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Claire: ‘Respond to community members who need more attention’

Meet Claire, here as part of #KaraniwangLGBT, which Outrage Magazine officially launched to offer vignettes of LGBT people/living. For Claire, LGBT issues are not too different with mainstream issues. For one, “issues of the workforce are also issues of LGBT people,” she says.

This is part of #KaraniwangLGBT, which Outrage Magazine officially launched on July 26, 2015 to offer vignettes of LGBT people/living, particularly in the Philippines, to give so-called “everyday people” – in this case, the common LGBT people – that chance to share their stories.
As Outrage Magazine editor Michael David C. Tan says: “All our stories are valid – not just the stories of the ‘big shots’. And it’s high time we start telling all our stories.”

Transgender woman Claire is one of the former workers of Tanduay Distilllers Inc. who was removed from work after they started organizing for them to be regularized.

For Claire, LGBT issues are not too different with mainstream issues. For instance, while still working for Tanduay, she experienced sexual harassment and the higher-ups did not do anything about it – not too different from what other women may have also experienced. When she was still with the company, she knew of “iba’t ibang gawaing na naka-apekto sa pagiging trans ko (various practices that affected my trans identity),” Claire said.

At least in Cabuyao, Laguna, Tanduay Distillers Inc. only hires those who were assigned male at birth (i.e. men) – itself an issue in gender fair hiring. But specific to Claire, as a transgender woman, “maraming bawal (there were a lot of restrictions),” she said. For instance, Claire was forced to be “mas mukhang lalaki (appear more manly)”, including getting a haircut, as well as wearing more masculine-looking clothes.

Because of the all-male hiring policy of Tanduay Distillers Inc., Claire said she became the “kilalang babae (recognized woman).” As such, she experienced repeated harassment. “Pinipisil nila ang suso ko, hinahawakan ang puwet ko (They pressed my breasts, touched my bottom)…” And sadly, “wala naman akong matakbuhan dahil ang sabi nga nila, lalaki naman daw kami lahat sa loob (I didn’t know who to turn to because I was told that everyone there is male).”

Claire was fortunate to have met a co-worker who became her now partner of two years. “Sinisiguro niyang okay lang ako (He makes sure I am okay),” she said.

Because of her experience, Claire is first to say that “ang usaping manggagawa ay usapin din ng LGBT (Issues of the workforce are also issues of LGBT people),” she said.

With her partner (who was also removed by the company), she now joins the protest not only against Tanduay Distillers Inc., but against the pervasive contractualization in the Philippines.

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia; and Master of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines-Open University. Conversant in Filipino Sign Language, Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, and research (with pioneering studies under his belt). He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Art that Matters - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).


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