Last night, the word “LGBT hate crime” hit closest to home: the kind and generous gay man who befriended my bedridden gay brother was mugged by a group of drunken teens in our own subdivision. The security guards were not able to help him. And when early this morning the baragay authorities came to question these young men, these “guardians” of Sunny Villas were too afraid to reveal who these suspects are.
Historically-speaking, these youth in their early 20s are notorious for their noisy, whole-night drinking sprees at the village basketball court. Too often have they bullied many fellow residents, but they always seem to get off. They had badgered Joseph on previous occasions, taunting him with shouts of “pahindot, pahindot” because they knew he was an openly gay man. So this attack was no ordinary “napag-tripan lang”. They targetted him, assaulted him by ganging up on him, and even when Joseph didn’t fight back, they kept punching and hitting him, kicking him while on the ground. They didn’t even stop when the guards approached.
As a result, Joseph has a cut forehead, bruises on his face and a dislocated jaw that needs therapy. His right arm and wrist have fractures that necessitate a cast. He cannot write or sign his name, and he is a BIR Examiner who needs the use of his hand.
Joseph was attacked because he was deemed to be “vulnerable”, an easy target because he is gay. They do not know how generous he is that he sponsors Xmas parties for the poor children in the community just outside our subdivision. He even takes some of these kids on summer outings when he has extra resources. He willingly lends cash to the poor housewives who need a little something to tide their families over. And he consoled and entertained my PWD gay brother with his stories and escapades, sharing with him his special Sunday lunches and giving him food when the caregiver is out. Joseph is a good man, and that is more that I can say for those jerks that beat him up.
I also heard that another good friend was traumatized by an incident a few weeks ago. Ryan is a college professor and LGBT activist, who happens to be walking by with another gay friend when they passed by a teenager who was urinating against a public wall. Instantly, they were accused of “peeping” at the guy’s genitals and he pulled a knife on them. This act of violence has severly affected Ryan who is also a child rights advocate.
Because he is gay, he was automatically presumed to be a “sexual predator”. They do not know that Ryan teaches because he values the importance of education in molding young minds. They do not know that Ryan specializes in human rights, particularly on child rights protection because he believes children should be spared the violence and hate perpetuated by adults.
People like Miriam Quiambao spout discriminatory statements against LGBTs, and her ideas only serve to reinforce the prevailing homophobia that has damaged so many lives. Too often gays are victimized and people just turn a blind eye, as if gays deserve the ill treatment they get. And by doing nothing against these acts of violence, people continue to perpetuate the idea that it’s okay to hurt other people especially if they are so different from you.
No less than the Supreme Court censured the COMELEC when it considered LADLAD undeserving of partylist accreditation because it had labeled Pinoy LGBTs as “threat to the youth”. As someone working at the DSWD, I took this as a personal affront. Apparently, after years of working for the passage of child-friendly laws and policies, I had been a “threat” simply because I am a lesbian. So why the heck did I work on the Anti-Violence against women and Children Act, the Anti-Trafficking Act, the Anti-Child Pornography Act, and the Anti-Corporal Punishment/Positive Disciplining bill..so, I could harm kids?
Maybe it is about time Philippine society rethinks what values it is actually teaching kids. Judging gay people as “evil” and “sinners” outrightly, without even knowing the amount of good they do for others is the height of hypocrisy and self-righteousness. I ask you again, Ms. MiriamQ and the rest of the homophobic population…which one of us speaks the greater “truth” of God’s teachings now?