MANILA - Lawmakers and local officials have denounced a Quezon City mall's apparent discrimination against a transgender woman for using the women's comfort room.
Gretchen Custodio Diez, 28, was briefly detained Tuesday after the mall's janitor filed an unjust vexation complaint against her.
Diez in turn filed a complaint against the shopping mall for violating the city's gender fair ordinance, which prohibits business establishments to discriminate people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.
Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, a transgender woman, said the incident was a "violation of human rights."
"Babagsak ba ang langit kung pinayagan natin ang isang transwoman umihi sa CR ng babae?" she told reporters Tuesday.
"The LGBT community might be a minority but they are still Filipinos whose rights have to be protected."
Roman said she will seek an investigation into the incident at the House of Representatives.
QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said the mall "clearly violated" the local ordinance and ordered the Business Permit and Licensing Department to ensure establishments follow it.
"We do not support any kind of violence and discrimination in our city. Sa atin pong LGBT+ community, protektado ang karapatan ninyo sa QC," she said in a statement Wednesday.
QC Councilor Mayen Juico also reminded businesses to impose the ordinance, which also requires establishments to create gender-neutral restrooms.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros, meantime, said the harassment against Diez was "unacceptable."
"She has my full support. I am extending whatever help she would need to seek justice," she said.
"She is being harassed for living her truth. Discrimination against transgender people has to stop!"
The Philippine Anti Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders (PANTAY) called on the Quezon City government to enforce the local ordinance.
"While we laud the existence of such measures, it is disheartening to see that discrimination still exists in Quezon City," the group said.
"We fully assert that Ms. Diez has every right to use the ladies' room and the violence she faced was unnecessary. We call on the Quezon City Government to enforce its anti-discrimination ordinance to its full power to safeguard the right of everyone against any and every form of discrimination, including those on the basis of one's SOGIESC."