Amid the sweltering heat of the summer sun, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people joined Labor Day protest to decry lack of jobs, unfair treatment at work, and unequal opportunities in the work place. The KAPATID LGBT Sectoral Party specifically scored the Benigno Aquino III government for the slow progress of the anti-discrimination bill, which could help protect LGBT people in the workforce.
“Aquino doesn’t seem to take us seriously. The anti-discrimination bill has been pending in congress for more than 10 years, and while we wait, LGBT workers are being deprived of their rights to work with dignity and support their families,” said William Villacampa, the chairperson of KAPATID LGBT Sectoral Party.
According to the organization, LGBT discrimination in the workplace such as bullying, delaying of promotion, and even termination has been worsening in the past years. Recently, a transgender woman named Mara La Torre filed a case of discrimination against her supervisor and a security guard in a call center company in Quezon City. Also, a lesbian couple were fired from their company in Makati because of their alleged “immoral and scandalous affair”.
Villacampa added that there are more undocumented cases of discrimination that hampers the productivity of LGBT workers.
He added that on top of the lack of job in the Philippines, LGBT people are also experiencing discrimination in job applications.
“There are very few companies that hire LGBT workers. Despite their competence in their skills and resume, LGBTs get turned down because of their appearance and mannerisms. Companies should judge workers based on their capabilities, not on who they choose to spend their private moments with,” he said.
Because of discrimination, Filipino LGBTs are forced to take up low paying jobs with poor working conditions while others engage in illicit activities just to survive and support their families. According to the organization, these conditions cause more discrimination towards LGBT people.
“We are calling upon our government to fast track the anti-discrimination bill to protect our rights so that we may have regular jobs and living wages,” Villacampa added.
The group warned the government of intensified protest actions in the following months if it remains mum on their calls.
“The Filipino LGBTs are tired of waiting. Until the government listens to our calls and act on our legitimate rights, we will continue on intensifying our protests because this is an issue of life and death for us and our families,” Villacampa ended.