SOGIE and LGBT

By Perci Cendaña

Youth Advocate

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SOGIE is sexual orientation and gender identity and expression

LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

L,G and B describe sexual orientation or the direction of one's desire and affection. L and G are homosexuals, they are attracted to members of the same sex. B is one who is attracted to the members of both sexes. T is a gender identity or one's gender self-identification regardless of the assigned sex at birth. For example, a transgender woman is someone who was assigned male but identifies as a woman.

In an ideal world, these many letters are basically descriptions for preference, behavior and identity or more essentially human conditions.

But in a heavily prejudiced and biased society, these letters result in discrimination and inequality.

The National Youth Commission (NYC) is against all forms of discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, SOGI, socio-economic status, ethnicity, religion etc. is a deterrent to the full enjoyment of an individual's human rights and hampers a person's full development. These values are captured well in the letter (excerpts below) of the agency to Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) requesting the Philippine Mission in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to vote in favor of the resolution condemning all forms of discrimination on the basis of SOGI.

"Before us is a landmark United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) SOGI Resolution seeking triumph over discrimination. Aligned with the position taken by the Philippines in other resolutions related to violence and discrimination, the UNHRC Resolution follows a constructive and dialogue oriented approach to address discrimination and violence against LGBTs. The Resolution does not create new rights, it only reflects existing human rights standards and instruments.

The UNHRC SOGI Resolution corresponds with domestic developments on upholding LGBT rights. Government agencies like the Commission on Population, Department of Education, and the Philippine Commission on Women are creating SOGI-inclusive policies. Many local government units are enacting anti-discrimination ordinances. Our Congress is moving forward with the anti-discrimination bill.

In order to eliminate violence and discrimination against LGBTs, we must resolve to support efforts for policies that protect the rights and promote the welfare of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.

We fervently pray that the Philippines vote in favor of the inclusion of SOGI in the UNHRC Resolution."

And last Friday, the UNHCR resolution addressing violence and discrimination on the basis of SOGI was approved. The NYC celebrates this landmark resolution because this is definitely an important step towards greater sensitivity, equality and respect for diversity in the world. The NYC is grateful to the UNHRC for making this very important landmark stand for LGBTs young and old everywhere.

What made this historical feat more meaningful is the affirmative vote of the Philippine Mission of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the UNHRC in Geneva. The NYC is very glad the DFA heeded the call of the NYC, other government agencies and civil society organizations to support the SOGI resolution. The Philippine vote is a historic stand for LGBT rights and equal treatment.

It should be pointed out however that the country has yet to pass a law against LGBT discrimination. The challenge now is to translate this international commitment into local legislation. The NYC is earnestly urging our legislators to immediately approve the Anti-Discrimination Bill. This is long overdue.