The LGBTQ experience may be improving in the Philippines, which hosted the biggest Pride celebration in Southeast Asia this year, but this does not mean all Filipinos are ready to accept those who identify as something other than straight. Many in the country remain conservative when it comes to providing equal rights.
A survey released by local pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) yesterday revealed that a majority of Filipinos believe that transgender women should not be allowed to use women’s toilets.
According to the national survey conducted in September, 47 percent of Filipinos “strongly disagree” while 13 percent "somewhat disagree" that trans women should be allowed to use women’s toilets. This leaves only 15 percent who “strongly agree” and 17 percent who “somewhat agree” to it. Eight percent were undecided.
This became a controversial issue in August, when a female janitor confronted a trans woman who wanted to use a women’s restroom in a mall in Quezon City. Some mall employees even threatened to file a complaint against her, but they dropped the plan following public outrage over the incident.
According to the survey, 64 percent of Filipinos also reject the idea of allowing transgender people to make changes in their official documents to reflect the “gender of their identity.”
Despite this, 60 percent of the respondents agreed that members of the LGBTQ community experience “too much discrimination,” a sentiment felt most strongly among the 18-24 age group, which made up 45 percent of the survey.
Among religions, 72 percent of Muslims “strongly disagreed,” followed by members of Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) at 55 percent, Christian groups at 53 percent, and lastly, Catholics by 44 percent.
“Catholics are more tolerant compared to other religions,” said Vlad Licudine, the SWS fellow and deputy director who led the execution of the survey.
More than half of the respondents also disagreed that transgender people have a “mental illness” and remained neutral about whether being transgender is a sin.
While Filipinos are mostly friendly towards the LGBTQ community, most feel that they are only tolerated but not accepted. For example, there is still no law that protects their rights, which is why many are actively pushing for the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.