NEW YORK CITY – Filipino American transgender rights activist Geena Rocero is one of the women leaders featured in Covergirl’s latest cause campaign called “Girls Can” — a series of powerful interviews by top notch journalist Soledad O’Brien.
“Geena surgically altered her anatomy in the United States. She’s now female on official US documents and has access to health benefits and other services for women. But in the Philippines, Geena is considered a man,” said Obrien in her piece on Rocero.
This “Girls Can Change The World” video series released on Youtube on Tuesday aims to help women and girls overcome glass ceilings and break boundaries at school, work, and at home.
Rocero said, “Women, who for the longest time you’ve been told that you can’t, but coming around by saying no, girls can.”
In the video, O’Brien said, “Her celebrity in the Philippines has given her some clout, which she’s using to push a law allowing transgender people to self-identify their gender.”
The “Girls Can” series followed Rocero during her last visit to her homeland as she sought the support of the Philippine Senate to pass an anti-discrimination bill in the Philippines.
Senator Bam Aquino responded and said, “Let’s get the quick-win where we can, and then lets work on this on a larger scope.”
The “Girls Can” series believes that telling powerful stories of women like Rocero can make a difference in the lives of the other women.
“Media shapes culture. So when media starts telling empowered and dignified experiences of being LGBT, it would make such a difference to a person who is watching that. And that is the power of media,” Rocero said.
Rocero’s story has become an inspiration to many including to reality TV transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner.
In her show “I Am Cait” Jenner said, “I want to learn from the people that have lived through this experience for a long time because it’s very hard for people to understand. I’ve lived through my whole life and I still don’t understand it.”
“Realizing that courage it took for me to share my story in one of the biggest platforms at TED has also inspired Caitlyn Jenner, the most high-profile transgender person in the world right now, that’s so big. This is what happens when you show bravery,” said Rocero.
Jenner also told Rocero, “I have such respect for you, it means a lot.”
But with Rocero’s celebrity status comes critics.
Some Facebook users have questioned the legitimacy, financial accountability, and transparency of Gender Proud — the advocacy organization Rocero founded.
While no formal complaints or charges have been filed against Rocero’s organization, Gender Proud released a statement saying: “While we appreciate the concerns of the community, we believe that we have not deceived, manipulated or misrepresented our activities. We look forward to continuing to implement our advocacy work, and we’re excited to begin producing great media about the trans experience.”
Rocero admits Gender Proud is not a perfect organization but she vows to further improve its operations.
“As long as you are living your truth, you could never go wrong,” She said, “As long as I’m on course with my purpose, in my advocacy, in my work as a transgender woman — I’m good.”
ABS-CBN News reached out to some of these critics to go on record with their allegations against Gender Proud, but they have declined to do so.
While Rocero has been advised by her legal team to refrain from making further comments on this controversy – concerned individuals can reach the founders via email at email@example.com.
You may contact Don Tagala at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.