This senator doesn’t know what a trans woman is

Koko Pimintel surrounded by microphones

A Philippine politician showed just how far the trans rights movement has left to go by claiming he doesn’t know what a trans woman is.

Senator Risa Hontiveros had just finished an impassioned speech calling on the congress to pass a bill on LGBT+ rights when her colleague Koko Pimintel took to the pedestal.

“The good senator used the term trans woman,” Pimintel said on Wednesday (August 14), according to Rappler. “May we know what exactly that is?”

Hontiveros, a former Nobel Peace Prize nominee, spent the following 35 minutes explaining the basics of LGBT+ identities to a group of cis-men senators.

Concepts which the senators were confused about included whether trans women would “need to look something or someway” before they were recognised by the law. Hontiveros clarified that would not.

Philippine senator questions trans bathroom rights

Senator Panfilo Lacson asked a question referring to an incident which took place on Tuesday (August 13), when a transgender woman was handcuffed for attempting to use the correct bathroom.

Lacson, a former police chief, said: “I see a little danger here.

“What if a straight male person who is simply voyeuristic would enter the ladies room with another intention?”

Risa Hontiveros smiling as she speaks into a microphone

Senator Risa Hontiveros is one of the Philippine’s most prominent LGBT+ allies. (Josefiel Rivera/Getty)

Hontiveros explained that men who plan to sexually harass women in public bathrooms usually do so without going to the effort of dressing up.

“They just enter as themselves, dressing in their everyday garb. They don’t need to pretend,” she said.

Senate president asks ‘why LGBT?’

Senate President Vicente Sotto III joined in the debate, asking: “Why those lengthy letters (LGBT+)?

“Why not just homo sapiens? We’re all the same. Why do we have to segregate the gays from the lesbians from the straight guys?”

“Because that is not the world we live in,” replied Hontiveros.

If you think life’s getting more difficult as a man, you should try living as a woman, as an LGBT+ person.

In one of the final remarks, Senator Richard Gordon argued that “it’s getting kinda difficult to live in the world today because we’re making adjustments.”

Hontiveros told Gordo: “If you think that it’s getting more and more difficult to live in the world, speaking as a man, you should try living in this world as a woman. You should try living in this world as an LGBT+ person.”