According to Mildred Estanda, Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Chairperson of the Economics Department, there is discrimination towards the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill because the majority of the people “refuse” to understand it.
“We have to unlearn (the disparities) to learn (the acceptance),” she said.
For Estanda, the passage of the bill will give relief to the LGBT community in expressing themselves.
“We should understand that it does not make us less of a person if we give them equal rights,” she said.
Need for SOGIE education
In a forum titled “Kilala mo ba si SOGIE?” held at the Training Room, 8/F CCFC Building, professors from the university gathered to discuss the need for education on the SOGIE bill.
According to Sociology Department Professor Dr. EJ Sabado, education on the said bill is necessary in order to create openness and acceptance to the public, and uplift empowerment through diversity.
“The SOGIE Bill really advocates diversity and equality. All we need is to educate people about this,” she said.
Sabado added that every person has his/her own SOGIE as everyone has the right to pick choices and preferences, from expressing and embracing oneself to growing one’s affection.
“Because we have different preferences and because our gender and identity make us unique and different, then SOGIE is diversified, not only to the LGBT community, but for everybody,” she shared.
Atty. Romeo T. Cabarde, Jr., Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy (APILA) Head, opened the bill’s urgency in connection to the discriminatory acts received by the LGBT, specifically Gretchen Diez who made a stand on the urgent passage of the SOGIE Bill.
“The discrimination and the violence are so contextualized and nuanced on the basis of their SOGIE that (the bill) demands and requires the legislation to protect their rights,” he said.
Cabarde asserted that the bill should be taken into serious consideration as it ensures personal security. The Philippine Constitution, he further added, also promotes equality for all Filipinos.
“(This bill should be ascertained) because we need to provide protection to people who have lesser protection- who are more vulnerable in life” he shared. He added: “In fact, the Constitution provides for equality.”
Moreover, Cabarde explained that the bill is multi-dimensional meaning it promotes equality through better opportunities through the academe, especially in the fields of law, culture, religion, politics, history, and biology.
The SOGIE bill is also said to be a more detailed version of the Senate Bill 1271 or Anti-Discriminatory Act which encompasses the right to express oneself with the protection of the law.
“Passing the Anti-Discrimination Bills could mean legal victory for the people of diverse SOGIE,” Cabarde concluded.