It is 2016 and it is hard to believe this is still actually happening. But it is.
A Facebook user, who for the sake of this post we shall call Anna as she’s asked for her identity to be hidden, shared a shocking story online about her experience commuting from Cavite to Pasay. On her way to work one day, she hopped on the passenger seat of the public van only to be told by the driver that she cannot sit there as gay people are apparently not allowed to sit in front.
WhenInManila.com has reached out to Anna to ask for the entire story and here is the occurrence, as told through Anna’s own words:
It happened last Tuesday when I was on my way to work from Trece Martires, Cavite. I usually take the van ride directly to Pasay because it’s convenient and faster than taking a bus. The van lined-up in front was full, so I asked the organizer if I can take the next van in line, and he said “Yes”. From afar (5 steps away), I saw that someone’s already inside. A woman seating at the back of the driver seat and no one was seated in front. I opened the front door and hopped on. The driver looked at me and said “Ay, bawal dito lalaki,mukhang lalaki o tomboy sa harap” with his hand gesture waving “no”. I stepped back and confronted him: “Bakit bawal? Dhil ganito ako? I may look like a man but I’m a woman. I have every right to sit on this seat bec like the others I pay equally to commute. There’s no room for discrimination here.” He said, “Eh kung babae ka talaga pwede ka umupo” (his eyes were locked angrily me). [I] told him, “Next time make sure you have a sign that says no Lesbians/LGBT allowed, that i can simply understand and won’t even dare to sit in front”. I was firm on my belief, hopped in, sat beside him throughout the trip. When I got off at Pasay, I simply went to the back of the van and took a photo of the plate #.
By the way, these guys are non yellow plate or registered UV EXPRESS VANS. If I’m not mistaken, they should have stickers/sign on the van’s body, stating their UV Express vans and operates in a certain area to legally operate, right?
I’m afraid that they have connections here in Cavite so I didn’t bother to file a complaint to the city government. Instead I just posted it on my feed and sent a text message, Twitter message, Viber PM and email to LTFRB and LTO’s page. Also sent an email and PM to Sen. Hontiveros and Congreswoman Geraldine Roman.
I hope you can spread awareness and justice to folks like me, that has a different sexual orientation.
I am thankful [to you] though for reaching out to me to publish this and make everyone aware that discrimination is a crime. That a city ordinance about discrimination should be passed and be implemented to all cities here in the Philippines.
Kudos to Anna for standing her ground, fighting for her right, and staying on that seat. In this current state of the Philippines (and the world) that’s so full of negativity, we can only hope that each of us, who know what is just and right, continue to fight for it and never let hate and discrimination win.
What are your thoughts on this story? Share your thoughts in the comments.