HomePhilippine Journal of Psychologyvol. 36 no. 1 (2003)

Tomboys and Lesbians: The Filipino Female Homosexual and Her Identity Development Process

Mira Alexis P. Ofreneo

Discipline: Psychology



This research explores how the female homosexual in Philippine culture experiences and cognizes her sexuality and how she assumes and accepts a homosexual identity. Using the case study method, 12 self-identified female homosexuals (6 late adolescents and 6 young adults) were interviewed. Results reveal an ideal three-stage model of Filipino female homosexual identity development: (a) awareness of a homosexual orientation through gender nonconformity and initial homosexual feelings; (b) trying out a homosexual orientation as reflected in homosexual peer groups, romantic relationships, and sex; and (c) choosing a homosexual identity. A salient finding is how tomboy, the cultural label for a stereotypically masculine female homosexual, shapes early identification and later development creating two distinct groups— the tomboys and the lesbians.