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QC passes ordinance providing for gender-neutral toilets


 
To many, answering the call of nature in the toilet is no big deal. But to some transgenders, the ordinary daily activity can turn into a complicated issue they need to discuss and negotiate with society. 
 
In GMA News TV's State of the Nation report that aired on Tuesday, transgender Arci Formales shared her concern. "Nagwo-worry ka rin kasi hindi mo alam kung kailan, kung papaano mangyayari na sisitahin ka," Formales said.
 
The executive director of an LGBT rights group TLF Share Jonas Bagas also said,"Nandoon pa rin 'yung stigma na kapag halimbawa 'yung isang transwoman na nagsi-CR na 'panlalaki,' nandoon siya para mangharass."
 
For Formales and other transgenders, having no complete freedom on what bathroom to use means they are not yet fully allowed to express themselves based on their gender identity. 
 
"They consider us na mga lalaki, pero kami naman, we consider ourselves na babae. Kaya mahirap siya i-argue," Formales said.
 
A good start 
 
The Quezon City Council has taken a step to address this issue. It has approved a city ordinance banning discrimation and harrasment against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals
 
One of its provisions is to make gender-neutral restrooms available in the city, instead of having separate restrooms for females and males. 
 
The ordinance also provides for an LGBT desk in health centers in hospitals in Quezon City to provide proper medical assistance to LGBTs. 
 
In its Sub-article 4, Article 4 Section IV, it says, "Encourage the establishment of an LGBT desk... a comprehensive, responsive and accessible heath services."
 
The city ordinance provides that anyone will not be discriminated to get employment, promotion, opportunities, or membership as well as services such as health insurance and rent or hotel accommodations based on their gender identity. 
 
Schools should also not refuse admission or expel students based on their sexuality; employers are also not allowed to fire employees because they are a part of the LGBT community, according to the ordinance. 
 
Establishments in Quezon City are prohibited to have dress codes as it may affect self-expression of the LGBT. 
 
Any person who won't follow the ordinance will face jail time for two months to one year and pay a fine of P1,000 to P5,000. —Trisha Macas/NB, GMA News
Tags: transgenders
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