By Raymund Antonio
After the incident involving transgender woman Gretchen Diez, Vice President Leni Robredo has renewed her call for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.
Diez, a 28-year-old transgender woman, was barred by a janitress from entering a women’s restroom at Farmers Plaza in Quezon City. She was later brought to the police station in handcuffs by mall security personnel.
In response, Diez already filed a discrimination complaint before the Quezon City Pride Council upon her release from detention.
Robredo, who co-authored the bill in the 16th Congress, described the incident as “unfortunate,” which she said, “should not have happened” to Diez.
Recognizing the need to pass the anti-discrimination bill, she said the eyes of more Filipinos have been opened to the discrimination suffered by the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) community.
“Sa akin, iyong hope ko, na sana itong incident na ito, no matter how unfortunate, maging daan para finally ma-realize ng ating mga lawmakers na it’s about time na ipasa natin [itong bill na ito]… Ang tagal na nitong nakabinbin,” she said in an interview with One Media TV48 Naga.
(For me, I hope this incident, no matter how unfortunate, will pave the way for our lawmakers to finally realize it’s about time to pass this bill. This has not been passed for a long time.)
Robredo also noted that more Filipinos should be encouraged to look into the widespread discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community and take the necessary steps to address the matter.
The Vice President cited the “responsibility” of the public to ensure equality both in the “eyes of the law and the people.”
“Baka maging daan iyon para ma-realize ng marami nating mga kababayan na iyong diskriminasyon talagang nangyayari, na mayroon tayong mga kasama na dapat sana ine-enjoy iyong karapatan na ine-enjoy natin, pero hindi na-e-enjoy [ang mga karapatang iyon] dahil sa diskriminasyon,” she said.
(The incident could be a way for many of our countrymen to realize the discrimination is really happening, that our fellow citizens should be enjoying the rights we enjoy, but they weren’t because of discrimination.)