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“Aling Susan” is exactly why PH needs SOGIE education

Next time straights ask why we need SOGIE education—say “Aling Susan.” 

On Nov. 5, a video from Transpinay of Antipolo Organization (TAO)’s Alexis Hart Garcia went viral. The video showed an elderly woman verbally assaulting Alexis on her way to lunch at SM Masinag in Antipolo. As if that r wasn’t enough, “Aling Susan” also threw rocks at her and threatened to get her killed for being “gay.” 

“Aling Susan” didn’t only insult Alexis, she also misgendered and threatened the life of a transgender woman. 

“Malayo pa lang kami, narinig ko na may pinagsasasabi siya. Pagdaan namin, sabi niya dumaan na naman ang mga bad spirit, ang sarap-sarap pagbabarilin,” says Alexis in her ABS-CBN interview. Unfortunately, this wasn’t “Aling Susan”’s first time to abuse her transgender neighbor, given that they often run into each other. 

To invalidate the need for the SOGIE bill is to validate people like “Aling Susan.”

Alexis asked why “Aling Susan” was so mad at her. The woman replied: “Kasi bakla ka. Kasi impyerno ka.”

Close-minded cisgendered heterosexuals challenge the need for the SOGIE bill, especially during its hearing last week. SOGIE detractors spew out bible verses in a country that by law should separate Church and State affairs, cry out straw man fallacies like God created “only Adam and Eve,” and try to justify their side by claiming that “straight people get discriminated against too.” But only to a certain extent.

True, straight people belonging to the middle and lower social strata experience class discrimination. Straight-identifying Indigenous people know discrimination all too well. Straight people living outside Metro Manila experience discrimination all the time from these urban denizens (shoutout to Manila imperialism). If you’re a straight Filipino and don’t belong in any of these categories, then you don’t get to say shit about discrimination. 

Someone calling your privileged ass a bigot is eons away from the violence queer people exprience on a daily basis. Alexis’ viral video is far from being just a petty neighborhood dispute. In the same ABS-CBN interview, Alexis mentioned how some people criticized her for not taking the higher ground.

Barangay residents around the country throw up their hands over baseless chismis, sari-sari store loans and rumored infidelities. No one bats an eye on cases like these. But suddenly, Alexis is seen as someone who is too sensitive and should’ve turned the other cheek.

“Hindi lahat ng bakla, bayot, transgender ay may boses. Pinapalakas lang ako ng suporta ng kaibigan at pamilya ko,” says Alexis. “Napakaraming Aling Susan sa mundo, at marami rin na tulad ko na walang boses. It’s time na para lumabas sa mundo at ipakita na may karapatan tayo.” She also asks, “Paano namin maipaglalaban ang sarili namin kung walang batas?” 

Alexis’ cry for the approval of the SOGIE bill is necessary because our existing laws continue to fail to protect our community. The International Gay and Lesbians Human Rights Commission’s (IGLHRC) 2015 study is enough to back this up. 

So, sorry Bro. Eddie Villanueva and other SOGIE bill naysayers, the Civil Code, Revised Penal Code and Administrative Code were never enough to protect us. 

“The study showed that physical, verbal and emotional violence [are] primarily perpetrated against [queer] people in the home, usually after they disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity, or were accidentally discovered or exposed,” writes IGLHRC. 

“Transgender women also experience physical and verbal violence on the streets, including being beaten up by groups of men, suffering unprovoked attacks with weapons, verbal denigration and sexual taunting.” 

The report also highlighted how “governments in Asia failed to prevent violence against [queer] people.”

So, sorry Bro. Eddie Villanueva and other SOGIE bill naysayers, the Civil Code, Revised Penal Code and Administrative Code were never enough to protect us. 

I don’t know about you—but I’m tired of my community’s rising body count. 

To invalidate the need for the SOGIE bill is to validate people like “Aling Susan.” People like her aren’t playground bullies. They insult, they attack, and they can kill to prove what they consider their moral supremacy. 

There are many “Aling Susans” out there. But who’s to say she wouldn’t follow through with her threats? Would we wait for another transgender person to be murdered because of the hate?

I don’t know about you—but I’m tired of my community’s rising body count. 

Read more:
For Gigi Esguerra, living your truth is protest
LGBTQ+’s sexualities are not for straight people’s entertainment
Here’s why the SOGIE bill is for the straights™️ too

Art by Jan Cardasto

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Rogin Losa
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