Non-profit organization continues to champion LGBTQIA+ rights

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BAGUIO CITY (PIA) — The Bahaghari University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio Chapter stands firm in its commitment to champion LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, and many other terms such as non-binary and pansexual) rights.
It also spearheads efforts to push for the enactment of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Equality Bill, a crucial legislation for safeguarding the rights and dignity of LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Since its inception on June 26, 2013, the organization has been leading the campaign against discrimination and inequality faced by LGBTQIA+ communities, upholding the values of equality, justice, and inclusivity.
Bahaghari UP Baguio Chapter Chairperson Pearl Baybayan emphasized the importance of laws to protect members of the LGBTQIA+ and their families.
“Privilege is a strong term for our community that is tolerated and not yet accepted. Nakikitaan ko na tumataas naman ang acceptance rate and awareness dito sa community natin, wala paring laws for protection of LGBTQIA+ and their families,” she emphasized.
Despite societal strides, LGBTQIA+ individuals encounter discrimination, harassment, and violence due to prevailing ignorance and prejudice.
The SOGIESC bill is essential to challenging systemic discrimination and ensuring the realization of LGBTQIA+ rights, Baybayan said.
“It’s because of the opposition, mostly mga religious groups and conservative politicians. ‘Yan ung reason kung bakit mahirap parin ipasa dahil meron pa ring mga governors or Congress na ayaw ipasa yun dahil ayaw nila sa mga LGBT dahil against daw yun sa bible or Christianity,” Baybayan said.
The Bahaghari UP Baguio Chapter is steadfast in its dedication to advancing LGBTQIA+ rights, pushing for the swift enactment of the SOGIE bill. Through advocacy, education, and community involvement, it endeavors to foster a society where everyone can live authentically and without discrimination.
In 2023, the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality approved the substitute bill or the SOGIESC Equality Bill. Lawmakers said the bill does not seek to provide special treatment for members of the LGBTQIA+ community but to ensure that they are treated equally as every other human being. **JDP/DEG-PIA CAR with Julie Anne Pucay, BSU Intern


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