Statement of Atty. Bruce V. Rivera on the reaction of transgender woman – and Liberal Party (LP) candidate who is running for representative of Bataan – Geraldine Roman, who took Davao City Mayor (and presidentiable) Rodrigo Duterte to task after he referred to LP’s Mar Roxas as ‘bayot‘ and is therefore unable to suppress crimes in three to six months, which is the mayor’s promise if he becomes President.
I am happy that a transgender woman is allowed to run for Congress under the Liberal Party (LP). That speaks leaps and bounds for the community. She is lucky though. She comes from a political family and the influence she yields in Bataan should pave the way for empowerment of the transgender people and the rest of the LGBT people.
However, be that as it may, if she wins a seat, she will be elected to Congress as the representative of the people of her district in Bataan and a member of the Liberal Party – and who happens to be transgender. The LGBT community may be proud of this milestone, but we should not expect that it is our interest that will take primordial consideration in her legislative policies. She is not running under an LGBT party or representing a party that is pro-LGBT.
The Liberal Party has platforms and policies that truly run against the existing LGBT advocacies. Mar Roxas is clearly against gay marriage and the Liberal Party has not actively pushed for the enactment of the Anti-Discrimination Law. No legislator in her party initiated bills changing provisions in the Family Code to be more responsive to LGBT issues. LGBT is not priority legislation in the LP majority Congress. A party she is a member of.
Hence, I do not really feel she has the moral compass to criticize Rodrigo Duterte on the “bayot” issue because while she is transgender, she is also an LP candidate of a congressional seat representing a local constituent and not under an LGBT constituency.
This is aggravated by the fact that there has been no record in the past showing Roman openly criticizing the LP for being indifferent to the LGBT cause by total lack of empathy.
Thus, when Roman became immediately sensitive and censured Duterte who has inadvertently uttered a Visayan word that is a generally accepted word by Visayan LGBT standards, it reads hypocrisy and double standards. It was not her transgender side speaking but, sadly her political LP side that did the talking.
Why am I saying that? Because if it was her LGBT side speaking, she would have recognized that of all the presidentiables, it is only Duterte who has tangible and public pro-LGBT advocacies and would have not taken the accusatory mode expected of an LP stalwart. Yes, some Tagalog gays took offense, but stayed away from the condemnation. Why? It was really no big deal.
What is my big deal? Six years of the LP party rule and zero pro-LGBT legislation. Six years of LP party rule and members of the LGBT are still not officially defined as human beings but merely an adjective to describe a man or woman. Our law still does not say, he is a GAY because the correct term in the present law is, he is a gay man. That should be Roman’s big deal.
Roman was just being political. And I am not blaming her. That is her truth. But if she really was an LGBT advocate, she had two choices:
- First, criticized both the LP for lack of LGBT legislation and Duterte for being reckless and insensitive, or
- Second, she could have just kept quiet.
By failing to do any of the two, my verdict still remains: SHE IS A POLITICIAN WHO HAPPENS TO BE A TRANSGENDER.