Roman asks Duterte to certify SOGIE equality bill as urgent
MANILA, Philippines — Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman, the first elected transgender woman in Congress, on Friday asked President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) equality bill.
“Mahal na Pangulo sana po bigyan nyo rin ng pansin ang pangangailangan ng isang sektor ng lipunan na nananawagan din sa inyo upang sila ay proteksyunan. Alam ko may puso rin ang Pangulo para sa ating mga kapatid na LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders),” Roman said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Headstart.
The legislator said she believes Duterte would be “open-minded” on this issue. Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said Duterte would support the passage of the SOGIE equality bill.
Roman, who was with Gretchen Diez during the interview, also slammed some senators’ remark on the “discrimination” of the latter. Diez was arrested for unjust vexation after she documented how a janitress denied her entry to a women’s toilet at a mall in Quezon City Tuesday.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III had said members of the LGBT community should be called “homo sapiens” instead, while Senators Panfilo Lacson and Aquilino Pimentel III worried that allowing transgender people to use toilets for the opposite sex might be exploited by voyeurs.
“I think Senator Tito Sotto was trying to be funny, that is his usual self. You know, the term homo sapiens is irrelevant really. We want a toilet that will respond to the needs of people regardless of their gender identity,” Roman said.
The congresswoman also said it is wrong to suspect transgender people of committing voyeuristic acts when it can be done by any people, regardless of gender.
“To my knowledge, we enter the restroom only to relive ourselves, this is a right to health,” Roman said.
“It’s stereotyping transgender women and it’s very difficult to guarantee this, it’s really a question that you have to ask all people. It’s really absurd to have to ask this question,” she added.
Several bills prohibiting discrimination on the basis of SOGIE have been filed in the House, including Roman’s House Bill No. 136, and the Makabayan bloc’s HB No. 258.
Both bills identify the denial of a person’s access to or use of establishments, facilities, utilities, or services on the basis of SOGIE as a discriminatory and illegal practice.
The bills also require establishments to provide gender-neutral toilets. /muf
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