The House of Representatives of the Philippines recently passed HB No. 4982, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Equality Bill, known as the Sogie Bill. The bill was passed by a majority of 198 out of 293 representatives, with no votes against the bill, following the bill’s third and final reading.
The bill states that “[t]he State recognizes the fundamental right of every person regardless of sex, age, class, status, ethnicity, color, disability, religious and political beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, to be free from any form of discrimination” (emphasis added).
If passed into law, the bill would make it illegal to publish “information intended to ‘out’ or reveal the sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of a person without their consent, when such has not been made known by the person concerned, and has been made with malicious intent or is primarily motivated by a desire for commercial profit.”
The bill would also make it illegal to “engag[e] in public speech, except religious speech, meant to shame, insult, vilify, or which tends to incite or normalize the commission of discriminatory practices against LGBTs, and which acts or practices in turn, intimidate them or result in the loss of their self-esteem.”
Police stations in the Philippines include designated Women and Children’s desks, which are often staffed by female officers who are specifically trained to respond to the unique needs of women and children. Under the Sogie bill, these desks will be renamed “Women, Children, and LGBTQ++ Protection Desk[s]” and the officers staffing such desks will “undergo appropriate trainings with human rights-based approach to include, among others, gender sensitivity and awareness in proper terminology, dynamics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) relationships and hate crime investigations.”
“Under the bill, offenses shall be penalized with a fine not less than P100,000 but not exceeding P500,000 and imprisonment of between one year and 10 years.”
A similar bill is currently pending before the Senate.