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A glimpse into Singapore’s rainbow community

Singapore may be a cultural melting pot, but – as Tamsin Wu notes after meeting key LGBTQ community leaders – “one thing that the country lags behind is its social attitude towards LGBTQ issues and rights.” Here’s Outrage Magazine’s glimpse of Singapore’s rainbow community.

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Singapore is a cultural melting pot as seen from its people, experienced from visiting its different districts and tasted from its myriad of food choices. It exudes a cosmopolitan city bursting with personality.

The first thing I noticed was how strikingly awesome the urban planning and public transportation system were in Singapore. It was definitely light years ahead from the rowdy metropolis environment, massive vehicular traffic and unkempt public transportation dealt with back home. Cleanliness and efficiency were definitely things that Singapore upheld.

One thing that the country lags behind though is its social attitude towards LGBTQ issues and rights. Although Section 377 in the Singapore Penal Code – which criminalizes sex between men – is not really enforced against the gay community, its impact trickles down to, among others, how Singapore’s media industry blatantly prohibits positive depictions of LGBTQ stories and characters, the damaging practice of conversion therapy pushed by some of the religious and conservatives, as well as discrimination in schools and workplaces.

LITERARY REPRESENTATIONS OF LGBTQ

Censorhsip is an issue faced by the Singaporean LGBTQ community. For example, the InfoComm Media Development Authority (IMDA) sets forth media guidelines or policies that make it mandatory for Singapore’s mainstream media to edit out parts of a show – fiction or otherwise – that show LGBTQ personalities in a positive light. At times, it even spreads beyond the periphery of mainstream media, as long as a complaint has been filed regarding homosexual depiction.

A few LGBTQ-related Singapore literature

Registered Singaporean social worker Yangfa Leow shared to me some instances wherein such censorship was enforced – On TV, there was a time when a portion of Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show was cut out simply because her guest, former US President Obama, complimented her. On live theater, a kissing scene played out by two actors was demanded to be omitted from subsequent running of the shows after an audience member complained that he was caught off-guard by the inclusion of homosexuality in the story. On print, “And Tango Makes Three”, a children’s book based on a true story about two male penguins that adopted and raised a baby penguin, was banned from the National Library Board simply because a parent filed a complaint about it.

The book cover on this anthology of Singaporean LGBTQ stories was inspired by the censorship incident on the children’s book “And Tango Makes Three”

Nonetheless, suppression of LGBTQ-related information and stories does not extend its fangs and claws to the Internet and publishing industry. I’ve been able to find out about Singapore’s LGBTQ-related books and organizations through social media and online research. Consequently, aside from reaching out to certain groups advocating for equality, I have scoured out the existence of quality Singaporean queer literature.

I wouldn’t fly out from the country without getting my hands on Cyril Wong’s book, “Let Me Tell You Something About That Night”. It magnificently interweaves fantasy into contemporary Singapore. Without loudly parading itself as an LGBTQ book, since the short stories therein are mainly about human experiences told through alternate worlds or realities, its collection of “strange tales” casually yet beautifully infuses LGBTQ characters here and there. Although simple in its storylines, it makes the reader feel and contemplate about the place of LGBTQ individuals and relationships in society, given the current socio-political landscape for and against the community.

While queer literature doesn’t necessarily fall under the category of activism, having LGBTQ representations in books is still a very useful tool in educating and spreading awareness, as well as empowering the community through words and stories.

COUNSELING AND SUPPORT

At Chinatown, leading to the Oogachaga center

One of the groups in Singapore that advocates for LGBTQ rights and helps the LGBTQ community rise up is Oogachaga (OC), a community-based organization that offers professional counseling and support services to LGBTQ individuals, couples and families via hotline, email and WhatsApp, or face-to-face counseling by appointment.

Stairway to a “safe space”

According to Yangfa Leow, executive director of OC, they have established a protocol in screening and training volunteers who would like to contribute their time in providing support services to the LGBTQ community. Applicants are required to go through an interview and a period of classroom and hands-on trainings.

“Some people have observed that this process is quite rigorous, and we see that as a positive thing. There will be applicants who are not selected, or voluntarily withdraw or do not return at various stages of this process. It is only expected that not everyone who wishes to be a volunteer would be a good fit. We want to protect the integrity of the counseling services. One of the key requirements for our hotline, email and WhatsApp counseling volunteers is the need to maintain confidentiality of information and identity. It is also to protect the clients themselves, many of whom may be in vulnerable situations and turn to OC for safety and emotional support. It is also to protect the safety and identities of our volunteers, who give their spare time to support others,” Yangfa said.

Yangfa Leow courteously showed me around the center and shared about the current struggles faced by LGBTQ’s in Singapore

On the other hand, volunteers with professional qualifications in social work, counseling or psychology are selected to provide face-to-face support, intervention and follow-up on issues.

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A hotline call, WhatsApp chat, an email or a counseling session is each counted as a service unit. According to Yangfa, back in 2013, OC served 974 service units. In 2016, the volume of service units reached 1,663 – a 71% increase in 4 years.

“Also, in terms of gender profile, we’re seeing an increase in proportion of service-users who identify as women, transgender or gender diverse – from 31.8% back in 2013 to 40.4% in 2016,” Yangfa added.

Other LGBTQ-friendly groups

When asked about the usual issues tackled, Yangfa said, “In no particular order, the top three presenting issues are sexuality or identity, relationships with partner, family, friends and psychological or mental health – diagnosed or undiagnosed.”

Aside from counseling services, OC also schedules support group sessions and offers training sessions to social service organizations, schools, healthcare institutions and private companies or corporations to talk about LGBTQ issues and how to handle conversations surrounding such matters.

OC’s top floor for group sessions, meetings or counseling

The main struggle that OC encounters is funding. “In August 2016, we were informed by our main, long-term funder that they would cease their support for us. They had been responsible for 80% of our funds for the past 8 years, and it came to a stop. So since then, we have embarked on an ongoing fund-raising drive,” Yangfa said.

Yangfa added that other challenges faced by OC include continuing to stay relevant and reaching out to those segments of the LGBTQ community that may need support, but are not yet being reached.

“For example, those who may not speak English, who may not be able to access our online publicity information, and those who may not be able to access our counseling services for whatever reasons – disability, language ability, stigma, social isolation.”

Brochures and booklets at OC

Yangfa also shared that, despite Christians being a non-dominant religious group in Singapore, they remain to be very vocal and influential in going against equality. There was even an event held called “White Dot” – an anti-LGBTQ offshoot of Singapore’s annual Pride event “Pink Dot” – that was originally headed by an Islamic religious teacher and eventually replicated by a Christian pastor.

Basically, the false notion that “if someone is pro-equality, then s/he cannot be pro-family or pro-society” is at times ridiculously drilled into the conscience of society.

EMBRACING LGBTQ CHRISTIANS

With that being said, however, all is not lost for LGBTQ’s who seek to attend a nonjudgmental, inclusive church environment.

Welcoming entrance to Free Community Church

In a country that still breeds animosity towards the LGBTQ’s, the Free Community Church (FCC) in Singapore is a breath of fresh air, especially for those who don’t want to let go of their Christian faith, albeit the off-putting religious bigotry preached by some.

Pastor Pauline Ong and Rev. Miak Siew speaking to the FCC congregation

FCC has a weekly cozy Sunday service that is open to everyone who want to join in a religious community feel, sans the abhorrence typically put by fundamentalists against LGBTQ’s and those of other faiths or beliefs. The atmosphere in FCC was light and accommodating. There were the usual leading of worship songs, sharing about the scripture and personal testimonies, as well as the ceremony of bread and wine. Afterwards, everyone was encouraged to spend more time together through lunch already prepared by FCC members.

EMPOWERING THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY

But even with the existence of organizations that offer a “safe space” to LGBTQ people, some of them still find themselves alone in battling the painful pangs of discrimination. One example is the dilemma of transgender folks who work in the sex industry to make money. In this case, they face both the stigma society imposes on transgender people and on sex workers. On top of having to deal with discrimination in school and even before entering the workforce, some get disowned by their families. With no one to turn to and no degree or work experience under their belt, they turn to the sex industry just to survive. Even though sex work is legal and regulated in Singapore, transgender sex workers still face the possibility of violence done to them either by a police personnel or the clients.

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Nonetheless, June Chua, co-founder of The T Project, has seen positive developments in the attitude of Singapore towards the transgender community. “Society have evolved and being transgender is no longer seen as taboo or a big deal. I do admit educating and raising awareness of the transgender community must still be ongoing but I do see more options and opportunities opening up for the transgender person in terms of employment and acceptance in Singapore.”

June Chua winning the AWARE Champion award for Gender Equality & Justice Award

The T Project offers shelter to homeless transgender people and enables them to create a better life for themselves. Apart from that, it also coordinates with other social service organizations and does workshops for government institutions, companies and schools to educate them about the transgender community.

“The first thing of how residents come in is by themselves or, alternatively, by referral from other social workers. So the moment they come in we will have to do an admissions interview, tell the residents the do’s and don’ts of living in the shelter, the requirements we expect from them, and to actually manage the expectations of what the shelter can provide. Basically, we don’t provide financial aid, we can connect you to some government agencies who can provide you with that,” explains Eztelle Kaye, shelter manager at The T Project.

“The T Project is not just about giving our residents a roof over their heads – it’s about empowering them to be independent and finding a way to have a sustainable life. We wish to educate them and give them the power once they leave the shelter.”

Chanced upon university students interviewing Eztelle

Eztelle met June in the course of volunteering at the Women Care Center, “I was closer to her late sister then, the co-founder of T Project. I met June about 3 years ago when I was working as a volunteer at Women Care Center advocating about more on HIV prevention, STI prevention, how you can actually help and do regular testing. So that’s where I met June. She was the Volunteer Supervisor. From there I’ve connected with June… I believe she saw something in me that’s why she draaaagged~ me here… as the shelter manager,” Eztelle said jokingly.

After deciding to leave her corporate life, she took on the role as shelter manager of The T Project in order to give back to society. “Of course I do miss my days whereby every payday is actually a ‘boutique day’ when I just shop at LV, Prada and such,” Eztelle said with a laugh. “But yeah, I feel I have much more of a sense of job satisfaction and fulfilment because I get the chance to empower the residents here, that they can be more than what they can be if they set their minds to it.”

Bulletin at the T Project shelter

Asked about the issues faced and rights held by transgender people vis-à-vis sex reassignment surgery (SRS), June said, “To me, the issues and challenges that will arise are not from whether you have underwent SRS or not but how you represent yourself to the public. However, in Singapore after we underwent SRS, we are allowed to legally change our gender marker and are accorded legal rights as a woman under the Woman Chapter Act.”

She shared that they are currently developing a work plan with various programs that would roll out in the later part of the year. “As part of our work plan 2017, we are doing a volunteer recruitment drive on Pink Dot event day itself. Yes, we will start to welcome non-transgender or cis-gender volunteers,” June said smilingly.

June Chua at Pink Dot 2016

“The T project will try to link up the transgender community with employment opportunities. We are also doing a series of TTP (Transgender Talking Point) workshop to empower the transgender and to see what are their needs and wants so that we can support them, hopefully. We are also recruiting 4 The T Project ambassadors to help us in our outreach effort.”

NAVIGATING LGBTQ ACTIVISM IN UNIVERSITIES

“My bubble seems to be one that is generally privileged to some extent, with respect to some other trans people. The trans people I am in contact with have not dropped out of school,” shared Cassandra Thng from the Communications and Media Relations team of the Inter-University LGBT Network – an amazing pool of student bodies that fight together in upholding the well-being of the LGBTQ community in Singapore’s educational institutions, their efforts of which would hopefully reverberate throughout the country.

“Generally, the trans people around me have all been closeted throughout earlier school lives such as primary and secondary school. The earliest I’ve heard of people transitioning within my friends is during Junior College or Poly. Naturally, the gender non-conforming nature of a trans person – such as the increased femininity in a trans girl, or the increased masculinity in a trans guy, or the general lack of non-conformity in a non-binary person – has been something of a sticking point for certain people. For those of us who did not blend as well with our assigned gender roles as others, bullying and mockery definitely were issues that were faced.”

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With the intention of fighting LGBTQ discrimination, at least at the level of colleges or universities, 5 student organizations – namely Gender Collective, Kaleidoscope, Out To Care, tFreedom and The G Spot – from different educational institutions came together and founded the Inter-University LGBT Network.

“The Network was born after the leaders from the five founding groups met at a social event organized by Out To Care from Singapore Management University. We found that each group faced similar challenges as the others, and decided to set up the Network so that we can share resources and facilitate collaboration,” shared Daryl Yang, executive director and co-founder of the Network.

Photo courtesy of The G Spot from Yale-NUS College

 

 

Cassandra has observed that the younger generation nowadays cares less about gender identities and sexual orientations that fall outside the “cis-heteronormative patriarchal standards”, and that at times, “it is teachers… who are perpetrators of harsh words and disqualifying beliefs themselves that create less protected and safe-feeling environments for at-risk students”.

She added that, “School environments are also very much shaped by education policy, and one of these policies would include sexuality education. To this day, Focus On The Family (FOTF), a Singaporean splinter from the American-based FOTF anti-LGBT Christian lobby, conducts sexuality education in certain schools. Sexuality education in Singapore in general, and with FOTF in particular, tends to gloss over different sexualities and gender identities in favor of teaching about safe sex, and in FOTF’s case, gender roles and abstinence. While safe sex is an important topic, gender identity and sexualities are also important topics that should be addressed. Many students who are part of those minorities have felt that they were excluded from the conversation and that it would be better to not speak about what they experience to anyone else.”

Photo courtesy of The G Spot from Yale-NUS College

Aside from student social events, the Network provides support by initiating studies and projects that aim to study LGBTQ-related issues faced by the student community, in order to raise awareness and recommend necessary revisions to existing university policies and frameworks, as well as to create an environment wherein LGBTQ students feel safe and empowered.

According to Xin Yee Teo, the Network’s Social Media Manager, Singapore universities have anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies that cover gender and sexual orientation. “However, procedure for seeking recourse via these policies remains unclear, and we are currently conducting a research project on this.”

Xin Yee further shared about the current projects of the Network, “For instance, the Harassment & Non-Discrimination Policy Research Project aims to find out how harassment is experienced by LGBTQ+ undergraduates in Singapore’s universities. It also seeks to find out if universities are equipped with the necessary resources like counsellors and student support groups to serve individuals who have been targeted for their gender or sexual orientation. Another ongoing project is the S377A Commemorative Project, which aims to analyze how the rhetoric surrounding S377A has evolved over the past 10 years since the repeal campaign in 2007, as well as its impact on LGBT discourse in Singapore. The end result of this project would be a moving exhibition across universities in the month of October, so as to coincide with the 10 year anniversary of the parliamentary debate. We also have various support projects – such as Youth Resource Development Project and Campus Support Project – which aims to provide help and support to LGBTQ+ youth in Singapore, as well as outreach projects which aims to provide inclusive platforms for networking and community-building.”

Photo courtesy of The G Spot from Yale-NUS College

One challenge faced by some LGBTQ student orgs is being officially recognized by the university, including the difficulty in setting up a group and organizing events, due to the stigma that may still be lingering “usually from more religiously conservative corners of the university”, as Daryl puts it.

“Nonetheless, people are generally respectful and it is rare to find cases of serious verbal, physical or emotional bullying based on someone’s sexual or gender identity. We have noticed encouraging shifts in attitudes towards LGBT issues in our universities since our Network was established. For instance, there are now talks at other universities or colleges to set up similar support groups, initiated by both students and faculty. There is also greater visibility of LGBT identities in the arts scene at our universities as well, most recently with groups from both NUS and Yale-NUS staging theatre performances featuring gay and transgender narratives.”

CARRYING ON THE FIGHT

Despite all the bad news concerning discrimination, it is good to know that the LGBTQ movement is still roaring proudly in Asia’s Lion City.

Heartening indeed to see that the progressive Singaporean youth is currently being active in the advocacy alongside LGBTQ-related organizations in order to raise and strengthen equality. It is hoped that the fight would continue on and fortify until Singapore reaches a place in time wherein its strength of diversity and multiculturalism includes that of human sexuality and gender expression.

A sure-footed wanderer. A shy, but strong personality. Hot-headed but cool. A critic of this propaganda-filled, often brainwashed society. A lover of nature, creativity and intellectual pursuits. Femme in all the right places. Breaking down stereotypical perspectives and narrow-mindedness. A writer with a pen name and no face. I'm a private person, but not closeted. Stay true!

NEWSMAKERS

Lesbian porn 151% more popularly watched by women when compared to men

Lesbian porn is by far the most popular category of videos viewed by women, according to Pornhub, adding that lesbian porn is in fact it’s 151% more popular with women when compared to men. Filipino women appear to be… more romantic, with more women watching Romantic (233%) and Verified Couples (160%).

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Photo by Oleg Ivanov from Unsplash.com

Lesbian porn is by far the most popular category of videos viewed by women, according to popular porn site Pornhub, which looked into the viewing habits of women to also reveal that lesbian porn is in fact it’s 151% more popular with women when compared to men.

Pornhub looked at the top 20 countries of their site, accounting for 71% of all their women viewers. The site found that women from different parts of the world have different preferences, with categories for their number one choice including: Hentai, Ebony, Anal, Indian, Japanese, Mature and MILF.

Filipino women appear to be… more romantic, with women watching Romantic (233%) and Verified Couples (160%).

In the US, women are 102% more likely to view Ebony videos and 69% more into Interracial. Women in the UK are 474% more likely to view the British category, but they’re also 31% more into Rough Sex. Women in Canada are 36% more into Threesomes, French women are 103% more into Cuckold videos, and Germany women are 165% more into Feet.

Pornhub also analyzed the differences in porn categories between women of different ages. These were their findings:

18 to 24: Hentai (+81%)
25 to 34: Tattooed Women (+32%)
35 to 44: Double Penetration (+29%)
45 to 54: Mature (+39%)
55 to 64: Vintage (+78%)
65+: Handjob (+143%)

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Travel

What are the friendliest countries for LGBT travelers?

Thanks to legal improvements for trans- and intersex persons, as well as anti-hate crime initiatives, this is the first time that Portugal joined the top countries, managing to jump from 27th place to the top to share the first place with Sweden and Canada.

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Portugal, Sweden and Canada are the most LGBT-friendly travel countries in the world, according to the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019.

Thanks to legal improvements for trans- and intersex persons, as well as anti-hate crime initiatives, this is the first time that Portugal joined the top countries, managing to jump from 27th place to the top to share the first place with Sweden and Canada.

Portugal joined the top countries, managing to jump from 27th place to the top to share the first place with Sweden and Canada.
Photo by roya ann miller from Unsplash.com

The top 10 countries in the list (sharing same rankings) are:

1) Canada
1) Portugal
1) Sweden
4) Austria
4) Belgium
4) Denmark
4) Finland
4) Iceland
4) Luxembourg
4) Malta

The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index is updated annually to inform travelers about the situation of LGBT people in 197 countries and regions.

Canada continues to rank as an LGBT-friendly travel country.
Photo by mwangi gatheca from Unsplash.com

One of this year’s rising stars is India. This is largely thanks to the decriminalization of homosexuality and an improved social climate; the country rose from 104th to 57th place.

In 2018 the criminalization of homosexual acts was abolished in Trinidad and Tobago and Angola as well.

With the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, Austria and Malta were also able to secure a place at the top of the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019.

However, the situation for LGBT travelers in Brazil, Germany and the US has worsened. According to SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019, in both Brazil and the US, the right-wing conservative governments introduced initiatives to revoke LGBT rights achieved in the past. These actions led to an increase in homophobic and transphobic violence. There has also been an increase in violence against LGBT people in Germany, and inadequate modern legislation to protect transgender and intersex persons, as well as the lack of any action plan against homophobic violence caused Germany to drop from 3rd to 23rd place.

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Countries such as Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and Switzerland are under special observation because situations in these countries are expected to improve in 2019 as a result of the discussions on the introduction of legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Thailand already moved up 20 places to rank 47 thanks to a campaign against homophobia and the introduction of laws to recognize same-sex civil partnerships. The country already announced introduction of same-sex marriage laws could make it one of the most LGBT-friendly travel destinations in Asia.

In Latin America, the decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR/CIDH) to require nearly all Latin American countries to recognize same-sex marriage may have made news, but to date, same-sex marriage is legal only in Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and in some individual states of Mexico.

Some of the most dangerous countries for LGBT travelers in 2019 include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia and the Chechen Republic in Russia.

Thanks to the decriminalization of homosexuality and an improved social climate, India rose from 104th to 57th place.
Photo by Tiago Rosado from Unsplash.com

The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index is assembled using 14 criteria in three categories: civil rights (e.g. marriage equality); reported LGBT discrimination (e.g. travel restrictions for HIV positive people and the ban on Pride parades or other demonstrations); and threats to individuals by persecution, prison sentences or capital punishment. Evaluated sources include Human Rights Watch, UN ‘s “Free & Equal” campaign, and year-round information on human rights violations against members of the LGBT community.

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Health & Wellness

Bias may affect providers’ knowledge of trans health

According to a study, increased hours of education related to caring for transgender patients may not correlate to more competent care.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash.com

As it is, transgender people already face many barriers in accessing health care, from dealing with issues with intake forms that use non-inclusive language, to challenges finding providers who are knowledgeable about transgender-specific health issues.

But a Michigan Medicine-led study is suggesting that more training may not be the answer to improving competent care, since this study found that more hours of education in the field was not associated with improved knowledge of transgender care among physicians and other providers.

Published in the journal Medical Education, the study found that nearly half of providers said they had cared for a transgender patient, but as many had received no training on the topic. What distinguished knowledgeable providers from those who were less so, however, appeared to have little to do with their medical education.

Transphobia, or a prejudice against people who are transgender, was the only predictor of provider knowledge.

“We were surprised to find that more hours of education about transgender health didn’t correlate with a higher level of knowledge about this topic among providers,” said lead author Daphna Stroumsa, M.D., MPH, an obstetrician gynecologist at University of Michigan’s Von Voigtlander Woman’s Hospital and a National Clinician Scholar at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

“Transgender and gender diverse individuals often face discrimination in health care settings and many are unable to find competent, knowledgeable and culturally-appropriate health care,” Stroumsa added. “Lack of provider knowledge is a significant barrier, but our findings suggest that simply increasing training may not be the solution.

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Because of this, “medical education may need to address transphobia and implicit bias in order to improve the quality of care transgender patients receive,” Stroumsa said.

Researchers surveyed 389 attending physicians, advanced practitioners and residents from the departments of internal medicine, family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology in a large urban health system.

It is worth noting that the study did not evaluate the content or format of the education providers were exposed to; but it is still likely that educational efforts that address unconscious bias would be more effective. Stroumsa noted that even in educational programs that address transgender health, the topic is usually presented as a separate section of provider education, rather than as an integral part of general medical education and training – a distinction which may further fuel “othering” of transgender patients.

Many providers – especially those traditionally considered “women’s health” professionals – likely need to be better prepared to care for transgender patients, Stroumsa said.

People who identify as transgender and non-binary may require many of the services provided by Ob/Gyns and other “women’s healthcare” providers, including prenatal and fertility care, cervical cancer screening, menstrual cycle management, as well as gender transition-related care (i.e. hormone therapy), and other routine Ob-Gyn care.

“We obviously have a lot of work to do in improving health outcomes for gender diverse people,” Stroumsa said. “We need to take a close look at our healthcare environments, practices and approaches to medical education. These are just beginning steps in reducing wide health disparities. Creating a safe, knowledgeable, trustworthy care environment will help us expand the care we provide to a broader more diverse patient population.”

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NEWSMAKERS

Over 50% think falling in love online is possible; over 23% believe it’s achievable

56.5% of Grindr users believe they can find love on the dating app. And 25-34-year-olds are the most optimistic about falling in love online, with shared interests the most likely reason to finding love.

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Changing demographics?

What does falling in love mean in 2019? For many, it apparently means heading to an app and hoping to find true love with a swipe or a click; and this is even if there are concerns that online dating may not lead to true love and everyone is in danger of losing it.

Comparethemarket.com surveyed over 2,000 adults to see if love really is on the line or if online dating is simply the newest way to find true love.

The survey found 25-34-year-olds to be the most optimistic about falling in love online, with 34% responding “Yes, definitely” to the question “Do you think it’s possible to fall in love through an online dating site/app?”.

Comparatively, only 30% of 16-24-year-olds, 26% of 35-44-year-olds, 18% of 45-54-year-olds and 15% of the over 55 agreed with the statement.

People who use dating apps tied to shared interests, such as music, are the most likely to believe you can definitely fall in love online, with 69% answering the same question with “Yes, definitely”. The next most optimistic app users were: dating services based on religion (65%), Meetic (68%), SpeedDate.com (64%), OkCupid (59%) and Grindr (56.5%).

With dating apps having more and more game-like features, Comparethemarket.com wanted to find out people’s opinions on how this affects the way they approach dating through apps. The survey discovered that only 7% of people say they often treat dating apps like a game and use strategies to ‘win’.

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The question of who treats dating apps like more of a game out of men and women gets slightly different responses depending if you ask men or women! However, they both agree that men are more likely to treat dating apps like a game, with 25% of women and 14% of men agreeing with this statement. Only 8% of men and 6% of women believe women are the most likely to treat online dating as a game.

The most common bad experience with online dating is a boring first date, with 31% of people claiming to have experienced this. 21% of people have had to run away as the date was so bad,  17% felt that their date clearly fancied someone else.
Photo by Gilles Lambert from Unsplash.com

It isn’t all roses, however, as there are also bad experiences from online dating. Almost three in five (59%) people say they’ve had a bad experience of online dating, this could be either while talking to someone on the app/website itself or when meeting them in real life. This breaks down as 56% of men and 61% of women.

Per app, the bad experiences are also different.

People who said they used Meetic (95%) most claimed to have had bad experiences either talking with, or meeting, people from the app, followed by Ashley Madison (91%), dating services based on religion (89%), SpeedDate.com (87%) and dating services based on interest (86%).

Meanwhile, 59% of people who said they used Tinder most claimed to have had bad experiences either talking with, or meeting, people from the app, the fewest out of the sites studied, followed by Match.com (62%), PlentyOfFish (64%), and Bumble (68%)

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The most common bad experience with online dating is a boring first date, with 31% of people claiming to have experienced this. 21% of people have had to run away as the date was so bad,  17% felt that their date clearly fancied someone else. For 17% of respondents, the date ended when the person didn’t turn up or left early, and for 13% it was the classic ‘I spilled wine on my date’.

Men are more likely to be stood up than women for a date made through online platforms with 20% claiming their date didn’t turn up or left early, compared to women’s 14%. Men are also a lot more likely to cause a short date with 17% admitting to spilling wine on their date compared to 10% of women.

From bad pick up lines to fake profiles, this is what people consider to be the worst thing about online and app-based dating.

And with apps now generally accepted as sources of lifelong relationships, more are emerging to respond to niche markets. These include: Hater (which has over 1,000,000 users) that – instead of matching with someone because of shared interests – app that matches people based on shared pet hates; Trek Dating (over 500,000 users), a dedicated app for Trekkies who are looking for love; Tastebuds (over 500,000 users) that matches people based on shared music tastes; Muddy Matches (over 200,000 users), which is for the country boy or girl at heart and don’t want to waste time with city folk; and Farmers only (over 150,000 users) for farmers finding love.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

It’s the ‘Year of Pride’ in New York City

The Big Apple is slated to host WorldPride 2019, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in June, a pivotal moment in LGBTQIA history.

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Photo by Carl Solder from Unsplash.com

2019 has been declared in New York City as the “Year of Pride”, just as the Big Apple is slated to host WorldPride 2019, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in June, a pivotal moment in LGBTQIA history.

WorldPride will take place in NYC the first time the global event will be held in the US — from June 25–30, with an anticipated four million visitors.

On June 28, 1969, riots broke out in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, which is now the country’s first national monument dedicated to LGBTQIA rights. This June and throughout 2019, NYC celebrates Pride.

If in NYC, here are some of the exhibitions, activities and events throughout the year to embody the city’s spirit:

ARTS & CULTURE:

Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Againthrough March 31
The Whitney Museum of American Art
Last chance to see the first comprehensive retrospective of Warhol’s work organized by an American institution since 1989, and the largest monographic exhibition to date at the Whitney’s new location.

Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 –through July 14
New York Public Library, Bryant Park, Manhattan
Explore the emergence of the LGBTQ civil rights movement during the 1960s and ’70s through photographs from pioneering journalists Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, that sit alongside the library’s vast archives from LGBTQ history.

Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Nowthrough January 5, 2020
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
This multiphase retrospective features Robert Mapplethorpe’s collages and photographs, as well as the work of contemporary artists who reference the artist.

On the (Queer) WaterfrontMarch 5 through August 4
Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn
Learn about the largely forgotten LGBTQ communities that thrived along Brooklyn’s waterfront in the 1800s and through WWII, highlighting both the changes and continuities in the ideas and experiences of sexuality in Brooklyn.

Lincoln Kirstein’s ModernMarch 17 through June 15
Museum of Modern Art & PS1, Manhattan & Queens
Best known for establishing the New York City Ballet, Kirstein was also a key figure in MoMA’s early history. Bringing together some 300 rare artworks alongside materials drawn from the museum’s archives, the exhibition illuminates Kirstein’s influence on MoMA’s collecting, exhibition and publication history, and his position at the center of a New York network of queer artists, intimates and collaborators.

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Art After Stonewall, 1969–1989
NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, Manhattan – April 24 through July 20 
Leslie-Lohman Museum, Manhattan – April 24 through July 21
Presented in two parts, this will be the first major exhibition to highlight the impact of the LGBTQ civil rights movement on the art world. Over 150 works of art and materials from artists including Nan Goldin, Holly Hughes, Robert Mapplethorpe, Tim Miller, Catherine Opie and Andy Warhol will be on view, paired with that of artists who interacted with queer subculture.

Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall – May 3 through December 8
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn
Borrowing its title from the rallying words of transgender artist and activist Marsha P. Johnson, Nobody Promised You Tomorrow aims to expand understanding of the Stonewall Uprising beyond the image of protesters in the streets to consider the everyday acts that reinforce such public activism.

Camp: Notes on FashionMay 9 through September 8
The Met Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
The Costume Institute’s spring 2019 exhibition will explore the origins of the camp aesthetic featuring nearly 200 objects, including womenswear and menswear, as well as sculptures, paintings and drawings dating from the 17th century to the present. The exhibition is inspired by writer Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp.”

Stonewall 50 ExhibitionsMay 24 through September 22
New-York Historical Society, Manhattan
Letting Loose and Fighting Back: LGBTQ Nightlife Before and After Stonewall will explore the history of LGBTQ bars, clubs and nightlife in NYC during the second half of the 20th century. By the Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives will examine lesbian lives both pre- and post-Stonewall. Special graphic installation, Say It Loud, Out and Proud: Fifty Years of Pride, will feature imagery from five decades of NYC Pride marches.

Music of Conscience SeriesMay 30 and June 1
New York Philharmonic, Manhattan
Experience John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, the New York composer’s “personal response to the AIDS crisis,” inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center created its own Quilt Project, and a portion of that quilt—inscribed by visitors to Central Park in June 1988—will be on display in the lobby of David Geffen Hall.

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PRIDE –June 6 through November
Museum of the City of New York, Manhattan
Examine NYC through the lens of photographer Fred W. McDarrah, who created an encyclopedic archive of culture and politics for The Village Voice; from the Beats of the 1950s to the counterculture of the ’60s to the Stonewall Uprising and major political events of the early 1970s. The exhibition features images of cultural icons such as Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, with attention to gay liberation, anti–Vietnam War marches and the women’s movement.

Walt Whitman: Bard of DemocracyJune 7 through September 15
The Morgan Library & Museum
Experience Whitman’s writing that earned him a global audience, including “O Captain! My Captain!” Additionally, view documents from Oscar Wilde, Hart Crane, Federico García Lorca and Allen Ginsberg, which trace the writer’s influence on the 20th century.

Pride AuctionJune 20
Swann Auction Galleries
A unique and landmark event, featuring work from artists and writers including James Baldwin, Tom of Finland, Gertrude Stein, Alice Walker, Robert Mapplethorpe and more.

NYC LGBT Historic Sites ProjectYear-round
Citywide
The recently launched project is the first initiative to document historic and cultural sites associated with the LGBTQ community in all five boroughs. Sites illustrate the richness of the City’s LGBTQ history and the community’s influence on America.

Alice Austen House Museum Year-round
Staten Island
Take the free Staten Island ferry to visit the Alice Austen House, named by the National Register of Historic Places as the “national site of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) history.” Austen was a turn-of-the-century lesbian photographer who lived with her female companion for many years in her home that boasts views of the Manhattan skyline.

Lesbian Herstory ArchivesYear-round
Brooklyn
View the largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities. Part library, part museum, the LHA is a communal place to browse photographs or files, read a book, watch a video, listen to a CD or LP, do research or volunteer. Group tours can also be arranged.

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50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising Year-round
The Jewish Museum, Manhattan
The museum will pay tribute through a year of programming, while highlighting LGBTQ works of art from the museum’s collection that explore themes of gender and identity.

WorldPride will take place in NYC — the first time the global event will be held in the US — from June 25–30, with an anticipated four million visitors.
Photo by Patrick Hendry from Unsplash.com

BOROUGH PARADES:

Staten Island PrideFestMay 10–19
PrideFest will celebrate 15 years with a full week of events in May, including a 5K fun run, a Sober Coffee House and a Youth Prom. The week ends with an afternoon festival at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden featuring live music, drag performers, food trucks and craft vendors.

Harlem PrideMay 31 through June 29
The 10th anniversary of Harlem Pride in 2019 is also the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. The month-long celebrations will consist of performances, discussions and ceremonies at iconic locations including the Apollo Theater.

Queens Pride – June 2
Pride month kicks off in the heart of Queens with this annual parade down 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, followed by an afternoon street festival in the neighborhood that features music, drag performances and local cuisine. 

Brooklyn Twilight Pride ParadeJune 8
Brooklyn puts its own twist on Pride with a nontraditional march starting at dusk through the streets of Park Slope. A Pride street fair will take place with food, crafts and entertainment before the march.

1 Bronx FestivalJune 23
The march will take place preceding the annual 1 Bronx Festival that promotes inclusion, community and dialogue. Pride events throughout the festival inspire, educate and celebrate the diverse Bronx community.

Furthermore, visit New York City’s historic LGBTQ landmarks, including: Bethesda Fountain; Christopher Park; Julius; The Langston Hughes House; The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center; The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art; New York City AIDS Memorial; Stonewall Inn.

For more information on NYC’s Year of Pride celebrations, visit
nycgo.com/year-of-pride
. For information on WorldPride–specific events, visit nycgo.com/worldpride. And for all things LGBTQIA in NYC, visit nycgo.com/lgbtq.

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Technology

Top apps for gentleman’s smartphone

We’ve done our best to seek out the top apps which are perfect for every modern gentleman today.

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Photo by Benjamin Sow from Unsplash.com

Apps have become integral to the daily lives of most people around the world today, with there seemingly being an app for every situation. While most apps are geared to cater for everyone, there are many which gentlemen will find especially useful when installed on their latest high tech smartphones.

Therefore, we’ve done our best to seek out the top apps which are perfect for every modern gentleman today.

Evernote

Evernote is the app of choice for businessmen and gentlemen alike when it comes to wanting to organize and access whatever matters most on demand. It’s an app which allows the user to keep everything in the one place, be it to-do’s, images, audio, web pages and documents. Evernote can also sync with multiple devices, ensuring that not only is information available whenever it’s needed, it’s also kept up to date too. Evernote works for everyday life and business and is the organiser app that every gentleman needs to install.

PartyCasino

All work and no play can be a bad path to follow, so having the brilliant bespoke PartyCasino app installed is the solution of choice in our eyes. These guys are one of the biggest names in the online and mobile casino sectors. PartyCasino has some of the best online slots and table games which everyone can enjoy. The brand also has great blackjack games – a game that is perfect for the modern gentlemen due to its excitement and potential reward.

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Gordon Ramsay Recipes

There’s no doubt that the number of modern men who enjoy cooking has increased dramatically over the last decade or so. With more and more male celebrity chefs popping up on TV screens, it has seemingly inspired a generation to get into the kitchen and more often. Gordon Ramsay is one of the world’s most popular and recognised multi-Michelin starred chefs, and the Gordon Ramsay Recipes app by Pineapple Developers gives the modern gentleman access to some of his finest recipes and cooking guides in an instant.

My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal is the all in one fitness app that a lot of men are now using in order to get fitter and to lose weight. There’s been a rise in the number of men who are now hitting the gym or looking to lead a healthier lifestyle and My Fitness Pal is the ideal app for them. Not only does it allow a person to track their fitness levels and work outs in depth, it also acts as a calorie and diet monitor too. Users can for example scan barcodes on food items which will automatically add them to their daily food diary.

Smartphones and the apps that are being installed on them are ever changing as time and technology advances but the four mentioned above are what you should expect to find on a gentleman’s device and one’s that a modern man should be downloading and installing.

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