MANILA - Reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray on Thursday called on lawmakers to approve a bill protecting the LGBT community from hate crimes and prejudice, after a transgender woman was handcuffed for using the ladies' restroom at a Quezon City mall.
The incident "only highlights further, the Philippines' need for implementation of the #SOGIEEqualityBill," Gray told her 6.4 million Instagram followers.
Gretchen Diez, 28, was briefly detained after the mall's janitor filed an unjust vexation complaint against her.
The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill prohibits stigmatizing the LGBT in media and denying a person access to an institution, service or establishment based on gender, among others.
In the previous 17th Congress, SOGIE languished in the Senate after the House of Representatives approved its counterpart measure. Sen. Risa Hontiveros re-filed the bill last month.
"LGBTQ+ rights are HUMAN rights - mga karapatang pangkaligtasan at kalayaan mula sa diskriminasyon, karahasan at pagmamalupit batay sa pagkakakilanlan," Gray said.
Gray, who is in Manila for official engagements, said the alleged discrimination against Diez occurred despite a city ordinance that prohibits business establishments from discriminating against people based on their gender identity.
"Ibig sabihin, walang saysay ang isang bill na hindi maipatupad sa isang komunidad," said Gray.
(This means a bill is useless if it is not implemented by a community.)
Gray said the public should also demand information drives about the LGBT community and a SOGIE workplace policy.
"Ang LGBTQ+ ay nakikipaglaban para sa kanilang mga karapatan - ang karapatan sa kaligtasan, proteksyon at pagkakapantay-pantay - ay laban din natin," she said.
(The LGBTQ+ community is fighting for their rights. The rights for safety, protection and equality is our fight, too.)
This is not the first time Gray has spoken up for the LGBT community. Last year, she said she had no problem competing against Spain's Angela Ponce, the first transgender woman who joined Miss Universe.
Gray in the same year said transgender men and women should be allowed to use the restroom they identified with.
The beauty queen also promoted the Pride Month last June and attended a ball that advocated gender equality.