Rep. Geraldine Roman of Bataan, the country’s first transgender lawmaker, called on women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to resist discrimination.
“In Congress, I still hear my male colleagues saying, oh women, don’t talk to them because they are fickle minded. There’s a bill extending maternity leave for 100 days? The males would say, why such extension [from existing 60 days]? These women are so demanding when what they do is just to breastfeed the baby. There are even women who oppose these measure. These things really get under my skin!” Roman stressed.
The lawmaker, one of the authors of the Anti-Discrimination bill which prohibits discrimination of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgenders in the workplace and educational institutions, shared that she also suffered discriminatory attacks from her political opponents who mocked her by calling her a castrated chicken who would shortchange her constituents since she would only push for the concerns of the LGBT.
Such attacks continue even after she was feted by Time Magazine as one of 13 Most Inspiring Women alongside former US Secretary of State and leading US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and 20-time Grammy award winner Beyonce Knowles.
“I received a lot of attacks from the people I least expect…those who are supposed to be God-fearing people. I was called a farce, a fake woman, that I will never get to heaven; that I am going to hell. We [women and LGBT community]face this hatred, bigotry and discrimination when our gender has nothing to do with our capacity to serve the country,” Roman, who was born a male but had a sex reassignment surgery in 1994 to become a woman, said.
“All of these when in fact the capacity of our gender does not lie on what is in between our legs. It is on our mind and hearts. Life is complicated; nature is not perfect. We should have the strength to resist [discrimination]. We have good ideas to help, and we should fight for it with full conviction,” Roman pointed out.
Sam Pimentel, the only Filipino woman to reach the North Pole by skiing, shared Roman’s sentiments that achieving success and making a difference do not depend on whether you are a woman, a transgender or a man.
“This life is about getting the job done. It does not matter if you are a man, woman, or a member of the LGBT. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to dress in a certain way. That is not the issue,” Pimentel said.
“It is about outcome. If you are efficient in your job, if you are on track of the schedule, then you’re very fine,” she added.