23 Jun STRAP’s official statement on Discrimination Against Transgender People
This sad and discriminatory experience happens everyday. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of other trans people and gender non-conforming people out there who experience this everyday. Some STRAP members themselves had such a horrifying encounter with club owners and bouncers. Other than these party places, prejudicial acts like this happen in various ways.
The Professional Regulation Commission or PRC’s Registry section required a transwoman to tie her long hair and look less masculine before being issued a professional license. Transwomen were being policed in terms of gender expressions and even appearances in public transports such as the MRT. And the list goes on and on and on. Unfortunately it is also the Philippines’ religiosity, which also influence these acts of prejudice and the nurturance of heteronormativity. Filipinos forget that long ago, the asogs, bayogs, bantuts, babaylanes, catalonans etc. are just among those whose gender expressions and perhaps identities defy a restrictive sense of the gender binary.
Sometime in 1997, a transwoman from a catholic university was stopped from entering a now closed bar in St Francis Square because she was identified as a cross dresser and that such are not allowed in their establishment. She later came back with friends, allies and activities and placards read: “I just want to dance!!!”
To the international community, we are letting you know the state of transpeople in the Philippines. Much as most of you perceive this country to be LGBTQI friendly, the more appropriate is LGBTQI “fiendly.” In the absence of laws protecting LGBTQI from discrimination as well as the absence of laws recognizing gender realities and laws recognizing equality in unions, perhaps our cumulative efforts will pave way to a dialogue and a realization that each and every person has that innate right to self-determination. Indeed we just want to dance, we just want to party and in the process these establishments rake in the profits from what people label as “Pink Money.” Can’t they be just grateful? Stand up with us. Join us in our efforts to stop these acts of hate. And this should also encourage and remind our lawmakers to help make good change. We need a genuine and fully encompassing Anti-Discrimination Law, and ultimately, a Gender Recognition Law.