Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in the Philippines

Philippines LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No
The Metropolitan Community Church Philippines has been conducting same-sex holy unions since 1991, and the communist New People’s Army of the Philippines has been conducting same-sex marriages since 1998.  However, the Philippine Constitution does not recognize same-sex marriages.
◊ UPDATE: As of Dec, 2009 a Manila lawmaker is seeking to criminalize same-sex unions.  House Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr. said such marriage should be discouraged by a criminalizing measure because it is “highly immoral, scandalous and detestable act.”  Under the bill, violators faces 15 years of imprisonment and a fine of not more than P150,000. (link)

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes
Beginning in 2009, openly gay and bisexual persons are now allowed to serve in the military.

Anti-discrimination Laws?  No
◊  Proposed in 1998, but still not passed, the Anti-Discrimination Bill would criminalize practices and policies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  It would cover discrimination in the workplace, educational institutions, health centers, commercial establishment, police force, the military, and others.

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some
◊  The Philippines Court of Appeals ruled in 2008 that sex reassignment is not a valid reason to allow for the official change of someone’s “name” or “gender”.

Cultural Points of Interest:

  • The Philippines is home to the longest running pride march in Asia, with annual marches since 1994.  Anti-gay protesters were formerly unknown to the parade as the local church did not believe in organizing any disruptions.  However in 2008, for the first time, a foreign led anti-gay Christian group picketed the parade.
  • The film Bubot Niyar“, aka “Paper Dolls,” is a documentary by director Tomer Heymann that focuses on the lives of five cross-dressing Filippino men working in Tel Aviv, Israel, who formed the ‘Paper Dolls’ drag group on their nights off.  They all work as health care providers for elderly, Orthodox Jewish men, and are some of the 300,000 foreign immigrants that moved to Israel to fill former Palestinian jobs when relations worsened in 2000.  The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Torino International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
  • Philippine Gay Culture: Binabae to Bakla, Silahis to MSM is a book by J. Neil C. Garcia, a professor of English, creative writing, and comparative literature at University of the Philippines.  This hefty 540-page book looks at gay identities that have emerged in the Philippines from the 1960s to present day.

Websites:

Gay in the Philippines is a site that aims to reflect the lives and lifestyles of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals (LGBT) in the Philippines. The website collects information and stories from LGBT communities, while featuring gay-friendly destinations for those who want to travel or holiday in the Philippines. http://gayinthephilippines.com

OutrageMag.com promotes itself as the only Gayzine in the Philippines. www.OutrageMag.com

Weeqender.com is Philippines’ first LGBTQ travel and lifestyle magazine blog. http://weeqender.com/

Rainbow Bloggers is a website that posts articles created by LGBT Filipino bloggers, in hopes of encouraging aspiring writers.  The site also highlights a ‘Rainbow Blog of the Week.’ http://www.rainbowbloggers.com/

Task Force Pride is the organizing network of the 2009 Manila Pride March. http://taskforcepride.blogspot.com/

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