#ResistTogether: Overcoming hurdles

Editorial cartoon by Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2019 02:31 PM | Updated as of Jun 30 2019 02:38 PM

#ResistTogether: Overcoming hurdles

The LGBTQ+ community in the Philippines made history on Saturday when a record 70,000 people joined the Metro Manila Pride March, more than double the number who joined last year. 

This augurs well for advancing the rights and welfare of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queer, and others in the country. 

Politicians listen when a critical mass of their constituents get together to push for their agenda. Pressure from below often prompts action from leaders. 

Through the years, the LGBTQ+ community has been able to advance their rights and welfare by holding protest marches and other activities. They have overcome many hurdles in this long and arduous struggle. 

When he ran for the presidency in 2016, President Duterte was a staunch supporter of LGBTQ+ issues. Early this year, he signed into law Republic Act 11166 or the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018, which will expand health services to those with HIV and help eliminate stigma and discrimination on patients. 

However, the administration has backtracked on other LGBTQ+ issues, such as same-sex unions. One reason for this is because there are politicians in Congress who are openly or discreetly supporting the agenda of the Catholic church. 

But with stronger pressure from below, the 18th Congress could be made to pass other policies such as the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression or SOGIE bill. 

President Duterte's stance on religion and the Catholic Church provides a good window of opportunity to further advance the causes of the LGBTQ+. This should not be wasted.