MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – He is a news anchor on a morning radio show and a prime-time television broadcast. He was also a former Vice President of the Philippines. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be ignorant about the LGBT community, particulary about transgender people.
Last Wednesday, Noli de Castro earned the ire of the LGBT community and many netizens after making what was described as a discriminatory remark during his morning radio show.
In referring to Geraldine Roman who on May 9 was elected the country’s first transgender member of the House of Representatives, De Castro said, “Di siya woman, di siya man. Eh di congressperson?”(Neither a woman nor a man. Therefore congressperson?)
After being deluged with criticism over his remarks, De Castro immediately took a leave of absence from his anchoring job and flew to the Francisco Bay Area where he is expected to undergo a week-long sensitivity training on transgender issues at the Transgender Law Center.
“I don’t claim to know everything about transgender people, so I am open to be more educated about the community,” he said as he boarded a Philippine Air Lines flight to the City by the Bay.
(From the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD media reference guide: “Reporters should use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.” (see AP & New York Times Style)
When describing transgender people, please use the correct term or terms to describe their gender identity.
For example, a person who was assigned male at birth and transitions to living as a woman is a transgender woman, whereas a person who was assigned female at birth and transitions to living as a man is a transgender man. If someone prefers a different term, use it along with an explanation of what that term means to them.)