LGBTQI+ people in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) face pervasive discrimination, live in the constant fear of harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, and remain vulnerable to violence and persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).
Responding to news of attacks directed at the LGBTQI+ community in Muslim Mindanao, Rocky Rinabor, Amnesty International Philippines Board Member and Deputy Executive Director of the Pioneer Filipino Transgender Men Movement (PFTM), shares his experiences growing up as a queer person in Mindanao:
“Giyai a pimbarangan a attacks ago violence against LGBTQI+ people sa Bangsamoro region na kenaba bago ago isolated pero di pethaman, da a accountability, ago so kadakelan rekami na ba den makandadamar o antaa peman e next a target. Miyathay den aya a binamban pero da a klaro a actions makapopoon ko mga datu sa region. Apparently na ini-lendan iran so obligasyon iran a proteksyunan so mga kabenar ami,
“Various attacks of hate crimes and gender-based violence directed towards Muslim LGBTQI+ people in the Bangsamoro region are not new nor isolated. It is an endless cycle where queer folks, like me, are trapped, always looking over our shoulders or sleeping with one eye open. Without any clear resolution to the situation in the foreseeable future due to lack of accountability from authorities who are supposed to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of the LGBTQI+ community, our struggle has been long and continues to be traumatic,
“Wata ako pen na miya witness aken den a giyanan a mga threats lagid o ipag announce o ped a mga datu a so mga kadakep iran a dimbabababai odi na dim mamamama, particularly so mga dimbabababai na phamakalesen iran nago iran iparada sa public, kagiya a opama na so gender expressions ami na di makatotoman ko kepit,
“Since childhood, most of us have experienced threats of public shaming for expressing our gender outside of what Muslim institutions perceive to be faith-based and according to gender norms. Particularly for gay men and trans women, harassment and hate crimes directed towards them, reported or otherwise, have remained high. Though not properly documented, these crimes are real, with real people falling victims to this hatred on an almost daily basis,
“Aden pen a mga instances a so supposed safe spaces o mga queer folks lagid o mga karaoke bars ago salon na in-raid a unidentified groups without legal basis o di na so mga salon a usually managed by trans women na aya bo a phekitokaw nga na o di tiyotong na tinimbak so khirek ron. Taman imanto na khailay nga the same hate crimes. Phakaneg ka pen sa mga thotol a sa Maguindanao area na aden a mga lesbiyana a piyaki or pamaki rape o mga pamilya odi na tonganay iran opama to correct or save them from same-sex relationship,
“We are used to being caught in the middle of unlawful raids, as if they were witch hunts, in places where the LGBTQI+ are often seen – in Karaoke bars, or salons and other establishments managed by trans women, often to instill fear by setting these places on fire or drive-by shootings. It is also common to hear stories of Muslim lesbians subjected to ‘curative rape’ in order to ‘correct’ or ‘save’ them from homosexual relationships considered to be sinful or taboo in the Muslim culture,
What makes it more difficult is the fact that majority of hate crimes, if not all, are not properly investigated by local authorities. It is often dealt with impunity, based on the belief that crimes directed towards queer people are justified because it is the life we choose, thus, we must accept it and just live with the consequences it brings.Rocky Rinabor
“Aya maregen ago piyakarangi rangit saya na mas madakel so incident a kenaba documented odi na investigated by local authorities, kenaba kagiya da manggola-ola ka kagiya a aya belief sa region na apiya antonaa a klase a violence odi na hate crime against LGBT people na opama na justified ka kagiya a andamanaya na bakla o di na tomboy,
“What makes it more difficult is the fact that majority of hate crimes, if not all, are not properly investigated by local authorities. It is often dealt with impunity, based on the belief that the crimes directed towards queer people are justified because it is the life we choose, thus, we must accept it and just live with the consequences it brings,
“Amnesty International Philippines urges the authorities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region to conduct prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigations into reported hate crimes in Maguindanao and Marawi City; take urgent actions to protect LGBTQI+ people from discrimination, harassment, assaults and other attacks by state and non-state actors; and ensure that those found to have perpetrated such crimes are made accountable,
“This brazen disregard for the lives and safety of LGBTQI+ people in Muslim Mindanao, and the prevailing climate of impunity there must raise the alarm for hate crimes. These incidents do not have a place under the new Bangsamoro leadership, and must not continue to go unpunished.”
On 18 September, an improvised explosive device (IED) went off during a volleyball tournament in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, injuring eight people, who are members of the LGBTQI+ community. Following an incident involving the killing of two students inside Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City on 15 September. The Bangsamoro Parliament, in a statement released in 22 Sept, has condemned both reports of hate crimes attacking LGBTQI+ and vowed to pursue an investigation into both incidents.