In a huge landmark win for the LGBTQ community in the Philippines, Geraldine Roman, the first transgender politician in the Philippines was elected as the representative of the First District of Bataan in the May 2016 election.
Roman serves as the frontrunner of the LGBTQ movement in the Philippines, and earlier this month, she shared the good news to her supporters via social media that her Anti Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination Act (SOGIE Act) has passed the Rules Committee.
As part of her fight against discrimination towards members of the LGBTQ community, and in a seemingly symbolic move, Roman expressed her intent to join the reserve corps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In response, the military welcomed it, and in another surprising move, a military statement was released that the government welcomes applications from members of the LGBTQ community as it aims to recruit 10,000 more soldiers.
In a statement released on Valentine’s Day, Roman said she hopes that in applying to become a military officer in the reserve of the AFP, she can show the people that members of the LGBTQ community can exemplify the same sense of discipline, military professionalism and love of country that men and women in uniform embody.
Colonel Edgard Arevalo, Public Affairs Office Chief of the military shared that Roman’s application is highly valued. He said that the military institution would like to promote a non-discriminatory culture towards the LGBTQ community, and aims to cultivate patriotism rather than discrimination. He also assured that their Gender and Development Program can guarantee that the military institution does not discriminate according to gender.
However, Col. Arevalo also expressed a gentle reminder that the military has strict rules, and that they are required to always maintain the dignity of the uniform, observe propriety and decorum and measure up the high standards of military service.
Of course, it goes without saying that the dress code will be an issue because Roman intends to wear a female officer’s uniform.
Unfortunately, Arevalo explained that the military follows the gender of birth of the applicant since this is the first time that they have encountered this situation.
Photo credit: Geraldine Roman’s Facebook