23 Jun Transgender People’s Rights and Acceptance Explained



JUAN SAYS: We found this post on the facebook site of Bruce Rivera, an attorney-at-law and professor of San Beda College. While everyone is surely taking dibs at the Valkyrie brouhaha, we have been looking for something that echoes not just what we feel but exactly what we think. Lo and behold, we found one that is exactly clearly written by a member of the LGBT community nonetheless. We salute you Sir Bruce. (Part 1)


Everyone close to me knows how I love my cross-dressing sisters. So I know my comment will raise eyebrows and elicit negative reactions. But, this is the reality of the matter.

Cross-dressers and transgenders are human beings. As citizens, they are entitled to all the rights and obligations granted by law. The problem is how we define the meaning of discrimination.

Is a democracy allowed to discriminate? The answer is YES. Provided there is a valid classification. Hence, private schools can choose to accept only male or female while some choose to accept both. We do not allow foreigners to own lands because it is only reserved for Filipinos. We only allow biological women to join Bb. Pilipinas in the same manner we do not allow them to join Queen of the Philippines. Those are forms of discrimination but they are allowed. Why? Because there is a valid classification.

The problem with our laws is that there are only two sexes, male and female and it is determined by birth. Even with gender re-assignment, the classification has not changed. Is this sad? Of course. But from the point of view of law, you cannot discriminate something that is not legally recognized and defined. The same law that forces a transgender to write M to the question of sex even if the heart wants to write F.

If the controversy was about denying a cross-dresser the right to vote or denying a transgender the right to own property or denied the right to practice a profession, I would have taken the cudgels for the community. Clearly, it is discrimination when someone is denied a basic right as a citizen because of his or her perceived difference.

But this is denial of entry to an exclusive bar. Veejay will not be denied life or liberty if she is not allowed entry to Valkyrie because her right to party was not denied. She can just go to another bar that welcomes her with open arms. A bruised ego does not mean discrimination. No cross-dressing is a rude policy but is it prohibited? The answer is NO. Every business person knows this is merely a business decision.

Bars and night clubs are operated targetting a specific market. Some are open to everyone based on the concept of a free market economy. However, there are clubs that market itself through its exclusivity. It has a guest list. It decides who it allows in. It does not make money on the few nuggets of pesos by the common man but on the millions spent by the chosen clientele. That is business. These clubs cater to the taste of their target clientele and specified groups of people their clientele wants to party with. Sadly, most of them do not wish to party with cross-dressers. It is unfortunate that while most of us endeavor to advicate for LGBT equality, there are still so many of them who do not share our tolerance and acceptance. The harsh reality of business.

This same harsh business reality is the reason why clubs in Greenwich Village who cater to purely gay clientele turn away straight customers. Or a bar in Thailand that only allows transgenders and straight men to party while shunning straight acting homosexuals. Or a bar in Brazil that only caters to fat people. It is not discrimination. It is just business.

Just because there is a bar called Valkyrie does not give everyone the human right to be admitted inside.


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