On Tuesday, a transgender woman was handcuffed and detained for an unjust vexation complaint filed against her by a mall janitor, according to Inquirer. Gretchen Diez simply wanted to use the women’s bathroom at Farmers Plaza, but cleaner Chayra Ganal stopped her from entering the restroom. After Diez protested and started taking a video, she was handcuffed and detained. Ganal eventually dropped the complaint, and the mall issued a public apology.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, and Rep. Geraldine Roman spoke against the discrimination against Diez. Quezon City has an anti-discrimination Gender Fair Ordinance, and Belmonte said the mall “clearly violated” it, according to ABS-CBN News. The mayor ordered the city’s business permit and licensing department to ensure that establishments comply with the ordinance.
Hontiveros, Senate sponsor of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill, called for the end of discrimination against transgender people, according to CNN Philippines. Roman, a transgender woman, said, "Babagsak ba ang langit kung pinayagan natin ang isang transwoman na umihi sa CR ng babae?"
Miss Universe Catriona Gray also denounced the incident and said it “only highlights further the Philippines’ need for implementation of the #SOGIEEqualityBill. LGBTQ+ rights are HUMAN rights—mga karapatang pangkaligtasan at kalayaan mula sa diskriminasyon, karahasan, at pagmamalupit batay sa pagkakakilanlan.”
“The incident happened in a city that has an existing anti-discrimination bill. Ibig sabihin, walang saysay ang isang bill na hindi maipatupad sa isang komunidad. Kasabay ng hinihinging pagpasa ng #SOGIEEqualityBill, dapat din tayong humiling ng mga sumusunod bilang isang komunidad:
- ‘Accessible forms of information for the public such as educational drives, programs, and awareness campaigns.’ Para mas maintindihan natin ang mga pangangailangan ng LGBTQ+ community at para malaman natin ang mga bagay na maaari pa nating magawa bilang mga kaalyado o mga taong may awa sa kapwa.
- ‘A SOGIE workplace policy.’ Para sa lahat ng mga pampublikong tagapaglingkod at mga taong may impluwensiya sa komunidad. Gusto ko ring pagtuunan natin ng pansin ang katotohanang wala dapat makaranas ng anumang uri ng pagpapahiya at pang-aabuso (emotional, physical, o sexual), LGBTQ+ man o hindi.”
Catriona also spoke against victim blaming. “The whole argument of shifting the blame to the victim for reasons of being trans to justify abuse is still victim blaming and IS NOT RIGHT. The blame should be on the perpetrators who should be held accountable. Corrective actions should be taken. In [this] case, points one and two above could greatly help prevent similar incidents from happening [in the future].”
She called on everyone to support the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. “Ang LGBTQ+ ay nakikipaglaban para sa kanilang mga karapatan—ang karapatan sa kaligtasan, proteksyon, at pagkakapantay-pantay. [Ito] ay laban din natin.”
Follow Dyan on Instagram.