“A wolf is a wolf even in sheep’s clothing.”
This was the biblical quote that a guy I went to a Catholic University with used when he defended his stance that the club “Valkyrie” was reasonable in turning away transgender women at their door.
The wolves in the bible were false prophets. Celebrity Trixie Maristela and fashion designer VJ Floresca aren’t false prophets and Valkyrie certainly isn’t Jesus who come to warn us against them.
Maristela and Floresca are transgender women who wanted to party. They just wanted to party.
But there was another argument: how could Filipinos be so shallow as to fighting for the right to enter a club when other countries are fighting for the right to marry.
They are fighting for the right to marry because they can. Because their government has given them the arena to challenge the law, so they may marry whoever they please.
How would you have a similar fight in a country where transgender women are discriminated for their clothes, and people spit biblical phrases to insinuate that a certain group of people do not have the right to define themselves.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 US states, joining 22 other countries including Ireland which was the first to legalize it by popular vote.
In the Philippines, what do we have? Anti-Discrimination Ordinances in 8 Cities, and 2 provinces that specifically mention gender orientation and sexual identity in the list of whose rights to protect.
The UP Diliman Department of Psychology breaks it down: it means that 82.8 million Filipinos live in areas without protection against discrimination.
The nationwide Anti-Discrimination Act is sleeping in Congress because conservatives fear that the phrase “gender equality” may become a precedent to marriage equality.
This fear of men marrying men and women marrying women have subjected members of the LGBT community to abuse and harassment, done repeatedly because there is no legal way to protect them.
Interest groups have reported that some gay couples with children living in slum areas are not given assistance meant for indigents because they are not recognized as a family.
According to a 2014 report by the US AID, there have been instances where gay couples were not allowed to adopt and where gay people were not allowed to donate blood.
LGBT continue to experience discrimination when it comes to finding jobs, and later, sustaining those jobs.
The transgender women who work for Tanduay Distillery in Laguna were hired on the condition that they wear men’s clothing. At work, men pinched their nipples and slapped their butts because those men said, as many others say, “lalaki din naman ‘yan.” (READ: Labor rights is also an issue of the LGBT)
That transgender women were turned away at a club door for wearing dresses is an indication of how far we still have to go towards gender equality.
It doesn’t mean there is no hope, it just means that we have to fight more, and to fight a little harder.
As the UP Babaylan said, in support of Maristela and Floresca, there have been far bigger doors that shut them out.
But it doesn’t mean we will let this one door slam on their dignity.
So what if it’s just the right to party?
There is a long list of things that LGBT cannot do in the Philippines, if we could take away even one thing from that list, then we should.
To fight for same-sex marriage in the Philippines would be wonderful, but until they can marry, let them love, let them work, let them party.