Farmers Plaza apologizes to trans woman Gretchen Diez after mall cleaner had her arrested

Gretchen Custodio Diez. <i>Photo: Diez’s FB</i>
Gretchen Custodio Diez. Photo: Diez’s FB

The management of Farmers Plaza, the mall where transgender woman Gretchen Diez was arrested after being prevented from using a women’s restroom, issued a public apology today and vowed that they will take “appropriate action” with regards to the viral incident involving her and one of their cleaners.

The Quezon City-based mall posted their public apology on Araneta Center’s Facebook page this afternoon. Araneta Center, known for its public displays of support for the LGBTQ+ community, owns Farmers Plaza.

Diez, 28, was arrested by the Quezon City police after being barred by a female janitor named Chayra Ganal from using the women’s’ restroom inside the mall. Ganal became enraged after Diez recorded their altercation on video, then proceeded to drag her to another floor of the mall, where the latter was detained.

Read: Trans woman arrested after being barred from women’s restroom in Quezon City

Diez was later handcuffed by police and taken to the precinct, where she was to have faced an unjust vexation complaint filed by the janitor. However, she was subsequently freed after Ganal apologized to her.

In the apology signed by Farmers Plaza property general manager Morriel Abogado, the mall management said the incident between Ganal and Diez was something they “could never condone.”

“We would like to apologize to Ms. Diez for the treatment she has received from a member of the cleaning crew. We would also like to extend the apology not just to the LGBT community but to the public in general for the actions of [the] said crew member,” the statement reads.

“We have also since contacted the agency that employs Ms. Ganal to demand that they take action as well.”

Farmers Plaza also shot down reports that Diez had been handcuffed within the mall’s premises, adding that the restraint was the decision of Quezon City police and not their staff.

“Furthermore, the case of unjust vexation against Ms. Diez was not filed by the mall’s management, as reported in the news; nor did we have any intention of doing so at any point,” the statement continues. “It was, in fact, a personal decision on the part of Ms. Ganal.”

“Management makes no distinctions between customers here, and the LGBTQ community has always been welcome.”

Protesters from the party-list group LGBTQ+ have appeared at Farmers Plaza today to protest what happened to Diez.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) asked the labor department to implement gender-sensitive workplace policies in companies all over the country in light of what happened to Diez.

TUCP Representative Raymond Mendoza said in a statement that such “shameful incidents” such as what occurred in Farmers Plaza will continue because “there is a brimming lack of SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression) sensitive and responsive awareness and orientation among our people.”

Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, the first transgender woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, yesterday vowed that there would be an investigation into the incident involving Diez.

She told reporters that she would “file a resolution for an investigation in aid of legislation into this incident. We cannot let this pass.”

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