Transgender lawmaker pushes for anti-discrimination bill

It's about time.


( Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, the country's first elected transgender politician, delivered her first privilege speech in front of the Lower House on Monday, September 19. She pushed for the passage of a House bill against discrimination based on sexual preference and gender identity.


In an emotional address, Roman paid tribute to her late father and former congressman Tony P. Roman. "I remember him dearly because he was a father who loved, accepted, supported, and defended me, Geraldine Roman, his transgender daughter, with no question or condition whatsoever," she recalled. The congresswoman narrated what her father prophesized on his deathbed, that her privilege speech would constitute a plea "to look beyond [her] gender and accept [her] as an equal." Now that she's in position, Roman wanted to tell her father: "Daddy, you would be glad to know that they have treated me with the dignity and respect that is due all human beings.”



This, however, is a basic human right often not bestowed to everyone in the LGBT community. Anti-discrimination bills have been languishing in the hands of the Congress and the Senate since the 1990s.


"Katulad po ng malugod na pagtanggap niyo sa akin ay tanggapin ninyo ang pagiging pantay-pantay ng bawat Pilipino, LGBT man o hindi," Roman continued. The congresswoman's proposal details the prohibition of discriminatory acts and penalizations.




"Recognizing our rights and dignity will no way diminish yours. We are not asking for extra rights or privileges. We simply ask for equality with inclusiveness and diversity. Our nation has so much to gain," she ended her speech. Roman was met with loud applause from the audience, including representatives from various LGBT rights groups such as Akbayan LGBT Collective, Ang Ladlad, and UP Babaylan. She went on to explain common misconceptions about the LGBT community in an interpellation facilitated by Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao.


On June 29, the lawmaker said that among the bills that she would propose to the Congress are the legalization of divorce in the country, civil union for same-sex partners, and gender recognition for transgenders.

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