By Wheng Hidalgo/abs-cbnNEWS
MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino lesbian worker hit a memorandum banning members of the third sex from working in Saudi Arabia.
“Dubz” (not her real name) felt bad that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) will not be allowed to gain employment in the Kingdom.
Dubz was supposed to return to Saudi Arabia as a caregiver.
“Masakit sa amin. Discrimination iyon. Kapag kailangan magbuhat kami ang tinatawag, di na inoobliga ang mga lalaki. Trabahong babae kaya namin, trabahong lalaki kaya din namin,” Dubz said.
She, however, still appealed to the Saudi government not to ban LGBT workers in the Kingdom.
It can be recalled that the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Manila issued a memorandum to all its accredited recruitment agencies from accepting gays and lesbian applicants.
The embassy stated that “officials of recruitment agencies who are responsible in conducting interviews of job applicants to Saudi Arabia are strongly advised to screen them thoroughly so that those belonging to the third sex are exhausted.”
Accreditation of agencies with the embassy will be in jeopardy if they fail to strictly implement the memorandum.
“The accreditation of recruitment agencies found to have failed to observe this advisory will be permanently terminated,” the embassy further stated.
For Migrante International, the said order will greatly affect LGBT migrant workers who are working hard in Saud Arabia.
“Sana tignan ng Saudi government kung ano ang contribution ng lesbian at gay sa lipunan nila,” said Migrante International Chairperson, Garry Martinez.
Roland Blanco of ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau reported that Filipinos working in the Kingdom were saddened by the memorandum.
In June 2009, 67 suspected gays were arrested in Riyadh for dressing up in women’s clothes. They were forced to resign for fear of being slapped with charges.
Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) pinned the blame on those responsible for organizing a gay pageant last March in Riyadh.
“We were told they had one. They were deported,” said OWWA officer-in-charge Vivian Tornea.
OWWA advised LGBT members to be careful and act discreetly.
“They should act in accordance with the culture of the country,” she said.
For those like Dubz who are affected by the ban, OWWA said they could still look for employment in other countries or just set up a business in the Philippines. Report from Wheng Hidalgo, TV Patrol World