To provide an avenue for the transgender community in Zamboanga to air their sentiments and raise their concerns, and to lobby for ways to help this community improve and develop, Mujer-LGBT Organization Inc. helmed the Hermosa Trans Congress in southern Philippines.
With approximately 100 participants from 30 different community-based organizations in attendance, “we hoped to have created a space for the transgender community members to connect with our LGUs, executive agencies, local legislators and academic institutions to raise their struggles in the city,” said Toni Gee Fernandez, who helms Mujer LGBT Organization Inc. This way, “we create a platform of cooperation to improve the lives of our trans siblings by providing equal access to opportunities, employment, government benefits and even education.”
In the gathering, discussed were issues like safe spaces, prohibition of the choice of clothing (“cross-dressing”) in schools, and the importance of an enabling policy to allow transgender people to freely express themselves inside their schools through their choice of dress.
The participants were guided on the process to be observed whenever any form of discrimination or violation of safe spaces are observed – e.g. proper documentation, and reporting to effectively kickstart legal procedures that may be required to resolve the matter.
For Fernandez, events like this continue to be needed.
“There is a need for this kind of event so that once and for all, the transgender community can convene with the various sectors and talk about important issues and discuss different approach to address these issues,” Fernandez said.
This effort is part of Mujer LGBT Organization Inc.’s Human Rights Caravan that eyes to generate support from the community and allies in advancing the rights and welfare of every transgender-identifying individuals in Zamboanga City.
Organized by Mujer-LGBT Organization Inc., this event is done in partnership with SPARK Philippines, US Embassy in the Philippines, Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia, Local Council of Women – Zamboanga City Chapter, Gender and Development of Zamboanga City, Office of Councilor Lilibeth Macrohon Nuño, KCC Mall de Zamboanga and Google.