Joy Belmonte condemns Cubao mall's disregard of QC Gender Fair ordinance

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte comdemned the Farmer's Market mall in Cubao, Quezon City for disregarding the Gender Fair Ordinance, after it blocked transgender woman Gretchen Custodio Diez from using the women's bathroom.

"We condemn this kind of discrimination towards members of the LGBT+ community. Ang Quezon City ay ang unang lungsod na may Gender Fair Ordinance upang protektahan ang karapatan ng mga miyembro ng LGBT+. Sa batas na ito, ipinagbabawal ng lungsod ang lahat ng uri ng diskriminasyon, at binibigyan ng proteksyon at paggalang ang dignidad at karapatang-pantao ng lahat, lalung-lalo na ang LGBT+," Belmonte said in a statement on Wednesday, August 14.

(Quezon City was the first city to pass a Gender Fair Ordinance to protect the rights of LGBT+. In this law, the city prohibits all forms of discrimination, and protects and respects the diginity and human rights of everyone, especially the LGBT+.)

Belmonte said that the mall violated the ordinance by not having any "all-gender" toilet, which the local law required for government offices, private, and commercial establishments. (READ: Trans woman Gretchen Diez: I didn't think I'd be treated like a criminal)

Diez was stopped by a mall janitress from using the women's restroom and was directed to use the men's lavatory instead. Diez first walked away to let it pass, but  then decided to record the harassment on video, angering the janitress. The mall employee then called the guards to have Diez arrested.

Belmonte ordered the Quezon City Business Permit and Licensing Department  (BPLD) to check the city's establishments compliance with the ordinance.

"We assure the members of the LGBT+ community that Quezon City will always protect their rights and be a home for their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. We do not support any kind of violence and discrimination in our city. Sa ating LGBT+ community, protektado ang karapatan ninyo sa QC (To our LGBT+ community, your rights are protected in QC)," Belmonte added. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.