MANILA, Philippines – Local celebrities – including one who happens to be married to a sitting senator – called on Senate President Tito Sotto and Senators Manny Pacquiao and Joel Villanueva to pass the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression) Equality Bill, legislation that would protect all persons from discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
The bill was passed on third reading before the House of Representatives in September 2017 but has so far been stuck in the Senate, with senators like Sotto, Pacquiao, and Villanueva objecting to the bill. (READ: Christian groups troop to Senate vs landmark SOGIE bill)
Divine Lee, Iza Calzado, Heart Evangelista, Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, and Joey Mead were among those who took to social media at around 8pm Monday, July 23 to express their support for the passage of the measure.
Divine, posted a long letter to accompany a picture of her son Baz, who was born last May. In her message, Divine said that she wanted her son, to grow up in a society where everyone – the LGBTQ++ community included – are treated fairly.
She noted that her son has aunts, uncles, and household help who are part of the community.
"Masakit po sakin na makita nya na hindi fair and mabuti ang mundong ito sa mga ilang tao sa paligid namin. Ayoko din po maramdaman nya that there are people who can’t freely be happy for being themselves," she said.
(It hurts to think that he will gro up in a world that is unfair and cruel to people around him. I don't want him to feel that there are people who canot freely be happy for being themselves.)
Hello @helenstito @joelvillanueva @mannypacquiao Meet my son, Baz. He is the love of my life. Sa buong buhay ko ngayon ko lang talaga masasabi na nagmahal ako ng ganito. In the 9 mos he was inside my belly, I kept praying my novena and adding that I hope that he grows up to be good, happy and healthy. Yung good, kaya ko po ipangako na gagawin ko ang lahat bilang ina para maging mabuti syang tao. Yung healthy naman po, paubaya ko kay Lord. And yung happy po kasi sya talaga yun. But bilang Ina, hinihingi ko po yung tulong nyo. He’s only two months and he has a long life to live. I really wish that the world I brought him in is a world of love. Kahit na po siguro hindi sya honor student, champion golfer or kung anong mataas na pangarap namin para sa kanya. Basta masaya sya. Magulang din po kayo and I’m sure naiintindihan nyo po ang nararamdaman ko. Karamihan po sa mga Titas, titos and even household help po namin ay parte ng LGBTQIA. Masakit po sakin na makita nya na hindi fair and mabuti ang mundong ito sa mga ilang tao sa paligid namin. Ayoko din po maramdaman nya that there are people who can’t freely be happy for being themselves. I want my son to be him. To be whoever he wants to be. And be happy. And this will only be possible if he grows up in a country where people are free to love, be loved and be happy for being themselves. Dito po, hinihingi ko ang tulong nyo for Baz. And lahat po ng LGBTQIA kong anak. Help my children be happy. Nagmamahal, Mother Becky and Mother of Baz #loveisallweneed A post shared by Divine Lee Go (@divinemlee) on Jul 23, 2018 at 5:09am PDT
Heart, who wore a rainbow pin to the 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA), said everyone "has the right to live, work, and dream." Her husband Senator Francis Escudero, a member of the majority, supports the bill
Everyone has the right to live, work, and dream. The SOGIE bill is a step in the right direction to guarantee the protection of those rights, especially for our friends in the LGBTQIA+ community. Last year the bill made great progress but we still have a long way to go. My husband and I are in full support of this bill and hope to see it move forward and become a law. #sona2018 #LoveIsAllWeNeed A post shared by Love Marie Ongpauco Escudero (@iamhearte) on Jul 22, 2018 at 10:47pm PDT
Iza, Bianca, and Joey called on their followers to reach out to the three senators through letters and messages, to urge them to support the measure as well.
"Supporting the SOGIE Equality or Anti-Discrimination Bill all the way because I believe in EQUALITY. I want every other human being to have the same rights and privileges that I enjoy. We know your kind hearts know and understand this and we will have your support too. Hugs!" Iza said.
Supporting the SOGIE Equality or Anti-Discrimination Bill all the way because I believe in EQUALITY. I want every other human being to have the same rights and privileges that I enjoy. Lahat naman tayo ay pantay pantay, hindi po ba? We know your kind hearts know and understand this and we will have your support too. Hugs! @helenstito @mannypacquiao @joelvillanueva #loveisallweneed A post shared by DREAM BIG (@missizacalzado) on Jul 23, 2018 at 5:06am PDT
Joey, who is married to Angelina King, said: "Can you imagine it.. The Philippines being part of the modern world that is forward thinking & supportive of equal rights. I believe as a community we can make a difference be that voice by kindly asking Senators like Tito, Manny & Joel to pass the SOGIE equality bill ( Sexual Orientation Gender Identity & Expression ). Protection against sex/gender based discrimination, which include denial of access to public services , employment & education."
Can you imagine it.. The Philippines being part of the modern world that is forward thinking & supportive of equal rights. I believe as a community we can make a difference be that voice by kindly asking Senators like Tito, Manny & Joel to pass the SOGIE equality bill ( Sexual Orientation Gender Identity & Expression ). Protection against sex/gender based discrimination, which include denial of access to public services , employment & education. #loveisallweneed A post shared by joeymeadking (@joeymeadking) on Jul 23, 2018 at 4:19am PDT
She also encouraged her followers to keep on tagging Sotto, Pacquiao, and Villanueva in their messages.
Bianca shared her thoughts via Instagram stories.
Tim Yap also took to Instagram to express his support. Tim is married to partner Javi Martinez.
Broadcast journalist Karen Davila also shared a photo of her wearing the rainbow pin.
The SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression) Equality Bill or Anti-Discrimination Bill, seeks to protect individuals against sex & gender-based discrimination, which include denial of access to public & health sevices, employment & education #LOVEISALLWENEED pic.twitter.com/JbEegTrloY — Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) July 23, 2018
Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes also expressed his support, tweeting: "LGBTQ are citizens too."
LGBTQ are citizens too #LoveIsAllWeNeed pic.twitter.com/qLAKv84xcm — Chot Reyes (@coachot) July 23, 2018
Celebrity photographer BJ Pascual also urged everyone to write to the senators.
Please READ, RT, and SEND messages of LOVE to our senators who are against the SOGIE BILL! LET'S FIGHT HATE WITH LOVE #LOVEISALLWENEED pic.twitter.com/Et4UUJcxb8 — BJ Pascual (@bjpascual) July 23, 2018
TV personality Mari Jasmine also tweeted her support.
Hi @sotto_tito! Please show us your love for every Filipino out there by supporting the SOGIE Equality Bill #LoveIsAllWeNeed — Mari Jasmine (@mari_jasmn) July 23, 2018
Dear @sotto_tito, @mannypacquiao, @senatorjoelv : As politicians, you’ve campaigned for change, so here’s to hoping you have a change of heart regarding the SOGIE bill. #loveisallweneed pic.twitter.com/3bXqH0MntY — Samantha Lee (@givemesam) July 23, 2018
Cristine Babao also tweeted her support.
Dear Senators @mannypacquiao, @sotto_tito @senatorjoelv. I embrace my LGBT brothers & sisters. Many are my closest friends & allies. Please show them some luv & positivity by supporting the SOGIE equality bill. We will love u more! #LoveIsAllWeNeed pic.twitter.com/XLya5JNaxk — Christine Babao (@ChristineBBabao) July 23, 2018
The time is now! #sogie #loveisalweneed #Sona2018 sending you LOVE @helenstito @mannypacquiao @joelvillanueva A post shared by Rajo Laurel (@rajolaurel) on Jul 23, 2018 at 4:58am PDT