Manila, Philippines—Nearly a decade ago, a global survey named the Philippines as one of the few gay-friendly countries in the world. However, a new study ranked the country as the least ideal for LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) travelers.
In 2013, the US-based Pew Research Center released a survey titled “The Global Divide on Homosexuality” and showed that 73 percent of adult Filipinos agreed with the statement that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
In the survey, the Philippines ranks 10th out of 39 countries with a majority of its population professing homosexuality.
Read: PH ranks among the most gay-friends in the world
However, years later, German portal Spartacus, in its 2021 Gay Travel Index, which ranked the best and worst countries for LGBTQ+ travelers, showed the Philippines as ideal destinations for gay travelers among 202 countries and territories. Ranked 117th.
“Spartacus publishes the Gay Travel Index every year since 2012. The index measures the legal status and living conditions for members of the gay community in the country concerned,” Spartacus said in its report.
The index focused on “political decision-making, the legal framework, and whether or not episodes of violence against the LGBTQ+ community were recently reported in countries”.
Read: The Best and Worst Countries for LGBTQ+ Travelers
“The index attempts to find a balance between measuring the rights of the local LGBTIQ community and considering the demands of those who are queer,” Spartacus said.
“Our objective is to monitor the safety of queer people in each country and raise awareness of complaints,” it said.
Not a great choice for LGBTQ+ travelers
According to Spartacus, the index currently includes 17 categories, namely:
- anti-discrimination law
- marriage/civil partnership
- adoption permit
- transgender rights
- Intersex/Third Choice
- same age of consent
- “conversion therapy”
- LGBT Marketing
- religious influence
- HIV travel ban
- anti-gay laws
- homosexuality illegal
- pride restricted
- local hostile
- prosecution side
- the killing
- Death Penalty
Each country was ranked per category and their total score—13 was the highest total score.
“It negatively impacts a country’s rating if human rights are not followed or guaranteed or, worse, violated. A zero rating as the lowest rating is given only if This is when a county lacks important but not primary categories like LGBT marketing or anti-discrimination laws,” Spartacus explained.
On the map, countries were color-coded based on index scores – with dark green indicating the most liberal and queer-friendly countries, while red assigned the most dangerous countries to visit or live in as homosexuals.
Canada was the only country that ranked first in the index with an overall score of 13. The country that upholds Canada’s Human Rights Act received a high score of 3 on its anti-discrimination law.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum were the Republic of Chechnya in Russia (-19 points), Saudi Arabia and Somalia (both -18 points), and Iran (-17 points).
“The Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia are the regions least safe for LGBTQ+ travelers, while Latin America proves more welcoming than Asia, with the exception of Taiwan. India and Thailand score at least 1 on the index, while Nepal ranks neutral at 0 and Japan scores -2,” said Katharina Buchholz, senior data journalist at consumer company Statista.
The Philippines, which was ranked 17th along with 17 other countries- received an overall score of -7. The country scored seven-1 points in seven different categories. Unfortunately, it had no positive score.
Below are the Philippines’ scores per category:
- Anti-Discrimination Law: 0
- Marriage/Civil Partnership: -1
- Adoption Permission: 0
- Transgender Rights: -1
- Intersex/Third Option: -1
- Same age of consent: 0
- “conversion therapy: -1”
- LGBT Marketing: 0
- Religious Influence: -1
- HIV Travel Restrictions: 0
- Anti-gay laws: 0
- Homosexuality Illegal: 0
- Pride Restricted: -1
- Local hostile: 0
- Prosecution: 0
- Murders: -1
- Death penalty: 0
PH. sexual orientation law in
A separate report published in 2020 by the International Gay, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) – a group of more than 1,700 organizations from more than 160 countries and territories campaigning for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex human beings Worldwide Federation of Rights—a closer look at sexual orientation laws in countries around the world, including the Philippines.
A recent “State-Sponsored Homophobia” report, as explained by the ILGA, is “A World Survey of Sexual Orientation Laws”—that “against discrimination based on sexual orientation against consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults.” from the criminalization of”.
The sexual orientation laws covered in the report were divided into three categories: criminalization, protection and recognition.
Under the three categories were different sub-categories or questions related to specific sexual orientation laws that may or may not apply in the countries covered in the report.
Below were observations made by ILGA regarding sexual orientation laws—or lack thereof—in the Philippines in 2020.
- Are gay sex acts legal?: Yes
- Date of Demonetisation: 1870
- Maximum penalty: none
- Constitution: No
- Comprehensive protection: limited
- Employment: Limited
- Hate Crimes: No
- Excitement: No
- Ban conversion treatments: No
- Gay Marriage: No
- Civil Union: No
- Joint Adoption: No
- Second Parental Adoption: No
“The 1870 Spanish Penal Code, which had no provision to criminalize same-sex sex between consenting adults, was in force in the region until the approval of the 1932 Revised Penal Code (RPC), which included similar criminal provisions were not included,” the ILGA said. ,
Similarly, the report acknowledged efforts by some local governments to enforce anti-discrimination laws that criminalize discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation.
“In the Philippines, the cities of Dumaguete, Ilagan, Manila, Marikina, Valenzuela and Zamboanga passed local ordinances that prohibit acts of discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation, including employment,” the ILGA said.
“This had the effect of expanding the scope of security at the sub-national level, as local activists are pushing for national security,” it added.
Read: Marikina Mayor signs anti-discrimination ordinance
However, at the national level, the Philippine government has not yet put forward the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.
The bill aims to give equal rights to all persons and prohibits people from discriminating against others based on their SOGIE or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
Read: Terrible misconceptions: why we need the Soggy Equality Bill
Last June 15, Sen. Risa Hontiveros vowed at the 19th Congress to “carve the runway for prolonging the passing of the SOGEE Equality Bill”.
READ: Hontiveros vows to push for sojie bill: ‘We will take it to the finish line’
Spotlight on Conversion Therapy
Conversion therapy is the practice of forcing or attempting to “straighten” someone because society or people view homosexuality as a disease that needs to be cured.
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’, sometimes referred to as ‘reparative therapy’, is a series of dangerous and defamatory practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” The Human Rights Campaign said America’s largest civil rights organization is working to achieve LGBTQ+ equality.
However, according to the US non-governmental media watchdog GLAAD, the practice has come under increasing scrutiny.
As a result, providers or proponents of the practice “often change their terminology to avoid recognition.”
Other terms used for conversion therapy include:
- Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE)
- Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy (SAFE-T)
- Eliminating, reducing, or reducing the frequency or intensity of unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA)
- reparative therapy
- sexual reassignment attempt
- ex gay ministry
- promoting healthy sexuality
- Addressing sexual addictions and disorders
- sexuality counseling
- Encouraging relational and sexual fulfillment
- sexual breakdown treatment
Based on the 2020 state-sponsored homophobia report by ILGA, only four of the 193 countries and territories in the report have banned conversion therapy altogether.
Meanwhile, 10 others have limited legislation or taken legal action to ban it—or some areas of countries or territories that have banned the practice.
These countries include:
- Argentina: Limited
- Brazil: Banned
- Dominican Republic: Banned
- Mexico: Limited
- Peru: Banned
- Uruguay: Limited
- Canada: Limited
- United States: Limited
- Germany: Banned
- Spain: Limited
- Australia: Limited
- Fiji: Limited
- Nauru: Limited
- Samoa: Limited
In the Philippines, although the practice is not talked about, gay conversion therapy remains legal.
In addition to robbing LGBTQ+ individuals of their human rights, this practice has a very harmful effect on conversion therapy – particularly on highly disapproved young LGBTQ+ people.
Among its dangers, according to a 2010 study by students at San Francisco State University published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing:
- Highly rejected LGBT teens are 8.4x more likely to report a suicide attempt
- Highly rejected LGBT teens 5.9x more likely to report higher levels of depression
- Highly disapproved of LGBT teens 3.4x more likely to use illegal drugs
- Highly rejected LGBT teens 3.4x more likely to be at high risk of HIV and STDs
In the United Kingdom, the British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists declared last year that all forms of conversion therapy are “unethical and potentially harmful”.
Read: Where ‘Conversion Therapy’ Is Still Legal
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