First Philippine Transgender to Sit In The Congress
May 10, 2016 10:16 PM EDT
On Tuesday, Philippines made a history when its people elected the first transgender to have a seat in the congress.
The candidate, Geraldine Roman hails from Bataan and came from a family of prominent politicians. She bears Liberal Party and won 62% of the vote being the first transgender congresswoman. The victory made her the highest-ranking openly-LGBTQ politician in the Roman Catholic-dominated nation, where subjects like same-sex marriage and abortion are still controversial while some politicians publicly condemn them too, as reported by Mashable.
"I'm elated, very, very happy. I'm also excited to work. I realise that the burden is bigger because the stereotype of people about the LGBT is we are frivolous, that we have nothing substantial to say, so I have to prove them wrong."
According to the CNN report, it is an important milestone for the LGBT community in the Philippines having a transgender elected to the House of Representatives, where gays, lesbians and transgender are often mocked and ridiculed by some politicians and public figures.
Earlier this year, even the country's boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, ignited a worldwide condemnation and epithet in the country for saying that gay people are "worse than animals". He expressed regret lately during his own beseech being a senatorial candidate, BBC reports.
Like many politicians in the country, Geraldine Roman has a powerful political root. The seat she is filling up was formerly held by her mother. She spent many years in Spain mastering other languages and worked as an editor at a Spanish news agency.
She returned home to Bataan in 2012, her native province, to take care of her ageing parents with a vow to continue their political legacy. During her campaign, her family is supportive of her with her father advising her to "remain confident" despite being bullied for her gender identity in school.
Roman legally changed her name gender almost 20 years ago. In 2001, a law was passed prohibiting Filipinos from changing their name and gender when she transitioned in the 1990's. She acknowledged the issue stating that she is perceptive to turn over the ban and will go forward for anti-discrimination bills helping other transgender people acquire equal rights in terms of school and workplace.