The Philippines is legislatively more progressive on LGBTQI+ rights and issues than many countries, but for LGBTQI+ children and young people there are still many challenges and problems. Sexual exploitation, HIV risk, discrimination, violence and homelessness are disturbingly common, and there is little in place to address this. Many young people in the Philippines identify as LGBT from an early age, and they are often highly visible. This allows them to access LGBTQI+ cultural groups and events, but can also increase their vulnerability.
Addressing these issues is complex work. Many Coloured Sky has brought together a coalition of organisations and groups with the aim of ensuring that LGBTQI+ young people have all the same opportunities as other young people in the Philippines, and are nurtured, included and celebrated for who they are.
Aim: To create the best possible world for LGBT children and young people, through enhanced opportunities, strengths-building and reduced risk and discrimination.
Partners: A coalition of LGBT organisations and NGOs in Davao, with support from local schools, Local Government Units and City Departments.
Activities: Establishing LGBTQI+ youth support programs; promotion of child rights frameworks; trialling of anti-homophobia and inclusion programs in schools and Local Governments; resource development; advocacy; stakeholder education; family support; research.
Why? The Philippines currently has the fastest growing HIV rates in the Asia Pacific, especially amongst young LGBT people, and high levels of discrimination and violence against LGBT communities and individuals. While proactive legislation is in place, implementation has been very poor and slow.
What's happened so far? In late 2018 we began piloting a broad and comprehensive strategy that aims to improve outcomes for LGBT children and young people via social support, parent programs, whole-school change, local government and service policy and program development and the engagement of key stakeholders. We hope to complete the trial in late 2019 and begin rolling the program out in 2020.