“i’m elated, very, very happy. I’m also excited to work. I realize that the burden is bigger because the stereotype of people around the LGBT (community) is we are frivolous, that we have nothing substantial to say, so I have to prove them wrong.”
–Philippine Congresswoman-elect Geraldine Roman
Geraldine B. Roman has made history with the help of the voters of the 1st District of her native Bataan province and followed in the footsteps of her mother Herminia and late father Antonino by being elected to the Philippine Congress.
It’s also an election victory that is being celebrated in the Philippine trans community and around the world, and by the congresswoman-elect.
“The politics of bigotry, hatred and discrimination did not triumph. What triumphed was the politics of love, acceptance and respect, ” she said in an AFP interview.
Roman is also eager to get to her legislative work. She wants to silence her critics that she is a one issue politician who shouldn’t be taken seriously, and realizes that as the first trans legislator in Philippine history she has a microscope on her..
“I’m elated, very, very happy, Roman said. “I’m also excited to work. I realize that the burden is bigger because the stereotype of people around the LGBT (community) is we are frivolous, that we have nothing substantial to say, so I have to prove them wrong.”
“I want to inspire everybody. There are many factors for discrimination: On the basis of gender, age, educational attainment, creed. So to all people who experience discrimination, I want to inspire them.”
But Roman in addition to wanting to be an inspiration to her fellow TBLG Filipinos to consider running for office, also recognizes that she has a constituency that starts in the 1st District of Bataan. If she wants to serve the full nine years she can under the Philippine Constitution and accomplish her legislative agenda, she has to focus on her legislative district constituents back home first.
While she has vowed to work on repealing the 2001 ban that make it nearly impossible for transpinays and trans pinoys to change their names and gender markers as she was able to do in the 1990’s, she also wishes to continue her family’s three generational commitment to helping the poor. She wants to see as part of her legislative platform more poor students nationwide get scholarships.
“Equality is not only in terms of gender but also in terms of socioeconomic status. To be rich or poor should not matter. Whether educated or not, people should have the same opportunities so I’m going beyond gender to include more issues,” said Roman .
She also wants to as part of her legislative agenda push for an anti-discrimination law that ensures equal treatment in the workplace, schools, commercial establishments and government offices.
When Congresswoman-elect Roman does get inaugurated, as the first trans person elected to the Philippine Congress, the sixth worldwide to her national legislature and the second in the Asia-Pacific region, she will be one of the freshman legislators who will be watched by the her nation and the world.
As a member of the international trans family, I hope she’s successful at not only silencing her critics and getting her proposed agenda turned into law, but she’s successful in turning those critic into allies..
I also hope that Roman’s success goes a long way toward breaking down stereotypes about what transpinays and transpinoys can do to help build that inclusive Philippines everyone wants.