“Bust stigma and discrimination not LGBTQ+ people!”
After recent reports by several media outfits that 11 people were caught having an orgy while apparently on the influence of illegal drugs in a buy-bust operation by PDEA in a hotel in Taguig City, the artist – activist organization, DAKILA joined netizens in condemning the act of a media outfit and the PDEA to put the alleged suspects’ identities—with their names, age, work, and mugshots—on full display on social media.
According to DAKILA Communications Director and Bahaghari Program Head, Cha Roque, “While we acknowledge that illegal drug use is punishable by law and the people involved should be held accountable with due process, the media and law enforcement people involved do not have the right to out someone without their consent and create media furor out of someone’s sexual orientation or sexual activity. The news mentioned that one of the people arrested is HIV positive. Disclosing one’s HIV status is illegal under RA8504.”
The drug buy-bust operation in Taguig ended up with netizens slamming the media for releasing the photos and names of the 11 involved men who are allegedly gay. Only three days before the World AIDS Day on December 1, the stigma against the LGBTQ+ Community and people with HIV/AIDS remain to be a pressing concern among advocates. DAKILA has been a strong ally of the LGBTQ+ community in fighting against stigma and discrimination.
“LGBTQ+ rights are human rights. We cannot stop the stigma and discrimination if we continue to hate on people who have suffered from the same stigma we are fighting against. We cannot achieve equality if we continue to shame people for their sexual orientation and/or activity”, said Roque.
As part of its two-week long Active Vista Human Rights Festival, DAKILA screened the films, Small Talk and Die Beautiful, and held an LGBTQ+ event in partnership with Pineapple Lab. These events happened a few days after the Transgender Day of Remembrance and leading towards the commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 01, 2017. Both events aimed to incite discourse on prejudice, discrimination, and isolation that the LGBTQ+ Community faces.
“Just reading the comments from the articles about the buy-bust is disheartening. This stigma against the LGBTQ+ Community and people with HIV/AIDS should not be tolerated. We need to be constantly talking about how our society deals with the LGBTQ+ community. DAKILA believes that as much as we celebrate that “love wins”, we shall also remember that with love comes the right to express yourself, and not to be discriminated for it,” added Roque.
Hui-Chen Huang’s Small Talk, Taiwan’s Oscar contender for Best Foreign Language Film had its Philippine premiere at the Active Vista Human Rights Festival last November 28, 2017 at Shangrila Cineplex. The film talks about a daughter who tries to open up a dialogue with her distant mother who is a lesbian Taoist priestess.
Jun Robles Lana’s Die Beautiful which won the Best Audience Choice Award and Best Actor Award at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival had a screening followed by drag performances by the Philippines’ most recognized Lady Gaga impersonator, Lady Gagita, together with The Addlib Divas and Miss Joe Abuda, in Gaybourhood Night: Bongga Ka Die (Beautiful) last November 29, 2017 at Pineapple Lab in Makati. It was a night that celebrated love and respect for the LGBTQ+ Community.
“While these two nights were celebrations of our human rights, we hope that people also see these activities as a protest against the culture of hate and a platform to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. We hope that in sharing these stories to the world through films, people will understand that we are all human who share the same sentiments, hope, heartbreaks, and rights,”
“Every hate we spew on each other is one more step backward in achieving the society we aspire, a society that respects, upholds, and promotes our basic human rights. We can do better. We must do better,” said Roque in her statement.
DAKILA is a collective of artists and activists building a movement of heroism towards social transformation. ACTIVE VISTA is a learning center for human rights education established by DAKILA which organises the Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival.
For information to Active Vista’s programs on human rights education, check out http://www.activevista.ph or FB.com/ActiveVista
To know more about DAKILA and the work we do, visit http://www.dakila.org.ph or FB.com/dakila.philippines or follow dakila_ph on twitter and instagram
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