Vice Ganda urges government to create LGBTQ+ bathrooms

MANILA, Philippines — Vice Ganda called on the government to create gender neutral public restrooms following an incident wherein transgender woman Gretchen Diez was barred from using the female restroom at Farmers Plaza in Cubao, Quezon City.

The It's Showtime host made the suggestion on Friday, August 16 during the Tawag ng Tanghalan segment of the noontime show. 

According to Vice, he was initially not in favor of creating a separate restroom for the LGBTQ+ community – until the incident involving Gretchen happened.

"Ako kasi, dati, 'pag tinatanong [kung] dapat bang may CR ba ang mga bakla or transgender, LGBTQ na hiwalay sa babae at lalake, sinasabi ko hindi," Vice said. 

(Before, when I'd be asked if gay or transgender persons, the LGBTQ community should have a separate bathroom from male and females, I would say no.) 

"Pero since issue siya, parang nag-iisip ako parang dapat may CR na ang mga LGBT kasi pagpumasok kami sa CR ng lalake, yung mga lalake hindi kumportable. At pag hindi kumportable ang lalake, hindi din kami kumportable.

(But since it became an issue, I've come to realize that maybe the LGBTQ+ community should have a separate restroom. Because if we use the male bathroom, men are uncomfortable. If men aren't comfortable, neither are we.) 

"At yung babae pag may pumasok na bakla or transgender, hindi din sila kumportable. At kaming LGBT hindi din kumportable na hindi sila kumportable. So isa sa amin ang magaadjust, hindi na lang papasok," Vice said.

(And when a gay person or trans woman uses the female restroom, women are uncomfortable. The LGBT community isn't comfortable when others are uncomfortable. So we adjust, we don't go to the bathroom at all.)

"So hindi pala kumportable ang bawat isa, huwag natin ipilit. Bakit hindi niyo na lang kami gawan ng sariling CR, ang LGBT, para lahat may safe place."

(So if nobody is comfortable, let's not force it. Why don't you just make us our own bathroom, for all LGBT, so everyone has a safe space?)

Nananawagan ako sa gobyerno, create a safe place for everyone. Kung hindi kami matatanggap, bigyan kami ng CR. Gusto lang po naming umihi at dumumi. Yun lang yun."

(I'm calling on the government, please create a safe place for everyone. If they won't accept us, give us our own public restroom. We just want to pee and poop. That's it.) 

Calls to create a separate bathroom for the LGBTQ+ community isn't new – but it's also a point of contention, especially for advocates who are pushing for acceptance and not mere tolerance. 

Some cities and private businesses already have gender neutral restrooms in their respective areas – but this has yet to be institutionalized in the Philippines. The anti-SOGIE discrimination bill failed to pass during the last Congress. (READ: #SOGIEEqualityNow: Transgender restroom issue sparks call for passage of SOGIE bill)

Diez was arrested on August 13 after she was prohibited from using the female washroom inside Farmers. According to Diez, a janitress said that should go to the male washroom instead. She later went live on Facebook after she was brought to the mall's security office. She was then handcuffed and brought to a police station, where she almost faced an unjust vexation complaint. The case was dropped after the janitress apologized.

Diez filed a discrimination complaint against the Araneta Center, where Farmers is located. — Rappler.com