Friday, 8 July 2011

Filipino transsexuals sue PH for discrimination vs gays at UN

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippines' number one broadsheet.

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—Three Filipino transsexuals have sued the government for discriminating against gays before the United Nations, it was revealed in a forum at the University of the Philippines-Baguio last week.

Lawyer Evalyn Ursua, who represents Naomi Fontanos, Juliana Marian Giessel and Rio Moreno, said her clients still carried Philippine passports that identified them as males, owing to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said the absence of a law regulating sexual reassignments meant that Philippine jurisprudence could not recognize their new gender.

The transsexuals, with the help of Ursua and students in UP-Diliman’s women and development studies program, complained to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last month, urging the world body to compel the Philippine government to issue a law that will recognize their change of sexual identity.

Ursua presented the complaint at a June 24 forum on transgender situation at UP Baguio.

Ursua, who was here for the 5th Baguio Gay Pride celebration, said the suit preempted the UNHRC resolution on June 17 that officially recognized gay rights and commissioned a world report for December that would compile evidence of gay discrimination in member-states like the Philippines.

The document, transmitted by Ursua to the UN on May 23, said: “Their lack of gender-appropriate legal identity has severely restricted their freedom of movement and right to travel.” Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon, and Jocelyn Uy in Manila