A local government in the Philippines has passed a resolution to introduce ‘LGBT desks’ at police stations all over the country. According to a local news report, the desks will handle all cases of harassment and hate crimes that the Filipino LGBT community faces.
Realising the absence of government mechanism to monitor incidents of discrimination and violence in the LGBT community, the Quezon city councillor stated in the resolution,
“LGBT members are becoming targets of discrimination and violence which affect their economic, social, and physiological well-being.”
Though the Philippines is staunchly Catholic, the country is ranked as one of the most gay-friendly nations in Asia. The country’s national police force is also legally required to ensure the gender neutrality of its operations from the recruitment and selection to the promotion and deployment of police officers. Last year, the government passed an anti-discrimination bill that protected the rights of the LGBT community. In this year’s pride march in the capital Manila, Christian groups put up a banner apologizing for the way they have treated the community.
With the LGBT community in India also more visible than ever, cases of extortion and violence are on the rise. Earlier this year, a transgender woman was killed and three others were injured after a mob suspected them of abducting children for sex trafficking. The murder of Ayush Nautiyal also brought focus on the harassment and extortion the community faces on dating apps, which are meant to be safe spaces. Many of the incidents go unreported because of the fear that they’ll be charged under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
As Arif Jafar, a gay rights activist in Lucknow, pointed out to DW,
“When the police themselves are perpetrating the violence and using the law as a pretext to blackmail, rape and extort money, then how can you approach the same system to make a complaint?”