Philippines: Defend Transgender Rights

SUMMARY

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) forwards this alert at the request of the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay).

The Philippine House of Representatives is considering a bill which would define marriage as the union of a "natural-born" male with a "natural-born" female, thereby denying marriage rights to transgender persons, among others. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Philippines previously (see IGLHRC's Action Alert, "Philippines: Proposed Marriage Legislation In Senate Discriminates Against Homosexuals And Transgenders," February 1999. IGLHRC joins ProGay in condemning this new proposed legislation, and in urging IMMEDIATE letters of protest to the bill's sponsor.

Below, find:

  • ProGay's call for action
  • Sample letter
  • Background information, including:
    • Sponsor's description of the bill
    • Text of the proposed legislation

PROGAY'S CALL FOR ACTION

The Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay) appeals to activists to write protest letters to the Philippine House of Representatives to oppose the passage of House Bill No. 1503 which would strictly define male and female as natural born for the purposes of marriage, presumably to prevent people who elect to correct their genders through surgical reassignment from contracting marriages.

The measure of Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa) will curtail marriage rights for most lgbtq2s people in the Philippines.

Biazon claimed marriages between a man and a transgendered person are against the law of God and the laws of nature, marriages under these circumstance are against the interest of society. This year, a Manila court ruled a man who had a sex change operation that after undergoing a sex change operation, a male can legally become a female.

However, this is the curtailment of the right of a person to determine his sexual orientation and gender identity. The language of the bill casts transgenders in a bad light as criminals who seeking malicious deception of the partners they will marry.

We call on the international human rights community to help local activists oppose this very obvious violation of human rights and discriminatory legislation. Please write hard copy, email or website guestbook your polite letters asking Rep. Biazon to pull out HB 1503. Here is a sample, but you are encouraged to write you own.

SAMPLE LETTER

Hon. Rufinno Biazon
Representative
House of Represatives
Batasan Complex, Quezon City,
Philippines

Dear Rep. Biazon:

Discriminatory legislation is bad for all the people of the Phillipines. Filipinos have struggled hard to overcome their bad international image of corrupt and divisive politics. Thus House Bill 1503 would only reinforce this negative image and hinder the country's ability to work with other nations.

If Congress really wants to protect the Filipino family, it should promote positive family values by helping gays and lesbians support their unemployed relatives, and pass laws that would protect all families from poverty and economic crisis.

Thank you very much (name and signature)

This message may also be sent to Rep. Biazon's

guest book:
http://www.ruffybiazon.com/
or email representative@ruffybiazon.com
or Telephone (632) 8618762
or fax (632) 8093132

BACKGROUND

Explanation: the following information was attached to the bill by its key sponsor:

"Marriage is one of the most important acts persons undertake in their lives. By itself, it is an institution protected by the laws of God and by the laws of man, with a specific purpose for existing and a reason for preserving.

"The Family Code is a lengthy law with provisions extensively prescribing conditions covertin the circumstances around marriages. It provides the parameters for entering marriage, maintaining its existence, defining the obligations of spouses and parents and laying down rules for separation and its dissolution. To the State, this is how impotant marriages are.

"But due to recent developments in the field of medicine, science and technology, it is now possible to alter or altogether change a personís sexual organ to make it appear as that of the opposite sex. A man can now change his penis into a vagina, and for a woman, vise versa. With this, we have directly challenged the laws of God, the laws of nature and even the laws of man.

"This bill seeks to amend the Family Code to prohibit such marriages. Aside from being against the law of God and the laws of nature, marriages under these circumstance are against the interest of society in general. Not only does it does stretch the limist of custom, tradition and social norms, it endangers the interests of those entering into marriages who might not know that the person they want to marry, whom they want to have children with and spend the rest of their lives, is actually of the same biological make up as them. To put it in a crude but realistic manner, it can be compared to a person who wanted to buy a shirt of a particular brand name but ended up with an imitation.

"For these reasons, the passage of this bill is earnestly sought."

(signed)
ROZZANO RUFINO B. BIAZON
Representative
Lone District of Muntinlupa City

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