Hontiveros says LGBT discrimination incident also exposed contractualization woes of janitress

Published August 16, 2019, 4:06 PM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said the discrimination incident that happened in a mall in Cubao, Quezon City not only exposed the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, but also the condition of thousands of contractual employees in the country.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros (Senator Risa Hontiveros / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Risa Hontiveros (Senator Risa Hontiveros / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Hontiveros was pointing to the case of Chayra Ganal, the janitress who figured in a verbal spat with Gretchen Diez, a transwoman whom she barred from using the women’s comfort room inside the mall.

The senator noted that the management of the mall has since issued an apology to Diez, but distanced itself from Ganal and claimed that she was an “agency worker” and “not organic” to the company.

“Sa insidenteng ito, dalawa ang maliwanag na biktima. Ang isa ay biktima ng diskriminasyon at kawalan ng pagkapantay-pantay. Ang isa naman ay biktima ng ‘endo’ o labor contractualization, (in this incident, it is clear that we have two victims. One is a victim of discrimination and inequality, the other is a victim of ‘endo’ or labor contractualization),” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, said it was high time that Congress pass the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill and the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill, which, she said, were “urgently needed to put an end to the many faces of oppression.”

“On the one hand, we have the discrimination and harassment of Gretchen Diez whose only fault was to live her truth,” Hontiveros said.

“And on the other side of the narrative, we have the janitress, outsourced by her employer from an agency that failed to provide her adequate gender sensitivity trainings and whose lack of security of tenure has kept her job and source of income hanging on a fine thread every day,” she lamented.

Hontiveros urged fellow lawmakers to expedite the passage of the SOGIE bill into law saying “the more we put on hold these important measures, the more harm we cause our people.”

“Tapusin na natin ang iba’t ibang mukha ng pang-aapi para sabay-sabay tayong maka-ahon at lumaya sa diskriminasyon, kawalan ng pagkapantay-pantay at kontraktuwalisasyon, (Let’s put an end to the many faces of oppression so we can all rise above and be free from discrimination, inequality and contractualization),” Hontiveros said.