How LGBT groups reacted to VP bet’s disclosure of ‘gender identity’

March 14, 2022 - 2:26 PM
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Sara Duterte
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is running for vice president, says her gender expression is male.

A few groups and members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community stressed their struggles for equality and expression in society.

This development came after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, a vice presidential candidate, pronounced that she is part of the community during a campaign event last Thursday, March 10.

“Paano ko naman di mamahalin ang LGBT e LGBT din ako,” she told members of a party-list group called LGBT Pilipinas Party-list.

Duterte-Carpio shared that she expresses her gender sentiments through her haircut.

“Sa gender stereotyping, ang sinasabi nila ang lalaki maikli ang buhok, ang babae mahaba ang buhok. Kaya po minsan, nakikita ninyo maikli ang buhok ko, gusto ko po maging lalaki n’yan. ‘Pag ayaw ko na po maging lalaki, pinapahaba ko po ang aking buhok. Totoo po ‘yan,” she said.

The Davao City mayor said that she once asked their human resource person about her sexual orientation.

“So in-explain niya sa akin. Sabi niya, ang sexual orientation mo ay babae, ang gender expression mo ay lalaki. Kaya ‘wag po kayong magtaka, paminsan-minsan mawawala ‘yung buhok ko dahil, ‘pag short hair sinasabi nila lalaki ako. ‘Pag gusto naman magmukhang babae, pinapahaba ko ang buhok ko,” Duterte-Carpio said.

Duterte-Carpio is the running mate of presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for the May 2022 elections.

How groups reacted

Two LGBT organizations, the Bahaghari National and the University of the Philippines-Babaylan, pointed out that being an LGBT member comes with the lifelong struggle for acceptance and equality.

“Ang pagiging bahagi ng LGBTQIA+ community ay hindi po costume na sinusuot nalang bigla… it is a lifelong struggle in a world steeped with deep hatred and exclusion of our community,” said Rey Valmores-Salinas, spokesperson of Bahaghari.

In a separate tweet, Salinas pointed out that Duterte-Carpio’s gender expression will not make any impact if she doesn’t have any platforms to serve the community.

“Pwede naman talagang LGBTQIA+ si Sara Duterte. Pwede naman talagang di lang niya alam paano ipaliwanag na may incongruence sa identity niya. Pero ang punto, hindi dapat ginagamit sa galawang trapo ang pagiging LGBTQIA+. Higit sa identity, ano ang plataporma mo para sa amin? Wala,” she said.

UP Babaylan stressed the challenges that members of the LGBT community have faced.

“We recognize that identifying with the community is an important impetus for knowing oneself, but it must not be done on the grounds of a hidden political ploy, geared towards gaining votes. The LGBTQI community has been part of a long struggle for equality, making the community a benchmark for deceiving political tactics undermines such struggle,” they said.

The organization asked Duterte-Carpio to play a role in addressing the concerns of the community.

Some social users also criticized Duterte for making these comments during her campaign but she was silent on other issues related to the community before.

“Being part of the LGBTQ+ means more [than] shaving your head. You’re not banned in multiple countries for shaving your head. You can’t just decide all of a sudden you’re LGBTQ,” another Twitter user said.

LGBT Pilipinas party-list, meanwhile, pledged to support Duterte-Carpio in the May polls, citing its aim for continuity from her father’s administration.

“Given her commitment in fighting alongside… us for our cause, we will be able to do more and achieve more with her in Malacañan Palace,” the groups’ national president said at an endorsement event on March 10.

3 different things

According to St Lawrence University, sexual orientation describes “a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person.”

American Psychological Association, on the other hand, describes gender identity as a term referring to “a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics.”

Oxford Dictionaries defines gender expression as “the way in which a person shows their gender identity, usually through their appearance, clothing and behavior.”