On Gender Equality
Last June 26 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States passed a decision that identified same-sex marriage as a constitutional right hence making it legal in all US states. The decision reverberated around the world, heralded by statements like #LoveWins around various media. It was indeed a victory for the campaign for equality of the LGBT community. Halfway across the world, here in the Philippines, that very same struggle is championed by various gender advocacy groups to this day.
Some surmise that the Philippines is one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Asia. In a 2013 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 73% of Filipinos agreed with the statement that homosexuality should be accepted by society. Representation for the LGBT community is also acknowledged. The Ang Ladlad party-list was allowed to run in the 2010 election representing LGBT Filipinos. Anti-discrimination ordinances have also been passed in several local governments units in the country. These being the cities of Quezon, Angeles, Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao.
Studies have also shown that gender inclusivity contributes positively to economic productivity. This is most evident in the workplace, where an environment without discrimination and social seclusion is able to maximize the productivity of each individual. In fact, a positive correlation has been established between the presence of strong LGBT acceptance, including rights and legislation, to economic growth.
Beyond economic performance, the struggle for gender inclusivity is one that is much more organic; it is a struggle for a world that truly espouses equality. The LGBT are continually subjected to systematic oppression, fighting for well-deserved rights that have been robbed from them because of antiquated societal structures. Despite a society that has grown more progressive, the LGBT are still treated as caricatures, simply because of an environment that refuses to acknowledge them as anything more. At the very core, the struggle is a call to be duly recognized as human beings, regardless of race, color or sexuality.
Though milestones are to be lauded, the reality remains that the country is still in transition towards true acceptance, as opposed to tolerance of LGBT rights and gender equality. There still very much exists a structure and a culture of discrimination that permeates society; the lack of national, gender-conscious legislation like the Anti-Discrimination Bill, the archetypal portrayal of the LGBT in various media, the segregative establishments and the lack of gender equality representation all collectively contribute to the culture of discrimination. As such, the struggle for equality continues.
In light of this, the UP School of Economics Student Council is one with UP Babaylan in engaging the university, as well as the rest of the community through this year’s UP Pride Week. The SESC is committed in promoting the rights and serving as a medium for expression and acceptance. We highly encourage everyone to take part in the discourse and gain a deeper understanding of the realities of the LGBT and gender equality - to see them not as just one shade of color but a spectrum of individuality made of different shades and hues.
It is our hope that through these initiatives, we may compel the nation to tread ever closer to a society that empowers all of its people, regardless of gender. We strive for a nation where we, with pride, can truly say Love wins.
Badgett, M. (2013, March 29). The Economic Benefits of Gay Marriage. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
Badgett, M. (2014, November 29). The Economic Case for Supporting LGBT Rights. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
The Global Divide on Homosexuality. (2013, June 4). Retrieved July 11, 2015.
UNDP, USAID (2014). Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippines Country Report. Bangkok.