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Gay rights group prepares for 2010 elections

Published on Sun.Star Network Online (http://www.sunstar.com.ph)
Cebu Sun Star Newspaper
Front Page
May 16, 2009


WHILE Ang Ladlad may have been dropped from the official list of party-list candidates for the May 2007 elections for “not having enough members,” it assured that next year will be different.

“We now have eight regional chapters,” said Danton Remoto, the group’s chairperson.

Ang Ladlad has “enough” for the elections, with the group hoping to establish 12 regional chapters across the country before May 2010. It is a national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos.

It will file its certificate for accreditation as a party-list organization with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on July 30.

In a meeting with local supporters, Remoto appointed Orly Cajegas as Ang Ladlad-Cebu chapter head.

“We are aiming, for sure, for one seat in Congress. But I’m personally hoping that we would get three seats,” Remoto said.

Under Republic Act 7941, 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives are reserved for party-list groups, which are supposed to represent the “marginalized and under-represented.” Each group gains a seat by winning two percent of the votes cast in the party-list elections, for a maximum of three seats per group.

Remoto admitted that the May 2010 elections will be a tough one, considering that they would be up against other well-known party-list groups.

“Based on surveys done in 2006, Bayan Muna would come out first, then second would be Ladlad. For 2010, it would be a stiff competition. There’s always Bayan Muna, which has been around for a very long time, and Buhay as well,” he said.

Anti-discrimination

Ang Ladlad has been actively lobbying for the passage of the anti-discrimination bill, which seeks to make it a criminal act to discriminate against LGBTs in the workplace, schools, entertainment centers, hotels and restaurants.

Remoto said that LGBT rights have gained more respect and discrimination has not been as bad as it was years before.
“It’s better now. I’m not saying that it’s just great, but things are better,” he said.

Social stigma and discrimination against LGBT Filipinos have lessened and society has learned to respect that they have equal rights, he added.

“We are now even given more social and political space,” he said.

In Cebu, Remoto was “especially happy” because even trial courts have become LGBT and gender-sensitive.

Also, Ang Ladlad hoped that the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas would rule in favor of the patient who sued a government hospital and its doctors, after a video of his surgery was circulated online. The surgery was performed to remove a body spray canister from his rectum.

While the party-list group Akbayan has offered to work on the patient’s case, Ang Ladlad has also been actively involved by talking to the Philippine Nursing Association, the Department of Health, and the Philippine Medical Society.

“We wanted to give him a psychologist, because the event was so traumatic,” said Remoto.

He said it was best that those who were involved in the operation should be jailed to serve as an example.

“Kung ako yan, gusto ko makulong ang mga (If it had happened to me, I would want a jail term for the) doctors,” said Remoto.

He was in Cebu to promote his new book, “Rampa,” which is a compilation of stories that focus on various Philippine cultural icons.


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Source URL: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/gay-rights-group-prepares-2010-elections
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