Stuck in the Closet: An Investigative Study on LGBT Antidiscrimination Bills
Abstract: This study investigates the 13-year failure of passage of the various LGBT antidiscrimination bills which were drafted with the help of gay rights group LAGABLAB in Congress and the role print media plays in its exposure and the shaping of public opinion toward the issue. The bills, which define discriminatory acts against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs), and establish penalties for violators, have been repeatedly rejected in both the House of Representatives and the Senate since they were first filed in 1999. This study explores all possible reasons and motivations behind the opposition to the bills through the insights of certain people heavily involved in their creation. The study also analyzes the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star’s coverage of the issue. Aside from the legislators’ and authors’ personal stances and decisions, the media aspect is also a crucial factor in the chances for their passage, as one of media’s roles is to influence the audience. Favorable public opinion toward the bills and the issue of LGBT rights, which opponents believe are highly unnecessary for various reasons, would help in encouraging legislators to appease the public and increase their political standing by approving them, while a dissenting opinion would discourage lawmakers from passing them.
By Pauline G. Funa, Romeo Moran III