President Rodrigo Duterte meets with LGBT advocates, including transwoman Gretchen Diez and Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, at Malacañan Palace on Monday, Aug. 19.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night met with the transwoman at the center of a controversy over restroom access, signalling support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and an anti-discrimination bill being lobbied in Congress.

A statement from the office of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said the lawmaker, Duterte’s top aide, set up the meeting upon the request of key LGBT advocates led by Boobsie Savares.

Also in the meeting were Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman and Gretchen Diez, the transwoman prevented from using a restroom for female customers in a Quezon City mall last week.

“The President said during the meeting that the Palace will work with both houses of Congress to push for the passage of a version of the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Equality Bill that would protect the rights of individuals against discrimination,” the statement said.

Go, who vowed to support the bill at the Senate last Aug. 14, raised the idea of a commission for LGBT pending the passage of a SOGIE law. The government also plans to hold a national LGBT convention. (