#SOGIEEqualityNow: Transgender restroom issue sparks call for passage of SOGIE bill
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos online called for the passage of the anti-discrimination bill following the the arrest of transgender woman Gretchen Custodio Diez, who was prevented from using the women's restroom in a Cubao mall in Quezon City on Tuesday, August 13.
The hashtag #SOGIEEqualityNow was among Twitter's Philippine trending topics early morning Wednesday, August 14, as netizens urged lawmakers to push for the sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) equality bill.
The SOGIE bill seeks to protect the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community from discriminatory acts.
For some Twitter users, what happened to Diez is not an isolated case. They stressed that this will continue to happen without a law protecting the LGBTQ+ community. Others believe that what happened to Diez all the more intensifies the need for the immediate passage of the SOGIE bill.
What happened last night to transwoman Gretchen Diez is happening everyday. It is the reality. And it will continue to happen without appropriate law to protect all persons regardless of SOGIE against discrimination. #SOGIEEqualityNow— Gene Charles Magistrado (@geniecharlie) August 14, 2019
A lot of institutions could paint a whole building with rainbow colors and claim to be pro-LGBTQIA+ but still be really homophobic and discriminatory.— Jude Thaddeus Damian (@jtdam0512) August 14, 2019
We need a law passed to protect, defend, and improve the rights and welfare of the LGBTQIA+ members! #SOGIEEqualityNow
Gretchen Diez is a clear cut example of why we should have #SOGIEEqualityNow I salute her for her courage and how she has embraced her individuality. The support given to her was overwhelming too.— Dr. Gia Sison (@giasison) August 14, 2019
LGBTQ+ advocates have been lobbying for the enactment of the anti-discrimination bill for more than two decades already. It was debated over for 3 years by the 17th Congress only to go back to square one when the same Congress failed to pass it.
Fighting for gender equality
Diez eventually walked free after the janitress who prevented her from entering the restroom decided to drop her complaint. The janitress, in a written letter to Diez, apologized and said she was "willing to learn LGBT rights."
Other netizens said that the passage of the SOGIE bill isn't enough, that there is also a need to focus on educating people about gender equality.
The incident happened to Ms. Gretchen Diez last night in a #PUBLIC Mall served as a living proof that some of the Filipinos is not well educated about Gender Equality, or should say they've been taught about it but they don't want to deal with it. Poor Filipinos!#SOGIEEqualityNow— Charles Resullar (@CRResullar95) August 13, 2019
It is easy to forgive her for not being aware of SOGIE but it is harder to forgive her for physically assaulting someone for just using the washroom. Did Gretchen harm anyone in the washroom? No. It is basic not to hurt and humiliate someone harmless. #SOGIEEqualityNow https://t.co/mXA0NtPNYD— #SOGIEEqualityNOW (@albert_pagunsan) August 14, 2019
so how can YOU help?— Vince #SOGIEEqualityNow (@vinceliban) August 13, 2019
first, we need to make @AranetaCenter accountable. pressure them to issue a PUBLIC APOLOGY. wala pa silang binigay na commitment to apologize publicly kanina.
in the long run, support the campaign to pass #SOGIEEqualityNow!
Netizens also slammed the management of Araneta Center, where the mall is located, for not teaching their employees the right way to treat the LGBTQ+. The mall issued a public apology to Diez.
"We would like to apologize to Ms. Diez for the treatment she has received from a member of the cleaning crew. We also would like to extend the apology not just to the LGBTQ+ community but to the public in general for the actions of said crew member," Morriel Abogado, the property general manager of Farmers Plaza mall, said in a statement.
She only wanted to go to the toilet but she was treated like a criminal. The staff of @AranetaCenter should be held accountable for mistreating Gretchen. Public apologies & staff suspension should be in order otherwise we should boycott Araneta Center #SOGIEEqualityNow #SOGIEBill https://t.co/Zgk065zyV0— Remus Mark Carballo (@javalavamanila) August 13, 2019
Netizens also posted a throwback photo of Araneta Center's rainbow pedestrian lane and other rainbow structures painted in honor of Pride Month last June. They pointed out that Araneta's support for the LGBTQ+ community was only a marketing strategy, done for clout.
Naalala niyo pa ba ito nung Pride Month? Yep, that’s in Araneta. May paganyan-ganyan pa sila yet di nila maturuan employees nila how to respect transwoman. For clout? Justice for Gretchen Custodio Diez! pic.twitter.com/kbYxTIdMqJ— Renz Catembung (@AntoineRenz) August 13, 2019
Corporations and entities such as Araneta are all too eager to co-opt the LGBTQIA+ community's struggles during Pride Month for the sake of relevance and clout pero when it comes to truly respecting us di nila magawa. #GretchenCustodioDiez #SOGIEEqualityNow— MICHAEL! (@itsmikerebuyas) August 13, 2019
Here's what other netizens had to say:
Do you think the SOGIE bill will be passed anytime soon? – Rappler.com