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Greater visibility reduces transphobia and increases public support for trans rights, study finds

A study found that exposure to images and information about trans people helped reduce transphobia, which increases an individual’s support for the equality and legal protection of trans people.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL DAVID C. TAN for #KaraniwangLGBT

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A new study examining the relationship between prejudice and support for the rights of marginalized groups found that reducing transphobia increases an individual’s support for the equality and legal protection of transgender people. Transphobia is an emotional dislike of people whose gender identity or expression differs from what is traditionally associated with their sex assigned at birth.

The study, Transgender Prejudice Reduction and Opinions on Transgender Rights: Results from a Mediation Analysis on Experimental Data, was published in Research & Politics and co-authored by Williams Institute visiting scholar Andrew R. Flores along with Donald P. Haider-Markel, Daniel C. Lewis, Patrick R. Miller, Barry L. Tadlock and Jami K. Taylor.

According to lead author Andrew R. Flores, a visiting scholar at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, this study – which also found that exposure to images and information about transgender people helped reduce transphobia – are “encouraging”.

“As research continues to examine the effects of increased knowledge and depictions of transgender people in mass media, this study further suggests that these developments can have a positive impact on the rights and well-being of transgender people,” Flores said.

For this study, researchers separated 2,102 study participants into four groups. Two groups received written information defining gender identity and images of male and female faces that appeared congruent (group 1) or incongruent (group 2) with their desired gender. Group 3 received only the written information about gender identity and the control group (group 4) got only written information on an unrelated topic.

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Then, researchers asked questions to measure participants’ levels of transphobia and support for policies that ensure equal treatment of transgender people and policies that offer specific protections, such as use of public restrooms and medical treatment for transgender health issues. All of the exposure groups showed a reduction in transphobia and an increase on both types of policies.

“These findings offer some guidance to people working to change public attitudes toward transgender rights,” said Flores. “Reducing transphobia by humanizing transgender people can lead to more accepting attitudes and greater support from the public.”

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LGBTQ retirees worry more about market volatility; admit to taking more risk than may be prudent

Overall, LGBTQ pre-retirees plan to retire later than the general population and are likely to expect that their retirement income will last at least as long as needed.

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Compared to other retirees and pre-retirees, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) people are more inclined to see a need to preserve their retirement savings yet are more likely to take bigger risks when it comes to investing, according to a new study from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual).

Retirees and pre-retirees who are LGBTQ are more likely to say they should become more conservative with their money as they approach retirement (42 percent) than to maintain a more aggressive investment strategy (28 percent), according to the MassMutual LGBTQ Retirement Risk Study.

Yet, 65 percent of LGBTQ respondents describe their investment mix as growth- rather than preservation-oriented compared to 52 percent of the general population; 31 percent of LGBTQ respondents acknowledge that they may be taking more risk than they should compared to 22 percent of other retirees and pre-retirees, the study finds. Meanwhile, 17 percent of both LGBTQ respondents overall and LGBTQ retirees say they want their retirement investments to significantly outperform the market compared to 13 percent of the general population overall and 9 percent of general population retirees.

“MassMutual’s study shows that many LGBTQ retirees and pre-retirees may benefit from consulting a financial advisor about their retirement investment goals, something less than half currently do, and may benefit from help leading into retirement and securing their finances through retirement,” said Catherine Cannon, Head of Personal Markets at MassMutual. “Of those respondents in our study who do work with  a financial advisor, six in 10 say their advisor has encouraged them to change their investment mix and 87 percent of those folks were advised to become more conservative as they enter retirement.”

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Overall, LGBTQ pre-retirees plan to retire later than the general population and are likely to expect that their retirement income will last at least as long as needed. While retirees and pre-retirees overall expect to live 24 years in retirement, the study finds, LGBTQ respondents say they expect to spend two fewer years retired.  Both the general population and LGBTQ respondents peg their retirement savings to last 25 years.

LGBTQ retirees and pre-retirees express more confidence than the general population that they will be financially prepared for retirement, especially pre-retirees.

Despite being relatively confident in their financial prospects in retirement, stock market volatility and a major downturn in the stock market seem worrisome for the LGBTQ community as people approach or live in retirement. Nearly three-quarters of LGBTQ respondents (74 percent) expressed concern about volatility, with 27 percent saying they are “very concerned.” The general population is somewhat less concerned, with 72 percent concerned and 21 percent “very concerned.”

However, LGBTQ respondents indicate greater comfort in taking investment risk with only 20 percent willing to accept “below average” or “low investment returns” in exchange for greater safety, according to the study.  Overall, respondents seem to seek a balance between growth and preservation.

“The LGBTQ community’s sentiments about investment risk – especially just before and just into retirement – are well-founded,” Cannon said. “With some professional investment assistance and a more disciplined approach, LGBTQ retirees and pre-retirees may become even more comfortable in their retirement.”

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The internet-based study was conducted on behalf of MassMutual by Greenwald & Associates and polled 801 retirees who have been retired for no more than 15 years and 804 pre-retirees within 15 years of retirement. The study included an oversample of 315 LGBTQ respondents, including 149 pre-retirees and 166 retirees. Pre-retirees were required to have household incomes of at least $40,000 and retired respondents had at least $100,000 in investable assets and participated in making household financial decisions. The research was conducted in early 2018.

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US to deny visas to same-sex partners of diplomats, UN officials

A new US government policy taking effect on October 1 may make it difficult – if not impossible – for some diplomats and LGBTQI UN staff to live together with their partners in the US. They will now need “proof of marriage” to secure visas that will allow their partners to reside with them in the US. 

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Limited and limiting “equality”.

A new US government policy taking effect on October 1 may make it difficult – if not impossible – for some diplomats and LGBTQI UN staff to live together with their partners in the US. This is because UN staff, including those working at global headquarters in New York, will now need “proof of marriage” to secure visas that will allow their partners to reside with them in the US.

This new policy is supposed to “help ensure and promote equal treatment” between straight and gay couples, particularly since marriage equality is now the rule of the land in the US.

“Same-sex spouses of US diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses,” the US mission wrote in a July 12 note to UN-based delegations. “Consistent with [State] Department policy, partners accompanying members of permanent missions or seeking to join the same must generally be married in order to be eligible” for a diplomatic visa.

The policy change is worth highlighting for its non-consideration of contexts because UN staff come from around the world, and in many countries, same-sex marriage is still not legal. Only 25 countries allow same-sex marriage; and in over 70 countries, homosexual conduct remains illegal and in some, anyone found “guilty” can be sentenced to harsh punishments.

Since 2009, UN staff working in the US have been brining their partners into the US without showing a marriage license. A 2009 decision by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton granted visas to domestic partners of US and foreign diplomats; though this same 2009 policy did not allow a heterosexual domestic partner of a US or foreign diplomat to enter the country on a diplomatic visa.

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Now, domestic partners of UN staff who are already in the US could face deportation “unless they submit the required proof of marriage.” Meanwhile, those not yet in the US will need to show they’re married to secure a visa, potentially forcing those living in countries without marriage equality to choose between a posting at UN headquarters or family separation.

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80% of women think trans women should have equal rights

In a survey involving 1,000 women, 798 answered that they should have equal rights, and only 37 said that they shouldn’t. The rest of the women declined to answer.

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Most women for trans rights?

A survey conducted across five continents found that 80% of women think trans women should have equal rights.

In this survey, Thomas Reuters Foundation asked 1,000 women in Cairo, London, Mexico City, New York and Tokyo this question: “Should transgender women have the same rights as other women?”. The questioning for the survey was conducted on the streets of these cities between August 13-24.

Out of 1,000 women, 798 answered that they should have equal rights, and only 37 said that they shouldn’t. The rest of the women declined to answer.

The women in Mexico City showed the highest levels of support for trans women, with 89% answering ‘yes’ to the survey’s question.

London and New York follow, with 87% saying trans women should have equal rights in both cities. 75% of women answered affirmatively in Tokyo, while in Cairo, the figure is 62%.

Even if the global survey shows a somewhat rosy picture for the trans community, trans people still face continued hardships.

In July, for instance, a study found that only 30% of people (24% of the women and 38% of the men) felt that transgender people should be required to use the restroom that matches their assigned birth gender.

24% of women, 38% of men feel trans people should use restroom matching assigned sex at birth

In August, a report found that trans people tend to be viewed as less attractive; and this is regardless of their actual appearance, according to “How Gender Identity and Transgender Status Affect Perceptions of Attractiveness” by Jessica M. Mao, M. L. Haupert and Eliot R. Smith and published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Another study released in August found that only 25% of transgender youth feel that their primary care providers (PCPs) are helpful about the sexual health issues of gender and sexual minorities (GSMs).

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Still in August, a study found that 43% of people still believe that sex organs determine gender, compared to only 35% who believe they do not.

And in a study released in September, 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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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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Iloilo declared as ‘LGBT-friendly’ city; mayor eyes to establish office to handle LGBTQI-related efforts

Iloilo Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III declared the city as “LGBT-friendly”, with plan to establish an office that will develop programs and activities for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

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IMAGE DETAIL FROM jahcordova FROM PIXABAY.COM

Iloilo Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III declared the city as “LGBT-friendly”, with plan to establish an office that will develop programs and activities for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Espinosa said he is also looking into hiring an executive assistant for LGBT affairs.

“Here in Iloilo, we don’t frown upon as to what these people choose. We want to give them self-respect,” Espinosa was quoted as saying by BusinessWorld.

In June, the Iloilo City Council approved an anti-discrimination ordinance that penalizes discrimination based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, descent, ethnic origin, and religious beliefs.

Iloilo City passes anti-discrimination ordinance on final reading

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.

Iloilo City is slated to hold its 3rd Iloilo Pride parade on Oct. 13.

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Unilever starts offering 20-day paternity leave, same-sex partner benefits in Phl

Unilever will now offer a 20-day paid leave for fathers, healthcare benefits for same-sex partners and paid absences for adoptive parents.

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Photo by Peter Hershey from Unsplash.com

As an attempt to ramp up its responses to a diverse workforce, Unilever will now offer a 20-day paid leave for fathers, healthcare benefits for same-sex partners and paid absences for adoptive parents.

According to Unilever Philippines chairman and CEO Benjie Yap, “diversity is an essential requirement in the today’s workforce, as it lends to new ideas, energies, and solutions.”

And so, “in acknowledging the different forms of unions and families, the company continues to explore ways and solutions to lead by example in the industry.”

With this development, employees can now avail of 20 days paid paternity leave, longer than the seven days mandated by law.

Same-sex partners of employees can be enrolled as healthcare beneficiaries. They are also eligible for maternity and paternity leaves.

Meanwhile, adoptive parents can avail of paid leaves when adopting a child six months old or younger. But the company did not specify the maximum allowed paid absences.

The company is actually already recognized as pro-LGBTQI particularly in the US. It received a perfect score of 100% on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, administered by the well-moneyed NGO Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

But the company has also been accused of putting profit before the human rights of LGBTQIA people – e.g. Unilever North Africa Middle East has production facilities in countries such as Tunisia and Algeria, where – according to a 2015 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association – homosexual activity continues to be illegal.

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