An old tweet of Senator Risa Hontiveros gave comfort to the members of an online forum for the LGBT community.
On May 23, a Reddit user posted a screenshot of her tweet on a subreddit forum called r/me_irlgbt, a safe space for LGBT-related memes and other similar postings.
The Redditor did not put any caption on it.
It was posted days after Hontiveros was proclaimed as among the 12 senators who will serve the country for the next six years. She is the lone opposition among them.
The tweet on the screenshot reads:
“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. Let me tell you: There’s nothing wrong with you, & you’re not alone. We’ll keep fighting so that things get better, I promise.”
Hontiveros tweeted it on Aug. 22, 2019. She also attached artwork of a rainbow-colored turtle that is hiding under its shell.
Kids, I know it can be hurtful to read comments online nowadays, especially if you think you’re lesbian, gay, bi or trans & especially if you’re not out.
Let me tell you:There’s nothing wrong with you, & you’re not alone. We’ll keep fighting so that things get better, I promise. pic.twitter.com/3HqOQRDddP
— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) August 22, 2019
The Reddit post has since received 7,311 upvotes, a counterpart of Facebook likes and Twitter hearts.
In the discussion section, several Filipinos were surprised to see a post about Hontiveros there.
Some of them offered a quick context on her position in the Philippines.
“For more context: she is one of the senators in the Philippine senate who is the only one in the opposition and is fighting for equal rights for women and for queer people in our country,” one Redditor said.
Other Redditors, on the other hand, said they were grateful for the senator’s message, citing that it brought them comfort.
“Thanks, I needed to hear this,” one Reddit user said.
“I ain’t even a kid and I needed to hear that lol,” another online user commented.
Another Redditor later cross-posted this on another subreddit r/Philippines, the community for all topics and conversations in the Philippines.
“SenRis spotted at r/me_irlgbt,” the user said.
It was upvoted 1,220 times as of writing.
The context of Hontiveros’ tweet
Hontiveros posted this message after the first public hearing of the long-overdue anti-discrimination bill, also called the Sexual, Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill. She is also the principal author of this bill.
Deliberations on this proposed legislation were led by the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, which the senator also chairs.
The first public hearing happened on Aug. 20, 2019 and resumed on Sept. 2, 2019.
The SOGIE bill was tackled after a transgender woman named Gretchen Diez made headlines over alleged discrimination at a mall in Quezon City.
After being barred from using a women’s comfort room, she took to social media to share video clips of the incident which eventually went viral.
Should this be signed into law, all Filipinos, including members of the LGBT community, will be protected against any type of discrimination in the Philippine society.
Until now, the government has yet to pass a nationwide anti-discrimination law that covered all Filipinos’ SOGIEs.