Psychologists and counselors from the University of the Philippines Diliman, University of the Philippines Tacloban, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University Manila, De La Salle University Dasmariñas, University of Sto Tomas, and University of San Carlos Cebu launched the PAP’s LGBT Psychology Special Interest Group, the first organized collective of mental health professionals dedicated to LGBT rights and well-being in the Philippines and in the Southeast Asian region.
PAP president Dr. Regina Hechanova lauded the initiative as path-breaking not just for Philippine psychology but for the region.
“As Filipino psychologists I have never thought of us as ‘pro-gay’. We are simply pro-person. And pro-human rights,” Hechanova said.
PAP also celebrated another first for LGBT psychology in Asia: a special all-LGBT issue of its peer-reviewed research journal, the Philippine Journal of Psychology. The issue was guest-edited by Prof. Eric Manalastas of UP Diliman and features nine new original research studies conducted in local settings.
For the LGBT issue of the journal, topics ranged from dynamics of Filipino same-sex couples, coming out stories of Waray gay teenagers, and babaeng bakla (“fag hag” women), to sexual prejudice and transphobia in the Philippines, and gay children in conflict with the law.