Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray is now winding down the latter half of her reign before the next pageant at the end of the year, but never let it be said that she is not utilizing her position to promote her advocacies, doubly so if they include issues close to her home in the Philippines. This week she was especially affected by the recent incident wherein a transgender woman was not only barred use of a Quezon City mall’s female comfort room, but also arrested and nearly arraigned for trying to record her experience. As Catriona has lobbied for the LGBTQ community before, she cannot take this event lying down.
And so it was, according to CNN Philippines, that Catriona Gray went on her official Instagram page to not only say her piece on what befell Gretchen Diez this week, but also to reiterate her support for a bill in Congress that would add safeguards against extreme maltreatment to LGBTQ members in society. On her post, dated Thursday, August 15, Gray called out all involved in the altercation that took place at Farmer’s Plaza mall in Cubao, QC Tuesday, August 13, that went against recent local ordinances against gender discrimination.
Catriona said the incident involving the transgender named Gretchen Diez stresses the necessity of legislating the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill, which will impose stronger penalties on acts of societal discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or expression, as well as professed their sexual orientation. The bill was authored by Senator Riza Hontiveros during the preceding Congress, and re-filed it anew just this June.
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Last night's incident involving a transgender woman being prohibited from using the womans washroom and resulting in being escorted off premises in handcuffs by local police only highlights further, the Philippines need for implementation of the #SOGIEEqualityBill. LGBTQ+ rights are HUMAN rights – mga karapatang pangkaligtasan at kalayaan mula sa diskriminasyon, karahasan at pagmamalupit batay sa pagkakakilanlan. The incident happened in a city that has an existing anti-discrimination bill. Ibig sabihin, walang saysay ang isang bill na hindi maipatupad sa isang komunidad. Kasabay ng hinihinging pagpasa ng #SOGIEEQUALITYBILL, dapat din tayong humiling ng mga sumusunod bilang isang komunidad: 1. "Accessible forms of information for the public such as educational drives, programs and awareness campaigns": para mas maintindihan natin ang mga pangangailangan ng LGBTQ+ community at para malaman natin ang mga bagay na maaari pa nating magawa bilang mga kaalyado o mga taong may awa sa kapwa ❤. 2. "A SOGIE workplace policy": para sa lahat ng mga pampublikong tagapaglingkod at mga taong may impluwensiya sa komunidad. Gusto ko ring pagtuunan natin ng pansin ang katotohanang wala dapat makaranas ng anumang uri ng pagpapahiya at pang-aabuso (emotional, physical o sexual), LGBTQ+ man o hindi. The whole arguement of shifting the blame to the victim for reasons of being trans to justify abuse – is still victim blaming and IS NOT RIGHT. The blame should be on the perpetrators who should be held accountable and corrective actions should be taken (in last nights case – points one and two above could greatly help prevent future similar incidents from happening). Ang LGBTQ + ay nakikipaglaban para sa kanilang mga karapatan – ang karapatan sa kaligtasan, proteksyon at pagkakapantay-pantay – ay laban din natin. 🏳🌈 #SOGIEEqualityNow
Diez was prevented earlier this week from using the Farmer’s Market mall female comfort room by a janitress that argued with her. When Diez attempted to record their conversation on her smartphone, the janitress called for mall security to handcuff her and escort her to QC Police Station 7 where an attempt to charge her with “unjust vexation” was ultimately dropped. That particular detail in Diez’s story was what upset Catriona Gray the most, saying on her Instagram, “The whole argument of shifting the blame to the victim for reasons of being trans to justify abuse – is still victim blaming and IS NOT RIGHT.”
Prior LGBTQ-related activities that Catriona engaged with in her capacity as the Miss Universe include her promotion of the 2019 Pride Month, an international event celebrating the community as well as a platform for advancing their rights in countries worldwide. Diez has announced her intent of counter-filing a suit against Farmer’s Plaza for violating Quezon City’s anti-discriminatory Gender Fair Ordinance.
Image courtesy of PEP PH