Maguindanao town bans LGBTQIA+ cross-dressing:

Maguindanao town bans LGBTQIA+ cross-dressing:


Vittoria De Bortoli 

Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence

On November 20th, 2022, Maguindanao del Sur, a town in the Philippines, imposed stricter measures against members of the LGBTQIA+ community, banning them from cross-dressing in public. 

The penalties include a warning for the first offense and community service for subsequent ones. [1]

Anwar Emblawa, executive secretary of the Shariff Aguak municipal government, stated that the measures, which predominantly affect gay persons, are in line with “upholding and respecting the Islamic religious tradition propagated by their forebears”, and prohibit them only from cross-dressing in public, as a matter of fact, as he said, “inside their beauty parlors, gays can wear what they want, but in public places, they must not wear dresses fit for women”. [1]

Emblawa clarified that LGBTQIA+ members are not banned in the locality, as fake news have been circulating in this regard, “with the aim of discrediting and maligning local leaders'. On the contrary, they are welcome to “visit, live and do business”, with only the prohibition of cross-dressing in public places. [2]

According to Emblawa, the ban was imposed in the town in 2019 and is still being implemented by the municipal government, now led by first-term Mayor Akmad Ampatuan.

Sources and further reading

[1] Bong S. Sarmiento, “Maguindanao town goes strict against LGBTQ cross-dressing” (November 20, 2022) Inquirer.Net. Retrieved on November 23, 2022. From:

[2] Franz R. Sumangil, “Maguindanao town bans cross-dressing” (November 23, 2022) The Manila Times. Retrieved on November 23, 2022. From:

Picture © Romeo Ranoco/Reuters (2016)