Mall management sorry for discrimination of transgender woman

Mall management sorry for discrimination of transgender woman
In this file photo from June 25, 2018, pedestrian crosswalks are painted in rainbow colors for Pride Month.
Araneta Center handout photo, file

MANILA, Philippines — The management of Farmers Plaza on Wednesday apologized for discrimination against a transgender woman and distanced itself from the incident, saying a member of the cleaning crew involved is not an employee.

Gretchen Diez, a transgender woman, was blocked from using the women's restroom at the Cubao mall on Tuesday and later brought to the police station for taking a video of her encounter with the mall staff without permission.

"We would like to apologize to Ms. Diez for the treatment she has received from a member of the cleaning crew," Morriel Abogado, Farmers Plaza property general manager, said in a statement.

"We also would like to extend the apology not just to the LGBT community but to the public in general for the actions of said crew member," Farmers Plaza management also said.

Management also said that it is reviewing all reports as well as a video that Diez uploaded on Facebook and that it will take "appopriate action."

"Management makes no distinctions between customers here, and the LGBTQ community has always been welcome," it also said.

RELATED: Belmonte condemns discrimination vs transgender woman at Cubao mall

'Isolated incident'

Farmers Plaza however said that Diez was not handcuffed at the mall as reported, and that it is "unaware of the reason or basis why the police thought this was necessary at all."

It also said that mall management had no hand in the filing of the unjust vexation complaint against Diez, which was later dropped.

The mall management said that was a personal decision of the member of the cleaning crew who it stressed was "an agency worker not organic to our company."

It also said that what happened was an isolated incident, claiming also that it has "continuously been training [its] frontliners and other personnel in customer care and proper response to complaints and issues."

Farmers Plaza also said that it acknowledges that its efforts can be improved and that it hopes "to open a dialogue with regard to issues invlving the LGBTQ+ community."

House inquiry readied

The mall management issued the apology on the same afternoon as Reps. Geraldine Roman (Bataan) and Arlene Brosas (Gabriela) announced they are readying a joint resolution for House hearings on the incident and on similar cases of discrimination against and harassment of members of the LGBT+ community.

Brosas said members of the Makabayan bloc also support the resolution.

The House of Representatives in the 17th Congress had managed to pass a bill penalizing discrimination against people based on their Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Equality but the same measure faltered at the Senate.

Roman and Brosas said they would push for passage of that bill in the 18th Congress.

"The demographics of the 18th Congress are somewhat different," Roman said, noting that many members are conservative, but that "there are hundreds of newcomers who are millennials."

She also said that opponents of the bill should stop demonizing the measure and claiming it will lead to same-sex marriages, another measure that has faced stiff opposition in Congress.

"It is not an infringement on your civil liberties, it is simply protecting fellow Filipinos from discrimination," she also said.

"Nothing will stop you from believing that we are abominations in the eyes of the Lord, or anak ni Satanas...but do not step on our right to work, to study, to receive services from the goverment and to not be disrespected," Roman said.

"These are not extra rights, not privileges," she said.

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