The LGBTQI community is not a costume for political campaigning, advocates told vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte on Saturday, reacting to her recent statement identifying herself as part of the community.
Duterte had said she "sometimes wants to be a man and sometimes wants to be a woman" at an event hosted last week by the group "LGBT Pilipinas", which endorsed her and running mate Bongbong Marcos.
Saying that while they are "in no position to question her identity", UP Babaylan, the oldest LGBTQI student organization in Asia, said the president's daughter should back her statement with "concrete platforms and initiatives" centered on upholding the rights of the community.
"We recognize that identifying with the community is an important impetus for knowing oneself, but it must not be done on the grounds of a hidden political ploy, geared towards gaining votes. The LGBTQI community has been part of a long struggle for equality, making the community a benchmark for deceiving political tactics undermines such struggle," the group said.
If she truly was part of the community, UP Babaylan said Duterte should have played a "critical role" as their representative when her father pardoned a "transphobic murderer".
Although they did not mention a name, this was in reference to the granting of "absolute pardon" to U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton in 2020, letting him walk free after five years in prison over the killing of Jennifer Laude.
The group also questioned the younger Duterte's involvement in her father's "incapability to certify the SOGIE Equality Bill amid a period of increased LGBTQI violence".
"Where was she when these injustices victimized the community?" it said.
In 2019, Duterte expressed her support for the SOGIE Equality Bill but spoke against a transgender woman's use of comfort rooms for women, saying they should first go through “sexual reassignment”.
"This is to protect women from men pretending to be GBTQ just to access the women’s CR,” she told reporters then.
A statement by Lakas-CMD, which Duterte co-chairs, said LGBT Pilipinas decided to support the tandem for “they are the ones who could move the country forward and further advance the rights of the third sex.”