Monday, August 22, 2016

Timeline of the LGBT Movement in the Philippines

I've been immersing myself in research on the LGBT issue, particularly with regards to anti-discrimination laws and same-sex marriage. There's so much more reading to do, but already my brain feels like pudding.

Before I call it a night and shift to more pleasant labors, I just want to share this partial timeline that I've put together regarding the advance of the LGBT agenda in the Philippines. It's definitely not light or happy reading, but we need to inform ourselves because we cannot be ignorant or silent on this issue.


The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), a non-denominational Protestant church, is founded in the United States. It is " the world’s first church group with a primary, positive ministry to gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender persons."


July 6 - The Family Code of the Philippines is passed. Article 1 states, "Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code."


A group of Filipino gay men begin the process of bringing MCC to the Philippines. Meetings were first held in Manila, then Makati. Other gay-affirming churches would follow: LGBTS Christian Church, Freedom in Christ Ministries, ECOG.


The first LGBT pride march is held in Manila. From hereon, the city holds it annually.


Representative Rey Calalay files a bill proposing to recognize the “third sex” as a sector.


The Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network (LAGABLAB), the country's first LGBT lobby group, is formed.


LAGABLAB helps craft the first version of the Anti-Discrimination Bill, seeks to offer special civil protections for LGBTs. The ADB is then submitted to Congress by Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Akbayan Representative Etta Rosales. The bill faces stiff opposition and lacks a strong base of supportive legislators.


LAGABLAB, Amnesty International Pilipinas and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and other supportive organizations launch the Stop Discrimination Now Campaign to support the passage of the bill.


September 13 - MCC, which has been limited first to Manila, then to Makati, begins establishing Bible studies and support groups in Quezon City.Eventually, MCC's Rev. Ceejay Agbayani would have his ordination repealed and form his own church, the LGBTS Christian Church.

2007 - In the case of Silverio vs. The Republic of the Philippines, the Supreme Court rules against the petition of Rommel Silverio to have his name changed to "Mely" and his sex changed to female.

The Study New Testament for Lesbians, Gay, Bi and Transender is published. It is the first study Bible advocating revisionist, pro-LGBT interpretations of key passages.


September 23- Jennifer Cagandahan officially becomes "Jeff" and is recognized as legally male, by virtue of the Supreme Court's upholding the decision of the local court of Siniloan., Laguna.


The Inclusive Bible is published. The TIB is the first "egalitarian" translation of the Bible, replacing male pronouns and claiming to present the same ancient truths in "new and non-sexist ways".


ABS-CBN releases "Nasaan Ka, Elisa," the first teleserye to explore LGBT themes. This is followed by "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala" (2013), and "Till I Met You" (2016). GMA Network follows suit with "My Husband's Lover" (2013), "The Rich Man's Daughter" (2015), and "Destiny Rose" (2015).


The Queen James Bible is published. The description reads, "The Queen James Bible is based on The King James Bible, edited to prevent homophobic misinterpretation."


March 25The Quezon City Pride Council is launched. It is created by official order of Mayor Herbert Bautista in order to oversee the integration of all city programs and projects for the LGBT community. The Council is composed of notable individuals that promotes and advocates LGBT rights from different industry and profession. Also part of the Council are members of the Local Government sectors.

June 28 - The Inquirer reports that the country ranked as the 10th most gay-friendly in a global survey covering 39 countries, in which only 17 had majorities accepting homosexuality. Titled "The Global Divide on Homosexuality," the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows 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.

However, the results are downplayed by Jonas Bagas, executive director of the TLF Share Collective, who said, "I think that the study only reflects the perceived acceptance of the LGBT community based on the high visibility of gay entertainers. It’s acceptance [that is] contingent on how you fit the acceptable stereotype—the gay entertainer, the creative, talented bakla, the lesbian security guard."

The following year, in another survey, the Pew Research Center reported that 65% of the Philippine population saw homosexuality as morally unacceptable.

Nov. 27 - Dec. 3 - InQCity Independent Pride Film Festival. One promotional blurb said this: "Headed by the Father of Pinoy Queer Cinema himself, Director Cris Pablo promises everyone a list of most sought after films for the family and for LGBT."


June 21 - Rev. Agbayani leads a mass gay wedding in QC.

August 7-10 -  The National Conference and Meeting on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) is held in Butuan City.

October - The QC Council passes the "Gender Fair" City Ordinance. It prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (Sogie) in the city. Bishop Emerson Beriones of the Orthodox Church says, "This is not the first in the Philippines, but the most comprehensive, the deepest, in protecting LGBT rights." 9 - Celebrity wedding of Aiza Siguerra and Liza DiƱo in San Francisco, CA.

December 9-16 - Quezon City International Pink Film Festival held. It was the largest international film festival that features films that highlight the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

December 13 - The first gay pride march in QC was held, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the first pride march in the Philippines. The event was organized by the QCPC and attended by about 4,000 members and supporters of the LGBT community.

According to council member Jeffklein Glodove, “QCPC defines equality in all aspect of life. Equality in the workplace, social services, and delivery of goods without any discrimination regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation."


June - Rev. Ceejay Agbayani Jr. leads a mass gay wedding in Project 8, Quezon City. CNN Philippines reports that Agbayani has presided over 600 LGBT weddings since 2006, and that he issues a certificate of marriage to each married couple.

2016 - Congressman Manny Pacquiao expresses his stance against same-sex marriage. He is misquoted as saying that homosexuals are "worse than animals". LGBT celebrities (Vice Ganda, Aiza Sigeura, Boy Abunda) use this opportunity to demean those who are against the legalization of same-sex marriage. Pacquiao feels compelled to issue an apology for his choice of words, though he maintains his convictions.

April-June - The QCPC conducts an HIV/AIDS Seminar and Orientation in every baranggay of QC.

June 25 - Freedom in Christ Ministries rallies at the Metro Manila Pride March to ask for forgiveness on behalf of Christians and the church.

May - Geraldine Roman of the Liberal Party becomes the first transgender official in Philippine history. He won 62% of the unofficial votes, with a 99% turnout.

August 15 - Philippines AirAsia announces that it is open to transgender applicants for all vacant positions. According to Philippines AirAsia Chair Marianne B. Hontiveros,“The success of AirAsia is largely driven and inspired by people who dare to make a difference. In the weeks and months ahead, expect exciting times, significant changes and improvements from Philippines AirAsia as we are set to expand our operations, increase our fleet, launch new international flights, and introduce innovations.”

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  1. #TwelveOneFive blog is a collection of ongoing writing by #Ryan Michael Sirois that centers around the personal journey of self discovery.

    Best personal journey books:King of Stars
    LGBT Community Blog

  2. Currently writing a paper on the situation of the Philippines re: LGBT issues.

    Thanks for this thorough compilation of milestones --it'll go a long way in helping a research initiative aimed at lobbying for extensive pro-LGBT policies. Your work will be noted in the campaign against hate and discrimination.