Prov’l board rallies behind gays’ rights

By: Gerome Dalipe

THE Iloilo Provincial Board is throwing its weight behind the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination.

The provincial lawmakers approved a resolution expressing “grave concern and strong condemnation” on all acts of violence and discriminations hurled against members of the third sex.

Board Member Carol Espinosa-Diaz, who authored the resolution, cited Art. 3, Sections 1, 2, 4, and 8 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that every person has the right to life, the security of person and privacy…the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of expression.”

“Despite the explicit provisions of the 1987 Constitution and many laws and ordinances, which aim to provide equal protection to all individuals without distinction, cases of discrimination and violence particularly members of LGBT still persist,” said Espinosa.

LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender.

Espinosa also cited that in June 2017, the United Nations through the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution to appoint an “independent expert” to find the causes of violence and discrimination against people due to their gender identity.

The Provincial Board passed such measures amid the controversy involving a transgender woman who was recently detained for using the female comfort room inside a mall in Quezon City.

Gretchen Custodio Diez said she was prohibited by a janitress from using the women’s comfort room of the Farmers Plaza at the Araneta Center Cubao, Quezon City.

Diez , 28, was detained after the mall management filed an unjust vexation complaint against her for going live on Facebook while the arrest was unfolding.

The mall management has since apologized to Diez for the treatment she received from the janitress, adding that they never condoned such actions from their cleaning crew.

Apart from condemning any acts of violence against gays, Espinosa also proposed an ordinance declaring the first day of June every year as the “Iloilo Province LGBT Pride Day.”

She said the LGBT community and its members in Iloilo are considered as “active partners towards community development,” and “a dynamic group of talented, creative and empowered citizens with equal human rights.”

“LGBT Pride Day is the positive stance against discrimination and violence towards LGBT people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights; increase their visibility as a social group; build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance,” Espinosa said.

A committee will be formed comprising a different representative from LGBT Organizations from different barangay to carry out the one-dimensional activity in the grassroots.

The activity shall be funded annually and shall be included in the province’s Gender and Development fund.