20 October 2011 – Naomi Fontanos, chairwoman of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP) the pioneer human rights advocacy organization of transgender/transsexual Filipinas or transpinays, spoke on a panel called Trans* Rights Are Human Rights organized by the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Berlin, Germany on 5 October 2011, Wednesday (see video below).
The panel focused on the initial research findings of the TransRespect Vs TransPhobia (TvT) Project of Transgender Europe (TGEU), which investigates the legal and social situation of transgender people globally.
Talking about transpeople in East and Southeast Asia, Fontanos said "From East Asia to Southeast Asia, transpeople face a similar situation: silenced, excluded and erased. Most transpeople have no say over their identities; their lived realities are belittled and dismissed and state and cultural forces act to render them powerless, with no control over their own lives.”
“Like others elsewhere in the world, transpeople in East and Southeast Asia are coerced to make a choice between a life of dignity and their gender identity as if these two were exclusive of each other,” she added.
The packed auditorium was attended by locals, human rights advocates, and members of the media and the transcommunity in Berlin. In the panel with Fontanos were Carla LaGata and Jan Simon Hutta, the main TvT researchers, Witnes Booysen, Outreach Coordinator of GenderDynamix in South Africa, Tamara Adrian, a lawyer and transactivist from Venezuela, Agniva Lahiri, Executive Director of People Like Us (PLUS) Calcutta, Joleen Mataele, Chairperson of the Pacific Sexual Diversity Network (PSDN) from Tonga and Kristian Randelovic of Transgayten in Serbia. The panel was chaired by Julia Ehrt, co-chair of TGEU.
You can see a video of the panel here.