The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Ladlad Party formed a partnership with the Philippine National Police Force to hold a gender and sexuality training program to sensitize police officers when they are dealing with LGBT people.
The first training session was organized and co-taught by Raymond Alikpala, the third congressional candidate for the Ladlad Party and author of Of God and Men: A Life in the Closet, a memoir in which he chronicles his personal coming out journey.
LGBT sensitization training is nowhere else in Asia, and the first ever session to educate police officers on how to process and treat LGBT citizens is seen as clearing a major hurdle towards fairness and clarity for the Philippine LGBT community.
“This kind of cooperation between the police and LGBT groups has never really happened before,” said Alikpala in a recent interview with 429Magazine. “Through this new initiative, the police will gain a deeper understanding of and, it is hoped, more sympathy for the vulnerabilities of LGBT people, and this should have a positive impact on our community as a whole.”
In the past, the problems between LGBT people and the police force has been a source of anger towards the establishment, with many hate crimes going unreported and many more not taken seriously when reported.
Not surprising, there have been cited incident of maltreatment and abuse especially to transgender people. The culmination towards this LGBT sensitization training has been long in the making and owes much of its success to the Ladlad Party, the world’s only LGBT political party.
“I believe this is a major success, but it must be seen in the context of Ladlad’s many years of advocacy for LGBT rights. Ladlad has made sure that the issue of illegal police raids of gay establishments is not swept under the rug,” added Alikpala.
“As early as 2003, when our founder Danton Remoto intervened in the Cine Cafe raid and helped secure the release of 20 gay men from Camp Karingal, Ladlad had already been working to combat discrimination and abuses by the police committed against the LGBT community.”
The Ladlad Party, or ‘The Unfolding Party’, is seeking three congressional seats in the upcoming Philippine elections on May 13.