On 27 October 2011, the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) released a statement affirming the inherent dignity of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Filipinos. The statement is considered historic and groundbreaking. STRAP sent a letter of commendation addressed to the PAP leadership which is posted in full below.
Dr Maria Caridad H. Tarroja PhD
Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP)
CC: Prof Jay A. Yacat
Head, PAP Public Interest Committee
Dear Dr Tarroja
We, the members of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP), the pioneer support group and human rights advocacy organization of transpinays ( transgender/transsexual Filipinas), commend the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) for its October 2011 statement on Non-discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and congratulate the PAP for taking a clear and unequivocal stand against any form of prejudice directed toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos.
We share the PAP’s view that indeed “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos continue to experience stigma, prejudice and discrimination in Philippine society.” This stigma, unfortunately, is perpetuated by individuals and institutions connected to the field of psychology and psychiatry whose precepts have been used to “cure” and change people’s sexual orientation and gender identity through harmful and unethical reparative therapies.
We hope that the PAP’s statement will just be one of the many steps it will take to bring the practice of psychology out of the darkness that views a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity as a condition that needs to be treated, cured or suppressed into the light of affirming the agency of every human person and their capacity to self-determine their gender and sexuality. We hope as well that the PAP’s statement will reflect a psychological practice in the Philippines that strikes a balance between science and humanity, a psychology that adds to and does not take away from every Filipinos’ right to lead meaningful, happy and fulfilling lives free from the stigma of psychopathology.
We salute the leadership of today’s PAP. We hope that your wisdom and courage will mold a generation of psychologists who are more humane, more caring and more nurturing of the Filipino mind, body and spirit! Mabuhay kayo at mabuhay ang PAP!
Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP)
Written for STRAP by Chairwoman Ms Naomi Fontanos