August 21, 2019
Most people know the terms lesbians, gays and bisexuals, but what about cisgender, trans woman and trans man?
A Senate hearing on the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (Sogie) Equality Bill turned into a lecture on different gender identities and expressions on Tuesday.
Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros, who heads the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, gave an overview of different gender identities, sexual orientation, and expressions and how to respond to practical issues, such as the use of public spaces.
“Hindi lahat ng LGBT, automatic na baklang lalake at babae ang kanyang identity at expression. Malawak at mayaman ang gender identity at expression ng mga tao. Ito ang nais ipaunawa at protektahan ng Sogie Equality Bill (Not all of the LGBT automatically refers to gay men or gay women. Their identities and expressions are wide and rich. This is what the Sogie Equality Bill wants to convey and protect),” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros presented some of the gender identities and sexual orientation, such as cisgender or straight, referring to people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth; gay man which means a male who develops physical, romantic or emotional attraction to the same gender; lesbian, a woman who is attracted to another woman; bisexual, a person who is attracted to both genders; and trans woman or trans man, a person whose sex assigned at birth does not match her or his gender identity.
Hontiveros also responded to questions on how the LGBT community will access public spaces, such as public toilets.
“People can access public spaces based on their gender identities and expressions. For example, a trans woman dresses, acts, identifies and expresses herself as a woman, because she is actually a woman. She therefore will use the women’s restroom. Those who cannot identify with our current gendered spaces can use gender-neutral/sensitive comfort rooms,” she explained.
But the senator said a strategic way to address the issue of gender and public spaces was to redesign society’s concept of public spaces.
“With the Sogie Equality Bill, we hope to transition from our current binary system of gender norms in which spaces are gendered. We must design our public spaces outside of the traditional gendered boxes and capably respond to the people’s different gender identities and expressions and eliminate the physical and social features of public spaces that promote gender-based discrimination and inequality,” Hontiveros said.
“It is important for the public to educate ourselves of the different colors of human sexuality, identities and expressions. It is one of the best ways we can fully grasp the beauty of life’s rainbow,” she added.
The push for the Sogie bill came following the case of Gretchen Diez, a trans woman, who was barred from using the women’s comfort room of a mall in Quezon City.
Diez met with President Rodrigo Duterte Duterte in Malacañang on Monday night.
Palace Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President expressed support to the measure.
“He’s all for it, and he’s also inclined d’un sa (to push for the establishment of a) third restroom for them. Meron silang sarili (They have their own restrooms),” he told reporters.
Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Duterte vowed to work with Congress to ensure the passage of the Sogie bill and other laws that seek to protect the rights and welfare of the LGBT community.
“The LGBT advocates expressed their gratitude after the meeting and are looking forward to the passage of a law that will protect them from discrimination before the President’s term ends,” the senator said in a statement.
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