Assistance desks for LGBTQ during big events in the city

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) will put up more assistance desks for members of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer) community during big events in the city.

The desks at the ICPO’s Women and Children’s Desks will particularly assist and deal with complaints from the LGBTQ+ community such as violence and sexual harassment.

According to Councilor Liezl Joy Zulueta-Salazar, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s Committee on Women and Family Relations, the move was the result of their closed-door meeting with the ICPO and members of the LGBTQ+ community in the city on January 31, 2019.

“During the meeting nadesidiran nga ang aton ubrahon imbes na women’s desk lang, we will also include LGBT desks especially during events to hear the complains of the LGBT members of our community,” she said.

Salazar also assured that security officers who will do the frisking, especially during events, will be properly informed and educated on how to deal with members of the LGBT community.

“They are free to use any lanes. It’s really up to them especially on how they identify themselves,” she said.

The meeting was called following the controversial LGBT lane that was placed at Forbes Bridge near Luna St., La Paz, Iloilo City during the recent Dinagyang Festival.

Although the LGBT groups namely Iloilo Pride Team, JS Amazing, La Villa Pride present during the meeting acknowledged the good intentions of putting up the LGBT lane, some of the member groups expressed their dismay on the lack of consultation of the PNP with their community.

“Even though the intention of putting the LGBT lane was in good faith, the decision to put it up was done without consultation with the LGBT community itself and the hastiness of putting up the lane resulted in improper implementation,” Ilonggo Pride Team said.

A photo of the LGBT lane in Facebook drew mixed reactions from netizens, especially the LGBT community.

In their official statement, Iloilo Pride Team emphasized that they are against the unnecessary segregation of members of the LGBT community.

“We uphold our principles that LGBT rights are a fight not for special rights but of equal rights. Thus, this segregation and creation of a ‘lane’ specific to LGBT person is discriminatory in nature. It further perpetuates the notion that LGBT people should be separated from the general heterosexual and cisgender public,” they said.

Meanwhile, Salazar said that they are also planning to meet with the different establishments in the city to discuss other issues concerning the LGBT community particularly in the use of restrooms.

“Soon, we are planning nga magpa-call meeting with the businessmen particularly sa mga reklamo sang aton mga transgender women na indi kagamit sang mga CR. This is important to show that may welcoming development diri sa city especially in upholding LGBT rights,” she added.