Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is open to having gender-free comfort rooms in the Senate as his colleagues prepare to consider the sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) equality bill.
“Why not? We can start in the Senate,” Zubiri said when asked about “gender-free” comfort rooms as part of the SOGIE bill.
“Let’s keep an open mind. We are now entering 2020 and in this generation, lots of changes happened in the last years. So, let’s keep an open mind, come up with solution that is acceptable to all parties and lets take it from there, Zubiri said.
He also said the senators should debate on the SOGIE bill, which was refiled by Senator Risa Hontiveros after if failed to pass in the previous Congress.
But Zubiri said he is also backing Senator Juan Edgardo Angara’s anti-discrimination bill, which he believes would also include SOGIE.
“It could be a happy compromise, because there are some sectors which don’t want [SOGIE],” said Zubiri who maintained that there should be equality for all.
This was the same view aired by Senator Christopher Go, who said all Filipinos should be treated equally and justly.
“I support this,” the neophyte senator said of the Hontiveros bill.
“It is only right to protect the welfare of our country’s gender minorities who have contributed to our development and nation-building and have served and continue to serve the Filipino people well,” Go said.
“As a country that prides itself for its diversity, it is our moral obligation to safeguard a culture of acceptance and inclusivity to ensure that our children and generations of Filipinos to come will live in a nation where they feel loved, cared for and accepted,” he added.
Senator Leila de Lima sought an end to “bathroom discrimination” following the humiliation suffered by transgender Gretchen Diez, who was barred from using the women’s public restroom inside a shopping center in Quezon City on Aug. 13.
De Lima said the incident is a clear case of discrimination and therefore violates the human rights of the members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.
She reiterated her support for the immediate passage of the SOGIE bill to help stop gender-based discrimination and abuses.
Hontiveros’ proposed measure seeks to prohibit all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Other senators who have expressed misgivings about the SOGIE bill are Senators Joel Villanueva and Ronald dela Rosa.
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