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Celebs on trans woman barred from women’s restroom: ‘Fight for equality not over’

/ 08:55 PM August 14, 2019
Gretchen Diez

Gretchen Diez (right) was turned over to Police Station 7 of the Quezon City Police District after she was barred from entering a ladies’s room in a mall. Image: QCPD Public Information Office

After trans woman Gretchen Diez was blocked from using the women’s restroom in a Quezon City mall, celebrities expressed support for Diez and called for more sensitivity toward the LGBTQ+ community.

A janitress stopped Diez from entering a women’s comfort room and told her to use the men’s room at Farmers Plaza in Cubao on Tuesday, Aug. 13. When Diez attempted to take a video of the incident, the janitress was angered and Diez was arrested.

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The mall’s management released a statement on Wednesday, Aug. 14 where it apologized for the treatment of Diez. It also distanced itself from the janitress, stating that the incident was “clearly a mistake committed by an agency worker not organic to our company.”

Celebrities such as actor Vice Ganda, TV host Bianca Gonzalez and singer Saab Magalona voiced their empathy on Twitter for the trans woman.

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Vice Ganda, who has been vocal about his support for the SOGIE Equality bill or the Anti-Discrimination bill, renewed his call for its passage.

“Nakakakaawa yung mga LGBTQ+ na napagkakaitan ng karapatan dahil sa kanilang gender identity. At nakakaawa rin yung mga ignorante na napagkakaitan ng kaalaman kaya nakakatapak ng karapatan,” he wrote. “Kailan pa kaya lalawak ang pang unawa sa LGBTQ+? May pag-asa pa ba ang SOGIE BILL?”

([Members of the] LGBTQ+ community are pitiful for being deprived of their rights because of their gender identity. It is also pitiful that there are ignorant people who are deprived of awareness, which is why they trample on [other’s] rights. When will there be a broader understanding toward the LGBTQ+ [community]? Is there hope for the SOGIE bill?)

Gonzalez also called for the passing of the SOGIE Equality bill: “Huge respect for the LGBTQ community and allies na pinaglaban ang karapatan ni Gretchen. Ang layo pa talaga ng ilalakbay ng laban para sa SOGIE awareness.. naka-attend na ako ng ilang SOGIE forums sa ilang opisina. Is it possible to make this mandatory? #SOGIEEqualityNow.”

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(Huge respect for the LGBTQ community and allies who are fighting for Gretchen’s rights. We have a long way to go in fighting for SOGIE awareness… I have attended some SOGIE forums in some offices. Is it possible to make this mandatory? #SOGIEEqualityNow.)

Magalona shared a video that Diez took where she was confronting the janitor about how she was treated. In it, the janitress is heard referring to her as “sir,” slapping her and her phone and speaking to her condescendingly.

Reacting to the video, she wrote, “Ang lala (How awful)!! I’m glad to know Gretchen is now free (after being arrested for taking this video??) but the fight for equality is obviously not over. Laban lang (Keep fighting)!!”

Actor Bart Guingona wondered what was wrong with a trans woman using a women’s restroom. “A transgender woman is not allowed to use the women’s toilet. Why? What harm could that possibly have done? Are they afraid she’ll see other women’s vag*nas? And if she entered the Men’s room, wouldn’t that have been more problematic? Sigh. We have a long way to grow up.”

Comedian Ethel Booba suggested that since straight men and trans women are uncomfortable around each other, a third restroom should be made for LGBTQ+ people.

Some netizens shot this down, explaining that trans women are women and that respect should be encouraged toward one’s chosen gender identity.

American LGBTQ+ organization GLAAD has criticized bathroom bills which aim to exclude transgender people from using restrooms that conform to their gender identity. In its 2017 report “Debunking the ‘Bathroom Bill’ Myth” it noted that such bills imply that transgender women are “deviant and predatory” even if such claims lack evidence. It also said that restrooms can continue being safe spaces given that there are laws which cover public harassment. JB

RELATED STORIES:

KaladKaren Davila slams Makati bar for banning gays

Ice Seguerra deplores transgender comfort room discrimination

Hontiveros urges passage of SOGIE Bill after trans woman’s arrest in mall

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TAGS: discrimination, harassment, LGBTQ, trans woman, transgender
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