AFP | 17077
Philippine Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, in the yellow top, is the first transgender woman to be elected to public office in the Philippines. Geraldine replaced her mother as a district representative after the 2016 elections.
“I may be a neophyte congresswoman but I’m a veteran in politics,” she said over a quiet lunch in her ancestral home.
The election of Roman, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in New York in the 1990s, symbolised many things to many people: a transition to progressive liberalism in a country where religion is meshed with law; a breaking of stereotypes; a hope for change.
Hate crimes against transgender women are particularly horrific. The Philippine Hate Crime Watch reported 157 cases of hate related murders from 1996 to 2011 – a number which advocates say is likely to be underreported.
But Roman’s win meant a lot to the LGBT community, which saw in her a champion for acceptance and an advocate for the Anti – sexual orientation and gender identity expression discrimination bill.