Over the weekend, you might have noticed a graphic circulating around social media. It was a photo of Sara Duterte coupled with a proclamation of support from queer partylist LGBT Pilipinas. “Mayora Inday Sara is in the best position to move this nation forward and build on the gains that we have had since the advent of the administration. With 2022 in the rear view, we would like to throw our unflinching loyalty and all-out support should destiny favor her intentions,” it said.
You might be scratching your head right now. As a queer person, all I can say is, “What gains? When Jennifer Laude’s murderer was pardoned?”
Other LGBT groups have come forward to decry LGBT Pilipinas’ statement. In a unity statement released today, Sept. 6, over 40 groups including Bahaghari, Transman Equality and Awareness Movement, UP Babaylan, Queer Quezon, and Metro Manila Pride pointed out that “the Dutertes are not our allies.”
THE DUTERTES ARE NOT OUR ALLIES
Over 40 LGBTQIA+ organizations, personalities, and formations issue a joint statement rejecting LGBT Pilipinas’ claim that Pres. Duterte is an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, and that Sara Duterte would “build on” this legacy.#DuterteNotAnAllypic.twitter.com/lpxbxmTedk
“While LGBT Pilipinas flaunts that having been able to hold their group’s first convention in Malacañang is a sign of Duterte’s ‘inclusion and acceptance,’ it bears reminding that the SOGIE Equality Bill, which Duterte claimed to back, continues to languish in Congress,” the statement reads. “Even as hate crimes and killings against the LGBTQIA+ community rage on—most recently, those of our trans siblings Junjie Bangkiao and Ebeng Mayor—Duterte refused to certify the SOGIE Equality Bill as urgent.”
“Until today, there continues to be no national anti-discrimination legislation in the Philippines, only an executive order vaguely tackling ‘diversity and inclusion’ which ordinary members of our community have yet to see gains from,” it is noted in the statement.
The unity statement highlighted that the administration’s brutal war on drugs have claimed the lives of poor queer Filipinos, notably trans woman Heart de Chavez in 2017. “Merely accused of dealing drugs, Heart was gunned down multiple times by men who simply laughed after killing her. Heart was one among the estimated 30,000 Filipinos mercilessly slaughtered by Duterte’s War on Drugs.”
It also noted how the administration’s pandemic response has disenfranchised many queer folk, with them receiving “not only insufficient, but discriminatory government services.” Members of the LGBTQIA+ community “face an added layer of discrimination during the [ayuda distribution] process for the simple reason that the state does not recognize us, nor our beneficiaries, as legitimate.”
“President Duterte’s track record of providing only bogus support for the LGBTQIA+ community demonstrates that he is NO ally to us,” the statement unequivocally says. “In fact, his record of flip-flopping on the SOGIE Equality Bill, pardoning transmisogynist killer Joseph Scott Pemberton, and refusing to address the discrimination in ayuda distribution, marks him as a threat to the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Meanwhile, other LGBTQIA+ groups have been urging Vice President Leni Robredo to run. On Aug. 24, the group LGBTQIA+ for Leni was launched using the slogan “Keri ni Leni.” Expressing support for Robredo, the group observed that the vice president has advocated for the SOGIE Equality Bill.
It also explained that based on her work, she would be able to lead a better response to the pandemic. “Sa nasaksihan nating mga pagkilos niya bilang Pangalawang Pangulo, #KeriNiLeni na tugunan ang pandemya sa pamamagitan ng mga kongkretong solusyon na nakabatay sa agham at pagsasaliksik.”