EnGendeRights, Inc., a legal non-governmental organization advancing women’s rights, has conducted a roundtable discussion on gender-based violence and media, participated in by representatives from non-governmental organizations and media practitioners.
In a (personal) statement, Atty. Raymond Alikpala, the third nominee of Ladlad, the only LGBT-specific political organization in the Philippines, cited the call by EnGendeRights and other NGOs “for greater responsibility on the part of the media in handling and reporting cases of gender-based violence against persons, particularly women, children and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons”.
“In the case of violence against LGBT persons, there appears to be a growing consciousness among certain media outfits to be more sensitive to the situation of LGBT Filipinos, who remain victims of discrimination in our country. While derogatory terms continue to be used in news reports to describe members of our community, we understand and recognize that this occurs in the larger context of Philippine society, which is unfamiliar with the distinctions between sexual orientation and gender identity. However, while media often only reflect the society in which it operates, I note that recent news items have been careful to identify transgender women as such, rather than using the catch-all word ‘bakla’, and I suppose this is a good development,” Alikpala said.
Alikpala, nonetheless, recognized that “more than inaccurate reporting on LGBT issues, I am concerned with the continuing occurrence of hate crimes against LGBT persons, which is likely underreported, despite the efforts of (such groups as) the Pink Watch”. He therefore asked the media to be “vigilant in reporting and following up on such cases, in order that the victims would be assisted in their quest for justice. I believe that a greater social awareness of the plight of LGBT persons will help prevent such crimes, and build a society that is more open and compassionate toward the LGBT community,” Alikpala said. This is why Ladlad – which aims to uplift the status of LGBT persons in the society – is “now waging this struggle in the electoral arena, with the hope that victory in the May 2013 elections will have enormous repercussions in restoring the dignity and improving the lives of LGBT Filipinos.”
EnGendeRights, Inc. is a legal non-governmental organization advancing women’s rights through domestic and international legal and policy advocacy, research, publication, training and impact litigation in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. It is helmed by Atty. Clara Rita A. Padilla, the current executive director.