Drafted 19 years ago, the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill is currently the longest-running bill under the period of Senate interpellation. While it was not passed in the 17th Congress, the growing number of champions and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community continues to bring hope for its enactment. In fact, the measure—which looks to protect Filipinos from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation—has recently been refiled by Senator Risa Hontiveros in the incoming Congress.
We at ABS-CBN Lifestyle asked LGBTQIA+ couples how they're feeling about the efforts and actions taken for the passage of ‘SOGIE’ in the country. Hear it here straight from those whose who think it matters just the same as any law protecting human rights!
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Jake Zyrus: The SOGIE Bill is human rights. Our legislative assembly often discusses that the anti-discrimination law is included in human rights but we cannot unsee crimes involving discrimination to the LGBTQIA+ community, and bullying that led to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. We cannot zip our lips whenever someone is having trouble in their career for being who they are. The SOGIE Bill once approved will help the community obtain protection and rights for an individual without the need to worry and to live peacefully.
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Ethan David: Non-discrimination is one of the fundamental principles of human rights. It is a pity that we still need to discuss about things, which should be totally obvious.
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Jake Galvez: There’s nothing more I want than to have equal rights as citizens of this country and to live a life that’s free of discrimination and express ourselves freely. I’m happy to support the SOGIE Bill because no one should be denied education nor employment because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. The LGBTQIA+ community has been struggling to pass the bill for years now and I am very sad that the it didn’t push through the 17th Congress. But our battle will never stop.
Martin De Leon: It's about time that this bill gets passed because I believe that our nation has progressed a lot in terms of equality.
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Myrrh Lao To: Why are we not passing this yet? This is equal rights for everyone and that doesn’t mean taking away rights from other people. It pains me that we live in a country that’s supposedly full of love and smiles but we cannot give everyone fair, equal rights.
Koko Gonzales: Laws should provide rights for everyone.
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Renz Pangilinan: I think that we all deserve to be treated equally. People have got to start just loving and appreciating what really matters.
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Carlos Concepcion: I am obviously all for the SOGIE Bill. Everyone should feel safe and protected. It’s ridiculous that this is even a debate. To be against something that protects someone’s life from hurt, pain or any form of violence. How can you be against that? True separation of church and state needs to happen.
Alexander McCaskill: It’s a complicated issue as the Philippines is very Catholic. There are still people who believe being gay is a sin, and that’s getting in the way of any form of true equality. That belief needs to be challenged.
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Photographs taken from the subjects' Instagram accounts