November 28, 2010 in Baguio City
BAGUIO CITY — The Progressive Organization of Gays in Baguio (ProGay Baguio) and Lesbian for National Democracy (Lesbond) welcomed the pronouncement of Pope Benedict XVI that allows use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission. However, the two groups called for major change in church policies condemning gays and lesbians.
“Pope Benedict should really change the policy of the Catholic Church that condemns lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people with moral judgments,” said William Villacampa, spokesperson of the ProGay Baguio at the height of the global observances of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Villacampa reiterated that using condoms is only part of the disease prevention. What they (the ProGay) are looking forward to is the elimination of homophobia which they believe to have been largely influenced by churches like Catholic church. He lamented that major religions who are promoting condoms still do not help in eliminating homophobia or transphobia.
Cye Reyes, the spokesperson of the Lesbond agreed with Villacampa. She said the action of Pope Benedict to allow the use condoms for HIV/AIDS prevention is a good start. However, she said the Vatican should address the bigger issues of women and lesbians’ human rights.
Reyes said the Church should be more pro-active in addressing violence against women. She added that it should also help facilitate women’s access to low-cost screenings for breast and cervical cancers, high risk pregnancies, and child and maternal deaths.
Lesbond believes that the pronouncement of the Pope will boost the chances of the passing the Comprehensive Reproductive Health Bill authored by Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luzviminda Ilagan. The group said Ilagan’s RH bill provides lesbian and bisexual women access to health services that is currently being denied by the Philippine government to all women.
Edgar Atadero, a registered nurse and a volunteer of ProGay in their health campaign agreed that rigid religious upbringing make gay and transgender youth resistant to reproductive health education.
“If churches accept gays, lesbians, transgenders and bisexuals as God’s full and equal children, it will be a lot easier for health workers like us to teach them more responsible sexual behaviors and healthier practices,” Atadero added. # nordis.net