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Pangasinan ordinance seeks separate restrooms for LGBTs

Eva Visperas - The Philippine Star

LINGAYEN, Philippines – An ordinance has been filed in the provincial board seeking to require owners of business establishments in Pangasinan to provide three separate restrooms for males, females and gays.

Authored jointly by Provincial Board Members Alfonso Bince Jr. and Danilo Uy, the proposed measure said that comfort rooms are specifically and naturally designed either for men or women only and most often, gays are confused on which restroom to use.

Uy told The STAR that he has been getting feedback from the gay community on how people, both men and women alike, react when they use public comfort rooms.

Asked if there is also a need to have a separate restroom for lesbians, he said the concern (on lesbians) could be easily remedied as female comfort rooms have individual cubicles that could be locked and used by both women and lesbians, unlike males who use urinals and are therefore exposed to fellow males.

Lesbians are also fewer in number, unlike gays, and they do not encounter such a problem, Uy added.

“This is not discrimination (on gays). This shows they are accepted. We just want to protect all concerned, be it males, females or gays,” he said.

Gays would feel more comfortable and safe to use comfort rooms accessible exclusively to them, the measure said.

Bince and Uy, who are both senior citizens, believe that there is a need for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to find a solution for this dilemma of gay people.

The proposal said that it is time that Pangasinan and its citizens become more aware of the rights of gays and respond to their needs.

The proposed ordinance calendared under first reading last Monday covers business establishments catering to the public such as banks, bus terminals, department stores, entertainment places, gasoline stations and groceries especially those operating 24 hours, hospitals, internet cafes and computer shops, lending firms, malls, pawnshops and restaurants.

The proposed ordinance was referred to the committees on children, women, senior citizens, family affairs and social welfare; and laws and ordinances to study it and to conduct public hearings prior to its passage.

If passed, penalties for violators would be a fine of P1,000, P2,000 and P5,000 for the first, second and third offense, respectively.

Uy said he had talked to some gays during Ms. Gay pageants in barangays and town fiestas and asked them about their problem. “So I suggested that there should be separate restrooms for them and they are very happy,” he said.

“We have to fight for the rights of the gays,” he added.

In the public hearing that they would conduct as part of the process in the passage of an ordinance, Uy said he would invite males, females and gays to speak out.

Whether this would be passed or not, he said “at least we tried.”

“Whether we like it or not, they are already there and we cannot do anything anymore. So better do something for them,” Uy said.

BINCE AND UY

COMFORT

GAYS

LESBIANS

MALES

MS. GAY

PANGASINAN

PROVINCIAL BOARD MEMBERS ALFONSO BINCE JR. AND DANILO UY

SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN

SO I

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