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‘Give attention to people who actually suffer discrimination and violence’ – Sister Mary John Mananzan

Sister Mary John Mananzan, OSB: Having an anti-discrimination bill is “not giving any special rights to any group.” Instead, it is just saying that “the rights of everybody should also be applied to them.”

While issues on sexual orientation continue to be highly debatable, one must still not ignore the fact that many people who have chosen to freely express their gender identity are the ones who usually face discrimination.

This is according to Catholic nun Mary John Mananzan, OSB, executive director of the Institute of Women’s Studies of St. Scholastica’s College, who – while speaking during the September 4 Senate hearing on the SOGIE Equality Bill – pointed out that attention be given to groups of people that actually suffer discrimination and violence.

“The (heterosexual) men cannot say, ‘Oh, why don’t we also have affirmative action (for men)?’ Because it is a fact that they are not discriminated against as a gender.”

And so, for Mananzan, “it is really the one that is discriminated against that is the focus of our attention.”

The nun noted that members of the LGBTQIA community continue to face “shaming, ridicule, discrimination, harassment, violence, and denial of basic services”.

“Even if we are really against discrimination of (all people), sometimes you have to focus on groups of people that are actually suffering discrimination and violence,” she said.

Mananzan similarly stressed that having an anti-discrimination bill is “not giving any special rights to any group.” Instead, it is just saying that “the rights of everybody should also be applied to them.”

In the end, “as a religious woman, I believe in the respect, compassion and reverence for all persons because I believe they are all made (in the) image and likeness of God.”

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