Gays slam Sotto for blocking anti-discrimination for LGBTs

SENATOR Tito Sotto, already facing a huge backlash for allegations of plagiarising blogs for his speech attacking a health care bill in Congress, has earned the ire of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos for his demand to remove sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) from a bill protecting minorities.

The Progressive Organization of Gays (ProGay Philippines) protested reports that Sotto is working to remove SOGI protections from the proposed Anti-Racial, Ethnic and Anti-Religious Discrimination Act of 2011. The alleged position was reported by Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Brawner Baguilat Jr., a member of the House of Representatives that crafted a version that will be reconciled with the Senate version in a bicameral conference. Baguilat did not name other senators who were supposedly opposed to SOGI.

“We are saddened that Sen. Sotto, whose successful showbiz and political careers are in part supported by hardworking LGBTs are now second class citizens who for him do not deseve equality before the law,” said Goya Candelario, spokesperson of ProGay.

ProGay urged Congress to include SOGI as a protected status because this was one of the recommendations given by the United Nations Human Rights Council when it subjected the Philippines to the Universal Periodic Review in May 2012. The group said the failure of Congress to comply with this recommendation will put a bigger black eye on the human rights record of the Philippines which is already in disrepute for the country’s failure to solve extrajudicial killings and political disappearances.

“We appeal to Senator Sotto to give back to the LGBT community which had suffered long enough from a spate of hate crimes, workplace discrimination and ridicule from homophobic elements of society,” the group added.

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