Monday, December 05, 2011

Guest Post: Gay Rights

GAY RIGHTS in the Philippines

I’d like to showcase how gay rights are currently being treated in this country, the Philippines. I got no professional advocacy to my sector, however, I feel strongly for the rights, I being one of them. I’d like to discuss three important aspects of gay rights. My parameters only include Right of Marriage, Equal Opportunity and Right to Self-Identity. I’ve read and participated debates on gay rights back in college. Some of my arguments below are still the same thoughts and principles I hold. I am not an expert in Human Rights, but I am an expert on my own self, my own humble discourse.

Thanks Leah for the opportunity to deliver.


Civil Code of the Philippines explicitly defines marriage as “union of man and woman.” (Article 1 of the Family Code of the Philippines - 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.) Legitimacy thereof is never to be compounded by two individuals of the same biologically nature in terms of sex. The straightforward spirit of the law has been challenged by some of LGBT proponents. They argue that marriage should never be restricted to straight couples only. They also add that as human beings, they are of the same capacity to love and nurture a family. According to them, whatever your sexual preference is, you have the propensity to rear a family. After all, it is not your sexual preference that should dictate your ability to raise children.

Catholic dogma has always been stern in the issue of gay marriages. As a country densely populated by Catholicism, we have been a witness to the institution’s condemnation to marrying of same sex. Not only that, majority of the religion in the country is not in favor and will never have that inkling to affirm. Sanctity of marriage for them lies in ensuring that they unite couples who are psychologically, emotionally and biologically relevant.

Knowing those two basic arguments pertaining to this right, many can make a stand and many will choose to not heed, at least here in our country. I can think of several countries who have already espoused same sex marriage and most of them are the most developed countries. We can take note of several states in the US that have already legalized same sex marriage.

There have been innumerable discourses appended to right to marriage for LGBT. Such discourses aimed to ensure people are educated and are ready to take a stand. Some were successful in garnering the right and implemented a policy, some just perpetuated with no clear destination or resolution.

Looking at our culture and how we adapt to the changes of the world, we are miles away from embracing same sex marriage. Remember divorce? Several bills in both Philippine Congress and Senate has been passed but has never been ratified into a law. Just imagine how same sex marriage bill will survive in the same milieu, are Filipinos ready yet to embrace it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Marriage is a gift from God. Sadly to note, it has underlying limitations.

Civil union in most British colonies has been a well known recourse. Albeit it has the requisites of marriage, their legal system included margins, hence the limit to basic rights accorded to the gay couple.

There were unifying ceremonies here in the country but were not recognized in the civil records. They are just blandly ceremonies and the bond solely limited to the couple’s agreement.

What are the repercussions of same sex marriage and why is it not fully embraced? Implementing same sex marriage causes a ripple effect to our laws. That seems to be the most outstanding issue of all. It will require amendments in the Constitution as it will require drastic changes upon Civil and Penal Code. From hindsight, we expect how Congress and Senate will react, and I know that like me, you know too well that it will take ages.

Culturally, our country is also not prepared. Religion has been a set-back and families are still conventional. You can ask your mom and dad if they are in favor of same-sex marriage, and I am sure that majority will say no. Some will say yes, but are hoping not to happen in their own families. Expect a scrawny support to the philosophy.

If for any consolation, we Filipinos are accorded the right to travel and the right to choose. Few gay Filipino couples have exercised these two basic rights and flew to countries which can legalize their unions. They’re BLESSED to afford such step, SMART that they choose to live a life of prosperity and acceptance in other countries.


Let me tell you a story. I used to work for a bank. This bank boasts of being the first universal type of bank in the Philippines. Universal type, because it uses different platforms to service customers. They are the first to utilize internet banking. Modern, sleek, and fits the taste of the younger generation.

In this facade of modern look, lies beneath the very conventional employee culture of the banking industry. They abhor homosexuality. The slightest clue of the fact can lead you dismissal.

I was a bank teller, and I was happy enjoying the company of my co-employees of the branch. One day though, I was invited for a meeting with the VP of Human Resources. We were in the Board Room, and I remember the excitement I had because of the honor of being invited by no less than a person of significant role in the company. I was the only one in the room, coffee was served and I have no hunch of what this meeting was all about. Friends told me, it might be a promotion or a transfer. Some says it might be recognition for a job well done in one of our valued customers.

I didn’t know I was in big trouble.

VP explained to me briefly of several incidents of branch anomalies whose main characters are gays. These are gays who stole money from branch operations to finance a lover. He was interrogating me if I was gay, and if I have a lover. I was on the verge of passing my resignation letter, but I thought it was surrendering and admission that gays working on banks are generally robbers.

I answered back proving that my sexual orientation is not detriment to the company’s success. I’m here to hone my skills and work with all honesty and fairness. I love working with people and it was a privilege that after graduating, I’ve landed this job because of my inherent potential, intelligence and psychological capacity, proven by their assessment process.

They transferred yours truly to ATM operations, and have been instrumental to the growth of the department. I was given responsibility which heavily lies on crediting money – just like being a teller. I was trained to deal with customers and to deal with pressure but with grace.

Years from that experience I realized that I shouldn’t feel bad about the interrogation and the transfer. It was a blessing in disguise. I left branch operations and gave me the break to enhance my skill for future BPO career. I felt that the company was after my rights and didn’t fire me just because of my sexual orientation. Sad fact is, I realized that being a forefront to any financial institution it conventionally requires presentable people who can conduct themselves as straight individuals. Currently it’s still the same culture.

Opportunities should be endless to any individuals, as for my case, I fought for it. Challenges to opportunities clearly separate the straight and the LGBT group. I think the social stigma and the conventions of the business dictate what an individual can do. However, for straights, the only thing they can think of is just honing the skills and for the LGBT, and added challenge of trying to cross the threshold of the basic norms, which I’ve undergone.


It’s been a sad circumstance for those transgender that have to undergo a very rigorous process in the immigration of other countries which are still leaning towards conservatism. There are noted instances when they have to prove to immigration officers their biological genders because their documents like passports can lead to conspicuous confusions. Those that are fortunate enough to undergo what they call “gender reassignment” procedure can battle it out in the courts of the land to amend the public records, but this seems to be a long and tedious process and not all can have the luxury to afford.

Not all will have the guts to tell the whole world what their sexual orientations are. It shouldn’t be an issue in the first place if not conventions and other normalcies are set in the workplace, academe, government and the church.

Identity is what you tell and label yourself and not what the society states. It should transcend public documents; it should transcend to everyone’s beliefs and traditions. It should not be absolute, however the older generation should know better and should comprehend that as human being, it is a right to determine one self and we all have the obligation to uphold.


Some may not agree with me in saying that rights here in the Philippines are often accorded to the rich. Easy access to rights is easily granted to those that can afford, those that can pay and those that have powers to be able to have counsels before the courts of the land.

It’s a sad state of affairs for the members of the LGBT in this country. All can just hope for an alter-foreboding scheme of things that can, and will form cataclysm in the forefront of gay rights.

We are all in saying though that tradition and convention changes over the years. If one thing is illegal on a certain period of time, it can turn-tables and be accepted decades after. LGBT rights may have transformed over the years, but we are not so sure as to how this group of people will survive over decades. It’s a joy to note that we saw some countries embracing the rights of everyone (including LGBT), until then we can just hope of a globally accepted sector of humanity.

The Philippines being a democratic country still has a long way to go. Confusing legal system and a rotten bureaucracy are some of the things that can aggravate and hinder massively the claim of this sector in this society. Will there be a chance for same sex marriage in the Philippines? I really don’t think so. It’ll never happen. It’s like asking graft and corruption to bring halt in the administration. It’s like asking for a miracle than even heavenly bodies will surely exhibit some raised eyebrows.

My suggestion is, if we really want to experience for ourselves gay rights being implemented and respected, you should find abode in countries where we are seeing a more modern approach, and where we are seeing a government that recognizes the rights of the people. A country with strong justice system, a government that knows how to use people’s money for the betterment of their economy and country in general, a non-homophobic country and a nation where everyone is as significant to their country’s growth and development.

If you wish to maintain to live in this country and redeem for gay rights, you might just as well stop. You can just bark all throughout the day, but I’m sure your throat will just hurt. You might as well just plant camote. That’s the sad reality in this country.

As for me, I’d rather just keep my mouth shut, and look for better asylum. It’s just a hopeless case.

- Leo


It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain. - Francis Maude 

My sexual preference is my choice and mine, alone. Respect. - Author Unknown 

About the Blogger:

Leo is the author of Finding Leo, who started out as a Wordpress blogger since 2009 but utilized the blogger platform only last year, 2010. He’s 31 years old, currently in a relationship with his more than five years life-partner, Nimmy. An ex-BPO professional, he quitted his job to pursue farming and got bored after seeing a water buffalo happily bathing on a pool of mud. He loves reading self-help books and finds John Maxwell as a long lost dad. Saturdays for him is dedicated for Badminton and MWF are for carwash. You can follow him in twitter, @Leomer.


  1. You guys have it pretty bad over there :( I hope things get better, and soon.

  2. That was a nice piece. And that sucks what happened to him. I think in the academe some people like my brother flourish. They feel like that there things would not be as difficult as it is in other jobs. They don't flaunt it but they can at least have the respect and the place where they can show their talents without feeling like they have to explain their preference to anyone.

  3. It is totally an individual's choice! Others must have the humanity to respect it!
    Nice post :)

  4. Hindi ko pa tapos basahin pero to know na si leo ang nagsulat nito WOW.kahanga hanga ang kahusayan mo.

  5. Agree! Madali lang kasi mag comment.. pero in due time as in NOW na.. we simply need to respect, accept and understand. Period.

    ...sad :(

  6. I feel for this post.. It's not about being emotionally or being biologically relevant anymore. It's about opening our minds to change. Change that isn't drastic but encouraging and open. A union of two souls may be printed on paper or even emphasized in holy doctrine. But two souls, regardless of gender, are still two souls who've found genuine love for each other. It is something that we have no right to deny. I've known this for a fact as I've grown to see my cousins be in a relationship for over a decade now. They are both women, living in the US, and are both in love. They love each other better than most woman-man relationships that I know, who just end up in divorce. *my apologies for the long post =)*