Interview: International Women’s Day talk with transgender leader

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Women from around the world are taking to the streets to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8. 

IWD has been celebrated since 1900 as a day to “commemorate respect, appreciation and love towards women.” Initially starting as a socialist event, IWD has been adopted to include woman’s reproductive rights, gender equality and economic equality. 

This year’s theme is “A Promise is a Promise: A Time for Action to End Violence Against Women.” Across the world, women in transgender communities have risen to have their voices heard as women who have often fallen through the gaps of civil rights protections.

Speaking to 429Magazine is transgender leader and director of GANDA Filipinas, Naomi Fontanos.

429Magazine: How do LGBT people and transgender women fit into women’s rights and International Women’s Day?

Naomi Fontanos: The women’s rights movement is a movement to end sexism and sexist oppression. I believe that LGBT rights movements around the world share this feminist guiding principle as well.

429Mag: How are Ganda Filipinas mobilizing/organizing to march for this event?

Fontanos: To commemorate women’s month, GANDA Filipinas will have a Facebook photo campaign featuring our members asserting their womanhood and humanity. At month’s end, we will also have a ‘brown bag’ discussion on transgender issues with women’s rights advocates.

429Mag: Any general comments in regards to International Woman’s Day? 

Fontanos: International Women’s Day is becoming more inclusive with many celebrations around the world including women of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities – a welcome change indeed!

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Recently the Obama Administration has signed the Violence Against Women Act as the first bill to explicitly include LGBT anti-discrimination provisions. Last month there was a hugely successful worldwide protest against gender violence called One Billion Rising that was a direct response to the infamous gang rape of an Indian college student who later died from her injuries. 

There will be marches scheduled in many major metropolises across the world for International Women’s Day, demonstrating for an end to female violence and to raise the awareness of women’s social and political rights worldwide.

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