(Written for the Institute of Development Studies [IDS] and Presented in the IX IASSCS [International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society] Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina entitled Sex and the Marketplace: what’s love got to do with it)
By: The Research Team, GALANG Philippines
With the view that Philippine development policies must create an impact on the well-being of all citizens without distinction of any kind, such as sexuality, GALANG Philippines has set out to bring to light the sexuality content of selected social protection and housing policies, particularly the gender and sexuality norms that have been subverted, upheld, and produced in the same. This audit is towards the end of “visibilizing” the multiple layers of oppression experienced by Filipino lesbians, bisexual women, and trans men (LBTs) in urban poor communities.
GALANG Philippines undertook a legal review of eight Philippine social protection and housing legislation, and a media review of newspaper articles from the years 1988 to 2013 that discussed or mentioned these laws. Key informant interviews were conducted with feminists and lesbian rights activists to understand how the women’s movement influenced the crafting of the identified laws. Focus group discussions with community-based LBTs belonging to GALANG Philippines’ partner people’s organizations were conducted to gather empirical evidence about how social legislation tend to alienate and exclude people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Finally, Philippine Supreme Court decisions from 1901 to 2012 were also reviewed to surface how issues of sexual orientation and gender identity have been framed and discussed in jurisprudence.
Through these methodologies, the heteronormativity audit revealed the prevailing legal framework of the social legislation which form part of, and characterize the development policies in the country. The legal framework in turn was assessed with its underpinning assumptions on gender and sexuality. The audit points to the need to review and amend Philippine civil law definitions of and assumptions on family and marriage, as well as how social legislation define the terms dependents and beneficiaries in order to ensure that these development policies benefit all persons including those who belong to family units that defy the heterosexual norm.
Read GALANG’s policy audit here.Back to Photo Albums