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Homosexuality is legal in The Philippines, however, the country is not as progressive in LGBTQ+ rights when compared to other Asian countries. We spent one month in The Philippines and experienced no form of homophobia or discrimination during our time there.
This doesn’t mean that homophobia and discrimination towards members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t take place in The Philippines. However, thankfully reports are becoming increasingly rare and legislation making it illegal to discriminate is being actioned upon by the authorities in the majority of cases.
Is Being Gay & Lesbian Legal In The Philippines?
As a lesbian couple one of the first things we have to do when planning a trip is to check the rights and sentiment towards the LGBTQ+ community, and planning a trip to the Philippines was no different.
While we’re not huge fans of public displays of affection, I personally present as very masculine and therefore can be misgendered, and easily identified as a member of the LGBTQ+ community simply by my appearance.
Thankfully, homosexuality is permitted in The Philippines and selected pieces of legislation recently approved now make it illegal to discriminate against anyone who identifies as homosexual.
However, unlike some of the more progressive Asian countries, The Philippines still has limits imposed on the LGBTQ+ community.
In terms of gay marriage, members of the LGBTQ+ community can have a same-sex ceremony. However, these ceremonies are not recognised by law and are deemed unconstitutional.
When it comes to adopting a child, the law on adoption in The Philippines does not consider the sexual orientation or preferences of the person(s) adopting and therefore members of the LGBTQ+ community are able to adopt children.
Is Being Trans Legal In The Philippines?
The acceptance of transgender individuals in The Philippines is sadly, very behind. Gender reassignment surgery in the country does take place and is not illegal.
However, changing the gender on official government documents is not permitted. This means even if you look to change your gender, your documents will remain the same.
Public Displays Of Affection & LGBTQ Social Acceptance
The majority of people within The Philippines are accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. However, some more conservative people living within the country still do not approve of homosexuality.
Personally, Helen and I are relatively reserved when it comes to public displays of affection, and are very conscious when travelling. Therefore during our month-long trip to The Philippines, we avoided any form of public affection.
However, when it came to accommodation we still booked double private rooms in everything from small independently owned apartments to some of the Philippines’ most luxurious hotels and resorts, and experienced no awkward moments or twin beds.
LGBTQ+ Friendly Places In The Philippines
As you might expect we typically found that the major metropolitan cities and tourist-dense areas were the most accepting towards the LGBTQ+ community.
The capital of The Philippines and the epicentre of gay nightlife, Manila is a fan favourite with LGBTQ+ travellers.
The city of Manila is typically safer and more welcoming towards members of the LGBTQ+ community when compared to some of the more rural areas of the country.
Better still, Manila also has some of the best nightlife you’ll experience in The Philippines with a number of dedicated LGBTQ+ bars and clubs.
Roughly an hour from the capital of Manila by plane is the small tropical island of Boracay. While there are no dedicated LGBTQ+ bars, clubs or accommodation here it is typically very accepting towards the LGBTQ+ community.
So much so that the island hosts an annual event known as the Jungle Circuit, which caters specifically to the LGBTQ+ community.
The Best Gay Prides In the Philippines
The LGBTQ+ community in The Philippines thrives thanks to the volunteers who go above and beyond to create fantastic pride events within the country.
These events help to spread the word, gather support and educate others about vitally important equality topics.
Metro Manila Pride
Metro Manila Pride is the largest Pride event in Southeast Asia and hosts thousands of visitors annually.
The event takes place over a week in the month of June and features a wide range of educational talks, motivational speeches as well as LGBTQ+ art performances and displays.
Given the large number of visitors, it’s highly recommended that you book your accommodation as far in advance as possible if you’re looking to attend.