Press Release
August 16, 2019


It was not only the plight of the Philippine LGBT community that was exposed in the barring of a trans woman from a mall's comfort room in Cubao last Tuesday, but also the dismal condition of thousands of contractual employees in the country.

This was the observation made by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday after Gretchen Diez, a trans woman, was barred from using the women's comfort room of a mall in Cubao, Quezon City and was even handcuffed and arrested by police personnel.

It was reported that Chayra Ganal, a janitress of the mall, prevented Diez from entering the women's restroom and insisted that she use the men's restroom instead.

The management of the mall has since issued an apology to Diez but distanced itself from Ganal, claiming that she was an "agency worker" and "not organic" to the company.

"Sa insidenteng ito, dalawa ang maliwanag na biktima. Ang isa ay biktima ng diskriminasyon at kawalan ng pagkapantay-pantay. Ang isa naman ay biktima ng ENDO o labor contractualization," Hontiveros said.

"On the one hand, we have the discrimination and harassment of Gretchen Diez whose only fault was to live her truth. And on the other side of the narrative, we have the janitress, outsourced by her employer from an agency that failed to provide her adequate gender sensitivity trainings and whose lack of security of tenure has kept her job and source of income hanging on a fine thread every day," Hontiveros stressed.

Hontiveros, who is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Women, expressed urgency in passing the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill and the Security of Tenure (SOT) Bill, which she said are "urgently needed to put an end to the many faces of oppression."

"The more we put on hold these important measures, the more harm we cause our people. Tapusin na natin ang iba't ibang mukha ng pang-aapi para sabay-sabay tayong maka-ahon at lumaya sa diskriminasyon, kawalan ng pagkapantay-pantay at kontraktuwalisasyon," Hontiveros concluded.

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