Pride organizers hopeful Duterte gov’t can break SOGIE limbo

Jan Yumul

Posted at Jun 30 2019 03:10 AM | Updated as of Jun 30 2019 07:35 AM

Members of the LGBTQIA+ and supporters join the annual Metro Manila Pride March held at the Marikina Sports Center on June 29, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s confusing rhetoric and pronouncements on issues surrounding the LGBTQIA + community, the organizers behind this year’s Pride march are hopeful the incoming 18th Congress could make history by coming out with the country’s first comprehensive anti-discrimination law.

The LGBTQIA stands for lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.

“In the past, President Duterte has released statements and has made pronouncements about supporting the community. I wish that it's something that he would have carried on and talked a little bit more stronger about,” march organizer Nicky Castillo told ABS-CBN News.

“Hindi pa naman kami nawawalan ng pagasa pero hinihiling namin sana, he puts his weight behind it.”

Advocates have been pushing for the legislation of the SOGIE (Sexual orientation, gender identitiy, and expression) bill since the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and former Akbayan Representative Loretta Rosales first introduced in the 11th Congress in the year 2000.

“It (SOGIE bill) already made history twice. The first one was when it was passed unanimously at the lower house. The second time is when it made history as the longest-running bill in the period of debates in the Senate,” Castillo told ABS-CBN News.

With the pending leadership transitions following this year’s midterm elections, Castillo, along with her fellow advocates, expect they’ll be heading back to ‘square one’.

“There are a lot of unknowns for us at this point. And as with any legislative advocacy campaign, nasa punto kami na kailangan naming mag mapping. Sino ba ang kakampi namin? Sino ba yung kailangan naming suyuin?”

(There are a lot of unknowns for us at this point. And as with any legislative advocacy campaign, we’re at a point where we need to do some mapping. Who are our allies? Who do we need to coax?)

The group is also looking to strategize to get more electorates involved,  in particular the young members of the LGBTQIA community and allies, so as to put pressure on the lawmakers.

Despite the incessant downpour and the digital initiative “Pride March Everywhere” mounted by combining technology of geolocation by digital creative agency Propel Manila, Globe and  Team Magazine, the rain-soaked crowd of mostly young people had swelled to some 25,000 at around 3:30p.m. on Saturday.

Castillo believes the pride has become more than just a platform of protest, thanks to traditional and social media that have helped advanced their advocacies in mainstream conversations.

The youngsters realise, Castillo says, that “there’s a space for us here” and that they not only bring their friends, but their families, too.

“Ang isang malaking criticism sa LGBT at human rights community ay noisy minority lang kami. Kami-kami lang naman yung nagiingay para sa mga ‘special laws’. Pero makikita natin (today) hindi eh,” Castillo told ABS-CBN News.

(One criticism of the LGBT and human rights’ communities is that we are a noisy minority. We’re the only ones making noise for these ‘special laws’. But as we can see from today, that’s not the case)

“People are coming out in support of pride as a protest, pride as a calling for upholding human rights, not just of  the LGBT people pero of all marginalized groups in general,” she added.