The Philippines Just Elected Its First Transgender Congresswoman

Photo: TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images.
Geraldine Roman just made history for an incredible reason.

Roman, a member of the Liberal Party, is the first transgender person elected to the Philippine House of Representatives. The 49-year-old won the lower house seat in the country's Bataan province, an office that was previously held by her mother.

It was a long road to Roman's election. The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, has seen a fair amount of public ridicule, discrimination, and even violence against LGBTQ people, CNN notes. As Refinery29 has previously reported, protections are lacking, and there is much confusion over the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation.

Roman's election could signify a turning point for the LGBTQ community in the country.

"If Jesus Christ was alive today, he would not approve of discrimination," Roman told BBC News. "I firmly believe that."

LGBTQ rights will be a priority for Roman during her time in office, according to BBC News. Many in the country and across the globe cheered her win on social media, calling it a historic victory.
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Roman wasn't, however, the only politician making global headlines in the Philippines this week. The country also elected Rodrigo Duterte — a mayor who has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump — as its president.
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