Transgender solon vows to push for civil union, anti-discrimination bills
Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, the country’s first transgender congresswoman, on Wednesday said she would push for civil unions and anti-discrimination measures in Congress as the voice of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
In an interview after she attended a mock session for neophyte members of the House of Representatives plenary hall, Roman said she would push for civil and human rights of members of the LGBT, including the right to civil union and to be protected from discrimination based on gender.
She said she has filed a bill penalizing discrimination based on gender and identity.
“I want to fight for human rights, and that includes LGBT rights. Especially civil unions because we often say here in the Philippines, members of the LGBT community are accepted and tolerated. But when push comes to shove, they have no legal protection,” Roman said.
“First and foremost, they are citizens of this country and therefore they have civil rights and they are human beings so they have human rights,” she added.
Roman said she would not push for same-sex marriage because it was an impractical measure which has a slim chance of being passed in Congress.
She added that she does not want to hurt the Catholic Church by filing the measure.
“I want to be practical kasi kung (because [if I would file]) same-sex marriage, baka hindi pumasa (it might not pass). We want to avoid hurting religious sensitivities, but we want the same rights and obligations of a legally recognized relationship,” Roman said.
Roman said her priority bills on the LGBT need to be passed to address “the changing times.”
She noted too that she would also like to be known for pushing for the welfare of her constituents in the first district of Bataan.
Roman said she considered it an “honor” and a “big responsibility” to represent not just her district but also members of the LGBT who have long gone through discrimination in the predominantly Catholic country.
“Panahon na (It’s time), maybe I’ll be an eye-opener. We don’t have to talk about gender. Tao tayong lahat (We are all human beings). So really, gender is irrelevant. Pero kailangan natin irecognize ang karapatan ng mga tao sa LGBT community (But we have to recognize the rights of the members of the LGBT community),” Roman said.
Roman said she learned a lot in the weeklong executive course on legislation for neophyte representatives.
“The course was heaven sent. You learn a lot about the nature, essence of our work and our responsibilities,” Roman said.
Roman is the daughter of former Bataan Rep. Herminia Roman and the late Assemblyman Antonino Roman Jr.
She has undergone sex reassignment surgery and has legally changed her name and gender as early as the 1990s. RAM
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