Anti-Gender-Discrimination Act sign now

One of the things that prompted the visibility and advocacy of the LGBT rights in the United States is the Matthew Sheppard incident in 1998. Matthew Sheppard was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming by 2 men who were motivated by their hate towards gay people, Matthew being an openly gay person. The tragic incident made the many Americans aware of the prejudice that plagues their societies and its consequences. More importantly, Matthew Sheppard became the poster boy for gay bashing and brought national and some international attention to hate crimes (Matthew Sheppard Foundation, 2006).

In 2005, a similar, but less heinous and tragic event happened in the Philippines as well. Marlon Lacsamana, a gay librarian in Miriam College, was subsequently fired after the school found out that he and his partner had a symbolic wedding. What is worse is that Marlon wasnt even given a chance to defend himself.

Fortunately, Quezon City has ordinance that protect homosexuals from discrimination and so he was able to file a complaint and be heard (news, 2005). Other cities may not be so lucky. Lacsamanas case is just one of the many victims of discrimination in our country, many of which were probably left unheard because no legitimate law prohibiting discrimination against ones gender or sexual orientation, although several attempts to pass a act have been made. To date, there are four senate acts that mainly targets discrimination based on sexual orientation, all of which receive pending status from the senate. Out of the four pending acts, only one included gender in its discrimination grounds (Senate of the Philippines, n.d.).

The governments inattention to these proposed acts proves that not only does the government not recognize gender to form part of an individuals identity, they also do not recognize the rights of our fellow citizens equally. Discrimination is a violation of basic human rights and equality as embodied by our preamble and article II section 2 of the 1987 Philippine constitution, which states the countrys adherence to international laws. Consequently, the non-passage of any of the anti-discrimination act on basis of gender and sexual orientation in our country has gotten international attention. Human Rights Watch (HRW), a non-profit international organization dedicated on protecting human rights, has already addressed President Macapagal-Arroyo regarding the discrimination act in 2004 (Human Rights Watch, 2006). Amnesty International has also launched global campaign for the passage of the said act (Amnesty International, 2006).

The Anti-Gender discrimination Act is an act that prohibits discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. It is an act that aims to protect our basic rights as human being and to promote equality in our nation. The act mainly covers discrimination in health care, employment, education, and government institutions.

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Sabrina BarajasBy:
School and EducationIn:
Petition target:
Philippine Congress and Senate

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