‘The QueerMas Wishlist – Coming Together’: Pinoys urged to back gender-transformative bills

December 4, 2023 - 3:38 PM
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community and straight allies flocked together as they attended Metro Manila Pride's "Tayo Ang Kulayaan" pride event on June 24, 2023 at the Circuit Event Grounds in Makati City. (Philstar.com/Anjilica Andaya)

(Updated 5:02 p.m.) Several LGBTQIA+ organizations just launched an initiative dedicated to enhancing the “lives and happiness” of LGBTQIA+ Filipinos last Friday.

Through the campaign called “The QueerMas Wishlist – Coming Together”, groups namely, PANTAY, Babaylanes Inc., Plan International, Galang Philippines and Love, are calling on stakeholders to support four gender-transformative bills. 

The civil society organizations (CSOs) emphasized the persistent challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community despite increased awareness. These include lack of legal and social protections that hampers meeting their basic needs.

“Stigma and discrimination continue to be disproportionately experienced,” the CSOs said.

Through the “QueerMas Wishlist”, the CSOs are appealing to Filipinos to rally behind them in advocating for the passage of legislation that aims to boost visibility for gender-diverse individuals and enhance their overall welfare. They extend their call to activists and advocates across various sectors, urging them to integrate the “QueerMas Wishlist” into their campaigns.

Emphasizing the universal impact of gender across sectors, the CSOs asserted, “We must all recognize that gender will always permeate all our sectors. Fight with us for our rights.”

“We call on activists and advocates from different sectors—the labor sector, the education sector, the health sector—to include the Queermas Wishlist in their own campaigns. We must all recognize that gender will always permeate all our sectors. Fight with us for our rights,” the unity statement reads.

“Now more than ever, we also urge the local and national officials to pass gender-transformative policies that can greatly improve the sectors of employment, education, healthcare and justice. Prove to us that the Philippines is the most LGBTQI-friendly country in Asia. Let us go beyond this and make the Philippines a gender-progressive country in the world,” it added. 

The unity statement was released during a mock press conference conducted as part of the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s training on “Reporting on Diversity, Inclusion, and LGBTIQ+ Rights in the Philippines.” This was participated by 12 Filipino journalists and members of CSOs.

Meanwhile, a report from the US Agency for International Development, titled “Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippines Country Report,” highlights the challenges faced by LGBT organizations in the country. 

The report notes that these organizations struggle to clearly distinguish completed efforts from those still pending, leading to overlapping and duplicated activities. The lack of a strategic LGBT rights agenda is identified as a key issue, hindering the advocacy’s alignment with the community’s needs in the Philippines.  — With reports from Cristina Chi