Gretchen Diaz (right) at the police station in Cubao, Quezon City. (QCPD Public Information Office) A transgender woman who was blocked from using the women’s bathroom at a shopping mall in the Philippines has said she will pursue legal action.
Gretchen Diaz, 28, was barred from using the women’s bathroom at a mall in Cubao, Quezon City, on August 13 by a janitor who told her to use the men’s bathroom instead.
After asking the janitor why she wasn’t allowed, Diaz began filming the interaction , which led to the janitor calling the mall’s security team.
Diaz was subsequently handcuffed and removed from the mall by police. The janitor initially wanted to press charges against Diaz for filming her without her consent, but later retracted this.
Discrimination on the basis of gender identity is banned in Quezon City.
The janitor wrote an apology letter to Diaz at the police station in which she said she was “willing to learn LGBT+ rights”. Diaz said that while she accepts the apology, she will still pursue action against the mall.
“I think it’s about time that ordinances that we want to implement are not just on paper or just on social media, but felt,” Diaz said . Discrimination against transgender woman ‘violation of Safe Spaces Act’.
Charisse Manalo-Jordan, from UN Women, condemned the discrimination experienced by Diaz and expressed concerns about how the incident was handled by mall staff.
“That footage of a trans woman being discriminated is actually a violation of the Safe Spaces Act,” Manalo-Jordan said.
“Indeed, there’s right to privacy [and] safety, but we are also looking at [the] way it was handled in a non-respective manner,” she added.
Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, said in the same interview with Manalo-Jordan on One News’ Agenda : “You need to have the conversations with the police [and other] authorities to make them understand the lived realities of young women [and] the transgender community.”.
“When you have that conversation, you simply understand those very uncomfortable moments they are experiencing [and] then you start knowing how to act and what kind of actions to take,” she said. Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday said that she is attending to the case of Gretchen Diez who was allegedly forced out of a female comfort room inside a mall on Tuesday evening. pic.twitter.com/9qchFR3Bz1
— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) August 14, 2019 Quezon City’s mayor, Joy Belmonte, ordered a review of the mall’s compliance with the city’s Gender Fair policy.
“We condemn this kind of discrimination towards members of the LGBT+ community ,” Belmonte said in a statement to media.
“The city prohibits all kinds of discrimination and protects and respects the dignity and human rights of all, especially the LGBT+,” she added.
Diaz has since been released without charge.