Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday, June 30, told members of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) community to continue to march and stand for their principles and rights.
Speaking at the virtual TLF Share event, Robredo also promised them that she’ll be an ally and advocate.
“Change mindsets, promote acceptance, and push for reforms and progressive legislation tulad ng (like the) SOGIE Equality Bill,” she said in her online message for the LGBTQIA event titled “Pride 2021 Sama-sama Tuloy and Laban.”
SOGIE stands for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression, a bill proposed by Congress to prevent economic and public accommodation-related discrimination against members of the LGBTQIA+ community. The bill passed the Lower House but died in the Senate.
Robredo added that the community is being challenged to face the uncertainty of the times and the different forms of abuse and violence.
“Malinaw ang hamon sa inyo ng panahon. Patuloy na makiisa, makilahok, at huwag magsawang rumampa sa ngalan ng mga prinsipyo at paniniwalang nagbibigkis sa inyo. Patuloy na humanap ng paraan, tulungan ang kayang tulungan, punan ang kayang punan, mag-reach-out sa mga kasamang nangangailangan (The challenge is clear. Continue uniting, participating, and marching in the name of your principles and the beliefs that bind you. Continue finding ways, help those who need help, fill in the gaps, and reach out to your members who are in need),” she said.
The vice president, who is open to supporting the SOGIE Bill, said that she and her staff at the Office of the Vice President (OVP) will remain “allies and advocates” of the community.
“Makakaasa kayo ang laban ninyo ay laban din namin. Lagi ninyo kami kasama sa pagmartsa, sa pagbigkis ng katotohanan at pagsulong ng karapatan, sa pagtindig para sa lipunang mas patas, mas makatao, mas mapagmahal (Your fight is our fight. We are always with you in marching, in tying the truth together, and pushing for your rights, for standing up for a society that is more equal, more humane, and more loving),” she added.
Despite the advances in upholding equal rights and representations, Robredo said that more efforts need to be exerted “to truly establish an atmosphere of acceptance and genuine equality for all.”
She noted the lack of employment opportunities, access to health care services, and different forms of violence and discrimination in public and virtual spaces, as well as the use of the term “bakla (gay)” in a “pejorative manner.”
And while the LGBTQIA+ community may feel frustrated at times because of “old thinking,” Robredo said he hopes this will not stop them from convincing others that “it’s time to be progressive, to embrace diversity.”
Today, she added, is the best time to draw strength from each other to push for the changes that the community has long fought for.
The dream is not only for gender equality but for a society that helps each other regardless of one’s gender and social status, Robredo said.
The lady official hopes society can see the LGBTQIA+ community “as fellow human beings who have the same rights and dignity or worthy of love, celebration, and pride.”