The need to confront discrimination

In a report, over 75% of Iwag Davao Inc.'s gay respondents cited experiencing forms of human rights violations. Patrick King Pascual asked: "Who are we supposed to blame for this continuous growth of discrimination and homophobia?"

Home for the Golden Gays’ Mother Leony tells of the hardships she encountered in the past.

In a research conducted by Iwag Dabaw Inc. in Davao City, there have been several accounted cases where gays have been physically abused – thrown with stones and doused with water as they walked along the streets, being slapped in the face by family members, and verbally abused in public places by being called mean names like bayot, panget, bakla, bayot di madawat sa langit, punyeta, buti pa di pinanganak, and many more.

The group tabulated the summary of human rights violations committed against gays in Davao, out the 97 respondents, 76 (or 78% of total) have been abused. The nature of abused ranged from physical to economic to sexual to verbal. And an abused gay normally experiences more than one form of abuse.

TYPES OF ABUSE

WITHIN FAMILY

POLICE/MILITARY

INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP

PUBLIC PLACES

Physical

56.00%

28.00%

48.00%

18.00%

Economic (theft victim)

36.00%

33.00%

24.00%

4.00%

Sexual

14.00%

50.00%

40.00%

4.00%

Verbal

76.00%

78.00%

88.00%

76.00%

Total (in person)

59 (61%)

18 (19%)

25 (26%)

64 (66%)

SOURCE: IWAG DAVAO INC.

It is alarming to know that verbal abuse against LGBTs got the most number either from their family, police or military, their intimate relationship or in public places.

For most people, they think calling an LGBT individual “bakla” or “bading” when they see them walking along the streets is just plain fun and normal, but it’s not.

And for the family members who shout and malign their LGBT family members, they consider it as a form of disciplinary action.

Those cited situations have a long term effect to LGBTs – their self confidence go down, their ability to see things correctly will change, and others.

Iwag Dabaw Inc. also reported the case of a gay man who was forced by a member of Civilian Armed Force Government Unit (CAFGU) to have anal sex at gunpoint.

There were also reported sexual abuses perpetuated by the men and boys on the streets. They happen in the presence of other people who oftentimes ignore them or just laugh at them.

What most people don’t know is that there is a big difference between cruising for a sexual encounter along the streets, which most LGBTs are stereotyped of, to being forced to engage in any sexual act.

There have been also documented cases of forced disappearances of LGBTs in the Mindanao. Most of the accounted cases were never found and some surfaced but they were already dead.

For the LGBTs in Davao, reporting these incidents to the authorities has never been an option for them, since some of the cases involved the police and the military; and based on experience, the usual response they would get was either a laugh or a “pabayaan niyo na ‘yun baka nagbibiro lang.”

Hence, they seek help through their friends, whom they prefer than their family, since their gay friends understand the situation they’re in.

In a previous Outrage Magazine article, these suspected LGBT hate-related cases were noted:

  • A gay was suffocated using a plastic bag, strangled with an iron wire and was poked in the eye with an ice pick.
  • A body of a dead gay was left in a cemetery and dogs fed on it.
  • A transgender’s body was left in the middle of a bridge; her head smashed and her internal organs splattered everywhere.
  • A body of a gay was found in a condominium, burned; while his hands and feet were tied using nylon cords.
  • A gay was wrapped all over using a packaging tape and was shot several times.
  • The most number of stab wounds found on a slain victim’s body was 79 and he was gay.
  • A lesbian in Davao was shot in the face as she made her way out of a grocery store.

A quip worth highlighting: “We’re not making up these stories. It was like a scene straight from the video game Mortal Combat”.

There is still no law that can protect LGBTs against such situations.

The indifference the government is showing the members of LGBTs, especially when it comes to “petty” bullies to cases that involves forced disappearances and crimes, especially murder, should and must be taken care of by other arms of the government.

There should be proper access to law for a fair investigation and trial for LGBTs who experienced discriminatory abuses –  physical, economic, verbal or sexual, vagrancy cases from the members of the police and military, and murder cases.

Who are we supposed to blame for this continuous growth of discrimination and homophobia? Is it the lack of proper education and awareness of heterosexuals? The misrepresentation and derogatory roles the media portray? Or is it because the government doesn’t show any interest at all?

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