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After transgender woman’s arrest over bathroom use: Hontiveros, De Lima push for passage of SOGIE bill

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POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Leila De Lima renewed their call for the passage of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill following the arrest of a transgender woman who attempted to use the female bathroom at a mall in Quezon City.

Hontiveros said in a privilege speech Wednesday (August 14) that Gretchen Diez’s ordeal shows the discrimination that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community experience regularly.

“What this underscores, Mr. President, is that there is grave and urgent need for a SOGIE Equality Bill. Panahon na para sabihin na hindi tayo papayag na may LGBTQI na poposasan, sasampalin, aalipustahin dahil sa kanilang kasarian. It is time that we say we will stand by those who speak their truths,” she said.

Diez was barred by the janitress of Farmer’s Mall from using the women’s restroom Tuesday (August 13).

The 28-year-old transgender woman recorded a video of her confrontation with the janitress, Chayra Ganal, at one of the rooms inside the mall. This prompted the employee to call the police to arrest Diez for alleged unjust vexation.

Diez was subsequently released and Ganal apologized for her actions.

The SOGIE Equality bill seeks to penalize discrimination against a person based on his or her SOGIE. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading in the 17th Congress but the Senate failed to act on it.

Hontiveros refiled the SOGIE bill last July.

De Lima said in a statement that members of the LGBT community need a strong law to protect them against discrimination.

“Hangga’t hindi natin nabibigyan ng sapat na suporta ang ating LGBT community laban sa anumang uri ng pang-aabuso at diskriminasyon at walang sapat na impormasyon ang publiko ukol sa mga ganitong usapin, magpapatuloy lang po ang mga ganitong uri ng insidente,” she said.

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