Davao’s LGBTQ Groups Call For Equality, Legal Rights

This city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer and transgender (LGBTQ) community gathered on Sunday afternoon for a pride walk as they push for equality, community acceptance, and legal rights.

Despite the heavy downpour, more than 3,000 members of various LGBTQ groups gathered at People’s Park here, part of a smaller gathering for a planned caravan to raise awareness about the community’s needs, talents and skills, as well as their members’ contribution to social development.

Norman Baloro, commissioner of the Presidential Commission for Urban Poor, said the event also served as a “silent and peaceful protest against discrimination”.

“In our case, we really can’t escape discrimination but we will continue to push for our rights,” said Baloro.

In 2012, the local government passed an anti-discrimination ordinance against LGBTQ members when President Duterte was still vice mayor.

Duterte, who advocated for the ordinance, was the one who presided the session when it was approved by the City Council.

Just this month, President Duterte signed into law the “anti-bastos bill,” which imposes stiffer penalties on a range of acts from catcalling, sexist slurs, stalking, and cyberstalking.

Baloro, who has been an LGBTQ advocate for years, expressed gratitude to the President for signing the bill, which he said has a huge impact on the LGBTQ community.

“The members of the LGBT will feel safe and comfortable” in public spaces because of the law, he said.

This city has a total of 82 organized LGBTQ groups, 69 of whom attended Sunday’s event, which saw a flurry of activities that included choir competition, cheers and yells contest, and raffle draws sponsored by the city government. (PNA)

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