Sen. Risa Hontiveros rallies behind LGBTQ members amid Senate President Tito Sotto’s remarks

August 22, 2019 - 7:24 PM
Sotto and Hontiveros
Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the LGBTQ community "to keep fighting" amid Senate President Tito Sotto's remarks on the passage of a bill criminalizing discrimination against them. (Artwork by Interaksyon/Uela Altar-Badayos)

Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged the LGBTQ community “to keep fighting” amid Senate President Tito Sotto’s remarks on the passage of a bill criminalizing discrimination against them.

In a tweet, the LGBTQ rights advocate offered an assurance to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transexuals and queers, particularly those who are are still in the closet.

“Kids, I know it can be hurtful to read comments online nowadays, especially if you think you’re lesbian, gay, bi or trans and especially if you’re not out,” Hontiveros wrote.

“Let me tell you: There’s nothing wrong with you, and you’re not alone. We’ll keep fighting so that things (will) get better, I promise,” she added.

The legislator accompanied her tweet with a graphic of a rainbow-colored turtle hiding on its gray shell, symbolizing the plight of LGBTQ members.

Her message uplifted Filipinos, particularly those in the LGBTQ community.

A particular Twitter user admitted of feeling “depressed” following people’s comments and posts against people like them.

“Thank you, Senator, for these comforting words,” he wrote as he retweeted her post.

‘No chance’ 

Two days ago, the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality initiated a public hearing to discuss the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Equality Bill.

The panel discussed two versions of the bill as filed by Hontiveros and Senator Imee Marcos.

The proposed measure acknowledges the rights of the LGBTQ community and protects them from different forms of discrimination.

It also protects people with real or perceived class, status, ethnicity, color, disability, and religious and political beliefs from discrimination.

However, it did not receive a warm reception from Senate President Tito Sotto who claimed that it would have “no chance” in the upper chamber “if it transgresses on academic freedom, religious freedom and women’s rights.”

Hontiveros previously allayed his concerns, saying that the measure would not encroach on religious freedom, among others.

“Wala pong probisyon tungkol sa same-sex marriage sa SOGIE Equality Bill. ‘Yung marriage equality na iyon ay bahagi ng maaaring buuin ng longer term rainbow agenda,” she shared in an interview.

Calls for the SOGIE bill’s passage resurfaced following transwoman Gretchen Diez’s experience in a ladies’ restroom at Farmers Plaza Mall.

She was harassed and dragged to the Quezon City Police District Station despite the city’s standing anti-discrimination ordinance on LGBTQ members. — Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos