LGBTQ employees in DSWD may choose their preferred uniform style

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 Sept) – “Either they opt to wear pants (in lieu of skirt) or skirt (in lieu of pants).”

Employees of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) nationwide who belong to the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community, can choose their preferred uniform style, according to a directive to foster a gender-inclusive workplace.

In her directive to all executive and management committee members, regional directors and attached agencies, Mae Fe Templa, Undersecretary for Institutional Development Group, Mae Fe said DSWD personnel can comply with the uniform style prescribed by the Department “in a manner consistent with their gender identity and expression.”

Preferred uniform styles of personnel belonging to the LBGTQ community “will be respected i.e., either they opt to wear pants (in lieu of skirt) or skirt ( in lieu of pants), following the grant of clothing allowance for 2016,” Templa said.

The DSWD “pledges to cultivate an environment free from discrimination, where diversity and inclusion are valued at all levels,” the memo said.

Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said recognizing the right of its LGBTQ employees and staff to dress based on their own preferences tied to their gender identification is the least that the DSWD can do.

“Policies on respect for LGBTQ rights are policies that we want our employees to observe on their own volition, not because the administration of the DSWD orders them to, but because the employees themselves on their own see the importance of LGBTQ rights,” a DSWD press release on September 29 quoted Taguiwalo as saying. “We still have a very long way to go before the rights of LGBTQ become fully accepted in Philippine society, and every little effort to promote them is important and should be enforced,” she said.

Taguiwalo is a retired professor of the Department of Women and Development Studies at the College of Social Work and Community Development at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Before her appointment as DSWD Secretary, Taguiwalo has been a staunch advocate of rights of women and LGBTQ. (MindaNews)