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Transgender politician sets new standards

Roman at 2016 diversity leadership forum by Ellen Wallop (CC BY-nd) Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress in the Philippines, delivers keynote address at Asia Society’s Diversity Leadership Forum in New York on June 10, 2016.

In the Philippines, a country that is heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church, LGBT+ is a subject of ridicule for many of the citizens. It is something in that culture that is scorned and seen as unnatural, leaving those who identify as LGBT to feel insecure and keep their sexuality or gender hidden from relatives or friends for fear of being discriminated against.

However, Geraldine Roman was recently elected, winning in a landslide, as the representative of the 1st District of Bataan. She is the first openly transgender politician elected to the Congress of the Philippines and has taken the seat that was previously held by her mother.

It’s a proud moment in history for the citizens and the people around the world. It’s often difficult to be proud of something that’s seen as wrong and/or when role models are lacking, but with someone to look up to, someone who has gone through the same troubles as you, it becomes easier to accept yourself, and find others in similar situations that have become successful and overcome their troubles. Roman is a beacon of hope and inspiration for many who have thought that their dreams were impossible because they were LGBT+.

Since the beginning of her career, Roman has been fighting for LGBT+ rights and promised to tackle the rigid gender laws in her country, for example the ban made in 2001 that still prevents people from changing their gender. With a transgender person in Congress, it’s practically a guarantee that there is someone who understands what the troubles of being LGBT are, and someone who will fight for their rights.

Roman being elected also means that the Philippines is moving past the idea that “gay is wrong” and are choosing people based on their abilities, not their bodies or preferences. A person shouldn’t be chosen or judged by their physical appearance or preferences.

I fully support Roman and am proud that despite all the troubles she went through, she persevered and followed in her parent’s footsteps. I am also proud of the voters of the Philippines for maturing as a society and picking a person based on their policies, instead of superficial things.

I hope that in the future there will be more LGBT politicians in not just the Philippines but in the United States as well. We have plenty of room to grow here, since we aren’t burdened by the same restrictions that face the Philippines, as do plenty of other places.

I hope that the rest of the world can look to them as an example and learn to evolve and accept.

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Transgender politician sets new standards