CHR defends transgender woman allegedly discriminated against during graduation rites in Cavite school | Inquirer News
Pride Month

CHR defends transgender woman allegedly discriminated against during graduation rites in Cavite school

/ 11:46 AM June 09, 2022
PRIDE MONTH The memory of Stonewall Riot lives on

A couple hold hands wrapped in a rainbow flag as thousands of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender/Transexual Queer (LGBTQ) members hold a pride march at a sports complex in Marikina City, east of Manila on June 30, 2018. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights on Thursday defended a transgender blogger who had been discriminated against when her microphones and lights were shut while she was making a speech during a graduation ceremony in Dasmariñas, Cavite recently.

CHR Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights Center did not mention who the transgender blogger was, but pro-administration and international relations expert Sass Rogando Sasot was recently reported to having been subjected to discrimination during the graduation rites of the Southern Philippines Institute of Science & Technology, which was held at the Church of God auditorium in Dasmarinas City.

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The CHR reminded Filipinos to stop discriminating members of the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer-intersex (LGBTQI) community as the country celebrates the Pride Month.

“We note with concern the acts of discrimination committed against a transgender Filipina blogger during the graduation rites in a school in Dasmarinas, Cavite. Lights and microphones were turned off and statements were issued justifying a policy of excluding members of the [LGBTQI] community as they would desecrate the church’s spaces,” the CHR said in a statement

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CHR stressed that LGBTQI rights are human rights — and that they should be respected.

“As the country celebrates Pride Month, the Commission as Gender Ombud takes the occasion to reiterate that all persons are born equal in dignity and rights. A persons’ sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression should never be the basis of stigma and discrimination,” it said.

According to the Commission, while it respects religious freedom, it is worried about the stigma that such actions will cause, which may only spur hate towards the LGBTQI community.

“While the Commission recognizes the right of religious freedom, we would like to take the occasion to emphasize the dangers of stigma and discrimination and the risk posed by narratives that cast vulnerable groups as ‘others’ and as ‘unacceptable,’” CHR explained.

“Such language feeds hate; reinforces existing inequality and bias; and, can further promote acts of discrimination,” it added.

As CHR said, the microphone and lights were turned off as Sasot was set to deliver her message, being chosen as the guest speaker for the ceremonies.

The incident involving Sasot prompted condemnation from LGBTQI communities and public officials, including Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, who said that the actions against Sasot do not reflect what Cavite is about.

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Remulla also defended members of the said community, saying that he does not look at people’s sexual orientations, as he focuses on what they can do to help the province.

“What a shame! This is not what Cavite is all about. This is not what the Southern Philippines Institute of Science and Technology is all about. This is not what the present and the future is all about,” he said.

“This is about people who use the shield of their faith to spread hate and bigotry where a church should be about compassion and tolerance […] My bestfriends from high school and college were gay. My staff in the Capitol consists of every color in the rainbow. We are happy, productive, and tolerant of each other. Pronouns don’t matter to me as much as competency and honesty,” he added.

The country had seen a long history of discrimination — and worse, harm — against members of the LGBTQI community.  In 2014, transgender woman Jennifer Laude was found dead in a motel in Olongapo City, after she was killed in a hate crime committed by US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton.

READ: WHAT WENT BEFORE: Jeffrey ‘Jennifer’ Laude case 

In 2021, online personality and transgender man Ebeng Mayor was also killed in what was seen as a hate crime as he was raped — prompting lawmakers to stress the need for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality (SOGIE) bill.

Currently, the SOGIE bill is still languishing in Congress amid debates and concerns about the proposed measure possibly translating into same-sex marriage in the Philippines.

According to SOGIE bill defenders, the legislation is merely an anti-discriminatory measure that would not only benefit members LGBTQI community, but people of other gender orientations as well.

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TAGS: Cavite, CHR, Dasmariñas, Human rights, LGBTQI community, Pride month, Sass Rogando Sasot
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