QC Mayor: Mall clearly violated city's LGBTQ+ ordinance with discrimination of transgender woman

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 14) — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday slammed the management of a mall in Cubao for barring a transgender woman from using a women’s comfort room — considering the city's ordinance aiming to shield the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination.

"We condemn this kind of discrimination towards members of the LGBT+ community," she said on her Facebook page.

This comes after transgender woman Gretchen Diez was barred from using a women’s comfort room at the Farmers Plaza mall on Tuesday. Diez was handcuffed and brought to Quezon City Police District Station 7 Tuesday night for unjust vexation complaint that the mall management initially planned to file against her. This stemmed from Diez’ video recording of her confrontation with the janitress who accosted her.

Belmonte said the mall clearly violated the city's Gender Fair Ordinance, which aims to protect all members of the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination. She said the mall violated the part of the ordinance where they're supposed to designate an "all-gender toilet."

"Malinaw na hindi sumusunod ang Farmers Mall sa nasabing ordinansa kung saan lahat ng government offices, private, at commercial establishments ay dapat magtalaga ng "All-Gender Toilets" para sa lahat," she said.

Diez said she was surprised that this kind of blatant discrimination would happen to her in Quezon City, one of the cities that uphold the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

"May split second na naisip kong palampasin na lang ang ginawa po nila sa akin, but then I realized hindo po tama. Especially nakatapak ako sa lugar na considered as one of the friendliest na cities sa LGBTQ community at mangyayari sayo yun, how much more sa city na hindi masyadong considerate sa mga katulad kong transgender," she said.

Mayor Belmonte assured that the city will continue to work to protect the community's rights and be a home for their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.

"We do not support any kind of violence and discrimination in our city. Sa ating LGBT+ community, protektado ang karapatan ninyo sa QC," she said.

Diez said the janitress wrote a letter of apology and decided to drop the charges against her, but she said she will pursue a case against the mall management for violation of Quezon City's ordinance.

"Kahit na-drop na ang case dito, we'll still fight for what is right. Yung violation against sa city ordinance ng QC. papatunayan po natin sa lahat na may pangil pa rin po ang batas," she said.

The transgender woman's arrest raised calls for the passage of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill. The bill has been filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros and first transgender lawmaker Rep. Geraldine Roman at the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.

Related: Transgender woman’s arrest in QC raises calls for SOGIE bill passage