SENATE President Vicente Sotto 3rd believes that majority of the senators do not support a proposed bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (Sogie).
“I hate to say this but I have to. If you are a man, you will never be a woman no matter what you do because you cannot reproduce, you cannot give birth. You do not have ovaries, you will never be a woman,” Sotto said in a chance interview on Wednesday during a public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality headed by Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros.
“To me this Sogie bill is a bill against women’s rights. It is giving transgender rights, so it is class legislation,” the Senate chief added.
When asked whether he shares the sentiment of the majority of senators, Sotto said, “I think so.”
Sotto and Sen. Maria Lourdes ‘Nancy’ Binay are more supportive of a similar anti-discrimination bill proposed by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara that they described as more comprehensive.
“If we will come up with [a] measure like the version of Senator Angara, which is anti-discrimination generally, not to discriminate against the elderly, children [it will be more acceptable]. But [it is a different matter] if we talk about the contents of the Sogie especially for LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer plus),” Sotto said.
Addressing pro-family and pro-life organizations that expressed opposition to the bill, Hontiveros said the Sogie Equality bill will “take into consideration religious and faith-based sensitivities.”
“We are here to work together. Let’s remind ourselves of our unities: We are all against any form of discrimination, that we want what is best for each other and we want to preserve our values and the Filipino family. We are here to hear all sides, and to better the Sogie Equality bill,” she added.
Hontiveros renewed her call to end discrimination based on one’s Sogie.
“We cannot deny that the LGBTQ+ [community] suffers discrimination everyday. Let’s start with that,” she said.
“How do we protect LGBTQ+ persons from discrimination without violating our religious and academic freedoms?” Hontiveros asked.
She expressed concern about heated discussions online that practically condemn LGBTQ+ persons.
“As a mother, I cannot accept this hate rhetoric.”