Post submitted by Kerry Brodie, former HRC Global Press Secretary
Today the HRC and Gender Proud, a transgender advocacy and awareness organization, announced a three-city public education campaign to inform the public about, and destigmatize the lives of, transgender people in the Philippines.
In conjunction with a three-city speaking tour headlined by Gender Proud Founder Geena Rocero, HRC will help support and organize three day-long media workshops for local advocates. The goal of the partnership is to inspire transgender advocates to speak out and tell their stories to the public and the media in their own voices, and to create powerful, authentic narratives.
The speaking tour, which will be conducted in partnership with a local NGO, the Association of Transgender People in the Philippines (ATP), will also build awareness for two anti-discrimination bills that are currently being considered by the Congress of the Philippines. These bills could, if adopted, provide unprecedented protections for LGBT people across the country.
“We know that the best way to change hearts and minds is for people to tell their personal stories,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global. “We are excited to partner with Gender Proud and ATP to help amplify Geena’s inspiring voice, and to support a speaking tour that will provide practical skills training to local emerging trans leaders and personalities in three of the Philippines’ largest cities,” Cobb added.
The tour will stop in Cebu, Quezon City, and Vigan from May 16 through May 31.
Rocero, a successful model who publicly ‘came out’ as a transgender woman in a TED talk in 2014 that has been viewed online over two and a half million times, founded Gender Proud in an effort to advance the conversation about the transgender experience and bring more visibility to the community. She has been returning regularly to the Philippines since coming out in a desire to use her platform to ignite change.
“I am thrilled that not only will I have the opportunity to share my story throughout the country,” said Rocero, “by working with HRC and ATP, I will also leave behind in these cities dozens of advocates with lasting skills who will help our community grow from strength to strength because they have been able to tell their stories with confidence using their own voices,” she added.
In the Philippines today, only some 10 percent of Filipinos live in cities covered by local anti-discrimination ordinances, and attitudes towards LGBT citizens remain marked by hostility and ignorance. Rocero hopes her efforts to raise awareness and elevate the community will push the needle towards acceptance.
Gender Proud is an advocacy and awareness organization, focused on advancing the conversation about the transgender experience. Launched in 2014 alongside Geena Rocero’s public ‘coming out’, the organization’s goal is to create a world where all transgender individuals are able to fully self-identify with the fewest possible barriers.