The alleged public shaming of several lesbian women by shaving their heads has sparked outrage in the Philippines during Pride Month and prompted an investigation by the national human rights ombudsman.
LGBTQ acceptance has expanded in the Philippines over the years, illustrated in part by the success of some members of the community in politics, media and entertainment industries. But rights groups say gender-based discrimination and violence are still a major problem.
The independent Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said last week it is investigating reports of forced head shaving of women in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province in the southern Philippines.
Videos and photos of the alleged punishment went viral on Facebook and were picked up by local news outlets, where reports said an estimated six women were targeted. Although the video was taken down, it triggered condemnation and calls for action.
A provincial officer who condemned the punishment was quoted as saying that members of the local community suggested it.
The CHR said a local news outlet claimed the public head shaving was carried out because the Muslim-majority town was opposed to same-sex relationships.
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