Image from My Husband's Lover
Earlier today, the Philippines’s House of Representatives approved a bill that will protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.
The vote for House Bill Number 4982 or an Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression, aka SOGIE, was unanimous with a 197 to 0 count at its third and final reading.
The now House passed bill, which was co-written by transgender Representative Geraldine Roman last year, hopes to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination by penalizing those who do discriminatory acts.
In fact, there are several acts that it protects people from. Such as:
- Denial of access to public services.
- Refusing admission or expelling students in schools based on SOGIE.
- Including SOGIE as a criteria for hiring or dismissal of workers.
- Denying access to health services.
- Denying the application for professional licenses and similar documents.
- Imposing disciplinary actions that are harsher than customary due to the student's SOGIE.
- Denying access to establishments, facilities, and services open to the general public.
- Forcing a person to undertake any medical or psychological examination to determine or alter one's SOGIE.
- Subjecting persons to harassment motivated by the offenders bias against the offended party's SOGIE, which may come in the form of any medium, including telecommunications and social media.
House supporters of the bill taking a photo after it passes / Screenshot from House livestream
If anyone were to violate any of these jurisdictions, they could be facing prison time between 1 and six years or a fine between 100,000 and 500,000 pesos ($1,962-$9,812).
In addition, the specific court could decide to opt for community service instead. In that case, the person in question will go through classes such as human rights education.
This bill has had a long journey to this point as it has been refiled for the past 17 years. But now, we await to see what will happen with the Philippine’s Senate who have not yet approved their version of the bill.