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. (Photo from the QCPD Public Information Office)
MANILA, Philippines – The arrest and supposed discrimination of a transwoman in a mall in Cubao, Quezon City will be investigated by teams from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), its spokesperson, Jacqueline de Guia, said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
According De Guia, the case involving Gretchen Custodio Diez, who was apprehended as she was about to enter a ladies’ room on Tuesday afternoon, has been referred to National Capital Region office of the CHR and its Gender, Equality, and Women’s Human Rights Center.
“As Gender Ombud of the country, CHR denounces all forms of bigotry and discrimination against our LGBTQIA+/SOGIE citizens, and urges the government, as well as employers, around the country to make sure their workers are properly trained to prevent any similar future incidents,” De Guia said.
“Both offices will be investigating to help ensure no other person has to go through this kind of discrimination again,” she added.
According to the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), Diez was about to enter a ladies’ room of the Farmers Plaza at the Araneta Center when Chayla Ganal, a female member of the cleaning crew, prevented her.
When Diez protested and aired her sentiments via Facebook live, she was accosted by a security guard.
She was taken to Station 7 of the QCPD, where Ganal planned to sue her for unjust vexation, but the cleaning crew member eventually backed out. Diez was then brought to Camp Karingal, headquarters of the QCPD.
The incident was denounced by several celebrities and politicians including Sen. Risa Hontiveros, an advocate of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.
READ: Transgender woman in women’s comfort room causes stir in QC mall
READ: Hontiveros urges passage of SOGIE Bill after trans woman’s arrest in mall
READ: LGBT group asks Senate to end debates on SOGIE bill
De Guia also highlighted the importance of the SOGIE Equality Bill’s passage and enactment, as city ordinances had been not enough to stop discrimination of LGBTQIA+ members.
Quezon City requires businesses to comply with the Gender Fair Ordinance — something that the mall violated, according to Mayor Joy Belmonte.
“CHR also once again calls for the passage of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill, as there is a clear need for the SOGIE community to have this kind of legal protection against all forms of discrimination,” De Guia said.
“This treatment goes against Quezon City’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s SOGIE […] Ignorance manifests as discrimination, and this is something we can combat with better training, awareness, and education,” she added.
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