Dec 122011

A political party for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights is organizing a protest rally to express indignation at the Catholic Church’s attempts to exclude them from being covered by a bill that penalizes discrimination.

Adel Dexter Macaldo, media officer of Ladlad party-list, told Sun.Star the party will meet to prepare for a mass protest before Christmas.

“We are expecting a thousand,” he said in a text message, adding the rally may be patterned after the Pride March that the LGBT community in Manila held earlier this month.

The protest was prompted after Jo Imbong and Ronald Reyes, lawyers of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, opposed the inclusion of LGBTs in a bill that the Senate and House of Representatives have both passed to penalize discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, and politics.

It was reported Imbong said the Church opposes discrimination against the “elderly, handicapped, and poor” but that LGBTs should not be included in the bill because they “choose” to be that way.

“The third sex, they choose this. How can you give protection to a choice like that?” Imbong reportedly said.

“Atty. Jo Imbong’s thesis or proposition was lamentable, defective, and thoughtless because there are LGBT Filipinos who are elderly, handicapped, and poor. Their experiences of discrimination become layered, and unbearable,” Ladlad chair Bemz Benedito said in a press statement.

The bill does not mention the handicapped, elderly, or poor but focuses on racial, ethnic, and political discrimination.

Benedito also said the CBCP should recognize that LGBTs have trouble finding work, are subject to harassment, and 144 of them have been killed for their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“It is not something that we chose to be,” Benedito stressed.

The party also dismissed as paranoia CBCP’s concern that protecting LGBTs against discrimination will lead to the legalization of same-sex marriages.

“Nothing in the bill refers to same-sex marriage, it merely asks for equal opportunities and protection before the law like in schools, workplace, and establishments regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity,” the group said.

Ladlad claims a membership of 50,000 and is eyeing a congressional seat in the 2013 elections.

Ladlad party-list to protest exclusion of gays from anti-discrimination bill | Sun.Star