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Avon signs up to UN’s LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business

The UN Standards were produced in collaboration with the Institute for Human Rights and Business and build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They reflect the input of hundreds of companies across diverse sectors. Over 200 companies worldwide have expressed support for the Standard.

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Avon announced its support for the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business to tackle discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. Expressing support for the UN Standards on LGBTI is a continuation of Avon’s “commitment to social progress and freedom of expression – principles that underpin its business and brand proposition.”

Avon is proud to have been one of the original signatories to the UN Women’s Economic Principles and this commitment to the LGBTI Standards is a natural extension of Avon’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Avon has a strong track record of standing up for LGBTI rights and has championed LGBTI role models including Brazilian pop star and drag queen Pabllo Vittar, and singer and transsexual activist Candy Mel. A recent campaign in BrazilAvon’s biggest market, included a series of testimonials from Avon ambassadors and beauty entrepreneurs from the LGBTQIA+ community, including artist Rosa Luz, Brazilian model Bia Gremion and Avon sales executive Gaby Varconti. 

In Mexico Avon recently collaborated with the beauty influencer and transgender activist for tolerance, Victoria Volkova, to create Aura. The fragrance has been one of the most successful launches of the year for Avon Mexico.

Jan Zijderveld, CEO of Avon, said: “Avon is an open company, and our underlying principles of respect for rights apply to everyone. Discrimination is not welcome at Avon in any shape or form. We want to be a fully inclusive company for LGBTI employees, associates and representatives, and also for our customers and suppliers. Challenging stereotypes is at the heart of many of our campaigns, and we will work to promote positive representations of LGBTI people across our business. Creativity and innovation are unleashed when everyone can flourish. That is the environment in which Avon as a business was built and will thrive.”

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Zeid Ra‘ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “If we are to achieve faster global progress towards equality for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people, businesses will not only have to meet their human rights responsibilities, they must become active agents of change.”

The UN Standards were produced in collaboration with the Institute for Human Rights and Business and build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They reflect the input of hundreds of companies across diverse sectors. Over 200 companies worldwide have expressed support for the Standard.

By expressing support for these Standards, Avon commits to:

  1. Respect human rights at all times
    Avon will develop policies, exercise due diligence, and remediate adverse impacts to ensure they respect human rights of LGBTI people. Avon will also establish mechanisms to monitor and communicate about their compliance with human rights standards.
  2. Eliminate discrimination in the workplace
    Avon will ensure that there is no discrimination in recruitment, employment, working conditions, benefits, respect for privacy, or treatment of harassment.
  3. Provide support in the workplace
    Avon will provide a positive, affirmative environment so that LGBTI employees can work with dignity and without stigma.
  4. Prevent other human rights violations in the marketplace
    Avon will not discriminate against LGBTI suppliers, distributors or customers, and will leverage our business to prevent discrimination and related abuses by their business partners.
  5. Act in the public sphere
    Avon will contribute to stopping human rights abuses in the countries in which we operate. In doing so, we will consult with local communities to identify steps they might take — including public advocacy, collective action, social dialogue, support for LGBTI organizations, and challenging abusive government actions.
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Fabrice Houdart, United Nations Human Rights Officer and co-author of the Standards said: “It is particularly meaningful to have Avon join the early supporters of these Standards as Avon has always been about inclusion, and this is a natural extension of that practice and philosophy. Avon is demonstrating a leadership role in fostering greater inclusion of LGBTI people in the many places it does business. We hope more businesses will follow globally.”

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House of Representatives conducts poll on same-sex unions

The House of Representatives is running a poll to supposedly get the pulse of the Filipino people on same-sex unions. But Michael David Tan says: “You do not wait for equality to be popular before legislating it.”

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Photo by Mayur Gala from Unsplash.com

The Lower House/House of Representatives is running a poll to supposedly get the pulse of the Filipino people on same-sex unions.

The poll – which is available on the site of the House of Representatives – asks: “Are you in favor of the proposal in the House of Representatives which legalizes same-sex unions as civil partnership in the country?”

Three choices are given to those who answer the poll.

Yes, because this will give equal civil rights to same-sex couples. The bill provides such couples with legal partnership status that will govern their property rights, custodial rights over children and adoption rights.

No, because the underlying intention is to legalize marriage between members of the same sex and I personally believe this is wrong.

And “I am undecided.”

The same poll, however, has a disclaimer, stating that it does not “purport to reflect the opinions, inclinations, or views of the House of Representatives as a whole, including its Members and employees. Any proposed bill or measure featured in such poll does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the leadership of the House of Representatives and its Members concerning its passage but rather to forment public discussion in aid of potential legislation.”

According to Michael David Tan, editor of Outrage Magazine, there are two issues worth highlighting here.

First, the poll is asking about civil partnerships, not marriage equality. “This basically advocates the “equal but not equal narrative,” he said.

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Second, “getting the perspective of the people may be a good step in identifying what needs to be done by those in Congress. However – and this has to be stressed – what’s popular or not may not be what’s apt,” Tan said. “In the case of promoting equality, waiting for it to be ‘popular’ before acting on it is erroneous; politicians should do what’s right whether this is popular or not. You do it because it’s what’s right. You do not wait for equality to be popular before legislating it.”

All the same, for those keen to vote YES, visit the site of the House of Representatives.

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Still discriminated for having untraditional families, children also need empowerment

For filmmaker Cha Roque, “until now there are still instances where children are discriminated for having untraditional families.”

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While browsing through old footage and photos for a documentary she was making, filmmaker Cha Roque saw her daughter’s old speech at the 2014 Pride Speaks under the (now more commercial – Ed) Metro Manila Pride. The video, she said to Outrage Magazine, made her realize “that for the past few years, I have been sharing my own inconveniences and experiences about being discriminated as a lesbian”, but that while “it has been almost five years since this was filmed, until now there are still instances where children are discriminated for having untraditional families.”

“Kids with LGBTQI parents are still discriminated and that is the most painful part of being a parent for me,” Roque said.

Now – as the world marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia – Roque shares her daughter Kelsey’s video as she hopes that “that sharing this will enlighten people’s minds – that we are not a special case, that we are not crazy, that we are not sick, and that we are as much of a family as you are.”

Roque is a filmmaker, educator, and LGBT advocate. She has been teaching audio and video production, scriptwriting, post-production, and multimedia subjects at various universities in Manila since 2014. A grantee of BChange Organization for the Stories of Being Me, representing the Philippines in an Asian documentary series, Roque is a returning fellow of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum under the Salzburg Global Seminar from 2016 to 2018. She is also a fellow of the Ricky Lee Scriptwriting workshop. In 2018, she was awarded the Art that Matters for Film Award by Amnesty International Philippines under Amnesty’s Ignite Awards. Her recent films “What I Would’ve Told My Daughter if I Knew What to Say Back Then“, and “Slay“have been making the rounds in both local and international film festivals.

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Teen girls more vulnerable to bullying than boys

Bullying among boys is often physical. Among females, the bullying is often the kind that’s not visible. It’s often relational bullying, such as excluding someone from activities and social circles, or spreading rumors about them. The actions are not overt, Pontes explains, so they could go on for a long time without anyone else knowing.

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Photo by Michał Parzuchowski from Unsplash.com

Girls are more often bullied than boys and are more likely to consider, plan, or attempt suicide, according to research led by a Rutgers University-Camden nursing scholar.

“Bullying is significantly associated with depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, suicide planning, and suicide attempts,” says Nancy Pontes, an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden. “We wanted to look at this link between bullying victimization, depressive symptoms, and suicidality by gender.”

In an examination of data from the Centers for Disease Control’s nationally representative Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 2011-2015, Pontes and her fellow researchers conducted analyses of the data and found that more females are negatively affected by bullying.

Pontes says that, in general, girls are more often bullied than boys, and girls are also more likely to consider, plan, or attempt suicide compared with boys, regardless of being bullied or not–although boys are more likely to die by suicide. In this study, Pontes and her fellow researchers looked at significant associations and not direct causal links.

Using two methods of statistical analysis, the researchers showed the probability of a link between bullying and depressive symptoms and suicide risk, and then compared the results of the two methodologies.

Through the more commonly used multiplicative interactions method, their findings matched the findings that some other researchers have used in previous studies, which showed no difference between males and females being bullied at school and having depressive symptoms or suicide risk behaviors.

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However, when using the International Journal of Epidemiology-recommended methodology of additive interactions, Pontes and her team found the effects of bullying are significantly higher in females than males on every measure of psychological distress or suicidal thoughts and actions.

The study, “Additive Interactions between Gender and Bullying Victimization on Depressive Symptoms and Suicidality: Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2011-2015” by Pontes and her colleagues, is published in the journal Nursing Research.

The researchers acknowledge limitations with the study, such as the nature of its retrospective design and the inability to change or alter the design of the CDC study.

The study similarly did not specifically segregate respondents based on their SOGIE. However, earlier studies have already stressed that most gender nonconforming students reported higher levels of being bullied, were more likely to report missing school because they feel unsafe, and are most likely to report being victimized with a weapon on school property; and that still nearly half of LGBT pupils (45%) – including 64% of trans pupils – are bullied for being LGBT in schools.

All the same, Pontes hopes the results of her team’s examination will help draw attention to how researchers conduct analyses of data and how crucial it is to carefully consider which methods are the best fit, or to use both methods and compare them.

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Bullying among boys is often physical. Pontes says while many schools are cracking down on physical bullying which people can see, those actions probably are preventing and stopping bullying that’s more common among males.

Among females, Pontes says, the bullying is often the kind that’s not visible. It’s often relational bullying, such as excluding someone from activities and social circles, or spreading rumors about them. The actions are not overt, Pontes explains, so they could go on for a long time without anyone else knowing.

Preventing bullying should begin at a young age. Parents should start teaching preschool children that bullying is unacceptable.

“Our school interventions should understand the differences in bullying and how we might better address females who are bullied,” says Pontes.

The Rutgers-Camden nursing researcher believes that preventing bullying should begin at a young age. She says parents should start teaching preschool children that bullying is unacceptable.

“There are parents who see it as a rite of passage,” says Pontes. “They say, ‘Everyone gets bullied. You have to buck up. Stand up for yourself.'”

She says pediatricians and nurse practitioners should talk about the harmful effects of bullying with parents so that they can intervene early and reduce the victimization that causes adolescents to consider suicide, so they will be able to live happier and healthier lives.

Pontes’ co-authors of the study are Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden colleague Cynthia Ayres and Manuel Pontes of Rowan University.

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Bullying among adolescents hurts both victims and perpetrators

Victims and their perpetrators both suffer as a result of these attacks: They are more inclined to consume alcohol and tobacco, are more likely to complain of psychosomatic problems and their chances of having problems with their social environment increase, too.

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Photo by Timothy Eberly from Unsplash.com

Name-calling, hair pulling or cyberbullying: About a tenth of adolescents across the globe have been the victim of psychological or physical violence from classmates at least once in their lives.

A new study carried out by researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) has shown that victims and their perpetrators both suffer as a result of these attacks: They are more inclined to consume alcohol and tobacco, are more likely to complain of psychosomatic problems and their chances of having problems with their social environment increase, too.

In the scientific journal “Children and Youth Services Review“, the researchers plead for prevention programs to place more emphasis on cohesion within the classroom.

Dr Anett Wolgast and Dr Matthias Donat, two of MLU’s educational psychology scientists, wanted to find out whether there were any differences in the way various countries’ cultures handled being bullied and whether boys dealt with it in a different manner than girls. To do this, they compared data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), who had asked approximately 3,000 adolescents from each country about their lives as part of an extensive study conducted over a number of years. The data included information on any bullying the adolescents had experienced from other students, but also details of alcohol and tobacco consumption, psychosomatic complaints, how easy they found it to talk to their friends and how they viewed the social support of their classmates.

The researchers looked at the responses from adolescents living in Germany, Greece and the USA and were collected during several different survey periods. The scientists picked these three countries, because they believe these nations each manifest togetherness very differently: They see the USA as rather individualistic, Greece as very collectivist and Germany as somewhere in between.

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The analysis revealed that adolescents’ behavior and problems are similar in all three countries, as approximately 9% of boys and girls had repeatedly experienced physical or psychological attacks from other students.

Dr Wolgast said: “None of the three countries can be used as a model for dealing with the problem. We were shocked by this stability that transcends cultures and different periods of time.”

Another thing the researchers wanted to take a closer look at was the connection between bullying from students and various other factors: Here, they focused on the adolescents’ risk behaviour, especially their alcohol and tobacco consumption, and whether they had suffered or were still suffering from psychosomatic complaints, such as stomach aches, headaches, back pain or depression.

The scientists also analyzed how perpetrators and victims interacted with their social environment: Did they find it easy to talk to friends? How did they view support from within their class in their social environment? The results indicate that boys and girls are just as likely as each other to consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes when they have been the victim of verbal or physical attacks. “Girls are slightly more inclined to internalize problems and therefore have more stomach aches or headaches,” added Dr Wolgast.

The academics were surprised by the fact that perpetrators and victims both mentioned similar problems with their environments. Both groups found it difficult to talk to friends and classmates and they also both felt they had little support from their environment.

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“The fact that perpetrators and victims experience similar problems to each other is remarkable,” Dr Wolgast continued. “These findings could be used to devise new prevention strategies.”

By this, she meant that current measures should target communication between adolescents more to improve the atmosphere in classrooms and said that one way of encouraging this could be asking students in a class to adhere to rules that they have come up with themselves. Mutual support would play a major role here, she explained in conclusion.

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Pinoy wins Mr. Gay World 2019

John Jeffrey Carlos won as Mr. Gay World 2019, the second time the title went to the Philippines (and Asia).

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Screencap from John Jeffrey Carlos' video for Mr. Gay World 2019

Pinoy rainbow pride.

John Jeffrey Carlos won as Mr. Gay World 2019, the second time the title went to the Philippines (and Asia).

The 41-year-old local of General Trias, Cavite is not new to pageantry, first trying his luck to represent the country in the same pageant in 2016. He placed fourth runner-up then, losing to John Raspado, who ended up winning the first Mr. Gay World title for the country.

Carlos is actually also already relatively known in various circles – e.g. in Facebook and Instagram, where his repeatedly “liked” photos range from showcasing living a luxurious lifestyle in Manila, traveling from one country to another, flexing his muscles during a workout, or wearing swimming trunks and posing provocatively for no other reason but to satisfy the fantasies of his social media followers.

Carlos – who obtained his bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management at the Cavite State University, where he also played for the men’s varsity volleyball team – also appeared in some movies directed by the late Wenn Deramas, such as “Moron 5.2: The Transformation” (2014) and “Wang Fam” (2015).

“When it comes to pageantry, the best trait of Filipino representatives [in general] is they always surprise people with their biggest ideas, just like what Catriona Gray did [in Miss Universe],” he said to Outrage Magazine in an earlier interview.

Perhaps typical of many beauty titlists who are new to their advocacies, Carlos only recently partnered wth Mental Health PH, an organization that promotes awareness about mental health through social media, a few days after winning the Mr. Fahrenheit 2019 title.

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All the same, he said that “I think it’s a very good platform for me to push my advocacy, as it is very timely and relevant, especially with the LGBTQI community… We’ve heard so much about mental health issues and things are getting worse. In my own little way, I want to spread awareness about depression, so people will know what to do in case they feel some of the symptoms of this mental illness, affecting us and our loved ones.”

As Carlos wears the second Mr. Gay World title for the Philippines, he stressed: “We have to reach out to people with depression. Together, we can turn this illness to wellness.”

Carlos – who competed with 21 other contestants in Cape Town, South Africa – has a partner and they’ve been living together for the past seven years.

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Gay and lesbian spaces in the city becoming more diverse, not going away

Data shows that the emergence of “mini-enclaves” and “little planets” could be a more significant development than the so-called decline of gayborhoods.

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Gay and lesbian spaces in cities are dispersing and diversifying; they are not disappearing.

This is according to research from the University of British Columbia, published as part of a special symposium in City & Community, the official journal of urban sociologists.

A common perception is that major urban centers have just one, singular gay neighborhood–or “gayborhood”–where all gay people live, and the rest are straight spaces. However, based on data from the US, only 12% of LGBTQ aged 18 and older currently live in a gayborhood, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. The survey also shows that 72% of LGBTQ people have never lived in a gayborhood.

“LGBTQ (people) are an incredibly diverse group of people. Why wouldn’t we expect that diversity to express itself in the places they live and call home as well?”
Photo by Tanushree Rao from Unsplash.com

The UBC research shows that LGBTQ people are increasingly living in “cultural archipelagos” beyond the gayborhood.

“LGBTQ (people) are an incredibly diverse group of people. Why wouldn’t we expect that diversity to express itself in the places they live and call home as well?” said Amin Ghaziani, associate professor in UBC’s department of sociology.

Ghaziani’s research used data from the 2010 US census to examine location patterns of lesbians, transgender people, same-sex couples with children, and LGBTQ people of color. While members of these subgroups don’t always feel welcome in the nation’s gayborhoods, the data shows that they do have their own places.

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In many cities, clusters of same-sex couples with children have sprung up in areas well outside of gayborhoods. Still in the US, for instance, in Chicago and the outer boroughs of New York, queer communities of color have emerged. Places like “Chocolate Chelsea” and “Hell’s Cocina” in New York provide alternatives to the predominant whiteness of traditional gayborhoods. African-American individuals in a same-sex partnership are more likely to live in areas where there are higher populations of other African-Americans, rather than other LGBTQ people.

Data shows that the emergence of “mini-enclaves” and “little planets”.
Photo by Josh Edgoosefrom Unsplash.com

Rural areas draw more same-sex female couples than male couples, and female couples tend to live where the median housing price per square foot is lower–perhaps a reflection of the gender pay gap. In the US, the top zip codes for lesbian couples include Provincetown, Mass.; Northampton, Mass; and the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Gay men, however, are more likely to live in the Castro or West Hollywood.

Ultimately, the data shows that the emergence of “mini-enclaves” and “little planets”–as one of Ghaziani’s interview subjects dubbed them–could be a more significant development than the so-called decline of gayborhoods.

In the Philippines, for instance, Malate in the City of Manila used to be the gay enclave; but with its eventual demise, other gay “areas” opened, including in Cubao in Quezon City, and even in areas outside of Metro Manila.

“We talk so much about the decline of the gayborhood,” said Ghaziani. “These areas are undoubtedly changing, but if we over-emphasize loss then we will not see the dynamic new developments that are taking place. We need to broaden our view beyond the gayborhood.”

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