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Art director creates ‘love bands’ for LGBTs and their families

The recent death of a teenager who couldn’t come to terms with her being a transgender — and the struggle that her family faced after the tragedy — inspired advertising art director Dennis Corteza to create the Bahaghari Love Bands. These bands, says Corteza, symbolize acceptance, and “wearing it could be a simple gesture that assures those who have yet to accept who they are that there is pride in being different. And the world loves different.”

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The recent death of a teenager who couldn’t come to terms with her being a transgender — and the struggle that her family faced after the tragedy — inspired advertising art director Dennis Corteza to create the Bahaghari Love Bands. These bands are bracelets made of beads in the colors of the rainbow, the universal symbol of the LGBT.

“I personally witnessed a father go through the tragedy of losing a child who chose to end her life instead of coming out,” Corteza said. “To me, the greater tragedy is that the struggle was known only to her. The family didn’t have a clue.”

Corteza had always known he’s gay even as a little boy. Unlike other gays who experienced difficulty in coming out, he was wholeheartedly supported. “I’m blessed to have a loving family who fully embraces the person I am. Sadly, not all (gays) are as fortunate. Many LGBTs live in fear, scared of rejection and disdain by the people they love,” he said.

Corteza is aware that coming to terms with one’s true identity as a lesbian or a gay is difficult for both the person and his or her family. Which is why after seeing the father in agony over his child’s death, Corteza was motivated to make bracelets (bands) made of beads in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. He named these the Bahaghari Love Bands and created them as symbols of acceptance.

“Whether you’re LGBT or straight, you can wear it to say to the world that you accept and respect people of all kinds of sexual orientations,” Corteza said.

Aside from being a subtle yet powerful statement, Corteza also wants the Bahaghari Love Bands to encourage LGBTs, particularly those who are still grappling with who they really are.

“Wearing it could be a simple gesture that assures those who have yet to accept who they are that there is pride in being different. And the world loves different,” he said.

The bands are actually a family endeavor with Corteza’s mom Estela and his cousin Eva pitching in to string the stones and beads that he buys. Estela and Eva, by the way, make rosary bands for the church. Corteza buys the stones and beads and makes the designs.

The love bands come in different styles and are affordably priced from P40.00 to P160.00 per band. Corteza sells them via Facebook.

Available bands include:

BATO NI DARNA Band
Painted by Ding Bading for his Ate Narda. No two bands are alike. It attracts great power and great responsibility. Just wear the band, itaas ang kamay at sumigaw ng BAKLA! Right after, out ka na sa iyong pamilya.

PWERA USOG Band
Pang kontra sa lagnat or any skin blemishes. It attracts good health and posture. Siguradong sasabihin nila na gumanda ka, pag suot mo s’ya. ‘Wag lang huhubarin dahil mawawala ang bisa — ng ganda.

‘DI MURA-NO Band
‘Di mura ang halaga.  Freshly picked murano beads.  Anti-poverty love band.  A yayamanin design for your so-called rich friends.  It attracts wealth and success.

MAY 4EVER Band
If you still believe in soulmate this band is for you. It attracts hope and love. Kasi if you don’t hope there’s no love. Wear more bands for more chances of winning.

HUGOTSKI Band
Brother stones of Swarovski. Para sa mga taong may mga  malalalim na hugot. Clinically proven against deep pain and bitterness. It attracts wisdom and deep understanding.

MOTHER FLOWER Band
Ceramic beads with floral design for all loving mothers. It attracts birds and the bees. Lakas makabusilak ang namumulaklak na love band. #mamaband

BATO NI DING Band
Ding’s own version of “Bato ni Darna Band”. ‘Di nagpatalo si baklita gumawa ng sariling murano love band. Mas bakla ang design at mga batong galing sa anim na planeta. It attracts good fortune and good-looking men!

For more information about the love bands, contact (+63) 998-8619869 or (+63) 915-3711016 or email cortezadc@yahoo.com.

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Calgary officially bans ‘conversion therapy’

The so-called “conversion therapy” is now illegal in Calgary in Canada, with the city council voting 14-1 to approve a bylaw that bans the practice. Businesses that break the law by offering the practice for a fee will face fines up to $10,000.

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Photo by Blake Guidry from Unsplash.com

Rainbow rising in Canada.

The so-called “conversion therapy” is now illegal in Calgary in Canada, with the city council voting 14-1 to approve a bylaw that bans the practice. Businesses that break the law by offering the practice for a fee will face fines up to $10,000.

“Conversion therapy” is the most widely-used term used to describe practices attempting to change, suppress or divert one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It is also called reorientation therapy, reparative therapy, reintegrative therapy, or, more recently, support for unwanted same-sex attraction or transgender identities.

Medical associations are critical of this practice – e.g. the World Psychiatric Association criticized these as “wholly unethical,” and the Pan American Health Organization warned that they pose “a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.” The Canadian Psychological Association and the World Health Organization also oppose the same, stating that it poses a “severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons.”

Other countries already deal with this, including Malta, Ecuador, Germany, Brazil and Taiwan. Still other countries are in the process of banning the practice, including Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the US.

With this development, Mayor Naheed Nenshi was quoted as saying: “There are forces of anger and hatred that our gender and sexually diverse brothers and sisters have to deal with every single day. Sometimes in this job, sometimes we get to just do what’s right.”

Approximately 47,000 LGBTQIA Canadians underwent some form of “conversion therapy”, according to a Community Based Research Centre study.

To date, five Canadian provinces and eight other Alberta municipalities have taken steps to ban the practice. A federal ban is also in the works.

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Health & Wellness

Greater availability of non-alcoholic drinks may reduce alcohol consumption

The findings suggest that interventions to encourage healthier food and drink choices may be most effective when changing the relative availability of healthier and less-healthy options.

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Photo by Joyce McCown from Unsplash.com

People are more likely to opt for non-alcoholic drinks if there are more of them available than alcoholic drinks, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

A team of researchers at the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, and the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge, UK found that when presented with eight drink options, participants were 48% more likely to choose a non-alcoholic drink when the proportion of non-alcoholic drink options increased from four (50%) to six (75%). When the proportion of non-alcoholic drink options decreased from four to two (25%), participants were 46% less likely to choose a non-alcoholic drink.

Dr Anna Blackwell, the corresponding author said: “Alcohol consumption is among the top five risk factors for disease globally. Previous research has shown that increasing the availability of healthier food options can increase their selection and consumption relative to less healthy food. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that increasing the availability of non-alcoholic drinks, relative to alcoholic drinks in an online scenario, can increase their selection.”

Participants in the study completed an online task in which they were presented with a selection of alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic beer and soft-drinks. The drink selections included four alcoholic and four non-alcoholic drinks, six alcoholic and two non-alcoholic drinks or two alcoholic and six non-alcoholic drinks. 808 UK residents with an average age of 38 years who regularly consumed alcohol participated in the study.

When presented with mostly non-alcoholic drinks, 49% of participants selected a non-alcoholic drink, compared to 26% of participants who selected a non-alcoholic drink when presented with mostly alcoholic drinks. These results were consistent regardless of the time participants had to make their decision, indicating that the findings were not dependent on the amount of time and attention participants were able to devote to their drink choice. The findings suggest that interventions to encourage healthier food and drink choices may be most effective when changing the relative availability of healthier and less-healthy options.

Anna Blackwell said: “Many licensed venues already offer several non-alcoholic options but these are often stored out of direct sight, for example in low-level fridges behind the bar. Our results indicate that making these non-alcoholic products more visible to customers may influence them to make healthier choices. The market for alcohol-free beer, wine and spirit alternatives is small but growing and improving the selection and promotion of non-alcoholic drinks in this way could provide an opportunity for licensed venues to reduce alcohol consumption without losing revenue.”

The authors caution that as the study measured hypothetical drink selection online, results may differ in real-world settings. Further studies are needed to determine how the relative availability of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks impacts the purchasing and consumption of alcohol in real life.

Alcoholism is a big issue in the LGBTQIA community.

In 2017, a study found that bisexual people had higher odds of engaging in alcohol use behaviors when compared with people from the sexual majority. This study also found that bullying mediated sexual minority status and alcohol use more particularly among bisexual females.

Still in 2017, another study noted higher levels of alcohol use among men who have sex with men (MSM), which is closely associated with intimate partner violence (IPV). The same study found that over half of MSM experienced IPV, and just under half of MSM perpetrating IPV themselves, including physical, sexual, emotional or HIV-related IPV.

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NEWSMAKERS

LGB online daters report positive experiences… plus harassment

LGB online daters are more likely than their straight counterparts to experience a range of negative behaviors on dating platforms, varying from name-calling to physical threats. Among those who have ever used an online dating site or app, they reported experiencing at least one of the forms of harassment measured in this survey on those sites and apps (69%, compared with 52% of their straight counterparts).

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Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults who use online dating sites and apps generally report that their experiences with online dating have been positive – even more than straight online daters (65% said their experience was very or somewhat positive, versus 56% of straight online daters).

This is according to a Pew Research Center survey, which found that a majority of LGB adults (55%) report that they have used an online dating site or app at some point, roughly twice the share of straight adults (28%) who say the same.

Among LGB adults who are married, living with a partner, or in a committed relationship, 28% say they met their current partner online. This is more than double when compared with 11% of partnered straight adults.

Also, among LGB people who are now single and looking for a relationship or dates, 37% are currently online dating (versus 24% of straight people who are single and looking).

However – and this is worth highlighting – LGB online daters are also more likely than their straight counterparts to experience a range of negative behaviors on dating platforms, varying from name-calling to physical threats. Among those who have ever used an online dating site or app, they reported experiencing at least one of the forms of harassment measured in this survey on those sites and apps (69%, compared with 52% of their straight counterparts).

More than half of LGB online daters (56%) say they have received a sexually explicit message or image they did not ask for, compared with 32% of straight online daters who say the same.

Stalking was also raised as an issue, with roughly half of LGB online daters (48%) saying that someone continued to contact them after they said they weren’t interested, compared with 35% of their straight counterparts.

About four in 10 LGB online daters (41%) say someone called them an offensive name on one of these sites or apps – 16 percentage points higher than the share of straight online daters (25%) who say the same.

Lastly, 17% of LGB online daters said that someone on a dating site or app threatened to physically harm them. This is more than twice the share of straight online daters (7%).

Perhaps not surprisingly, according to the Pew Research Center survey, LGB adults who have ever online dated are more likely than straight online daters to think harassment and bullying is a “common problem” on dating sites and apps (70%, compared to 61% of non-LGBs).

No matter the drawbacks, don’t expect online daters – LGBT or straight – to just dump it.

As per the Pew Research Center survey, even among those who experienced at least one of the asked-about forms of harassment on dating sites and apps, they still said that online dating is safe for the most part. Three-quarters of LGB people who have experienced at least one of the harassing behaviors saying it’s a very or somewhat safe way to meet someone, with 64% of straight online daters who have been harassed agreeing.

And with 78% of LGBT online daters (and 69% of their straight counterparts) still believing that dating sites and apps are a very or somewhat safe way to meet people, this trend isn’t going anywhere soon…

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NEWSMAKERS

New research finds bias in rideshare platforms

A study found that popular rideshare platforms exhibit biases that penalize under-represented minorities seeking to use their services.

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Photo by @botanicalnature from Unsplash.com

When your ride cancels… it may be because of bias.

New research to be published in the INFORMS journal Management Science has found that popular rideshare platforms exhibit biases that penalize under-represented minorities seeking to use their services.

The study, “When Transparency Fails: Bias and Financial Incentives in Ridesharing Platforms,” was conducted by Jorge Mejia of Indiana University and Chris Parker of American University. In addition to finding racial biases persist, similar phenomena were also documented against people who show support for the LGBTQIA community.

Data was analyzed from a major rideshare platform in Washington, D.C., between early October to mid-November 2018. The experiment manipulated rider names and profile pictures to observe drivers’ behavior patterns in accepting and canceling rides. To illustrate support for LGBT rights a rainbow profile picture filter was used. In addition, times of ride requests varied to determine how peak and non-peak price periods impact bias.

“We found under-represented minorities are more than twice as likely to have a ride canceled than Caucasians, that’s about 3% versus 8%,” said Mejia, an assistant professor in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana. “Along with racial bias, LGBTQIA biases are persistent, while there is no evidence of gender bias.”

Peak timing was found to have a moderating effect, with lower cancelation rates for minority riders, but the timing doesn’t appear to change the bias for riders that signal support for the LGBT community.

“Data-driven solutions may exist wherein rider characteristics are captured when a driver cancels, and the platform penalizes the driver for the biased behavior. One possible way to punish drivers is to move them down the priority list when they exhibit biased cancelation behavior, so they have fewer ride requests. Alternatively, less-punitive measures may provide ‘badges’ for drivers that exhibit especially low cancelation rates for minority riders,” concluded Mejia.

In the Philippines, rideshare platform Grab has – in the past – supported the commercial Pride parade, including giving discounted rates to those joining the gathering. But no study has been locally done to ascertain whether its drivers share the company’s sentiment.

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Lifestyle & Culture

5 Cannabis strains to help you chill out

Here are various cannabis strains on the market, and the types of experiences they induce.

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By smoking marijuana, people want to relax and relieve their pains. There are many strains on the market that will allow this type of experience.

In this article, you will find out which of these strains are the most popular and suitable for relaxation. You will learn their history and origin, which will help you later choose the perfect strain.

Blueberry

Blueberry is a popular Indica variety, which gained its legendary status in 2000 when it won the title “Best Indica” during the Cannabis Cup. The strain was created, thanks to the intersection of three varieties – Afghani, Thai, and Purple Thai.

The Blueberry variety was developed in the seventies by DJ Short, a mysterious breeder who gained the nickname “Willy Wonka of Pot”. The sweet and pronounced taste of fresh berries is combined with a relaxing effect, causing a long-lasting feeling of euphoria.

Patients most often use Blueberry to relieve pain and stress, and recreational consumers appreciate this variety for it being so colorful and having high THC content.

The flowers of this strain are small and dense, as might be expected from the dominant variety in the Indica genes. The leaves are most often covered in red and purple colors. The purple color is caused by a high concentration of pigment called anthocyanin.

Chemdawg 91

Chemdawg 91 is a popular hybrid that was created by crossing two unknown varieties. Some say that “91” in the name refers to the year of its creation. It is a descendant of the legendary Chemdawg strain, which is a cross between the Nepalese and Thai varieties. Some, however, say that this variety was created due to the intersection of Chemdawg and Skunk.

The Chemdawg 91 phenotype may fluctuate between Sativa or Indica dominance, and THC concentration in this strain fluctuates around 24%.

Chemdawg 91 tops are medium in size and are very sticky. Flowers covered with trichomes are brown-green and hard to crumble without using a grinder.

The strain has a deep, earthy smell that mixes with the smell of fuel, and when you break up your tops you can smell the characteristic smell of a skunk. The smoke is smooth and you feel a distinct citrus scent when puffing.

Afghani

Afghani is an original, local variety grown in the mountains of Afghanistan. Afghani is pure Indica valued for its power and genetics. Hundreds of years of its cultivation meant that this variety is perfectly balanced so that breeders from around the world came to Afghanistan to take possession of it.

The Afghani variety has been used to produce many popular strains, such as Northern Lights and Blueberry.

Because it is pure Indica, recreational users can feel deep relaxation and relaxation. Some users also report a significant improvement in appetite. Due to its properties, Afghani is recommended to be used in the evening because it tends to cause drowsiness.

Tops of this variety are pale green, surrounded by orange hair and a thick layer of trichomes. They should be very resinous and sticky to the touch.

It is a variety with a strong smell that resembles a mixture of gasoline and citrus. As with other Indica varieties, the smoke is rough and can cause coughing attacks.

Acapulco Gold

Acapulco Gold is one of the most well-known Sativa strain that originated around Acapulco in Mexico. This variety is difficult to find because indoor cultivation is relatively difficult. This strain is most commonly found on the west coast of the United States.

Acapulco Gold is used by patients suffering from anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, as well as insomnia and headaches, as well as mental disorders such as PTSD.

Recreational users value this variety for its strong, euphoric high combined with a feeling of relaxation. However, they report slight paranoia and anxiety, as well as dry mouth, dry eyes, and headaches.

Cotton Candy

Also known as Cotton Candy Kush, this strain is the dominant hybrid in the Indica genes, although the exact ratio of Sativa to Indica genes is not widely known. Cotton Candy is a complex mixture of varieties – Power Plant from South Africa and Lavender from Amsterdam, which is a mixture of Skunk, Afghani, and Hawaiian strains.

The concentration of THC in the Cotton Candy variety is relatively high, in some cases it reaches even 22%, and CBD is much less visible. Cannabidiol (CBD) accounts for less than 1% in this strain, which means that it should not be used to treat diseases that respond to CBD, such as epilepsy.

When using this variety, expect a calm body, along with creative motivation, euphoria, and an increase in feelings of happiness. It is a good choice for patients suffering from anxiety, migraines and headaches, chronic pain, and daily stress.
We have listed some of the best cannabis strains for you. Not every strain is the same, but neither is an individual. How cannabis affects differs from person to person. Hence, we recommend you to try each type before making up your mind.

Exploration is always a fun part of the trip anyways!   

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Health & Wellness

Study finds more severe eating disorders among LGBT individuals

Delays in accessing treatment are especially widespread for transgender and nonbinary individuals with eating disorders. Some of the causes include delayed diagnosis by providers who fail to assess non-cisgender female patients for disordered eating, as well as limited access to trans-affirming treatment options.

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Photo from @thoughtcatalog via Unsplash.com

A study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders finds that eating disorder patients who identify as LGBT have more severe eating disorder symptoms, higher rates of trauma history, and longer delays between diagnosis and treatment than heterosexual, cisgender patients.

“While we know there is a higher prevalence of eating disorders among LGBTQ folks, particularly trans and non-binary folks (with rates estimated to be anywhere from 40% to 70%), our field is in its infancy with researching this health disparity, so I believe research like ours is especially important” said clinical psychologist Jennifer Henretty PhD, CEDS, one of the study’s co-authors who serves as the Executive Director of Clinical Outcomes for Discovery Behavioral Health, Center For Discovery.

Eating disorders are a serious mental health concern: At least 30 million people—of all ages, sexual orientations, and gender-identities—experience an eating disorder in the US alone, and every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder. In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

The most common eating disorders are binge eating disorder, where people regularly eat a large amount in a short period of time; bulimia nervosa, where people regularly eat a large amount in a short period of time and then try to offset the food using harmful behaviors (like vomiting); and anorexia nervosa, where people regularly eat too little due to a fear of gaining weight and thus are malnourished.

The causes of eating disorders are not clear but both biological and environmental factors are thought to play a role. Eating disorders typically begin in adolescence but it appears that the rate of the disorder may be on the rise in middle-aged and even older adults.

The peer-reviewed academic study analyzed data from 2,818 individuals treated in residential (RTC), partial hospitalization (PHP), and/or intensive outpatient (IOP) levels-of-care at a large eating disorder treatment organization; 471 (17%) of the participants identified as LGBT. The facilities were operated by Center for Discovery, a US healthcare provider specializing in the treatment of eating disorders.

Research shows that individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or other non-heterosexual/non-cisgender identities have significantly higher rates of mental and physical health conditions compared to their heterosexual, cisgender peers.

“LGBT individuals are more likely to experience housing and employment discrimination, and to struggle with multiple mental health challenges related to minority stress; this perfect storm of barriers means eating behaviors are often overlooked,” said Vaughn Darst, RD, who serves as Operations Advisor for Discovery Behavioral Health, Center For Discovery and who also discussed in a TedX talk the complex issue at the intersection of gender, body image, food and identity.

The study found a full 12-month delay in treatment for LGBT patients compared to non-LGBT patients.

“Delays in accessing treatment are especially widespread for transgender and nonbinary individuals with eating disorders. Some of the causes include delayed diagnosis by providers who fail to assess non-cisgender female patients for disordered eating, as well as limited access to trans-affirming treatment options, particularly at the residential level of care” said Darst.

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