A transgender woman was arrested yesterday after she was stopped from using the women’s restroom at a well-known mall in Quezon City.
Gretchen Custodio Diez, 28, was detained by police after she was barred from using the ladies’ restroom by a female janitor inside Farmers Plaza. The mall is located at Araneta Center, a commercial area known for its public displays of support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Diez told reporters that she was about to enter the women’s restroom at about 1:30pm when the janitor, identified as Chayra Ganal, stopped her and told her to use the men’s lavatory instead, reported Rappler.
Diez asked her why she was not allowed to use women’s lavatory, then used her cellphone to record her conversation with Ganal.
This enraged Ganal, who then allegedly dragged Diez towards another floor of the mall to be detained.
A video posted by Diez on her Facebook account yesterday showed an angry Ganal telling other mall staff about what had occurred between her and Diez.
“Tell me the law that I broke [when I recorded the video],” Diez told the janitor.
“You still have a penis… If you post that video I’ll sue you. Turn that off,” Ganal told her. “Why are you taking my video?”
Speaking to those watching her video, Diez said, “They dragged me here. They tried to take my cellphone away from me three times. She (Ganal) said she wanted to slap me. They dragged me by the hand to come here because I wanted to use the women’s restroom.”
Diez was handcuffed by cops and brought to the police station, where she was set to face a complaint of unjust vexation filed against her by Ganal, reported CNN Philippines. At about 11:30pm, the police freed Diez after Ganal decided to drop her case. Ganal wrote an apology letter to Diez, which the latter accepted.
However, Diez vowed that she will pursue a case against Farmers Plaza because of the incident, reported Manila Bulletin.
In her Facebook post today, Diez wrote, “I’ll be updating everyone about when we will file the case. My legal team is just finalizing some details. We just have to be certain with our next moves.”
In a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte condemned the incident and slammed Farmers Plaza for allegedly violating the city’s Gender Fair Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination against all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“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,” Belmonte said.
Netizens were enraged by what happened and expressed support for Diez. Posting on Diez’s Facebook page, Shang Dayandante wrote: “[M]y heart breaks for you. [W]e are with you in this fight!”
“What that employee did was wrong. Woman, don’t hurt people. You have no respect for others,” wrote Neill Arienda.
“She’s a transwoman so she can use the girls’ restroom,” wrote Anne Borja.
Joanne Suyat pointed out that there was something wrong about Diez being handcuffed. “Why was she handcuffed? Isn’t that a violation of her human rights?” she asked.
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