KaladKaren stresses the issues concerning the lack of policies protecting the LGBTQI community from discrimination in light of the Makati City Police’s transgender profiling operations last year called “Oplan X-Men”.
KaladKaren, or Jervi Li in real life, says that the campaign is both disheartening and scary. “Unang-una sa lahat, nakakalungkot and at the same time nakakatakot na nangyayari siya sa mga miyembro ng LGBT community. ‘Yung pangalan pa lang na “Oplan X-Men,” it’s demeaning and it’s also a mockery to the transgender community. Transwomen are women. Hindi sila X-Men. So, doon pa lang napakasakit sa isang transgender woman like me na tawaging X-Men,” she voices out.
The Umagang Kay Ganda mainstay and I Can See Your Voice singvestigator also points out the importance of information dissemination in fighting against the degrading treatment experienced by the LGBTQIA community in their daily lives. “Maraming mga nakaka-experience ng harassment and violence na miyembro ng LGBT community araw-araw sa buong Pilipinas at hanggang ngayon wala tayong batas para protektahan ang mga tao, not only the LGBT community, on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. Kaya naman, hangga’t wala tayong batas na pumoprotekta sa ating mga miyembro ng LGBT community, naniniwala ako that the best way to combat ignorance is to be informed,” adds KaladKaren.
She cites the Makati Police’s “Oplan X-Men” as an example. The authorities were allegedly arresting transwomen for identity profiling which, according to KaladKaren, is a very clear form of discrimination. Therefore, it is important to always know your rights especially when caught in situations like these. “Number 1, you should have a valid ID. Pangalawa, dapat alerto ka rin. Dapat alam mo kung bakit ka dadalhin sa presinto. May karapatan kang tumanggi kasi wala namang warrant of arrest. ‘Pag sinabing tatanungin ang personal information mo, you have the right to privacy,” KaladKaren’s reminders to transwomen like her.
The host-comedian reveals that she also experienced discrimination when she and her friends were barred entry from a club in Makati City due to their gender. “Hindi lang po kami pinapasok dahil bawal daw ang bakla,” shares KaladKaren. “Hangga’t wala pa tayong batas na magpoprotekta sa atin, we have to protect each other,” she asserts.