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Philippine lawmaker seeks probe after bar discriminates LGBTI comedian

Philippine lawmaker seeks probe after bar discriminates LGBTI comedian

Philippine LGBTI comedian Jervi Li, more popularly known as Kaladkaren Davila, was denied entry to a bar last week.

The Philippines’ first transgender lawmaker on Tuesday requested a congressional inquiry into the discrimination of a poplar LGBTI comedian.

Last week, Jervi Li, more popularly known as Kaladkaren Davila, uploaded a video of a bouncer at H&J Sports Bar in Poblacion, Makati denying her entry.

‘I just filed a resolution directing the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality to conduct an inquiry into the possible discriminatory acts perpetrated by a Makati bar against Kaladkaren Davila and her friends,’ wrote lawmaker Geraldine Roman on her Facebook page.

Li’s video showed the bouncer answering ‘bakla’ when asked who could not enter. ‘Bakla’  is Philippine slang for homosexual or transgender.

‘This is one of the many reasons why we need protection,’ Li wrote in her post.

Li rose to fame for her impersonation of veteran Philippine broadcaster Karen Davila in September last year.

According to a photo on her Facebook, Roman’s resolution argued: ‘The malicious refusal of the establishment for Jervi Li and company to enter the premises on the ground of being ‘bakla’ is an affront to all the members of the LGBT community who are already suffering from discrimination by society.’

‘There is no place for hate, inequality and discrimination in a just and civil Philippine society,’ she wrote.

Roman became the first transgender politician to be elected in the predominantly-Catholic country in May 2016.

‘Unfortunate Mistake’

H&J on Tuesday said treatment of Li was ‘an unfortunate mistake,’ according to local media.

‘That was a misunderstanding actually,’ manager Henry Strzalkowski told Rappler.

‘That was just one night. Otherwise, we are an LGBT-friendly bar completely,’ he said.

Philippines awaiting much-delayed anti-discrimination bill

Meanwhile, activists have been pushing for a much-delayed LGBTI rights bill to become law.

The SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity expression) Equality Bill would make it illegal to deny access to public services, hire or dismiss, impede access to education, or harass a person based on SOGIE.

Because of Li’s experience, campaign group Yes to Equality on Tuesday urged LGBTI and allies to demand that the Senate pass the Bill.

‘The SOGIE Equality Bill, delayed in the period of Senate Debates for 621 days, is now the longest-running interpellation in Senate history. Each delay keeps LGBTQIA+ Filipinos vulnerable to discrimination,’ it said Tuesday.