Nov 2, 2014

[Pink Culture] We Deserve More Than Just Tolerance

In June, the Inquirer cited the Philippines as being one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world based on their interpretation a Pew Research Center survey. The headline was definitely clickbait since we were pretty much in the top ten countries who answered positively to a particular question. But given its abstract nature, it was easy to confuse.

When we look at how the local media have handled the Jennifer Laude case (and that's not even considering the madness of the comments sections of these articles), we can see a very different picture when it comes to the greater LGBT community. It's easy for Filipinos to theoretically "tolerate" homosexuals - especially those that fit their internal stereotypes about parlor gays, TV entertainers and butch lesbian security guards to rattle off a few concepts. It's easy to be tolerant when it comes to gay people who aren't part of your family. But once the LGBT person is a lot closer to home - especially when it's a family member - then things tend to change.

The absence of laws that protect homosexual rights and provide equal rights including marriage and adoption is a clear sign of where the country is. The fact that the only LGBT party-list group had to go to the Supreme Court to remain valid since their supposed national constituency was cited as a reason for disqualification is another example. The LGBT community as a whole is a big question mark in many people's minds - one that leads to odd questions about "immoral behavior" or whatever you want to call it.

Just this week on a news item about Tim Cook formally coming out as gay was immediately peppered with comments citing homosexuality as some sort of sin with the usual quotes from Leviticus. And to see comments like those on just about any news article that talks about aspects of the LGBT community is pretty disappointing. And when you see or hear this sort of negative feedback on a regular basis, it can be pretty damaging indeed.

No, tolerance is never going to be enough. We're not some pain that people try to ignore since it's too expensive to go to the doctor. We're not a problem to be dealt with or a segment of the population that needs to be cured of some disorder. We're just people, and because of that we deserve equal rights and protection of our freedom to be who we are. We deserve to love freely and to contribute fully to this society in a manner that allows us to be proud of who we are.

And thus we continue to fight for true acceptance and full recognition in the eyes of the law.

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