New hope for gay communities following Typhoon Haiyan

Many LGBT people in Tacloban, Philippines have achieved new-found acceptance in their communities, including a dramatic rise in the number of people using dating applications such as Grindr and Tinder, in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, according to research co-led by Dr Jonathan Ong from the Department of Media and Communication and researchers at Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines.

November 8 marks the two year anniversary of the devastating typhoon - one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record - which claimed the lives of thousands of people and affected millions – many of whom are still recovering from its impact.

Few LGBT people felt accepted in cities such as Tacloban in the Philippines prior to the disaster, but according to new research co-led by Dr Ong, spending time with foreign aid workers has helped local members of the gay community to become open and expressive in everyday life, with many survivors longing for intimacy turning to Grindr, the world's most popular all male location based social network, to arrange discreet meet-ups with aid workers, who themselves sought distraction.

The report, entitled ‘Obliged to be Grateful: How local communities experienced humanitarian actors in the Haiyan response’, outlines affected communities’ experiences with agencies’ AAP efforts and interventions at large.

The study draws on three months of fieldwork with affected people in 22 villages in four areas affected by Haiyan and the team interviewed over 221 respondents representing a cross-section of the population.

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