‘Pride and Prejudice’

AND YOU thought this is about that novel by Jane Austen. No it’s not. Quite far from it, really.

Perhaps the only similarity is the title, other than that absolutely no resemblance whatsoever.

This is about something else happening today in “I Am Iloilo City”, specifically in the newly restored Sunburst Park right in the heart of Iloilo Viejo, the city’s historic quarter.

What’s going on at Sunburst Park is a first for “I Am Iloilo City” – a group traditionally known as not serious, whimsical, beauty pageant enthusiasts and usually identified with beauty parlors suddenly found themselves inadvertently embroiled in a serious political issue directly affecting them.

And they had no choice but as Bob Marley says “Get Up, Stand Up for your Rights”!

Now you’re getting a clearer view as to why this title and what has it to do with the happening now in Sunburst Park.

From that free online encyclopedia a.k.a. the internet:

Pride – a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired, confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.

This will definitely give you a much clearer picture:

Gay pride refers to a worldwide movement and philosophy asserting that lesbiangaybisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT pride advocates work for equal “rights and benefits” for LGBT people. The movement has three main premises: that people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity, that sexual diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered.

Prejudice is an affective feeling towards a person or group member based solely on that person’s group membership (tribal behavior). The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavourable, feelings towards people or a person because of their political affiliation, sex, gender, beliefs, valuessocial class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, languagenationalitybeautyoccupatineducationcriminalitysport team affiliation or other personal characteristics.

And this is what’s happening now at Sunburst Park. No, it’s not a free concert by Queen (pun intended) but the subtle links are there.

Excerpts from the March 8, 2019 issue of Panay News:

Discriminatory statements anger LGBT sector

The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community in this city and Iloilo province is up in arms against a staunch critic of Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. for discriminatory statements made against their sector.

On March 15 LGBT groups will hold a public assembly at Sunburst Park here to denounce former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada.

In a recent radio program, Mejorada said gays were susceptible to corruption because they had vices and had to keep their boyfriends happy.

“We condemn the discriminatory pronouncements of Mr Boy Mejorada. I am inviting LGBT (groups) to unite. Be there. This is our fight. Let’s do it,” said Edgar Suelo, spokesperson of Iloilo Pride Council, one of the more prominent LGBT organizations in the city.

The assembly, dubbed “LGBT Unite Against Discrimination”, starts at 4 p.m.

Mejorada made the controversial pronouncements while discussing the administrative complaint – for alleged unexplained wealth – he filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against an executive assistant of Governor Defensor, Ruel Von Superio.

He said, “…ang iya nga pag ako nga agi sya kag ang corruption…kabalo ka, wala man ta nagapakanubo sa aton kautoran nga gay, pero mas vulnerable ‘ni sila sa corruption. Ti siempre, may mga bisyo ‘ni sila nga ginamintinar. They have to keep their boyfriends happy. Amo ‘ni siguro sa iya sexual preference nagagasto sya para nga ma-maintain ‘ya iya relasyon sa iya nga boyfriend.”

Mejorada already issued a public apology via Facebook but the LGBT community would have none of it. The first Miss LGBT Ambassadress Queen of Iloilo, Erriz Erikh Lanceta, blasted Mejorada.

“Kon may kontra s’ya sa pulitika, nga-a pag-address ‘ya in general? Gina-condemn namon ang iya statement,” said Lanceta yesterday.

According to Suelo, various LGBT groups agreed to hold an assembly against Mejorada.

“Wala kami naga-personal sa iya. Ang iya lang statement ang gusto namon i-correct. This will serve as a lesson to everybody. We, members of the LGBT community, need to be loved and respected and to be treated well,” said Suelo.

Iloilo City councillor Leizl Zulueta-Salazar, a staunch support of the LGBT community in this city, described Mejorada’s statements as “disheartening” and cited Iloilo City’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance (Regulation Ordinance No. 2018-090).

Mejorada’s discriminatory statements, according to Zulueta-Salazar, fell under Section 3, No. 5 of the ordinance (verbal or written words that ridicule or insult or attribute despicable behavior and habits or associating with violence and criminal activities any person or group of persons by reason of gender identity or sexual orientation, race, color of skin, descent, national or ethnic origin, religious affiliation or beliefs).

She would be supporting the LGBT community should it pursue legal moves against Mejorada, said Zulueta-Salazar.

Meanwhile, Superio denied Mejorada’s allegation of corruption.

Superio lamented that Mejorada is making it appear he is corrupt to paint Governor Defensor as corrupt, too.

From the look of things, Ferjie’s craving to be the governor of Iloilo is foundering and his opponent has not even done anything; he has this penchant for shooting himself in the foot.

First, he allied himself with the Garins and I need not elaborate on that. Then his allies at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan blocked the budget of Iloilo province affecting not only the salaries and bonuses of the provincial employees but projects all over Iloilo as well.

And now this that smacks of prejudice. One of his people offended the pride and sensibilities of the LGBT community, a large and influential group.

Ahay, Ferjie. ([email protected]/PN)

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