Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Transwomen go to Congress

Congress of the Republic of the Philippines

On Monday afternoon, 14 December 2009, I went to the House of Representatives (see pic above). The Lower House was in joint session with the Senate that day to deliberate on the President's Martial Law declaration in Maguindanao following the now infamous massacre there orchestrated by the powerful Ampatuan clan, said to be very close to the President. The Maguindanao massacre where almost 60 people were murdered in broad daylight including women, journalists and innocent passerby, is now being touted as the defining moment of the morally bankrupt rule of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). It trumps the other scandals that rocked her administration including the corruption allegations regarding the building of the Macapagal highway, named after her father, the Hello Garci scandal, the ZTE scandal and so many others.

Transpinays in Congress

While we have rallied against GMA, it was not because of her that we were in Congress last Monday. We were there to have a brief audience with Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel of AKBAYAN (see pic above).
Rep. Baraquel joined the 2009 Manila Pride March where we were formally introduced by her assistant, a long-time friend of mine, Jet. When we saw each other last Monday, she said she could not forget the sari I wore during the Pride March. I actually wore a traditional Indian dress not a sari during the Pride Parade but I chose not correct her. I told her that we were there to discuss the possibility of her helping the Filipino trans community by filing a gender recognition law similar to the one in place in the UK and elsewhere.

Risa was about to speak in the deliberations that afternoon so she just asked us to set up another meeting with her office. We thanked her for her time and told her that we would schedule a meeting as soon as possible. I know that I may be aiming too high and I do want to be realistic. But I have hope that if we do what we need to do, that is if we continue educating people and bringing our advocacy all over the country, getting a Gender Recognition Law passed in the Philippines is not too big a dream. It is always, always a possibility.

I hope it becomes reality in my lifetime.


Dawn Selya said...

Go Pau go! I am so proud of you and your advocacy work on behalf of the transpinays. We're all hoping and praying that this endeavor will be very fruitful. Good luck!

Monica Roberts said...

That's not aiming too high. That's a reasonable expectation as a Philippine citizen that your rights and humanity be respected.

If they aren't then you have every right to petition your legislators to respectfully demand that it be codified into law.

PinayTG said...

@Dawn: Thank you sis. I am very hopeful that our country will recognize us in the gender we identify as. It will not happen overnight and everyone must do their part towards this goal. Naomi na pala ang pangalan ko ngayon sis. Hihihi for more!

@Monica: Indeed. Slowly slowly we will try to bring the message of trans equality all around the Philippines. We need to do this groundwork so trans issues are properly understood and addressed. Later, hopefully we can pass this law.

Anonymous said...

Pau, I'm really proud of your pioneering work. You go girls! Merry Christmas! And please continue to "vamp" it up. I hope to meet you ladies some day at the Asia Pacific Transgender Network meetings!

PinayTG said...

Thanks Leona! We are proud of everything that you do too. Merry Christmas soon and enjoy the holidays! HUGS!