Energized by Gretchen Diez, Hontiveros renews push for SOGIE equality bill

MANILA, Philippines – After transgender woman Gretchen Diez was rejected from using the bathroom on the basis of sex, Senator Risa Hontiveros renewed her call for Congress to pass the SOGIE equality bill.

In her privilege speech on Wedensday, August 14, Hontiveros said: "I am calling my colleagues in this plenary at sa Kongreso, ipasa na natin ang SOGIE equality bill. Para kay Gretchen, para sa lahat ng Filipino lesbians, gays, transgenders, intersex, queers, at asexuals, na matagal nang nakaposas sa panghuhusga, pangmamatâ, at diskriminasyon."

(I am calling my colleagues in this plenary and in Congress, let us pass the SOGIE equality bill. For Gretchen, for all Filipino lesbians, gays, transgenders, intersex, queers, and asexuals, who have long been trapped in judgment and discrimination.)

Gretchen Custodio Diez is the transgender woman who was rejected access to the women's bathroom in a Cubao mall by a janitress. She tried to document the discrimination, angering the janitress who had her arrested.

Hours after her arrest, Diez was set free following public outcry that pushed the janitress to drop the complaint against Diez. (READ: Trans woman Gretchen Diez: I didn't think I'd be treated like a criminal)

Refiled by Hontiveros at the Senate for the 18th Congress, Senate Bill No. 159 or the SOGIE (sexual orientation or gender identity or expression) equality bill protects people from discriminatory acts such as:

Senators Francis Pangilinan and Imee Marcos also filed their own versions of the bill. 

In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives passed the SOGIE equality bill on third and final reading. Its counterpart measure languished in the Senate and did not even make it past the second reading. – with a report from Aika Rey/Rappler.com

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.