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Op-Ed

LGBTQIA organizations lambast alleged anti-trans discrimination in resort in Davao del Norte

LGBTQIA organizations from all over the Philippines released a unified statement condemning the “unjust treatment” of LGBTQIA people, following the allegation of a transgender woman – Shannon Remotigue Gonzaga – who claimed to have experienced discrimination during a May 8 visit to Isla Reta Beach Resort in Samal.

Photo by Brielle French from Unsplash.com

There is no place for discrimination and harassment in all public places. We vehemently condemn Isla Reta’s unjust treatment of our trans sibling, Shannon Gonzaga, and their discriminatory policy of outright banning transgender people from their beach resort.

On May 8, resort staff prohibited Shannon from using the women’s bathroom and even demanded a video of their genitals to “prove” their gender identity. When Shannon reported it to the management, they were met with the same discriminatory treatment as the management affirmed that it was indeed the resort policy. The resort owner’s statement tries to justify their discriminatory policy and the incident of harassment through remarks that reeks of stigma and prejudice.

Aside from it being an act of gender-based discrimination, it violates a person’s basic rights and dignity. Insisting that any person, regardless of SOGIE, show their genitals before allowing them to use any facility can never be valid. Furthermore, this is in direct violation of the Safe Spaces Act, which prohibits gender-based and sexual harassment in public spaces, an act of violence that the trans community has endured for so long.

Even without an anti-discrimination law, private establishments cannot impose discriminatory policies that effectively enable gender-based sexual harassment. 

Under the Safe Spaces Act, privately-owned places open to the public, including resorts, are required to adopt a zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment, provide assistance to victims, and create a safe gender-sensitive environment to encourage victims to report gender-based sexual harassment. Instead of creating a safe space, Isla Reta Resort assisted this incident of harassment.

We urge Isla Reta Beach Resort to comply with the Safe Spaces Act and connect with LGBTQI organizations to make their services more inclusive. We also urge the Department of Tourism and the local government unit of the Island to investigate other possible violations of other establishments under the Safe Spaces Act and other existing laws. 

This incident underscores the need for the immediate passage of a national anti-discrimination law to prohibit all forms of discrimination against persons of diverse SOGIESC. Pass the SOGIE Equality Bill now!

SOURCES:
[1] https://www.facebook.com/IslaReta.Beach/posts/4089724311085401
[2] https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1894334/Davao/Local-News/Resort-under-fire-after-alleged-discrimination
[3] https://www.facebook.com/635470006595137/posts/2202004936608295/

    • Lagablab LGBT Network
    • Babaylanes, Inc.
    • UP Babaylan
    • Rainbow Rights
    • Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas
    • LakanBini Advocates Pilipinas
    • LGBTS Christian Church Philippines 
    • LGBTQ Plus Party-list
    • Pioneer Filipino Transgender Men Movement 
    • PANTAY
    • Transman Equality and Awareness Movement
    • CURLS
    • Gayon Albay LGBT Org., Inc.
    • Outrage Magazine
    • Bahaghari Center for SOGIE Research, Education and Advocacy, Inc.
    • Safezone CIIT
    • PUP Kasarianlan
    • TLF SHARE Collective, Inc. 
    • Iloilo Pride Team
    • Metro Manila Pride
    • Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP)
    • Mujer-LGBT Organization, Inc
    • Ladlad Partylist
    • Equality Philippines
    • Side B Philippines
    • Pinoy Deaf Rainbow
    • TransDeaf Philippines
    • CARE (Center for HIV and AIDS Responses)
    • Mindanao Pride
    • EMPRESS- MSU
    • ASEAN SOGIE Caucus
    • UPLB Babaylan
    • Transman of Sibugay
    • GALANG
    • Local Student Council of BulSU College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
    • Queer Quezon

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