Gretchen Cusodio Diez, 28, was arrested at the Farmer's Plaza shopping mall in Cubao, Manila for ‘having a penis’ after a cleaner, Chair Ganal, stopped her from entering the women’s toilette.
During the confrontation, Mrs Ganal told Diez: "You still have a penis. Remember that."
Ms Ganal also tried to snatch Ms Gretchen’s phone and then attacked her by hitting the transgender woman in the head and threatening her with a lawsuit. Manila Police later arrived around 11:30 to arrest Ms Gretchen, local media Rappler reported on Tuesday.
Transgender Women are Women! The recent issue concerning our trans sister Gretchen Diez who was handcuffed, paraded, humiliated and bullied by mall staff at Cubao, Quezon city's Farmers Market Mall as she used the female comfort room is negligence on the part of management.— Justin Francis 🏳️🌈🇵🇭 (@rainbowgrindsPH) August 14, 2019
Ms Diez was taken to QCPD Station 7 in Cubao, then to Manila’s anti-cyber crime unit as the police did not know how to process her case, according to reports.
“This is the first time this has happened,” QCPD chief Brigadier General Joselito Esquive told Rappler in a phone interview.
Ms Ganal later dropped the charges and apologised to Ms Diez, stating that she had ‘made a mistake’.
Ms Ganal wrote in her apology letter: ''I want to apologise to Gretchen. I hope with this apology she will give me a second chance. I am only human. It was not my intention to offend her. I am willing to study the rights of the LGBT. That is all. I am sorry.'
Federation of Free Workers (FFW) defends janitress, who prevented a transgender woman from using a female restroom in a mall in Cubao, Quezon City, after she was accused of discrimination. @Malaya_Online pic.twitter.com/Lfog3faI5A— Gerard Anthony Naval (@gerardnaval) August 14, 2019
But Ms Diez has vowed to pursue legal action, stating that she had been treated like “a shoplifter being dragged inside the mall, with people looking at me as I was being held”.
"I could not understand how, in a supposedly gender-fair city, there is a person who would treat me like I committed crime,” Ms Diez said.
Ruffy Biazon, Representative for the Congressional District of Muntinlupa City, asked on Twitter if there were any females that were "uncomfortable with sharing a public restroom with transgender women", adding that he had experienced being in a toilette with a trans-woman and he was "fine with it".
Are there any females out there who are uncomfortable with sharing a public restroom with transgender women?— Ruffy Biazon (@ruffybiazon) August 14, 2019
I’ve experienced being in a public restroom with a trans-woman and I was fine with it. I haven’t come across a trans-man in the men’s room yet. But I’m fine with it too.
Mr Biazon added that having a Sexual Orientation and Gender and Identity Expression (SOGIE) law would "set the policy in place" but that "awareness on gender sensitivity can be done now" through the country's Gender and Development (GAD) fund to "change the mindset" of Filipino residents.
— Ruffy Biazon (@ruffybiazon) August 14, 2019
The General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action (Gabriela) Women's Party, one of the Philippine's largest parties for women's issues, also stated it had filed House Resolution 232 along with other representatives to investigate "discrimination and harassment" in the incident.
‼️Makabayan bloc together with Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman filed House Resolution 232 which seeks to investigate the discrimination and harassment against transgender woman Gretchen Custodio Diez ‼️#SOGIEEqualityNow#TransWomenareWomen pic.twitter.com/F8NTtEsbbn— Gabriela Women's Party (@GabrielaWomenPL) August 14, 2019
The incident comes as a Canadian transgender woman, Jessica Yaniv, who has not received gender reassignment surgery, sued multiple beauticians for refusing to wax her male genitals and was later arrested on Monday for wielding a taser during a livestream on YouTube, according to the Post Millennial. Yaniv was released on Tuesday morning after Royal Canadian Mounted Police found the livestream and arrested her on Monday for brandishing the taser, which is illegal in Canada under the Canadian Firearms Act.