Transgender woman files complaint vs Araneta Center, agencies for discrimination

By CNN Philippines Staff

Transgender woman Gretchen Diez on Friday formally filed a complaint against Araneta Center and its contracted security and sanitation agencies for the discrimination she experienced at a mall in Cubao, Quezon City.

Diez lodged her complaint before the Quezon City Pride Council after she was blocked from using a women’s restroom in Farmers Plaza. Mall security detained then handcuffed her and brought her to Quezon City Police District Station 7 Tuesday night for an unjust vexation complaint filed against her by the mall janitress. This stemmed from Diez’ video recording of her confrontation with the cleaning staff.

She said mall owner Araneta Center, Starline Security Agency, Inc., and the sanitation services agency that contracted the said janitress were negligent.

“I am of the firm belief that the said acts of discrimination and harassment that I have experienced should never have happened, had the three had not been remiss in their responsibilities as employers of the specific persons involved and as the administrator of the place where the incident happened,” she said in her complaint.

She said the three companies failed to prevent or control the harassment committed against her — from the discrimination to her detention in the mall’s security office. She said Araneta Center and the two agencies are equally responsible for the incident.

Diez said the discriminatory acts were a clear violation of the city’s ordinance because it showed that the sanitary staff and security officers that handled the incident were unaware of the provisions of the city’s rule to protect the queer.

“Worse, the specific mall personnel involved repeatedly told me during that fiasco that they were merely doing their respective jobs pursuant to the mall policy,” she wrote.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte earlier said there is a “clear violation” of the LGBTQ+ ordinance in the part of Farmers Plaza with its failure to designate an “all-gender toilet.”

The management of Farmers Plaza has apologized to Diez and the public, but washed its hands off on how she was treated.

The mall’s general manager, Morriel Abogado, said the handcuffing of Diez “was not the idea of Farmers Plaza management, nor was it done within our premises.” The management, she added, was “unaware of the reason or basis why the police thought this was necessary at all.” He added the unjust vexation complaint was neither filed by the company, as it was a “personal decision” of cleaning staff Chayra Ganal.

Diez asked the Quezon City Pride Council to conduct an investigation into the incident. A group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives sought for an investigation on the discrimination.

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