Initiating gay relationships in the Philippines: A history of mediatization and place-making


Modern communications technologies are seen to have changed the way gay men initiate sexual or romantic relations in the Philippines. Dating websites like PlanetRomeo and mobile applications like Grindr are even said to have caused the “death” of Malate, the gay capital of the Philippines, as these now allow gay men to find partners without having to meet in-person and risk being “outed” in public or censured by heteronormative norms. Given this observation, this paper aimed to explore: How have gay men’s practices of and places for relationship initiation with other men in the Philippines changed over time? A total of 36 informants for this study shared their narratives and traced out the physical spaces and the media ensemble where and through which gay relationship initiation happens. By looking at the communicative practices in these places and media ensemble, the notion of place-making of the physical and virtual spaces for gay meeting was discussed.