UP elects first transgender student council chair

Voltaire Tupaz
Dino ran on a platform of "zero cases of gender discrimination and sexual harassment and zero tolerance for fraternity-related violence.”

FIRST TRANSGENDER CHAIR. Heart Diño advocates "zero cases of gender discrimination and sexual harassment." Photo by Voltaire Tupaz

MANILA, Philippines – Gabriel “Heart” Diño has been elected the first transgender Chairperson of the University of the Philippines Diliman, University Student Council (USC) in the university-wide elections that took place on Thursday, March 1.

Diño ran on a platform of “zero cases of gender discrimination and sexual harassment and zero tolerance for fraternity-related violence.” 

“I’m a man but I identify myself as a woman,”  Dino told Rappler in an earlier interview. (READ: Is UP ready for a transgender student council chair?)

For this story, Diño will be referred to as she. Dino prefers to be addressed as such as she considers herself a transgender.

As a councilor of the USC, Diño was assigned chair of the USC Gender Committe, where she staunchly promoted gender equality. The committee which promotes gender sensitivity was introduced in 1997 during the term of National Youth Commission Commissioner-at-Large Percival Cendaña, the first openly gay USC chairperson. 

Since its formation in 1913, the USC has been a male-dominated student institution with only 6 women serving as chairpersons. 

Diño, a first year MS Applied Math major, beat 4th year BS Economics major Amancio Melad III of Alpha Phi Omega; 4th year Juris Doctor and independent candidate Jose Martin Loon of Sigma Rho, and 4th year BA Tourism major Maria Shaina Santiago. – Rappler.com

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