As part of the worldwide commemoration of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP) and UP Babaylan organized the TDOR week in UP Diliman. Several activities were lined-up for the whole week to remember and memorialize transgender people whose lives were lost due to anti-transgender hate or prejudice, otherwise known as transphobia.
On November 24, an exhibit of the dead at Palma Hall lobby was opened to the public to spread awareness about TDOR. The event was attended by members of both organizations, STRAP and UP Babaylan, and other invited guests. The exhibit displayed reported cases of transgender people that were killed over the past year. These cases are posted on the transgenderdor.org website.
On its last day, November 27, a forum entitled “TRANSCEND: Stories and struggles of Transpeople in the Philippines” was held at the UP Diliman Gender Office It was attended by all the members, students, faculty and LGBT leaders of different groups and organizations. Hender Gercio, President of UP Babaylan and Gia Alessandra Nolasco, Membership Coordinator of STRAP served as speakers for the forum. It discussed the sensitive topics about transgenderism and also the prevailing issues that transgender people are facing nowadays.
After the forum, a candle-lighting ceremony was done at the Palma Hall steps to honor and commemorate those transgender people who were killed due to transphobia. Each member and guest read a story of the departed and afterwards lighted a candle to signify the life of the transgender person killed due to anti-transgender hate. To cap off the activity, a moment of silence was offered to the victims.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance reminds us that we, as human beings, must value life regardless of whatever background, beliefs, origin that we may have. It also tells us that giving respect to life is the very core of being human. And it is by giving respect that makes the world a better place to live in.