Philippines, Asia

The Philippines comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It's the world's 12th most populous country with a population of 90 million people. Its national economy is the 46th largest in the world with an estimated 2008 gross domestic product of over US$154.073 billion. There are more than 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, about 11% of the total population. It is a multi-ethnic country. Ecologically, The Philippines is considered to be among 17 of the most megadiverse countries in the world.

Homosexuality is increasingly being tolerated in the Philippines. However this tolerance is tempered by the strong influence of the Catholic church and macho culture. Most Filipinos appear to be comfortable with gays as long as they fit to certain stereotypes and behave according to accepted, non-threatening norms. There is a vibrant gay scene in the Philippines with several bars, clubs and saunas in Manila as well as various gay rights organizations. Homosexual relations between consenting adults in private are not a crime. Although sexual conduct or affection that occurs in public may be subject to the "grave scandal" prohibition. See gay rights in Philippines.


News & Reports:


In the Philippines, a survey shows growing support for gays and lesbians

Manila, Philippines – A sharp majority of Filipinos say they agree that gays and lesbians are trustworthy and contribute to the progress of society, according to a national survey. The survey, conducted in March by the nonprofit social research group Social Weather Stations and released in June — Pride Month in many nations — shows… Read more »

The Largest Pride Celebration in Southeast Asia is in the Region’s Most Catholic Country

Thousands marched in the Philippines in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. More than 70,000 people participated in the Metro Manila Pride March, making it the largest Pride celebration in Southeast Asia. This, despite the Philippines having the region’s largest Catholic population in Asia. Gray skies and persistent rainfall didn’t deter the crowd on Saturday, June… Read more »

Gay high school law student shot dead for trying to do human rights work

Ryan Hubilla, who wished to one day be a human rights lawyer, was no older than 16 A gay high school law student was shot dead for trying to do human rights work today (14 June). Ryan Hubilla was one of two human rights defenders killed in the Philippines. Nelly Bagasala was also killed. Two… Read more »

This town that survived a deadly typhoon is now putting on its first Pride

Poverty, rural isolation and natural disasters won’t stop these people putting on the best Pride ever A village in the Philippines which has survived typhoons, poverty and isolation will rise together to host its first Pride. The LGBTI community in San Julian in Eastern Samar is working hard despite a limited budget to put on… Read more »

[Opinion] The extra struggles of the LGBTQ+ community in Mindanao

‘We cannot achieve peace and genuine development if gender equality is not upheld especially in Mindanao’ Openly LGBTQ+ are everywhere in the Philippines. Given this level of normalcy, pride events are organized in the Philippines’ central metropolitan cities – a celebration of gender diversity by parading in eleganza, extravaganza, and an ensemble of rainbows all… Read more »

A transgender paradox in the Philippines

Maria Respondo: Angel Cabaluna dusted makeup onto her thighs, styled her hair in loose curls and applied smoky eye shadow that glittered on her lids. As this hamlet of cornfields and concrete houses prepared for festivities honouring its patron saint, and as some people gathered in prayer, Cabaluna, 20, was primping to compete in an… Read more »

A Transgender Paradox, and Platform, in the Philippines

Maria Respondo, Philippines — Angel Cabaluna dusted makeup onto her thighs, styled her hair in loose curls and applied smoky eye shadow that glittered on her lids. As this hamlet of cornfields and concrete houses prepared for festivities honoring its patron saint, and as some people gathered in prayer, Ms. Cabaluna, 20, was primping to… Read more »

HIV diagnoses have rocketed 3,147% over 10 years in the Philippines

Newly released figures from the Filippino health department have revealed that the number of HIV diagnoses has rocketed 3,147 percent over the past ten years in the country. In 2007, there were just 342 new cases recorded but in 2017 11,103 new cases were recorded. ? The figures took a 20 percent jump from 2016… Read more »

Philippines’ Duterte, in about-face, says he supports same-sex unions

Manila (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday expressed his support for same-sex unions, after previously declaring his opposition to gay marriage, in an about-face that may displease bishops in the mainly Roman Catholic country. Speaking at a gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in his hometown Davao City, Duterte vowed… Read more »

The Philippines: Make Way for the Baklas

Meet my new neighbor Janet. She’s of average height, has long, shapely legs, and sports a wavy mass of black hair that stops just short of her pert derrière—definitely head-turning material. She’s one in a procession of similar beauties who pass by in a steady stream. She and I exchange recipes: it turns out she… Read more »

My Trip To The Philippines, Part 1: The Power of Queer-Affirming Theater

As a Filipino American kid, I always felt cursed for being gay. Growing up in a traditional Catholic family, I had a lack of queer role models – with the exception of two distant female relatives who my aunties referred to as “tomboys”, or a distant uncle with “a roommate” who no one acknowledged. American… Read more »

Duterte Opposes Gay Marriage in Philippines, Reversing Campaign Pledge

Manila — The Philippines will not legalize same-sex marriage anytime soon, President Rodrigo Duterte has said, reversing a campaign promise in which he pledged to support legislation to allow gay unions. Mr. Duterte stressed that the country was Asia’s bastion of Roman Catholicism, which steadfastly opposes same-sex marriage. He pointed to a recent issue of… Read more »

Philippine Education Department Says No to Condoms

Setback for Efforts to Curb Fast-Growing HIV Epidemic The Philippine Department of Education this week rejected a proposal to distribute condoms in public high schools. The proposal, made by the Department of Health, was an overdue response to the country’s worsening human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic, and its rejection will hurt efforts to slash new… Read more »

[DASH of SAS] ‘Mercy’ sex in Iloilo

‘They are transitional men. They engage in sex transactionally, on a case-to-case basis, or maybe when the need arises’ Raj, Popoy, Jeo, and Makoy* share many things, as many good friends do. They share the same interests like going out as a barkada, video games, and girls. The 4 boys share the same neighborhood and… Read more »

Trans candidate makes history by winning seat in Philippines election

A transgender candidate has made history in being elected by the House of Representatives in the Philippines with a large majority. Geraldine Roman said before the count that she wanted to overcome prejudice and discrimination in her country to be elected She is the first trans person to be elected to a public office in… Read more »

Philippines Elects First Transgender Member Of Congress

Unofficial results show that the Philippines is electing its first-ever transgender member of Congress — Geraldine Roman, who’s winning nearly 62 percent of the vote in her district, according to polls. Like many Filipino politicians, Roman is part of a political dynasty: She will be taking over her House seat from her mother, currently a… Read more »

Queer Southeast Asia: Recognition, Respect & Legitimacy

Over the past few decades, diverse new cultures and communities based on same-sex preference and transgender identity have become increasingly prominent in all the countries of Southeast Asia. Across the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of region, and despite the distinctive colonial and semicolonial political histories of the modern states of Southeast Asia (see Jackson… Read more »

Queer Southeast Asia: Recognition, Respect & Legitimacy

Over the past few decades, diverse new cultures and communities based on same-sex preference and transgender identity have become increasingly prominent in all the countries of Southeast Asia. Across the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of region, and despite the distinctive colonial and semicolonial political histories of the modern states of Southeast Asia (see Jackson… Read more »

Families must end LGBTI violence and improve rights in Asia

Bangkok (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Some of those most guilty of violence and discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender people in Asia are their families, which must instead play a key role in improving LGBTI rights, activists from the region said. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) in Asia face the threat of… Read more »

Philippines: Vigan City bans anti-gay hate

Historic city passes the country’s broadest anti-discrimination ordinance yet Historic Vigan has become the lastest city in the Philippines to ban anti-gay hate. The anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) covering sexual orientation and gender identity was passed in November but was embargoed until last week pending further study. Like similar laws in other parts of the southeast… Read more »

Thousands march in first Quezon City pride

City commemorates 20th anniversary of the first pride in the Philippines More than 4,000 members and supporters of the LGBTI community took to the streets of Quezon City on Saturday (13 December) for the city’s first pride parade. The event commemorated the 20th anniversary of the first pride in the Philippines and was a ‘pet… Read more »

Closure of gay bars looms in Baguio

Baguio City, Benguet—Health officials asked the city government on Wednesday to close down gay bars to prevent the spread of the dreaded disease AIDS, which showed an upsurge in the past several months. Dra. Celiaflor Brillantes, head of the social hygiene clinic, said 80 percent of the 60 AIDS cases in the city have been… Read more »

Philippines: Mayor of largest city backs same-sex marriage

The Mayor of Quezon City in the Philippines has said he “looks forward” to the day equal marriage can be legalised in the country. Quezon City recently made history after it unanimously approved ordinance that bans anti-gay discrimination. According to the Inquirer, now Quezon Mayor Herbert Bautista has since spoken during his State of the… Read more »

Major Philippines city bans discrimination against LGBT individuals

Philippines: Quezon City Council in the National Capital Region of the Philippines has approved an ordinance banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. This is very special and better than other ordinances (and) there is also affirmative action,” said Ging Cristobal, project coordinator for the Asia Pacific region of the International Gay and… Read more »

‘Out and Proud’ documentary to examine LGBTQI issues

As the community celebrates Pride Month this June, GMA-7, in its effort to show its support to the LGBTQI community, will be airing a documentary called “Out and Proud”. The hour long special will attempt to answer the issues the LGBTQI people continue to face. In 2004, when GMA-7 launched the magazine TV show “Out!”,… Read more »

Small steps to equality

Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippines Country Report – released by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – highlights the continuing challenges faced by LGBT people in their daily lives. As Michael David C. Tan, who authored the country report, says, “there are success stories that seem… Read more »

Philippines Is Getting Better For Gays, But Discrimination Persists: UN Study

Gays are increasingly tolerated in Philippine society but discrimination persists and they remain vulnerable to hate crimes, according to a United Nations-backed study released Monday. Sexual activity is not a crime but same-sex marriage is not allowed and gay couples cannot adopt children, said the study funded by the UN Development Programme and the US… Read more »

‘Backward’ Philippine town boasts oldest gay pride parade in Asia

Pasuquin town in northern Philippines has this year once again conducted its gay pride festival, doing so annually since 1972 and making it the oldest recorded gay pride parade in Asia. The Manila Pride March bills itself as the “oldest gay pride march in Asia” having first started in 1994. But the annually organized gay… Read more »

Being LGBT in Asia: The Philippine Country Report

Summary Being LGBT in Asia: the Philippines Country Report provides an overview of LGBT rights in the Philippines including the effects of laws, policies, culture and social attitudes, and religion, based on research, consultation and the National LGBT Community Dialogue. This overview is followed by an examination of the Philippines experience of protecting the rights… Read more »

Rainbow Defenders

Outrage Magazine launched Bahaghari Media Awards to give recognition to media personalities whose works not only highlight the real plight of LGBTQI Filipinos, but – by doing so – help in the struggle for equal rights. As a move to give recognition to people who assist in the struggle for equal rights by lesbian, gay,… Read more »

Philippines: Lawmaker files bill for LGBT desks in police stations to combat anti-gay killings

A Philippines Congresswoman has filed a bill seeking to reform police responsibility to anti-gay hate crimes by placing LGBT desks in every police station. The bill comes as an amendment to the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganisation Act of 1998, which placed desks in police stations to handle crimes against women and children. Congresswoman… Read more »

Persecuted gay immigrant allowed to stay in US

San Francisco — Federal judges have permitted a gay Filipino immigrant to stay in the U.S. despite deportation orders because he has suffered persecution for his sexual orientation in his native land. In a decision issued Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said 37-year-old Dennis Vitug was harassed and threatened… Read more »

Baguio LGBT Pride Parade in Philippines goes ahead in a cyclone

Participants in the 7th annual Baguio City Pride Parade marched despite rain and cyclonic weather Marchers in the 2013 Baguio City Pride March Not even a cyclone put the dampers on participants in the annual Baguio City Pride Parade. Participants march despite rain being dumped on the city by a weather event termed Severe Tropical… Read more »

World’s only LGBT party launches election campaign

The Philippines’ Ladlad launch a campaign to win a seat in congress in the May election The world’s only political party solely dedicated to LGBT issues, Ladlad in the Philippines, launched its election campaign yesterday. The first day of campaigning started with a blessing at 7am from Rev Ceejay Agbayani from LGBTS community church and… Read more »

Oldest Pride in Asia sees 1,500 march in Manila

Groups demand that congress pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill to protect the rights of LGBT people 1,500 people marched for LGBT rights in Manila on Saturday at the 18th Metro Manila Pride parade in the Philippines’ capital. The primary demand of the dozens of advocacy groups was for congress to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill. ‘After eighteen… Read more »

Dying of fear in the Philippines

After seeing too many of their friends die of Aids before even taking an HIV test, a group of gay men in Manila formed Love Yourself to educate their peers that they have nothing to fear but fear itself HIV among gay men in the Philippines is spreading rapidly, but in an age when the… Read more »

Filipina trans wins Miss International Queen beauty pageant

Kevin Balot, 21, says she hopes winning the transgender contest will make her dad finally accept her A transgender woman from the Phillipines has been crowned Miss International Queen 2012. Kevin Balot beat 21 finalists from 15 countries to be named this year’s winner of the annual trans beauty pageant in Pattaya, Thailand. Balot, who… Read more »

Transgender beauty pageant crown awarded to Miss Philippines

The finals of the 2012 Miss International Queen competition reached a colourful and spectacular climax in Thailand on Friday. The annual beauty pageant for transvestites and transgender males saw contestants from around the world battling for the crown. The event in Pattaya, 130 kilometres southeast of Bangkok, is fashioned after the Miss World beauty pageant… Read more »

Cebu becomes first province in the Philippines to pass anti-discrimination law

The Cebu City Council on Wednesday passed a landmark anti-discrimination ordinance on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, age, health status, ethnicity and religion. The landmark ordinance will prohibit excluding, refusing or dismissing any person from public programs and services and educational institutions on the basis of disability, age, health status, sexual… Read more »

Philippines: UN Human Rights Committee identifies LGBT rights violations

Members of the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern about reports of LGBT violations received from NGOs at the fourth periodic review of the compliance of the Philippines with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in Geneva this week. The following is a press release issued by the International Gay and Lesbian… Read more »