On bigotry, discrimination, and Manny Pacquiao
In Tondo, Manila, an 18-yr old was beaten to death for defending a gay co-passenger in a public transport bullied by three men. The same men, beat and shot him to death in front of a hospital in misdirected anger. The boy was proclaimed dead a few minutes later.
In 1998, a salon owner from Muntinlupa suffered multiple stab wounds from a 19 year old suspect in an apparent hate crime. (Story)
In 2011, three unidentified gay men were found dead in Pangasinan. The bodies showed signs of being tortured via strangulation before they were shot and stabbed to death. (Story)
These and a hundred other hate crimes are still seeking justice in the Philippines - a country where the influential Catholic Church has the gall to ask for the removal of gay rights in the provisions of the country's Anti-Discrimination laws.
CBCP lawyer Jo Imbong said in a 2011 interview that LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender) should not be considered the same as the elderly, the handicapped, and the poor.
“These people are disadvantaged not by their own choice. But the third sex, they choose this. How can you give protection to a choice like that?” Imbong said.
For most people, hate crime and homophobia are things that we only hear about in the news. We never take it seriously because we never actually see anyone get hurt - at least not the people that we know. So we listen to the preacher on a Sunday service proclaim that being gay is a sin and we shrug off comments by influential people like Manny Pacquiao as harmless ramblings of someone who isn't very smart. But guess what? These statements are NOT harmless. Aside from the emotional baggage for a child dealing with his homosexuality, who is maybe reeling from the hateful things he reads online about his gender, these are the very ideas that could spawn into the heinous acts that end up as a short blip in the daily news.
This is NOT an issue about marriage alone either. And while we are on the subject, let me just reiterate that what the LGBT community is fighting for is equal rights. So this union which you may call marriage has got nothing to do with the church or any religion. It has to do with basic human rights. Meaning, that gay couples can avail of the legal benefits that straight people take for granted - visitation rights, tax benefits and even just being able to add a partner on the freaking insurance beneficiary list.
Comparing gay people to animals is textbook discrimination and this isn't... shouldn't be something that he can get out of by quoting the bible. Given Pacquiao's massive influence to the masses and criminals even, as it was reported that criminality rate goes down on all of his televised fights, such statement can lead to people getting hurt or even killed. What if it was your kid who is showing signs of being effeminate at a young age? Would you risk some uneducated thug beating him up because his idol said that his life is basically worth less than a straight person's life?
Take a good look at this list of hate crimes in the Philippines. Someone may end up on that list just because an influential person thoughtlessly incited discrimination and hate towards gay people. There's a saying that everyone is entitled to an opinion. I think the line is drawn where hate is promoted by that opinion.
UPDATE: Pacquiao issues apology, maintains he is against gay marriage. A few hours later, he posted the same quote that he denied saying in 2012 about putting gay people to death.