GALANG Philippines, together with hundreds of LGBT rights activities, allies, and friends, proudly marched the streets of Timog Avenue, Quezon City during the 3rd Quezon City (QC) LGBT Pride March. Over 100 members of GALANG’s partner lesbians, bisexual women, and trans men (LBT) People’s Organizations (LPOs) with their families and friends joined the March. In addition to celebrating the passage of the QC Gender-Fair Ordinance in 2014, the March also commemorated World AIDS Day (Dec 1), National Lesbian Day (Dec 8), and Human Rights Day (Dec 10).
Last month, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested 11 alleged drug users and were presented to the media. The PDEA then publicly disclosed that one of the alleged drug users is a person living with HIV (PLHIV), while the others were referred to as homosexuals – “most likely contaminated” by the PLHIV.
According to the Republic Act 8504, or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, any person or institution is prohibited from exposing a person’s HIV status, especially for the purpose of public shaming. In other words, a PLHIV’s identity and status should be treated with utmost confidentiality. The PDEA did not just condemn the suspects’ drug activity, they also enforced the negative stereotyping which wrongfully labels LGBT people as immoral criminals.
For almost a decade now, GALANG continues to be at the forefront of the fight towards equality, tirelessly struggling to end the stigma against LGBT people. Incidents like this prove to be huge adversaries that need to be faced with a strong resolve. In response to these challenges, GALANG continues to lobby for the passage of an Anti-Discrimination Law that would protect LGBT people against SOGIE-based discrimination and violence.
To resonate with the March’s theme, “Pride in QC: Safe & Free,” GALANG waved its banner “Pagkakaisa sa Pagkakaiba” to express full support and solidarity with fellow human rights advocates in fighting to end stigma, especially those directed towards LGBT people. GALANG acknowledges and commends the government of QC for taking the first step to fight inequality with the passage of the QC Gender-Fair Ordinance. It’s high-time that the rest of the country follow suit.
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