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The train to Stockholm was full of people and rainbows. It was my first time to Scandinavia’s largest LGBTQIA+ pride parade and lucky me, it was also EuroPride.

I marched at my first LGBTQIA+ pride event in Metro Manila seven years ago. As a gay man, it was a liberating, happy, and proud moment. Every pride event always has its share of impressive moments.

Here are four that I had at #EuroPride2018 in Stockholm.

1. Sweden may be the world’s most LGBTQIA+ friendly place

We were changing trains to get to the Stockholm Stadshus (city hall). Two people in elaborate Filipinianas passed by.

They were Eric from Bulacan and Dianne from Mindanao. They both are now living in Sweden for more than two and five years, respectively.

Sa mga taga-Mindanao, diri sa Sweden dawat ang mga bayot. Dawat ang tanan. Pare-pareha lang ang tanan, babaye, lalaki, bayot, tomboy. Tanan, Bongga (To people in Mindanao, here in Sweden gays are accepted. Everyone is accepted. Women, men, gays and lesbians are the same. Everything is fabulous)!” said Dianne to my camera.

It was surreal to realize the contrast of Mindanaons like Dianne and me living in LGBTQIA+ friendly Sweden. “Pagdawat” (Acceptance) was always something we always wondered if “matinuod ba gayud” (could it be real)?

In 2019, Sweden will celebrate 75 years of the decriminalization of homosexuality (since 1944) and 10 years of marriage equality. Sa Pinas, siguro puhon (Maybe eventually in the Philippines).

Eric also shared a message, “Today is Europride where all LGBT families gathered to celebrate this gift from above. To all the gays and members of our society back in our country, we are getting there and we are doing this for you.”

If Sweden is the benchmark, I am not sure how far “there” is.

See this chronological list of LGBT rights progress in Sweden:

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1944 Homosexual relations are legalized

1972 Sweden becomes the first country in the world to legally allow gender change

1979 The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) decides homosexuality is no longer a mental disorder

1987 Ban on discrimination against homosexuals by businesses and government officials takes effect

1988 Homosexuals included in the cohabitation law

1995 The Registered Partnership Act (domestic partnership law) passed

1999 HomO, an ombudsman for LGBT persons, is established (later brought in under DO)

2003 Constitutional change to outlaw hate speech based on sexual orientation

2003 Adoption rights for same-sex couples

2005 Insemination rights for lesbian couples

2009 Transgender identity and expressions included in anti-discrimination act

2009 Gender-neutral marriage law in effect

2011 Prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation is added to the Swedish constitution

2013 Mandatory sterilization stricken from law regarding change of legal gender

In the Philippines as of 2018, legislative advocacy of anti-discrimination bills based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) has reached its 18th year.

18 years in the Philippines.

74 years in Sweden.

Do you think this is how far we are from making significant progress in the legal front?

Tan’awon ta. (Let us see).

 

2. LGBTQI+ Pride is still very relevant for Europe

It did make me wonder though. With all these amazing progresses for LGBTQIA+ people in this part of the world, is there need for Pride?

Apparently yes.

Sweden is among the 29 of the 50 countries and 8 of the 9 dependent territories in Europe who recognize some type of same-sex unions. Also, among them most members of the European Union (23/28).

EuroPride, inaugurated in London in 1992, is one of the events that serve as a reminder of the more work that needs to be done. It is attended by estimated crowds of over 100,000 and is hosted by a different European city each year.

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Here are some facts that show that not all of Europe is LGBTQIA+ friendly.

Constitutions of Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine recognizes marriage only as a union of one man and one woman.

In the Balkans (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia) 88% think LGBTI marriages unacceptable according to a 2015 NDI public opinion poll.

8 Ways to know we’ve sold ‘Pride’

3. LGBTQI+ Pride events are getting bigger

EuroPride Parade Stockholm is the largest pride event I have been to so far. News releases say that it broke all records with an estimated amount of 55,000–60,000 participants along the road.

For some time, I marched with Eric, Dianne, and other queer Pinoys. I saw their Filipinianas were big hits. The roads of Stockholm were their runways and their screaming fans were endless.

In those heels, I just wondered how their calves and feet were after. The march was officially declared three hours and 15 minutes long from start to finish! #Kebs #TiisGanda

Metro Manila Pride 2018, which I missed this year, also broke records. 25,000 people in attendance easily topped last year’s 8,000 participants in Marikina City for two years now.

4. Pride is solidarity in opposing any forms of discrimination

Pride may it be in Stockholm or Metro Manila means different things to different people. Some expressions I prefer and some I don’t.

I see through a lens that we live in a system that breeds inequality and commodification. Competition has been a defining relationship of our individual and community relations.

I am not happy to see the irony of Pride whose rallying cry is for “equality.” It shows when priority is given to the celebration/partying, access, and mileage of LGBTQIA+ people who paid more money, are more famous, more connected, or able-bodied. In effect, giving token or sometimes hindering participation to those who don’t fit that criteria.

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Pride can always be reclaimed as the protest to this unequal and commodified system.

I am happy in Pride as a chance not only for people to show who they truly are but also to deepen understanding on people’s equal value and rights. I celebrate Pride as opportunity to show solidarity in actively opposing any forms of discrimination based on socio-economic status, race, health status, etc.

In #EuroPride2018, LGBTQI+ people who were refugees, asylum seekers, and differently-abled were present . The contingent of Marching for those who can’t include a flag that showed countries where there is still not enough legal protection for LGBTQI+ people. Labor unions, churches, government agencies, academe, and political parties also marched in unity.

In time for #MMPride2018, Metro Manila Pride and Bahaghari Metro Manila joined the call to #BoycottNutriAsia and to #SupportNutriAsiaWorkers. They echoed calls for job regularization, decent wages, and safe working conditions.

“Standing in solidarity with other marginalized sectors is important. Not just because LGBTQIA+ people are part of these sectors too. But because, as human rights activists, we must not stay quiet or stand idly by as oppression happens,” said Metro Manila Pride in a statement.

Bahaghari Metro Manila marched with a multi-sectoral (youth, church, workers, academe, indigenous peoples) contingent at #MMPride2018. Together they emphasized that “the fight of LGBT people is the fight for people’s rights; and the fight for people’s rights is also the fight of LGBT people.”

As I said goodbye to Eric and friends at EuroPride, he said, “This is actually my third pride and the feeling is still the same. I feel so proud and so happy.”

Indeed, Pride can still be a liberating, happy, and proud moment.

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).

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Travel

Hong Kong to recognize same-sex partnerships in spousal visa applications

For the first time, Hong Kong will recognize overseas same-sex partnerships when granting dependant visas.

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IMAGE FROM PIXABAY.COM

Change has come.

For the first time, Hong Kong will recognize overseas same-sex partnerships when granting dependant visas. This was announced by the government after a review prompted by a Court of Final Appeal ruling in July, at the end of a legal battle, that a married British lesbian – identified as QT – should be granted a spousal visa. She was initially denied.

QT and her partner, known as SS, moved to Hong Kong in 2011 after SS got a job in the city. The couple entered into a civil partnership in Britain, which gave them the same rights and responsibilities as a married couple under British law.

But the Hong Kong Immigration Department rejected QT’s application for a dependant visa, stating that Hong Kong does not recognize same-sex relationships. The pair took the case to court, arguing that the decision was discriminatory and breached the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights Ordinance.

The Court of First Instance ruled against QT in March 2016. This ruling was appealed by QT. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision last year. The Immigration Department filed an appeal, and the Court of Final Appeal made a ruling in July in favor of QT.

Starting Wednesday (September 19, 2018), the director of immigration will already favorably consider an application from a person who has entered into “a same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, same-sex marriage, or opposite-sex civil partnership or opposite-sex civil union outside Hong Kong” for entry for residence as a dependant, if the person meets the normal immigration requirements.

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To qualify, there should be “reasonable proof of a genuine relationship between the applicant and the sponsor”, “no known record to the detriment of the applicant”, and evidence that “the sponsor is able to support the dependant’s living at a standard well above the subsistence level and provide him/her with suitable accommodation in Hong Kong”.

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Health & Wellness

Female to male trans adolescents report highest rate of attempted suicide at 50.8%

A study found that almost 14% of adolescents reported a previous suicide attempt, with disparities by gender identity in suicide attempts. Female to male adolescents reported the highest rate of attempted suicide (50.8%), followed by adolescents who identified as not exclusively male or female (41.8%).

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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor from Unsplash.com

 Nearly 14% of adolescents reported a previous suicide attempt, with female to male adolescents reporting the highest rate of attempted suicide at 50.8%.

This is according to “Transgender Adolescent Suicide Behavior“, a study done by Russell B. Toomey, Amy K. Syvertsen and Maura Shramko, and released in Pediatrics. The study eyed to examine prevalence rates of suicide behavior across six gender identity groups: female; male; transgender, male to female; transgender, female to male; transgender, not exclusively male or female; and questioning. A secondary objective was to examine variability in the associations between key sociodemographic characteristics and suicide behavior across gender identity groups.

Data from the “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors” survey (N = 120 617 adolescents; ages 11–19 years) were used to achieve the study objectives. Data were collected over a 36-month period: June 2012 to May 2015. A dichotomized self-reported lifetime suicide attempts (never versus ever) measure was used. Prevalence statistics were compared across gender identity groups, as were the associations between sociodemographic characteristics (i.e. age, parents’ highest level of education, urbanicity, sexual orientation, and race and/or ethnicity) and suicide behavior.

The study found that almost 14% of adolescents reported a previous suicide attempt, with disparities by gender identity in suicide attempts. Female to male adolescents reported the highest rate of attempted suicide (50.8%), followed by adolescents who identified as not exclusively male or female (41.8%), male to female adolescents (29.9%), questioning adolescents (27.9%), female adolescents (17.6%), and male adolescents (9.8%).

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Identifying as non-heterosexual exacerbated the risk for all adolescents except for those who did not exclusively identify as male or female (i.e. non-binary). For transgender adolescents, no other sociodemographic characteristic was associated with suicide attempts.

According to the researchers, “Suicide prevention efforts can be enhanced by attending to variability within transgender populations, particularly the heightened risk for female to male and non-binary transgender adolescents.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Why your company needs to care more about the future of the planet

More and more companies are starting to realize the benefits of going green and caring more about the environment.

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Photo by Miriam Espacio from Unsplash.com

Businesses tend not to care so much about the future of the planet. This is often because the environmental impact of their actions is rarely quantified and reported back to the companies, and even if that was the case, it’s unlikely that companies would bother paying extra money just to be more environmentally friendly. It cuts into their profits and, in most cases, is a bother to implement.

Or is that really the case?

More and more companies are starting to realize the benefits of going green and caring more about the environment. It’s a surprisingly effective way to approach marketing your company and giving it more exposure, and in this article, we’ll be giving you more ideas on how to use the latest technological advancements to ensure that your company stays green and benefits from it.

Photo by Pierre Châtel-Innocenti from Unsplash.com

Marketing Advantage

Nowadays, many companies are looking to increase their exposure by looking at how they can appeal to a wider and more specialized audience. One of those niches (at least, a niche for now) is being able to appeal to people that want to go green. This means people that want to reduce their carbon footprint.

Many consumers much rather support businesses that support green practices in order to do their part and help the environment. If your company advertises that it uses green methods in their workflow, then you have an advantage over other companies in the industry. It’s a surprisingly effective method of promoting your business.

Specialized Companies Make it Easy

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With the rise of businesses that focus on helping other companies go green, it’s become even easier to make the switch. Whether it’s oil stop valves that you need for a large-scale project such as an oil refinery or station, or just finding ways to reduce waste in your office, there are plenty of ways to go about adding more ways to bolster your business’s green practices.

Saving Money

Surprisingly, there are many green business practices that can actually save you money instead of costing you even more. For instance, if you reuse certain materials, you could save a bit of money every time you make a purchase for supplies. Another method of saving money is by optimizing your business workflow, such as shortening transportation routes and cutting down on fuel expenditure for logistical challenges.

There are plenty of ways to go green and save money and it’s not always about hiring a service that can suggest you a new machine or piece of technology that can help. Sometimes, you can go green by just being more mindful of how you spend your money.

Going green comes with many advantages, but it does take a little work in order to truly be carbon neutral so that you do not leave any footprint. Companies like Apple are leading the way thanks to the steps they’ve taken to become carbon neutral across the globe, and more companies are following in their shadow. Sooner or later, becoming carbon neutral will become a necessity if you want to progress your business instead of just a competitive edge.

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NEWSMAKERS

Baguio’s LGBTQIA community eyes to highlight ‘real Pride’ for Nov. 24 fest

Themed “This is Pride”, the 12th Baguio LGBT Pride Parade 2018 slated on November 24 “acknowledges that the community is still facing a lot of issues, so that we are coming out on the streets to continue the struggle for LGBT rights not yet won,” said Archie Montevirgen, chairperson of Amianan Pride Council.

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PHOTO BY AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL/ELLA RODRIGUEZ & FREEPIK, COURTESY OF THE AMIANAN PRIDE COUNCIL

Baguio and the Cordilleras eye to highlight the real meaning of #LGBT #Pride with the 12th Baguio LGBT Pride Parade 2018 slated on November 24.

Themed “This is Pride”, the gathering “acknowledges that the community is still facing a lot of issues, so that we are coming out on the streets to continue the struggle for LGBT rights not yet won,” said Archie Montevirgen, chairperson of the Amianan Pride Council, which organizes the annual event.

Nonetheless, the event also wants to “celebrate victories our advocacy has achieved.”

“This year, we intend to bring the community closer by making everybody in the community feel that we are all in this together. That a victory won is everybody’s achievement; that Pride is for everybody. We want everyone to feel that they all have something to be proud of, that is why we are celebrating our uniqueness, and our diversity,” Montevirgen said.

This year’s gathering is also very cognizant of the commercialization of Pride.

8 Ways to know we’ve sold ‘Pride’

“It was one of the factors that pushed everyone to arrive at the theme ‘This is Pride’. We talked among ourselves and arrived at the understanding that no particular LGBT sector can put a patent on Pride,” Montevirgen said. “We come from different sectors and hold different agendas and interests towards Pride. For some it is political, some push for agendas, some come to celebrate, some come to express themselves without judgment, and some come to party. We understand that whatever reason one comes to Pride is a contribution to the cause, and something to be proud of.”

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But to avoid being swallowed by the erroneous system (i.e. Pride being bought), “that is the very reason why we have decided from the start not to make the Amianan Pride Council a formal structured organization, but a loose alliance of organizations and institution that feel they have a stake at Pride. So commercialization at this point does not feel like a threat at all to (us).”

Every year, leadership of the Amianan Pride Councilis passed on, thereby allowing the next leaders to take it to a direction they want to take, given the concurrence of the council.

Incidentally, this was the model of Task Force Pride (TFP) in Metro Manila in the past; which was eventually superseded to give way to the now more commercial model.

While the actual Pride parade in Baguio City will take place on November 24, the different member organizations of Amianan Pride Council also plan to hold different activities of their own to hype up the annual gathering.

As it is, talks are ongoing with the office of Baguio City Vice Mayor to declare the last week of November as LGBT week in Baguio City.

For more information, contact Metropolitan Community Church – Metro Baguio at 09298629036.

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Travel

55% of Singaporeans still support law banning gay sex

Fifty-five percent of 750 Singaporeans who were surveyed support the ban on gay sex, with only 12% opposing the antiquated Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, which states that a man found to have committed an act of “gross indecency” with another man could be jailed for up to two years.

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Photo detail by Max Felner from Unsplash.com

More than half of Singaporeans still support the antiquated law that bans gay sex. This is according to an online survey that was made amid renewed debate on whether the city-state should follow India’s footsteps and scrap similar British colonial-era legislation.

Fifty-five percent of the 750 Singaporeans who were surveyed by independent market research and consulting firm Ipsos still supported the ban.

The same Ipsos poll also showed that 12% opposed the law, while 33% were neither for or against it.

Ipsos conducted the online poll of people aged between 15-65 years over four days in late July and early August.

Under Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, a man found to have committed an act of “gross indecency” with another man could be jailed for up to two years. Prosecutions are rare. The law does not apply to homosexual acts between women.

A glimpse into Singapore’s rainbow community

In Asia and the Pacific, Singapore is considered a “modern” state. But lawmakers remain typically cautious over social reforms, partly due to sensitivities stemming from the ethnic and religious mix among Singapore’s 5.6 million inhabitants.

In the line of duty

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Technological advancements up to present day

Back in the day things would be developed over a certain period of time. But they have since changed. Here we explore the various things that have been developed over the past few years.

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Technology has really shocked everyone. Back in the day things would be developed over a certain period of time. But they have since changed. Things are being developed every day from cars, cell phones, top Australian online casinos, applications, modes of energy and many others.

In this article, we will explore the various things that have been developed over the past few years.

Electric Cars

Cars are known to use gasoline. For cars, gasoline is like the nutrient that they require for them to function. But then again at the same time, the exhaust gases are bad for the environment. But great minds are always thinking ahead. So what was simply done was to make cars use electric energy for them to function. That way nothing on earth will be threatened. With car technology, we could go on about it forever. Everything on cars has been developed. They now have cars that don’t require keys to start the car as you can use your phone or a car button.  And as for unlocking you only need your fingerprint.

3D Printers

Printers have been known to print papers from when there were introduced. And they were slowly developing to printing plastics. Jaws dropped when they started printing metal, we thought that probably that is where they are going to end. But clearly they did not stop; now they have what is known as the 3-D metal printing. This one prints the exact thing that you want to be printed, for instance, you want to print a car part now that is possible.

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Robot Technology

Asians have always been known for their fondness for robots. And they managed to advance them from the normal robots that we are used to. Asians have developed robots that can help people in restaurants and are now the actual waiters. They do away with human labour.

Clearly one can note that technology is definitely advancing and for the better. Even in the world of online casinos, first, they were just yebo casino games. But now we have Live Dealer online casino games, technology truly is amazing.

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