MANILA - Transgender woman Gretchen Diez counts herself lucky to be given the opportunity to become the face of the LGBTQ+ community movement despite the negative backlash.
"I think what happened to me, the exact narrative and the video I posted online is an exact representation of how we are being viewed in society," Diez said.
The Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, chaired by gender rights advocate Sen. Risa Hontiveros, tackled the SOGIE bill Tuesday. The bill prohibits stigmatizing the LGBT in media and denying a person access to an institution, service or establishment based on gender, among others.
Aside from the LGBTQ+ community, the measure aims to protect people with real or perceived class, status, ethnicity, color, disability, and religious and political beliefs from discrimination.
Diez, 28, made headlines after she was detained by police in Quezon City when she figured in a scuffle with a mall personnel for using the female comfort room.
Diez said the incident is just the tip of the iceberg. "Two decades of waiting, two decades of staying in the shadow of despair, of depression and right now we're finally seeing the light," she said.
Senate President Tito Sotto on Monday decried the "deception" behind Diez's viral video. He said it did not show what transpired before the incident.
Sotto said he was able to get CCTV footage of the mall showing that there was a queue of women trying to get into the restroom.
Despite the negative public opinion against her, Diez believes it is her duty to stand up for what is right. "We will never be silenced. Not right now," she said.
She also appealed to fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community to speak up now.
"Please let me know that I am not alone. That now, more than ever, I need you to be with me to fight for our rights," she said.
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte met with Diez in Malacañang. However, Malacañang has yet to details of the meeting.