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Rep. Teddy Casiño says now is the time for equality

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While noting that many Filipinos “do not really want to talk seriously” about LGBT-related issues, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño has expressed his support for the push for equality, taking part in the “I dare to care about equality”, a photographic campaign spearheaded by the Bahaghari Center for SOGIE Research, Education and Advocacy, Inc. (Bahaghari Center) as a call for everyone to take a more proactive stance in fighting discrimination.

“I dare to care about equality” campaign forms part of the localized efforts aligned with the annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) celebrations. Celebrated every May 17 since 2004, when it was founded by Louis-Georges Tin, IDAHO is an effort to coordinate international events to call for respect for lesbians and gays worldwide. May 17 was chosen as the date of the event because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17, 1990.

In a privilege speech delivered in the House of Representatives to commemorate the IDAHO, Rep. Casiño said that “it is true that many Filipinos do not really want to talk seriously about this issue. Kadalasan, pag tinatanong ko sila kung ano ang tingin nila sa mga bakla o lesbian o transgender, ang madalas na sagot ay ngiti o kaya’y biruan. Sabay mananahimik. Hindi sa sasagot. Meron din naman, sasabihin ‘ok lang’, pero parang sinabi lang para matapos na ang usapan.”

Rep. Casiño also mentioned that even “some of my well-meaning friends have advised me to steer clear of the LGBT issue. Sabi nila, ‘Kiss of Death’ or ‘Election Suicide’ daw yan for anyone aspiring for an elective post at the national level.”

However, while it may be easier to just come up with “motherhood statements” on LGBT issues, Rep. Casiño said that this is a reality in need to be tackled now.

Kailan pa natin pag-uusapan ito ng matino? LGBTs and the LGBT lifestyle is a twenty-first century reality. Anong gagawin natin sa mga problema nila? And isyu ng LGBT ay isang realidad ng ating panahon. Hindi natin ito maiiwasan, gustuhin man natin o hindi,” Rep. Casiño said. “And to my mind, even the most conservative among us would agree to a discussion on ways to address LGBT concerns, rather than create a great divide where one side is directly opposed to the other.”

With his show of support for the push for equal rights for all, Rep. Casiño joins the ranks of international IDAHO supporters, including several Nobel Prize winners (Desmond Tutu, Amartya Sen, Elfriede Jelinek, Dario Fo, José Saramago), artists (Merryl Streep, Cindy Lauper, Elton John, David Bowie), intellectuals (Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Bernard-Henri Lévy), non-government organizations (ILGA, FIDH), politicians, and many others.

Rep. Casiño is the author of HB 1483: LGBT Anti-Discrimination Act and HB 4635: May 17 as National Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, or NADAHO, the Phil. counterpart of IDAHO.

The photoshoots were helmed by photographer Jed Yumang behind the camera, with make-up and styling provided by artists Kaye Candaza and Nicole Magay. “I dare to care about equality” was co-developed by Outrage Magazine, the only LGBTzine in the Philippines, with the support of IDAHO, Ladlad Partylist, Rainbow Rights, Bed Bar, Deaf Rainbow Philippines, Metropolitan Community Church-Quezon City, Zest Magazine, and Queeriosity Palace.

“I dare to care about equality” was launched on May 20, Sunday, at Bed Bar (Unit 8, Maria Orosa St. corner Julio Nakpil St. Courtyard, Maria Orosa St. corner Julio Nakpil St., Malate, Metro Manila).

For more information, call +639287854244 (Michael David), +639274171518 (Patrick King) or +639263167735 (John Ryan); or email bahaghari.center@gmail.com or info@outragemag.com.

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