A Transphobic incident in a bar in Greenbelt 3

Transphobia refers to discrimination against transsexuality and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity ( from Wikipedia.com)

Transexuals are what people call in lay person’s terms who had undergone sex change while transgenders are people who feel uncomfortable on their biological sexual make up and thus feel that they are trapped in that body and would need to perform gender roles that do not match on their biological make up.

One of our sisters/brothers in the LGBT community was discriminated by a transphobic kind of action in a bar in Greenbelt 3 Makati. This is a repost that I got through email. Pls read about it.

AN OPEN LETTER OF A WOMAN TRANSGENDER IN THE PHILIPPINES

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Eleanor Roosevelt

My friends and I have been made to feel inferior approximately five
hours before I wrote this letter. I’d like to sweep this incident
under the proverbial rug but there is no more space to accommodate it.

On the 24th of May 2008, my friends and I were celebrating the
anniversary of our organization the Society of Transsexual Women of
the Philippines (STRAP), the first transsexual women’s support group
and transgender rights advocacy organization in the Philippines. We
settled to celebrate it in Ice Vodka Bar, located in Greenbelt 3, 3rd
level Ayala Center, Makati City, Metro Manila. It was my first time in
that bar. Two in our group have been there before and they had nothing
bad to say about it.

There were five of us. I was leading the way. The bouncer stopped us.
I asked why. His reason was we were dressed “inappropriately” . We were
rather dressed decently, tastefully, and most importantly just like
any other human being who lives her life as female 24 hours a day.

I asked for the manager. The bouncer was nice enough to let me in. The
manager, Ms Belle Castro, accommodated me. I don’t know if I spelled
her name right. I asked for a business card but she had none
available. Her telling feature though was her braced teeth.

I complained. Ms Castro listened to me. I found her sympathetic, even
respectful as she addressed me all throughout as ma’am. She told me
the following:

1. (Referring to my friends, and obviously to me) That “people like
them” aren’t allowed in our bar every Fridays & Saturdays;

2. That that was an agreement between all the bars in Greenbelt
(she particularly mentioned their bar, Absinthe, and Café Havana) and
Ayala Corporation, the company which owns the Greenbelt Complex;

3. That the reason for this policy is: “Marami kasing foreigner na
nag-kocomplain at napepeke daw sila sa mga katulad nila.” Loosely
translated in English: “There are lots of foreigners complaining
because they mistake people like them as real women”; and

4. That they have a “choice” to implement the policy.

I felt terribly hurt and uncontrollably agitated. This transphobic act
is not the first time that it happened to me, to my friends, to people
like us. To say that this has become almost a routine is an
understatement.

I have shouted at Ms Castro several times, asking her why I’m f***ing
experiencing racism in my own country and what gave f***ing foreigners
the right to demand to block people like us to enter bars in our very
own country.

Ms Castro tried to hush me by pulling the “It’s our choice card” and
asked me to talk decently. I am not proud at all of using the F-word
as my intensifier and of letting my emotions ran raw and wild. My warm
apologies to Ms Castro for losing my cool. Just like any of us, I
know, she was just doing her job.

This may not be the proper forum to raise this concern. But is there
any reliable legal forum to address this issue? Reality check: there
is no antidiscrimination law in this country. And if you’re
discriminated, there seems to be a notion that you’re supposed to
blame yourself for bringing such an unfortunate event to yourself.

So, I’d just stand up through this open letter.

I am standing for myself. I am standing for people like us. I am
standing up because I, am, very, tired of this incivility. We have
long endured this kind of treatment for far too long. Enough.

I’ll not go as far as campaigning for a boycott as it is definitely
the simple workers that would suffer from any loss in revenue such an
act may cause.
People like us would like to be treated just like any other human
being. Just like those foreigners who complained about our existence:
With dignity.

You know the civilized and ethical thing to do: Stop discrimination in
your establishments.

Bigotry is never ethical nor a sound business strategy.

Warmly

Ms Sass Rogando Sasot
25 May 2008
Sunday
6.04 am – 6.45 am

http://www.tsphilippines.com/

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