Transgender woman in Philippines sues to stop discrimination at work


UP-babaylan-transgenderManila: A transgender woman in the Philippines has filed criminal charges against two security guards for repeatedly preventing her from using toilet facilities for women.

Call center employee Mara La Torre, 22, filed a criminal complaint against May Pacheco and Mineleus Llegunas before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office March 27 for violation of City Ordinance SP1309, S-2003 prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the workplace, reports philstar.com.

This is because the two security guards had “degraded her gender identity” by stopping her from using the women’s toilet. Both guards assigned at the offices of a call center in Fairview, Quezon City and are now facing criminal charges.

Only women are allowed to use the ladies’ room, Pacheco allegedly told her. When La Torre insisted that she was a woman, Pacheco said she was only following orders from Llegunas.

“As a transgender woman, I identify myself as a woman,” she told philstar.com in Filipino.

Clara Rita Padilla, La Torre’s lawyer, said her client is seeking justice through the Quezon City ordinance, the first passed in the Philippines protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people against discrimination in the workplace.

“All employers and employees in Quezon City should know about this ordinance to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” she told philstar.com. “Mara is very courageous in standing up for her rights.”

La Torre said the action of the security guards affected her health because she had to reduce her water intake as the company has no unisex toilet. “The right side of my tummy is beginning to ache because I dare not urinate,” she said.

She was also not allowed to use the female sleeping quarters. “It is difficult as I need to sleep because sometimes I’m already in the office five hours before my shift. I’m assigned at night and it’s hard to get a ride at that time.”

The “hostile environment” caused her “gender dysphoria” or “gender depression” that transgender people experience, she said.

The company’s human resources department told La Torre that an employee’s gender is determined based on that stated in his or her birth certificate.

La Torre is still working for the call center company.

Source: philstar.com

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