By Ben Rosario
Women have “no valid reason” to be offended if a transgender woman shares a public ladies toilet with them, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, a transgender, stated Wednesday.
Roman, together with Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas, said transgenders have the same rights as any woman to use a comfort room even if assigned to female users.
“If you have a problem, magtiis ka!,” declared Roman when asked in a press conference on how she sees women who feel offended and are not comfortable in sharing female comfort rooms with transgenders. (If you have a problem just live with it).
“Bakit pumupunta ba sila sa banyo para ma-offend or hindi ma-offend? Pumasok na lang sila sa cubicle to do their thing. Huwag nila kausapin,” said Roman. (Do they go to the comfort room to be offended or not to be offended? They should merely go inside the cubicle to do their thing. Don’t talk to them (transgenders).
Asked to comment on the same question, Brosas said she shares the same opinion.
Roman and Brosas were joined in the press conference by television personality and Bataan board member Teri Onor (real name: Dexter Dominguez), himself a gay person.
The three assailed the maltreatment allegedly suffered by transgender woman Gretchen Custodio Diez after she was barred by a janitress at a Quezon City mall from using the women’s comfort room.
Roman and Brosas said incidents such as this would have been addressed if Congress passed the proposed Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Express bill.
The proposed measure received unanimous support in the Lower House but failed to make it on second reading in the Senate.
They also urged local government units to pass their own local ordinances that would protect the LGBT community against discrimination and other abusive acts.
Roman said the use of female comfort rooms has never been a problem for her even at the Batasan Pambansa where she is a member.
“Pumapasok ako sa mga women’s CR, nobody makes a big issue out of it,” she said.
Onor claimed that gays and transgenders avoid using the men’s comfort room for fear of being harassed by users.
“Hindi abuso ang ginawa ng aming kapatid. Babastusin siya sa men’s room,” he said. (What our sister (Diez) did was not abusive. He will be jeered at the men’s room).