Opinion

Geraldine Roman, role model for girls everywhere

TIME's Motto hails Rep. Geraldine Roman, the first transgender woman to be elected to the Philippine Congress, for her equality crusade.
IMAGE Office of Representative Geraldine Roman
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We here at Esquire Philippines make no secret of our being fans of Geraldine Roman, Representative of the First District of Bataan—the first transgender woman to be elected to the Philippine Congress, all-around #EqualityChamp. She's wasted no time lobbying for broadened legislative scope for (and even acknowledgment of) Filipino LGBTs: Her maiden speech as a legislator was an impassioned, lucid, heart-rending appeal to her colleagues to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill—"Recognizing our rights and dignity will in no way diminish yours. We are not asking for special privileges or extra rights. We simply ask for equality. With inclusiveness and diversity, our nation has so much to gain." [You can read our essential guide to understanding the Anti-Discrimination Bill here.]

And we're chuffed to note that we're not alone in our admiration: Motto, a subsidiary of TIME Magazine, recently cited Representative Roman as among the year's inspirational female leaders—a list that includes US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Beyoncé and Solange Knowles. Damn, girl.

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"In a nation with a history of hostility to the LGBT community," writes Motto, "Geraldine Roman’s success as the first transgender congresswoman to be elected in the Philippines is truly inspiring. Roman ran for the House seat that was previously occupied by her mother and won with 62% of the vote in May this year. Since being elected, she has lobbied persistently for an anti-discrimination bill and campaigned for greater LGBT rights."

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Congratulations, Representative Roman; woman we love.

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About The Author
Sasha Martinez
Sasha Martinez served as the head writer and social media director for the PCDSPO. She regularly reviews books for Esquire, and has also contributed fiction to the magazine. Her short stories have been honored by the Philippines Free Press and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Foundation, among other literary institutions.
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