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Non-Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression
October 8, 2011

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos continue to experience stigma, prejudice and discrimination in Philippine society.  This  stigma  is  manifested  in  actions such as: bullying, teasing and  harassment of LGBT children and  adolescents  in  families,  schools  and  communities; media  portrayal  of  LGBTs  as  frivolous,  untrustworthy  and even dangerous or predatory; denying transgender Filipinos entry  into  commercial  establishments;  pigeonholing  LGBT Filipinos  into  particularly  limited  roles  and  occupations;  or curtailing their rights to participate in the political sphere.

LGBT  Filipinos  often  confront  social  pressures  to  hide, suppress  or  even  attempt  to  change  their  identities  and expressions  as  conditions  for  their  social  acceptance  and enjoyment  of  rights.  Although many LGBTs learn to cope with this social stigma, these experiences can cause serious psychological  distress,  including  immediate  consequences such  as  fear,  sadness,  alienation,  anger  and  internalized stigma (Hatzenbuehler,  2009; Meyer, 2003). This anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination tend to be based on a rhetoric of  moral  condemnation  and  are  fueled  by  ignorance  or unfounded  beliefs  associating  these  gender  expressions and  sexual  orientations  with  psychopathology  or maladjustment.

However,  decades  of  scientific  research  have  led  mental health  professional  organizations  worldwide  to  conclude that  lesbian,  gay  and  bisexual  orientations  are  normal variants  of  human  sexuality.   These include:  the American Psychiatric Association in 1973, the American Psychological Association  in  1975,  British  Psychological  Society,  the Colombian  Society  of  Psychology,  Psychological  Society  of South  Africa,  the  Australian  Psychological  Society,  and  the International  Network  on  Lesbian,  Gay  and  Bisexual Concerns  and  Transgender  Issues  in  Psychology,  among others.

The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) aligns itself  with  the  global  initiatives  to  remove  the  stigma  of mental  illness  that  has  long  been  associated  with  diverse sexualities  and  to  promote  the  wellbeing  of  LGBT  people. Moreover,  the  PAP  Code  of  Ethics  (2010)  is  clear  in  its stance against discrimination.  Filipino  psychologists  are called  upon  to  recognize  the  unique  worth  and  inherent dignity  of  all  human  beings;  and  to  respect  the  diversity among  persons  and  peoples  (Principle  I,  a  and  b).   This means  that  Filipino  psychologists  should  not  discriminate against  or  demean  persons  based  on  actual  or  perceived differences  in  characteristics  including  gender  identity  and sexual orientation (Ethical Standard III-A and C; V-B.8).

In  order  to  eliminate  stigma,  prejudice,  discrimination  and violence  against  LGBT, the  PAP  resolves  to  support  efforts to:

  • oppose all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression;
  • repeal discriminatory  laws  and policies,  and  support the passage  of  legislation  at  the  local  and  national  levels  that protect  the  rights  and  promote  the  welfare  of  people  of  all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions;
  • eliminate  all  forms  of  prejudice  and  discrimination against  LGBTs  in  teaching,  research,  psychological interventions, assessment and other psychological programs;
  • encourage  psychological  research  that  addresses  the needs  and concerns  of  LGBT  Filipinos  and  their  families  and communities; and
  • disseminate  and  apply  accurate  and  evidence-based information about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to design  interventions  that  foster mental  health and wellbeing of LGBT Filipinos.


American Psychiatric Association. (1973). Position statement on homosexuality and civil rights. American Journal of Psychiatry, 131; 497.

Anton, B.S. (2009). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association for the legislative year 2008: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives, February 22-24, 2008, Washington, DC, and August 13 and 17, 2008, Boston, MA, and minutes of the February, June, August, and December 2008 meetings of the Board of Directors. American Psychologist, 64; 372-453.

Conger, J.J. (1975). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1974: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 30; 620-651.

Hatzenbuehler, M. L. (2009). How does sexual minority stigma “get under the skin”? A psychological mediation framework. Psychological Bulletin, 135; 707-730.

International Network for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns and Transgender Issues in Psychology (2001). Sexual orientation and mental health: Toward global perspectives on practice and policy. Retrieved from


Meyer, I. H. (2003).Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129; 674-697.

Psychological Association of the Philippines Scientific and Professional Ethics Committee. (2010). Code of Ethics for Philippine Psychologists. Philippine Journal of Psychology, 43; 195-217.