Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas, a human rights organization led by transgender women in the Philippines, has congratulated Ms Jhane Dela Cruz on being elected as the first transgender village chief of Barangay Iba in Hagonoy, Bulacan.
“We are one with the country in celebrating her success and that of many other members of the Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community who also won elective positions in their respective villages during the last local elections held on Monday, 28 October 2013 in the Philippines,” the organization said in a statement.
“As Ms Dela Cruz assumes leadership in her village, we hope that she will take up the cudgels for genuine gender equality for all Filipinos. We hope that she will play a positive role in fighting and eradicating all forms of discrimination and unequal treatment against any person based on ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, health, and other status in Barangay Iba and beyond,” GANDA Filipinas added.
Dela Cruz’s victory comes in the heels of long years of struggle for political participation of transgender Filipinos. In 2001, Barangay Angeles in Tayabas, Quezon elected Ms Ruvic Rea as their first transgender Barangay Captain. In 2012, the University of the Philippines in Diliman elected Ms Heart Diño as the first transgender chairperson of the University Student Council.
“Certainly, there are many others like them who remain faceless and unnamed but as openly transgender people sought to serve their communities as elected leaders. We hope that Ms Dela Cruz’s triumph will be an opportunity to tell those stories. More importantly, we hope that her victory will continue to open doors for the full participation in society of LGBT Filipinos,” the organization further stated.
GANDA Filipinas is now “enjoining the media to show respect for Ms Dela Cruz’s gender identity as a transgender woman by referring to her using female pronouns.”
For more information on GANDA Filipinas, contact Ms Naomi Fontanos, executive director at (+63) 9202697607.