GALANG Philippines is infuriated by the callous way that local media personalities continue to promote stigma and discrimination against LGBT individuals through homophobic and stereotypical reporting. On December 8, 2015, National Lesbian Day in the Philippines, hosts and media personalities Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja unjustly speculated in Dos Por Dos, a DZMM-ABS-CBN Teleradyo program, regarding a suspect’s sexual orientation in reporting about a kidnapping incident in La Salle Greenhills. They both made illogical insinuations about the suspect’s sexuality by adding “tomboy” in describing the suspect, clearly showing how irrelevant information when pieced together can negatively portray and discriminate against LGBTs. Their comments illustrate mainstream media’s tendency to make unjust assumptions linking criminality with LGBT persons. In fact, sexuality is rarely made an issue whenever it is a “straight” or cisgender person who is accused of a crime. “Spurned lesbian lovers” accused of committing a crime make the headlines but never “rejected straight female lovers”.
The Magna Carta of Women enacted in 2009 calls for nondiscriminatory and nonderogatory portrayal of women in media and film by mandating the government to require all media organizations and corporations to integrate regular training on gender equality and gender-based discrimination, and to implement the gender equality guidelines for media launched in 2013. For its part, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board is mandated to create a sensitive media and entertainment environment. Hence, gender sensitivity training should be made mandatory by the MTRCB to capacitate media practitioners on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression (SOGIE). Note also that ABS-CBN and other large media networks are based in Quezon City, a trailblazing local government in promoting and protecting women and LGBTs, that enacted a comprehensive Anti-discrimination Ordinance in September 2014.
As a shaper of consciousness, a fair and responsible media can, for a young LGBT person, spell the difference between a lifetime of being bullied or becoming a productive member of society. Mainstream media must realize that it wields immense power in perpetuating violence and discrimination against the LGBT sector by not sensitizing media personalities and staff on SOGIE, and tolerating or encouraging a homophobic culture through stereotypical comments and negative portrayal of LGBT persons. GALANG relentlessly calls on the government, the MTRCB, openly LGBT media personalities, and straight allies to actively promote gender-sensitive language, nondiscriminatory portrayal of people with diverse SOGIE, and the implementation of gender equality guidelines for media. Stop discrimination now!
Gyky Tangente, Advocacy Officer
+63 2 435 4103, +63 927 293 3731
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