November 29, 2022

A transmedical professional said work places should create an environment that is responsive to members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
At the same time, reproductive health and health care services should become more accessible for lesbian and gay parents and their kids.
Jeff Tamondong did not experience any form of discrimination in her years of employment with the Department of Health-Cordillera, but she is aware of the struggles of transgender women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community who, up to now, are still fighting for the recognition of their rights in their places of work.
Tamondong, a licensing officer at the DOH-Cordillera, said she is looking forward to the day when all government institutions, like the agency she is working with, have created an environment that is responsive to the LGBTQIA+.
She said transgender women should be allowed to serve the people, whether it is in the Armed Forces, in business, education, health or as policy-makers.
“Transgender women are women. Allow us too to enjoy our right to education and employment,” she said in a forum organized by the Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) of the Regional Development Council chaired by the Department of Education that highlighted the contributions of women in society and the efforts they are doing to achieve gender equality.
As a transwoman employed with the health care sector, Tamondong said she is lucky the DOH is an LGBQTIA+-responsive institution.
“Working in DOH is really enabling, but I am speaking for transgenders who are still struggling because there are companies who still identify their employees by their sex.”
Among other things, she said she wears the agency’s uniform for females and uses the restrooms for females, privileges she wishes government institutions and private firms should let their employees, who belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, to enjoy.
While lucky to have been employed with an agency that recognizes her rights, Tamondong said she also wants health services to be more accessible for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
When it comes to health, she said she wants to see lesbians availing themselves of reproductive health or family planning commodities and services from health centers.
“I want to see a lesbian couple bringing their children to the health centers for immunization. I believe even the children of lesbians have the right to be immunized,” she said.
“At the same time, I want to see a gay couple bringing their kids to health centers for micronutrient supplementation because their children have the right to avail of these services.”
She said families with lesbians and gay parents may be non-conventional, but they should still be treated as families.
The RGADC is a regional support committee of the RDC that recommends policies and programs on gender mainstreaming, making women and men’s experiences an integral dimension of development planning, including legislation and policies and programs. – Jane B. Cadalig