There, I earned a degree in education. I am a licensed teacher and currently work as an education consultant. I love languages, fashion, music, art and travel. I love to write, read and watch movies in my spare time. Best of all, I love to sing. I love doing karaoke and love spending time with friends this way.
|Ms Naomi Fontanos during the 2013|
GANDA Filipinas Halloween celebration.
The other two courageous women who filed that case with me are Juliana Giessel and Rio Moreno. Sadly, Rio Moreno was brutally murdered in March 2014. We honored her memory in the 2014 Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).
The waves of migrant transgender Filipinas who worked in Japan as skilled entertainers also demonstrate the exploitation by the state of its own citizens as export labor to keep the economy back home afloat. In spite of their contribution to the Philippine economy, these generations of transwomen Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Japan remain unrecognized officially by the government and have not been given the credit they deserve.
|Ms Naomi Fontanos during the 2013|
GANDA Filipinos Christmas celebration.
It is no surprise that at some point, transgender Filipinos felt the need to fight this oppression through collective struggle. The proliferation of transgender groups all over the Philippines is a sign that many trans Filipinos want social change now and demand that the government protect our rights as citizens of this country.
|Ms Naomi Fontanos with volunteer-members of GANDA Filipinos.|
Many transpeople in the Philippines struggle economically while also confronting a culture that treats us like second-class citizens and imposes its own pressures on us on what it means to be trans. You also face a different set of issues if you are transgender and young or aging, incarcerated, have a disability, HIV positive, displaced by conflict or war, migrant, a victim of calamities, are in conflict with the law, belong to an ethnic or religious minority, etc.
|Ms Naomi Fontanos with local transwoman|
celebrity, Ms Justine Ferrer, pioneer
member of GANDA Filipinas.
On the one hand, many people recognize that pageants can be exploitative, sexist and set oppressive standards of beauty. On the other hand, many well-meaning, level-headed and progressive people are actually now using beauty pageants as a platform for their advocacies. I recognize that as a good thing albeit in a limited way. Outside the world of beauty pageants, men and women including LGBT people continue to face gender-based abuse, violence and discrimination.
|Ms Naomi Fontanos dressed as a queen.|
Currently, there is a dearth of images of transmen in Filipino films, newspapers and even books. I guess it is all part of the evolution of media representations of us that are supposed to go from bad to good. I still dream of a time when Philippine cinema, for example, will genuinely celebrate being trans by not making a big deal out of it and focusing on tranpeople’s ordinary lives as human beings with hopes, dreams and desires.
|Ms Naomi Fontanos with volunteer-members for a GANDA Filipinas|
New Year celebration.
|Ms Naomi Fontanos for the GANDA|
Filipinas Facebook launch photo
campaign in 2012.
There were also transwomen who ran for local posts who lost in the last elections. Politics in the Philippines remains highly traditional. To get elected, you need to have a machinery that will ensure your victory. You just cannot run with good intentions.
|Twitter & Facebook.|
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?