Robredo tells LGBTQ+ in positions of power to ‘use your influence to change mindsets'

Vice President Leni Robredo urged members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual plus (LGBTQIA+) community who are in positions of power to use their influence to promote acceptance in the country.

This was the Vice President’s message for Pride Month, which was premiered as live on Facebook on Friday, June 26. (READ: Here's how you can march for Pride and help LGBTQ+ communities during pandemic)

Robredo said that apart from celebrating their identity on Pride Month, the Filipino LGBTQIA+ community should continue to push for reforms in the country, like the passage of the sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) equality bill that has long languished in Congress.

“Sa harap ng ating pagdiriwang, marami pa rin ang trabahong kailangang gawin – ang pagpasa ng mga batas tulad ng SOGIE bill para protektahan ang bawat isa laban sa diskriminasyon at karahasan. At sa harap ng mga labang ito, kanino pa ba tayo babaling kundi sa bawat isa?” Robredo said. 

(Even as we celebrate, there are still a lot of work before us – the passage of laws like the SOGIE bill to protect each and everyone against discrimination and violence. And in this fight, who else do we turn to for help other than each other?)

“Many of you hold positions of power in our society. You’re lawyers, executives, doctors, educators, artists, policymakers, and public servants. I hope that you will use your influence to change mindsets, promote acceptance, and push reforms on the ground,” the Vice President said. 

She also praised those who have been organizing Pride Marches and awareness campaigns, saying these efforts help enlighten communities about gender equality and inspire children to become who they really are.

“Now more than ever, we need to set an example to the younger generation. Ipakita natin sa kanila na wala silang dapat ipangamba at malaya silang maging kung ano at sino sila (Let’s show them that they have nothing to fear and they are free to become whatever and whoever they are),” Robredo said.

She hopes that the LGBTQIA+ community would not let the coronavirus pandemic deter them from taking steps to promote acceptance – from forming support groups to discussing gender equality with parents, uncles, and aunts. (READ: [OPINION | Artwork] No age limit for acceptance)

“Sa ating pagbuo ng isang post-COVID-19 na mundo, ‘wag sana kayong panghinaan ng loob. Makilahok, makiisa, at ‘wag nagsawang rumampa. Magsimula sa mga maliit ngunit konkretong mga hakbang,” Robredo said.

(As we form our post-COVID-19 world, may we not lose hope. Engage, show solidarity, and never stop strutting your stuff. Start with small but concrete steps.)

“Darating din ang araw na babalikan natin ang lahat ng ito at sasabihin, ‘Everything was worth the effort. Everything was worth the sacrifice. Everything was worth the fight.’ Push lang nang push, mga besh! Muli, maligayang Pride Month sa inyong lahat!” she added. 

(The day would come when we would look back and say, ‘Everything was worth the effort. Everything was worth the sacrifice. Everything was worth the fight.’ Just keep on pushing, my friends! Again, happy Pride Month to everyone!)

The annual Pride Month celebrations around the world was rooted in the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the series of protests against the police repression of a popular gay bar in New York City, United States. LGBTQIA+ communities worldwide have since marked June with events to champion for their rights. 

In the Philippines, Metro Manila Pride organizes an annual Pride March. But activities this year were done mostly online due to the quarantine measures imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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