The morning of June 8, a report from DXMS Radyo Bida Cotabato City showed photos of LGBTQIA+ individuals in Ampatuan, Maguindanao whose heads were forcibly shaved in the presence of men in uniform. According to the report (which has since been deleted, all the more cause for concern) the actions were motivated by the claim that being LGBTQIA+ goes against Islamic beliefs, revealing yet another violent, humiliating abuse of the rights of LGBTQIA+ Filipinos.

The incitement to violence against LGBTQIA+ persons—cast as transgressors for identities that do not fit a strict moral code—is often excused by faith-based groups and religious individuals as the exercise of “religious freedom.” Freedom of faith must not trample on the rights and lives of LGBTQIA+ persons, who are often the target of vicious acts in the name of discipline.

Religious traditions are often grounded on the recognition of the need to uplift the lives of the oppressed. Interpretations of teachings that paint LGBTQIA+ people as “intrinsically disordered” individuals meant to be corrected to meet oppressive ideas of morality go against religious devotion in service of the common good.

We call on people of all faiths, especially religious leaders, to embrace compassion and to respect the rights of LGBTQIA+ Filipinos and refrain from reproducing interpretations of religious dogma that promote harmful stigmas. Under no circumstances must the exercise of religious freedom come at the expense of the safety of LGBTQIA+ persons.

We join our fellow LGBTQIA+ organizations, UP Babaylan and Bahaghari, in calling on the Commission on Human Rights to launch an investigation to seek justice for these members of our community. We reaffirm our call urging Congress to hasten the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill. These everyday violations make it clear that urgent action is needed  to guarantee protections for LGBTQIA+ Filipinos, who deserve to enjoy lives free of hate, violence and discrimination.



Metro Manila Pride
9 June 2021

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