Thursday, April 30, 2009

A call for change

Below is the statement of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP) on what happened recently to BB Gandanghari and her friends at a bar in Pasig City. It seems both ironic and fitting in the face of the global LGBT community preparing to commemorate this year (May 17, 2009) the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) with a spotlight on transphobia. What happened to BB and her friends stands proof that transphobia exists and is alive everywhere in the world.

Statement of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP) on the Aruba incident involving Binibini Gandanghari and her friends

We, the members of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP) are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred on the night of April 23, 2009, Thursday, to Binibini (BB for short) Gandanghari and her friends at Aruba Bar and Restaurant in Metrowalk, Pasig City. On that said night, Aruba, with no compunction and invoking its NO CROSSDRESSING policy, refused them entrance.

What happened to BB and her friends that night serves as proof of the rampant discrimination directed against many of us in the Filipino Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. With no national law that protects us and our welfare as citizens of the Philippines, we continue to experience unequal treatment in education, housing, health care, the legal system, employment and other public accommodations. What happened is also particularly telling of the specific kind of marginalization that Filipinos of transgender experience--or those whose gender identity and expression are not conventionally associated with their gender assignment at birth--face. We remain the most oppressed members of Philippine society and our rights as persons are continuously violated due to anti-transgender prejudice.

We in STRAP along with our allies, friends and supporters, therefore, see the need for change and:

• call for a dialogue with the Aruba management so that we may help its owners and staff, understand better the life of someone transgender.
• We are also calling the attention of the Philippine government especially the House of Representatives including the Commission on Human Rights to the need to grant civil rights protections to Filipino LGBT people based on the Yogyakarta Principles (, which apply international human rights standards to issues concerning sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
• Lastly, we ask the Filipino public including the entertainers and artists who regularly perform in Aruba to boycott this establishment until it stops its discriminatory practice of refusing entry and service to people it perceives as “cross-dressers”. Continuing to enforce such a policy based on outdated and ignorant notions of gender denies the dignity inherent in every human person and perpetuates unnecessary inequity that does no one any good.

Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP)

Supported by:
Ang Ladlad Partylist
Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Advocates for Youth (GABAY)
Gay and Lesbian Activist Network for Gender Equality (GALANG)
Lesbian Advocates Philippines (LeAP)
Philippine Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)
Rainbow Rights (R-Rights) Project, Inc.

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