Friday, March 5, 2010


Last 20 February 2010, Sunday,we held our Support Group Meeting (SGM) for the month of love. We met at the conference room of Isis International once again and after the personal sharing we had a discussion on transgender human rights. That day we had two new girls who were attending their first SGM. I hope they will be able to sustain their own momentum and that I will see more of them in the coming months. We were also joined by students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, a state university here. The students, Shara, Divine and Cindy (left most in the pic below) are working on their undergraduate thesis in Sociology and they decided to study the issue of transgender discrimination. We are the main respondents for the study. I am looking forward to seeing their final research paper as it will be the first institutional document that will talk about the discriminatory experiences of transgender women in the Philippines.

February 2010 Support Group Meeting

The week after, we trooped to the University Hotel at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman for the national consultation meeting of Ang Ladlad, the national organization of TLBG Filipinos. One of the highlights of the day is the election of Ang Ladlad’s nominees for Congress, if ever the Supreme Court (SC) finally allows it to run in the partylist system after being denied by the Commission on Election (Comelec) on grounds of immorality. If Ang Ladlad gets a seat in Congress it will open a new chapter in TLBG rights advocacy in the Philippines.

STRAP girls at the Ang Ladlad Consultation Meeting

Yesterday, 5 March 2010, Friday, I was invited to guest in a radio show called Radio Iskool (Radio School) at DZUP, the radio station of the UP Diliman College of Mass Communications (CMC). The hosts of the show, faculty members of CMC, were posing as students and each guest would be their “teacher for the day.” I was Teacher Naomi in the show and I talked about the TLBG community, the issues they face and the efforts that various TLBG organizations in the Philippines have done to fight for their rights and better their lives. I am disappointed when members of our community go on record and focus on sob stories involving us, talking only about our marginalization and zeroing in on our various oppressions. It depresses me when ever that happens because the TLBG community and its members come off as helpless victims who do not use their own agency to make things better for themselves. It is not only misrepresentation of the highest order but it also invisibilizes the efforts that people are making to empower themselves. I say enough of this victimhood nonsense!

Teacher Naomi in Radio Iskool

We are starting to get busy again after a two-month hiatus focusing on internal housekeeping. We are working on getting SEC registered so we can finally open a bank account in the organization’s name. Slowly slowly we are making things happen. I am excited about the prospects that being a duly recognized organization will bring. I feel like we are on the verge of a new beginning—one that is full of promise and light. We will have a series of activities in the coming days and I will tell you about those here. Stay tuned!


Monica Roberts said...

Thanks for keeping us updated about yours and STRAP's great work educating people about transpinay lives

PinayTG said...

My pleasure Moni! Hope your two Trans 101 discussions went well as well. ;)

Monica Roberts said...

They are happening later this month,

Doing last minute adjustments to the Power Point presentation as we speak

PinayTG said...

Cool. Sounds like a good one. I wish one day we can both be in a forum together. It will be great to exchange thoughts on gender identity and human rights work from different contexts. Keep up the good work Moni! ;)