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De Lima slams Tarlac State University for preventing transgender women from wearing dresses

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By Vanne Terrazola

Senator Leila de Lima on Monday slammed the Tarlac State University (TSU) for preventing six transgender women from wearing dresses in their graduation.

Sen. Leila de Lima during the continuation of the Senate inquiry into the killing of former Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa on Monday, December 5, 2016. (Jansen Romero) | mb.com.ph

Sen. Leila de Lima (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

De Lima, a staunch human rights advocate, condemned the university officials’ order to strictly follow the female and male dress codes at the graduation rites.

She considered this was a violation of the students’ rights to freely express themselves, especially that it coincides with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community’s celebration of the Pride Month.

“We condemn this move to the highest level because this is a clear violation of their right to free expression,” De Lima said in her statement.

“This saddens me because it happened during the celebration of the LGBT Pride Month. Instead of letting students belonging to the LGBT community to celebrate one of the most memorable moments of their young lives, they were prevented from fully expressing themselves,” she added.

Reports said that aside from the six transgender women, two graduating transmen and lesbian students were barred from wearing barong tagalog.

“Hindi ito dapat nangyayari, lalo pa’t mayroon mga karapatan ang ating LGBT community na dapat kilalanin at irespeto nang lahat,” De Lima lamented.

(This should not be happening, more especially that members of the LGBT community have rights that all of us should recognize and respect.)

The proposed law prohibiting the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE) failed to hurdle the 17th Congress which adjourned last June 7.

The House of Representatives already approved its version of the measure in September 2017. The bill, on the other hand, languished in the Senate at the period of interpellations for almost three years.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the sponsor of SOGIE bill, vowed to refile the measure in the 18th Congress.

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