Transpinays go to Congress

Congress of the Republic of the Philippines

On Monday afternoon, 14 December 2009, I along with three other STRAP members went to the House of Representatives (see pic above). The Lower House was in joint session with the Senate that day to deliberate on the President's Martial Law declaration in Maguindanao following the now infamous massacre there orchestrated by the powerful Ampatuan clan, said to be very close to the President. The Maguindanao massacre where almost 60 people were murdered in broad daylight including women, journalists and innocent passerby, is now being touted as the defining moment of the morally bankrupt rule of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). It trumps the other scandals that rocked her administration including the corruption allegations regarding the building of the Macapagal highway, named after her father, the Hello Garci scandal, the ZTE scandal and so many others.

Transpinays in Congress

While we have rallied against GMA, it was not because of her that we were in Congress last Monday. We were there to have a brief audience with Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel of AKBAYAN (see pic above). In the picture from right to left are me, STRAP treasurer Joy Cruz, Cong. Baraquel, STRAP members Santy Layno and Bemz Benedito who was with her boyfriend Gary, far left.

Rep. Baraquel joined the 2009 Manila Pride March where we were formally introduced by her assistant, a long-time friend of mine, Jet. When we saw each other last Monday, she said she could not forget the sari I wore during the Pride March. I actually wore a traditional Indian dress not a sari during the Pride Parade but I chose not to correct her. I told her that we were there to discuss the possibility of her helping the Filipino trans community by filing a gender recognition law similar to the one in place in the UK and elsewhere. Although STRAP joins the bigger TLBG community in the struggle against discrimination, our main legislative agenda is to ensure that transgender and transsexual Filipinos are recognized as persons under the law by recognizing their gender identity first and foremost.

Risa was about to speak in the deliberations that afternoon so she just asked us to set up another meeting with her office where STRAP could discuss this initiative with her further. We thanked her for her time and told her that we would schedule a meeting as soon as possible. I know that I may be aiming too high and I do want to be realistic. But I have hope that if STRAP does what it needs to do, that is if it continues educating people and brings its advocacy all over the country, getting a Gender Recognition Law passed in the Philippines is not too big a dream. It is always, always a possibility.

I hope it becomes reality in my lifetime.


line of flight said...

i wonder how appropriate (tactically) it is to so loosely deploy the discursive practice of "morally bankrupt". should this really be a serious comment in political discourse when "morality" is the only formal legal basis upon which LGBT legal discrimination exists around the world? how does our use of it reaffirm its legitimacy to be used against us?

After all, "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." (Audre Lorde)

PinayTG said...

As opposed to what my dear? What alternative do you propose? How will you characterize the Arroyo government?

line of flight said...

what characteristics of the government does "morally bankrupt" intend to refer to, dear?

PinayTG said...

You seem to imply that my calling the Arroyo government "morally bankrupt" has no basis. What characteristics do you think am I referring to or not?

line of flight said...

"morally bankrupt" is a metaphor since bankruptcy is a legal term of art referring to a legally recognized financial position of a business. my original question is whether injecting moral condemnation into our political discourse doesn't undercut our own position.

you asked what I would replace it with, and I asked you what you intended to say (minus the metaphoric language) since the Arroyo administration is not legally a business and a moral state is not financial condition. now you are trying to infer from my question that I am making some kind of statement about the Arroyo administration.

If you can explain to my how using morality based metaphors doesn't reaffirm the legitimacy of moral condemnation as an appropriate discursive tool against us, then there would be questions remaining to address.

PinayTG said...

Are you saying that just because LGBT people are "morally condemned" they cannot make moral judgments? Consequently are you saying that LGBT people cannot lay claims on being moral?

Anyway, that is not the point of this entry. Any thoughts on gender recognition for transpeople in the Philippines?

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