Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray has expressed her support for a transgender woman in the Philippines who was stopped from using the female restroom at a mall in Quezon City.
On Tuesday, Gretchen Diez made headlines after she was barred by a female custodian from entering the female restroom at Farmers Plaza mall in Cubao, QC.
When the janitor insisted that she use the male bathroom instead, Diez used her phone to record the incident while pursuing her demands.
Diez, who identifies and presents as a woman, was later brought to the mall’s security office after she persisted to use the facility.
She was also brought to the local police station, where she almost faced an unjust vexation complaint. Diez’s video soon went viral and generated support on social media.
“For me, it was like I was a shoplifter being dragged inside the mall, with people looking at me as I was being held,” Diez tells Rappler in an interview. “I could not understand how, in a supposedly gender-fair city, there’s a person who would treat me like I committed a crime.”
It is worth noting that there is currently an anti-discrimination ordinance in Quezon City. According to Diez, this law is partly the reason why she regularly visits places in the area.
Aside from anti-discrimination laws in a few cities, a legislation to nationalize anti-SOGIE discrimination (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) law is pending before the Philippine Congress.
Facing online backlash, the janitor apologized and the case being prepared against Diez was later dropped.
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Last night’s incident involving a transgender woman being prohibited from using the womans washroom and resulting in being escorted off premises in handcuffs by local police 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: 1. “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 ❤. 2. “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. The whole arguement 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 and corrective actions should be taken (in last nights case – points one and two above could greatly help prevent future similar incidents from happening). Ang LGBTQ + ay nakikipaglaban para sa kanilang mga karapatan – ang karapatan sa kaligtasan, proteksyon at pagkakapantay-pantay – ay laban din natin. 🏳🌈 #SOGIEEqualityNow
Gray, who is a known advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, expressed her support for Diez by posting a message along with a photo of the rainbow flag on her Instagram account.
“Last night’s incident involving a transgender woman being prohibited from using the woman’s washroom and resulting in being escorted off-premises in handcuffs by local police only highlights further, the Philippines need for implementation of the #SOGIEEqualityBill,” she wrote, referring to the pending anti-SOGIE discrimination bill.
“LGBTQ+ rights are HUMAN rights — These are the right to safety and freedom from discrimination, and violence based on gender identity.
“The incident happened in a city that has an existing anti-discrimination bill. That means the bill is useless if it’s not enforced.”
In her post, Gray suggested two things that can be done to address the issue of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community.
She noted that the country needs “accessible forms of information for the public such as educational drives, programs, and awareness campaigns” and “a SOGIE workplace policy.”
Gray further pointed out that no one deserves humiliation, discrimination, and violence just because of one’s gender identity.
“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,” she wrote.
“The blame should be on the perpetrators who should be held accountable and corrective actions should be taken (in last night’s case – points one and two above could greatly help prevent future similar incidents from happening).”
“The LGBTQ+ community is fighting for their rights – the right to safety, protection, and equality — is also our fight.”
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach also posted a message of support for the LGBTQ+ community on her Instagram account:
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Did you hear about what happened? Me too! So here, please meet the GingerBread Person ❤️ . We have different ways to promote our causes and support the 🌈 community. Some through advocating for policy, some for demand generation and some for awareness. No action is too small! Every effort creates ripples of positive change that we need to finally stop stigma and discrimination (both external and within the community itself), Hopefully through this post I can educate someone and reach those who need to understand the concept of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sexual Characteristics (Expression). Read on and please share away: link is also on my bio https://www.genderbread.org/resource/genderbread-person-v4-0-poster
Meanwhile, Araneta Center, which owns Farmers Plaza, posted an apology for Diez on its Facebook page.
Despite the apology, Diez said that she would file a case against the Araneta Center Group of Companies, reports Inquirer.