Manila - Post Report Question and Answers

Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Very LGBT-friendly - Apr 2024

Yes. While it is not legal, it is widely accepted. - Mar 2023

Filipinos don't mind at all. - May 2022

I would say yes. - Apr 2021

Despite being a devoutly religious country, the Philippines has a very high level of tolerance and respect for the LGBT community, generally speaking. I would say that it is considerably better than the United States in this area. The country has transgender members of Congress, and even more conservative Mindanao hosts gay pride parades. However, the bureaucratic influence of the Catholic Church is powerful force to contend with. Previously the foreign ministry wouldn't recognize same-sex couples formally, so some people had to declare their spouse as "domestic help" for visa purposes. Also, just because the overwhelming majority of people are tolerant does not mean that's true everywhere, it's a diverse country. - Oct 2020

Yes. The Philippines is very accepting. - Feb 2020

No direct experience, but it seems like it would be. Aside from the ban on gay marriage, which seems to be a nod to their Catholic heritage, the majority of Filipinos support (or at least happily tolerate) LGBT rights. Openly gay relationships are common, and reports of significant LGBT discrimination are rare. - Feb 2017

Probably as good as you're going to get in SE Asia. The country is devoutly Catholic but has a large LGBT population. There are a lot of gay couples at post and they seem to like it. - Jul 2016

Yah, while it is religious, people seem to be pretty open minded about this. - Jan 2016

Yes. - Jan 2016

Yes. Many gays in Manila and a very open gay culture/club scene. Just watch their TV shows and you'll notice the most popular TV show host are transgender. Go figure. - Sep 2015

Great, the Filipinos are very tolerant, although I can't vouch for an active and vibrant gay scene. - Aug 2015

There is no evident outward discrimination against people who are gay or lesbian, nor have I ever read anything about people becoming targets nor trying to hurt this segment of the population. - Jan 2014

Yes. - Dec 2013

Better than most. - Nov 2013

Yes, from what I hear. Filipinos do not mind gay or lesbian people. - Apr 2013

I would think so. Filipinos seems very tolerant. - Sep 2012

Asians are surprisingly open about homosexuality, and though you don't see male/female couples out in the open as much, lady boys are everywhere, and it's part of the culture. There are definitely gay bars and clubs, but just as the issue with single women: if you're gay in the Philippines, make sure you find Asian men/women attractive. If you don't, you'll be miserable here too. - Mar 2012

There is a special type of gay male here in the Philippines that is culturally acceptable. I don't know about lesbian expats here. - Jan 2012

Gay men and lesbians will find Manila to be open and closed at the same time. There are many trans-persons around the city but they have a specific place in society - such as clothing retail, salons, outdoor markets, entertainment, and nightclubs. Don't expect to see a trans-person in an office or government setting. Additionally, many gay men and lesbians are not out at work if they don't work in one of the areas welcoming to trans-persons. There are a handful of bars and clubs that cater to gay men and lesbians but the scene is not comparatively as big as DC. For a long time the epicenter of the community was in Malate. However, Quezon City is growing and has a handful of gay bars and clubs. It was the site of Manila's Gay Pride, co-sponsored by the mayor's office. (The mayor of Malate refused to co-sponsor it.) Gay men and lesbians who are out or 'noticeably gay' should not have a problem with violence. However they may endure stereotypes or strange questions from inquisitive Filipinos. Also, it may not be wise for a same-sex couple to kiss in public, but same-sex couples holding hands in malls is not uncommon. Bars come and go fast but www. offers current information on Manila and other cities in the country and region. - Jul 2011

Yes. - May 2011

The Philippines is an extremely gay-friendly country, and might have the highest proprotion of openly gay men in the world. Lesbians are few and far between, but are equally accepted. - Feb 2010

I would think so, although I'm not sure if there are gay/lesbian bars and establishments. Filipinos are generally pretty tolerant (at least on the surface) regarding sexual preferences. - Jul 2009

Definitely a great place or gays. Without really looking you can see a pretty vibrant gay community. As for lesbians, not sure. - Apr 2009

Yes. The gay male community is oddly camp in nature, but gays and lesbians seem to be accepted. - Jun 2008

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