UP Babaylan to Sara: LGBTQI community is not a costume

Published March 12, 2022, 8:52 PM

by Gabriela Baron

“The LGBTQI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex] community is not a costume for political campaigning.”

This was what the University of the Philippines Babaylan, the longest-existing LGBTQI student organization in the Philippines and in Asia, said to vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte after she claimed that she is part of the LGBT community.

Vice presidential bet Sara Duterte Carpio talks to the public during her “Meet and Greet” with drivers of Batoda Terminal at Commonwealth Ave in Quezon City on March 10, 2022. (NOEL B. PABALATE / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement released Saturday, March 12, UP Babaylan made it clear that they are “in no position to question” Duterte’s identity, however, the group demanded her concrete platforms and initiatives centered on upholding the rights of the LGBTQI.

“We question her critical role as a supposed representative of the community during the time her father pardoned a transphobic murderer, as well as her father’s incapability to certify the SOGIE [sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression] Equality Bill amid a period of increased LGBTQI violence. Where was she when these injustices victimized the community?,” UP Babaylan said.

“We recognize that identifying with the community is an important impetus for knowing oneself, but it must not be done on the grounds of a hidden political ploy, geared towards gaining votes,” the organization stressed.

UP Babaylan underscored that the LGTBQI community “has been part of a long struggle for equality” and making community benchmark for “deceiving political tactics” undermines the community’s struggle.

“Instead of misguided attempts to dissect Sara Duterte’s SOGIESC [sex characteristics] and contradict her self-knowledge, let us recalibrate our focus into dismantling political tactics that confine the community into a mere instrument for political exposure and recognition.”