Despite global and localized campaigns that aim to protect and preserve the human rights of groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, huge leaps to solve this societal problem are still a long shot.
In light of 18 Days of Activism, a campaign for no violence against women and children that runs from November 25 to December 12 each year, FamiLigtas reminds us to also include the LGBTQ+ community.
FamiLigtas is a digital campaign against gender-based violence (GBV) in the Philippines during the time of COVID-19. But because GBV is most commonly associated with spousal and domestic violence against women, the experiences of violence among lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, and other non-binary individuals are often left unheard.
“We advocate for the equal treatment for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” said Sabrina Gacad of Lunas Collective. “While there are numerous urgent challenges facing LGBTQ+ persons worldwide, there are many windows of opportunity to promote and protect their human rights.”
As the LGBTQ+ community continues to fight for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill in thecongress, more and more non-binary people continue to experience discrimination, and even violence, at home and in public spaces.
A lack of protection for LGBTQ+ persons
According to Human Rights Watch, only 15% of Filipinos are living in areas with ordinances against discrimination and violence on the basis of SOGIE. The same report also states that the low reporting and intervention of this kind of GBV is caused by the negative messages that the victim-survivors are receiving from authorities.
Additionally, there is little to no statistical data on the cases of GBV against the LGBTQ+ in the Philippines. Unlike violence against women and children, which has annual report from the Philippine National Police and other government and non-government organizations, GBV cases against LGBTQ+ are often excluded due to low reporting rate and the lack of laws to protect them against discrimination and violence.
“The barangay is an important player in creating a violence-free community. And we need to remember that it is our responsibility to keep the community safe not just for women, but for all gender identities as well,” said local barangay representative.
Kasama ang LGBTQ+ sa pamilya
The family is the most common perpetrator of GBV in the Philippines—whether targeted against women, children, or LGBTQ+ persons. According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, LGBTQ+ children are often verbally, emotionally, sexually, and physically abused by their own families. This is due to the notion that the children’s non-conforming gender attitudes are unnatural and immoral.
“Due to the community quarantines brought on by the COVID pandemic, GBV victim-survivors of all gender identities are trapped inside their homes with their abusers,” said a representative from LGBTQ+ org.
“That’s why we are campaigning for a safe Filipino family. So that we can keep our homes safe, LGBTQ+ persons included.”