LGBTQ+ people need acceptance, not tolerance

THE audacity talaga of some straight men, ’no?

My attention was caught (read: I was “triggered”) by a Facebook user who argued that transgender people being accepted and respected for their gender is “special privilege.” First of all, that’s redundant. Second of all, that’s ridiculous.

Seeking respect for one’s gender is only a privilege when you fail to acknowledge the very real sexual diversity of humans. And to say that transgender people like Gretchen Diez are “demanding” some kind of special right for wanting to pee in a restroom whose label reflects their gender identity shows a mindset that further alienates and discriminates them.

(Trans woman arrested after being blocked from using women’s restroom in Cubao

The best that many communities in the Philippines – across educational and economic statuses – are showing the LGBTQ+ people today is tolerance, not acceptance. We are currently dealing with the former. We need, and continue to fight for, the latter.

Tolerance is “It’s OK that you’re a transgender woman but don’t use our female toilet” or “It’s OK that you’re a lesbian as long as you’re not the partner of my daughter.” Acceptance, on the other hand, is “We understand why you dress or look like a man even when you were born female, and that’s OK, no big deal” and “It is your right to be afforded the same treatment and privileges that straight men and women get.”

(LGBTQ activists: We are tolerated but not accepted in the Philippines

“A whole nation believes that it’s uncomfortable for [transgender women] to use the women’s restroom”? Transgender people are “not asking equality but dominance” and “bullying [their] way to it”? All these assertions are HUGELY UNFOUNDED.

You know what’s BACKED BY FACTS? The dangers and risks that all LGBTQ+ people, most especially transgender people, in the Philippines face every day – their continued discrimination and the violation of their rights.

(The dangers of being LGBT in ‘tolerant’ Philippines

There is an “expectation” for LGBTQ+ Filipinos “to act in ‘acceptable’ manners, which is usually limited to acting according to socially defined masculine versus feminine behaviors,” while several private establishments “implement discriminatory policies without legal sanctions,” according to a 2014 United Nations report on being LGBT in the Philippines.

Moreover, there is “confusion” among Philippine courts “regarding concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity,” and, worse, there have been 28 LGBT-related killings in the first half of 2011 alone, the same report stated.

(Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippine Country Report | UNDP

THESE, among others, are why we in the LGBTQ+ community push for equal treatment. THESE, among others, are why we insist that tolerance is different from acceptance.

It’s not “caprice.” It’s not a “choice.” It’s not “Too much drama. Too much pabida (showing off).” No one is “asking a whole nation to bow down and adjust to [our] caprices in the name of ‘equality.’” It’s basic human decency.

Oh, and the Facebook user suggested that separate restrooms for transgender people may help, and then – quite condescendingly, I would say – said that restrooms and accessibility facilities for persons with disabilities are better prioritized.

Really, separate restrooms?! A wider, shameless, in-your-face gender segregation?!

And how divisive can you get, putting LGBTQ+ people and PWDs – two marginalized sectors in the Philippines – side by side and implying that they exhibit some stark and deep difference, as far as the way many of them are treated by society?

What did Gretchen Diez think about a lawmaker’s proposal for the separate restrooms? She believes this will further fuel discrimination against the LGBTQ+ people because this meant “separating them from men and women.”

“It’s not about changing the establishment or the infrastructure. It’s about changing the mindset of the people,” she said in a report on GMA News Online. “That is not what we need. We don’t need additional infrastructure. We need acceptance. We need understanding.”

(Gretchen Diez on third restroom: LGBT persons need acceptance, not infrastructure


Reacting to their post without expressly telling them, and so as not to further give credence to what I presume to be their miseducation, I decided to keep the identity of the Facebook user and tackle just their idea – several versions of which are shared by many others, some of whom have worse ways of expressing them. I mean, just scroll through the comments on news stories about LGBTQ+ posted on Facebook. Horrible!


Daryl Lasafin is a former managing editor and digital editor for Panay News, and currently a creative director for a local digital marketing agency./PN


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