Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2019 08:36:19 +0000
A transgender woman, who was barred from using a women’s restroom in a mall in Cubao, Quezon City, was arrested for taking a video of the incident on Tuesday.
Authorities said Gretchen Custodio Diez was nabbed for unjust vexation for sharing a live video on her Facebook account when a janitress confronted her.
According to Diez in her almost an hour-long video, she was about to enter the women’s comfort room at the upper ground floor of the mall around 1:30 p.m. when the janitress prevented her, insisting that she should use the men’s restroom instead.
Diez said she started to take a video to record the explanation of the janitress on why a transwoman was not allowed to use the women’s comfort room despite an existing anti-discrimination ordinance in the city.
She added that two janitresses dragged her and brought her inside a room that seems to be an employee’s lounge where she started to record a live Facebook video to seek help from friends and for evidence.
It was seen in the video that some security and maintenance personnel of the mall continued to argue with Diez and prevented her to take a video inside.
Diez was held inside the room for hours before she was brought to Quezon City Police Station 7 (PS-7) around 4:20 p.m. then to QCPD’s Anti-Cybercrime Division in Camp Karingal but referred them back to PS-7.
At around 11:30 p.m., Diez was freed after the janitress decided to drop charges against her and apologized through a letter.
While Diez accepted the written apology, she said that her camp will continue to file complaints against the mall management for violating the city’s Gender-Fair Ordinance.
“We will still fight for what is right. ‘Yung violation po against city ordinance ng Quezon City, papatunayan po natin sa lahat na may pangil pa rin po ang batas,” Diez said in an interview right after her release.
“Wala daw po talagang formal education and training on gender equality ang mga staff. Five years na simula nung napasa ‘yung ordinance sa Quezon City, five years is enough to orient their people para galangin ang mga karapatan natin. It should not happen in Quezon City, it should not happen anywhere in the Philippines,” she added.
In 2014, the Quezon City council passed the City Gender-Fair Ordinance that aims to defend members of the LGBT+ community from any form of discrimination.
Under the ordinance, it is unlawful to “ridicule, to commit harassment, disallow the entry from any establishment, promote discrimination and to commit any act that demeans the dignity and self-respect of a person.”
The ordinance mandates imprisonment of not less than two months up to one year for any person held liable and a fine of P1,000 to P5,000.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has condemned the discrimination happened to Diez despite the existing ordinance.
“Quezon City is the first city to pass a Gender Fair Ordinance to protect the rights of LGBT+ community. It prohibits all forms of discrimination, gives protection and respects the dignity and human rights of everyone especially the LGBT+,” Belmonte said in a statement on Wednesday.
The city mayor added that the mall clearly violated the ordinance for its failure to put up an “All-Gender Toilets” for the LGBT+ community.
“I already ordered the Business Permit and Licensing Department (BPLD) to ensure that all establishments here in the city comply with our Gender Fair Ordinance,” Belmonte added.
Quezon City First District councilor Mayen Juico, who authored the ordinance, went to the police station where Diez was held to show support.
“We are very disappointed because of all the cities, we have the most comprehensive ordinance when it comes to anti-discrimination. While it should not happen to any LGBT, it should not happen in Quezon City,” she said.
Bataan First District Representative Geraldine Roman also met with Diez and the mall personnel at the police station to explain the existing ordinance and to support the rights of the LGBT+.
Roman, who was the first transgender woman elected to the House of Representatives, also vowed to probe the discrimination happened to Diez. (Alexandria San Juan)