ProGay asks church, city dads to respect LGBT rights, provide support services

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Photo courtesy Pinoyweekly.org
Photo courtesy Pinoyweekly.org

BAGUIO CITY – PROGAY Metro Baguio is calling on leaders of the Christian churches and the Baguio City government to refrain from attacking the human rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens of the city in relation to the talks about prosecuting the people involved in the recent same-sex holy unions.

Jheza Guiloan, vice chair of the advocacy group Progressive Organization of Gays in Metro Baguio (ProGay), asked the leaders of religious groups and local government to understand the needs of LGBTs and provide basic services instead of threatening them with lawsuits and harm.

Guiloan, who works as a transgender makeup artist, cited the Yogyakarta Principles, a set of international human rights principles issued by the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, as basis for the Philippine government to honor commitments to protect the rights of LGBTs. She particularly cited Principle No. 24 which commands the government to respect the rights of gay and lesbian couples to enter relationships such as same-sex weddings.

“Everyone has the right to have a family, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Families exist in many forms. And no family may be subjected to
discrimination on the basis of the sexual orientation or gender identity of any of its members,” Guiloan explained.

Guiloan is speaking in behalf of her friend Bhaya dela Cruz and her spouse Tilong who are one of the lesbian couples wed in religious ceremonies last week.

“The Yogyakarta Principles also recommend that the Aquino administration and all local governments take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure the right to found a family, and recognize diverse family forms, including gay and lesbian families,” Guiloan added.

Guiloan said she believes that the plans for the city council to investigate the legality of holy unions by the Metropolitan Community Church, a gay religious group, is simply not a good end for the council’s efforts, emotions, and public funds.

“We ask the city council instead to make legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure that no family may be subjected to discrimination on the basis of the sexual orientation or gender identity. Because we LGBTs in Baguio are hardworking taxpayers, we also deserve family-related social welfare and other public benefits as stated in the Yogyakarta Principles.

The ProGay Metro Baguio leader challenged Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the city council of Baguio City to pass a local version of Anti-Discrimination Ordinance to protect LGBT rights in the city against violence and homophobia. Guiloan is supporting the House Bill 1483 that is being championed by Congressman Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna.

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