Saturday, March 13, 2010

The LGBT Vote

Around 10 percent of  the more than 50-million registered voters for the general elections just two months away are LGBTs, according to Ang Ladlad which is seeking representation in the Philippine Congress.

Ang Ladlad defines its constituency as “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender" persons.

Although it has been included in the ballot list, the Supreme Court has yet to decide on the merits of Ang Ladlad’s accreditation as a party list group. This means if the SC does not accredit the group, votes for Ang Ladlad will not be counted.

If it wins, Ang Ladlad will push for the passage of the Anti-Discrimination bill which seeks to punish persons, agencies, offices and establishments that discriminate against Filipino LGBTs.

“It has been 10 years now since the filing of the bill. There must be a law that protects and allows us to choose our school, apply for work, enter establishments without prejudice. We have worked out our priorities already,” Ang Ladlad’s first nominee Bemz Benedito (representing transgenders) said.

It will support the bill repealing the Anti-Vagrancy Law which emboldens the police to arrest gays and transsexuals who walk at night without identification cards, set up micro-finance and livelihood projects for poor and handicapped LGBTs, create drop-in centers for “Golden Gays” or old and abandoned LGBTs and young ones driven out of their homes by parents or guardians. The centers will have counselors and hotlines for those seeking advice on LGBT issues and reproductive health.

I’m crossing my fingers. This demographic is a key driver in our economic growth.

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