Case Study: How Filipino LBTs Cope with Economic Disadvantage

IDS Evidence Report
GALANG Philippines, Inc
Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
Publication date: 
Friday, 27 February, 2015

In this case study, feminist human rights organisation GALANG seeks to identify strategies in which Filipino lesbians, bisexual women and trans men (LBTs) cope with workplace discrimination and the severe lack of gainful employment opportunities in the country.

GALANG argues that Filipino LBTs are more likely to be tolerated by their respective families when they make a substantial financial contribution. Because SOGIE-based biases make finding gainful employment especially challenging for sexual minorities, many LBTs have turned to creative livelihood sources to empower themselves economically and contribute to family coffers in order to gain acceptance.

Additionally, this case study examines the motivations, aspirations and personal lives of LBT Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong. It tackles the links between and among financial independence, economic empowerment, family acceptance, migration and sexuality, specifically in the context of Filipino LBTs. Homosexuality and lesbianism are often described as ‘social costs’ of migration. This research goes against the grain of this argument. It seeks to illustrate how financial independence sets the stage for lesbians to better come to terms with their sexuality.

  • SOGIE rights should advocates challenge the ‘victim’ discourse in migration and highlight the impact of increased financial independence on the exercise of SOGIE rights.
  • Policymakers, development actors and researchers investigate the links among SOGIE, labour and migration, and conduct further studies that can measure the impact of financial independence on the exercise of SOGIE rights
  • The Philippine government should immediately enact an anti-discrimination law that covers workplace discrimination based on SOGIE, and penalises the imposition of genderconformity criteria such as uniforms, hair length, etc.
Opendocs reference: