mr. gay world philippines 2012 winnersPhilippines: A recent Gallup survey showed that about 10 percent of the population in the Philippines are gay and that despite religious censure, the gay community is now embraced by many, reports

In the Philippines, majority of gays are very well-known in industries such as entertainment, fashion and beauty care. Many are considered icons. Many are openly contemplating marriage, the reports added.

This is despite the Philippines being a Catholic country with over 80 percent of its 97 million people belonging to that religion and where the Catholic Church which has been active in opposing any civil rights legislation for the LGBT community.

When Filipina singer Charice who made it big time with an international chart-topping single and was featured on Oprah as one of the most talented young people in the world admitted on national television that she was a “tomboy,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a statement saying Charice was having an “identity crisis” and that she should be guided accordingly, as her homosexuality is not yet “terminal.”

However, tolerance in society for LGBT people has somewhat increased over the years due to greater education about sexual orientation.

This is in keeping with global trends of the last 10 years, where the percentage of people who feel that homosexuality is acceptable to society has gone up from 38 percent in 1992 to 51 in 2002, said the report by Frank ‘Boy’ Pestaño.

Now, the number is much higher, he added. Same-sex marriage is now legal in some states of the US and in 20 other countries like Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and Spain.

A total 84 countries worldwide, mostly from Africa ,Asia and to some extent South America have criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the report said.

In the Philippines, despite a more recent acceptance of LGBT people homosexual conduct or affection may be subject to the “grave scandal” prohibition in Article 200 of the Revised Penal Code and the LGBT community is not protected by any civil rights laws.

Nonetheless, of the 39 countries covered by a global survey last year, only 17 countries had majorities that accepted homosexuality, with the Philippines ranking at number 10 among the 17, reported

Despite its religiosity, the Philippines is one of the countries in the world where the level of public “acceptance” of homosexuals is high, according to the results of the survey.

The survey titled “The Global Divide on Homosexuality” conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center showed that 73 percent of adult Filipinos agreed with the statement that “homosexuality should be accepted by society,” up by nine percentage points from 2002, reported

Lastly, while anti-discrimination law based on one’s sexual orientation is yet to pass in Congress, there are anti-discrimination ordinances that have been passed in many Philippine cities since May last year.