The Effects of Discrimination in the Philippines and The SOGIE Equality Bill

June 22, 2018

The right thing to do, the smart thing to do

Back in 2015 people were outraged by the denied access of a transgender fashion designer at a high end club in Taguig. What I remember most about the situation was a statement made by my professor, who is admittedly gay as well, he said, and I roughly quote “That’s the problem with the LGBT community, they keep on asking for SPECIAL TREATMENT.” In my head I was shouting “HOW DARE YOU! for someone who belongs to the community, you should know better” but instead I raised my hand and asked as politely as I possibly can “But sir is it really asking for special treatment, if you’re simply asking permision to be yourself? I mean, the main idea of “asking permision to be yourself” seems ridiculous and devaluating in all angles”. The professor then answered back “But you have to abide by the rules, specially since that is a private establishment, it’s special treatment because what he is asking is to be excused from the rules, there are certain articles of clothing for boys”. Again in my head I was like “THATS THE POINT I'm 100% sure she doesn’t see herself as a boy, she sees herself as a woman obvi” but since I’m dealing with a person of authority to send me to the discipline’s office and have my Certificate of GMC be blocked, in effect I couldn’t apply to lawschools, I couldn’t in all my power debate in my full rage and disgust, so I just kept my mouth shut.

People often become hypocritical and judgmental as suppose to loving and accepting when dealing with the LGBT+ Community, and while the Philippine Constitution does have laws that protect human rights, there are  no specific provision on criminalizing acts done against someone’s sexual orientation and gender identity and there’s no state-governed body that monitors all the attacks on LGBT people. It’s disproportionate, and there are a lot of hate crimes against trans-people and kids who get kicked out of their schools and families because they’ve come out.

The SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression) Equality Bill, also known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB), is a proposed legislation of the Congress of the Philippines. It is intended to prevent various economic and public accommodation-related acts of discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. In 2017, the House bill (No. 4982), as filed in 2016 by Rep. Geraldine Roman (and merged from multiple similar bills), passed 3rd reading for the first time since 2001 with 198 members of the House of Representatives voting for the bill and none opposing it. The counterpart bill in the Senate, filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros, was in the period of interpolations by May 2018. It was opposed by Senator Tito Sotto and the Christian Coalition for Righteousness, Justice and Truth led by Eddie Villanueva who believes that the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill may lead to the legalization of same sex marriage.

Feinstein found that negative attitudes toward homosexuality were directly predictive of discrimination and future social anxiety and depression. He also discovered that the participants who reported gender nonconformity in childhood were more likely to report discrimination later in life. Although these findings were reported by the majority of the participants, they were more significant among the gay men than among the lesbians. In general, it appeared that the participants who felt victimized in childhood were more likely to anticipate rejection in adulthood. This was especially true if they experienced parental rejection in childhood. Additionally, early homonegativity and rejection led to negative feelings about the participants’ sexual orientation in adulthood.

Studies show found gay and lesbian young people are four times more likely to contemplate or attempt suicide, compared with the general population, while trans youth are ten times more likely to do so.These statistics represent untold personal tragedies for the individuals concerned; but they also reflect a senseless waste of human potential on a grand scale. Every trans youth thrown out of home or forced to miss out on an education is a loss for society. Every gay or lesbian worker driven to leave their job or even their country is a lost opportunity to build a more productive economy.

On a range of social and economic indicators, LGBT people, especially lesbians and transgender people, tend to fare poorly compared with the general population. Studies in multiple countries have found rates of poverty, food insecurity and joblessness to be elevated in the LGBT community. At a macro level, the cost to a country’s economy can be counted in the billions. According to a pilot study conducted for the World Bank last year, discrimination against the LGBT Community could be costing that country’s economy up to $32 billion a year in lost economic output.
Part of the solution lies with the government, new laws and policies are needed to protect LGBT people from unfair, inhumane, and abusive treatment. The government should serve their people’s best interest, self preservation and protection must be at their utmost priority. For now, we can only hope that the government opens their hearts and minds to the issues the LGBT+ Community is facing today, however foreign these issues maybe to them, it is existing and is actually detrimental to our society.
The right thing to do, the smart thing to do


  1. Arias, J. Debunking Some Misconceptions About the SOGIE Equality Bill, Preen Inquirer, 2018
  2. Aglipay-Villar, E. et al. SOGIE Equality Bill, HB 4982, (2017)
  3.  Colcol, E. "House OKs SOGIE Equality Bill on final reading"GMA News, (2017)
  4. Feinstein, BA., et al. The relationship between experiences of discrimination and mental health among lesbians and gay men: An examination of internalized homonegativity and rejection sensitivity as potential mechanisms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (2012)
  5. Radcliff C. The real cost of LGBT discrimination, World Economic Forum, (2016)

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