Ang Ladlad slammed the ordinance of Cebu Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy requiring business establishments to designate a separate restroom exclusively for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders (LGBTs). The ordinance said that "separate restroom is the solution to end the confusion of what public restroom should a member of the LGBT avail for them to feel safe, comfortable and convenient wherein there are only male and female comfort rooms."
While Ang Ladlad lauds and appreciates the intent of Mr. Sitoy to address the needs and concerns of LGBTs, its members, especially from the Cebu chapter, have strong reservations about this ordinance. Ang Ladlad believes that a separate restroom for LGBTs perpetuates our already marginalized existence.
Jubelle Toledo, one of Ladlad's focal points in Cebu City, stresses that, "requiring all establishments to put up a separate facility means that LGBTs are being treated differently and this could isolate or marginalize us even more. It is also another form of discrimination." Toledo was also puzzled where Mr. Sitoy got the idea that LGBTs in Cebu are confused on what restroom to use.
Ms Bemz Benedito, Chairperson of Ang Ladlad, further explains, "I am a transgender woman and so I use the female restroom. LGBTs only get confused on what restroom to use when other people start calling their attention on this matter." Benedito further said, "We know that PB Sitoy has good intentions, but this ordinance could potentially alienate and isolate LGBT Filipinos more from the rest of society."
Atty. Germaine Leonin, Vice-chairperson of Ang Ladlad, suggests that the local legislators should conduct consultation meetings with their LGBT constituents to know what issues and concerns they face and what responses need to be done.
"I am appealing to Mr. Sitoy to talk to the local LGBT community instead, and ask them about their concerns and address those issues through proper legislation," Leonin stressed. "Why not pass a local version of the Anti-Discrimination Bill?" she asked.
Ang Ladlad Party List is the national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Filipinos, which has 50,000 affiliates, allies, and members all over the country.