The Handling Of LGBT Rights In The Philippines Is A Perfect Example Of A Unique Journey To Equality
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The Handling Of LGBT Rights In The Philippines Is A Perfect Example Of A Unique Journey To Equality

Mandaluyong are stepping up and passing anti-discrimination ordinances that would help tackle the prejudice that LGBT youth face.

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Pride

One of the key pieces of legislation in the Philippines Constitution is the Equal Protection and Due Process Clause which states, "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws." This legislation is especially important to the LGBT community because it is often used by activists to hold the government accountable. One example of this is in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that Ang Ladlad, a member of the LGBT community who wanted to join be a party-list, should be allowed to do so as the Equal Protection and Due Process Clause and the right to participate in politics is a right that belongs equally to the LGBT community as to any other group in society. Bullying of LGBT youth is a major problem.

Students that identify as LGBT report facing discrimination, sexual assault, cyberbullying and physical violence from fellow students and also administrators and teachers. In schools, students are forced to wear uniforms conforming to their assigned genders and maintain other such appearances regardless of how they identify. This often makes bullying worse and teachers and guidance counselors have little knowledge on LGBT issues and thus provide little help to students. However, cities like Mandaluyong are stepping up and passing anti-discrimination ordinances that would help tackle the prejudice that LGBT youth face in secondary schools and in finding employment and admission into higher education.

On a societal level, transgender women face violence and discrimination often. An organization by the name of the Trans Murder Monitoring Project reported 41 cases of transgender individuals getting murdered between 2008 to 2016. The violence experienced by the trans population in the Philippines is often dismissed. For such instance is the murder of trans women, Jennifer Laude, in 2014 by a US marine, Joseph Scott Pemberton. The regional court reduced Pemberton sentence and refused to convict him for murder because they claimed that the victim's "male genitalia" caused Pemberton to become "disgusted" which somehow legitimized arm-locking Laude and putting her head in the toilet, ultimately killing her.

This case highlights not only the generally negligent attitudes of Philippine institutions but also the privilege that male, Western bodies have in the Philippines due to deeply entrenched ties to the United States and a long history of colonization. Interestingly, the current President, Rodrigo Duterte, despite passing many LGBT friendly laws in the Philippines, on many occasions referred to people in his opposition as "bayot," a word associated with backlash with negative connotations. Additionally, the Philippines does not recognize sexual reassignment surgery as legitimate grounds for changing one's first name and/or registered sex. This means that the only way for a transgendered individual to get their sex changed in their official documents is to get a doctor to testify that there is a clerical error and that the individual was born biologically male or female (opposite of what is documented) which can be risky and lead to legal persecution.

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