What does LBT mean?

LBT stands for ‘lesbian, bisexual, and transgender’.

A lesbian is a woman who is emotionally, psychologically, and/or sexually attracted to another woman. She need not behave or dress like a man, although it is her right to do so if she wishes.

Both women and men can be bisexual and/or transgender. A bisexual woman is a person whose gender identity is that of a woman and is attracted to both women and men.

A trans man is a person who was assigned the female sex at birth, but believes that this label is incorrect or insufficient and feels that he is actually male. Not all trans men are attracted to women. A person need not be sexually active to be lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

No one has the right to label or treat another person as lesbian, bisexual or transgender besides the person herself or himself who wishes to embrace any of these identities.

What human rights do LBTs have?

LBTs have the same human rights as everybody else. The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that no person shall be “denied the equal protection of the laws.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights likewise outlines the rights to which all persons, including LBTs, are entitled. It provides that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

It is clear that based on both national and international bills of human rights, all persons are inherently equal and must thus be treated equally. If so, then it is imperative to establish and respect the human rights of LBTs stated in The Yogyakarta Principles, a universal guide to human rights which affirms binding international legal standards with which all States must comply.

What are The Yogyakarta Principles?

A distinguished group of international human rights experts who met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2006 crafted The Yogyakarta Principles. It is a universal guide to human rights which affirms binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. The initiative to outline a set of international principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity was undertaken in response to well-documented patterns of abuse. The following are the specific rights outlined in The Yogyakarta Principles:

  • PRINCIPLE 1. The Right to the Universal Enjoyment of Human Rights
  • PRINCIPLE 2. The Rights to Equality and Non-discrimination
  • PRINCIPLE 3. The Right to Recognition Before the Law
  • PRINCIPLE 4. The Right to Life
  • PRINCIPLE 5. The Right to Security of the Person
  • PRINCIPLE 6. The Right to Privacy
  • PRINCIPLE 7. The Right to Freedom from Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty
  • PRINCIPLE 8. The Right to a Fair Trial
  • PRINCIPLE 9. The Right to Treatment With Humanity While in Detention
  • PRINCIPLE 10. The Right to Freedom from Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • PRINCIPLE 11. The Right to Protection From All Forms of Exploitation, Sale and Trafficking of Human Beings
  • PRINCIPLE 12. The Right to Work
  • PRINCIPLE 13. The Right to Social Security and to Other Social Protection Measures
  • PRINCIPLE 14. The Right to an Adequate Standard of Living
  • PRINCIPLE 15. The Right to Adequate Housing
  • PRINCIPLE 16. The Right to Education
  • PRINCIPLE 17. The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health
  • PRINCIPLE 18. Protection from Medical Abuses
  • PRINCIPLE 19. The Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
  • PRINCIPLE 20. The Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
  • PRINCIPLE 21. The Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion
  • PRINCIPLE 22. The Right to Freedom of Movement
  • PRINCIPLE 23. The Right to Seek Asylum
  • PRINCIPLE 24. The Right to Found a Family
  • PRINCIPLE 25. The Right to Participate in Public Life
  • PRINCIPLE 26. The Right to Participate in Cultural Life
  • PRINCIPLE 27. The Right to Promote Human Rights
  • PRINCIPLE 28. The Right to Effective Remedies and Redress
  • PRINCIPLE 29. Accountability

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is any unjust treatment of a person who belongs to a group or sector on account of her/his class or socio-economic status, sex, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.  One common characteristic of discrimination is arbitrary exclusion of a person from opportunities that are readily accessible to persons belonging to a different group or sector.

What forms of discrimination affect urban poor LBTs?

There are far too many instances and cases of discrimination against urban poor LBTs. Although these vary in severity, all forms of discrimination are unjust. The following are a few documented examples of discrimination:

  • Unlawful termination of LBTs from work or refusal to hire them due to their manner of dress or their having short hair despite being perfectly capable of fulfilling the requirements of the job
  • Persecution, shaming, maligning or bashing of LBTs because of their refusal to conform to standards of femininity
  • Assault and rape of LBTs (commonly described as ‘corrective rape’ inflicted on LBTs) to force them to accept heterosexuality and/or to adhere to standards of femininity
  • Refusal to give sufficient medical care and attention to LBTs because they do not meet the standards of femininity and are therefore not `real females’
  • Intimidation, imprisonment or unlawful prosecution of LBTs in order to force them to abandon their non-heterosexual relationships or lifestyles

What can I do to promote and protect LBT human rights?

We make many seemingly insignificant decisions in everyday life that we often take for granted, but those small decisions can contribute substantially to improving the lives of LBTs.

We can support or join organizations that help strengthen LBTs as a marginalized sector. If no such organization exists in our area, we can form small support groups composed of our friends and neighbors. If organizing a group is not something that we are prepared to do just yet, we can also try to learn more about LBT issues by reading about sexual orientation and gender in newspapers, magazines or books in the nearest bookstore, or even in the Internet.

For LBTs, we can make a big difference by striving to excel in school or at work and by having faith and confidence in ourselves. Caring for and loving ourselves is a huge step in pushing for our human rights as LBTs. We can do this by staying away from unhealthy habits such as excessive drinking, drugs, gambling, and/or fighting with, badmouthing or acting negatively towards each other.

Who can join me in promoting and protecting LBT human rights?

Anyone who believes that every human being is entitled to enjoy human rights can help promote and protect the rights of LBTs. It is important to remember that all LBTs desire respect and equality and like all human beings, LBTs are deserving of respect and equal rights.

Thus, anyone, including our parents, sisters, brothers, relatives, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, teachers, bosses, etc., can help work towards building a truly free and equal society by advancing LBT rights. Some of them may not yet appreciate our struggles as sexual minorities, so we must strive to help them understand that LBT rights are human rights, and hope that in time, they will join us in the struggle to help LBTs.