Noted members of LGBT community in Cebu speak out on Gretchen Diez controversy

By: Michelle Joy Padayhag August 16,2019 - 07:29 PM

From left, Queen of Cebu Universe 2011 Bee Urgello, Queen Philippines Universe 2019 Jess Labares, and Magdalena Robinson. | photos from Dan Douglas Ong, Jess Labares’ FB, and Magdalena Robinson’s FB

Cebu City, Philippines—Some noted members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Cebu came to the rescue of Gretchen Diez, the transgender woman who was barred from entering the female restroom in a mall in Quezon City. 

Read: Despite apology from mall, trans woman eyes charges

Among those who backed Diez is Queen of Cebu Universe 2011 Bee Urgello, who said the discrimination is something transgender women go through every day.

“What she went through was simply inhuman and a violation of her human rights,” she told CDN Digital. 

She said entering restrooms of establishments has always been a hurdle for transgender women.  

“We just want to be treated equally as humans who have basic rights. I support her filing a case against the establishment as this should set an example to everyone that there are city ordinances that need to be followed and failure to do so needs to be penalized,” Urgello said.

For Urgello, one way to avoid this problem is for companies to hold gender sensitivity seminars to educate employees. 

Pass the SOGIE Bill

Queen Philippines Universe 2019 Jess Labares, on the other hand, believes the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill is an answer to solve the problem of discrimination. 

The SOGIE Bill,  filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros, seeks to protect LGBT members from discrimination.

“I hope the Senate will reconsider this Bill. It is not intended to harm anyone rather [it is for the] protection [of] our rights,” Labares told CDN Digital.

Following the incident of Diez, Labares encouraged LGBT not to lose hope and continue to fight for their rights.

“If you think what you are doing is right, fight for it. I just hope what happened to Gretchen Diez is a wake-up call to everyone, especially to those opposers of the passage of SOGIE bill,” she added. 

Just like Labares, Magdalena Robinson also believes a national law will help curb  discrimination.

Robinson is the chairperson of the Cebu United Rainbow LGBTIQ Sector (CURLS). 

“If discrimination is criminalized, then it sends a signal to all citizens not do such or else face  legal consequences,” she told CDN Digital. 

Robinson believes that everyone must coexist peacefully, and respect is needed for this to be achieved.

“People who try to impose morals, standards, and views to other people is the source of the conflict. Let people be with their own unique identities, statuses, and life choices. A big part of the solution is really to respect a person’s privacy for us to live a safe and comfortable life,” she said. /bmjo

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TAGS: Bee Urgello, Gretchen Diez, Jess Labares, LGBT Cebu, Magdalena Robinson, SOGIE

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