Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the red-tagging of an LGBTQI leader on SMNI news program

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the red-tagging of an LGBTQI leader on SMNI news program

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expresses deep concern on the red-tagging of Irish Inoceto, the chairperson of the Iloilo Pride Team, by anchors Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz and Dr. Lorraine Marie Badoy, on the SMNI program “Laban kasama ang Bayan” aired on 24 October 2022.

In the said program, the anchors claimed that Inoceto is a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is using LGBTQI issues to recruit students of the Iloilo City National High School (ICNHS).

According to Bahaghari, a partner of the Iloilo Pride Team, it was the transgender students of the ICNHS who sought the help of Inoceto concerning the grooming policy of the school, which requires them to cut their hair. The group added that such policy causes the transgender students of the said school to “feel deep emotional distress” and Inoceto is “providing them assistance in drafting gender-affirming policies.”

CHR continues to admonish against blanket labeling that endangers and threatens human rights defenders and advocates, including LGBTQI leaders, who endeavor to help address the concerns of their sector. Equally concerning is the trivializing of the concerns of the transgender students as mere front to infiltrate and recruit, instead of reporting and discussing them as real issues faced by these vulnerable sector. This kind of narrative only serves to perpetuate the already disadvantageous plight of the LGBTQI who frequently face stigma, discrimination, and gender-based violence in our society.

As Gender Ombud, we continue to remind those who have the power to influence and shape public opinion, including media workers and public service workers, to refrain from perpetuating narratives that endanger individuals and groups who stand up for human rights. It is also crucial to eliminate perspectives that reinforce existing inequality and bias that promote further discrimination against the vulnerable LGBTQI sector.

We reiterate the importance of creating a conducive environment for human rights advocates whose work is integral in improving the human rights situation of vulnerable sectors, such as the LGBTQI youth. It is incumbent upon personalities who have the platform to influence to help create a safe and empowering environment instead of contributing to narratives that can feed hate and harm vulnerable groups. ###