TLF SHARE Position Paper on SB 139
TLF SHARE is a community-based organization in the Philippines that implement human rights and HIV related programs for the LGBTQIA community. We fully support Senate Bill No. 139, “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) and Providing Penalties Therefor” as introduced by the Honorable Senator Risa Hontiveros in the 19th Congress.
TLF SHARE believes that it is an important policy instrument that will enable every Filipino LGBTQIA to fully exercise their freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution. For so long the LGBTQIA community has been subject to discrimination and human rights violations perpetrated by institutions that are supposed to serve them. Countless cases and stories of discrimination and violence against LGBTQIA individuals have been recorded and deliberated not just by the public and the courts but also by the Senate itself. Schools that deny LGBTQIA of respect and access to education, authorities who disregard their complaints of violence, establishments who refuse them entry, transwomen being murdered for being trans, transmen and lesbian women sexually assaulted to “convert” them, the list is endless. These are not just stories. These are lives lived daily by members of the community.
In the health sector, discrimination also thrives. The range of discriminatory acts range from misgendering to outright denial of health service. In the context of HIV and AIDS, it is a known and acknowledged fact that stigma and discrimination related to one’s SOGIESC are among the reasons why men who have sex with men, gays and bisexual males, and transwomen are at greater risk of acquiring the disease. The stigma associated with being gay/bi/trans, the possibility of being “outed,” and the fear of being discriminated and shamed by others discourage individuals from seeking information and accessing HIV-related health services. Many remain undiagnosed and untreated as a result of SOGIESC-related stigma and discrimination. The Philippine National AIDS Council formulated a national policy advocacy plan in 2021 that recognized the elimination of discrimination based on SOGIESC as a cornerstone for effective and empowering HIV and AIDS prevention and control. This plan specifically mentions the importance of a national legislation that prohibits acts of discrimination based on SOGIESC, and the institution of programs that support the empowerment of the LGBTQIA community.
We reiterate our strong support for passage of SB No. 139, and we also welcome other legislative initiatives in Congress that address the issues and aspirations of the LGBTQIA community.
Download TLF SHARE Position Paper
Download SB No. 139