When the subject of trans dating comes up, Manila is one of the capitals that immediately spring to mind. Trans dating is easier here than in most other cities around the world, but that doesn’t mean it is completely free of hurdles.

An obvious issue to consider if you’re interested in trans dating in Manila is where you would meet someone. You can’t expect to meet trans women at just any club. Boho Sarapsody Bistro, a club and restaurant that used to be an old house, is very popular with trans women and members of the local LGBT community in general. Ladyboys often come here to relax, pass the time, and meet friendly foreigners.

One complication that often arises is that foreigners in Manila usually don’t actually live there all the time. Often, they have wives and children back home in the U.S., Europe, or Australia. It’s hard to reconcile the two. That said, attraction to trans women is very common in straight men and nothing to be anxious about. 

In the Philippines, there are positive developments surrounding legal gender recognition, but social attitudes tend to lag behind. Trans people often complain about being fetishized. American TV host, writer, and trans community leader Janet Mock calls the issue a “pervasive ideology.” One’s attraction to trans people is something to be ashamed of and the people themselves should not be seen, remaining an invisible secret.

In Western countries, this attraction regrettably remains a source of shame. What is more, violence and discrimination against transgender women remain common in this Asian capital and country.  

The general trend is of the Manila trans community’s becoming mainstream despite the country’s predominantly Catholic population. Manila has been hosting pride marches for more than two decades. Tens of thousands of people attend them each year.

The capital’s celebrated modern history with the trans community began with the “immoRALLY” protest in 2010. A pro-LGBT party had applied for accreditation with the government, which had been rejected on the grounds that the community was “immoral,” hence the name of the protest.