In celebration of Women’s Month, the Zonta Club of Cebu II, the Philippines, hosted the SOGIE 101: Understanding Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression webinar to call an end to gender-based discrimination and uphold the basic human rights of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identity and expression.

The webinar took place on 12 March and aimed to increase awareness on the dimensions of human sexuality to prevent acts of discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, reinforcing the message of inclusivity in their communities.

In the first part of the webinar, the club invited a former national youth commission and LGBTQ advocate Percival Cendaña to speak about the constructs of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Percival also introduced basic terminology related to each construct and discussed the implications for establishing affirming, safe-space environments for people of all identities.

In the next part of the webinar, attorney Jazz Tamayo led a discussion centered on the salient points of Senate Bill 1934 or the Anti-Discrimination Based on SOGIE Law. The bill is the longest-running bill under the Senate interpellation period in the Philippines’ history, mired in the Legislative body for more than 20 years. Senator Risa Hontiveros and Representative Geraldine Roman, principal authors of the bill, expressed messages of support. They declared that the proposed law would ensure that all people, regardless of their SOGIE, can exercise their rights to life, education, employment and expression without fear of reprisal or discrimination.

More than 600 people attended the webinar. Many of the participants were students, lawyers, Zontians, mental health and community service-focused organizations, LGBTQ advocate groups, the police and social welfare government units and other equal rights duty bearers.