A transgender woman was handcuffed ‘like a criminal’ after a cleaner stopped her from using the ladies’ toilets in a shopping mall.
Gretchen Custodio Diez tried to use the women’s restroom in a mall in the Quezon City area of Manila in the Philippines when female cleaner Chair Ganal is said to have blocked her path on Tuesday (August 13).
The 28-year-old, who was wearing a black dress and jacket at the time, filmed the incident as she argued with the cleaner who can be heard telling her ‘you still have a penis, remember that.’
The cleaner is then said to have taken her down to the basement, holding her in a room isolated from other shoppers. She was also filmed trying to take Gretchen’s phone while appearing to hit her.
When police arrived at the mall hours after the incident, they handcuffed Gretchen ‘like a shoplifter’ before frog marching her to the police station.
The shopping centre filed a complaint against the shopper, which was later dropped.
Gretchen later received a hand-written letter from the cleaner, who apologised and admitted she’d made a mistake.
I want to apologise to Gretchen. I hope with this apology she will give me a second chance.
I am only human. It was not my intention to offend her. I am willing to study the rights of the LGBT. That is all. I am sorry.
According to police, Gretchen was first taken to the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 7, then to the QCPD’s Anti-Cybercrime Division because officers were confused on how to handle her case citing that it was the first time it has happened.
For me, it was like I was a shoplifter being dragged inside the mall, with people looking at me as I was being held.
I could not understand how, in a supposedly gender-fair city, there is a person who would treat me like I committed crime.
Joy Belmonte, the Mayor of Quezon City, criticised the shopping centre and said the city would work to protect the rights of the LGBT+ community.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday, Or email [email protected]
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.