Assault on Taylor Sheesh sparks renewed push for SOGIE bill approval

April 10, 2024 - 1:39 PM
Taylor Sheesh_performing
Taylor Sheesh performing in Bar IX PH in this photo taken by Miguel Ruallo and posted on her Instagram on Feb. 13, 2024 (heyyymacyou/Instagram)

Trigger Warning: Contains graphic descriptions involving physical assault

Drag artist Taylor Sheesh stressed the need for the SOGIE Equality Bill after she was physically assaulted in the middle of a performance in Bayambang, Pangasinan.

The Taylor Swift impersonator confirmed that she was attacked by someone in the crowd when she was a special guest for the town’s Kalutan Concert 2024 on Saturday, April 6.

The Kalutan Concert is an activity that closes Bayambang’s 410th annual fiesta.

In a video posted on social media, Taylor Sheesh could be seen coming down the stage to get closer to the crowd, as part of her routine in her shows.

As she was walking, a man from the crowd deliberately stuck out his hand and hit her neck in a sort of a karate chop.

This caused the drag artist to stop performing briefly.

In a post on the X (formerly Twitter) platform, Taylor Sheesh said that the incident left her traumatized.

“This is traumatic. Literally. I’m shaking rn [right now],” she said in response to a user who informed Pinoys that the drag artist was attacked during a performance.

Bayambang Mayor Niña Jose-Quiambao later informed the public that the man was already in prison and cases would be filed against him.

“Here in Bayambang, we are a very inclusive, progressive town and that, we love the LGBTQ community, and we serve all races, all genders, everyone here in Bayambang. So we strongly, strongly condemn the act of one individual last night towards Taylor Sheesh,” she said in a Facebook livestream on Sunday, April 7.

“[On] behalf of LGU [local government unit] Bayambang and in behalf of the whole bayan of Bayambang, I want to truly apologize and say sorry to Taylor Sheesh and to all those who have been offended, especially the LGBTQ community,” the mayor added.

Jose-Quiambao assured everyone that “justice will be served.”

“Right now, this individual is in prison and there will be a case or cases will be filed against him and as far as I’m concerned, even by Taylor Sheesh,” she said.

The drag artist also stressed the need for the SOGIE Equality Bill or a “law to protect” the LGBTQIA+ community “from any kind of homophobic [or] transphobic activity.”

SOGIE is short for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression.

“Last April 6, I was physically assaulted while I’m performing by a guy who I didn’t even know. The security escorted him out and brought him to [a] police station,” Taylor Sheesh said on Facebook on Tuesday, April 9.

“And yesterday, he was arrested and I filed a case against the guy. Nalaman ko rin na marami siyang pending cases na nakapatong sa kanya,” she added.

“I will not tolerate violence against the LGBTQIA+ community. We need SOGIE Bill or a law to protect us from any kind of homophobic [or] transphobic activity. Hope we get the justice we deserve,” the drag artist said.

Taylor Sheesh also expressed gratitude to Jose-Quiambao and the Bayambang LGU, as well as to those who showed their support following the incident.

“Sorry sa mga ‘di ko mareplyan, I’m okay na. Thank you for all the love and support,” she said.

Other social media users backed Taylor Sheesh in her call to pass the SOGIE Equality Bill especially after the assault.

“On top of a SOGIE Anti-Discrimination Law, we will need a specific anti-hate crime law. #PassSOGIEBillNow,” lawyer and LGBTQIA+ rights advocate Jesus Falcis said.

“Nakikiisa po kami para sa’yo. Tuloy pa rin ang Laban, Mac Coronel (Taylor Sheesh). Isa-batas na ang SOGIE SC Equality Bill! #SogieEqualityNow #IpasaNaAngSogieSCEqualityBill #DefendLGBTQIAPlusRights,” another user said.

“SOGIE bill is a must,” wrote a different Filipino.

Taylor Sheesh became known globally after a video of her performing in a Quezon City mall in 2023 caught widespread attention, the same year Taylor Swift began her groundbreaking “Eras Tour” concert which the Philippines was not part of.

READ: Pinoy Swifties recreate ‘Eras Tour’ in QC mall as petition for Taylor Swift

The drag artist’s mall performance received international coverage, appearing in the likes of “Good Morning America” and “Rolling Stone.”

Taylor Sheesh has since performed in other countries like Australia and Singapore.

Meanwhile, the SOGIE Bill is meant to penalize discrimination, exclusion and preferential treatment based on someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Efforts have been made to pass the bill since its proposal in Congress for over two decades ago.

The proposal cleared the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress but still needs Senate approval, requiring it to be reintroduced in the next Congress.

In 2023, a House panel approved the proposed Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Bill, which deems certain acts discriminatory.

These include denying access to public services to any person on the basis of SOGIESC and advertising, producing, and publishing materials promoting, encouraging, and perpetuating stigma or inciting violence and sexual abuse against any person or group on the basis of SOGIESC.