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SWS: 47% of Pinoys against trans women using female toilet, but 55% favor law protecting LGBT

While almost half of Filipinos are not in favor of transgender women using women's restrooms, the majority of the public believe that a law should be passed to protect the rights of the LGBT community, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

Based on the poll presented by SWS’ Deputy Director of Survey Design, Analysis and Training Vladymir Joseph Licudine, allowing transgender people to use restrooms that are not in accord with their birth gender is still "too radical" for Filipinos at this point because of a lack of information about the transgender community.

"[M]asyadong radical for Filipinos kasi hindi pa nila masyado alam ang konsepto ng transgender. Mas alam talaga ang 'bakla' o 'tomboy'," Licudine said.

An SWS survey conducted last September 27 to 30 showed that at least 47 percent of Filipinos are opposed to allowing transgender women to use the female toilet, against 32 percent who are in favor. Twenty-one percent are undecided.

A slightly higher 48 percent also do not agree that transgender people should be allowed to change their official documents such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses according to their gender identity, against 22 percent who agree.

The same poll, however, revealed that 60 percent of Filipinos agree that members of the LGBT community experience discrimination, against 23 percent who disagree.

Likewise, 55 percent are in favor of passing a law protecting the rights of the LGBT (lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender) community, against 26 percent who oppose it.

The poll was done on 1,800 respondents nationwide, with a nationwide margin of error of two percent.

"There was no follow-up question included in the survey asking bakit hindi sila pabor, but we have learned that this is a new thing for Filipinos…iyong sa paggamit ng CR, saka iyong papalitan ‘yung gender sa documents," Licudine said.

"But if we asked another statement, like concerning ‘yung pagbibigay ng opportunity sa LGBT in terms of employment or being accepted in schools, positive ang response. Mas nag-agree sila roon."

Those who agree that members of the LGBT community face discrimination are highest in the National Capital Region, as well as among the Tagalog, Ilocanos, Cebuanos, the young, the educated and those who are members of Iglesia Ni Cristo and Catholics.

Those who agree that a law protecting LGBT Filipinos should be passed, on the other hand, are more prevalent in Visayas, the National Capital Region, and in rural areas.

Licudine also said that sentiments regarding LGBT Filipinos are divided, if not conflicting, because they are also hardly represented as respondents in the survey.

“What I learned is that we have to survey the minority, similar to what we did to the Muslims during the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, because we have to know their plight,” he said.

“As for LGBT or specifically transgenders, we don’t have much information or statistics about them. We have to have LGBT as respondents, not just a topic [for the survey]. That is the challenge to us researchers,” he added. — BM, GMA News