Being Queer in the Philippines

Being queer in the Philippines

Zoey and I have experienced multiple aspects of being a lesbian couple in the Philippines. Some aspects have made us feel really comfortable being queer, but there’s others that have really made us feel like it’s better to simply hide our relationship. We have come up with a list of the pro’s and con’s of being queer and being a lesbian couple in the Philippines.

Pro’s of being Queer in the Philippines:

  1. There are many LGBTQ filipinos: Unlike other countries we’ve traveled to, queerness is visible in the Philippines, it is comparable to Thailand. There are many queer people, especially gay and trans men. It wasn’t until later that we realized that there are also many lesbians in the Philippines. This made us feel immediately welcome and happy to be amongst other members of the LGBTQ community.
  2. All the LGBTQ people we met were openly out: Although most of the Filipinos we met were out, we heard some stories of how they couldn’t be proud. One girl told us that if you’re a queer filipino with parents in the government or the armed forces, you’re not allowed to be openly gay. If you are openly gay, you are likely to be kicked out of your house. Another girl told us she’s been in a lesbian relationship for 11 years and that she’s never had a problem. So yes, they’re out…but cautious.
  3. Sexual fluidity is common amongst many filipinos: This is one of the reasons why I love the Philippines so much. When Zoey and I tell people that we are a lesbian couple, we have so many people open up to us about their experiences. A girl told us about the time she use to “be into lesbian stuff when she had a girlfriend” and a guy told me how he tried being with a guy before but how he only likes trans girls now. These people didn’t identify as LGBTQ but they were happy sharing their sexual fluidity stories with us. It really puts a smile on your face and it makes you feel like you’re not alone.
  4. There is a large community of LGBTQ tourists: This is really awesome because sometimes you can feel like the only lesbian in the room but not in the Philippines. We have seen and talked to lots of lesbian and queer tourists. I feel like the Philippines is an up-and-coming lesbian travel destination. Meg Cale from Dopes on the Road, another amazing lesbian travel blog, also visited the Philippines last year and wrote a blog post about how she also felt safe and accepted in this beautiful country. Thanks for making us feel welcome Philippines! We love you for that!
  5. There seems to be no hate or discrimination against tourist LGBTQ people: We are yet to come across any discrimination for being lesbians in the Philippines. I think Filipinos are very polite, which probably contributes to their positive attitude towards LGBTQ tourists.

Con’s of Being Queer in the Philippines:

  1. You’ll have to hide your relationship sometimes to avoid unwanted attention: When you’re a wester-looking female with a big backpack walking down the streets of a third world country, you’re gonna get stared at. Sometimes this makes us feel a bit uneasy so it’s better for us to keep our affection to ourselves when we know we have many eyes watching us. It’s uncomfortable to get stared at so we just avoid giving people another reason to us more unwanted attention.
  2. People will ask the dreaded questions: They don’t know any better in these places so we don’t take it personal, but just be prepared.

    Who’s the boy and who’s the girl?
    Why do you like girls if you’re a girl?
    Can I join?

  3. Some people will simply not understand: I’ll explain in a scenario…

Man on bus: “do you girls have husbands?”
Zoey and I: “No”
Man on bus: “Oh, so you’re single?”
Zoey and I: “No”
Man on bus: “Oh, so you are married?”
Zoey and I: “Yes, we are married” (We aren’t actually married btw)
Man on bus: “Oh, so you both have husbands back home?”
Zoey and I: “No, we’re married to each other”
Man on bus: “Oh, so you don’t have husbands, you’re single?”
Zoey and I: “No, not single, we are each other’s wives”
Man on bus: “Oh, so you are wives! Where are your husbands?”
Zoey and I: “Nooo, we’re married to each other.”

He didn’t really understand what we were saying, as you can see. We had to explain to him that we were a lesbian couple and that lesbians don’t have husbands.

As you can see, there are many more pro’s than there are con’s, that’s because the Philippines is a beautiful and welcoming country with so many wonderful people and beautiful sceneries. We encourage all lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer people to visit and travel this beautiful country. You’ll love it and they’ll love YOU!

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