GALANG: A Movement in the Making for the Rights of Poor LBTs in the Philippines (2010)

(Written for the Association for Women’s Rights in Development [AWID]’s collection of case studies entitled Changing Their World: Concepts and Practices of Women’s Movements)

By: Anne Lim, GALANG

There are a number of LGBT organizations in the Philippines, as well as a lot of NGOs working on issues of economic justice, particularly with respect to the urban poor. However, to the knowledge of its leaders, GALANG is the only development organization whose working model involves grassroots community organizing of LBTs living in poverty. When the group was formed, the initial intent of its lesbian founders was not movement building, but rather to catalyze change in the fledgling Philippine LGBT movement. GALANG sought to give a voice to economically disadvantaged sexual minorities who are often not heard, if not completely forgotten, in the class-biased local discourse on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Although GALANG’s work proceeds from an analysis that Filipino LBTs are more oppressed than gay men, and the organization espouses feminist values, GALANG has not always embraced the label “feminist.”

This case study seeks to contribute not only to global learning about feminist movements and organizing, but also to the growing body of work that investigates the intersections between sexuality and poverty. By sharing its story, GALANG hopes to promote the strategy of grassroots community organizing in the Philippine LGBT movement and worldwide, and to receive constructive feedback and suggestions on how it can further refine its organizing model and increase its chances of success in its interventions among urban poor LBTs.

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