After a transgender woman finds herself arrested after using the women’s restroom in a mall in Quezon City, it brings to light the lack of understanding of SOGIE to the general public.

A few days ago,  Gretchen Diez, a transgender woman experiences first-hand discrimination. She was barred from the women’s restroom by a janitress of the local mall. Due to the fact that she’s a trans woman. But that’s not all. She was handcuffed and brought to a precinct as well.

Despite her willingness to comply with the management’s decision to take her to a precinct, handcuffing her like a criminal does seem overkill. No wonder members of the LGBT community and allies went wild. Especially when Gretchen narrated the experience through social media real-time.

Her experience lay bare that most Filipinos aren’t educated with the ins and outs of the LGBT community. It might seem high-strung for some, but LGBT members make up a huge percentage of society. So that’s why there’s a need to understand them, more than just the surface. Because being an LGBT member is just the tip of the iceberg.

What is SOGIE Bill?

SOGIE Bill refers to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Equality Bill. It was proposed to protect people against discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Particularly, members of the LGBT community.

In the proposed bill, it will aid people from discriminatory acts such as the denial of access to public services like health services and other general facilities open to the public. It also includes refusal to admit students based on SOGIE. And of course, being subjected to harassment, ridicule or gender profiling that threatens them one way or another. These are just a few grounds covered by the SOGIE bill. Because the list of discriminatory acts goes a long way.

Why do we need it?

Whether we deny it or not, LGBT members are a crucial part of today’s society. They make up a large percentage of the community. Yes, the Philippine Constitution does have laws that cover human rights. But if we’re being honest here, there’s no bill that protects an individual once they are attacked because of their sexual orientation. This loophole allows others to abuse the lack of protection of LGBT members.

Every day, there’s no single LGBT individual that does not experience hate. It proves how narrow-minded some people can be when encountering them on a day-to-day basis. Be it at home, work or school. There’s has been countless accounts and incidents where LGBT people are attacked or killed for being who they are.

They’re human too. We all cry for equality of all sorts. So if we let discriminatory acts against LGBT people slide, isn’t that just self-righteous of us? Doesn’t that contradict what we fight for? The SOGIE bill is just as necessary as any human rights bill. And going hand in hand with it is the general public being aware that it exists. And that the LGBT community exists.

In the long run, being aware of what SOGIE is will help everybody. It might be a lot to take in for now. But eventually, we’ll get the hang of it. And even just a bit, we can help make the society a better place than it was before.

What can you say about the experience that Gretchen Diez experienced? Do you support the SOGIE Bill as well? Share us your thoughts on the comments down below. Or hit us up on our Facebook or Twitter @UDoUPh.