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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the Philippines have a distinctive culture but limited legal rights. Gays and lesbians are generally tolerated, if not accepted, within Filipino society, but there is still widespread discrimination. The most visible members of the Filipino LGBT culture, the Bakla, are a distinct group in the Philippines.
According to the 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey, 11% of sexually active Filipinos between the ages of 15 and 24 have had sex with someone of the same sex.
Filipino poet and critic Lilia Quindoza Santiago has speculated that Filipino culture may have a more flexible concept of gender because kasarian, the Tagalog word for "gender", is defined in less binary terms than the English word gender. Kasarian means "kind, species, or genus". The English word gender originally also meant "kind".
A bakla is a gay man who displays feminine mannerisms, dresses as a women, or identifies as a woman. The term itself is not the equivalent of the English term "gay", but bakla are the most culturally visible subset of gay men in the Philippines. They are often considered a third gender, embodying femaleness (pagkababae) in a male body. The term bakla is sometimes used in a derogatory sense, although bakla people have largely embraced it.
- "Survey shows young Filipinos are opening up homosexual activities" (PDF). 23 July 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2005. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- Garcia, J. Nelia C. (2000). "Performativity, the bakla and the orienting gaze". Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. 1 (2): 265–281.
- “Kasarian.” Tagalog-English Dictionary. 2nd. ed. 1986.[full citation needed]
- Garcia, J. Neil C. (2008). Philippine gay culture: binabae to bakla, silahis to MSM. University of the Philippines Press. ISBN 978-971-542-577-3.
- Aggleton, Peter (1999). Men who sell sex: international perspectives on male prostitution and HIV/AIDS. Temple University Press. p. 246. ISBN 1-56639-669-7. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- Casabal, Norberto V (2008). "Gay Language: Defying the Structural Limits of English Language in the Philippines". Kritika Kultura (11): 89 120. doi:10.3860/kk.v0i11.754. Retrieved 27 January 2011.