In a move expected to help end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people particularly in Cebu City, a gathering of LGBT groups including Cebu City-based Transgender Colors Inc. (COLORS), TLF Share Collective and Dangal Network Pilipinas held an advocacy forum on HIV and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) related stigma and discrimination.
Dubbed “Guinadili ang Diskriminasyon sa Sugbo”, the endeavor allowed participants from LGBT groups, business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, local schools, local media, as well as the Philippine National Police (PNP) to know LGBT-related issues like SOGIE 101 and the LGBT situation in the province, as well as the HIV and AIDS situation in the province.
The Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare (PNGOC) also helped organize the gathering; while ISEAN Hivos funded it.
Cebu City is one of the more progressive localities in the Philippines, with an ordinance earlier passed in a move aimed at turning the Queen City of the South into a place with a policy to “promote equality and to effectively eliminate all forms of discrimination that violate and offend the guarantee of equal protection of Human Rights as enshrined in the Bill of Rights and other existing laws as well as in the various international conventions and obligations to which the country adheres”.
This Cebu City Anti-Discrimination Ordinance was drafted with the participation of the Cebu Rainbow Coalition, the umbrella organization of LGBT groups in Cebu, and was filed by city councilors Alvin Dizon, Margarita Osmeña, Nida Cabrera, Lea Japson, John Philip Po II, and Augustus Pe Jr.
Earlier, Magdalena Robinson, president of COLORS said that “the ordinance means so much to (our) community. It is like a gift of immunity or shield to protect every LGBT (in Cebu), as well as other people who are vulnerable to discrimination.”
The next moves being done are to popularize the existence of the ordinance, thus deal with stigma and discrimination reduction.