Puzzled over lengthy LGBTQI term, Sotto asks: ‘Why not just Homo sapiens?’

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2019 09:45 PM

Senate President Tito Sotto asked why there's a need to separate gender identities — “Why that lengthy letters? Why not just ‘homo sapiens?’ ” George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The Senate session on Wednesday turned into a lecture on gender identities after Senate President Vicente Sotto III raised questions about the term LGBTQI.

LGBTQI, which stands for lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex, was a hot topic in the Senate in the wake of the detention of transgender woman, Gretchen Custodio Diez, for using a female restroom at a Quezon City mall.

After Sen. Risa Hontiveros delivered her privilege speech pressing for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill, Sotto asked how the initialism LGBTQI came to be.

“Why that lengthy letters? Why not just ‘homo sapiens?’ ” Sotto asked Hontiveros.

“Why do we have to segregate the gays from the lesbians, the straight guys?”

Hontiveros responded by saying: “Totoo po. We are all homo sapiens, we are all human beings, we are all one species.”

“There would not have been a need to segregate, I agree with you, if human civilizations and societies evolved to a point where there is no discrimination, and there’s equality among all, regardless of identity, regardless of expression. But that’s not what’s happening.”

Hontiveros also explained that the initialism has also morphed to become “LGBTQIA+”, with “A” sometimes referring “asexual” or “allies” — straight people who are supportive of the cause of the LGBT community.

“Dahil natututunan natin about human sexuality, maraming kulay, maraming shades, so the spectrum may be being further and further defined,” she said.

(As we learn about human sexuality, we discover many colors, many shades, so the spectrum may be being further and further refined.)