Friday, June 13, 2008

10 Things You Need to Know About the Anti-Discrimination BillAnti-Discrimination Bill

Fight for equal rights for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders (LGBTs) by pushing for the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill (HB 956) authored by AKBAYAN Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel.

Here's what the bill is all about:

1. Equal rights, not special rights. The bill does not grant additional or special rights to LGBTs. What it does is criminalize violations to the human rights and freedoms on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill affirms and promotes human rights and freedoms that are enshrined in the Constitution.

2. Equality in schools. The bill prohibits discrimination against LGBT students, which usually takes place through unfair admission policies, unjust expulsion, and unreasonable disciplinary actions.

3. Equal opportunities in employment. By criminalizing unfair labor practices and policies on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the bill promotes decent jobs for LGBT workers.

4. Removing stigma in healthcare. The bill bans hospitals, clinics, and medical personnel like doctors and nurses from discriminating against or abusing LGBT patients.

5. Fighting police abuse. Stiffer penalties are imposed on law enforcers who abuse the law รข€“ from bagansya to the anti-trafficking law - to harass, torture, or extort money from LGBTs.

6. Organizing for LGBT pride. The bill affirms the freedom of assembly and association by disallowing discrimination in the establishment of LGBT groups in schools, workplace, communities and in politics.

7. Equal access to establishments. The bill ensures that establishments that are open to the public like malls, restaurants, and bars, among others, are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

8. Gays and lesbians in the police and military. The police and military are barred from screening out competent LGBTs who want to join the force. Under the bill, they are also not allowed to remove LGBT policeman or woman and soldiers due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

9. Penalizing discrimination. Under the bill, a person found guilty of discriminating against LGBTs can be fined up to P500,000 and/or imprisoned for a maximum of six years. S/he may also be required to undergo human rights education.

10. About non-discrimination, not same-sex marriage. Homophobic groups wrongfully claim that the bill is about same-sex marriage. Here's the truth: 1.) the legal recognition of same-sex marriage requires a separate bill, and; 2.) there is absolutely nothing wrong about consensual same-sex relationships.


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