The Transgender Movement of the Philippines Inc. (also known as Association of Transgenders in the Philippines or ATP) held its first general assembly for 2014, as it eyes to further serve transgenders in the Philippines.
According to Kate Montecarlo Cordova, chairwoman, even as ATP “serves as a mother organization for transgenders” as it remains as the only transgender organization in the Philippines composed of men and women and other transgender organizations in Metro Manila and provinces.
ATP “is not just a support group, but it looks to empower the members of the Philippine transgender community to achieve their full potential by means of upholding transgender rights and transgender health through education,” Cordova said.
Cordova added that the “transgender community remains as the most marginalized group of sexual minorities and the LGBT community; and the government has failed to address the needs of transgenders. International agencies really work hard to address issues on sexual orientation and gender identity and expressions (SOGIE), but it’s sad to note that the Philippine government has not advanced an iota of protection to people with non-conforming gender identity and expression and people with different sexual orientation by creating laws that cover SOGIE related violence. Discrimination, social exclusion, harassment, violence, emotional, physical and psychological bullying are just of the few things transgender people in the country face, yet the Philippine government remain deaf and blind.”
For Cordova, having an organization like ATP remains important in “increasing the chances of being heard by our lawmakers and government officials. It strengthens and empowers the community by providing them the information essential to their growth. It echoes the voices of the most unheard individual in the community. It provides us exposure to the international arena. It makes us ONE and INVINCIBLE.”
At the first general assembly of ATP for 2014, partnerships with formed with Take the Test and the Quezon City Health Department, which provided HIV testing for interested participants. It was also participated in by TransDeaf Philippines, the pioneering organization for Deaf transgenders in the country; and TransMan Pilipinas.
“This only means one thing: the community is hungry for justice, equality, empowerment, protection, solidarity, and to create a supportive and encouraging environment for transgenders,” Cordova said.
By the end of the year, ATP is planning to have sub-chapters in all parts of the country having structured programs that address issues that touch on transgender health, transgender rights and education for transgender individuals. It also eyes to vigorously and aggressively push for legal and political advancement of SOGIE issues and other related laws that aim to promote transgender rights and health in the Philippines.