CEBU

Nalzaro: Should LGBT have their own restrooms?

Saksi

IN THE beginning, God created the heavens and earth and the earth was without form and shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters. Then God said: “Let there be light.” God saw the light and separated it from darkness. Then God said: “Let us make human beings in our image after our likeness.” God created mankind in his image, male and female. And they were Adam and Eve. So, take note: only male and female.

That’s in the Bible. But according to science, human beings evolved from apes. So, if we believe this theory, there must be a third sex among our ape descendants. Unsa kahay hitsura atong bayot nga aliwas no?

From the original two genders, there are now four genders. Man, woman, “masculine female-bodied” and the “feminine male-bodied.” In this generation and in present times, they are called, lebian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). It is not the same LGBT that stands for “Lami gihapon bisan tiguwang/tambok.”

The debate on whether to require commercial establishments and building owners to provide restrooms for the third sex has revived. A bill called SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity or expression) has long been pending in Congress. Originally drafted by the late senator Miriam Defesor Santiago, Sen. Riza Hontiveros is now pushing for the passage of the bill in the Senate. This is in view of the lobbying made by the third sex community to protect its members from discrimination.

A recent incident in a mall in Cubao, Quezon City involved a transgender who was refused entry to a female restroom by the janitress. The transgender woman, Gretchen Diez, confronted the janitress, which triggered an altercation. The mall’s security guard intervened and handcuffed the transgender and had the incident blottered at the police station, accusing Diez of unjust vexation. The incident brought to the fore again legislation on gender equality.

Should homosexuals have their own separate comfort rooms? Not too long ago, the late Provincial Board member Arleigh Sitoy filed an ordinance requiring establishments and building owners to provide restrooms for the third sex. Sitoy believed that it was high time to end the confusion on which public restroom should a member of the third sex use given the present setup, wherein there are only male and female comfort rooms. However, the proposed ordinance fizzled out for lack of support from his colleagues.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, son of a prominent evangelist, Brother Eddie Villanueva of Jesus is Our Lord Movement, said the proposed law prohibiting discrimination against members of the LGBT community might set a “dangerous precedent” to charging individuals or groups who stand up for their religious beliefs. Villanueva warned that the bill would give special rights to members of the LGBT community at the expense of the religious sector. He argued that Christian leaders or pastors, who are only professing their religious belief that homosexuality is a “great sin” to God, may be charged criminally under the Sogie law if the LGBT community is offended by their preaching. He cited a case in the US where a conservative baker was charged in 2012 for refusing to make a cake for a gay couple during their wedding as it violated his religious belief.

I agree with Villanueva that there might be a religious repercussion to this bill. There are already several laws that protect the rights of an individual. If a member of the LBGT community feels offended by the bullying of another person, we have laws under the Revised Penal Code and special laws like the anti-bastos law that protect them. Who can stop other sectors from demanding the same? People will understand if a gay will enter a male restroom and a lesbian enter a female comfort room. They are already accepted in our society. Adto lang gyud sila sa cubicle para walay makakita nila ug dili sila maglisud pagpangihi.


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