Sotto: 'If you are a man, you will never be a woman'

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday, September 4, reiterated the dim chance of the SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) equality bill in the Senate, saying that a person born as a man "will never be a woman."

Sotto made the statement in an interview with reporters where he weighed in on the SOGIE equality bill which was being heard by a Senate panel chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros at the time. (EXPLAINER: What you need to know about SOGIE)

"I hate to say this but I have to. If you are a man, you will never be a woman. No matter what you do because you cannot reproduce; you cannot give birth; you do not have ovaries; you will never be a woman," Sotto said, echoing the position taken by groups opposed to the bill.

Hontiveros had said in an earlier hearing that "trans women are women." 

Sotto reiterated on Wednesday his belief that the proposed measure "is a bill against women's rights."

He cautioned against comparing LGBTQ+ rights to women's rights.

"'Wag 'nyo ikumpara yung entirety of the half of the world to a certain group…. Women cannot be compared to a group (Don't compare the entirety of the half of the world to a certain group…Women cannot be compared to a group)," Sotto said.

The Senate President also said that a majority senators were not likely to support the measure in its present form but were more inclined towards the comprehensive anti-discrimination bill filed by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara.

Sotto had earlier said that the SOGIE bill  faced rejection at the Senate as it supposedly "transgresses on academic freedom, religious freedom, and women’s rights."

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III had questioned the need for the measure if the acts of discrimination are already covered under present laws. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.