Call for intersex inclusion as House panel excludes ‘intersex’ in sex definition of proposed anti-discrimination law

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5/14/21

A conservative politician – Deputy Speaker Bienvenido Abante Jr. – succeeded in pushing for the exclusion of the term “intersex” from the definition of sex in the draft of a more “comprehensive” anti-discrimination bill because it “complicated” the things for him. During the panel hearing to come up with the said “comprehensive” anti-discrimination bill by the House Committee on Human Rights, UP College of Law professor Leo Battad, a resource person, suggested a definition for the term “sex.” Specifically, he said: “We would rather that the definition sex refers to the civil status of a person acquired by birth, having a system of reproduction corresponding to that male, female or intersex. This has reference to the provision House Bill 7754 this definition is inclusive and encompasses intersex persons.” HB 7754 eyes to eliminate discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE), age, racial or ethnic origin, religious belief or activity, political inclination or conviction, and social class. But conservative politician Abante objected to the inclusion of “intersex” in the definition of “sex.” “I think we can make it more simple than complicated… Sex refers to the differences between men and women that are universal and usually determined at birth that is already a complete definition… Why do we still have to muddle the definition of sex. That is too much already,” Abante said. For Abante, “Don’t make it complicated. Doon nagkakaroon ng maraming interpretation when you begin to complicate the law.”

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