catholic bishops' conference of the philippines

Acceptance, Not Rejection

     I may be a Catholic but I support and accept the LGBT community. Many may believe that being a Catholic means being homophobic or going against people who aren’t straight because it states in the Bible that God created man and woman in His image. Yes, it is correct that God created man and woman, but it is wrong to assume that all Catholics are homophobic because of this reason. Homophobia doesn’t come from being Catholic; homophobia comes from cultural conservatism. Nobody is born homophobic. It’s not a matter of religion; it’s a matter of societal orientation and expectation.

     I have gay and pansexual friends and they’re very kind, loving, and smart people; we probably all have a friend who’s not straight yet we love so much from the bottom of our hearts. They are the reasons why I choose to not ignore this issue even if I myself am straight.

    Being an internet girl has made me learn so many things outside of school, including the beautiful concept that is Feminism. This concept has made me learn so much and has lead me to become one myself. I may lack knowledge on certain things other long-term feminists know very much about, but I have the heart and the willingness to learn and to grow as one, so that I may change my wrong viewpoints and influence people to do the same.

    Feminist accounts I follow online have influenced me to stop using certain words as a joke like gay and crazy. They’ve also thought me that people who dictate beauty standards are often people who body shame and are racist. There are so much more but it would take me too long to name all of these things. However, above all of these things, they have influenced me to speak up for those who may not be able to: LGBT in particular for this piece.

    Yes, some of them are accepted by their families and friends and can freely strut around with people knowing that they’re not straight, but it’s undeniable that most still suffer from the consequences of homophobia. According to some researches compiled by Fenway Health, 8 out of 10 LGBT students have been verbally harassed at school and 80% of transgender students reported feeling unsafe at school.

   Last June 24, just this year, a Pride Parade was held in Marikina here in the Philippines. Although homosexuality is still not fully accepted yet here in the Philippines, this is still a good sign and a good beginning.

    On the 28th of July 2013, uttered his famous words “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” On the 30th of September 2013, Pope Francis himself said that God doesn’t condemn LGBT individuals. In 2014, Brazilian Cardinal Cláudio Hummes said that he didn’t know if Jesus would oppose to same sex marriage.

    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says that the Church teaches that homosexuals should be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity and that those who minister in the name of the Church should in no way contribute to the hatred and violence given to homosexuals.

    Ergo, being a Catholic is never an excuse or a reason to mistreat members of the LGBT community in any way. Just like us, they are also people and they deserve to be treated with respect since they’re human too. Some Catholics may be homophobic but their opinion does not represent their entire Church, as much as my opinion does not represent them. All I’m trying to say is, someone’s preferred gender does not equate to their value as people and must be given the same opportunities that heterosexuals have. They should not be assaulted whether verbally or physically, just because they chose to be truthful to themselves.

    They still have human dignity and they are still created by God just like us. If you’re one of the people who have hurt homosexuals for being such, ask yourself the following questions: Will God be pleased with what I’m doing? Does this give me more value than them? Are my actions justified because of my beliefs, or am I just being insensitive? If I’m citing from the Bible, am I sure that my interpretations are correct?

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APRIL 9 - CORAZON AQUINO

Although she was the leader of a revolution and the first woman to serve as the President of the Phillipines , Corazon Aquino had never set out in life to become involved in politics. She viewed herself as a “plain housewife”, supporting the career of her husband Senator Benigno Aquino and raising her five children at home.

However, that all changed in 1983. Her husband had been a major critic of President Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial law in 1972 and was imprisoned for eight years for speaking out against the corrupt government conditions. He was exiled to the United States for three years, and upon his return, he was assassinated at Manila International Airport.

Her husband’s death prompted her to become an active leader in protests and demonstrations against the Marcos regime. When it was announced in 1985 that he would hold an election to eliminate doubts of his legitimacy, Aquino initially had hesitations about running a campaign, until she was presented with one-million signatures urging her to run in the presidential race.

During her campaign, Aquino was the victim of sexist, arrogant remarks from Marcos. He dismissed her as “just a woman” whose place was in the bedroom, to which she replied “may the better woman win in this election” (a remark which cleverly referenced public sentiment that his wife, Imelda Marcos, was really calling the shots behind the scene). When he criticized her inexperience, Aquino agreed that she indeed had “no experience in cheating, lying to the public, stealing government money and killing political opponents.”

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