A friend sent this and asked that it be circulated so I am reproducing it here in full.
OPEN LETTER TO MR. ISAGANI CRUZ
We, members of the Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network Philippines (LAGABLAB-Pilipinas), wishes to thank Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Isagani Cruz for giving us yet another proof that homophobia still exists in our society today. His column ("Don we now our gay apparel, August 12, 2006, Page A10) tells us that, indeed, a law penalizing discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) should be urgently enacted by Congress.
His stark hatred against homosexuals represents a common belief system that continues to deepen the prejudice that the LGBT community encounters. Mr. Isagani Cruz fails to see that such display of bigotry is easily translated into acts that concretely violate human rights and fundamental freedoms, values whose universality and primacy a former Supreme Court justice should have been able to grasp and uphold. After all, the Supreme Court as an institution has a long tradition of defending civil liberties and human rights. It is therefore ironic that one of its former justices finds it easy to dehumanize us, target us for exclusion, and deny us the right to celebrate our diversity and dignity.
He claims that his scathing homophobia is only reserved to homosexuals who do not conduct themselves decorously. However, his sense of propriety, going by his narrow-minded perspective, means conforming to the destructive boundaries and restrictive stereotypes that our conservative society has established for LGBTs. It means tolerating biased labor policies and practices that act like a glass ceiling that blocks our productivity, or enduring verbal and physical abuses from our own family members or from our immediate community. Mr. Cruz wants us to believe that the fate of homosexuals who openly claim their space in our society as equal members of the human family is a lifetime of humiliation and discrimination. Unless we conform to the whims of people like Mr. Cruz, we should willingly accept that fate. To him, only when we are invisible or servile to what he claims to be the "privileged sex" can we expect acceptance from our society.
Mr. Cruz should understand that human dignity has no sexual orientation or gender identity. Homosexuality is hardly a dilution of the male and female sexes, and femininity and womanhood, upon which equal scorn and prejudice have been heaped by Mr. Cruz, are not synonymous to weakness. The 'third sex' that he ridicules does not exist at all, since we are all equal in dignity and respect, as affirmed by our Constitution, our laws, and the international agreements on equality and human rights that the Philippines signed.
The Filipino LGBT community will continue to march – in sagalas and during the annual Pride parade – because we do not take bigotry sitting down. The likes of Mr. Cruz can't – and we will not let them – push the Filipino LGBT community back to invisibility.