Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thank you UNO Magazine!

I woke up this morning and pleasantly discovered that UNO Magazine Philippines, a men's magazine that has given the Pinoy version of FHM here a run for its money for its quality content and groundbreaking art and features, finally put up the article featuring me. You can see the article here.

Thank you UNO Magazine Philippines for your courage to write about Filipino transgender women! We will be forever grateful!

Friday, September 17, 2010

EDUC8, LIBER8, CELEBR8: The 8-Campus Rainbow Tour


I am happy to announce the start of EDUC8, LIBER8, CELEBR8: The 8-Campus Rainbow Tour, a free symposium on LGBT human rights (see poster above). It will have its first stop at the College of Saint Benilde (CSB) on 29 September 2010. Below is a write-up of this historical initiative.

TrueColors Publishing Inc., the makers of Ketchup Magazine, the only Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) magazine in the Philippines in keeping with its thrust to promote social awareness of LGBT issues, proudly presents Educ8, Liber8, Celebr8: The 8-Campus Rainbow Tour.

This Rainbow Tour brings together noted leaders of the LGBT community to conduct a free symposium targeting students in 8 colleges and universities in the Metro Manila area in an 8-month period from September 2010 to April 2011.

The symposium, which covers various issues including LGBT Politics, Spirituality and Sexuality, Gender Identity and Human Rights & Media Activism, is designed as a “crash course” on human rights and the Filipino LGBT community, their needs and concerns and the advocacy work they carry out in their pursuit of equality and dignity.

The symposium seeks to provide a venue where students can:
a) deepen their understanding of the human rights issues facing the LGBT community in the Philippines (EDUC8)
b) free themselves from damaging, stereotypical and incorrect notions about LGBT people & culture (LIBER8)
c) and affirm & respect the inherent dignity of all human beings including themselves (CELEBR8)

By hosting this symposium, colleges and universities bring themselves on par with leading higher education institutions in the world that advance human rights education. They also affirm their role as bastions of a truly international, liberal and liberative education by giving their students an opportunity to critically engage with pressing issues confronting civil society. As well, they take part in a change-making project to promote greater social equality and equity. The symposium also provides students, faculty and staff a venue to explore research ideas and interests.

The 8-Campus Rainbow Tour is organized by TrueColors Publishing in collaboration with 4 leading LGBT organizations. Speakers include representatives of Ang Ladlad Partylist, Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City (MCCQC), Vic Alba of Ketchup Magazine and Ms Naomi Fontanos.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two transgender women found murdered in Puerto Rico

Below is an alert from Daryl Hannah, GLAAD's Media Field Strategist. For more information, visit GLAAD's blog here.

13 September 2010

Two Transgender Women Found Murdered in Puerto Rico

Two transgender women were found murdered in Puerto Rico on Monday, reports El Nuevo Dia. According to the media outlet, local police discovered the bodies of two individuals “dressed in women’s clothes” along Highway 512 in Juana Diaz with bullet wounds to the head.

Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian task Force urged the Puerto Rican authorities to investigate the deaths as hate crimes, according to Edge.

In a statement Serrano said:
“At the very least it is probable that these crimes could have been motivated by prejudice based on the victims’ sexual orientation or gender identity.” He added “the authorities have an obligation under the law to investigate this hate angle.”

Serrano said “We urge the police and the prosecutor to appropriately and quickly investigate this double murder and to classify them… as hate crimes if they discover enough evidence to determine it was motivated by prejudice.”

The murder of these two women is the latest in a rash of anti-LGBT murders happening on the island. Since 2002, more than 25 gay or transgender individuals have been murdered. Among these were: Ashley Santiago Oscasio, who was stabbed to death in her home in April, and Jorge Steve Lopez Mercado who was stabbed, decapitated, dismembered and partially burned late last year.

Two months ago, the New York City Council, which represents the largest Puerto Rican constituency in the Continental US, declared July 13th the “Day Against Homophobia” in direct response to the anti-gay and transgender murders in Puerto Rico.

GLAAD is working to elevate these stories to a national platform as well as monitor the coverage.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Meet Kayo Sato

Kayo Satoh

Some parts of the interweb have been fired up recently with discussions about Kayo Sato (see pic above). Also known as Kayo Police, she is said to be a well-known celebrity, model and host of a video game show in Japan. According to various accounts, she recently admitted on national TV that she was in fact a "man" and that she said so again on her very popular blog.

The 22 year old supposedly came out after persistent rumors about her gender. Many predict that she will become even more popular now that she has come out. Although some web sites have chosen to use male pronouns to talk about her, most comments about her recent revelation have been encouraging and respectful. You can read more info here.

Well what can I say, she looks amazing! Sato San wa utsukushii desu yo! Ki o tsukete kudasai! Ganbatte kudasai ne!

Honduran transwoman gets justice

Below is a media release from Human Rights Watch regarding the case of Nohelia, a Honduran transwoman who was stabbed repeatedly by a policeman, Amado Rodriguez Borjas, two years ago. Nohelia survived although she carries scars from the brutal stabbing. A lot of transwomen in Honduras have suffered from macho violence and many of them have ended up in the list of those honored during the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. I am glad that at least Nohelia has won her case. I am not sure though if she is sufficiently protected from any kind of retaliation from Borjas and his ilk. Let us hope for the best. To my Honduran sisters: Teneis que ser fuerte y ayudarse unas a otras! Vamos a continuar la lucha contra la transfobia!

Honduras: Police Officer Sentenced for Stabbing Transgender Sex Worker
Rare Conviction Despite Intimidation a Victory for Justice

(Tegucigalpa, September 10, 2010) – The conviction of an off-duty police officer for a stabbing attack on a transgender woman is a major victory for justice and equal rights in Honduras, Human Rights Watch and Red Lésbica Cattrachas, a Honduran lesbian rights organization, said today. The two organizations attended the trial as observers.

On September 9, 2010, a three-judge bench sentenced the police officer, Amado Rodriguez Borjas, to 10 to 13 years in prison for his role in the attack. Nohelia, the transgender woman, was abducted and stabbed 17 times on December 18, 2008. It is the first conviction of a police officer in Honduras since 2003 for a crime against a transgender person, even though police abuse is common.

“This was a crime fueled by hate, as the 17 stab wounds attest,” said Juliana Cano Nieto, researcher in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “It is a testament to the integrity and courage of all involved with the case that they advanced the cause of justice notwithstanding the threats and intimidation.”

The case was fraught with acts of intimidation, with police, a witness, and prosecutors as well as Nohelia threatened by anonymous attackers and callers. On March 21, unknown men kidnapped Nohelia and threatened to kill her if she continued with the case. She was shot in the arm in the ensuing struggle with the kidnappers but managed to escape.

A witness for the prosecution and police in charge of the investigation received anonymous threats. As a result, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights extended protection measures to Nohelia, the police officers, and prosecutors.

Attacks on transgender people – often targeted because their looks and demeanor challenge prevailing sex-role stereotypes – are commonplace in Honduras.Nearly every transgender person who Human Rights Watch interviewed during research in Honduras in 2008 and 2009 spoke of harassment, beatings, and-ill treatment at the hands of police. The most recent killing took place on August 30. Two men in a motorcycle shot and killed Imperia Gamaniel Parson, a trangender sex worker in San Pedro Sula and member of the Colectivo Unidad Rosa.

Bias-motivated attacks on transgender people by private individuals are endemic. At least 19 transgender persons have been killed in public places in Honduras since 2004; many more have been injured in beatings, stabbings, or shootings.

These attacks rarely lead to an investigation or prosecution in Honduras.

“The larger question is whether this trial will be followed by the prosecution of other individuals who commit hate crimes against the transgender, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people,” Cano Nieto said.

The fact that the court’s judgment did not address discrimination even though the prosecution presented evidence of homophobia and transphobia as motives for the attack was a weakness in the outcome of the Borjas case, Human Rights Watch said. Nor did the court accept prosecutors’ arguments that the sentence should be increased because of homophobic bias.

In addition, most court personnel treated Nohelia and a transgender witness with seeming disdain; only the prosecutor and one of the three judges referred to them by their chosen pronoun.

“The court should be applauded for finding that a serious crime had been committed, but we look to the day when the courts understand the full measure of hatred behind the crime,” said Indyra Mendoza, director of Red Lésbica Cattrachas. “We still have a long way to go to ensure that the justice system understands and properly addresses sexual orientation and gender identity.”

On the night of December 17, 2008, Nohelia, a sex worker in Tegulcigalpa, refused to have sex with Borjas. The next evening, he returned by car with two other men. Based on evidence presented at the trial, Borjas stabbed her in the neck when she approached the car, not knowing who was inside. The men then dragged her into the car and drove to the outskirts of the capital, where Borjas stabbed her on her arms, back, and front of her body.

She managed to escape through the car window, and a passerby later picked her up and took her to a hospital. Nohelia has a permanent scar on her throat and several others on her arms.

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, please visit:

For more information, please contact:
In New York, Juliana Cano Nieto (English, Spanish): +1-212-216-1233; +1-646-407-0020 (mobile)
In Tegucigalpa, Indyra Mendoza (Spanish): + 504-9486-7865 (mobile)