lagablabManila: A UN-sponsored study has confirmed that gay people in the Philippines continue to face discrimination despite pockets of increased tolerance for the LGBT community by Filipino society.

“Cultural and social attitudes towards LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people are complex, with signs of acceptance, particularly among the young,” said the study funded by the UN Development Programme and the US Agency for International Development study and  released on May 12

Several of the larger cities in the Philippines have passed ordinances banning LGBT discrimination, but efforts to pass a national law continues to be blocked mainly by the powerful Catholic Church, it said.

Philippines is a Catholic country with over 80 percent of its 97 million people belonging to that religion and where the Catholic Church which in keeping with its tenets opposes any civil rights legislation for the LGBT community.

Hate crimes against the LGBT community remain a distressing threat, with 28 people killed because of their sexual identity in the first half of 2011 alone, the report said.

In school LGBT youths suffer from discrimination, bullying and abuse, it added.

Michael Tan, author of the study, told a news conference that the a recent informal survey of 700 Filipino LGBT respondents found one in 10 had been a victim of violence and abuse, mostly committed at home by their parents, reports AFP.

“What we have in the Philippines is tolerance, not acceptance,” the report mentioned Manila-based gay rights campaigner Jonas Bagas of the TLF Sensuality, Health and Rights Educators Collective as telling the meeting.

“In many parts of Asia, social and legal environments remain far from inclusive for the LGBT community,” UNDP country director Maurice Dewulf said in a speech launching the report.

The UNDP and USAID said they are also collaborating in similar surveys in China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Philippine report said LGBT people generally suffer discrimination, harassment and abuse at work.

LGBT staff are routinely assigned to night shifts and passed over for promotion “since they don’t have families to feed,” Tan told the news conference.

Transgender people are not allowed legally to change their identity, first name and sex, while gays can be discharged from the military, and cross-dressers are barred from nightclubs, the report said.

In the Philippines, despite a more recent acceptance of LGBT people where a majority are very well-known in industries such as entertainment, fashion and beauty care same-sex relations, 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.

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