By Ellson Quismorio
1-PACMAN Party-List Rep. Eric Pineda said Thursday that a third restroom might need to be set up at local establishments in order to properly cater to the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
This was in light of the public outcry over transgender woman Gretchen Custodio Diez’s handcuffing by mall personnel after she tried to use the women’s restroom at Farmers Plaza in Cubao, Quezon City.
“If that’s the case, the resolution there is to also come up with another restroom for the third sex so that hindi na tayo nagkakaroon ng problema (we would no longer encounter problems),” said Pineda, chairman of the Committee on Labor and Employment, during a news forum at the House of Representatives.
According to the House leader, having a third restroom would give LGBT members a more “comfortable” option when it comes to answering nature’s call.
“Kasi siyempre yung mga kapatid natin from LGBT, naiilang sila pumunta sa men’s room. Feeling nila baka pagtawanan sila dun or whatever (Of course our fellows from the LGBT may not find it comfortable to use the men’s room. They feel they might get laughed at there or whatever).
“So…we come up with another restroom for our brothers and sisters in LGBT community,” Pineda explained.
In Diez’s case, she was about to enter the mall’s restroom for women when the janitress stopped her and told her to use the men’s restroom instead. The janitress called the mall guards on Diez after the latter went on Facebook live to record the harassment.
The guards cuffed Diez, who was subsequently taken to Quezon City Police Department (QCPD) Station 7.
Joining Pineda in the forum was PBA Party-List Rep. Jericho Nograles, who shared a potential solution in the form of “all-gender restrooms.”
“[In] Clark International Airport mayroon doong tinatawag na all-gender restroom (there is what we call an all-gender restroom). That is a government facility and we see an all-gender restroom, hindi yan ipinagbabawal ng batas (the law doesn’t forbid that),” he said.
Nograles said persons of different gender can use such restroom at the same time. “If that bothers you, you should try it,” he told one reporter, tongue-in-cheek.
“But that’s not the first facility to have an all-gender restroom. If I’m not mistaken Ateneo de Davao University was the first institution that have all-gender restrooms,” he noted.
“Me, I go to the male restroom like anybody else. I don’t care. May naglilinis dyan na janitress sa CR ng isang mall, hindi ako naiilang (There might even be a janitress inside the CR of a mall, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable),” said Nograles, son of the late House Speaker Prospero Nograles.
“It depends on people’s tolerance. I have the right to feel OK, Cong. Pineda has the right not to feel OK about it…it’s just unfortunate,” he said, referring to Diez’s experience.