LGBTQIA organization Bahaghari swiped back at SMNI news anchors Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz, who – in their October 26 episode of ‘Laban Kasama ng Masa’ – baselessly branded Bahaghari a ‘front org’ of the CPP-NPA-NDF days after the group sought to pursue gender-affirming haircut policies in Iloilo City National High School.
“Desperate, homophobic, and a threat to equality and LGBTQIA advocacy — this is the glaring character of the SMNI news network, whose anchors repeatedly dismissed the very real issue of forced haircuts of transgender students as ‘wanting special treatment,’ and proceeded to baselessly and falsely declare Bahaghari a ‘front org of the CPP-NPA’ simply for seeking inclusivity in our schools. Such malicious and inflammatory fake news by a supposed media entity must not be tolerated,” said Reyna Valmores, Bahaghari’s chairperson.
Earlier, Bahaghari campaigned for gender-affirming haircut and uniform policies in ICNHS. Following this, SMNI anchors Jeffrey Celiz and ex-NTF-ELCAC spox Lorraine Badoy red-tagged Bahaghari and its local partner Irish Inoceto of the Iloilo Pride Team. SMNI claimed that the LGBTQIA people involved in this move in particular ‘targeted’ schools like the ICNHS for ‘NPA recruitment’; they then countered that “in fact, it was the transgender students in Iloilo themselves who reached out to us seeking guidance in shaping gender-affirming haircut policies for their school,” said Valmores.
For Bahaghari, “We stand by our conviction that LGBTQIA advocacy is not terrorism. There is nothing wrong with seeking to replace the prevalent macho, misogynistic, and homophobic culture in schools across the country with an alternative culture of love, inclusion, and respect for all persons regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics, or SOGIESC.”
Bahaghari likewise admonished SMNI’s accusations of the group being merely a ‘front organization’ of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“Firstly, SMNI has zero proof for their absurd and false claims about Bahaghari. Secondly, these accusations hold no water when placed beside Bahaghari’s long, near-decade track record of pursuing campaigns for the SOGIESC Equality Bill, holding gender sensitivity trainings for schools, organizations, and agencies, and engaging rights mechanisms such as the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review,” said Valmores.
Bahaghari similarly reacted to SMNI claims that it exists “para sirain ang LGBTQ.”
“If anyone here is destroying the LGBTQIA community, it is the SMNI and its phobia of fearless LGBTQIA persons who stand up for each others’ rights,” Valmores said.
Bahaghari is now in the process of pursuing legal action to hold Jeffrey Celiz, Lorraine Badoy, and the rest of SMNI accountable “for their reckless and false statements on air. Hindi pwedeng palampasin ito, at hindi pwedeng walang managot,” Valmores concluded.