There is no pride on a dead planet

“There is no pride on a dead planet.” Thus says a poster by Greenpeace that I saw last Saturday during the celebration of Pride month in Pasay City, carrying with them the iconic rainbow flag interposed with their peace signage.

“Climate justice is queer justice. Our fight must go beyond the usual “green”; rather, it should be multi-perspective and multi-colored. At the end of the day, we all deserve to live on an Earth we can be proud of, where we don’t have to wait for the rain just to see the rainbow,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

Pride Month commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, New York where LGBTQ+ individuals protested against police harassment and persecution commonly experienced by the community.

I covered Greenpeace in the mid-1990s when I was still connected with a major newspaper where I was assigned on the environment beat. Climate change at that time was already one of their campaigns.

Climate change is driven by factors such as changes in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases and aerosols, land cover and radiation, and their combinations, which then result in what is called radiative forcing (warming and cooling effect).

The Philippines is already in the path of major weather disturbances that damage property and critical infrastructure.  

Climate change is expected to lead to more intense typhoons, higher sea levels, and storm surges.

Storm surges are projected to affect about 14 percent of the population and 42 percent of coastal populations. These weather patterns frequently jeopardize the welfare of communities in high-risk areas. 

Greenpeace said that the fight for genuine climate justice intersects with queer justice.

Climate action and policy must be inclusive, it said, adding that the connection of the climate struggle with the liberation of various minority groups from outdated systems must be recognized.

Climate change can only be addressed through a vibrant democracy where communities play a key role in policy—and decision-making—regardless of region, class, or gender.

The LGBTQIA+ community is considered one of the strongest allies of the climate movement—a community that knows what it means to liberate themselves from oppressive practices and give voice to the vulnerable.

Greenpeace calls for the government to enact policies that promote inclusivity and reject discrimination, such as the long-debated Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality (SOGIE) Bill. 

In her virtual speech, reelected opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said that she will push anew for the passage of the bill, as its principal author and sponsor, which seeks to ban discrimination based on an individual’s SOGIE.

The bill lists the practices to be considered discriminatory and unlawful, which include the denial of rights to LGBTQ+ community on the basis of their SOGIE, such as their right to access public services, right to use establishments and services including housing, and right to apply for a professional license, among others.

The bill also deems as discriminatory the differential treatment of an employee or anyone engaged to render services, denial of admission to or expulsion from an educational institution, refusal or revocation of accreditation to any organization due to an individual’s SOGIE.

The act of forcing any person to undertake any medical or psychological examination to alter his SOGIE, the publication of information intending to “out” a person without his or her consent, public speech meant to vilify LGBTQ+, the harassment and coercion of the latter by anyone especially those involved in law enforcement, and gender profiling will also be penalized.

“It is time we forge a country that includes all, loves all,” Hontiveros said.“You are more than Pride Day or Pride Month. You have every right to exist as you are in the day to day. You deserve these grand celebrations, these spaces of resistance; but you also deserve the ordinary moments.”

Akbayan’s Perci Cendaña holds the historical distinction of being the first openly gay chairperson of the UP Diliman University Student Council in the mid 1990s. He was part of  UP’s LGBT group Babaylan, UP SAMASA, and was also a former head of the National Youth Commission.

“The Philippine youth development plan states that youth development is defined as enabled, involved, patriotic youth realizing their aspirations. Discrimination leads to stigma that is a deterrent to development,” Cendana said in one of the Senate hearings. “Discrimination is an issue not just of human rights but a development issue because it deters our young people from realizing their aspirations.”

Peyups is the moniker of University of the Philippines. Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan law offices. For comments, e-mail [email protected], or call 0917-5025808 or 0908-8665786.

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