Statement on LGBT Community on Pride Month 2020
Every June, the LGBTQI+ community in the Philippines bravely celebrates #PrideMonth even in the face of continued oppression, violence, and the constant denial of the validity of their struggle.
The struggle of this community is a struggle towards a deeper democracy and more inclusive justice. The Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, the socio-political apostolate of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, applauds the LGBTQI+ community and invites the Church and our partners in the mission to listen more intently and intentionally to our queer neighbors and imagine ways of building towards the Kingdom together.
The fight of the LGBTQI+ community is a fight for them to be treated as any other human—a fight to be able to work without discrimination, to access basic services and support without their personal life being held against them, to walk the streets without fear of attracting violence simply for who they are. As we all continue to grapple with the rapidly growing numbers of COVID-positive Filipinos, we are reminded that these threats are compounded uniquely for the LGBTQI+ community such as reduced access to support and medical aid, violent family environments and domestic abuse, the loss of income for informal workers and sex workers who had already been facing economic challenges prior to the pandemic. Just last week, baseless arrests were made against twenty queer activists in Manila.
These are fights that no person, regardless of how they identify, should still have to fight, yet the LGBTQI+ community faces these experiences of injustice daily and the Church has been part of a system that has hurt them and continues to dismiss their very existence.
Our teachings on what we believe gender and sexuality ought to be should not be used to prevent others from living as everyone does. The lives and existence of the LGBTQI+ community do not undermine the Church, but rather enrich it and invite us to look more deeply into how we’ve come to understand gender and sexuality, our relationship with the body, what families can look like, relationships and community, and even love itself.
As the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan continues to fight towards a more genuine democracy, it is imperative for us that ALL are included in this political imagination.
We invite the Church to sit down and listen to our LGBTQI+ neighbors not for the purpose of conversion or proselytising, but to humbly and genuinely learn more about their lives and see God, and our mission to build the Kingdom of God, moving also within the LGBTQI+ community’s struggle for justice.
Our God is a God of Love and there is no better time to look into what love is, and what else love can be. Love is limitless and liberating and to fully live this out, especially in deeper consideration of those who are vulnerable, is the invitation asked of the Church today.