House panel rejects Abante’s push to exclude gender identity from anti-discrimination bill | Inquirer News
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House panel rejects Abante’s push to exclude gender identity from anti-discrimination bill

/ 03:42 PM May 11, 2021
Abante steps down as House minority leader, to join majority bloc

House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. PHOTO FROM BENNY ABANTA FACEBOOK

MANILA, Philippines — The House human rights committee rejected Tuesday Deputy Speaker Bienvenido Abante Jr.’s attempt to take out “gender identity” from proposed the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill.

During the meeting of the House committee on human rights, Abante argued that gender identity should not be included in the proposed measure as it is already “redundant” with other attributes protected by the bill.

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The draft of the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill says protected categories include sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics.

Consequently, discrimination based on those grounds is prohibited.

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However, Abante, a pastor and one of the authors of the measure, had reservations about including gender identity in the bill.

“I think that would be redundant already considering that we have already gender and sexual orientation,” Abante said.

“Perhaps, gender expression, I would somehow agree with that but gender identity, palagay ko is redundancy of term,” he added.

As a response, Geraldine Roman, Bataan’s first district representative, explained that gender identity and sexual orientation are two different terms, contradicting Abante’s claims.

“We should not eliminate gender identity. This is already a term that is internationally accepted even by the medical and psychological world. And here in our country, this is a term that is already defined by our existing laws,” Roman said.

“And for this reason I firmly believe that we have to retain gender identity. To say that this is redundancy is the opinion of our Deputy Speaker, but it is an opinion, after all,” she added.

It was at this point that Abante said “we have already made a lot of compromises” in the bill.

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“To me, gender identity has been defined already by sexual orientation, by gender, and even by gender expression, that there is no more need to have gender identity in this bill as we have already made a lot of compromises towards the SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) people,” Abante said.

“The only request I have is let us remove gender identity because that is already too much of a compromise,” he added.

To settle the disagreement, Quezon City 4th District Representative Bong Suntay, who chairs the committee, called for a vote which ended with 13-1 in favor of retaining gender identity in the bill.

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