Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anwar’s name immortalised by ProGay network…

It was rejoice all around among members of the Philippines Progressive Gay Organisation (ProGay) when the High Court in Kuala Lumpur acquitted Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for the alleged sodomy of his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

The decision heralded a new dimension for the international network, which felt that the de facto PKR leader was one of them, and needed to be given attention by the world LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) groups.

The statement by ProGay was published by on January 11, two days after the decision was announced by Judge Datuk Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah.

In line with the court’s decision, the oldest and biggest gay organisation in the Philippines demanded that Malaysia’s laws curtailing the freedom to indulge in sodomy, in particular Section 377 of the Penal Code be abolished as they considered it behind time.

"We join the democratic people's movements in celebrating Anwar's triumph over the frame-up,” said Oscar Atadero, its human rights officer.

Going by the spirit of the ProGay statement, it can be construed as yet another endorsement of the unleashing of the freedom to practice homosexual activities without fearing encroachment by the law, which is seen as a facet of democracy fought by democratic individuals.

The group saw the acquittal as "a positive step" for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Malaysia.

According to the ProGay-Philippines Facebook, the movement began in September 1993 when a group of gay student activists identified the needs of those considered as a minority. It was on such a premise that they formed a movement for their national and social liberation.

It all began in several schools in Manila, and later expanded to reach out to the other parts of the country.

On June 26, 1994, this gay movement organised what was to be Asia’s first ever Gay Pride Parade. Branding itself as the Gay March, the parade brought to the streets issues relating to social equality, in which they believed the struggle for gay liberation was synonymous with the fight for national freedom.

Today, ProGay has become the biggest and oldest gay organisation in the Philippines. It is seen as not just a gay defence movement, but also the defender of individuals who fall victim to the oppressive laws elsewhere.

On September 27, 1998, 25 days after Anwar was sacked as the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the ProGay Movement unleashed a barrage of criticisms against Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“ProGay condemns the fascist regime of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who fuelled the flames of hatred among anti-gays with his attacks on the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Anwar Ibrahim.

“Once again, legions of men who love peace, including bisexuals, gays, lesbians and transgender in Asia and other countries are being victimised by both the orthodox and extreme modern fundamentalists.

“The Malaysian sexual minority community is being destroyed through misdirected views of the evil combination of nationalist groups and the religious fanatics,” he said in the angrily-worded media statement titled, “We’re Here, We’re Queer, We Should Dump Mahathir!

Besides issuing the media statement, ProGay also organised protests and demonstrations in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Manila.

Supporters marched carrying banners screaming “Repeal Sodomy Law and All Anti-Gay Laws Crimininalizing Homosexuality in Malaysia,”; “Repeal Internal Security Act & Stop Human Rights Violation in Malaysia”, and “Gay Rights are Human Rights!”

The media statement, along with the banners carried by the supporters of ProGay seemed to point to Anwar being a gay and bisexual.

In a report by Newsflash.Org in conjunction with his calling on Joseph Estrada on January 31, 2010, the former Philippines President named Anwar “A Fighter for the Democratic Rights of Minority Groups in Malaysia.”

“Our struggles are almost similar…because I fight for the poor, and Anwar has been fighting for the rights of the Malaysian minority groups. I feel we have become good friends through all these years because we fight for the same cause – for fairness, equality and true democracy,” said Estrada.

Commenting further on the visit, reported how the host, Estrada lavished on Anwar with fine foods, wine and songs at his residence in Polk Street, an exclusive upscale residential precinct in Greenhills, San Juan.

Filipino journalist, Ellen Tordesillas provided a more dramatic picture of Anwar’s visit.

“Anwar Ibrahim arrived 7.00 pm sharp at Estrada’s residence on No.1 Polk Street, Utara Greenhills, accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Wan Azizah. They were greeted by Estrada and Cory Aquino, who had arrived much earlier with the latter’s son Senator Noynoy Aquino.

“The dinner was a lavish occasion prepared by Chef Billy King from Paris…the menu that night included mutton, grilled meat, sea bass and lobster, followed by traditional Filipino songs sung by Estrada”, said the report.

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