We can’t let pride month pass without discussing this
The world is a little messed up, isn’t it? There are people with no jobs, children who won’t have access to education this coming school year and people in power whose priorities seem a little misplaced. So much has been happening and we’ve been cramming our brains with so much information and so many headlines that it’s a little rough to breathe sometimes.
There are many battles to be fought and only so much energy. So today isn’t about putting up the fists to fight; it’s about a little education on SOGIE—it is still Pride Month, after all.
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First things first: What is SOGIE?
SOGIE stands for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression. We’ll get into the details later but here’s a little spoiler: No, they do not mean the same thing and yes, they ~do~ matter to everyone.
So in case you think that the SOGIE bill is only for people that belong in the LGBTQIA+ community, you are wrong ? It’s all-encompassing and that is precisely the point of it.
Now: Sex vs. Gender
Before we get to the nitty gritty, let’s differentiate between sex and gender first.
Sex is categorized in three ways—female, male or intersex—and is given to you at birth based on the biological attributes that you come into the world with. If you have XX chromosomes and a vagina, you are written down as female. If the doctor finds a penis and XY chromosomes, you are dubbed male. And then there are the rare occasions of an intersex individual in which both female and male biological attributes are evident.
On the other hand, gender is socially constructed roles, behaviors and expressions. Period.
And so we really start: Sexual Orientation
If we’re speaking technically, sexual orientation is all about who you are attracted to—sexually, physically and romantically. If you’re attracted to those of the same sex as you, you’re homosexual; the opposite and you’re heterosexual. Asexual individuals generally do not feel any type of attraction for anyone, pansexual individuals cannot categorize their attraction as it does not correlate to biological sex or gender identity. On the other hand, bisexuals can categorize their attraction, although it is to more than one gender identity.
On a related note, why do some people have such a difficult time accepting bisexuals? Why are some people so quick to say they just can’t make up their minds? What even is bierasure and why does it exist?
What about Gender Identity?
You remember what I said earlier about gender being some social construct? Well, Gender Identity is one’s own personal sense of their gender—basically who you see yourself as. It might be what you were assigned to at birth or it might be something different.
Cisgender individuals are those who conform exclusively to either female or male identities. Gender-queer is an umbrella term for those who see themselves as not having a fixed gender. And transgender individuals are those whose identity and expression are different from their sex assigned at birth.
And finally, Gender Expression
Oddly enough, this is the easiest one out of the three and the only thing anyone should really assume about anybody.
Gender Expression is simply an external manifestation of gender through things such as someone’s clothing, their hair, their makeup, the pronouns they want to be referred as, their behavior and their bodily characteristics. You can dress feminine, you can speak masculine, you can look androgynous or you can style yourself completely gender-neutral. You do you that day and all days.
So. Do you still think the SOGIE bill—which basically makes it illegal to discriminate ~anyone~ based on ~any~ Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression—has nothing to do with you? It doesn’t matter if you’re straight or queer, if you were born the sex you identify with or not. This is about you, too.
And even if you still think it doesn’t matter to your life, why would you fight against something that could potentially help someone else?
Fortunately, there are safe places. Groups like SPECTRUM Philippines, a dedicated group of LGBTQIA+ members and allies within TELUS International Philippines, one of the leading BPO companies in the country.
Art Mathew Fetalver