Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Anti-Discrimination Bill

Today i tag along Naomi to attend the House of Representatives (Lower House of the Congress) for the Committe Hearing on the Anti-Discrimination Bill.

First i was introduced to a transwoman who work in the congress office Daria, a long time friend with Naomi, they went to the same college before, i was blown away to see that she's working in such a place, which is awesome. Recently we have a transwoman Ezlin who works for a politician in Penang as well but i cant equate or compare because Malaysia and Philippines have very much different politics.

Then we waited for awhile when all the congresswomen and men gathered they discus about the bill, the Anti discrimination bill, Everyone has come to a consensus and before that they're sharing about how all of them have friends of LGBT, including transwomen and men and were sharing how trans people should be treated equally, one of the congresswoman was saying that the Philippino spirit is resilient but our transwomen/men are the root of it because they face discrimination more than the average people and how theyre here and overcome the everyday obstacles. Personally my spirit was very high and i could feel most of them feeling empathetic towards most of their family members and friends who belong to the LGBT family, i think i almost cried. There was one muslim congresswoman from Mindano area. She was wearing a headscarf and i already have this pre-consumption that she will go against the rest but no. I was proven wrong as she's as well fully supported the rights of LGBT people and transwomen and men as well. I was so amazed. So so amazed by the positive spirit of these congressmen and women, it was positively inspiring seriously. I talk a bit to the muslim congresswomen from Mindanao how transwomen in Malaysia have it bad and our government are totally against us openly, occasionally, daily on all the mainstream media that they owned. But she understood and aware of the situation in Malaysia as she is also connected to Sister in Islam. What amaze me more is she's also interested to learn more on why trans people always have contracted urinary tract infection often because of the toilet issues. Another congresswoman was also suggested wether it help to have a 3rd gender toilet but another spokeperson fron an NGO called Rainbow Rights explaining that 3rd gender toilet or solution will only bring in the hierarchy issues in this context so its better to have the unisex toilet like most of the toilets in the Starbucks or some fastfood places in the US or other countries.

The meeting finished quite nicely at 3:15pm without any drag, it was compact, intersting and knowledgeble for the congresswomen and men who were discussing about the issues. Then we're took some pictures together with them for memories. It was for me quite a new experience. Very interesting and empowering experience. The transwomen here know their issues very well, they want to do something about it, they did it, and i wish the Anti  Discrimination bill will be passed in the upper house by the senators. It all comes from each member of the congresswomen and men, the activists, NGOs, the people here who most of them have in contacts with the LGBT people, they understand us well. They know our struggle. We're in their family members, close friends, everyday people they met and know and they care enough to coming to a consensus to push for the bill. They don;t want any of their friends that they know from the LGBT community to get hurt, discriminated. Very very positive energy indeed. I know its impossible but i really wish we have something like this in Malaysia. Where the government will stop all this insulting, blaming, criminalizing, people like us. We are people, we are real, our existence is real. Get to know us and our issues instead of judging and blaming. With all the positive mentality like this i think the Philippines is much, much, much more humane, than in Malaysia. Since last time if you're in Malaysia we're already been spoonfed not to questions anything, divided by race, class, economics,  all this dividing people will only bring back bad things to the people in power. Now the system didn't work anymore, its broken and crumbling away. One thing i envy here is the spirit, i was in that Committe Hearing room and finally i understood what they mention many times before the Philippino spirit.
I left wondering until now, all this bad things back in the country like Government cracking down on traffic offenders and soon will implement the GST, do we ever rise from the ashes and have what we called Malaysian spirit? I don't see it, people still get by and maybe the situation could be compared to the boiling frog scenario. Put the frog (Malaysians) in the pot of boiling water and boils it. The frog won't do anything until its too late to realized and dead. Another question also is like how us trans people especially the one that close to NGOs and do activism can help make another trans person to empathized and understand how bad their situation are and what can we do about it. Its a real challenge. Even if it look like there's no hope but i hope this story will in a way inspire others especially our Trans or LGBT people back in Malaysia to do something about their situation. Because we're divided to the core real bad. Divided not just by race, economics, class but also the trust for each other is not really there at all. The challenge is to make the transpeople understand their issues, their surroundings, their perception of reality.

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