‘Protect LGBT+ children and youth,’ urges child rights group

Published June 29, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A child rights group on Monday called on parents, guardians, the general public, and the national and local government to defend and protect children regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

(Save the Children Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
(Save the Children Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Save the Children Philippines (SCP) Chief Executive Officer Atty. Alberto Muyot said that stronger support and protection should given to LGBT+ children and youth who are “deprived of their rights because of their sexual orientation and gender identity such as access to health services, education, and work opportunities.”

“These vulnerabilities are even exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as they face higher risks of physical and sexual violence, bullying, ridicule, stigma and social exclusion,” Muyot, a former Undersecretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), said.

Muyot also emphasized that children and young people have the right to “freely express their views” and adults have the obligation to “listen and consider them, and to facilitate their participation in all matters affecting them.”

The SCP has also been collaborating with the DepEd, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and all other government agencies to sustain their efforts to promote and protect the rights of all children by reinforcing gender-responsive policies.

SCP cited the 2016 Philippine National Baseline Study on Violence against Children (NBS-VAC) which revealed that LGBT+ children are more at risk of suffering physical violence, 75%; psychological violence, 78.5%; and sexual violence, 33.8%.

In a consultation with LGBT+ children in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries in 2016, SCP also noted that the child participants “admitted suffering from psychological abuse and discrimination from their own families as well as schools and communities.”

For SCP Child Protection Advisor Wilma Banaga, it is the duty of adults to “respect, protect and fulfill children’s rights, – including the rights of LGBT+ children.”

Banaga explained that children should primarily feel accepted, supported and protected within their families. “As adults, we have to challenge ourselves to get over our discomfort over children not conforming with the gender norms that we grew up with,” she said.

SCP expressed support to the enactment of the Anti- Discrimination Act that seeks to institutionalize programs against any form of discrimination on the basis of SOGIE.