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Baguio pride month forum focuses on transgender rights

By PROGAY Philippines
June 24, 2011

BAGUIO CITY  –  Human rights violations committed by the government and private parties against transgender Filipinos may soon be subject to international legal censure and corrective measures, if activists and lawyers succeed in getting the attention of the United Nations.

This historical milestone was revealed in “TRANSforming Views: The TRANSituation and the Right to Live, Love, Be: a Forum on the Transgender Situation” today at the University of the Philippines Baguio. The forum was sponsored by the Lesbians for National Democracy and the UP Kasarian Gender Studies Program as part of the LGBT Pride Month activities of Baguio Pride Network.

Ms. Raye Baquirin, Baguio Pride Network provided the social situation framework of Transpinays or transexual Filipino women in the presentation “TRANS101” a module popularized by the Society of Transexual Women (STRAP) lined up the severe social barriers that transwomen face, and proposed ideas on how the majority of Filipinos can break free of misconceptions and actions that violate the rights of transwomen.

Atty. Evalyn Ursua discussed the complaint filed by three Filipino transwomen with the United Nations Human Rights Committee under the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, with her as their legal counsel.  According to Atty. Ursua, the complaint focused on the refusal of the government to recognize the change of their gender in legal documents and to address discrimination in the public and private sectors.

She expressed confidence that the UN Human Rights Committee will make findings of human rights violations against transsexuals by the Philippine Government and direct it to pass laws and undertake other measures addressing gender identity and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Other reactors included Carol Galvez of the Cordillera People’s Alliance and Oscar Atadero of the Progressive Organization of Gays (PROGAY Philippines), who both stressed the need for more advocacy highlighting the needs of transgenders. Galvez zeroed in on the rising incidences of hate crimes committed against transgenders in Metro Baguio.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, spokesperson of the Makabayan coalition, sent a solidarity message that urged the assembly to support the anti-discrimination measure he filed in Congress, House Bill 1483, a proposal that would help protect gender identity rights and help transgenders get free access to many public facilities that are frequently denied them.

The forum is a runup to the fifth lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride organized by the Baguio Pride Network for June 26th along the city’s Session Road.