Expressing her support for the (new) government to finally give attention to the protection of the rights of LGBT people in the Philippines, Mae Paner – better known as Juana Change, a Filipina TV ad director, political activist, video producer and actress – said to Outrage Magazine that the issues of the LGBT community have long been neglected and should now be highlighted.
“Napapanahon na. Ang tagal na na ang issue ng LGBT ay naisasantabi. At yung ganung pagtingin sa LGBT ay hindi dapat nag-pe-prevail sa modern na pamumuhay na meron tayo ngayon (It is time. The issues of the LGBT people have long been sidelined. And that way of treating LGBT people should not prevail in a modern world that we now have),” Juana Change said.
For Juana Change, human rights issues involve everyone – LGBT or not.
“Kasi katulad naman ng lahat ng sector ng lipunan; lahat tayo’y may karapatan (Because all sectors of society are the same; we all have rights),” said Juana Change, who added – nonetheless – that she knows of many people in the LGBT community “na alam ko na ang laki ng pinagdadaanang (who I know experience grave) injustice.”
The case of transwoman Jennifer Laude, who was killed after American serviceman Joseph Scott Pemberton drowned her in a toilet bowl, is a case in point for Juana Change, though “apart from her, napakarami ng LGBT people na dapat mabigyan natin ng boses para naman ang kanilang mga karapatan ay hindi lagging naaapakan (many LGBT people should be given voice so that their rights are not always trampled).”
For Juana Change, in the end, “we should be able to embrace differences, we should be able to highlight and appreciate that there are people who are actually expressive of their sexuality, of their choice and of their individuality.” – WITH PATRICK KING PASCUAL