The Philippines transportation department may introduce guidelines and training after metro staff accosted a transgender woman.
Footage of transgender woman, Mikki Galang, arguing with three Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) guards went viral on Tuesday (11 September).
Guards questioned Galang for queuing in the line for a female carriage on the metro. Staff said other riders had complained. But, on the video, commuters can be heard saying ‘no one’s complaining here’.
In a statement released Tuesday, Philippines’ Department of Transportation said it did not tolerate ‘any form of inequality when it comes to gender and service’.
Communications director Goddes Libiran said the department would be ‘further educating the staff and employees … to be more sensitive to these [issues]’.
Long wait for equality legislation
The viral video triggered renewed calls for the Philippines to pass a long-awaited anti-discrimination bill.
On Wednesday, the country’s first transgender lawmaker, Geraldine Roman, spoke out against the discrimination.
‘It is very sad that in the Philippines there are still incidents of gender discrimination like what is shown in this video’, she said on Facebook.
‘We should no longer tolerate any form of gender prejudice, abuse, bullying, harassment or violence’.
The country’s SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity expression) Equality Bill is stagnating in the Senate.
The bill would make it illegal to deny access to public services, hire or dismiss, impede access to education, or harass a person based on SOGIE.
‘It is time to educate our people about justice and fairness. It is time to pass measures, like the SOGIE Equality Bill, that would provide legal protection to the members of the LGBT community’, Roman said.
Commentators describe the Philippines as one of the most LGBTI-friendly countries in Asia. Above all, early three quarters of the population accept homosexuality, according to a recent survey.
Despite this, unfortunately same-sex marriage is still not legal.