Tuesday, December 6, 2011


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DEPARTMENT of Health Sec. Enrique Ona is on the hot seat as the only political party for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos, Ladlad Partylist, calls on the DOH head to resign for his irresponsible statements.

In the recently concluded Philippine National AIDS Council plenary meeting, the DOH head unwittingly suggested that in order to address the rapid rise of HIV cases in the country, “parents should rein in their homosexual children and get them tested.”

The Ladlad group was left aghast by the DOH head’s discriminatory statements. “Sec. Ona should be prudent with his remarks. I am personally asking him to act befitting his stature as a medical doctor and head of the DOH.” said Ms. Bemz Benedito, Ladlad chairperson. “He should resign from his post, because bigotry and insensitivity has no place in public service specifically for high-ranking officials,” Benedito added.

The DOH Secretary elaborated further on how to solve the HIV crisis: “I was just given the information that, for example, the Partylist Ladlad has 67,000 members. Let’s just assume that there are 100,000 of them and get the ages, from say, 20-35 and ask all of them to have HIV/AIDS test. Wouldn’t that be a practical solution too?”

“Now, I presume that Sec. Ona is becoming senile and can no longer confront what is right and what is wrong,” Benedito said. “I would like to remind the good secretary that his proposal is a violation of our human rights as to our right to privacy and of choice,” the Ladlad chairperson added. “We should all be very compassionate in dealing HIV cases, no matter how alarming it is,” Benedito stressed.

Ladlad said, the Health Secretary’s comment was not at all helpful in a time of crisis. In a recent survey, the Philippines is one of the seven countries worldwide that is experiencing an acceleration in the spread of the HIV epidemic. The latest HIV and AIDS Registry (September 2011) recorded 8 new HIV infections a day -- a steep increase from the one case a day that was reported four years ago.

Moreover, there is another major setback as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria cancelled Phases 1 and 2 of its Round 11 funding for 2013-2017—a $2-billion dollar worth of funding which would have saved a lot of lives here in the Philippines.

Ladlad is also calling on the government to find a way to resolve the problem quickly because People Living with HIV (PLHIV) are dependent on free medicines given through the Global Fund.

Part of the Platforms of government of Ladlad is to set up testing centers for HIV/AIDS in major cities in the country. The group has now more than 50,000 members all over the Philippines and will run as partylist in 2013 elections.

Friday, November 25, 2011


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TASK Force Pride, a non-profit network of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) groups will organize the 17th Annual Pride March in Manila. The aim of the march is to gather different LGBT groups, allies and individuals in solidarity, as well as provide positive visibility to the community.
This year's theme, "Pride of the Orient", recalls the community's achievements with regard to advancing LGBT human rights, such as... organizing the first pride march in Asia in 1994 and the formation of Ladlad party list, the only LGBT-oriented party list in the world, and extensive HIV/AIDS Awareness campaigns nationwide .
"Pride of the Orient" calls on LGBT Filipinos to reclaim these milestones and look forward to more victories they've yet to achieve.

(If you have difficulties with the links provided, please reply to this email with your Name, Organization's Name, and Contact Number.)

Please take note of the following dates:

November 26, 2011, 7pm
General Assembly
3/F 56 Mindanao Avenue, Project 6, Quezon City

December 3, 2011
Pride March
Meeting Place: Remedios Circle, Malate, Manila
Registration: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Parade: 4:15pm
Program: 5:00pm-8:00pm, Orosa Nakpil

Routes, Program, and Pre-Parade Venue will be discussed on the General Assembly. We would be needing volunteers as well for the registration and marshalls.

Please check the TFP page regularly for updates on the program line-up and the venue.

For more information you can visit this FB Event Page:
Visit the official website:

or SMS us at 09163089903 (Globe), 09333049795 (Sun)

Thanks, and see you all on December 3, 2011 at the Pride March!

Yours with Pride,
Raffy Aquino
Membership & Participation
Task Force Pride 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


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Over the past eight years of Ladlad Partylist, some dramatic, social and legal changes have been accomplished that are now so accepted that they go noticed by people whose lives have been really changed. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos who have lived through the recent years of this process have come to accept what has transpired. And the LGBTs, for the most part, can still hardly believe life was ever otherwise.

The small but staggering changes and developments for the LGBTs that have come about over those eight years in aspects of societal belongingness, non-discrimination, equal treatment and opportunity and greater political participation — these changes did not happen spontaneously. Ladlad made all these happen, very deliberately. Ladlad has proven itself over and over again that LGBT Filipinos are not “immoral or threat to the youth” individuals.

It is still a long way to go but Ladlad started to expand its visibility and exposure to the mass media and the public. Ladlad had been interviewed on different LGBT controversies and issues which extended and paved way for the partylist to defend and uplift their marginalized and underrepresented sector.

From Ang Ladlad, it is now officially called Ladlad, as what was decided in the post-elections assessment. New and exciting revisions were also made to the image and slogan of Ladlad .
Accomplishments may have been reached, but many are still ahead to be done. The passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill that had languished in congress in the past 11 years is an advocacy that they have to stand upon until it gets approved by the legislative branch.

Ladlad Partylist aims to finally see the rainbow and get represented in congress as they continue to battle for their struggle to human rights.


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THE political organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) Filipinos, Ladlad Partylist, has condemned the rampant pellet gun shooting of gay and transgender people in the Queen City of the South, Cebu.

In a press conference last November 5, 2011 headed by party leaders, Senior Political Adviser Boy Abunda, Prof. Danton Remoto, and Ladlad Chairperson Ms. Bemz Benedito expressed concern about the rising incidents of obvious homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, and violence against the LGBT community in Cebu.

In a report that reached Ladlad headquarters in Manila, the pellet gun shooting started weeks ago, when a group of transgender Cebuanas were attacked by a group of men on board a white car using airgun. Later on, several police stations in the city received same reports victimizing gays and other transgenders in the metropolis.

“This is very alarming,” Benedito said. “If we don’t act now, maybe next time the culprits will use real gun,” she added. “We demand an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Benedito.

Ladlad further said, these savage and atrocious acts towards LGBT Filipinos must be thwarted and eliminated at the soonest possible time. The group is calling the attention of the city government and the City police authorities to take steps and address the human rights of the LGBT community.

“We personally came to Cebu to ask our Cebuano brothers to put an end to this kind of hate crime. Please stop hurting people,” Abunda said. “To the police authorities, please consider the use of pellet guns as a crime like those attacks that are inflicted by other weapons,” the party adviser said.

Ladlad stressed that government and civil society must work together to uncover all injustices being experienced by the LGBT Filipinos and develop means to remedy them. Ladlad added, the struggle of every LGBT for dignity, equality and human rights is a long one, but not impossible.

“Let’s stand united and harmonious; there is no challenge too great to overcome. Let’s fight discrimination and injustice,” Benedito said.

Ladlad who has now more than 50,000 members nationwide will run as Partylist in May 2013 midterm elections. (30)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Ambassador Harry K. Thomas gave a moving speech for the LGBT community.

I am gay.

I am gay.

I am gay.

Three little words.

Six letters.

Three syllables.

It is not a phrase that trips the tongue. It is not a phrase that should take lifetimes to utter.

But my friends, these are some of the hardest words in the English language—in any language—for many of our friends, colleagues, and family members.

And this should not stand.

Our loved ones, our friends and our colleagues fear expressing their sexuality, condemned instead to a lifetime of anxiety and repression.

This should not be.

They are our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. Aunts and uncles.



These are not nameless, faceless members of a foreign or forgotten race. They are our families and our friends. And they are scared to be who they are.

Yet even with courage, many of us still struggle to overcome prejudices driven by factors no human can control: the color of our skin, the expression of our gender, and the nature of our sexuality. While these prejudices are very real to us, many in the world can never understand.

They fear expressing their sexuality. They cannot tell their own loved ones who they really are. And I regret that there are those even in our Embassy community who fear coming out and expressing their true selves.

Why? Because instead of expressing our love for all human beings, we choose instead to ostracize and exclude.

This will not continue.

Tonight, coming here together in this house for the first time, we are breaking new ground. It should give us pause to reflect how LGBT persons across the world, in every country, from every culture, are breaking new ground every day, and breaking courageously through the barriers that hold them back. As Saint Teresa of Avila once said, “To have courage for whatever comes in life — everything lies in that.”

Yet even with courage, many of us still struggle to overcome prejudices driven by factors no human can control: the color of our skin, the expression of our gender, and the nature of our sexuality. While these prejudices are very real to us, many in the world can never understand.

And the reaction by that world to those struggling with such prejudice is both disappointing and disheartening: “You are imagining things,” they say. “It’s not as bad as you say it is, and if it is, it’s not my fault.”

That one’s core being can be such an affront to others is one of the greatest tragedies of humankind.

It is a tragedy not only because of the pain and suffering it causes, but because it prevents people from doing, being, and becoming their best. Sa diskriminasyon, maraming likas na galing at talino ang nasasayang.

Discrimination based on difference, whether it’s age, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion, is wrong. It deprives society of some of its most creative and productive members; it demoralizes communities. It shatters families.

We are all different, but we must embrace and respect our differences. We must come together through the very emotion that makes us human: love.

The ambitious spirit of the Philippines’ LGBT community will no doubt carry it over these and other challenges. Americans know from centuries of experience that the march against discrimination and prejudice is long and difficult, and sometimes it feels never-ending.

But we also know that every step forward makes life a little better here and now — and most certainly for future generations who will look back and marvel at the sacrifices and advances you all made, wondering at how you managed to accomplish so much.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am not tonight asking you to leave shouting that you are gay; I am not asking you to endanger yourselves in the face of other peoples’ hatred and blindness. But I am asking you leave this place on this night with one thought and one goal: to protect and love someone. Love is what matters; gender is not important.

In his Gay Pride Month proclamation, President Obama called upon Americans to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate our great diversity. Those are goals worthy of all people, everywhere, and I hope all of you here tonight will join me in their pursuit.

We are all different, but we must embrace and respect our differences. We must come together through the very emotion that makes us human: love.

Bakla ako.

Tomboy ako.

Bakla kayo.

Tomboy kayo.

Pero lahat tayo ay tao.

Maraming salamat po.

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Friday, May 27, 2011


Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 17, 2011

In every part of the world, men and women are persecuted and attacked because of who they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia and the brutal hostility associated with them are often rooted in a lack of understanding of what it actually means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). So to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalize love and promote hate. As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, let us resolve to redouble our efforts.

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs. Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice. These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights.

Despite these gains and hard work, there is more to do to turn the tide of inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, know that the United States stands with you and we are unwavering in our commitment to ending this cycle of hate.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (PETA) and LADLAD Partylist present a night full of musical mixed with comedy and drama performances of CAREDIVAS on July 17, 2011, 8:00pm at the PETA Theater in Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City

CAREDIVAS is a story of 5 Filipino overseas workers who try to make both ends meet for their freedom and for the welfare of their families back home.

Tickets are Php800.00 (VIP) and Php600.00 (Regular seats)

For inquiries and ticket reservations, pls call 02-5848029 or +639175559537

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Monday, May 23, 2011


Message delivered by Ms. Bemz Benedito, Chair of LADLAD Party List, at the launching of Human Soul: Multimedia Exhibit Against Discrimination, at the Mitra Hall, Philippine Congress, 16 May 2011.

Mr. Renaud Meyer, UNDP Country Director, Mr. Sebastien Farcis, Mr. Roman Rivierre, UNDP, TLF-Share and HAIN, thank you for bringing our issues here in congress.

Representatives Teddy Casino (Bayan Muna), Walden Bello (Akbayan), Luz Ilagan (Gabriela) at Akbayan Spokesperson Risa Hontiveros, mula sa aming mga sugatang puso at kaluluwa maraming salamat sa inyong patuloy na suporta sa aming sektor. Sana po ay ipagpatuloy ninyo ang pagtulong sa amin na wala pa kami dito sa kongreso.

We’ve been called lady boys, she-male, X-men and many other insulting and hurtful words.

We are called by many names, all of them centered on the belief that we cannot make up their minds. More and more, gay men are now being accepted by society, especially if they fit into the mold of the clean-cut, short-haired men who work in so-called “respectable” jobs.

But we are still relegated to stereotypes – the sex worker who walks the streets at night, exposing herself to indignities and the possibility of acquiring sexually-transmitted diseases. The entertainer with blonde hair who sings and dances in Japan. The comedy-bar host in stiletto shoes and flamboyant dress.

But stereotypes are like cardboard cut-outs: they do not form the complete picture. Not even a fragment of who we are.

I am a transgender, and I feel that I was assigned the wrong sex at birth. That is why, as in all journeys, the wrong has to be righted, the flaw corrected. In my heart and in my soul, I am a woman.

But what has society done? I would line up at the female section of the LRT, and I would be ordered to line up at the men’s section. A respectable spa would ask me to go to the men’s section. A foreign consultant would grope me while I was giving his group a tour of Tagaytay, per the order of my office. A call center would tell me they cannot hire “a man with breasts,” even if I did well in their employment exams and my grades at the university were high. A homophobic Commission on Elections would call me and my party – the LADLAD Party List – a group of “abnormal, threat to the youth and immoral” people.

But fight we did. With our voices, with our words, with images. And now, we are fighting for equal rights right here, in the halls of Congress. We are asking our congressmen to finally pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill that makes sure no lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Filipino will be oppressed again in his or her own country.

For this is our country, too, and we are all the children of God. In His – or Her – infinite wisdom God made us all different. For only in our differences can we see our similarity, which lies in the human soul that is found within us all.

Sana po ang mga kuwento at karanasan namin na aming ibinabahagi ngayon dito sa kongreso ay magbukas sa isip at puso ng mga mambabatas na ipasa na ang Anti Discrimination Bill para maprotektahan at matanggal na ang mga tanikala ng pang-aapi, pang-aalipusta at pangungutya ng lipunan sa aming hanay.

Mapagpalayang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011


A group of lesbian lawyers reacted to the alleged malicious statement of veteran showbiz writer and tv host, Cristy Fermin, to singer/actress Aiza Seguerra, advising the latter not to talk about morality because she “lives an immoral life.”

Lately, Seguerra found herself in the controversy after tweeting on the incident involving a 6-year old boy gyrating as a 'macho' dancer in TV5’s Willing Willie show hosted by Willie Revillame. On her radio program, Fermin, who is a staunch supporter of the host, defended Revillame but did not name Seguerra as the object of her malicious pitch.

According to the founding president of Rainbow Rights Project, Atty. Germaine Leonin, Fermin's statement was uncalled for and bothersome, since her working environment is being dominated by gays and lesbians. The group was saddened because until now, society is still judgmental and prejudiced.

“Being lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) is not equal to immorality. Please focus on the issue of the child abuse objectively and do not make personal attacks based on personal biases and judgments against who we are. A person’s sexuality is not the only measure of her integrity and moral fiber,” Atty. Leonin said.

R-Rights is a non-governmental organization who is dedicated to promoting a rational discourse on the rights of LGBTs in the country.

“We are proud of Aiza for standing
up and expressing her views. She is well within her rights and these rights have nothing to do with her sexuality. Cristy Fermin must be careful with these reckless and slanderous comments that are clearly desperate tactics to detract us from the real issue of child abuse,” Atty. Leonin said.

Another lesbian group, Lesbian Ac
tivism Project (LeAP) Inc., is calling the attention of Fermin to clarify her statement on the issue. LeAP, a non-government organization (NGO) that envisions a society free from discrimination and homophobia, says the TV host should first examine her own attitudes and actions, before making comments and insinuations about other people’s personal lives.

Ladlad Partylist, the political organization of Filipino LGBTs, is supporting the call of the two lesbian organizations to shed light on the matter and to avoid fanning unnecessary flames in relation to the Jan-Jan issue. Ladlad emphasized that being gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender is not immoral because it symbolizes love and freedom.

Last year, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rejected Ladlad for party-list accreditation on the grounds that the party advocates "immoral doctrines" and is a "threat to the youth". However, the Supreme Court overturned the decision and paved the way for Ladlad to run as a legitimate partylist in 2010.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011


THE PUBLIC hearing on Anti-Discrimination law is all set this Friday, 2pm, March 11, 2011 at the Legislative Bldg of the Cebu Provincial Capitol, this is the announcement from the office of Cebu Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy.

SP Sitoy filed an Anti-Discrimination ordinance that prohibits employers imposing a criterion for hiring, promotion or dismissal because of sexual orientation or gender identity of workers. Sitoy said, the ordinance is very timely and equally important to give protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Filipinos (LGBT).

Ladlad Partylist lauded the proposed ordinance of Sitoy. The group further said that the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the Labor Code expressly declare the duty of the State to uphold “the dignity of every human person” and to “ensure equal work opportunities” for all its citizens.

“This is what we all want ever since. Filipino LGBTs continue to suffer various forms of discrimination in the workplace. This ordinance will echo our basic rights that has been deprived from us,” enthused Atty. Germaine Leonin, vice chair of Ladlad.

Sitoy’s proposed anti-discrimination ordinance detailed several acts of discrimination:

a. To refuse or deny outright the employment of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender o LGBT;

b. To disqualify or bypass LGBT employees from promotion without reasonable justification;

c. To compel LGBT employees into job assignments which are evidently incommensurate with their experience, qualification and background;

d. To refuse to act on complaints against supervisors and co-employees who display patterns of abusive and degrading conduct against LGBT employees that tend to interfere with the latter’s work or promote an offensive or hostile working environment;

e. To dismiss or discharge LGBT employees for no apparent reason or valid justification other than their perceived or actual gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Maraming bakla, lesbiyana o transgender ang nahihirapang kumuha ng trabaho dahil sa kanilang sexual orientation o gender identity. Tinatanggihan sila kahit gaano pa ka-kwalipikado,” Atty. Leonin said. “Saludo ako sa initiatibo ni SP Sitoy sa paghain ng ganitong ordinansa upang masolusyunan ang diskriminasyon sa paghahanap ng trabaho,” she added. “Ako ay nanawagan sa mga Cebuano LGBT na suportahan at makiisa at dumalo sa naturang public hearing ngayong Biyernes dahil ito ay para sa ating lahat at tayo ang makikinabang dito,” Atty. Leonin stressed.

Ladlad is also calling the attention of all LGBT supporters and all local legislators to troop to the provincial capitol. Ladlad asked the LGBTs in Cebu to show their support for them to be protected in the workplace.

Ladlad Partylist will run for congress in 2013. One of their platforms of government is to pass the Anti-Discrimination bill in the House of Representatives.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011


LADLAD Partylist denounces the transphobic act committed by a professor of University of the Philippines (U.P.) Diliman against a transsexual woman.

According to Ms. Hender Gercio, a junior undergraduate taking up European Languages and a transsexual woman, she talked to her professor on Advanced Spoken French Ms. Dominique “Nikki” Del Corro.

“Ms. Del Corro noticed me correcting my classmates whenever they referred to me using male pronouns. I told her that I identified and socially presented myself as female. She then asked me about my biological sex. I told her that my legal sex was male, but I argued that this was irrelevant and ultimately misleading because my legal sex did not accurately reflect my real-life identity – a transsexual female,” Gercio said.

Gercio was so dismayed and hurt because of Ms. Del Corro’s comments. She should have not evoked her religious biases in treating her students especially to a transsexual woman like Gercio and in a secular university like U.P.

“Ms Del Corro believed that homosexuality is a sin and it was due to this reason that she cannot allow herself to accept and address me as female. I told her that I am a transgender and not a homosexual but that did not affect her stance,” Gercio added.

On the other hand LADLAD is asking a dialogue with the university officials to create clear policies to address the needs of transsexual students, faculty and employees in the university.

According to Ms. Bemz Benedito, Chairperson of LADLAD and also a transsexual woman, the incident evidently shows how bigoted some people are when it comes to gender identity.

“Ms. Del Corro should apologize for the hurt she inflicted to Ms. Gercio’s dignity and sense of self-worth. There is really a need for a massive campaign and education to the people and even the educators on transsexualism. This is a testament that even Ms. Del Corro who is part of the academe doesn’t even know where we are coming from. And this is U.P., right?” Benedito asked.

LADLAD wishes that this case should be the last so that transsexual students can study free from any forms of biases and discrimination.

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