Thoughts On SOGIE: I’m Straight But #IAmSOGIE
Keep the SOGIE conversation going; #IAmSOGIE
It was a year ago when Wonder first went on the record to talk about the SOGIE Equality Bill. In the article, it was pointed out that Filipinos were globally ranked the 10th most accepting nation of the LGBTQ+. But as the article went, “acceptance is easier voiced out than lived out.”
We can talk a big game about having family and friends from the community—of even admiring them—but what does it matter when we still don’t see themselves as our equals. Our admiration means nothing if we still see the disparity, if we still see a them and an us. The real question for us cis individuals is: How can you call yourself an ally when you still think your rights are above theirs?
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It’s been a year since we first touched on this topic, but what real outcome has occurred other than the harsh realization that some of the LGBTQ+’s so-called allies are actually, at the very least, petty or—at the most—homophobic?
I’ve seen the worst of people and heard them utter insensitivities in the recent days, particularly with Gretchen Diez’s restroom debacle making rounds online. People have claimed that “they’re just looking for attention,” have had the audacity to ask “Bakit pa ba kailangan yan?” and have been selfish enough to think that the SOGIE Equality Bill is an attack on their own straight and privileged “rights.”
First of all, the SOGIE Equality Bill is simply an anti-discrimination bill that requires consequences on unfair treatment and biases towards anyone based on their Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression. If you’re straight, then congratulations, because that is your gender identity and the law would prohibit others from discriminating you based on your preference of the opposite sex. Yay.
Secondly, keep your head high because the bill states nothing of same-sex marriage. So good on you because marriage is still only for cis couples—if that’s something you think should be celebrated.
Third, if you think this bill is a simple call for attention and you’re questioning why it’s necessary, then hear the community out. Listen to their stories. Read up on Diez (taken out of the women’s restroom for being trans), KaladKaren Davila (refused entrance to a bar for being gay), Adam Eli (harassed for being gay) and Mathew Shepard (murdered for being gay).
And in case you need more stories, there are thousands of others, some of which will be on full display at the House of Representatives in Congress. From SPARK! Philippines and with the support of the Government of Canada and in participation with Love Is All We Need and Propel Manila, Humanizing SOGIE will highlight stories of Filipinos in the hope of starting and keeping a nationwide conversation on the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community—and why there actually is a need to make the SOGIE Equality Bill a reality.
Because when you hear stories of people being denied jobs, of students being suspended and of everyday individuals being rejected basic societal involvement, how the fuck can you still only see clearly in front of a mirror? This isn’t about the rights and privileges of straight individuals.
One last thing: Before you open your mouth or start typing away a status or blog post or whatever else the internet gives you the opportunity to touch, maybe read up on what you’re actually talking about. We’ll make it easy for you; just click here to read the actual proposed SOGIE Equality Bill. Do not be lazy—ahem—ignorant.
Art Alexandra Lara