fighting the good fight

At the Senate, with Dr. Eric Tayag, senator Pia Cayetano, and Miss Bai Bagasao

At the Senate, with Dr. Eric Tayag, senator Pia Cayetano, and Miss Bai Bagasao

Today was my first day at the Senate. I’ve never been, really, and I was quite intimidated by it. It was for an HIV and AIDS forum put together by the PLCPD and senator Pia Cayetano. So I put on my leather shoes (which I don’t like doing) and a tie (which I like doing) and attended the forum. Aside from the forum, they were going to open the exhibit of Niccolo Cosme’s Headshot Clinic Unite, his fifth HIV exhibit. He shoots portraits of various people with a common theme and they upload it into their social media sites to help start the conversation about HIV and AIDS.

The numbers are staggering and the statistics are overwhelming. But more and more, we continue to fight the good fight. And really, it’s something worth fighting for. HIV is no joke and it’s not an easy life. Again, I’ll reiterate, I’m one of the lucky ones. My transition has been smooth but that’s because my family and friends have been so supportive and encouraging. People have been so nice to me but it’s not that way for everybody.

And the numbers, goodness, the numbers are getting worse.

I was so impressed with senator Pia Cayetano and the efforts she has made towards trying to protect women’s rights, the reproductive health rights of every Filipino, man and woman, and she has met so many hurdles on her way but she continues to fight the good fight. As I type this, we still are suffering from legislators who will not pass the RH Bill because of whatever stupid reason they can come up with. The Catholic Church has proven to be one of the biggest hurdles to achieving proper legislation to protect people from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.

I’ve always said that ignorance is the real villain in this battle and, I’m sorry, but the Catholic Church in the Philippines has been the biggest promoter of that ignorance. They have been holding on to their ways and forcing people to follow suit and are preventing the spread of vital information to the youth and now the situation has turned severe.

I don’t discount the power of prayer to soothe people’s troubled souls, but when it comes to medical facts, I stand by science and medicine. Prayer can only do so much, really, if it has done anything at all outside the psychological; right now, we need action.

We can’t keep living in the dark ages and we can’t keep insisting that people follow some moral doctrine that they don’t believe anymore. It’s religious dogma that has kept us from progressing forward. They keep telling us to keep praying and that this is what God had told us to do but people are not listening. The numbers are increasing drastically. Only a fool continues repeating an ineffective act hoping for the same result.

It is time to do something different. It is time to step out from the darkness and into the contemporary world.

I was asked to say some words before they closed the forum and I was quite shocked because I wasn’t prepared. But it all just started to come out. I was so clear, facing all those reporters and media people. It was extemporaneous but it was so clear. And I spoke quite a bit in Filipino and it was not bad at all. It was like I was possessed or something. My passion took over and made sure that I wasn’t going to falter. For some strange reason, this was where I needed to be at my most clear, and I was at my most clear. I was quite impressed with myself, if I am allowed to be and allowed to say so.

with senator Pia Cayetano, in front of my headshot from last year's Headshot Clinic (taken from her twitter account)

with senator Pia Cayetano, in front of my headshot from last year’s Headshot Clinic (taken from her twitter account)

And I had the great opportunity to tell senator Pia Cayetano how I felt about her efforts; to thank her for leading the charge for the RH Bill.

There are still good people in the government. I’m not canonizing her or anything; I don’t know her outside of the RH Bill but she was sincere and what she is doing is for the good of everybody else.

That’s enough reason for me to vote for her.

This whole week is filled with World AIDS Day activities (so, it’s not really World AIDS Day per se, anymore but World AIDS Week); so like I told a friend awhile ago, “this is the time of the year when I become relevant again.”

I’ve reserved my week for this. Fighting the good fight.

Let’s do this. Zero HIV infections for the Philippines. Zero HIV infections for the world.

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