Geena Rocero, a transgender Filipino-American supermodel, TED speaker, and founder of trans-focused and trans-specific production company Gender Proud, made history along with other international leaders at the first ever High Level United Nations meeting on Trans and Gender Diversity.
For the first time in history, the UN is having a conversation about going beyond the gender binary with the #BeyondBinaries panel.
Proud immigrant, transgender, and woman of color, Rocero is applauded in the UN for speaking about gender neutrality when it comes to language in the Philippines, and for speaking up about having to decolonize her understanding of language.
Rocero addresses the UN, “We are speaking about language, and I, myself, am passionate in learning more, in decolonizing my understanding of language. I was born and raised in the Philippines, a country that has been colonized. A country that—for so long—has had an indigenous understanding of gender fluidity.”
She also tackles the neutrality of dialects in the country, particularly Tagalog, “We have this word called siya.Siya is basically ‘them.’ We are a gender neutral language in the Philippines. And Tagalog, which is our language, is part of a long history of Austronesian language family, that’s spoken by more than 500 million people. Gender neutral identities, identifying with preferred pronouns, it’s nothing new when it comes to the context of indigenous people.”
Rocero has been advocating advancing the rights of all transgender individuals since 2014, through her Gender Proud initiative. And on the same year, she also came out as a transgender woman the International Transgender Day of Visibility, while giving a TED talk in New York City.