LGBT’s in the Philippines - Tolerated, Not Accepted

While Philippines stay as a Christian country, it is not surprising why LGBT’s or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender have been widely discriminated not just in their respective families, school mates, office mates but in the community itself too. In a workplace, more often than not, they can’t get a promotion simply because they have no families or children to feed.

When a certain person admits that he/she is gay ( a term used in reference of an LGBT person), it would be called as “paglaladlad” (unfurling or unveiling). Common terms such as tibo, tomboy, bakla, bading are used jokingly, if not derogatory. There have been stereotypes too, such as a bakla (a guy acting like a female) would work in the parlor, make-up artist, or cross-dressers who work in the salon.

However, as much as the Church warns and proclaims to the Filipinos that being such is a sin according to the Bible, fights for the rights of the LGBT culture still continues. Nowadays, there have been less but not totally wiped out discrimination for them. There are several large cities which passed ordinances against LGBT discrimination but a national law wasn’t agreed upon as the church opposed against it, some would say. Gay pageants have also been acknowledged.

Philippines have been ranked as one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world. The survey titled “The Global Divide on Homosexuality” conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center showed that 73 percent of adult Filipinos agreed with the statement that “homosexuality should be accepted by society,” up by nine percentage points from 64 percent in 2002. But UN says that the LGBT community is tolerated, but not entirely accepted. There are hate crimes around, with 28 killings tallied in the first half of the year 2011. Michael Tan conducted an informal survey involving 700 LGBT’s. He found out that 10% have suffered from violence and abuse, mostly from their families at home.

The church is one of the strongest foundation in the Philippines and if the church won’t accept the LGBT community, it is also highly unlikely to change the “tolerance” into actual “acceptance” from all Filipinos. On the good side, there are quite a number of Filipino LGBT organizations in the country with GATAS, Barangay Los Angeles, PUP Kabaro, UP Babaylan, Doll House, Pro Gay, Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network, Can’t live in the Closet as just few of the many groups supporting the LGBT culture.

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