This is in reaction to Pompeyo Pedroche’s letter. (Inquirer, 7/9/11)
He said there is no more need for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Filipinos to fight for equal treatment because they have the likes of Boy Abunda, Ricky Reyes and even lawmakers as successful role models. This is the same line used by the Comelec when it barred Ladlad from running for a party-list seat in Congress.
As Danton Remoto, Ladlad’s chairman emeritus, aptly put it, singling out two or three successful gay men from among the millions who are discriminated against is like finding a golden needle in the muck. The hate crimes against LGBTs, their non-acceptance in some Catholic schools and universities, the transgenders’ being denied entry by establishments; the harassment of LGBT Filipinos; their not being hired by companies even if they score high in job-qualifying exams—these are real, down-the-wire instances of discrimination that Pedroche seems unaware of.
Abunda and Reyes rose from poverty and achieved respect because of their talents, skills and hard work. More LGBT Filipinos could surely follow in their footsteps if they’re not discriminated against.
About Abunda, he wasn’t raped but he was bullied. He wasn’t physically harmed but he was maligned and insulted because he was gay.
He went through hell to get to where he is today.
We beg Pedroche to look at our fight for equal rights beyond Abunda—because Abunda is not the face of the LGBT community. But would anyone have listened to Abunda 25 or 30 years ago when he was poor, voiceless and negligible?
Abunda’s present stature and success cannot sweep the fact that during his growing-up years, he was in fact a victim of discrimination because of his sexual orientation. Which makes him not only qualified but credible to speak for the LGBT community.
Furthermore, Abunda, who is Ladlad’s senior political adviser, has time and again said that he is not running to be a nominee of Ladlad in 2013. He might run for governor of his impoverished province of Eastern Samar. And if that happy time comes to pass, then surely, Ladlad Party List will give him solid support. Pedroche’s insinuation that it is “abundant politics” that is Abunda’s end goal is a political bias that remains to be seen. We will all be judged at the right time.
Abundant politics can mean politics of empowerment. If we can tweak it to mean a style of politics that inspires and empowers, then Pedroche might have contributed to our fight for equal rights by coining this new phrase.
Will LGBT Filipinos just sit back and allow themselves to be killed, abused, harassed and discriminated against?
No, we choose to get involved.
We thank Pedroche for his valid, respectful and decent discourse. We hear him and hope he hears us as well. He may just find it in his heart to love us and vote for Ladlad in 2013.
Mr. Pedroche, from the bottom of our hearts, we love you.
—BEMZ D. BENEDITO,
chair, Ladlad Party List;
senior political adviser,