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.
“I like life in Taiwan because I can live freely.” Melinda, a lesbian, was not accepted by her father in her native family. After coming to Taiwan [from the Philippines], she felt goodwill for the first time. “I When I first came to Taiwan, my mentor at work was very good with me. He didn’t discriminate against me because of my sexuality. When he told my male supervisor that I like girls, the male executive also said: “Go! Let’s go together and look for a girl for you!”
This is a friendly environment that allows Melinda to be herself; it is also because of this freedom that she wants to stay here and learn to be independent. She took us to the nearby Philippine grocery store to visit. I watched her talk to the clerk in a familiar way, sometimes whispering and sometimes laughing, and introducing us to the food and culture of the Philippines, so confident. Living so confidently is the reason why her mother wanted her to come to Taiwan.
MATALAM, North Cotabato – An enraged farmer on Tuesday shot dead his wife and another woman, whom he had suspected of being a lesbian, after finding them sleeping together inside the family home in Barangay Poblacion here.
“Minutes after, he got into a heated discussion with Ymi when she confronted him directly and asked him to go. It was when Ymi threw a tissue at him that he snapped and threw two punches at her (during this time they were outside Saguijo’s gate). I ran to them and tried to pull Ymi away, he punched me on my left cheek before giving Ymi another punch. This was when roadies and other Saguijo people ran to us.”
Listening 2 Lesbians will provide news of any updates to the “In Memoriam” blog on a monthly basis. This amazing record of the loss of those in our lesbian community to violence is not complete, but it is also the only record being kept at this time.