The Long View: Comelec lays down case for persecution

The Long View
Comelec lays down case for persecution
By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:14:00 11/16/2009

THERE is no point arguing the merits of the Comelec’s decision to deny Ang Ladlad recognition as a party-list group. That is because there are none. The paper produced and signed by Commissioners Nicodemus Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph is a religious tract masquerading as a legal document. However, it has legal consequences and that requires examination – and opposition.

The Comelec commissioners’ faith-based opinion now enjoys the presumption of legality and it continues what the Comelec began in 2007, that is, to deny Ang Ladlad the opportunity to seek a mandate from the electorate. While no one in their right mind considers the Comelec commissioners’ decision to be worth the paper it’s printed on, the Comelec decision requires Ang Ladlad to go through the process of appeals and possibly fight things out all the way to the Supreme Court – by which time it will be the eve of the 2013 elections. By which time a case would have been built for ordering the arrest of members and supporters of Ang Ladlad, of Danton Remoto and even the publishers of his works.

This is the ultimate, ambitious, objective: to crush Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) associations before they manage to establish a troubling precedent in electoral politics.

The commissioners are bound by law to reject a petition to be recognized as a party list on several specific grounds. The grounds for rejection it chose are two: that Ang Ladlad “violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections” and that it “declares untruthful statements in its petition.”

Per the Comelec, Ang Ladlad lied. How did it lie? By “not being truthful when it said that it ‘or any of its nominees/party-list representatives have not violated or failed to comply with laws, rules, or regulations relating to the elections.'” How did it violate the law? The group, said the commissioners, by defining sexual identity as referring “to a person’s capacity for profound emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender, of the same gender, or more than one gender,” proposed a sexual spectrum not only not to the liking of the commissioners but, according to them, advocated a spectrum not tolerated by Christianity or Islam and therefore, impermissibly deviant from the normal understanding of public morals.

The Comelec commissioners themselves referred to Title Six (Crimes against Public Morals) of the Penal Code, specifically Chapter II covering “Offenses against Decency and Good Customs,” particularly the following provisions:

Art. 201. Immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows.- The penalty of prision mayor or a fine ranging from six thousand to twelve thousand pesos, or both such imprisonment and fine, shall be imposed upon: (1) Those who shall publicly expound or proclaim doctrines openly contrary to public morals; (2) (a) the authors of obscene literature, published with their knowledge in any form; the editors publishing such literature; and the owners/operators of the establishment selling the same; (b) Those who, in theaters, fairs, cinematographs or any other place, exhibit, indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts or shows, whether live or in film, which are prescribed by virtue hereof, shall include those which i. glorify criminals or condone crimes; ii. serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence, lust or pornography; iii. offend any race or religion; iv. tend to abet traffic in and use of prohibited drugs; and v. are contrary to law, public order, morals, and good customs, established policies, lawful orders, decrees and edicts; (3) Those who shall sell, give away or exhibit films, prints, engravings, sculpture or literature which are offensive to morals.

So what the Comelec is attempting to do is to lay the basis for the proscription, or banning, of groups like Ang Ladlad by making them liable to prosecution under the Revised Penal Code as criminal deviants. This would be under the following provision:

Art. 147. Illegal associations.The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon the founders, directors, and presidents of associations totally or partially organized for the purpose of committing any of the crimes punishable under this Code or for some purpose contrary to public morals. Mere members of said associations shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor.

Nonetheless, some will argue, the law may be harsh, but it is the law: but that is to grant a particular interpretation that may have been valid in 1930 but does not reflect what society considers permissible or what medical science itself no longer considers an illness.

I have repeatedly questioned the relevance of the Revised Penal Code because it has many provisions that deserve serious re-examination in light of the many changes in society that have taken place since the law was passed in 1930 – and amended over the decades since.

The provisions on vagrancy, for example, have often been used as a pretext for persecuting sexual minorities. In other countries, the manner in which similar laws have been used for extortion by the police has led to the reexamination and, in many cases, the scrapping of such easy-to-abuse regulations.

Only an affected minority can be expected to take the lead in daring to question such laws. And here lies the necessity of ensuring these minorities never acquire the status of being a recognized, organized and represented party list: they might actually succeed in modernizing the law to reflect the true, public consensus on permissible public and private behavior – exposing Ferrer and friends as the true deviants.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

71 thoughts on “The Long View: Comelec lays down case for persecution

  1. Anyway, you need a stronger “other sex” group than Ang Ladlad. More to the point: a broad anti-discrimination law.

    That penal Code I think can only be changed through a constitutional amendment.

    Real conservatives should stand up for their beliefs. This will leave the extremist out in the open.

    A true liberal group must also rise up. The Liberal Party is not worthy of its name.

    Hindi nyo madadaan ito sa paawa o sa papansin. Totoong laban ito.

  2. “For nearly 30 years, you’ve advocated for those without a voice.Despite the progress we’ve made, there are still laws to change and hearts to open.”

    President Obama in his address at the dinner for the Human Rights Campaign of the National Gay Rights.

  3. I’ve never experienced and felt a massive scale of discrimination and attack on my dignity as a human being. I’m gay and I’m worthy of my rights and I’m worthy of representation as a minority. We shouldn’t let the majority and, certainly, not let some people decide for our rights.

    @Brian_B: True conservatism should not involve toppling another person or group’s rights. Also, more sophisticated terms may be used for the phrase “other sex”.

  4. agree with brianb. also, why leave it to danton, who is not exactly simpatiko. what if ladlad were led by manolo or boy abunda or ricky lo or inno sotto or ricky reyes…maybe the results would have been different?

  5. @angela: doubt that would change much. remember the ire of the comelec is not directed at Ladlad’s figurehead.

    as far as i’m concerned, simpatiko won’t get very far. it’s not about representing sentiments, but political goals. we need someone who:

    a. understands the political machinations that go behind party-list recognition, and the constitution in general
    b. can communicate the political goals of this group in a representative manner, while carefully maneuvering around the predictable, albeit unfair, scruples of the Comelec

    maybe manolo.

  6. This is an interesting piece, Manolo.
    My take on the two Penal Code provisions is that these should not be interpreted and enforced independent from other laws applicable to Philippines that came into being post-1930. Various human rights instruments ensuring respect and protection of the principle of non-discrimination such as the Intl Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) are applicable to the Philippines. I would like to note that in 1994, the UN Human Rights Committee confirmed that “sexual orientation” is considered as a protected status/category listed down in the non-discrimination provision, i.e. Art. 2.1 of ICCPR. I hope that in the future debates on the case of Ang Ladlad COMELEC and other government agencies would employ human rights framework, including principle of non-discrimination in their decisions.

  7. Unfortunately, public opinion is in favor of the Comelec’s decision. This is a three-cornered issue. Those who are for it are a passionate minority. Those who are against it are a zealous minority as well. In the middle are the majority, who really don’t care about this issue.

  8. daybed,

    You’re over-estimating Filipino principles. Karamihan madadala sa porma, sa pera, sa pa-astig.

    I also believe that Danton Remoto et al didn’t do the gay groups any favors. Imagine a straight guy flaunting his sexual conquests in an opinion column. Would you vote for that person in Congress?

    I’ve never liked how Ang Ladlad and the popular version of gayness presented gayness in general. I feel their overtness is derivative and presumptuous. They also lack appreciation for the native culture, as if they can just ignore the rest of us or sweep us aside.

    Respect the prejudice and maybe you can conquer it.

    I’d totally support a gay group that presents itself with more decency and which takes the given prejudice against it more seriously. You can’t just say, “Ah this is the 21st century ergo gays are in.” No, no. Look around, this is the 21st century and Philippine society remains the same.

  9. Well, the damage has been done. By the time this case is elevated to the Supreme Court, the 2010 elections have been long decided.

    Though the SC’s decision on this matter would be most interesting.

  10. @Brian_B, respecting the prejudice and working with the culture was exactly what gay americans did just 5 decades ago. Sure, at that time homosexuality was still considered as a psychological illness… and then the Stonewall riots came.

    For people to say that the LGBTs should respect and honor the local culture don’t seem to get the point. LGBTs ARE a common fixture of Philippine society even in rural areas. It’s not uncommon to see a Catholic church busy during a sunday and just a stone’s throw away an (this may sound stereotyping) equally busy beauty salon with gays.

    To say that most Filipinos are swept aside by this culture of gays and lesbians doesn’t really hold true. The fact is, the same gays you know of are the same gays that do want to get vote and be voted upon as gays but more importantly as a Filipino. The members of the LGBT who I know and active within Ang LADLAD are not even the same kind of LGBT in Western countries who have taken the debate to same sex marriage. These Filipino LGBTs are often devout Catholics(AND EVEN MUSLIM, YES THERE ARE GAY AND LESBIAN MUSLIMS) who can’t comprehend this COMELEC decision.

    I don’t think any LGBT actually seriously has that “this is the 21st century” naivety. They do know this is the Philippines and they crawl that interstitial space between acceptance and scorn. What many of them cannot comprehend is why an openly gay man can go on TV but can’t seem to be voted upon as the person that he is.

  11. i agree with you ryan, but that’s a long wa from how the law might be interpreted and applied; there’s an extensive discussion, here,

    of how there are some interesting supreme court decisions that seem to go against the thinking and understanding of the law and public morality as put forward in the comelec decision. i’m pretty confident that the comelec decision would eventually be overturned in the s.c. but a lot of mischief can and is being done, by promoting a diffirent understanding of the law.

  12. @BrianB – you’d be surprised that the Stonewall riots that practically started the gay rights movement was fought by the cross-dressers and effeminate gays – the same spectrum of the gay population you find unsavoury. The discreet gays – the image you would have approved of – were not in Stonewall because they were inside the closet being, uh discreet.

    Respect the prejudice? Would you go to a black man and tell him to shut up and respect society’s prejudice against him?

    If anything you ought to be reflecting on your prejudice because you are definitely a homophobe. Read up.

  13. “LGBTs ARE a common fixture of Philippine society even in rural areas. It’s not uncommon to see a Catholic church busy during a sunday and just a stone’s throw away an (this may sound stereotyping) equally busy beauty salon with gays.”

    From the pre-Spanish era, they have been part of society and still are but treated with NO respect, just like poor people and people without kin in high places.

  14. Carl,

    Gay people aren’t exactly big on equality. I don’t think they represent liberalism as much (though to a mild degree they do) as they represent a form of elitism–the gay world view.

  15. Brian B,

    You are stereotyping LGBTs, that’s reason why there are prejudices against us. Hindi lahat ng bakla parlorista, hindi lahat ng tibo macho, ang bisexuals ay hindi lang basta “undecided” at ang transpinay at transpinoy, mga beauty at gwapo sila. 🙂

    How would you know that Ang Ladlad isn’t doing gay groups a favor? Are you active in the community yourself? Ang Ladlad is doing a huge things for me, and for all LGBTs! While many choose to remain in the closet and probably stay mum about the issue so they wouldn’t be outed, Ang Ladlad and the out and proud LGBTs, a fraction our total population here, are speaking out for the LGBTs.

    Yung anti-discrimination bill nga hindi maipasa-pasa, kaya nga we need a voice in the congress. And it’s about time that an LGBT gets to represent the LGBTs sa legislation.

    Yes, it is true that within the community may biases and discrimination, pero ganun din naman sa ibang grupo, sa barkada sa office, sa school, etc. This isn’t exclusive to LGBTs.

    You probably should meet more LGBTs to enlighten yourself. Remember the word diversity.

  16. There are lines that must not be crossed. Although I have nothing against gays in general, I join the ranks of those who stick to the strictly male/female gender nothing in between. If we desire to have clear black and white choices then we should start from ourselves…of course I speak for myself…

  17. BrianB,

    It sounds to me that if gays just comport themselves in a more conventional, acceptable manner then you’d have no problem with them. This kind of “tolerance” actually is an insidious form of intolerance because it asks that a marginalized group accept and practice the norms and values of the dominant group or culture. Thus, you have the sad example of the silahis.

    In early days of feminism, feminists had to adopt masculine values to get heard and respect–and were eventually derided by other women for, well, not being women. Even today in Philippine media, only female opinion makers who can articulate in traditional masculine terms are seriously taken.

    Today, feminism is about being proud of their being women and celebrating feminity. Even in the Gray Old Lady (i.e., New York Times), you would notice that its female columnists–the inimitable Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins–speak in that distinctive female voice. Not your dour, serious male types.

    It’s a cliche, but it’s all a celebration of the human diversity.

  18. i have my own org., “Ang Macho”. if “Ang Ladlad” is finally accredited, i will demand fairness and demand accreditation too.

  19. Why do people refuse to understand my rather simple point. I will not be in favor of gays going one up over non-gays. They don’t seem to need any help. The hatred they feel are felt by others, too, though for different reasons. They are loved just as others are loved for their kind, they are favored just as others–each to his kind. My argument: in this country, they have found more who favor them than hate them, and they have succeeded for this reason.

    If they suffer from every pertinent biblical quotation, imagine how someone like me feel when a random society matron or a pseudo-intellectual proclaim gays are intelligent and creative, that a man is creative or smart because he is gay. I agree, a lot of people have an inert hatred for gays, but in this country a lot more have favored them over joe schmoe.

    Prejudice is everywhere and in every form, and this prejudice is usually fatal against those without power. Gays actually have power.

    Now, if it’s prejudice or hatred you do not like, there is a common cause for gays or none gays. I do not believe the specific hatred towards gays are of any major import. We hear of murders in lonely apartments, but I myself have been in danger a number of times because of the way I look and because of my slight frame. A number of people I know have been in similar danger for different reasons: they are women, they are old, they are heavy-set, they look like they have money, they are Chinese, foreigners, etc. I do not believe there is a systematic persecution, unless that persecution results into more wealth for the perpetrators. It’s commonly a tool for the business of corruption. Get my drift?

    In this country… Hatred almost always has a practical purpose. Hatred almost always is casually inspired. Filipinos are bigots, and they are bigoted for a number of ways. Isn’t this obvious to you?

    Now, the gay groups reason that theirs is a special sort of persecution, one that is especially caused by backwardness or by religion. Really? What’s so special about this? Is this so different from the myriad or so varieties of hatred or prejudices given and taken by Filipinos to one another every day?

    I do not see gay people being prevented from progressing. On the contrary, many have used their gayness to prosper. I don’t see cause for a liberate-the-homosexuals-movement. If there’s a cause for such a movement, then by God, wouldn’t other forms of hatred deserve their own liberation movements, too? About a thousand of them at the same time?

    In fact media is wholeheartedly on their side. Those three COMELEC officials are in the minority. Who’s on their side?

    Listen, a few weeks ago there was a storm that sent thousands of squatters into temporary shelters provided by government. Now a lot of people are saying these squatters shouldn’t be allowed back. They should be relocated. This to me shows contempt, lack of empathy and hatred towards the poor. A hatred that will cause loss of livelihood, suffering and, ultimately, anomie for the relocated. This is prejudice at its fatal best.

    The total lack of perspective shown by Ang Ladlad appalls me. That they have someone like Danton Remoto, an extremely self-absorbed and delusional person, as a leader disgusts me. Life isn’t perfect in this country, that is a given. Very few can actually be happy. You think a Catholic guy like me expects to be happy in this life? I wonder if the LGBTs believe they deserve more happiness than I do. I wonder if they believe they can carelessly appoint someone like Remoto to Congress, or voted to the Senate, and expect to be appreciated. Now, I do not dislike Remoto more than I dislike some of the Senatorial candidates. What I find so appalling, however, is how he tries to appeal to a special section of Philippine society only. [more later]

  20. Bert,

    Goodluck to your efforts to organize Ang Macho group. Hope it prospers.

    The point is Mr. Remoto and his group have actually managed to do it and is now at the point of threatening to become a part of Congress. That Comelec is preventing them on patently unconstitional grounds–and on I believe latently bigoted grounds–is the issue.

    BrianB, come back later when you can actually formulate a cogent point.

  21. apanfilo:

    1. discrimination against gays: many are in powerful and influential positions

    2. hatred towards gays: there’s hatred towards every sort of pinoy

    3. gays are marginalized: ha! Maybe poor gays. Poor non-gays are marginalized too.

    4. Prejudice towards gays: there’s prejudice for non-gays or didn’t you get that from the above.

    5. Bottomline: they actually have a social advantage over a typical pinoy male.

  22. BrianB,

    Okay, so you think gays are not really marginalized. I think otherwise, but then I really don’t want to engage in a long debate.

    Suffice it to say that it’s what the Comelec should have considered in the first place–whether gays should have congressional representation by virtue of being one of the marginalized sectors of society, not because they would like to protect the youth from gayish immorality.

  23. I don’t care about the COMELEC decision. This is an opportunity for Ladlad to sober up. They should stop being the Philippine branch of whatever fad is happening in the gay world. Is it too much to ask them to take a look at where they are?

  24. BrianB,

    Hey, man. Take it easy will you. From where I stand, they are not about to take over and rule my neighborhood. No, not just yet. They can’t even get past the old fogeys in Comelec. Hehehehe.

    Sorry, have to leave now and get a haircut from one of them.

  25. apanfilo,

    Haircut? You have a choice, they have Bruno’s now for that distinctly clean cut look… 🙂

  26. If the giant TV networks will sack their well-paid gay talents, then GAYS here are persecuted and needs a group to represent them in Congress. But they are not.
    In fact, entertainment industry, and media , are apparently controlled by gays.
    So much so with that b…s… Gay Rights. There are more marginalized sectors in this country.

  27. brian, seems to me that you have an issue with danton than the LGBT rights

    ramrod, unfortunately the world is not only black or white. All the colors in the rainbow is what make the world wonderful, animated and exciting and not boring.

  28. rego,

    I would’ve covered it up if I had a personal issue with him. I’ve read plenty of his column pieces, that’s all. Imagine a man so spoiled he could burden the Star’s Arts and Letters readers with his private chu-chu’s (I don’t know sward speak) and be adored by it.

    I’m concerned that what seems to the unthinking educated class to be a struggle for rights is actually just more spoiled-bratism passive aggressive-style.

  29. Tell me then what sort of protection can we offer these people:

    1. a regular employee of a firm who got fired for being suspected of being gay (I know one);

    2. a qualified female job applicant who got rejected for being too masculine (she’s a friend) ;

    3. a teacher who got fired for living with a man (my math teacher) ;

    4. a schoolboy who gets bullied for being effeminate (that’s me) ;

    5. a man who gets booted out of a restaurant because he dresses like a woman (we’ve heard about him in the news).

    The list goes on. Ang Ladlad is not fighting for the Boy Abunda’s and the Ricky Reyes’s of the country.

    To say the LGBT community is NOT marginalised is to be insensitive and to be a victim of your own prejudices.

    Isn’t it funny that most of the regulars here are so passionate about human rights. But when confronted with the fact that gay rights is human rights, suddenly they aren’t sure they want human rights after all.

    What a bunch of bigots.

  30. Psh…

    1. I know a heterosexual male who has a great eye for colors and materials, but couldn’t get a job as an interior designer (he studied at Pratts) because he dresses up in plaid shirts.

    2. I know a very talented copywriter who got passed over for less talented gay copywriters because he’s not gay. He now works in Singapore as a creative director in a multinational firm.

    3. I know this other guy who’s only dream in life is to style hair. But due to his obvious macho behavior, he couldn’t get a break in the mainstream salons. He’s now a super spy for the Mossad.

    There is discrimination, but why should we put the fight in the hands of people who suffer only from being too privileged?

  31. Filipinos are very tolerant about gays. However, they prefer gays to be discreet. There is less acceptance of vulgar gays. And if you’re a tycoon like Manny Pangilinan, nobody would dare shut any doors on you.

  32. @Brian_b – I would like to inform you that Ang Ladlad does not just seek to represent only “gay men”. Ang Ladlad is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organization. I repeat Ang Ladlad is not just a “gay men’s” organization.

    As a transgender rights advocate, I’d like to focus on transgender issues here.

    First, let me give a working definition of the term transgender. Transgender is not a form or a subset of homosexuality or of being gay; it’s not a sexual orientation. Transgender is an umbrella term for those people whose gender identity and expression don’t fit the gender identity & gender expression traditionally associated with the sex assigned to them at birth. It encompasses a range of identies and experiences that fall somewhere in the matrix of gender diversity. This umbrella term includes the more familiar terms: crossdressers, people who prefer to wear the clothes associated to the gender opposite their gender identity; and transsexuals, people whose gender identity are opposite the sex assigned to them at birth. Non-transgender people are those people who are gender conforming, ie, those people whose gender identity and gender expression fit the gender identity and expression traditionally associated to their sex assignment at birth.

    1. Transgender people are very marginalized in this country, actually even in other countries. It’s just apt to provide evidence. As a transgender woman (a woman who was assigned as male at birth), I know this very well. There are only four industries where women of my kind can have a career without being discriminated or without working twice or thrice as hard as non-transgender people: entertainment, beauty, fashion, and the sex industry. Seeing a transgender woman outside these fields is a rarity. In 2003-2004 I did a research with professors from the University of Hong Kong (“Transgendered Women of the Philippines” published in Volume 10 of International Journal of Transgenderism.) We found that: “Notwithstanding the generally high educational level, the level of unemployment in our sample was higher than for the nation as a whole, with a rate of 15.3% (for those participants who were not currently students) compared to the national unemployment figure of 11.3% (Government of the Philippines 2005).”

    2. Schools, establishments, and other institutions can discriminate people based on gender identity & expression without any legal consequence.

    3. In 2007 the Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled against a petition of a transsexual woman to change her legal sex from male to female. This in effect make it impossible for transsexual people to have their legal sex match the sex of their brains and the sex they live everyday – we have to have a legislation for this to be possible. It’s worth noting that Spain, our colonizer for almost three hundred years and whose Catholic indoctrination destroyed our pre-colonial respect for and accommodation of gender diversity, has now a law that allow people to let their legal sex match their gender identity. Spain even has extended marriage to include same-sex couples.

    4. You’ve mentioned poverty in your earlier comments. Well, please don’t treat poor people as a homogenous group of people. There are different reasons why poor people are poor. Some of them may be poor because, in addition to their class status, they are disriminated because of their gender identity & expression.

    Failing to recognize the intersections of these sources of oppression results to solutions that are momentary – charity work at best – rather than revolutionary – those that produces lasting, inclusive, and embracing change.

    That’s all for now. I hope that I’ve shared something here that may expand your horizon a little bit. If not, then what a shame.

  33. I don’t believe gays/lesbians/transgenders is a different “race” or cultural minority or something that we all should worry about their civil liberties or human rights. Bottomline, its a “lifestyle” and I really don’t go for empowering a certain group on the basis of lifestyle, otherwise we might as well accept other lifestyles whatevert they may be.
    If Ladlad members can honestly say that they encourage, teach, groom their young children to be gays/lesbians/transgenders then so be it and I would ask for a historical/biblical precedent if a whole city or country openly practice this lifestyle.
    For me its simple, if you want to be respected, then behave, dress, and live in a respectable manner – no need for a revolution…

  34. @ranrod –

    1.It’s documented that the Philippines during its pre-Spanish period respect diversity. Transgender people were priestesses. It’s also documented that this is also true in Native Americans and in Native Europe. Catholicism destroyed, often violently, much of this respect for gender diversity inherent in Nature.

    2. Biologist Joan Roughgarden in her groundbreaking book, Evolution’s Rainbow, documented sexual and gender diversity in animals other than humans. So your argument that being LGBT is a mere lifestyle choice doesn’t hold any water, unless you’ll argue that other animals can choose their lifestyle just like us.

    3. And so what if it’s a lifestyle choice? Believing in a particular religion is also a lifestyle choice, unless you can argue that being Catholic is as genetic as having a particular sexual orientation or gender identity (there are studies establishing that being gay and being transgender are genetic. are there any studies pointing to the genetic roots of being Catholic, Islam, or buddhist?”) Now, even though that being Catholic – or any member of any religion – is a lifestyle choice, we still care about the civil liberties or human rights of people whose religion are different from ours. In fact, freedom of and from religion are protected by law. It’s quite unthinkable nowadays to discriminate anyone based on their religion, which is of course a lifestyle choice.

  35. sass,

    You didn’t answer my question. Are you willing to teach this lifestyle to your children?
    As I said earlier, there are lines that must notbe crossed, you cross that line, you pay the price.

  36. @ramrod –

    1. Believing in a particular religion is more of a lifestyle choice than being LGBT. Can you name any study establishing that believing in a particular religion is genetic? Can you name a bird that has a religion? I can name a study establishing that being gay and being transsexual is genetic, and I can certainly name a bird that is a lesbian.

    2. Will I teach this lifestyle to my children? I will not teach a particular lifestyle to my children as I respect their individuality. I’ll rather encourage them to listen to that little voice inside their hearts. I’d rather tell them to follow their hearts rather than follow any religion. I’ll tell my children you can be whoever you are. I’d rather be a nourishing and nurturing agents to the outward healthy manifestation of the internal reality of my children and not as a dictator of what my children should be. I’d rather act with tender affection to the unique beauty my children will share as they blossoms to this world.

  37. this is an interesting legal/philosophical question…

    should govt be in the business of enforcing morals?

    i cant seem to dismiss this argument. murder for example, is immoral. we agree that govt should fight murder.

    many things are immoral, and are banned/regulated by the state.

    how does govt determine what is moral? through political competition — representation?

    somehow, this seems to be an incomplete answer.

  38. sass,

    Words are easy to come by, and very cheap. What we have to keep in mind is responsibility. You are free to do what you desire as long as you do not infringe on other people’s rights. I am not telling you what you can or cannot do. Personally, I believe in structure, in discipline, not in irresponsible freedom. In real life, those who cannot conform to standards are doomed to mediocrity.
    I have nothing against gays, but I believe there are lines that we musn’t cross.

  39. @ramrod –

    1. “In real life, those who cannot conform to standards are doomed to mediocrity.” – I beg to disagree! Before I proceed, let me inform you that I take your use of standard here to mean as “norm”.

    Ramrod, yes word come cheap, but still evidence abounds that those who doesn’t conform to standards aren’t doomed to mediocrity. Conformity = stagnation, and stagnation breeds paralysis of growth, expansion, and transcendence. Genius and groundbreaking insights are never about following a standard. Had this world still conforms to the “standards” of the past, we would still believe that this planet is the center of the universe, that the world is flat. Had the suffragist movement conformed to standards, your mother wouldn’t be able to vote. Had Why do we encourage people to “think outside the box” if, as what you assert, conforming to standards is what saves us from the hell of mediocrity?

    Standards are there as temporary guides and but not as unbreakable as the laws of the universe. Standards change every now and then, and they change because they have been broken by those spirits who dared to live outside the box.

    2. “You are free to do what you desire as long as you do not infringe on other people’s rights. ” – I agree. Can you also say that to the Catholic church?

    3. “I have nothing against gays, but I believe there are lines that we musn’t cross.” – Please come out of the fog, what is the line that you think is being crossed here?

  40. @ ramrod

    Which lines are being crossed by LGBT people?

    Wanting to have relatively equal opportunities? Wanting to dress in a way that makes them feel themselves? Wanting to love the people that warm their hearts? Or to want these things without being criticized as immoral?

  41. @ ramrod
    You wrote:
    “You are free to do what you desire as long as you do not infringe on other people’s rights.”

    Unfortunately that is not the case. It does not infringe upon another’s rights to seek a change in legal gender status.

    Not be free to choose one’s preferred gender incurs great cost to transgendered people.

  42. sass,

    By standards, I believe I know what I mean. Standards of excellence, empirical, and measurable, being productive, meeting or exceeding what is expected.
    As I said, words are cheap, you can sound intelligent or pretend to sound intelligent but the bottomline is all that matters.
    You come into this world behaving as if society owes you a living, wallow in persecution complex, whimper and whine.
    Maybe you’re still young and immature, believe me, society, humanity is both benevolent and cruel, for as long as you behave in a manner that does not harm, disturb others intentionally, its okay. If you conform to normal standards of civility and decency, there’s nothing wrong…but for as long as you scream vulgarities in language and in appearance, and not behave as proper role models for our youth in the name of freedom of expression, you will be treated as you deserved, with disdain…
    If you prove yourselves to be vital assets to society and humanity, maybe then people will listen. Actions speak louder than words…I have several gay friends, very successful ones in corporate and even military, and I respect them, primarily because they respect themselves.
    …just be good people…thats all I ask, of course I speak only for myself…

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