Rainbow Rights (R-Rights) Project Inc., Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, and Fund for Global Human Rights released a handbook on selected anti-discrimination ordinances (ADOs) on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) rights.
This handbook is a result of R-Rights’ research, as well as legal discourses that were conducted in Candon City in Ilocos Sur, Dagupan City in Pangasinan, Angeles City in Pampanga, Quezon City in the National Capital Region, Davao City in Davao del Sur, and the province of Agusan del Norte. It is meant to be an advocacy guide, though does not claim to be a comprehensive and accurate manual because of the non-inclusion of other LGUs with ADOs.
“This is a relevant study because it spotlights six ADOs from different places in the Philippines. They are very different but they are common in protecting LGBTs from discrimination and violence. Why is it important to list down and study six? So you can see how they differ,” said Angie Umbac, president of R-Rights. “Maging malinaw din doon ang ating (This also provides clarity in our) messaging that if you want a national legislation, that would carry everybody’s concern equally, then pass the law. In the meantime you deal with ADOs.”
A key finding in the handbook is the inclusion of public ridicule as a form of discrimination.
“It is very clear on the issue of public ridicule. How for the longest time we have considered discrimination and violence to mean death. Kailangang may killing, kailangang may mamatay (There should be killing; someone should die). That is the message from Jennifer Laude. But public ridicule is a big form of discrimination. In fact, it is the most common form of discrimination. Yet it doesn’t get as much attention from media and from politicians as killings. The ADOs punish public ridicule,” said Umbac.
The need to inform the LGBT community and for local governments to implement remain as the current challenges.
“We need to inform people that they have rights and that they have ADOs that are the embodiments of these rights. This also means that government also has the responsibility to not only disseminate this, but also to protect the rights of LGBTs. This means hindi lamang kailangang ipasa ang (only passing an) ADO, and (then) their job is done. They have to keep people safe and they have to ensure that justice is served,” Umbac ended.