The Philippines may be a staunchly Catholic country. Abortion, divorce, and same-sex marriage are illegal. Even if members of the LGBT community are tolerated, the level of acceptance is not the same compared to western countries. However, one transgender woman is running for congresswoman, and guess what? It looks like she’s going to win.
Meet Geraldine Roman, who is campaigning to be the country’s first transgender lawmaker. She is campaigning under the Liberal Party in Bataan, where her family has political clout. Her parents are outgoing Bataan Rep. Herminia Roman and the late Assemblyman Antonino Roman Jr.
She underwent sexual realignment surgery and legally changed her name and sex in the 1990’s. She has been married to a Spanish man for the past 18 years.
As for her background, she speaks three European languages, has two Master’s degrees, and worked in Spain as a senior editor of the Spanish News Agency. She returned to the Philippines four years ago to care for her sick father.
Roman said, “I am living proof that such a law will allow transgender people to pursue happiness and become productive citizens.”
Roman says that her loyalty is to the first district of Bataan, but that she will fight for gender equality. She said, “But that somebody of my condition is going to enter Congress for the first time is a statement that even transgender people can serve our country and should not be discriminated against.”
She added that if elected, she will support an anti-discrimination bill that would give LGBT members rights such as equal treatment in the workplace, in schools, and in hotels. Roman also said that she will push for making gender changes legal.
According to Ben Medina, the president of Bataan’s organized LGBT community, she has the support of 15,000 LGBT voters.
Besides this, Roman has plans for the people of Bataan. She will continue the medical assistance and the scholarships her family has been giving for three generations. She will also provide modern equipment for public hospitals and improve the road network of Bataan.
Roman is also filing her own version of the freedom of information bill, so that all documents required for public works projects can be accessed by everyone.
People are saying that Roman is expected to win because of her family’s influence in the province. Bern Salenga, a farmer in Orani, said that he will vote for her because of her promise to continue her family’s tradition of helping the poor.
Watch her speak at a campaign sortie below:
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