MANILA, Philippines – After transgender woman was rejected from using the bathroom on the basis of sex, Senator Risa Hontiveros renewed her call for Congress to pass the SOGIE equality bill.
In her privilege speech on Wedensday, August 14, Hontiveros said: “I am calling my colleagues in this plenary at sa Kongreso, ipasa na natin ang SOGIE equality bill. Para kay Gretchen, para sa lahat ng Filipino lesbians, gays, transgenders, intersex, queers, at asexuals, na matagal nang nakaposas sa panghuhusga, pangmamatâ, at diskriminasyon.”
(I am calling my colleagues in this plenary and in Congress, let us pass the SOGIE equality bill. For Gretchen, for all Filipino lesbians, gays, transgenders, intersex, queers, and asexuals, who have long been trapped in judgment and discrimination.)
Gretchen Custodio Diez is the transgender woman who was rejected access to the women’s bathroom in a Cubao mall by a janitress. She tried to document the discrimination, angering the janitress who had her arrested.
Hours after her arrest, Diez was set free following public outcry that pushed the janitress to drop the complaint against Diez. (READ: )
Refiled by Hontiveros at the Senate for the 18th Congress, Senate Bill No. 159 or the SOGIE (sexual orientation or gender identity or expression) equality bill protects people from discriminatory acts such as:
- Denial of access to public services
- Including SOGIE as a criteria for hiring or dismissal of workers
- Refusing admission or expelling students in schools based on SOGIE
- Imposing disciplinary actions that are harsher than customary due to the student’s SOGIE
- Refusing or revoking accreditation of organizations based on the SOGIE of members
- Denying access to health services
- Denying the application for professional licenses and similar documents
- Denying access to establishments, facilities, and services open to the general public
- Forcing a person to undertake any medical or psychological examination to determine or alter one’s SOGIE
- Harassment committed by persons involved in law enforcement
- Publishing information intended to “out” or reveal the SOGIE of a person without consent
- Engaging in public speech which intends to shame or ridicule LGBTQ+ persons
- Subjecting persons to harassment motivated by the offenders bias against the offended party’s SOGIE, which may come in the form of any medium, including telecommunications and social media
- Subjecting any person to gender profiling
- Preventing a child under parental authority from expressing one’s SOGIE by inflicting or threatening to inflict bodily or physical harm or by causing mental or emotional suffering
Senators Francis Pangilinan and Imee Marcos also filed their own versions of the bill.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives passed the SOGIE equality bill on third and final reading. Its counterpart measure languished in the Senate and did not even make it past the second reading. – with a report from Aika Rey/Rappler.com
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