US news outfit features Bataan solon’s advocacy for equality

ORANI, Bataan – Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine B. Roman was featured last week in The Seattle Times in an article entitled “A transgender paradox, and platform, in the Philippines.”

The Seattle Times is a daily newspaper serving Seattle, Washington in the United States. It has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the state of Washington and in the Pacific Northwest region.

Written by Miss Aurora Almendral, the article tackles about the Philippines as one of Southeast Asia’s most tolerant countries toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trabsgender (LGBT) people.

The news outfit stated that lawmakers here led by Cingresswoman Roman are taking steps to ensure national legal protections that would penalize discrimination against them (LGBTs).

“While there are no laws criminalizing homosexuality in the Philippines, there are no laws specifically protecting gay or transgender people, either. Geraldine Roman, the country’s first openly transgender member of Congress, is spearheading efforts to broaden legal protections in the Philippines,” the article stated.

It also discussed about a survey published by the Pew Research Center in 2014 found that 73 percent of Filipinos said gay people and lesbians should be accepted by society. By comparison, near neighbors Indonesia and Malaysia polled at 3 percent and 9 percent.

The author added that the attitude in the Philippines were comparable to countries like Britain and Italy, and ahead of the United States, where acceptance is at 60 percent. The survey found that tolerance is correlated with rich, secular societies.

Published reports stated that 41 transgender people were killed in the Philippines between 2008 and 2016, the highest rate in Southeast Asia, according to the Trans Murder Monitoring Project of the organization Transgender Europe.

A study published in The Philippine Journal of Psychology in 2014 found that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Filipinos were twice as likely to contemplate suicide as their heterosexual peers.

In September 2017, Roman’s House Bill 4982, seeking to penalize those who will be found practicing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity was passed on third and final reading during a session at the House of Representatives.

It says that discriminating a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender may soon land you in jail, once this bill becomes a law.

At least 198 lawmakers voted to approve the bill on final reading, with zero against and zero abstentions. Roman even led the lawmakers in waving a rainbow flag before the third reading of the bill.