A transgender woman was handcuffed after a cleaner stopped her from using the ladies’ toilet because ‘she has a penis’.
Gretchen Custodio Diez, 28, was about to enter the restroom in a shopping mall in Manila, the Philippines, when she was told off by Chair Ganal on Tuesday.
Gretchen, who was wearing a jacket and a black dress, filmed the bizarre moment as she argued with the cleaning lady.
Mobile phone footage captures Gretchen being taken to the basement and held inside a room away from other shoppers.
The cleaner can be heard saying: “You still have a penis. Remember that.”
She was also seen trying to take away Gretchen’s phone, appearing to hit her in the head and claiming to file a lawsuit against Gretchen.
Manila Police arrived hours later at around 11:30pm and took Gretchen away in handcuffs, local media Rappler reports.
Gretchen was taken to the QCPD Station 7 in Cubao, then to the anti-cyber crime division because the police were confused about how to handle her case, it is reported.
QCPD chief Brigadier General Joselito Esquive told Rappler in a phone interview: “This is the first time this happened.”
Gretchen was eventually released after Chair decided to drop the charges and apologised to her, admitting that she had ‘made a mistake’.
She wrote in a letter: ”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.”
Gretchen vowed to pursue legal action.
She said: “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.”
Transgender actress Mela Franco Habijan supported Gretchen as she wrote in a Facebook post: “Gretchen is a proud trans woman who expresses herself as a woman and she always goes to the female restroom every single day.
“So she got offended by this act.”