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Bahaghari criticizes VP Duterte, says ‘tokenistic support is welcome but still tokenistic’

Bahaghari slammed Vice President Sara Duterte, who — while hosting a Pride-related party in her office — stated: “If you are not accepted, choose happiness.” For the organization’s chairperson, Reyna Valmores: “A person facing discrimination cannot just ‘choose happiness’.”

LGBTQIA organization Bahaghari slammed Vice President Sara Duterte, who — while hosting a Pride-related party in her office — stated: “If you are not accepted, choose happiness… While we wait patiently for the passage of the SOGIE Bill, ang sasabihin ko na lang ay good things take time”.

“No, VP Sara. A person facing discrimination cannot just ‘choose happiness’. A trans woman being arrested for entering the women’s restroom cannot just ‘choose happiness’. A gay worker denied a job because of his sexual orientation cannot just ‘choose happiness’. A child being mercilessly battered at home for wearing makeup cannot just ‘choose happiness’,” said Reyna Valmores, Bahaghari’s chairperson. “Tokenistic support, while welcome, is tokenistic nonetheless.”

For Bahaghari, Duterte’s latest statement, just like her previous statements relating to the LGBTQIA community, are hollow.

“It is easy for VP Sara Duterte to say that things ‘take time,’ because she is coming from a place of security. But ordinary LGBTQIA Filipinos are not in a place of security. 23 years of waiting as fellow LGBTQIA members face discrimination, abuse, and hate crimes is long enough. We need the SOGIE Bill now,” Valmores said.

She then urged Duterte to “take action.”

“You are the Vice President. The running mate of President Marcos Jr. adorned with the DepEd office and millions of confidential funds. The SOGIE Bill is being blocked as we speak — what are you gonna do about it, Sara? Surely you can do more than tell us it ‘takes time’,” Valmores said.

Bahaghari similarly cited Duterte’s ” talks advocacy, we further urge her to demonstrate support for our community by abandoning her “contradictory public views” on the LGBTQIA community – e.g. Duterte’s “anti-LGBT, anti-women, and anti-poor position of making ROTC mandatory for Filipino students. The ROTC program has a long history of promoting misogyny, homophobia, and macho-military thinking among the youth, with a notable case of homophobia and assault by ROTC officers in Siliman University surfaced last 2020. Perhaps Duterte should resolve her dissonance there first before projecting herself as an LGBTQ+ champion,” said Valmores.

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