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Anti-LGBTQIA move stings Jollibee

Fastfood giant Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) apologized to genderqueer Bunny Cadag who alleged experiencing discrimination, following the PR tempest their story made since it was first shared online. “This is a call for equality and for our protection against discrimination,” Cadag said to Outrage Magazine.

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SCREENCAP FROM BUNNY CADAG'S FACEBOOK ACCOUNT

Fastfood giant Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) apologized to genderqueer Bunny Cadag who alleged experiencing discrimination, with their* story first making noise online.

In a Facebook post dated August 9, Cadag narrated how they was interviewed for a job as a transcriber by people from the Human Capitol Development (HCD) at JFC’s main office in Ortigas. That first day of evaluation passed without incident. However, when Cadag returned another day to continue the training session, a certain Louie Angsico, said to be one of the contact persons of HCD, spoke with Cadag over the phone to tell them that JFC is not yet “welcoming to the idea” of having a transgender person working for the company. Angsioco allegedly added that JFC is a Roman Catholic company.

To file a formal complaint, Cadag emailed Angsioco on July 3; but no response was received. Cadag also sent a message outlining their experience to JFC’s Facebook page; this remained “unseen”. Cadag similarly sent a complaint letter through JFC’s website, with this one getting a response to tell them to be given three days to investigate the issue. As a last effort to directly coordinate with JFC, Cadag called JFC’s customer service after the three days were up, only to be told that the company needed an extension. Until Cadag posted their story online, JFC did not even reach out to them.

Beyond JFC and its arms, Cadag said they also went to the gender office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Philippines. They was told that their case will be handed to an investigator; though – again at the time they posted their experience online – Cadag said they found out that still no one in CHR was handling their case.

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Interviewed by Outrage Magazine, Cadag said that the ordeal “was a sad and frustrating, in a way. I never thought that it I would be singled out (because of) how I present my self, instead of the work itself.”

Cadag said that their posting of their story online aimed to do two things. On the one hand, “I wanted to call out Jollibee’s attention regarding this incident since I never got a feedback from them through their website, customer service Hotline and Facebook Page,” they said. But “I (also) wanted to raise awareness among the members of the LGBT community (about discrimination).”

JFC finally released a response following the PR damage its anti-LGBTQIA move made, with the company saying that it “assures everyone that this is an isolated incident as JFC does not in any way tolerate any disrespect, discrimination, harassment, violation or intimidation of any person, consistent with our company policy on diversity and inclusion.”

By then, Cadag’s Facebook post was liked by over 12,000 Facebook users, and shared over 4,020 times.

Highlighting this as a PR move, JFC had not even reached Cadag yet when it posted its response to the “unfortunate incident as relayed in Bunny’s Facebook post”.

JFC eventually released a follow-up “official statement”, claiming that – after completing the internal investigation – it found that the “unfortunate incident was brought about by the actions of one employee and a representative from one of our consultants who were both not authorized to act or speak on behalf of the company and who have not acted in a manner that is aligned with our policy.”

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As per JFC, “both of them have realized their mistake and have sincerely apologized for this”, though no sanctions were mentioned to have been meted for the anti-LGBT violations.

“I’ve accepted the apology because at the end of it all, it was never about me. This is about the whole LGBTQIA Community. This is a call for equality and for our protection against discrimination,” Cadag said.

JFC’s statement added that the company will heighten awareness and understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE) among its employees, and there are already plans to conduct SOGIE training to all JFC employees.

For Cadag: “I believe this is a good start.”

This is not the first employment-related issue faced by JFC, which is also plagued by the contractualization issue that affects its workforce including LGBT employees.

*The singular they is used here as a gender-neutral pronoun, and as requested by Bunny Cadag, befitting their gender identity.
For those still not comfy with the use of the singular they, refer to MERRIAM-WEBSTER

NEWSMAKERS

3 in 5 employees experienced or witnessed discrimination

For LGBTQ discrimination at work, younger employees (43% of ages 18-34) are more likely than older employees (18% of ages 55+) to have experienced or witnessed it.

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Photo by Georgie Cobbs from Unsplash.com

Three in five (61%) employees have witnessed or experienced discrimination based on age, race, gender or LGBTQ identity in the workplace.

This is according to a study done by Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, via its 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Study that was done in the US, UK, France and Germany. For the US in particular, the survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 1,100 US employees.

The good thing though: While the study finds that the majority of employees have faced or witnessed discrimination at work, hiring for jobs to improve corporate diversity and inclusion efforts is up 30% year-over-year, according to Glassdoor jobs data, indicating that employers may be responding to the call for more diverse and inclusive work environments.

When it comes to the specific types of discrimination employees are facing, nearly half (45%) report having experienced or witnessed ageism, 42% having experienced or witnessed racism, another 42% having experienced or witnessed gender discrimination and one in three (33%) having experienced or witnessed LGBTQ discrimination at work.

“Creating a company culture that celebrates and respects people for their diverse backgrounds and experiences should be a top priority for all employers,” said Carina Cortez, Glassdoor’s chief people officer. “Employees must feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work, without the fear of prejudice or ridicule, whether intentional or not. It’s critical for employers to actively listen to how their employees feel about what it’s like to work at their company. More importantly, employers must be willing and ready to take action to foster a workplace environment in which all people feel they belong.”

Who Feels Discrimination More: Younger or Older Workers? Men or Women?

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The survey shows that younger workers (between the ages of 18 and 34) are more likely to have experienced or witnessed the four types of discrimination at work than older workers (aged 55 and above). When it comes to ageism at work, younger employees (52% of ages 18-34) are more likely than older employees (39% of ages 55+) to have witnessed or experienced it. When it comes to race discrimination at work, younger employees (50% of ages 18-34) are more likely to have experienced or witnessed it than older workers (33% of ages 55+). 

When it comes to discrimination based on gender at work, younger workers (52% of ages 18-34) are more likely than older workers (30% of ages 55+) to have experienced or witnessed it. For LGBTQ discrimination at work, younger employees (43% of ages 18-34) are more likely than older employees (18% of ages 55+) to have experienced or witnessed it.

In addition, employed men (38%) are more likely than employed women (28%) to have experienced or witnessed LGBTQ discrimination at work. When it comes to LGBTQ discrimination among younger workers specifically, younger employed men (51% of ages 18-34) are significantly more likely than younger employed women (34% of ages 18-34) to have experienced or witnessed it.

Diversity and Inclusion Job Listings are Up Significantly Since Last Year

While a majority of U.S. employees (61%) report experiencing or witnessing discrimination based on age, gender, race or LGBTQ identity at work, the survey also finds that more than three in four (77%) employees say their company employs a diverse workforce, suggesting that the prevalence of discrimination at work may not improve unless something is proactively done. 

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At the same time, proactive efforts at companies may be underway now, as more than three in five (64%) workers also say their company is investing more in diversity and inclusion than it has in years past.

As further support of what employees feel is happening at their companies now, Glassdoor’s Economic Research team studied millions of the latest job listings on Glassdoor and found that job openings for roles related to diversity and inclusion at least in the US have increased 30% since last year, with approximately 810 jobs open across the country.

“With more attention on workplace diversity in recent years, it’s encouraging to see jobs data that affirms employers today are in fact investing more in diversity and inclusion by increasing hiring for jobs to support these efforts,” said Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor senior economist. “Many of these open roles range from middle management all the way up to the C-suite and focus on building or strengthening workplace diversity programs. The people who work in these roles tend to have past experience in human resources or talent acquisition and have often made very deliberate decisions to work in the field of diversity and inclusion because they are passionate about ensuring employees of all backgrounds feel welcomed and heard.”

However, there is still more work to be done — more than half (55%) of U.S. workers believe their company should do more to increase diversity and inclusion efforts. This is even more evident among the Gen Z and millennial employees, with more than three in five (62% of ages 18-34) believing their company should do more to increase diversity and inclusion, compared to less than two in five (38%) of workers aged 55 and older.

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How Does the US Compare to the UK, France and Germany?

Among the four countries surveyed, the percentage of employees reporting having experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination relating to age, race, gender or LGBTQ identity was highest in the US (61%), followed by the UK (55%), France (43%) and Germany (37%). The US rates also rank highest among each of the individual categories.

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NEWSMAKERS

Family support reduces chance of school and workplace bullying

Family acceptance seems to be crucial to ensure that LGB children develop a healthy sense of self while family rejection of LGB children can negatively affect their identity and well-being.

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Photo by Brandon Zack from Unsplash.com

Having a supportive family environment makes school-age LGB children significantly less likely to be victims of bullying, according to new research by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

The researchers used data on LGB men and women with an average age of 37, and examined their experiences of when they were in school and later in life, in the workplace.

The study, published in the International Journal of Manpower, found that gay and bisexual men had been 31% less likely to be frequently bullied at school if they were from a supportive family background. For lesbian or bisexual women, the figure was 25.6%.

However, family support counted for less in the workplace, where family support was associated with a 12.5% reduction in frequent bullying towards gay or bisexual men. For lesbian or bisexual women, the reduction was only 4.6%.

Nick Drydakis, Professor in Economics at ARU, said: “If an LGB child has received support from their parents which has positively impacted on their self-esteem and self-worth, this pattern might have influence how adult LGB people prevent, avoid or deal with victimization.”

Drydakis added that “parents who have supported their children during difficult times might have taught them the appropriate attitudes and approaches to address homophobia as well as its adverse effects. If, for LGB children, family support results in building their sense of identity, self-esteem and control, we might suggest that all these psychological states during the school-age period might positively impact on psychological traits in adulthood.

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It is worth noting that, at times, hatred starts at the homes of members of the LGBTQIA community. In July, for instance, a study noted that some parents are derisive of their LGBTQIA children, and this “fosters dysregulated anger in adolescent children. Dysregulated anger is indicative of difficulties regulating emotion, which typically result in negative emotions, verbal and physical aggression, and hostility. Increases in dysregulated anger, in turn, place adolescents at greater risk for bullying and victimization, and for becoming bully-victims (bullies who also are victimized by other bullies).”

Bullying is also something worth highlighting because the damage it causes follows LGBTQIA people into adulthood. A 2018 study noted that around one in three lesbian, gay and bi individuals who are bullied at school will have similar experiences in the workplace later in life.

In the end, “family acceptance seems to be crucial to ensure that LGB children develop a healthy sense of self while family rejection of LGB children can negatively affect their identity and well-being,” Drydakis said.

The study is the first of its kind to examine whether family support during school age can have long-term positive effects on LGB people’s future workplace experiences.

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NEWSMAKERS

Intersex community holds first summit in Phl

In an effort to gather members of the intersex community in the Philippines, thereby discussing issues that are very specific to them and then bringing the same to the fore, Intersex Philippines (IP) organized its very first summit in the country.

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All photos courtesy of Jeff Cagandahan/Intersex Philippines

Making the “I” visible.

In an effort to gather members of the intersex community in the Philippines, thereby discussing issues that are very specific to them and then bringing the same to the fore, Intersex Philippines (IP) organized its very first summit in the country.

According to Jeff Balahadia Cagandahan, who helms IP, exactly because intersex people remain largely invisible, there’s a need to gather “so that they will not feel alone.”

IP – of course – started as an online support group, and this is the first actual physical gathering; and for Cagandahan, “it (has) a different impact when you meet in person.”

For the gathering, IP started at the basics – e.g. while there were lessons on Intersex 101 “because some of them don’t know anything about intersex, basta ang alam lng nila e kakaiba sila (they just knew they’re ‘different’)”; there were also lessons on self-acceptance because “we want them to accept themselves (as intersex people) first because mahirap manghingi ng pagtanggap sa iba kung sarili mismo namin e hirap kaming tanggapin (we can’t make others accept us if we, ourselves, have issues with accepting ourselves).”

As FYI: intersex is NOT identity; it is a medical condition/biological variation. As stated by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: ” Being intersex relates to biological sex characteristics, and is distinct from a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. An intersex person may be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or asexual, and may identify as female, male, both or neither.”

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Added the (now-defunct) Intersex Society of North America, “intersex is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

To stress, from UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. In some cases, intersex traits are visible at birth while in others, they are not apparent until puberty. Some chromosomal intersex variations may not be physically apparent at all.”

According to experts, between 0.05% and 1.7% of the population is born with intersex traits – the upper estimate is similar to the number of red haired people (similarly stated by the Intersex Campaign for Equality).

Incidentally, Cagandahan – who is now part of Intersex Asia, an Asia-wide support group/network/organization for intersex people – was granted by the Supreme Court (SC) to change his gender marker because of his medical condition.

On December 11, 2003, Cagandahan filed a Petition for Correction of Entries in Birth Certificate before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 33 of Siniloan, Laguna. Specifically, Cagandahan asked to change his name and his sex (from female to male). Cagandahan claimed that he developed male characteristics while growing up because of a condition called Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH).

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The case reached SC, which sided with Cagandahan.

In its 2008 decision, the highest court stated:

“Ultimately, we are of the view that where the person is biologically or naturally intersex the determining factor in his gender classification would be what the individual, like respondent, having reached the age of majority, with good reason thinks of his/her sex. Respondent here thinks of himself as a male and considering that his body produces high levels of male hormones (androgen) there is preponderant biological support for considering him as being male. Sexual development in cases of intersex persons makes the gender classification at birth inconclusive. It is at maturity that the gender of such persons, like respondent, is fixed…

…Respondent is the one who has to live with his intersex anatomy.To him belongs the human right to the pursuit of happiness and of health. Thus, to him should belong the primordial choice of what courses of action to take along the path of his sexual development and maturation. In the absence of evidence that respondent is an incompetent and in the absence of evidence to show that classifying respondent as a male will harm other members of society who are equally entitled to protection under the law, the Court affirms as valid and justified the respondents position and his personal judgment of being a male.”

This decision was written by Associate Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing; with Conchita Carpio Morales, Dante O. Tinga, Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. and Arturo D. Brion concurring.

Now, Cagandahan wants intersex people – Filipinos, in particular – to know that “God did not make mistakes in creating us. We are God’s masterpiece. Wala kang dapat ikahiya sa pagiging intersex (You have nothing to be ashamed of for being intersex).”

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Cagandahan eventually co-formed IP to support those like him; and he keeps stressing that “hindi tayo rare; marami tayo. Ito na rin siguro ung panahon para magsalita tayo (We are not rare; there are many of us. It is time for us to speak out).” For him, “naniniwala ako na kapag mas maraming nagsasalita, mas magiging madali ang hinihingi nating pagbabago (If more people like us speak, it will be easier to get the changes we want to happen).”

For intersex people, or those who want to know more about intersex condition/s and Intersex Philippines, visit Jeff Balahadia Cagandahan’s FB account; email jeffcagandahan@yahoo.com, or contact 09155159819.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Homophobia and transphobia still a problem in sport

One third of those active in sport conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity within the context of their sporting activities. More than a third of those questioned were unable to name a single organization or individual they could contact in the event of a negative experience or incidence.

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The overwhelming majority of people perceive homophobia and transphobia to be a problem in sport; with homophobic and transphobic language remaining widespread, especially in team sports. 

This is according to analysis coming out of Europe, where a Europe-wide project was done to develop strategies and training measures in the field of sport in order to counter discrimination and violence related to sexual orientation or gender identity. In the first study, an online survey was used in which more than 5,500 LGBTI from all 28 EU states were asked about their experiences in sport. In the second study, representatives of 15 sports associations, sports federations and umbrella organizations from the five project countries were interviewed about their strategies for combating homo-/transphobic discrimination in sport.

As stated, the overwhelming majority of respondents notes homophobia and transphobia to be a problem in sport. Homophobic and transphobic language was also noted to be widespread, especially in team sports. As a result, one third of those active in sport conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity within the context of their sporting activities. More than a third of those questioned were unable to name a single organization or individual they could contact in the event of a negative experience or incidence.

“Discrimination against LGBTI is a problem facing society as a whole,” says Professor Ilse Hartmann-Tews, Director of Studies at the German Sports University, “which is why each one of us should feel responsible for creating a culture of respect.”

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In the area of organized sport, the study recommends an open and proactive attitude towards questions of sexual and gender diversity on the part of all men and women active at every level of clubs, associations and sports federations. This is because, the ideal is for participation in sport at all levels to be made easier for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and intersexual people.

Homophobic and transphobic language was also noted to be widespread, especially in team sports.
PHOTO FROM PEXELS.COM

The collaboration of five European project countries lasted three years and will end on 31 December. Results were presented and discussed at various levels, including the final conference of OUTSPORT held in Budapest, an international conference on the situation of LGBTI in sport in Barcelona, the sports committee of the NRW state parliament in Düsseldorf and the Federal Network Conference of Queer Sports Clubs (BuNT) in Hamburg.

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NEWSMAKERS

Women reporting greater identity uncertainty are more at risk for hazardous drinking

Mostly lesbian and bisexual women reported the most depression, anxiety, and physical health symptoms; mostly lesbian women reported the highest levels of hazardous drinking. Among those who reported drinking, mostly lesbian women drank the most frequently and reported the most alcohol-related consequences. Mostly lesbian women reported the most identity uncertainty.

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Fact: In research, “mostly lesbian” women are typically grouped with “exclusively lesbian” women, although they are sometimes grouped with “bisexual women”. A study is now saying that this grouping is problematic since it doesn’t fully show the experience of mostly lesbian women – e.g. that they are at higher risk for hazardous drinking.

In “Health Disparities Among Exclusively Lesbian, Mostly Lesbian, and Bisexual Young Women“, written by Robin J. LewisSarah J. EhlkeAlexander T. ShappieAbby L. Braitman and Kristin E. Heron and published in LGBT Health, it was noted that health disparities have been identified between groups of diverse young sexual minority women (SMW) and heterosexual women. “This approach may generate sufficient group sizes for statistical analyses but obscures important differences. Moreover, some young women may not identify as ‘lesbian’ or ‘bisexual’ but somewhere in between.”

And so, to best understand varying experiences, researchers saw it best to examine health and sexual minority identity-specific outcomes among three groups of SMW — i.e. women who identify as “exclusively lesbian,” “mostly lesbian,” and “bisexual.”

For this study, participants were 990 young (18–30 years old) SMW (exclusively lesbian: n = 305, mostly lesbian: n = 133, bisexual: n = 552) who completed an online survey, including information about mental and physical health symptoms, hazardous drinking, and identity uncertainty. Those who reported alcohol use in the past 30 days responded to questions about their alcohol use and alcohol-related negative consequences.

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The study found that, controlling for demographic differences, “health outcomes varied significantly by identity. Mostly lesbian and bisexual women reported the most depression, anxiety, and physical health symptoms; mostly lesbian women reported the highest levels of hazardous drinking. Among those who reported drinking, mostly lesbian women drank the most frequently and reported the most alcohol-related consequences. Mostly lesbian women reported the most identity uncertainty.”

The researchers stressed that “describing and classifying SMW is a complex endeavor, and collapsing across identities may mask important differences among these subgroups.”

Although the common conceptualization of sexual identity includes mostly lesbian women under the bi+ umbrella, there may be important factors that lead women to adopt this sexual identity that sets them apart from their bisexual peers. This research “suggests that women who identify as mostly lesbian may be unique from their exclusively lesbian and bisexual peers by reporting greater identity uncertainty and more hazardous drinking. Moreover, if trying to subsume them within lesbian or bisexual identities, they fall into different patterns for different outcomes.”

The researchers are recommending further research to be done to improve understanding of the development of nonmonosexual identities, and researchers should be mindful that operationalization of sexual identity may affect outcomes.

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NEWSMAKERS

Income inequality fuels status anxiety and sexualization, research shows

As economic inequality continues to grow, researchers say so too will women’s preoccupation with their physical appearance, and the mental health issues that tie in with this.

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Photo by Isabella Mariana from Pexels.com

Women’s appearance enhancement is driven partly by status anxiety and income inequality, according to new research.

Researchers at the universities of Melbourne and New South Wales have examined the relationship between income inequality, status anxiety and sexualisation of women.

Using a role-playing experiment, more than 300 people from 38 countries participated in a hypothetical society online where each version matched one of the many economies of the world today.

Participants were asked to indicate how anxious they were about social status in their respective society and then chose an outfit to wear for their first night out. Options ranged from least to most revealing.

Researchers found that women assigned to economically unequal societies chose more revealing, sexy outfits for their first night, and they did so because they were anxious about their social status.

By making women worry about social climbing, research shows that economically unequal societies incentivized women to use their attractiveness to get ahead.

University of Melbourne gender relations expert Khandis Blake said results show that for some women, being the fairest of them all can be a smart strategy to climb the social and economic hierarchy.

“Although we might like to pretend in today’s environment that beauty doesn’t matter anymore, research and our day-to-day experiences say otherwise,” Blake said. “Our results favor a view of women as strategic agents, using the tools available to them to climb the social hierarchy in specific socio-economic environments. When we see women in these outfits, pouting into their phone cameras or preening over their appearance, we might think it’s just narcissism. But things are more complex. It’s really about women responding to incentives in their environment, given the state of their economy.”

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As economic inequality continues to grow, researchers say so too will women’s preoccupation with their physical appearance, and the mental health issues that tie in with this.

“Beauty is one way women can out-do others and try to maximize their lot in life, but it’s important to remember that beauty has a shelf-life and obsessing over your appearance comes with other risks and challenges,” Blake added.

It is worth noting that LGBTQIA people are just as affected by economic disparity.

LGBTQI people are more likely than their peers to live in poverty, according to a report from the LGBTQ Poverty Collaborative, which shows how indicators of economic disparity including food insecurity, housing instability, low-wage earning potential and unemployment and under-employment are all heightened for LGBTQI communities.

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