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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

With (some) confidence in Suzuki’s Grand Vitara…

Outrage Magazine takes a closer look at Suzuki’s Grand Vitara 2.4L A/T.

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And to think I already thought Suzuki’s Jimny was (somewhat) rugged (in a nice kind of way). But then came along the Grand Vitara, a somewhat mean-looking/performing vehicle, and, well… I’ll have to do some reconsidering.

A friend said it best when he sorta summed up the Grand Vitara: “If cars had sex roles, this is one of the ‘power tops’.”







On the outside, the car actually looks… Spartan (if not – to be very blunt – common).

Yes, I’d say that just as expected from Suzuki, this one is also not boxy, and its curves give it a sporty appearance. This is “helped” by the car’s 188mm ground clearance (thank you 17-inch alloy wheels!) that give one that (driver’s) feeling of being an overlord (i.e. that “I’m taller than you all!” feeling). But there’s nothing… memorable on the outside of the Grand Vitara for me, even if it has an extra pair of fog lamps, third break light, silver accents to the car’s side and up top for the roof rails, signal repeaters installed on the side mirrors, and (at the rear) a coy pair of tail lights on the opposite sides of the 5th door (where the cover for the spare tire and door handle have the same shade as the body).

Some say it’s “minimalist”; and that it’s not “calling attention to itself” (unlike, say, Jeep’s Wrangler, or even Suzuki’s Swift). I’d still say… “usual”.

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It is in the inside where, for me, the Grand Vitara starts to become somewhat more… ostentatious.








The seats are fabric upholstered; but unlike, say, Ertiga, this one (from the get go) seems to say it’s okay being messed with, with its dark-colored everything (dark seats, and black leather with pale trimmings on the doors). Akin to Ciaz, the stereo controls are embedded on the tilting/telescoping steering wheel. The (I have to say somewhat big, particularly when you first see it) dashboard is segmented into three “parts” to show the tachometer, speedometer and fuel/temperature gauges. There are also stats for real-time fuel mileage, average fuel consumption, and distance showing an estimate of how many kms the car can still cover before you run out of juice. There’s a touchscreen Android-run player (again, similar to Ciaz), connectivity ports stuffed inside the glove compartment (these don’t work, though, if that radio’s turned off), and dual 12V sockets.

The legroom was great for both front and back; but the headroom’s not that great at the back (surprising considering the car IS big inside).

The fifth door at the back reveals the luggage space. This isn’t big; but it suffices…

BTW, from the driver’s seat, I have one “issue”. The overall feel of the car is “sturdy”, with everything seemingly constructed firmly/thickly. This is – generally speaking – A-OK for me; but while driving, this “thickness” was also troublesome for me as it had that tendency to cover up my line of vision, particularly as far as approaching vehicles at my left are concerned…

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Performance-wise, the Grand Vitara more than sufficed for me, thanks I should say to its 2.4-liter engine (the 16-valve DOHC engine also comes with variable valve timing or VVT).

For instance, I drove the car to:

  1. Cape Santiago in Batangas, where – while heading there – one wrong turn means needing to brave rocky roads. Though the car felt “big”, it fit even tight spots (e.g. that “bridge” from the main road going to Cape Santiago’s lighthouse). It was also able to tackle unpaved roads there…
  2. Lake Pandin in San Pablo, Laguna, a somewhat new tourist attraction that doesn’t have the best roads (yet). Similar to the Cape Santiago experience, the Grand Vitara survived the trip.
  3. Lucena City from Tagaytay via Talisay-Tanauan Road. If you’re familiar with this route, you’d know that driving here means braving very STEEP and very NARROW roads. Grand Vitara didn’t choke (not even once) climbing or going downhill…
  4. Luisiana, Laguna (to buy the famed bibingka), where the car was able to survive numerous turns, twists and bumps.

There are two issues I encountered re Grand Vitara that are worth mentioning.

On the one hand, it’s a bit of greedy with fuel consumption (in my experience, just 325kms from full tank to nil), averaging around 8km/L fuel consumption (for combined city and out-of-town driving).

On the other hand, while the Grand Vitara had no issues accelerating (even when climbing steep slopes), it did have issues with turning corners. If you’re familiar with the way many roads are expanded in smaller towns/provinces, you’d know that some of these expansions are done STUPIDLY – i.e. the roads are widened, but the electric poles, giant trees, et cetera are retained right in the middle of the expanded parts. When in these roads, therefore, overtaking may mean hitting a pole in the middle of the road. And with the Grand Vitara’s issue re cornering, this (for me) proved challenging…

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All in all, for those looking for a “sturdy” car sans any of the dramas (e.g. “sexy”, “butch”, and so on), then the Grand Vitara is definitely worth considering. This one can make one confident while being on the road…

The Suzuki Grand Vitara comes in: Superior White, Silky Silver Metallic, Quasar Grey Metallic, Bluish Black Pearl and Bison Brown Pearl Metallic. It is available in two variants: Grand Vitara 2.4L – A/T, which sells for P1,160,000; and Special Edition 2.4L – A/T, which sells for P1,210,000.








The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. Though he grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City in Maguindanao), even attending Roman Catholic schools there, he "really, really came out in Sydney," he says, so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing and a developed world". Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies under his belt)... this one's a multi-tasker, who is even conversant in Filipino Sign Language (FSL). Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism. Cross his path is the dare (read: It won't be boring).

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Luxembourg named best country for workers in LGBT community

Luxembourg tops the list of 30 countries, thanks to the Grand Duchy’s anti-discrimination laws, low unemployment, high minimum wage and – most significantly – its “recognition as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries according to the Gay Travel Index.”

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IMAGE DETAIL BY CODE83 FROM PIXABAY.COM

Rainbow at work.

Luxembourg is apparently the best country in the world for LGBT workers, according to data released by Silver Swan Recruitment via its LGBT Worldwide Workplace Index.

Luxembourg tops the list of 30 countries, thanks to the Grand Duchy’s anti-discrimination laws, low unemployment, high minimum wage and – most significantly – its “recognition as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries according to the Gay Travel Index.”

The LGBT Worldwide Workplace Index was compiled by analysing the following factors:

  • LGBT laws and rights
  • LGBT employment laws
  • Minimum wage
  • Unemployment rate
  • Average salary
  • LGBT-friendliness

For each of the six factors, a score from zero to three was awarded to each country, meaning that the top possible result was 18. Luxembourg scored a total of 17.

Only the top 30 countries in the rankings were awarded a place on the LGBT Worldwide Workplace Index.

Image source: Silver Swan Recruitment

Second in the list is Australia, followed by New Zealand, then Monaco, France and Belgium. The Netherlands, known as a strong supporter of gay rights only made seventh place on the list. This was mostly due to the country’s average salary rating.

At the bottom end of the 30 countries index comes Spain, Slovenia and Colombia, respectively.

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Health & Wellness

Almost half of gay men encounter intimate partner violence

Abuse among gay couples stems from stress factors that also apply to heterosexual couples, such as money issues, unemployment, and drug abuse. However, gay couples are said to face additional stress from internalized homophobia, which may also contribute to IPV.

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Not just women’s issue.

Nearly half of men in same-sex couples suffered some form of abuse at the hands of their partner, according to a study that surveyed 320 men (160 male couples) in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago in the US to measure emotional abuse, controlling behaviors, monitoring of partners, and HIV-related abuse.

PHOTO BY ELVIN RUIZ FROM UNSPLASH.COM

The study – “Dyadic Reporting of Intimate Partner Violence Among Male Couples in Three U.S. Cities” by Nicolas A. Suarez, Matthew J. Mimiaga, Robert Garofalo, Emily Brown, Anna Marie Bratcher, Taylor Wimbly, Marco A. Hidalgo, Samuel Hoehnle, Jennie Thai, Erin Kahle, Patrick S. Sullivan and Rob Stephenson – found that 46% experience some form of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the last year, belying the misconception that this is only a woman’s issue.

“If you just looked at physical and sexual violence in male couples, it’s about 25% to 30%, roughly the same as women,” study author Rob Stephenson was quoted as saying by Webmd.com. “We’re stuck in this mental representation of domestic violence as a female victim and a male perpetrator, and while that is very important, there are other forms of domestic violence in all types of relationships.”

Abuse among gay couples stems from stress factors that also apply to heterosexual couples, such as money issues, unemployment, and drug abuse. However, gay couples are said to face additional stress from internalized homophobia, which may also contribute to IPV.

Another abuse factor related specifically to male couples is the degree of “outedness,” which the study says can create a dynamic of “bidirectional violence as well as creating a power imbalance where the ‘out’ partner may threaten to disclose his partner’s sexual orientation and lead to further violence.

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HIV-related issues also surface in gay abusive relationships, particularly if there is lack of communication about HIV status and if one of the partners is unable to enforce condom use as a form of protection.

This study actually only backs earlier findings on IPV in LGBTQIA relationships. For instance, in Associations Between Alcohol Use and Intimate Partner Violence Among Men Who Have Sex with Men, published in LGBT Health, Davis Alissa, Kaighobadi Farnaz, Stephenson Rob, Rael Christine and Sandfort Theodorus noted that although alcohol use is a known trigger of IPV.

Alcohol use among MSM tied with intimate partner violence

This newer study was first published online in May, and appeared in the July issue of the American Journal of Men’s Health.

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Health & Wellness

Mental health of young adults with lesbian parents the same as their peers, study finds

25-year-olds raised by lesbian parents do as well on multiple measures of psychological health as adults from a population-based sample.

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25-year-olds raised by lesbian parents do as well on multiple measures of psychological health as adults from a population-based sample. This is according to the longest-running prospective study on sexual minority parent families, with the researchers comparing relationships, educational/job performance, and behavioral, emotional and mental health problems in the two samples.

The report, “National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study—Mental Health of Adult Offspring”, appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine and is co-authored by Nanette Gartrell, M.D., Visiting Distinguished Scholar, along with Henny Bos, Ph.D., former Visiting International Scholar at the Williams Institute, and Audrey Koh, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco.

The 25-year-olds are participants in the ongoing US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), which has followed this cohort of offspring from conception to adulthood. The NLLFS, now in its 32nd year, has a 92% retention rate. This is the first NLLFS report based on data collected when the offspring were legal adults.

“When I began this study in 1986, there was considerable speculation about the future mental health of children conceived through donor insemination and raised by sexual minority parents,” said lead author Nanette Gartrell, M.D., Visiting Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. “We have followed these families since the mothers were inseminating or pregnant and now find that their 25-year-old daughters and sons score as well on mental health as other adults of the same age.”

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The study focused on mental health because the peak incidence of many psychiatric disorders occurs during young adulthood. The researchers matched the 77 adult offspring in the NLLFS with a population-based sample of 77 adults of comparable age, sex, race/ethnicity and education to examine any disparities in their mental health.

The researchers specifically assessed adaptive functioning, the presence of behavioral or emotional problems, scores on the mental health diagnostic scales, and percentages of scores in the borderline or clinical range. Results showed no significant difference between the two groups for any of the measures.

“These findings demonstrate that claims that it is harmful for children to be raised by same-sex couples are completely unfounded,” said co-author Henny Bos, Ph.D., Professor of Child Development and Education, and Endowed Chair in Sexual and Gender Diversity in Families and Youth at the University of Amsterdam. “There is no justification to restrict child custody or placement, or access to reproductive technologies, based on the parents’ sexual orientation.”

There are an estimated 114,000 same-sex couples raising children in the US, including 86,000 female couples. Ten states, including Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, allow state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place and provide services to children and families if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.

This is the 23rd publication from data collected in the NLLFS. Previous research found that the development of psychological well-being in these offspring over a seven-year period from childhood through adolescence was the same for those conceived through known or unknown sperm donors. In addition, the absence of male role models did not adversely affect the psychological adjustment of 17-year-olds raised in lesbian households. None of these 17-year-olds had been abused by a parent or caregiver. In contrast, 26 percent of 17-year-olds nationally report physical abuse and 8% report sexual abuse by a parent or caregiver.

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Travel

San Francisco’s Castro District highlights Pride is still a long way away…

Outrage Magazine visits San Francisco’s Castro District to see that the LGBTQIA community may have achieved a lot, but so much more needs to be done before Pride is really felt by all.

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Where we’ve been. Where we are. Where we’re headed.

That, in a gist, is how I perceive San Francisco’s “LGBTQIA central”, Castro District to be. It celebrates where we are now by paying (some) attention to our shared past; but it also highlights the areas where our community needs to act (and act fast) before we can truly say that we have Pride.

Castro District is a neighborhood in Eureka Valley in San Francisco, California. It was named after José Castro (1808–1860), who opposed US rule in California in the 19th century. As one of the very first gay neighborhoods in the US, it actually became LGBTQIA-centric starting only the late 1960s, aided by the hippie and free love movements in neighboring Haight-Ashbury district.

By the 1970s, it was already an upscale gay community (first mitigated by people’s movement here before it became the prime spot that it is now).

Castro’s influences in the (global) LGBTQIA community are numerous.

Harvey Milk was from here; in 1973, he opened a camera store here, Castro Camera, and he also began his political involvement as a gay activist here. So this place sorta helped exemplify LGBTQIA political involvement, particularly at a time when we had even harder times.

Then in the 1980s, the area was hit hard by the HIV and AIDS crisis. This is a defining moment for the LGBTQIA community (with HIV “blamed” on gay people, and with the American government not lifting a hand to do something/anything about this sitch then), so this helped galvanize the (particularly) gay community.

Castro also shows cracks in the rainbow. Perhaps most apparent is the blatant commercialization of Pride. In Castro, everything LGBTQIA-related can be bought.

And then there are some of our stereotypical concepts of “beauty”, which surfaced from Castro. The one that immediately comes to mind is the “Castro clone” that exemplified butchness and masculinity; to date, this idiotic penchant for “straight-acting and straight-looking” continues…

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Truly, nowadays, Castro is a “living” reminder of the LGBTQIA community’s history.

But Castro also shows cracks in the rainbow.

Perhaps most apparent is the blatant commercialization of Pride. In Castro, everything LGBTQIA-related can be bought.

This – not surprisingly – highlights the social stratification within the LGBTQIA community. Exactly because the we’re talking moolah, and because not everyone has this, the social classes that divide the community is highlighted. Even the nearby LGBT Center isn’t immune to this, with some LGBTQIA people critical of it (supposedly) for being elitist.

Then there’s the leaving behind of members of the LGBTQIA community. For instance, in San Francisco, the homeless population is approximately 7,499 – 29% of them identify as LGBT; and 11% of them have HIV or AIDS. If you want to see some of them, try waking up early – like 6.00AM or so – and take a walk along Castro Street to see them, living in the midst of the trash from the partying that happened the night before.

Castro has long become a tourist trap that highlights “progressive LGBTQIA community” a la America. And – as such – it can’t be denied how it’s a good reminder that we’ve (well, at least ‘they’ have) made progress.

But it also stresses – for me – that so much more still needs to be done…

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In the Scene

‘Kasarisarian’ LGBTQIA community cultural event slated in Lucena City on July 21-26

To “elevate the discussion about LGBTQIA Pride”, QZN Bahaghari and Guni-Guri Collective are hosting the 2018 iteration of “Kasarisarian” a cultural event, from July 21 to 26 in Lucena City.

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To “elevate the discussion about LGBTQIA Pride”, QZN Bahaghari and Guni-Guri Collective are hosting the 2018 iteration of “Kasarisarian” a cultural event, from July 21 to 26 at the ESPASYO ART GALLERY, Quezon Avenue corner Trinidad Street, Lucena City in the Quezon Province.

Particularly for this year’s event, “we’re trying to elevate the discussion and the perspective on the current situation of the LGBTQIA people in the country,” said Aaron Bonette, co-organizer of the event. “We want to make Kasarisarian 2 a non-hierarchal exhibition invested in grassroots community organizing, and focused on radical queer narratives, visioning and politics. This means that the curated works will tackle and represent queer lives and struggles based on the current and past experiences of LGBTQIA people that are skeptic – from the looming commercialized cooptation of Pride to the glitter industrial complex to the failed political myth of equality through law, violence against LGBTQIA people and class hierarchy.”

The event will feature 15 artists based in the Quezon Province and two artists based in the Netherlands, including: Lans Lans, Elvira Bvlgari, Aaron Bonette, Syeril Powsa, Catsoup, John Van Vallesterol, Annita Remoroza, Aann Reynales, Jaymar Valdoria, Alliza Beth, Joma Importante, Skimmi Shimmi, Beatriz Rogas, France dela Paz, and Brian van Niehoff. Documentaries from Outrage Magazine’s #KaraniwangLGBT series will also be shown; as will Sunugin ang Aparador by Gio Potes, and Mark & Lenny by Gio Potes.

Outrage Magazine launches #KaraniwangLGBT

Bonette added that the annual Pride month celebration has just ended, and yet – over 20 years since the first such gathering in Metro Manila “the LGBTQIA movement does and spends more on branding rather than coalition building, with the mainstream LGBTQIA movement focusing on soliciting funds from corporation to run our cause; it’s almost like our rights have been bought, paid for and sold to the highest bidder no matter how anti-worker or neoliberal policy upholder that corporation is.”

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In this sense, “the metaphor of being ‘treated like a piece of meat’ is valid, as if our bodies and identities are there to be exploited in the free market of commodification and oppression.”

Bonette said that they are cognizant that “corporate money also do some good for the community”, but that awareness is needed so LGBTQIA people also recognize that “there is something antithetical about a movement for equality and justice funded by the forces in the world that is also most responsible for widespread economic and social inequality.”

In the end, “we’d like to use this event as a venue to ask LGBTQIA people: What’s the future ahead of us? When our community is not yet united as a social movement that addresses the issues facing the most marginalized LGBTQIA people, with those fighting against systemic poverty, are we really making any progress? Or has the LGBTQIA movement, our movement, already hijacked by power elites advocating for their own interests?”

“Kasarisarian” is a term coined from: “Kasarian” which means gender, and (2) “Sari-Sari” for variety and diversity. It aims to provide queer (and straight) artists a non-commercial and an uncompromising space to tackle and explore various queer narratives, identities and politics.

This is a free event (yes, there’s no admission fee); though it is open for donations (during the event). Door will open at 1:00PM on July 21 and the program will start at exactly 6:00PM with a welcome reception, followed by the Artist Talk, film screening and cultural performances. This will run until July 26.

For more information, head to Guni-Guri Collective; or contact Aaron Bonette at aarnmssbntt@gmail.com or 0995-085-3664.

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Health & Wellness

LGBT teens use e-cigarettes more than straight peers, survey says

Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender teens have substantially higher rates of e-cigarette use than straight youth, with these teens far more likely to say they had vaped or smoked in the past 30 days than their straight or questioning counterparts.

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender teens have substantially higher rates of e-cigarette use than straight youth – at least in Ohio, with the Ohio Department of Health reporting that teens who described themselves as LGB were far more likely to say they had vaped or smoked in the past 30 days than their straight or questioning counterparts in a Ohio Healthy Youth Environments Survey taken during the 2016-2017 school year.

IMAGE USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSE ONLY; PHOTO BY DANI RAMOS ON UNSPLASH

Meanwhile, those who described themselves as transgender or gender nonconforming were far more likely to vape or smoke than their male and female peers. Transgender teens used e-cigarettes at twice the rate of males or females.

Among the reasons cited for the use of e-cigarettes and even traditional cigarettes is to cope with the stress and anxiety; in the case of LGBTQIA people, when faced with social stigma. Also, similar risky behaviors may be picked as youths try to find a community where they feel accepted.

Better information about the health effects of e-cigarettes are said to be therefore needed, with emphasis on the difficulty of giving up nicotine the moment its consumption is started, similar to traditional cigarette use.

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