LGBT Community in the Philippines

Find out about groups, social clubs and information for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the Philippines...

It’s a mixed picture for the LGBT community in the Philippines. Despite the country signing up to many international agreements promoting human rights, LGBT rights are not always supported by the state. However, same-sex activity is not criminalized, and sexual orientation is mentioned in various laws.

The most pressing issue for many in the community remains the lack of an anti-discrimination bill. Since the 1990s numerous proposals have been made without success. On the policy level there are both pro- and anti-LGBT policies in offices, institutions and private establishments. There are a number of edicts against discrimination and a code of ethics that promote the respect of diversity and LGBT well-being. However, people can be discharged from the military on the basis of sexual orientation and cross dressers can be barred from nightclubs.

Acceptance of the LGBT community varies among differing groups. The young are most accepting but there remains a widely held view that acceptance is based on LGBT Filipinos conforming to stereotypes and a narrow set of occupations. There is some LGBT representation on television and electronic media but there are still problems for the community in the country. A striking example of this can be seen in the higher murder rate; in the first half of 2011 there were 28 LGBT related killings.

Some of the LGBT laws regarding family issues can be regarded as regressive in westerner’s eyes. LGBT persons do not have the right to marry someone of the same sex. While adoption is allowed by a single LGBT person, it is not permitted for a same-sex couple.

Education

The LGBT community is often subject to discrimination, bullying and abuse in academic institutions. Presently LGBT issues are not included in academic curricula, however in 2012, the Department of Education introduced an order to protect children from violence, abuse and exploitation regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. There has also been more positive news for LGBT people in the educational environment with pride events on campuses and the election of LGBT individuals to student councils.

Employment

Discrimination is common in the workplace both during the recruitment process and during employment. Sexual harassment has been reported and concern over HIV discrimination in the workplace is palpable.

True Colours Coalition is a political organization that aims for equality and an end to discrimination

Media

The mainstream media is often criticized for portraying the LGBT community in a stereotypical way and often sensationalizes coverage of LGBT events. However, the growing influence of the internet is considered to be having a positive impact in redressing the balance.

Outrage magazine deals with LGBT issues:

Health

HIV is the primary health issue for the gay community. There is a national HIV strategy but there are challenges with lack of resources and problems with access to HIV testing. For the transgender community, information on hormone replacement therapy is hard to come by. In general there is a need for the psychosocial health needs of LGBT Filipinos to be addressed through supportive service providers.

The Positive Action Foundation Philippines incorporated offers support for people with HIV and AIDS

The AIDS society of the Philippines campaigns for the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS