A not-so-comprehensive anti-discrimination bill after all.
A proposed “Comprehensive (sic) Anti-Discrimination Act” is being considered in the House of Representatives (HOR), though the bill eliminates LGBTQIA people among those in need of protection.
In a virtual meeting of the technical working group of the Committee on Human Rights of HOR, Rep. Jesus Suntay presented “An act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion or belief, sex, gender, language, disability, HIV status, educational attainment and other forms of discrimination”.
Another proposed bill, the SOGIE Equality Bill, is getting criticized because it is supposed to be limited to a specific class of people – i.e. LGBTQIA people. And so there is a proposal for it to be included, instead, in the more and supposedly comprehensive anti-discrimination bill (CADB).
According to Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr., himself a pastor cum politician: “We are trying to avoid approving any bill that would be classified as class legislation… This is why it is CADB.”
Abante – nonetheless – believes in the inclusion of sexual orientation in the CADB, just not gender identity and expression.
However, the move to exclude “discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” from the CADB is a win for anti-LGBTQIA people by eliminating SOGIE Equality Bill and then excluding LGBTQIA people from the CADB.
According to Rep. Geraldine Roman, the first transgender congressperson in the Philippines: “If you eliminate SOGIE, you can’t call it ‘Comprehensive ADB’. It’s an oxymoron.”
The proposed bill also removes SOGIE in Sec. 2: Declaration of Policy, and in the definition of terms.
Defending the erasure of SOGIE in the bill he presented, Suntay said that there are already 15 SOGIE-related bills filed with the Committee on Women. For him, if SOGIE is also included in the CADB, it “may be deemed also as SOGIE Equality Bill.”
But Roman does not agree with this.
That argument, she said, “is totally irrelevant… By eliminating SOGIE (in the CADB), it contradicts the very claim that it’s CADB. By eliminating us, you are discriminating against us.”
Roman added: “We have to be brave enough and recognize that there is discrimination happening against people like me who has a gender identity that is considered as different from what’s considered as conventional.”
Suntay noted that an anti-discrimination bill has been passed since the 13th Congress; and he hopes to eventually “steer this to success”, apparently even with LGBTQIA exclusion.
WRITE TO, OR CONTACT THE OFFICE OF REP. JESUS SUNTAY. INFORM HIM OF THE NEED TO KEEP SOGIE IN THE COMPREHENSIVE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILL.
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