings are becoming rampant in the past years and more or less ten cases of gay killings in the first quarter of the year. One is already too many. This month, 29-year old Carlos Canlas was found dead in General Santos City with multiple stab wounds in the face. According to Abante, almost ten teenagers were suspected of the killing due to robbery. Sadly, the government still has no clear laws to protect homosexuals from this discrimination but rather, tends to transform the society into a homophobic and transphobic individuals through their direct discrimination and indirect inaction. Until now, the Anti-Discrimination Act (HB 1483) authored by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino has yet to be debated on, while the sole LGBT Partylist “Ang LADLAD” was not permitted to participate in the elections for reasons of “immorality.”

We call on the Aquino government to immediately pass House Bill 1483 to define and to penalize discrimination against LGBTs. We vow to continuously work alongside our LGBT human rights defenders in upholding, protecting and defending human rights, as we build a genuinely free, just and democratic society.

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About Tanggol Bayi

Established in 2008, Tanggol Bayi is an association of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the Philippines. It is formed primarily for the recognition, advancement, and protection of the rights of women human rights defenders who are advocating for the realization of human rights.
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