(SPOT.ph) In recent years, the Philippines has witnessed a remarkable surge in the visibility and activism of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Some forms of legal and cultural resistance still remain, but there is progress in every step of the way. We have LGBT+ organizations to thank for that.
Amidst a society rooted in conservative values, a vibrant network of LGBT organizations has emerged with initiatives that promote equality, fight discrimination, and uplift the voices of sexual minorities. These organizations have become a driving force in fostering a more inclusive society for everyone on the rainbow.
From providing support services to lobbying for policy changes, these ten groups are effecting tangible change for the LGBT+ community in the Philippines.
Top LGBT organizations in the Philippines
Metro Manila Pride
Metro Manila Pride (MMPride) is a 100% volunteer-run organization dedicated to educating, equipping and empowering communities to work towards a future that recognizes and respects the rights of LGBTQIA+ persons to a dignified life without discrimination and prejudice.
MMPRide is behind Metro Manila’s annual pride marches since 2016—and it has since expended to include other programs focused on cultural work, human rights education, and policy advocacy.
You can volunteer or donate to help with operational costs and logistics of various programs. MMPride has over 250 open slots for filling up. They are also officially recognized by the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission as Metro Manila LGBT+ Pride, Inc.
For more information, visit Metro Manila Pride’s official website.
Bahaghari is the national alliance of LGBT+ advocates, organizations, and formations in the Philippines since 2013. Among its notable endeavors, Bahaghari places great emphasis on HIV testing and media representation on issues related to SOGIE.
Beyond the realm of LGBT, Bahaghari also stands as an anti-heteropatriarchal, anti-feudal, anti-colonial, and anti-imperialist organization. It is in these militant traditions that Bahaghari roots itself as an organization, and in parallel with other oppressed sectors, is struggling for change in Philippine society.
For more information, visit Bahaghari on Facebook.
Open Table Metropolitan Community Church
The ministry at Open Table Metropolitan Community Church (Open Table MCC) proves that it’s more than possible to be both religious and part of the LGBT+ community at the same time.
Open Table MCC is an ecumenical Christian church that has a specific outreach to LGBT+ families and communities since 1968. The church believes that love is the greatest moral value and resisting exclusion, which is why they continue to preach that everyone is welcome in the family of God. Open Table MCC is also the first to perform same-gender marriage at a church in the country.
Online worship services are aired at 4 p.m. every Sunday on Facebook and YouTube Live. Everyone can attend regardless of religious backgrounds.
Like any other church, Open Table MCC is always looking for committed volunteers who are passionate about the ministry. You can sign up from any one of the various positions on its website.
For more information, visit Open Table MCC’s official website.
Since 2011, LoveYourself has risen to become one of the leading organizations in HIV awareness, testing, and treatment in the Philippines. They are non-profit organization that is mostly powered by volunteers.
Although they aren’t directly linked to the movement, LoveYourself has been a keen supporter of the trans community through the establishment of the first transgender health clinic in the country. Called Victoria by LoveYourself, the clinic helps trans men and women with transition counseling and hormone replacement therapy.
You can sign up to be a volunteer at LoveYourself through this online form.
For more information, visit LoveYourself’s official website.
Established in 1992, UP Babaylan is the oldest LGBT+ student organization in the Philippines. It is now celebrating 30 years of family, advocacy, and resistance. In 1996, UP Babaylan participated in the first pride march in Metro Manila, presenting the longest rainbow flag at that time.
What started at Diliman had eventually branched out to other campuses. UP Babaylan now has chapters in Baguio and Clark. Among the programs UP Babaylan have is the SOGIE Equality Bill, UP SOGIESC Policy, HIV/AIDS prevention, and pride letters every June.
For more information, visit UP Babaylan’s official website.
For lesbians by lesbians, Galang is a feminist human rights organization that works with lesbians, bisexual women, and trans men in urban poor communities since 2008. It’s named after the Filipino word for respect, which is the core of Galang’s fight for equality and justice.
You can support Galang’s work by committing to be a partner for the organization through this contact form.
For more information, visit Galang on Facebook.
LakanBini Advocates Pilipinas
LakanBini Advocates Pilipinas is a network of transgender organizations in the country that is focused on health, psychosocial well-being, and human rights. It is championing for equal representation, increased member capacity in transgender-led advocacies, and the sharing of internal and external resources.
Most importantly, LakanBini is calling for a rights-based, transgender-inclusive, and transgender-sensitive access to basic services. You can help LakanBini Advocates Pilipinas grow by signing up to apply as a new member.
For more information, visit LakanBini Advocates Pilipinas on Facebook.
Ladlad Party List
Ladlad is technically more of a party than it is an organization, but it still earns its place on this list.
Ladlad’s struggle to appear on the ballots has been ongoing since 2006, but that hasn’t stopped them from championing for the rights of sexual minorities. In Tagalog, magladlad means to "unfurl the cape that used to cover one's body as a shield." It means to come out of the closet, to assert one's human rights as equal to that of the next Filipino. Ladlad is keen to take its place in the sun, with dignity intact.
The mission is to protect and promote the LGBT+ community’s place in society through health, human rights, and social and economic support.
For more information, visit Ladlad on Facebook.
Rainbow Rights is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-partisan organization that focuses on legal literacy and empowerment with respect to SOGIE laws and policies.
The organization is undertaking various projects such as a community paralegal program, workplace diversity trainings in collaboration with both local and multinational companies, access to justice trainings in partnership with local government units, and conducting research and publication.
You can contact Rainbow Rights by emailing email@example.com for help or volunteer work.
For more information, visit Rainbow Rights on Twitter.
Proud Campaign Philippines
Proud Campaign Philippines is a registered charity organization in New Zealand that originated in the Philippines.
Although not locally based, Proud Campaign has been actively pushing the LGBT+ movement forward in our country. They call themselves “a contemporary group of queer and transgender Filipinos and allies who aim to make a difference in the world through charity.”
Beyond raising awareness on SOGIE, Proud Campaign is also providing food, clothes, toiletries, and other necessities to Filipinos in need. You can provide financial support by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit Proud Campaign Philippines on Facebook.