Filipina transgender Bemz Benedito was recognized in New York for being a Global Transgender Hero.
Benedito is the chairperson of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) advocacy group, Ladlad, and has been actively campaigning for the rights of the transgendered person.
Benedito started her work to protect rights of LGBT persons after she herself experienced discrimination and was sexually harassed while she was researching about indigenous peoples’ rights and mining advocacies.
“I am not the best and there are others who are doing longer and better than I do, but be it remembered that here was a transgender woman who worked hard in her little ways to represent the LGBT community as one sector fighting for equal rights,” Benedito told media upon learning of the recognition.
The LGBT advocate said she was also personally gratified with the award which was announced in celebration of International Women’s Day, “because I was affirmed as a woman and my small contribution for equality in my country was recognized”.
The awards were given out by True Colors Fund, an LGBT organization based in New York co-founded by international pop star Cyndi Lauper. True Colors’ mission “is working to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth by creating systemic change”.
Benedito and four others were cited for “rather than accepting the status-quo or giving up on themselves or their communities, each of these women made a commitment to make the place they call home a safer place.”