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Four months after Pride 20’s arrest, Manila passes an anti-discrimination ordinance

People seem to forget that while Pride is a celebration, it is also a protest. Remember Pride 20? After protesting in Mendiola, they were arrested and detained at the Manila Police District Headquarters on June 26. Four months later, an anti-discrimination ordinance will take effect in the same city.

Today, Oct. 29, Manila mayor Isko Moreno signed Ordinance No. 8695 or the Manila LGBTQI Protection Ordinance of 2020 that “protects the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and intersex (LGBTQ) in the city of Manila against any and all forms of discrimination solely on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression.”

Under this ordinance, the following will be banned and/or penalized:

  • Physical or verbal harassment toward anyone because of their sexual and gender identity and expression
  • Denying or limiting employment, schooling and other similar opportunities to people “on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.”
  • Subjecting someone under involuntary confinement due to their gender identity and expression.
  • Inciting discrimination against a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

This is great and all, really, but where was this energy when Pride 20 was arrested? Not to mention that the fine and punishments seem to devalue the trauma that discrimination will leave on those harassed.

  • First offense: P1,000 fine or jail time of six months, or both
  • Second offense: Not less than a P2,000 fine or jail time of six months and one day to eight months, or both
  • Third offense: Not less than a P3,000 fine or jail time of eight months and one day to one year, or both
  • Subsequent offenses: Not less than a P5,000 fine and jail time of one year

One year of jail time will never make up for the years that queer people have suffered (and still suffer) harassment and discrimination, even as far as being murdered just for their sexual and gender identity.

Pride 20’s legal counsel Minnie Lopez said the Manila police refused to let Bahaghari spokesperson Rey Valmores-Salinas to join the female detainees. Salinas also said there was even a case of misgendering as police kept referring to her as “sir.”

For all the purposes of this ordinance, we hope it’s not just performative activism. Pride 20’s case is still ongoing as of writing, and so is the push for true acceptance (and not merely tolerance) of our queer siblings. Perhaps this is a start but remember that true allyship requires actively rejecting the heteronormative system, which won’t progress if you’re only doing things to avoid legal penalties.

 

Photo from Unsplash

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