FamiLigtas calls for increased visibility on GBV against LGBTQ+

Thursday, December 10, 2020

As the nation observes the annual 18-day campaign to end gender-based violence (GBV),
FamiLigtas reminds us to also address the violence and discrimination experienced by the LGBTQ+ community.

FamiLigtas is a digital campaign against gender-based violence (GBV) in the Philippines during the time of COVID-19. But because GBV is most commonly associated with spousal and domestic violence against women, the experiences of violence among lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, and other non-binary individuals are often left unheard. 

We advocate for the equal treatment for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” said Sabrina Gacad of Lunas Collective. “While there are numerous urgent challenges facing LGBTQ+ persons worldwide, there are many windows of opportunity to promote and protect their human rights.”

As the LGBTQ+ community continues to fight for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill in the congress, more and more non-binary people continue to experience discrimination, and even violence, at home and in public spaces. 

A lack of protection for LGBTQ+ persons
According to Human Rights Watch, only 15% of Filipinos are living in areas with ordinances against discrimination and violence on the basis of SOGIE. The same report also states that the low reporting and intervention of this kind of GBV is caused by the negative messages that the victim-survivors are receiving from authorities.  

Additionally, there is little to no statistical data on the cases of GBV against the LGBTQ+ in the Philippines. Unlike violence against women and children, which has annual report from the Philippine National Police and other government and non-government organizations, GBV cases against LGBTQ+ are often excluded due to low reporting rate and the lack of laws to protect them against discrimination and violence. 

The barangay is an important player in creating a violence-free community. And we need to remember that it is our responsibility to keep the community safe not just for women, but for all gender identities as well,” said local barangay representative.

Kasama ang LGBTQ+ sa pamilya 
The family is the most common perpetrator of GBV in the Philippines—whether targeted against women, children, or LGBTQ+ persons. According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, LGBTQ+ children are often verbally, emotionally, sexually, and physically abused by their own families. This is due to the notion that the children’s non-conforming gender attitudes are unnatural and immoral. 

A recent survey by Youth Voices Count across Asia-Pacific revealed that 65% of LGBTQ+ youth are still dependent on their parents. According to Bionat, this indicates that many have had to go back home because of COVID-19, potentially leading to re-exposures to trauma and certain vulnerabilities.

For Melo Esquerra, a broadcast journalist and staunch LGBTQ+ advocate, and Mommy Vie, a
proud Pride mom, safety at home begins with acceptance, love, and compassion from members of the family, without regard for gender.

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