It’s a little difficult for an LGBTQA+ person to live in the Philippines, what with systemic discrimination and homophobia built into our conservative society, but this year’s elections have brought about a measure of hope for the sector. As the votes finish getting transmitted, it’s starting to look more and more like Geraldine Roman, a transgender, has won the Congress seat for the first district of Bataan.
Roman—who ran on a platform of not only fixing gender laws, but also fixing infrastructure in her home province—makes history as the first transgender woman to hold a seat in the 300-member House of Representatives.
“My loyalty is to the first district of Bataan,” Roman said in an interview with AFP. “But that somebody of my condition is going to enter Congress for the first time is a statement that even transgender people can serve our country and should not be discriminated against.”
Of course, as with all transgenders and LGBTQA+ people, their gender identity is not the only thing going for them. Roman speaks five languages (which include three European languages), has two Master’s degrees, and worked in Spain as an editor for the Spanish News Agency until 2012.
She has a tall order to tackle in Congress, as she has to fight to get the LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill through and to make it legal for trans people to officially change their name and sex. And that’s even before tackling the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage/civil unions. Although we believe she’s more than capable to take everything on, we all know how hard it is to get things done with this hyper-political society.
But for anyone who tries to get in the way, Roman’s got just one message. “If Jesus Christ was alive today, he would not approve of discrimination,” she says. “I firmly believe that.”
Photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer