Homosexuality is legal in The Philippines. However, the country is not as progressive in LGBTQ+ rights as other Asian countries.
I’m a masc presenting lesbian, and I spent one month in The Philippines with my wife. During our trip, we experienced no form of homophobia or discrimination.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that homophobia doesn’t exist in The Philippines. However instead, reports of homophobia and discrimination are increasingly rare.
Homosexuality Laws & LGBTQ+ Rights in The Philippines
Here are the homosexuality laws and LGBTQ+ rights in The Philippines according to Equaldex. These were last checked in January 2024.
- Homosexuality: Legal
- Gay Marriage: Unrecognised
- Censorship: None
- Changing Gender: Illegal
- Non-Binary Gender: Unrecognised
- Discrimination: Illegal in some contexts
- Employment Discrimination: Sexual orientation only
- Housing Discrimination: Sexual orientation and gender identity
- Adoption: Single only
- Military: Legal
- Donating Blood: Banned
- Conversion Therapy: Not Banned
- Age of Consent: Equal
Public Opinion of the LGBTQ+ Community in The Philippines
The laws and your rights as an LGBTQ+ person in the Philippines are important. However, so is the public opinion of the LGBTQ+ community.
- In June 2023, a Gallup poll found that 65% of people living in The Philippines said their city/area is good for gay and lesbian people.
- In a World Values Survey in 2022, just 18.92% of people from The Philippines justified homosexuality. This is down from 20.83% in a World Values Survey in 2014.
- In a World Values Survey in 2020, only 37.3% of people believed that homosexual couples are as good parents as other couples.
- In a Social Weather Stations poll in 2023, 79% of Filipinos agreed that gays and lesbians are just as trustworthy as any other Filipinos.
Our Experience as a Lesbian Couple in The Philippines
My wife Helen and I travelled to The Philippines for one month in January 2020. We visited major cities such as Manila and Cebu and tourist regions such as Moalboal and Bohol.
During our month-long visit, we didn’t experience any form of discrimination or homophobia. Instead, we found Filipinos to be welcoming and kind.
My wife Helen and I are not big on public displays of affection. Therefore, I can not personally speak on how PDA is perceived in The Philippines.
However, we booked many double rooms in family-owned hotels and major hotel chains. At no point when checking in were we questioned about the double bed or given twin beds instead.
Most LGBTQ+ Friendly Places in The Philippines
The most LGBTQ+ friendly place in The Philippines is Manila. Manila is the capital of The Philippines and attracts a younger demographic that is typically more accepting.
There are several dedicated LGBTQ+ bars in Manila, as well as the only gay pride event in The Philippines.
Metro Manila Pride attracted more than 70,000 people in 2019. This made it the largest pride event in South East Asia. This pride event takes place over one week in June and is 100% volunteer-run. Throughout the week, you’ll find:
- Educational Talks
- Motivational Speeches
- LGBTQ+ art displaces
- LGBTQ+ performances
- The Pride March
Cebu is the second largest city in The Philippines and, again, one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly places to visit. The city has a younger demographic. It also has a large expat community, making it typically more accepting.
Popular tourist regions in The Philippines are also very LGBTQ+ friendly. These are places such as:
- El Nido
These areas are more traditional when compared to the metropolitan cities. However, the number of tourists means that the locals see people from all walks of life.