Thursday, June 23, 2011

29 Steps for LGBT Human Rights festival on June 25 at QC Circle

Even though everyone is aware about the existence and contribution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in the society, there are still cases of discrimination and violence towards them. Sadly, there are no laws that will protect them because of their sexual preference and orientation even the existence of human rights. They became victims of criticism from the bigots in the society because of what other religious ideals dictates – including the so called morality.

Five years ago, human rights experts from various sectors including representatives from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Procedures and non-government organizations convene to discuss the issues that affects the LGBT community and to discuss their rights against violation and discrimination. From there Yogyakarta Principles was created it came from the name of the area where the conference took place (Yogyakarta, Indonesia). The principle serves as a universal guide, much like a set of international legal standards, to human rights of LGBT people. This to protect them from any form of discrimination and violence in the society, home and work as a human being regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. But the challenge remains in each country on how they will implement the guidelines and adopt it in their respective laws in their country.

Sadly here in the Philippines, discrimination may not be that rampant in other countries but violence remains uncontrolled. Murder cases among the LGBT group became part of the headlines on the news. Aside from the wound or lives taken, discrimination follows not for the suspect but for the victims. Still the issue of misinformation is the main problem why LGBT group can hardly protect themselves from criticism and violence.

Even though Yogyakarta Principles already exists for almost five years, only few knows about it here in the Philippines. That is why Lesbian Activism Project, Inc. (LeAP!), in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, brings to life 29 Steps for Human Rights, a multi-media event that hopes to make it a household name. It also seeks to bring the principles of human rights to the awareness of the educators, law-makers, and future leaders of the nation. The event will happen on June 25, at the Quezon City Circle from 10am until 6pm. Activities include:

1. Pink Booths – 29 booths representing the 29 Principles, presented by LGBT, human rights, and women’s rights groups and other supportive establishments.

2. Pink Images – An art exhibit of LGBT artists on the Yogyakarta Principles and LGBT human rights in the Philippines.

3. Pink Films – A day-long free film screening of LGBT Human Rights–related films, including the “Courage Unfolds” video.

4. LGBT Giting Awards – A ceremony awarding 29 supporters and activists who have significantly contributed to the LGBT rights movement in the Philippines.

5. Launching of the “Let Courage Unfold: Living the Principles Video and Educational Caravan”

The event is open to all both LGBT and non-LGBT and it is for free. So be there with your friends know the issues and rights of our friend from the LGBT community so we can put end on the discrimination and violence that directly affects them. Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Ambassador Stephen Lillie of the Embassy of the United Kingdom, Mr. Boy Abunda of Ladlad Party, and Etta Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights are among the personalities joining the event.

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