New HIV infections in Phl reached 1,098 in May; highest figure since monitoring started in 1984
There were 1,098 new HIV positive individuals reported to the HIV/ AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines in May 2017, the highest number of HIV infections in the country for a month since monitoring started since 1984. To date, 29 Filipinos now get infected with HIV every day.
AND IT JUST KEEPS GETTING WORSE.
There were 1,098 new HIV positive individuals reported to the HIV/ AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) in May 2017, the highest number of HIV infections in the country for a month since monitoring started since 1984. To date, 29 Filipinos now get infected with HIV every day; up from only one HIV infection per day in 2008. Since 2010, however, the number of HIV infections has been rapidly climbing to four every day, nine every day in 2012, 17 every day in 2014, and 26 every day in 2016.
The May 2017 figure is 48% higher as compared with the same reporting period last year, when there were “only” 741 cases reported.
According to Michael David dela Cruz Tan, publishing editor of Outrage Magazine, the only LGBT publication in the Philippines, and which has HIV-related efforts, there are two ways of looking at this.
On the one hand, “we can give this a ‘positive’ spin by saying that more people are getting tested, so now more people know of their HIV status. In a way this is true, and kudos to the efforts of those who’ve been going around to provide much-needed HIV testing,” he said.
But on the other hand, “that people test positive at all is a damning statement of the failure to control the spread of HIV in the Philippines. We went beyond this being a source of worry a long time ago; we should already be panicking.”
Ico Rodulfo Johnson, president of The Red Ribbon Project (TRR), said that “the increased number of HIV cases in the country may be a result of the increased campaign on HIV awareness and testing, as well as the increased number of HIV facilities now accessible to the greater population.”
TRR, for instance, partnered with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) to facilitate community-based screening, thereby reaching populations that well-funded NGOs and even government facilities fail to reach because these are facility-centric.
But Johnson said that “with the monthly increase in the number of Filipinos with HIV, we can assume that we have not reached our target yet. We still have to do more.”
For May 2017, most (95%) of those who tested HIV positive were male. The median age was 28 years old (age range: 2 years-67 years). More than half were from the 25-34 year age group, while 30% were youth aged 15-24 years.
The reported modes of HIV transmission were: sexual contact (1,068), needle sharing among injecting drug users (IDU)  and vertical transmission (formerly known as “mother- to-child transmission”) . Eighty-six percent of infections transmitted through sexual contact were among males who have sex with males (MSM).
From 1984 to 1990, considered the early years of the epidemic, 62% (133 of 216 cases) were female. But from 1991 to present, males comprised 93% (40,890 out of 44,010) of the total number of HIV cases in the Philippines.
But as per HARP, the absolute number of cases among females has also been increasing. Ninety-two percent (2,796) of all female cases were diagnosed when they were between 15-49 years of age.
According to Outrage Magazine’s Tan: “We’ve long recognized, and even constantly stress, that MSM, the population mostly affected by HIV in the Philippines, are NOT NECESSARILY homosexual or bisexual men. There are MSM who have female partners or are in opposite-sex relationships. And so even if the trend now involves a lot of gay and bi men, sooner or later, this problem will reverberate back to the ‘mainstream’ population to mimic the trend in the early years of the epidemic, including women and their children.”
Unfortunately, said Tan, Outrage Magazine has been made aware instances when women were “literally turned away from getting HIV testing because, as they were told, existing projects prioritize, if not actually only focus on MSM.” There are also sub-populations among women who are still not properly reached by HIV-related efforts – e.g. women in prison (WIP).
For Tan, this also highlights how “HIV is not the issue of only a specific population (e.g. of gay and bi men), but of everyone.”
Those who are getting infected with HIV are also getting younger. From 2001 to 2005, the age range of most people reported to have HIV was 35-49 years. Starting from 2006, the age proportion shifted to 25-34 years. The proportion of HIV positive cases in the 15-24 year age group increased from 25% in 2006-2010 to 29% in 2011-2017.
For May 2017, the regions with the most number of reported cases were: National Capital Region (NCR) with 404 (37%) cases, Region 4A with 155 (14%) cases, Region 3 with 108 (10%) cases, Region 7 with 98 (9%) cases and Region 11 with 60 (5%) cases. An additional 273 cases (25%) came from the rest of the country.
Pregnant Women Living with HIV (PWLHIV)
For May 2017, eight pregnant women were diagnosed with HIV. Three of the cases were from NCR, two cases from Region 3, and one case each for Regions 4A, 7 and 9.
It was only in 2011 when pregnant women living with HIV were included in the HARP; and thus say, “the number of reported cases continues to increase yearly,” noted HARP.
Since 2011, a total of 178 pregnant cases were reported. More than half (97) were from the age group 15-24 years old and 39% (69) were from 25-34 years old age group.
Children (<10 years old) and Adolescents (10-19 years old)
In May 2017, 64 adolescents aged 10-19 years were infected with HIV. All of them were infected through sexual contact (eight male-female sex, 40 male-male sex, 16 sex with both males and females). Also, three children aged 10 years and below were reported to be HIV positive and were infected through vertical transmission (nee MTCT).
Outrage Magazine already earlier reported on the difficulties encountered by those looking after children living with HIV.
Youth (15-24 years old)
In May 2017, 325 (30%) cases were among youth aged 15-24 years and 95% of the cases were male. All (325) were infected through sexual contact (36 male-female sex, 192 male-male sex, 97 sex with both males and females).
From January 1984 to May 2017, 12,065 (27%) of the reported cases were 15-24 years old. Eighty-four percent (10,148) of all the youth were reported from January 2012 to May 2017.
Eighty-four OFWs were reported in May 2017, comprising 8% of the total newly diagnosed cases. Ninety-five percent (80) were male. All were infected through sexual contact (24 male-female sex, 30 male-male sex, and 30 sex with both males and females). These OFWs were from 19-55 years old, and 49% of those belonged to the 25-34 year age group.
People who engage in transactional sex
In May 2017, 10% (105) of the total reported cases engaged in transactional sex. As defined by HARP, people who engage in transactional sex are those who report that they pay for sex, regularly accept payment for sex, or do both.
Most (92%) of those who engaged in transactional sex were male, with ages ranging from 16 to 60 years.
It was only in December 2012 when HARP included in the registry people who engage in transactional sex, and since then, a total of 3,941 cases have been reported. Ninety-six percent (3,769) were male and 4% (172) were female.
ACCESS TO TREATMENT
Fifteen persons living with HIV were reported by HARP for May 2017, all of them male. Six (40%) of the reported deaths belonged to the 15-24 year age group, seven (46%) cases were from 25-34 year age group, and one (7%) case belonged for age groups 35-49 and 50. All were infected through sexual contact (eight male-male sex, seven sex with both males and females).
Since 1984, a total of 2,156 deaths have been reported, though – obviously – the figure may be higher because of under-reporting.
Even with the efficacy of treatment in preventing deaths among PLHIVs, and even in curbing the spread of HIV since it could lower the viral load to undetectable levels and make those with HIV no longer transmittable (U=U), still only less than half of the Filipinos with HIV are on ART. In May 2017, there were 683 patients who started on ART; but from 1984 to May 2017, only 20,420 Filipinos were on ART, while the total number of Filipinos with HIV already reached 44,010.
Ninety-five percent were on first line regimen, 4% were on second line regimen, and 1% were on other regimen. Only the first two regimens are PhilHealth-funded, thus readily available to Filipinos living with HIV.
Also, data from HARP does not segregate those who may have been on ART, but already died; or those who started ART but discontinued.
STUCK IN THE MUD?
In a statement released to Outrage Magazine, Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), said that already y, their church members “make efforts in our communities to address sex negativity, patriarchy, homophobia and transphobia that fuel HIV infections.” But “we also call on the government to heed the call for a free, comprehensive and progressive healthcare system.”
For Reyes, “(some) of the effective ways to respond to the global call to end AIDS by 2030 is for the government to allocate at least 5% of the Gross Domestic Product for health in the national budget, stop privatization, address the inequitable distribution of health personnel and resources, and address socio-economic and political factors affecting health.”
For TRR’s Johnson, some of those that need to be done include “stopping the stigma and discrimination related to HIV; creating a curriculum in the educational system for students to know about the disease, and where to get tested or even access treatment; scale up campaigns for condom use; and empower more schools, companies and organizations, and local government units to strengthen their HIV responses.”
For Tan, “numerous issues related to HIV responses have already been highlighted in the past; and yet we ignore them, acting like it’s still business as usual.”
These issues that Tan already noted in the past include:
- Delayed detection (often “blamed” on the PLHIV, with this blaming neglecting that there are still unresolved issues related to stigma and discrimination).
- Bureaucratic deterrent to make new approaches the norm (e.g. rollout of well-funded CBS takes years; ignorance of U=U, thus non-inclusion among existing solutions).
- Lack of information about HIV and AIDS that often lead to stigma and discrimination (e.g. PLHIVs getting kicked out of their homes after their family members discover their status).
- Inability to get tested (e.g. there are fishermen and farmers who have no access to HIV testing facilities; minors who are unable to get tested sans consent from their parents/guardians).
- Inconsistent HIV services offered even by government-owned treatment hubs (e.g. viral load is not available in many of treatment hubs outside of Metro Manila).
- Mismanagement of available resources (e.g. existing projects allocate for some implementers to stay in posh hotels to hobnob with some well-compensated ‘ambassadors’; while some PLHIVs unable to access ARVs because of inability to pay PhilHealth).
“No one wants to be the pessimistic one here. But we have to be realistic and honest that – and this can not be re-iterated enough – unless our responses are changed, not just bettered, expect things to just continue worsening,” Tan ended.
Metro Manila’s LGBT gathering breaks attendance records, highlights ubiquity of LGBT people if not causes
Showing growing widespread popularity of everything LGBT-related in the Philippines, Metro Manila’s annual LGBT gathering was attended by an estimated 25,000 people. Moving forward, the challenge is how to leverage this growing number of parade participants to actually push for policies promoting their human rights.
There but not there.
Perhaps showing growing widespread popularity of everything LGBT-related in the Philippines, Metro Manila’s annual LGBT gathering patterned after Western Pride celebration/s was attended by an estimated 25,000 people. Even if figures are wrong, this still easily topped last year’s 8,000 participants in the event that was held in Marikina City for two years now.
While the number is impressive as a show of force and as advertising magnet for those targeting the pink market, it – nonetheless – does not necessarily equate to promotion of LGBT causes in the Philippines.
Addressing the crowd, Nicky Castillo – again co-head of the organizing team – stressed the much-repeated call to see Pride not just as a one-day/month-long event, particularly since many members of the LGBT community continue to face hardships. This is particularly true to those whose SOGIE is interconnected with their being also members of other minority sectors, including Indigenous Peoples, persons with disability, religious minorities, et cetera.
Speaking to Outrage Magazine, Det Neri – chairperson of Bahaghari-Metro Manila – a multisectoral militant and nationalist LGBT organization based in Metro Manila – said that LGBT people encounter discrimination not only because of their SOGIE but also because they belong to “kinabibilangang uri”.
“Lupa para sa mga magsasaka, pagwawakas ng contractualization, regularisasyon ng mga manggagawa kabilang na ang mga LGBT na manggagawa, edukasyon para sa kabataan kabilang ang LGBT na kabataan, self-determination para sa mga katutubo at mga Moro (Land for LGBT people who are also farmers, ending contractualization, regularization of workers including LGBT workers, education for the youth including LGBT youth, self determination of Indigenous Peoples and Muslims),” Neri said. “Ang punto: Ang laban ng LGBT ay laban ng mamamayan; ang laban ng mamamayan ay laban ng LGBT (The gist: 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).”
In a statement, Deaf transpinay Disney Aguila – president of Pinoy Deaf Rainbow and founder of TransDeaf Philippines – added that “joining a parade, hosting LGBT-related events, or even passing an anti-discrimination bill are good. But those are not enough. Real Pride happens when we’ve changed mindsets so that people of different SOGIE can take pride in their identity… including in their different abilities/disabilities.”
Moving forward, the challenge not just for Pride’s organizers but the Filipino LGBTQI community as a whole is how to leverage this growing number of parade participants to actually push for policies promoting their human rights. – WITH INTERVIEWS BY MICHAEL DAVID C. TAN
The impetus for organizing LGBTQI Pride in the Phl
All year round, various parts of the Philippines host LGBTQI Pride marches/parades/events. But the very first one happened in Metro Manila, which Outrage Magazine revisits to see how the annual LGBTQI gathering continues to evolve.
It was in 1994 when the very first Pride March was held in the Philippines (and in Asia). The Philippines was actually the pioneer in the region.
“There was no interference or harassment along the way, but a lot of noise and shouting in the ranks of the 50 or so marchers,” recalled Fr. Richard Mickley, who used to head Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in the Philippines. MCC held a mass during that first Pride March in the Philippines.
Aside from Mickley, Oscar Atadero – then with ProGay Philippines – helped make the event happen, along with the likes of Murphy Red, et al.
Incidentally, 1994 also marked the 25th year since the “modern” lesbian and gay movement “started”, thanks to the Stonewall Inn Riot in New York.
“We recognized that we now had open, not closeted, organizations. But the movement was still quiet or unknown. We felt we needed a (local) Stonewall,” Mickley continued.
So the date was set.
The route was planned.
As the small group of LGBT organizations marched along Quezon Avenue to Quezon Memorial Circle, they were confronted by the park police and was asked, “Where are you are you going?”
“We had no assembly permit. We sat by the roadside until the activists of ProGay ironed out the stumbling block. (After it was settled), we made our way to an assembly area with a stage,” Mickley said.
But in the end, “the first Pride March brought a publicity breakthrough. The purpose of the Pride March was realized – (to show) that the gay and lesbian people of the Philippines are real people, and they are not freaks in a closet,” Mickley added.
In 1996, several LGBT organizations formed the Task Force Pride (TFP), a community-driven organization that was to be in-charge of organizing the annual Pride March in Metro Manila.
“One of the highlights of the early years was that of 1998. The Pride March was part of the contingent of the National Centennial Parade, as the Philippines celebrated 100 years of independence. Let that sink in. We marched in front of two presidents at the Quirino Grandstand, just before the transition from Fidel Ramos to Joseph Estrada,” Mickley said.
Ten years later, the LGBT movement in the Philippines grew bigger and stronger. And the fight for equal rights was – finally – in everyone’s consciousness.
TFP continued to organize the annual march – at least the one in Metropolitan Manila. As a network, it was headed by different members of the LGBT community, representing different organizations. Every decision, every move was derived from consultations by/from the participating groups and members.
“More than the celebration, what was really memorable was that despite the community coming from all walks of life and various agendas, sub agendas, locations, et al., it was great to see everyone working as one, for just one moment in a year,” Great Ancheta, one of the organizers of the 2004 and 2005 Pride celebrations, said.
There were years when Pride almost did not happen.
In 2013, Quezon City was supposed to host the annual Pride March, but the supposed organizer (the local government unit/LGU) opted to cancel the event to donate the funds collected to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
“I was rattled with the idea that there will be no Pride March that year. I had to call all possible LGBT advocates that could help me organize Pride in two weeks time,” Raffy Aquino, one of the organizers of the 2013 Pride celebrations, said.
Aquino – with the likes of GANDA Filipinas, Outrage Magazine and Rainbow Rights Project – reached out to different organizations and establishments in Malate (at that time still thriving as the LGBT capital of the country).
“We had more or less P5,000 in funds, which came from the previous TFP organizers. I even waited until six or seven in the evening in Manila City Hall, the day before the event, for the permit to be released,” Aquino added.
But the 2013 Pride March happened.
And then came 2014, when “a super typhoon hit the country at the same time when Pride was scheduled, and we nearly had to cancel. Despite that, people still attended. (And) understandably, it had the lowest turnout in years. But it still showed that for many people, celebrating Pride is still important,” Jade Tamboon, one of the organizers of the 2012 and 2013 Pride celebrations, said.
Organizing an event like the Pride March is not an easy feat, with organizers needing to deal with different factors – both internal and external to the LGBT community.
“Working with the local government was one of our challenges (during our) time. Securing permits was also hard. And of course, rallying up sponsors,” Ancheta said.
Since the LGBT community in the Philippines is (still) only tolerated and not widely accepted, getting supporters that could help the event happen has been the most common problem year after year.
“Financing Pride has always been a major challenge, then and now. People don’t realize how expensive it is to mount Pride. But there’s also the logistics – the sourcing of materials, permits and vendors – that’s another thing people rarely see when they go to a Pride celebration,” Tamboon said.
He added, “this has been a perennial problem of the Pride organizers: early fund-raising. It may be because organizers have not come up with a solution, rather than raising funds so close to the event date.”
Today, organizing Pride marches – or aptly, parades – is mostly dominated by the young members of the LGBT community. And – whatever their stands/positions may be on LGBT human rights – this is as should be/bound to happen, with the passing of the baton inevitable.
But the younger generation have it somewhat easier. As Ancheta said, “Pride celebrations are not limited now to the Pride marches/parades or events, with support for Pride now coming from various companies as evidenced in social networking posts.”
There are now also numerous Pride-related events – whether in the form of marches or parades – in various parts of the Philippines, from Baguio City to Cebu City, Davao City to Iloilo City, Iligan City to the Province of Batangas, among others. Even within Metro Manila, other cities already started their own (separate) Pride marches/parades, finally “devolving” the so-called Metro Manila Pride parade (nee “march”).
But even if the expressions of Pride (now) vary, that sense of solidarity – and raising awareness via that solidarity – remains…
“The increased interest and participation during the recent years, especially among the younger people, is a success in itself. More and more people are unafraid to be out and to showcase their (so-called) Pride,” Tamboon added.
“The recent Pride celebrations are successful in terms of numbers; they were able to target a bigger audience and wider corporate supporters. The younger organizers are also creative and well-versed in branding and marketing. They were able to utilize social media and digital marketing,” Aquino stressed.
STRUGGLE NEEDS TO CONTINUE
But for Aquino, everyone needs to remember that “Pride is not just a one day event.”
“The LGBT community of the Philippines is no longer hidden, closeted or unknown. We are here; we are everywhere – with our heads held high,” Mickley said. “We are on the way, (but) we are (still) seeking equality in the human family,” Mickley said.
*Interview requests were also sent to other past Pride organizers, but – as of press time – Outrage Magazine did not receive any response from them.
Iloilo City passes anti-discrimination ordinance on final reading
The city of Iloilo has joined the ranks of local government units (LGUs) with LGBTQI anti-discrimination ordinances (ADOs), with the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) unanimously approving its ADO mandating non-discrimination of members of minority sectors including the LGBTQIA community.
Pride comes to the “City of Love”.
The city of Iloilo has joined the ranks of local government units (LGUs) with LGBTQI anti-discrimination ordinances (ADOs), with the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) unanimously approving its ADO mandating non-discrimination of members of minority sectors including the LGBTQI community.
The ADO was sponsored by Councilor Liezl Joy Zulueta-Salazar, chair of the SP Committee on Women and Family Relations. Councilor Love Baronda helped with the content/provisions of the ordinance.
“Everyone deserves equal protection under the law. This local legislation reinforces the Constitutional rights and the inalienable human rights of everyone to be treated equally,” Zulueta-Salazar said to Outrage Magazine. “It has always been a question of equality versus equity. Your government is a duty-bearer to protect everyone under the law. Moreso those who have time and again, been victims of injustice borne out from bigotry and indifference. That has to change now. Discrimination has no place in the ‘City of Love’.”
The ADO defines acts of discrimination to include: refusal of employment, refusal of admission in schools, refusal of entry in places open to general public, deprivation of abode or quarters, deprivation of the provision of goods and services, subjecting one to ridicule or insult, and doing acts that demeans the dignity and self-respect or a person because of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, descent, ethnic origin, and religious beliefs.
Penalties range from P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense and imprisonment of not more than 10 days at the discretion of the court, and P3,000 and 15 days imprisonment on the third offense.
The ADO also mandates the creation of the anti-discrimination mediation and conciliation board headed by the mayor. This board will initiate the filing of cases against violators.
“Discrimination… violates basic human rights thus making it our duty as public servants to protect our citizens from unwarranted and unfair treatment coming from their fellow citizens, or worse from their own government. We respect and give emphasis to the right of every person because what matters is for us to be humane and to do everything in love,” Baronda said to Outrage Magazine.
Zulueta-Salazar added that “having worked with the marginalized sectors of our society through non-government organizations like the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines Iloilo Chapter and the different barangay local governments in Iloilo City, we have seen how the struggles of the LGBTQI, of the urban poor, of the religious minorities including the Indigenous Peoples displaced in the city. This ordinance is for them, not for special or preferential treatment from their government, but to give them what they truly deserve: a more just and equitable treatment by providing an enabling environment for them to be equally productive members of the society.”
For Zulueta-Salazar, the salient points in the Iloilo ADP may be the same as the other ADOs across the country, “but the one we have here in Iloilo City is a product of hard fought struggle for equality not just for one sector of the society, but generally as a statement that the ‘City of Love’ does not discriminate based on gender, age, race or religion. That in the ‘City of Love’, truly it can be said now that love wins.”
For Iloilo City-based Rev. Alfred Candid Jaropillo, who heads the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), the ADO “is a step for the ‘City of Love’ in creating a community where the rights of all its constituents are respected and protected. As a clergy of the UCCP, I commend our government officials for passing the said ordinance (to show that) Iloilo is indeed a safe city for our sisters and brothers coming from the LGBTQI community.”
The Iloilo City Legal Office has 60 days from approval to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), while the Public Information Office shall conduct an information drive 30 days from approval. The ordinance takes effect 10 days after its publication in a local newspaper.
Mandaluyong City passes LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance
With the continuing absence of a national law that will protect the human rights of LGBTQI Filipinos, the city of Mandaluyng passed Ordinance 698, S-2018, which seeks to “uphold the rights of all Filipinos especially those discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).”
With the continuing absence of a national law that will protect the human rights of LGBTQI Filipinos (largely – at least for this year – because of a weak political support from the Philippine Senate via the non-leadership on this issue by Senate Pres. Vicente Sotto III and Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri), localized anti-discrimination efforts are again in focus. This time around, the city of Mandaluyng passed Ordinance 698, S-2018, which seeks to “uphold the rights of all Filipinos especially those discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).”
With this, it is now “the policy of the Mandaluyong City government to afford equal protection to LGBTQI people as guaranteed by our Constitution and to craft legal legislative measures in support of this aim.”
According to Dindi Tan, secretary general of LGBT Pilipinas, which helped push for the passage of this anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO), said that “the tactic now is to shift from a national lobby to local lobby, which is more pragmatic and feasible given the prevailing political environment in Congress.”
The Mandaluyong City ADO is specific to he LGBTQI community. Other ADOs in other localities lump the LGBTQI community with other minority sectors, including persons with disability (PWDs), seniors, cultural minorities, et cetera. But this city ordinance is specific to LGBTQI people, focusing on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
“We continue to relentlessly lobby for the passage of local ADOs and similar policies such as this one from the Tiger City of Mandaluyong pending the enactment of a national law made for (this) purpose,” Tan said. “We can’t afford to wait forever for the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB) to pass in the Senate and the bicam while our LGBTQI sisters and brothers on the ground continue to be the targets of gender-based violence and discrimination.”
Mandaluyong City’s ADO specifically prohibits such discriminatory acts as: denying or limiting employment-related access; denying access to public programs or services; refusing admission, expelling or dismissing a person from educational institutions due to their SOGIE; subjecting a person to verbal or written abuse; unjust detention/involuntary confinement; denying access to facilities; and illegalizing formation of groups that incite SOGIE-related discrimination.
For the city to attain its goals, activities lined-up include: incorporating LGBTQI activities in Women’t Month celebrations; hosting of seminars in private and public spaces; and month-long Pride celebration in November, culminating on World AIDS Day on December 1.
The ADO also “strongly” encourages the Mandaluyong City Police District “to handle the specific concerns relating to SOGIE through existing Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) desk in all police stations in Mandaluying City.”
A Mandaluyong City Pride Council will also be established to oversee the implementation of the ordinance.
Any person held liable under the ADO may be penalized with imprisonment for 60 days to one year and/or penalized with P1,000 to P5,000, depending on the discretion of the court.
Pushed by Sangguniang Panglungsod councilor China S. Celeste, Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmencita A. Abalos signed the ADO on May 17.
Extreme exposure: Journal of a traveling exhibitionist
An interview with a gay Filipino exhibitionist who is unable to stop with what he is doing despite knowing that indecent exposure is: 1) considered a mental health issue, and 2) considered gross indecency, which is a serious criminal offense. As he eyes to enjoy this phase in his life, “go lang nang go (just do it),” he says.
“I think I’m doing it because I want attention.”
Twenty-three year old Twinky (not his real name) is somewhat forthright about his exhibitionism, recognizing that he does what he does because he wants people to pay attention to him.
In truth, over four years ago, Twinky met a guy who liked having sex in public. That was – in a way – his initiation into exhibitionism, since he admitted “getting excited” having sex with that guy in the open.
Prior to that, Twinky said that his view of any person into exhibitionism was somewhat clouded; but that this guy broke this expectation because he looked “respectable” and was even “very smart” so that “I learned a lot from him”. This guy’s “exhibitionist side” couldn’t be deduced by just looking at him.
But just as Twinky was falling for this guy, he left to live overseas. This devastated Twinky, so that he started doing all by himself what they did together in the past. He recorded this, and then posted it online.
“I never thought that people would also be excited about this,” he said. “I posted the videos to get his attention; instead, maraming (iba) and nakapansin (others started paying attention to them).”
These people – many of them strangers following his Twitter account – messaged him to tell him “ang galing (that’s awesome)” and “malakas ang loob (you’re gutsy).” These served as validation for Twinky, so that – he said – the guy he liked may have continued to ignore him, but at least others already started giving him the attention he desired.
As of writing, Twinky’s Twitter account already has over 19,500 followers. To put that in perspective, Sen. Leila de Lima’s Twitter account only has 13,420 followers; while Cong. Geraldine B. Roman’s has 4,295 followers.
And so “na-engganyo ako lalo (this enticed me to do more)” until this became a regular thing to do for him (related to his alter account).
BARING THE BARING
In a gist, as written by George R. Brown, MD, “Exhibitionistic Disorder” in MSD Manual, “exhibitionism is characterized by achievement of sexual excitement through genital exposure, usually to an unsuspecting stranger. It may also refer to a strong desire to be observed by other people during sexual activity.”
But Brown also noted that “most exhibitionists do not meet the clinical criteria for a exhibitionistic disorder.” Also, it is diagnosed as exhibitionistic disorder “only if the condition has been present for ≥ 6 months and if patients have acted on their sexual urges with a nonconsenting person or their behavior causes them significant distress or impairs functioning.”
But just to be clear, exhibitionistic practices are sanctionable by existing laws.
The Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, for instance, has specific provisions that offend “decency and good customs”, to wit:
Art. 336. Acts of lasciviousness. — Any person who shall commit any act of lasciviousness upon other persons of either sex, under any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding article, shall be punished by prision correccional.
Art. 200. Grave scandal. — The penalties of arresto mayor and public censure shall be imposed upon any person who shall offend against decency or good customs by any highly scandalous conduct not expressly falling within any other article of this Code.
GOING AT IT
That he may be castigated (and even penalized) does occur to Twinky; but – surprisingly – this does not prevent him from exhibitionism.
Twinky’s “magic hours” are from 12.00 midnight to past 3.00AM.
He goes to locations far from where he lives; and before doing anything there, he scouts the place first to make sure that there are no CCTV cameras there (and that the place is, by and large, not going to put him in danger).
This is also his “protection” re illegality of his act.
If the place is conducive for exhibitionism, he then preps his phone to get a video (or ask someone to video him) as he goes about his business.
And “you’d be surprised,” he said, that “90% of those who see me, sumasali sila o nanonood (join or watch me). And that excites me.”
For Twinky, this is worth stressing: No, he does NOT want women to see him; instead, he prefers masculine and muscled men (preferably twinks or twink-ish).
Twinky is actually conscious about the videos he posts in his alter account – e.g. he won’t post those that clearly identify him; or he would alter sections that would lead these back to him.
He knows that this is/may be categorized as a mental illness, but that “it’s what excites me.” He never considered seeking professional help since he doesn’t believe he is addicted to it. “I would know,” he said, adding that maybe if he feels he is becoming addicted, he would seek professional help because “I realize the importance of mental health.”
By the time he reaches 30, Twinky also hopes not to do this anymore, as he eyes to be “stable” in life – e.g. have a good job, and maybe find a partner in life. “There’d be no place for me to do these things.”
No, he isn’t worried his family may know of what he’s doing. He said that the people who may tell his relatives are – themselves – keeping secrets, so he doubts they would out him. For instance, he encountered his brother’s closeted gay friend in Grindr, and this initially scared him since this guy may out Twinky to his family (i.e. they do not even know he’s gay). But since this guy is also not out as a gay guy to his friends, he didn’t inform on Twinky.
In the end, “if someone asks ‘Hindi ka ba nandidiri sa ginagawa mo (Are you not disgusted with what you’re doing)?’ I just smile. I can’t please everyone. I I can’t make them understand where I’m coming from. And if that’s the point, I don’t think there’s a point for me to explain my side.” – With Russelle Dagdayan
Acceptance of LGBTQI people and rights has increased around the world
New research finds average levels of acceptance for LGBT people and rights have increased globally since 1980, though acceptance has become more polarized, increasing in the most accepting countries and decreasing in the least.
New research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds average levels of acceptance for LGBT people and rights have increased globally since 1980, though acceptance has become more polarized, increasing in the most accepting countries and decreasing in the least.
In a series of new studies, researchers developed and utilized a groundbreaking new measure of LGBT inclusion, called the Global Acceptance Index, which ranked 141 countries on their relative level of social acceptance of LGBT people and rights. LGBT acceptance refers to social beliefs about LGBT people as well as the prevailing opinion about laws and policies that protect LGBT people from violence and discrimination and promote their equality and well-being.
“Very few surveys conducted about LGBT people and issues provide sufficient data for global, cross-national comparisons of public opinion about LGBT people and rights,” said lead author Andrew R. Flores, visiting scholar at the Williams Institute. “The Global Acceptance Index provides a consistent and comparable way to measure attitudes and attitude change, which could better understand inclusion of LGBT people in many areas of social, economic, and political life.”
In Polarized Progress: Social Acceptance of LGBT People in 141 Countries, researchers analyzed findings from 11 cross-national, global and regional surveys and found that 80 countries (57%) experienced increases in acceptance. Forty-six countries (33%) experienced a decline in acceptance and 15 countries (11%) were unchanged. The analysis showed that the most accepting countries were Iceland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Andorra; they were also the countries with the greatest increase in LGBT acceptance since 1980. Conversely, the analysis showed that the least accepting countries have become less accepting over time.
Two additional studies used the Global Acceptance Index to analyze the effects of LGBT acceptance and inclusion. Examining the Relationship between Social Acceptance of LGBT People and Legal Inclusion of Sexual Minorities found that democracies with a commitment to a free press and the rule of law had the strongest relationship. However, the relationship between acceptance and legal inclusion becomes weaker in shrinking civic spaces, such as autocracies and anocracies.
A third study, Links between Economic Development and New Measures of LGBT Inclusion, tested previous findings that linked inclusion of LGBT people to a country’s economic performance. Researchers used three new measures of LGBT inclusion: the Global Acceptance Index, the Legal Count Index, which tallies the number of LGBT-supportive laws in a country, and the Legal Environment Index, which measures the patterns of adoption of laws. All three measures showed a positive correlation between LGBT inclusion and GDP per capita.
Key findings include
- The Legal Count Index: Having one additional legal right was associated with an increase of $1,694 in GDP per capita.
- Countries with the most inclusive Legal Environment Index showed a statistically significant addition of $8,259 in GDP per capita.
- A one-point increase in the Global Acceptance Index was associated with an increase in GDP per capita of $1,506.
- The legal measures appeared to be stronger predictors than social acceptance.
- Legal rights and social acceptance may be stronger predictors of GDP per capita when combined than when they are alone.
“Social and legal inclusion has implications for global economic development policies,” said lead author M.V. Lee Badgett, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Williams Institute. “Programs that reduce violence, stigma and discrimination against LGBT people and policies that enhance access to education and health care will allow LGBT people the opportunity to realize their full economic potential, which will benefit the overall economy.”
These reports were produced as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Global Development Partnership. The Partnership was founded in 2012 and brings together the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Arcus Foundation, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, the Williams Institute, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights (RFSL), and other corporate, non-profit, and non-governmental organization resource partners.
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