Solons exchange Bible lines over cross-dressing
SENATOR Risa Hontiveros on Monday, February 13, called for a stop to the culture of victim blaming and gender discrimination against the members of of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Hontiveros authored Senate Bill No. 1271, also referred to as the Anti-Discrimination Act, which seeks to penalize and stop discrimination and harm against any person based on his or her sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE).
During the bill’s second round of interpellations on Monday, Senator Manny Pacquiao questioned the bill by pointing out that cross-dressing can be used to “commit fraud.”
Pacquiao then cited the controversial death of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman who was killed by American Joseph Scott Pemberton in Subic in 2014.
“Ano ba gagawin natin diyan na nagdamit babae yung lalaki tapos nabigla yung lalaki na lalaki ka pala, eh pinatay (What should we do then when a guy dresses as a girl, then the other guy was shocked of the crossdresser’s real identity and killed then crossdresser),” Pacquiao said. “Doon pa lang, makikita natin yung deception na naloko si Pemberton at sumama siya doon (Just by that we can see that Pemberton was being deceived).”
Pacquiao then took note that “there are only two types of persons—a man and a woman,” citing the Bible. “We can do everything but not everything is beneficial, especially doing wrong or sinning against God.”
“Even in the Bible, we can read na ang babae, dapat magsuot na pambabae; at ang lalaki, magsuot ng panlalaki (that the female, should dress like a woman; and the male should dress like a man). That’s what I believe,” Pacquiao said.
But Hontiveros hit back at Pacquiao, saying that the victims should not be blamed for the crime.
“Siya na nga ang pinatay, siya pa ang may sala (The one who was killed was also blamed to be at fault). This is unacceptable. Let us not resort to victim-blaming in an attempt to excuse crimes on the grounds of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” Hontiveros remarked.
Quoting a passage from the Bible, Hontiveros said that “there is only one lawgiver and judge, the one who is able to save and destroy but who are you to judge your neighbor.”
“Si Jennifer ay nanamit kasunod ng kanyang (Jennifer wore clothes based on her) sexual orientation at (and) gender identity at gender expression. Siya ay naging totoo sa kanyang pagkatao. Ang nagka-krimen diyan ay si Pemberton (She was true to herself. The one who committed the crime is Pemberton),” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros also took note that the Bible tells people to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” which should also include those who have who have different sexual orientation.
“We need to pass this law in order for people to be more gender sensitive and better understand the different dimensions of gender identity and sexual orientation,” she added.
Senator Leila De Lima, meanwhile, later corrected that the Pemberton case was not downgraded because of deception on Laude’s side but rather, because of the absence of aggravating circumstances.