Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday, September 20 renewed her call for Congress to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill or the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill in the 19th Congress.
Hontiveros said it is high-time that lawmakers put an end to discrimination especially to members of the LGBTQIA+ sector who have long suffered from numerous incidents of harassment, discrimination and violence.
“Ilang dekada nang nakatengga ang panukalang ito sa Kongreso. Ilang administrasyon na ang nakalipas, hindi parin nabibigyan ng buong proteksyon ang ating mga kababayang nakakaranas ng diskriminasyon ng dahil lang sa kanilang kasarian (It’s been decades since this measure is languishing in Congress. It has gone through different administrations but our citizens continue to lack protection and experience discrimination just because of their gender),” Hontiveros said.
“Kailangan nating maintindihan at tanggapin na sentro sa usaping ito ay ang isyu ng diskriminasyon. Malalim na nakaugat na diskriminasyon (We all need to understand and accept that central to this discussion is the issue of discrimination. A very deep-rooted discrimination). You and I know that we have to make this stop. We, as a society, have to make it right,” the minority senator stressed.
During the SOGIE Equality Bill hearing on Monday, the senator raised recent reports of several posts on social media, particularly of LGBTQIA+ students lamenting the exclusion and discrimination they experience in school.
She cited for instance the experience of Dylan Silva, a Cavite State University student who was prohibited to march during graduation for cross-dressing. Silva expressed her dismay on her social media post and also apologized to his parents.
“Experiences like Dylan’s can have a lasting and damaging impact on people’s identity and sense of self. The passage of the SOGIE Bill is a crucial next step to clearly show that our laws can protect and defend every single Filipino no matter our gender,” Hontiveros added.
“After 23 years since the first bill was filed, we look forward in hope that we will finally pass a law that ensures that LGBTQIA+ people enjoy the same rights that non-LGBTQIA+ enjoy. It is my distinct honor to shepherd the passage of this bill, a bill whose time has come. We owe this bill to the LGBTQIA+ community and to every Filipino who wishes to live in a kinder, more equal Philippines,” she stressed.