First Filipino international gay pageant winner weighs in on delays in passage of SOGIE law
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, La Union — Despite the proceedings involving the versions of the SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) bill hitting a snag in congress earlier this month, lawmakers eventually would need to craft a law that would govern and protect the interests of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, queer, intersex, asexual, and others) community.
This, according to John Raspado, winner of the 2017 Mister Gay World, the first Filipino to ever win the global title when he was interviewed by INQUIRER during the Mutia ti La Union pageant held in this city. Raspado sat as one of the judges for the preliminary event of the provincial pageant.
“There is nothing they can do because, eventually, the law will evolve. People change, so whether they like it or not, they will make a law,” he said.
Raspado acknowledged that the proposed legislation may still have “loopholes” that need to be straightened out, but lawmakers eventually needed to pass such law in order for the Philippines to not be left behind by its peers insofar as LGBT rights are concerned.
“It’s a law in transition that we can make progressive, until we eventually make it into a law,” he said. “They need to take consideration, and understand the new evolution, or the new characteristics of the LGBT right now. Because theirs is old-fashioned, it would be better if they look into the current situation because we are being left behind in the world.”
CIBAC party-list Rep. Eddie Villanueva, who is also an evangelist and leader of the Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide, and his son Sen. Joel Villanueva, both raised concerns about the measure, which was introduced 23 years ago by the late former Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago. Its current proponent, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, has been fighting for the bill’s passage since she was a member of the House of Representatives under the Akbayan party-list.
The Villanuevas claim the bill will introduce same-sex marriage in the country, but Hontiveros denied it saying that “this is not the bill that will grant marriage licenses.” In a separate social media post, the lady senator said the bill is meant to “solve bullying” and “enhance mental health.”
Presenting statistics on SOGIE-based bullying, Hontiveros added: “If we say we are concerned about the future of our youth, then we should heed the data. The numbers tell a clear-cut story. As long as we are in denial, our children will continue to suffer the long-term consequences.” EDV