When Eastern Samar State University in Borongan City decided to allocate LGBT-specific toilets for its students and staff, it was lauded as a “relevant move that recognized and appreciated that LGBT people are part of our (academic) community,” the university’s student publication head, Dave Elgera Lampanizo, said to Outrage Magazine, the only LGBT publication in the Philippines. The move can help “promote gender equality that will (in turn) probably eradicate the gender gap, and deal with the discrimination experienced by LGBT people (here).”
The move to have LGBT toilets in Eastern Samar State University was spearheaded by Dr. Jovito Madeja, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and then approved by the university president, Dr. Edmundo Campoto. Fitting the role of LGBT people picking up the cudgels for other LGBT people, both are also members of LGBT community.
Considering that there are quarters in the LGBT community that stress the need not of segregation but of integration – i.e. that there is no need to have separate spaces like toilets, but instead just allow people to use toilets that fit their identity – Lampanizo said that this solution has something to do with “preference”. “There are LGBT people who still prefer to use ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ toilets; but there are those (who would rather have one just for them). These needs are now answered. And I believe that these comfort rooms could help lessen the hesitation (of these LGBT people in accessing them); and it could help deal with the discrimination (they may encounter if they use the traditional toilets).”
With this move, there are now two additional comfort rooms in Eastern Samar State University: one for transgender men, and another for trans women.