BuyBust star Anne Curtis posted on Instagram Stories yesterday to encourage senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto, Manny Pacquiao, and Joel Villanueva to support the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression Equality Bill (SOGIE).
The SOGIE bill aims to prohibit acts of discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
It recognizes the right of each Filipino regardless of sex, age, class, status, disability, and sexual orientation, among others. It includes provisions such as prohibiting using one’s gender identity to be a criteria in hiring and promotions in the workplace; giving people equal access to educational and training institutions and public places regardless of their gender identity; and imposing penalties on those who deny health services to people on the basis of their sexual orientation, among others.
Curtis wrote on her Instagram: “Got messages from my friends from the LGBTQIA community [regarding the SOGIE Equality Bill]. [A]nd even if I stand with my dear friends completely, I still wanted to fully understand what the SOGIE Equality Bill is.”
She followed this up with a message which read: “My whole team — people I love and spend every day with, are members of the LGBTQIA community. There’s nothing more [that] I want for them than to have equal rights as citizens of this country. And to live a life that is free of discrimination and they can express themselves freely knowing that they are loved and protected by the country they call home.”
She then tagged Sotto, Pacquiao, and Villanueva — senators who have opposed the bill — in the message and asked the question: “Wouldn’t you agree?”
Curtis adds further: “I’m sure you have friends or members of your own team that are part of the LGBTQIA community that love and support you. Now is the time to stand with them and give back that same love! Big hugs!”
She also added a brief background on the bill, which read: “The truth is the bill has a lot of enemies in the Senate, who express loud opposition and hate for the bill. Senator Pacquiao, Senator Villanueva, among others, including the Senate President himself, Senator Sotto. The goal for us is to be able to get the support of those who show hate for the bill.”
Sotto believes that the law might be exploited by criminals.
In an interview, he gave a scenario where a transgender person would use a woman’s toilet, and said: “The problem is, for example, someone might dress up as a gay or transgender [and enter a toilet], but it turns out they’re really not, and their intention is to peep or rob someone. That’s dangerous.”
This mimics the rhetoric of many conservative lawmakers in the United States who want to require people to only use bathrooms according to the gender on their birth certificate.
Pacquiao, a born-again Christian; and Villanueva, the son of a known church leader, also cited religious grounds for their opposition to the bill.
The SOGIE bill was filed by transgender congressperson Geraldine Roman, who promised to “talk to the senators one by one” to gain support for the bill.
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