Hop Against Homophobia

The International Day Against Homophobia, held on May 17 every year, is a rallying event offering an opportunity for people to get together and reach out to one another.

2011 was marked by a series of breakthroughs at the United Nations concerning the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. On 17 June 2011, the UN adopted the first ever resolution on the human rights of LGBT persons, followed by the release of the first UN report last December.

I quote from this report: “The findings and recommendations of the report will support the strengthening of the legislative environment for rights protection of people most-at-risk, vulnerable and living with HIV, including MSM and transgender persons.

“As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, UNDP expresses its solidarity with the LGBT community in claiming their rights and denouncing human rights abuses against them.

“Despite these developments, a number of countries still have laws that criminalize same-sex relations between consenting adults. In the Philippines, while the society may appear tolerant towards LGBT, stories of stigma and discrimination among members of the community still persist.”

What troubles me today is that Filipino superstar boxer, Manny Pacquiao – a man whose fights I will NEVER watch again – came out against same sex marriage. In a landmark week when US President Obama spoke passionately about his changed views and endorses marriage equality, Pacquiao had to come out and say something stupid.

I am proud that we have a President who can come to a new, compassionate realization based on actual people he knows, friends and staffers who are suffering under DOMA. One by one, those who don’t know same sex couples, will, I hope, actually befriend a same sex couple and care enough about them to champion their plight.

Ignorance is not bliss. It breeds misunderstanding, fear…and stupid boxers.

Pacquaio’s comments are especially troubling considering  UN’s recent report from the NGO Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch.

“It is estimated that over 160 LGBT-related hate crimes have been documented since 1996. The prevailing stigma associated with homosexuality and sexual diversity drives members of the community to situations that place their physical, mental and social well-being at greater risk.

“This has resulted in an escalating epidemic of HIV among men having sex with men (MSM) and transgender persons in that country. As reported by the Department of Health, about eight out of ten reported cases of HIV each day are acquired through same-sex transmission. Experience has shown that when people are stigmatized because of their sexual orientation or identity, they are less likely to access the HIV services they need. Therefore, this leads to new HIV infections and AIDS deaths.”

Pacquaio was quoted as saying gay men should be put to death. I don’t read Tagalog but I know Manny and he’s no rocket scientist. He was quoting from the Bible and claims he was misquoted. Whatever…

I Google Translated his quotes but since his initial statement he is now saying he is not against gay men, just same-sex marriage. I am saddened that a man who has the power to do so much, to teach a tide of change, is making public statements like this.

One day, blogs such as this and days like today will no longer be necessary…

Until then, I live in passionate hope.

Aloha oe,



4 Responses to “Hop Against Homophobia”

  1. Thank you for such a thoughtful and educational Blog AJ

  2. Thank you so much Silver! And thanks for all that you do!

  3. You dear heart have a way with words. I am hoping we will come around to thinking everyone is equal and needs to be equal across all boards.

  4. I share your fervent hope with all my heart. Thanks, A.J.

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