MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte's idea for lessening discrimination against LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) people is to put up "3rd restrooms" for them, Malacañang said on Tuesday, August 20.
"He’s (Duterte) also inclined doon sa 3rd restroom for them, mayroon silang sarili (inclined to support 3rd restrooms for them, so they have their own)," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a Palace news briefing.
Asked if by 3rd restroom, Duterte meant gender-neutral restrooms, Panelo said, "Just for LGBT. Just for them, not both."
However, Panelo later on said that he himself would support restrooms "common to all," regardless of gender, which is the concept of a gender-neutral restroom.
But the concept of "3rd restrooms" has been rejected by Gretchen Diez, the trans woman who was prevented from using a woman's restroom in a mall and has since used her experience to call for the passage of the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identify and Expression) equality bill.
Diez had said that the establishment of 3rd restrooms could even boost discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons.
A GMA News Online article quotes Diez as saying, “I am for equality and I think that producing a 3rd bathroom does not help in our fight against discrimination,” Diez said.
She was reacting to a proposal by 1-PACMAN Representative Eric Pineda for the creation of LGBTQ+ bathrooms, separate from ladies' and men's rooms.
SOGIE equality bill
But what of Diez's main advocacy, the passage of the SOGIE equality bill? Panelo was uncertain if Duterte would certify the measure as urgent given his meeting with Diez on Monday night in Malacañang.
"Ayan ang hindi ko alam, kung ice-certify niya (That's what I don't know, if he will certify it)," said Panelo.
The spokesman, however, said he was not present at Diez's meeting with Duterte.
All he could do was emphasize that the President was "all for" the SOGIE bill. – Rappler.com