Wednesday, March 7, 2012

UP Babaylan x YAHOO! News : Is PH ready for transgender leaders?

The University of the Philippines has been branded as a microcosm of the country. As its Diliman campus recently elected its first-ever transgender student council chairperson, is the Philippines also ready for a transgender president?

Gabriel Paolo “Heart” Diño, who won as UP Diliman student council chair, is hopeful.
“In electing a president, we should go beyond the sexuality, but rather focus on his or her credibility, ability, character and commitment to serve the nation,” Diño told Yahoo! Southeast Asia in an interview. 

“At the end of the day, whatever your brand of leadership or activism is, I think it is irrelevant with our sexuality,” she added.

As a transgender, Diño identifies herself and prefers to be addressed as a female although she was born male.

The newly-elected student leader stressed that she is unique from the other candidates not because of her sexuality but because of her brand of leadership which is “founded on the values of equality and inclusion.”

“I will make sure that in every issue and decisions that needs to be addressed, every perspective and every side will be heard because that is the true essence of student politics – democracy and non-exclusivity,” Diño said.

She revealed that serving the students through the council has been her way of thanking UP for embracing who she is.

Diño graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics last year and is now a first year MS Applied Math major.

“As a teenager, I endured stigma and discrimination from my classmates and peers because of my gender. And when I entered college, it is in UP where I got the opportunity to be accepted and grow,” she said in a statement from her political party UP ALYANSA.

Though she is aware that there is still some who doubt her capabilities, Diño said she is able to build her character and strengthen her faith through her critics.

“I know I cannot please everybody. All I have to do is to prove to them that I am worthy of the position and that I will do everything to be the best UP student council chairperson,” she said.

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