July 17, 2024

The Bahaghari University of the Philippines 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. 

Bahaghari UP Baguio Chapter Chairperson Pearl Baybayan emphasized the importance of laws to protect members of the LGBTQIA+ and their families.

Despite societal strides, LGBTQIA+ individuals encounter discrimination, harassment, and violence due to ignorance and prejudice. 

The group 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.

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.

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. – Debbie E. Gasingan and Julie Anne Pucay