MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 17, 2011) - A Philippine lawmaker on Tuesday urged members of the House of Representatives to pass a bill upholding the rights of Filipino lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
Bayan Muna (People First) party list Rep. Teddy Casino last year filed the House Bill 1483 (An Act Defining Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties), but the proposal is stll pending with the House Committee on Justice.
The bill aims to forward the observance of the same rights as those of heterosexual persons that are denied - either by current laws or practices - basic civil, political, social andeconomic rights.
Scores of gay and lesbian activists trooped to the House of Representatives on the eve of a global gay rights anniversary to seek the passage of a long-delayed measure protecting human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Members of the Progressive Organization of Gays (ProGay-Philippines) held a brief picket Monday at the gates of the House of Representatives in colorful costumes and displayed signs as part of the worldwide observances of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
“We call on the House of Representatives to start holding hearings on the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2010 because it will help end homophobia and unequal application of human rights for LGBTs,” ProGay spokesperson Goya Candelario said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.
Transgender Rica Paras, a veteran of television reality show Pinoy Big Brother Double Up, also called for the passage of HB 1483 into law to help equalize through policy, the recognition and application of human rights to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people as a bold step towards stopping discrimination in the Philippines.
The gay rights activists are also supporting another bill filed by Casiño declaring every 17th of May as the National Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The bill shall encourage government and private institutions to develop simple observances promoting the defense of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people rights patterned after the example of the European Union and nine other countries, including Brazil that officially recognize International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on the local level.