Monday, May 30, 2011

Homophobia & Transphobia Discussed in the House

On the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia
By Rep. Teddy Casiño

Privilege Speech
May 16, 2011

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, I rise to avail of the privilege hour to speak in behalf of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituents. Yung mga tinataguriang bakla, tomboy, silahis, operada at mga ka-pederasyon. Ang ilan po sa kanila'y kasama natin ngayon sa gallery.

Tomorrow marks a historic event in their lives. Twenty one years ago, following decades of struggles for recognition and equality, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Mental Disorders. Dati kasi, ang tingin sa kanila ng WHO ay mga baliw. Ngayon ay hindi na, kahit na marami sa kanila'y nakakaloka.

Because of this, May 17 is generally acknowledged as the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia or IDAHO. IDAHO commemorates the continuing struggle to expand human rights protection to include all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. More than the celebration of gay pride, IDAHO urges everyone to aggressively combat and openly condemn sexual and gender discrimination and violence. 

Taken as a whole, the achievements of global and national societies in addressing the injustices suffered by our LGBT is impressive yet still sorely lacking. Twenty one years after the WHO's historic action, the miserable plight of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender communities continue. All over the globe, they have horrifying stories of discrimination, vilification, and violence. LGBTs are paying a terribly high price due to age-old prejudices and state-sanctioned or church-sponsored homophobia and transphobia.

More than 80 countries still maintain laws that make same-sex relations a criminal offense, exposing gay men and lesbians to the risk of arrest, imprisonment and, in some cases, torture or death. At least seven countries (Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Nigeria) maintain the death penalty for consensual adult same sex practices. There are still anti-sodomy laws in former British and Spanish colonies.

The United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Philippines is a signatory, has perpetually argued that laws criminalizing homosexuality are inherently discriminatory and incompatible with existing international human right standards. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon have both been calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality and for further measures to counter discrimination and prejudice directed at LGBTs.

Yet, we will all be appalled by the accounts of brutality and genocide the LGBTs face.

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