End Hate, End Violence: GALANG Philippines’ Statement on the Orlando Shooting Massacre

Beyond our grief from the tragedy in Orlando, Florida, USA is GALANG’s unwavering fight against stigma, discrimination, hate, and violence directed towards LGBTs all over the world. We are horribly shaken and outraged by the death of 49 people in PULSE nightclub, which has been a safe space for the LGBT community for over 15 years. The mass shooting amplified, if not confirmed, our well-founded fear of individuals and groups who persistently incite hate and make us all vulnerable to violent attacks. The gravity of this carnage against LGBT people cuts across countries, nationalities, race, religion, political affiliation, class, and more, and we refuse to allow divisive groups to respond to hate with more hate.

What intensifies our terror is the fact that LGBTs in the Philippines are not even protected by state policies against discrimination and hate crimes. We have been constantly impacted by the ripples of home-grown bigotry. Boxing-champion-turned-senator, Manny Pacquiao, has brazenly cited biblical text in calling LGBTs “worse than animals”.  President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has been disingenuous in making repeated sexist remarks, besides openly encouraging the killing of alleged criminals without due process. It is in the hands of such powerful and influential men that we may senselessly lose the battle, or ironically win the fight against a culture of bigotry, hate, and violence.

Recently, we also mourned the violent deaths of our LGBT compatriots–Ashley Anne Reilly, Jimmy Vosotros, as well as other undocumented victims of brutal killings of LGBT individuals across the country–whose stories hardly even make the evening news. We are also increasingly concerned about LGBTs in urban poor communities, specifically the LBTs that GALANG works with. They are the people who are regularly attacked by bigoted comments from their neighbors, are scarred daily by the stigma and discrimination at school or work, and subjected to various forms of violence from their own families. Ultimately, they find themselves at the receiving end of systemic discrimination from a State that could not even provide social services and protection to LGBTs who are dying slow deaths from lost opportunities while the SOGI-based Anti-discrimination Bill continues to languish for nearly two (2) decades in the Philippine Congress.

We can only genuinely promote and protect human rights with LOVE for humanity and RESPECT for our diversity. This is a call for unity to stand with LGBTs in ending discrimination and violence. This is a dark time for all LGBTs, but we will rise above this tragedy.  The death of the 49 victims in Orlando and all other LGBTs who died of hate and violence marks our hearts where it rightly should—here and now to fight harder for LGBT rights–for EQUAL rights!  End the hate! End violence!

#LGBTrightsEVERYWHERE #LoveNotHate #PrayforOrlando #PassAntiDiscriminationBill

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