Personal Reflection

The SOGIE Bill and the Discrimination Fallacy

The SOGIE Bill is a hot topic dividing Filipinos. SOGIE, or “Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression Equality Act,” is also known as an anti-sexual orientation and gender discrimination act. According to this bill, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression will be punishable by law. The whole bill is available for download here.

As someone who believes in the teaching of the Bible, I have several reasons for objecting to the SOGIE Bill. But in this post, I want to point out one reason for objection regardless of your view of the Bible: the fallacy of discrimination. Senator Risa Hontiveros defines “discrimination” this way:

Discrimination refers to any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on any ground such as sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, access to, enjoyment, or exercise by all persons on an equal footing of all rights and freedoms. For purposes of this provision, the actual sex, sexual orientation or gender identity of the person subjected to discrimination shall not be relevant for the purpose of determining whether an act of discrimination has been committed.

SB 159 (SOGIE), Section 3a

There is a problem with this definition. It treats all forms of discrimination as unjust and (potentially) illegal. However, there are two ways that the term “discrimination” may be understood. There is unjust discrimination, but there is also a just and necessary form of “discrimination.”

Some Kinds of Discrimination Are Wrong

One entry for “discrimination” in Merriam-Webster is this:

the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex: “victims of racial discrimination”

Merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discrimination

Certainly, it is morally wrong to discriminate in the sense of mistreating, abusing, and dehumanizing any people created in the image of God, including those in the LGBTQ community. Even as a Christian who believes that homosexuality is a sin, I believe it is wrong to verbally abuse members of the LGBTQ community. Truth must be spoken with love. Sadly, many among the LGBTQ community have suffered verbal abuse and mistreatment. SOGIE Bill proponents argue that their only agenda is to protect the oppressed and marginalized LGBT. But the SOGIE bill is not the answer.

Here is a better solution than the SOGIE bill. Why not extend protection against unjust treatment, not only to those in the LGBTQ community, but also to others who suffer the same verbal abuse and mistreatment from bullies? Starting from first grade, Filipinos have always made fun, not only of the bakla, but also of the payat, mataba, pandak, panot, maitim, pulubi, and pango. This kind of bullying is not limited to the schools, but is also found in the work place. We already have anti-bullying campaigns from DepEd. Why not just extend this to the work place and other institutions?

Some Kinds of “Discrimination” Are Good

Here’s the problem that I see with SOGIE. If there is unjust discrimination, there is also a just discrimination that is necessary for the flourishing of society. Certain qualifications are set by institutions, facilities, services, and establishments, whereby they “discriminate” against those who do not meet such qualifications. A second definition of “discrimination,” according to Merriam-Webster, is:

recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another: “discrimination between right and wrong”

MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM/DICTIONARY/DISCRIMINATION

Not all discrimination is unjust; discrimination between right and wrong, qualified and unqualified, etc., is necessary for any institution to exist.

We do this all the time. If you do not have perfect vision, you cannot be a pilot. If your hands are not steady, you cannot be a surgeon. If you are not physically fit, you cannot be a soldier. If you are not athletic enough, you are removed from the basketball team. This kind of “discrimination” is unavoidable and protects society from potential harm.

Should we allow medical students who did not pass med school to be doctors because they identify themselves as good doctors? Should we allow the blind to be pilots because they identify themselves as having sight? Should we give licenses to those who did not pass their driving test because they identify themselves as good drivers? (Wait, this is happening already and we are reaping the consequences). Should we allow those with male anatomy to enter the bathrooms designed for those with female anatomy because they identify themselves as female? Will that be good for society? Or should we disregard reality to please those who identify themselves as the opposite gender of what biology indicates?

This is not just theoretical: the effects on society are real. What have we learned from other nations that have implemented their own version of SOGIE? Here are a few news articles that are worth reading:

These and many more are natural consequences that will result from passing SOGIE. SOGIE seeks to outlaw all forms of discrimination, including just and needful discernment, in the guise of equality. They cry foul and call it discrimination when one’s sexual identity does not meet certain qualifications. The problem with SOGIE is that it would force people to set aside their discernment and the realities of biology and basic human anatomy.

So, saying “no” to SOGIE does not mean that one is being unloving (contrary to society’s popular opinion). In fact, saying “no” to SOGIE is one of the most loving things to do for the flourishing of society as a whole. It is love that protects the rights of women in their own comfort rooms. It is love that protects children from potential abuse. It is actually love that speaks truth to those who identify as LGBTQ. If you love the rights of women, children, the vulnerable, and the LGBTQ community, let’s say “no” to SOGIE.

1 thought on “The SOGIE Bill and the Discrimination Fallacy”

  1. hould we allow medical students who did not pass med school to be doctors because they identify themselves as good doctors? Should we allow the blind to be pilots because they identify themselves as having sight? Should we give licenses to those who did not pass their driving test because they identify themselves as good drivers? Very good point. Well said 🙂

    Like

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