Gathering of minds.
To help develop the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB), LGBT non-government organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) gathered to provide their inputs in the latest incarnation of the measure that seeks to penalize various forms of discrimination, including those committed on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expressions (SOGIE).
Twenty-four LGBT organizations joined the community consultation that was helmed by TLF Sexuality, Health and Rights Educators Collective Inc. (TLF SHARE), with the support of the ISEAN Hivos Programme and the Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare (PNGOC), and in cooperation with the Office of Sen. Bam Aquino.
Interviewed during the consultation, Aquino said that he believes that Filipinos, in general, are not bigots, and are “tolerant, open to each other.” The passage of an ADB is still seen, however, as necessary to put in “black and white” a guarantee that discrimination does not happen in the Philippines based on ethnicity, race, religion or belief, and SOGIE.
The bill is a result of a collaborative effort between and among different LGBT groups, and a writeshop that was held last August 3 to finalize the current version of the bill. When filed, the bill will be known as the Anti-discrimination Bill of 2013. In the House of Representatives, Dinagat Rep. Kaka Bag-ao and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat are authors of measures that protect LGBT rights.
Earlier, Jonas Bagas, executive director of TLF SHARE said that he hopes that “ADB 2.0 becomes a game-changer in a 14-year effort to legislate human rights protection for LGBTs. The new version is broader, and it considers the fact that discrimination has many layers – you are discriminated not just because of your sexuality, but also because of your ethnicity, age, gender, et cetera,” he said.
The draft bill is now being amended to reflect the inputs of the LGBT participants. A broader consultation with non-LGBT groups is also being scheduled sometime next month.