BAGUIO CITY — The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community here celebrated the passage of an antidiscrimination ordinance, as well as the progress made in passing its national equivalent, House Bill No. 4982, during the pride parade on Sunday.
The ordinance was approved by the city council on Feb. 5, years after it was filed in 2012. It sets fines of up to P5,000 for government or private employees who obstruct a person’s access to work, accommodations, public services or even political undertakings because of his or her sexual preference.
On its 11th staging, the parade, assembled by the Amianan Pride Council, was led by the University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio student council.
Marching on Session Road carrying rainbow flags, the established LGBT colors, gay men and women and their supporters chanted “Makibeki, ’wag mashokot,” a pun on the activist chant “Makibaka, huwag matakot (Fight, do not be afraid).”
Some participants joined the parade wearing winged fairy costumes. One of the men wore a wedding dress. Tausug transgender Brigite Salvatore, who was first runner-up in the Miss Trans Queen International pageant in November, joined the parade.
Joseph Villaflor, Amianan Pride Council chairperson, said the new laws recognize the struggles of the LGBT community and would deter bad behavior. “But laws are not enough because the public still needs to be educated about equality,” he said.
Villaflor, who also serves as head of the UP Baguio student council gender desk, said antidiscrimination laws could serve as “stepping stones to broadening public consciousness about gender rights beyond simple debates as to which comfort rooms gay people must use.”
“LGBT rights are human rights, so LGBT should be accorded the same respect and treatment given to heterosexuals,” Villaflor said. —Kimberlie Quitasol
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