May 15, 2021 (8:34 PM)

3 min read


DISCRIMINATORY. Isla Reta Beach resort in Samal Island now faces social media backlash after it released a statement banning transgender guests.

Various groups and allies of the LGBTQ+ community denounced Isla Reta Beach Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) for its statement refusing to accommodate transgender guests.

The said resort is currently facing backlash as the resort management declared that they will no longer accommodate the entry of transgender people and that only girls, boys, lesbians, gays, and transsexuals are allowed due to inavailability of facility for transgenders.

With this, the resort has earned numerous criticisms and disapproval, especially from those who are members of the LGBT+ community.

Ateneo Libulan Circle (ALC), the official organization of LGBTQ+ students and advocates of the Ateneo de Davao University along with the student government SAMAHAN, condemned Isla Reta’s policy as it enables discrimination and transphobia.

“This infuriating policy of the management highlights the continued prejudice the members of the LGBTQIA+ community face, especially the Trans people stripping them off with the rights to express themselves with the gender identity they hold,” the statement read.

“We stress the urgency of the passage of the SOGIE Equality bill that strongly protects the LGBTQIA+ community in any form of discrimination. We also demand the Department of tourism and City Government of the Island Garden city of samal to take action against the resort and sanction on the grounds of discrimination,” they added.

The University of the Philippines Babaylan (UP Babaylan), the oldest LGBTQI student organization in the country, also stood in solidarity with the trans community as they called for action regarding the issue and urged the authority to hold the management accountable.

“This should not go unchecked. We reiterate our call for Congress to pass the SOGIE Equality Bill now after 21 years of inaction,” they said.

Moreover, the organization urged the Department of Tourism and the city government of Samal to sanction the resort for discrimination, enact policies prohibiting SOGIESC-based discrimination in the city and the tourism industry, review existing practices and policies, and create transparent mechanisms for reporting of discrimination.

Local social media influencer and trans woman Ralz San Pedro, popularly known as Dabawenyang Transginger, expressed her opinion on her Facebook page.

“The issue does not center around the inability to provide a facility, rather the owners’ deliberate refusal to understand what is foreign to them (transgenderism) and lack of willingness to educate themselves regarding these ACTUAL CUSTOMERS,” San Pedro said.

“Sure, you may think there are only a few trans people who’ll be out from your resort which won’t do much to your sales. But you forgot about the friends, families and allies of these trans women who’d feel as bad and wouldn’t consider your resort as an option for recreation anymore,” she added.

Moreover, Judy Fernandez, an addu alumna, also asserted the need for compassion and inclusivity especially to those trans people who are often treated unjustly in the society.

“Yes, Isla Reta is a privately owned resort, but that doesn’t give you the right to treat us transgenders less than what we deserve. And if you think that fighting for our own rights makes us entitled, it’s your ‘straight’ privilege that makes you think with that mindset.” Fernandez wrote on her Facebook post.

“You did not experience what we experienced. Make sure before you spit words in public you know how it feels like to be discriminated against, belittled, because people see you as “different”,” she added.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) released an official statement in May enjoining the entire tourism industry to abide by the national laws on Gender and Development.

End the silence of the gagged!

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