DOT to probe Davao Del Norte resort for discriminating transgender guest

Published May 14, 2021, 1:45 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The Department of Tourism (DOT) will launch a probe on the alleged sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaint against the employees and management of Isla Reta Beach Resort in Samal, Davao Del Norte.

(Photo from Isla Reta Beach Resort Facebook page)

“The DOT is an advocate of gender equality and mainstreaming, and does not tolerate any form of gender-based harassment -[or] discrimination in its systems, structures, policies, programs, and processes,” it said in a statement.

The agency also urged the entire tourism industry to abide by the national laws on gender and development.

This, after Isla Reta Beach Resort drew flak on social media for its “homophobic” remarks stemming from its refusal to accommodate transgender guests due to “lack of facilities” for them.

In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, the management said they will no longer accommodate members of the third sex as it lacks facilities to cater to them.

Before this, transgender Shannon R. Gonzaga, posted on social media about her experience of allegedly being discriminated and ridiculed by the resort management and staff after she tried to use the shower area for female guests during her family’s visit there last May 8.

According to Gonzaga, one of the employees even asked her to show her private parts as proof that she had gender reassignment before allowing her to use the wash room of her choice.

Shout out diay ko Isla Reta Beach Resort (Official) kung gi unsa ko ninyo pag discriminate ug taman sa inyuhang staff…

Posted by Shannon Remotigue Gonzaga on Sunday, May 9, 2021

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the resort management clarified the issue and explained that other female guests have complained that they were uncomfortable sharing the shower rooms with transwomen.

“Since then, it has become the management’s policy not to allow transgender guests to use the female shower room. The management has no facility yet to cater to the transgender’s demand for a separate shower room,” it said.

Isla Reta also denied that they were homophobic or transphobic, adding that the management also “employs several members of the LGBTQ+ community”.

“All the members of the LGBTQ+ are welcome but please respect the management’s policy on using the shower rooms and CR (comfort room) as we have to consider and protect other guests, particularly the women’s rights and privacy,” it added.

The controversy sparked outrage online especially from members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community, who consequently called for the swift passage of the anti-discrimination bill or the sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) bill.