Philippines under pressure to end gay discrimination

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Amnesty International has launched a global campaign calling upon the Philippine government to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The campaign sees amnesty members from around the world joining forces with the lesbian and gay legislative advocacy network Philippines (LAGABLAB-Pilipinas).

The legislation currently being considered by the Philippine congress if passed would see an amendment to the Philippines constitution prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Michael Heflin, director of OUTfront, the Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) programme on LGBT human rights said: “Adoption of this law is very significant for the entire region because only one other Asian country – Fiji – currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

Mr Heflin has urged the Philippine government to become a global leader, demonstrating to its citizens and to the world its commitment to protecting human rights.

Gay Philippines encounter wide discrimination within schools, employment, public establishments and their own families.

Amnesty reveal that “masculinity tests” or other arbitrary tests have been used to separate possible LGBT students during the admissions process to some schools.

If passed the legislation would make it illegal to deny access to public service (including military service), include sexual orientation and gender identity in the criteria for hiring, promotion and dismissal of workers, refuse admission or expel a person from educational institutions and deny a person access to medical and other health services.