LGBTQ Progress in the Philippines

HRC staff

In May of 2015, HRC was proud to partner with Gender Proud founder Geena Rocero and the Association of Transgender People of the Philippines for a three-city tour to empower local transgender activists to tell their own authentic stories, and become advocates for non-discrimination.

Rocero, a longtime HRC supporter and transgender advocate, saw her dream come to fruition as she returned to her native country to build awareness and destigmatize the lives of transgender people in the Philippines.

“All that work that we’re all doing is for the trans youth,” Rocero said in a video with HRC. “Hoping that their lives will be better than ours, so they can thrive more."

The tour kicked off with an unprecedented gathering of more than 160 transgender activists and allies who came together for a few days of inspiration, connecting and skill building. The participants were also offered media and storytelling trainings so they are better equipped to share their stories with policymakers, the media and the public.

Rocero and fellow advocates are now seeing the tides slowly shift - earlier this week the Philippines elected Geraldine Roman, a transgender woman and member of the Liberal Party, as the representative for Bataan Second Legislative District. She is the Philippines’ first transgender member of Congress.

“Philippines just elected its FIRST Transgender woman in Congress,” Rocero shared on Facebook. “Huge Congrats Geraldine Roman! So PROUD!”

While the Philippines has one of the highest rates of acceptance of LGBTQ people in Asia, transgender people are often stigmatized. LGBTQ activists are working in this overwhelmingly Catholic country to pass national level legislation to protect or advance the rights of LGBTQ people. Unfortunately, a non-discrimination bill that would protect LGBTQ people has languished in Congress for years.

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