MANILA - The alleged discrimination that comedian Jervi Li, better known as "KaladKaren Davila," recently experienced at a Makati bar is a wakeup call for the Senate to approve a bill protecting the LGBT community from hate crimes and prejudice, Senator Risa Hontiveros said Wednesday.
Li was allegedly denied entry to the Makati bar with her friends because of their gender identity. Li's video of Saturday's incident went viral on social media.
"This is a wake up call for the Senate to pass with urgency the SOGIE Equality Bill. We cannot afford to delay this measure any longer," Hontiveros, who authored the bill, said in a statement.
Hontiveros was referring to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill, which prohibits encouraging stigma against the LGBT in media and denying a person access to an institution, service or establishment based on gender, among others.
The SOGIE bill, in a historic first, has reached the Senate plenary. The House of Representatives approved its counterpart measure last year.
The Senate has "exhausted all the discussion points" for the bill to ensure that "it will be fair to all," said Hontiveros.
"Unless we have a law that secures the basic rights and welfare of all LGBTs, the discrimination that happened in Makati will happen again. LGBT persons are easy targets of harassment and violence," the senator said.
"I hope KaladKaren’s awful experience serves as a signal to my colleagues in the Senate to finally end the debate on the measure and move for its immediate passage," she added.
Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, the country's first transgender lawmaker, has sought a legislative inquiry into the alleged discrimination against Li.
Some Christian groups have opposed the SOGIE bill, saying it may be an antecedent for the legalization of same-sex marriage.