There is one real big world event that we Filipinos seem not to know of: The First World Outgames. It’s a sports competition, yes, of Olympics magnitude. It won’t be any other sports event if not for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered players involved.I am not very certain if our beloved The Philippines is represented. I wish we Filipinos are present there, too.
At its opening on July 29th, in one of the world’s gay-friendliest cities, Canada’s French city of Montreal, 28,000 people of all genders and sexualities trooped to witness the event. There are 12,000 athletes participating in the games held inside and out of
Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered athletes from 111 countries took to the field from the four corners of the stadium in a winding procession, unfurling national flags, rainbow flags, pennants, glow sticks and, in the case of the German team, bright yellow umbrellas,” reads the Montreal Gazette.
Not only that, they all “danced and waved to the beat of high-energy dance music and Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up. The largest cheers were reserved for participants from about 20 countries where homosexuality is still a crime.”
Canada’s public works minister, who stood in for the prime minister, got booed by the crowd. The government’s position on LGBT issues, particularly on same-sex marriage, is wanting, that’s why. Performances threw the Olympic Stadium into a party place and capped the opening day.
Prior to that, however, an equally important if not more important event took place. It is the adoption of the “Declaration of Montreal,” a product of the International Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Human Rights.
It is a framework to promote gay and lesbian human rights which sounds off universal declaration of human rights, which states in its introduction: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Montreal’s leading daily, Montreal Gazette, reported: “Human rights advocates plan to present the declaration – a manifesto that sets out guidelines to protect the rights of gays and lesbians – to the United Nations and national governments. The goal is to gain ‘unequivocal’ support of gay rights worldwide.
“The document declares that homosexuals must have protection against state-sanctioned violence and gay bashing, freedom of expression and association, as well as freedom to engage in consensual sexual activity.
“It also spells out some key issues facing the community internationally: Fighting ignorance and prejudice, working for a safe environment in every country, fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic and gaining recognition for same-sex partnerships during immigration.”
I am certain that an LGBT group in the country would push for its ratification. What I am not certain about is whether the Arroyo government would stamp it OK. Like most of the Filipinos, the government has been wrapped in lack of respect for the beliefs and practices of people.
Our hope is in all of us who understand that there is a need for such a legal instrument to protect and shield the LGBTs from harm, discrimination and all of the violations that have been committed all this time. I wish the government realizes that there are people whose beliefs and practices should be respected the way they respect that of others.
It may not be an easy battle but it could be won. Based on my unscientific observation, fathers do not send their gay sons to military schools or seminaries anymore. Maybe they have realized their sons would end up gayer than sending them to coed schools. More and more gay couples could be seen exhibiting their sexualities in public. There is “Ang Ladlad” Party that would test the political arena in next year’s polls too.
Oh, how I wish we would have a Rue St. Catherine here the way Montreal has. It’s got clubs like the Parking, where men in leather could either dance, play billiards or simply booze, or enjoy the sights and sounds of the Campus, and others where gays and lesbians party, party and party.
But more than that, I want the whole Philippines to be a Rue St. Catherine, a street whose churches, people, commercial establishment welcome, respect and love gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.