Gretchen Diez files discrimination complaint vs Araneta Center

Rambo Talabong
Gretchen Diez asks the Quezon City Pride Council to conduct a formal investigation into the incident

DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT. Gretchen Diez at Quezon City Hall to meet with Mayor Joy Belmonte and the Quezon City Pride Council on August 16, 2019. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Transgender woman Gretchen Diez on Friday, August 16, filed a discrimination complaint against Araneta Center.

Diez filed the complaint before the Quezon City Pride Council, the main implementing body of the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

“I implore the Quezon City Pride Council to conduct a formal investigation…to determine the possible imposition by the City Government of administrative sanctions against Araneta Center Inc,” Diez’s complaint read.

If the council finds merit in the complaint, it would work with the Quezon City Attorney’s Office in crafting a complaint to be filed in court.

Diez also wants to hold accountable Starline Security Agency and the “sanitation services agency” whose personnel were involved in the incident. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Gretchen Diez on living her truth)

On Tuesday, August 13, janitress Chayra Ganal kept Diez from using the women’s toilet at the Farmers Plaza mall and asked her to use the men’s toilet instead. Diez tried to document the incident, but ended up being held inside the mall and then arrested.

Ganal later dropped the charges against Diez  and apologized to her Diez in the face of criticism over the incident. (READ: Trans woman Gretchen Diez: I didn’t think I’d be treated like a criminal)

Asked during a press conference on Friday whether she would also file a case against Ganal, Diez said she had no plans yet. She said in previous interviews that she felt sympathy for the janitress because she was not informed by the company about the rights of LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) persons.

What Araneta et al got wrong: In her complaint, Diez enumerated provisions of Quezon City’s Gender Fair Ordinance that the companies allegedly violated:

  • Prohibition of “vilifying or ridiculing any person on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE)”
  • Prohibition of “harassment, unjust detention, and involuntary confinement” based on one’s SOGIE
  • Prohibition of “any act of discrimination or harassment” based on SOGIE
  • Encouragement of the Quezon City Government for companies to hold an “annual gender sensitivity training or orientation for all employees, including all forms of discrimination” on the basis of one’s SOGIE
  • Requirement for companies to get a copy of the Gender Fair Ordinance “upon engagement” of the hiring or human resources officer
  • Requirement for all private and public establishments to “designate toilet rooms and lavatories labeled as all-gender CR”

In a statement after the discrimination incident, Farmers Plaza apologized to Diez, but distanced itself from the acts of the janitress.

“I believe this is necessary for us to assess and improve the implementation of the Quezon City Pride-Fair Ordinance, a piece of legislation that is one of a kind in this country,” Diez said in her complaint.

Read Gretchen Custodio Diez’s complaint here:


Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.