Editorial: Legislating morality

TO MEMBERS of the male species who can’t help themselves from catcalling, whistling, leering and intrusively gazing at someone from the opposite sex, best beware.

These actions may land them in trouble after the City Council enacted an ordinance penalizing those who commit “gender-based sexual harassment” within Cebu City’s public streets and spaces.

They may as well avoid wolf-whistling, taunting, cursing, extending unwanted invitations and making misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic and sexist slurs.

As for persistent uninvited comments or gestures on a person’s appearance, relentless requests for personal details such as name, contact and social media details or destination or making sexual comments or gestures and suggestions and using words, gestures or actions that ridicule on the basis of sex, gender or sexual orientation, identity and expression, these too are now forbidden. So are the telling of sexual jokes, names, comments and issuing demands, verbal or physical threats on one’s sense of personal space and physical safety. And don’t even think about masturbating in public or flashing private parts or groping or stalking.

These will all land you a hefty fine, jail time, or worse, a 12-hour community service and required attendance of a gender sensitivity seminar conducted by the Philippine National Police under the ordinance entitled “The Safe Streets and Public Spaces Ordinance of Cebu City.”

No doubt its authors, City Councilors Dave Tumulak and Alvin Dizon, were only thinking of the welfare of victims of such harassment. Although it’s hard to imagine the two men never having engaged in such tawdry behavior when they were in their youth.

After all, to many women and members of the LGBT and whatnot sector as well as men blessed with good looks or anyone with physical deformity, the taunting and harassment are part of growing up.

They don’t need “Big Brother’s” help to face these challenges and to learn to overcome them.

The City Government has not even made a dent on the illegal drug problem, now two of its officials want to legislate “morality.”

If Tumulak and Dizon are really serious about “guaranteeing a safer public space for their constituents,” they should talk parents into raising decent human beings.