It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Manila has advanced the trans community rights in the rest of the world. Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, who is trans herself, initiated the SOGIE bill (sexual orientation and gender identity expression). It is awaiting a vote at the moment, but if it passes, discrimination against trans people will become a legal offense. This would be a wonderful development for trans women in Manila and the rest of the country and an example to be followed across the globe. Prohibiting access to government services and commercial establishments on the basis of being trans will become illegal too.
The city of Mandaluyong, which is part of Metro Manila, approved a regulation to protect the rights of the LGBT community. This was the latest in a series of similar laws passed nationwide. More specifically, the regulation prohibits discriminatory acts such as refusing admission, dismissing, or expelling a person from an educational institution due to their SOGIE, denying access to public services or programs, limiting or denying access to employment, verbal or written abuse, denying access to facilities, unjust detention, and more.
This local regulation is important because the LGBT community, especially trans people, still faces a lot of discrimination all over the world. There is a great deal of HIV-related discrimination in many countries and most HIV infections occur among trans women.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno called on Congress to move forward with the SOGIE bill, expressing the sentiment that his city is friendly to the LGBT community. He had pledged support for the community back during the elections for mayor. He also said a pride march would take place in Manila on the city’s foundation day in 2020. “All people are created equal,” he said in an interview with CBN. “Choosing your preference is a basic human right.”
In a mall in Quezon City, trans woman Gretchen Diez was arrested in a row with a janitor after using the women’s bathroom. Moreno said that this would never have happened, nor will it ever happen in Manila.
Manila is a ray of light for the trans community, and the rest of the world is following in their footsteps.