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Catholic student councils ask senators to end debate, pass bill to end discrimination vs LGBT

Ignoring possible sanctions from their school administrators, student councils from seven of the biggest Catholic schools in Metro Manila released a unified statement expressing support for the anti-discrimination bill.

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The LGBT community has found unlikely allies: Catholic students. 

Ignoring possible sanctions from their school administrators, student councils from seven of the biggest Catholic schools in Metro Manila released a unified statement expressing support for a proposed bill being tackled in the Senate that seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or SOGIE.

The statement, signed by student councils from the Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, San Beda University-Manila, De La Salle University-Manila, Miriam College, St. Scholastica’s College-Manila, the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde urged the “Senate’s leadership and its members to stop the delay on the SOGIE Equality Bill and move for its approval”.

Senate Bill No. 1271 was sponsored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros last December 14, 2016 but has faced an uphill battle in the upper chamber, unlike in the House of Representatives that approved its version of the bill in September last year.

“In the Senate, It has been scheduled for debate 26 times, making it the longest-running bill under interpellation from Senators Tito Sotto, Manny Pacquiao and Joel Villanueva, since it’s sponsorship close to two years ago,” said the Catholic student councils’ statement.

The student councils expressed concern on discrimination against LGBT persons.

“Every day with discrimination, people of diverse SOGIE get thrown out of their schools and homes, outed and ridiculed in the streets, barred from full employment, and deprived of access to healthcare”, their statement read.

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The student councils cited their Christian upbringing in pushing for the said bill.  “Brought up on the Christian values of love and acceptance, and as leaders and representatives of students in Catholic academic institutions , we urge the Senate’s leadership and its members to stop the delay on the SOGIE Equality Bill and move for its approval”, they urged.

The student council presidents urge the senators to end the debate on the bill.
“It is time to end the debate. We must forge a society grounded on equality – NOW”, the student councils concluded.

FULL STATEMENT

A SOCIETY THAT IS EQUAL
We are student government chairpersons from Catholic academic institutions united under the pillars of respect for human diversity, love and equality expressing our support to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression [SOGIE] Equality Bill – an important piece of legislation that secures the rights and welfare of members of the LGBT community through a government policy of non-discrimination and full acceptance. 

Every day with discrimination, people of diverse SOGIE get thrown out of their schools and homes, outed and ridiculed in the streets, barred from full employment, and deprived of access to healthcare. 

Every day with discrimination, LGBT persons live in constant fear of being stigmatized, harassed and, in many documented cases, killed due to hate. 

Every day with discrimination, members of the LGBT community are deprived of the full enjoyment of their rights. 

The approval on third and final reading of the SOGIE Equality Bill in the House of Representatives presents a hopeful development. In the Senate, It has been scheduled for debate 26 times, making it the longest-running bill under interpellation from Senators Tito Sotto, Manny Pacquiao and Joel Villanueva, since it’s sponsorship close to two years ago. 

It is time to end the debate. 

Brought up on the Christian values of love and acceptance, and as leaders and representatives of students in Catholic academic institutions , we urge the Senate’s leadership and its members to stop the delay on the SOGIE Equality Bill and move for its approval. 

We must forge a society ground ed on equality – NOW. 

Signed:

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Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña
President, Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila
Ateneo de Manila University

Mikee De Vega
President, University Student Government
De La Salle University-Manila

Kiko Santos
President, Central Student Council
University of Santo Tomas

Yhan Lumdang
President, Central Student Government
De La Salle – College of St. Benilde

Charlene Yanes
President, Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Miriam
Miriam College

Denise Elayda
President, Student Council
St. Scholastica’s College-Manila

Arapat Mustapha
President, San Beda Student Council
San Beda University

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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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Methodists strengthen anti-LGBT clergy and gay marriage stance

A decision – made by a vote of 438-384 – reinforced a UMC policy established in 1972 stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

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The United Methodist Church (UMC) strengthened its ban on gay and lesbian clergy and same-sex marriages during the church’s General Conference in St. Louis in the US. The decision – made by a vote of 438-384 – reinforced a UMC policy established in 1972 stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

The vote for what is known as the “Traditional Plan” came after church leaders reject an earlier proposal, known as the “One Church Plan”, which would have allowed individual (and local) churches to perform same-sex weddings and hire openly LGBT clergy.

Under the “One Church Plan”, the statement that homosexuality is at odds with Christianity would have been eliminated. But now with the “Traditional Plan” getting more votes, UMC is giving sanctions to those who will break its anti-LGBT policies, and even asks those who will not obey it to find another church.

Many of the supporters of “One Church Plan” came from the US, where a wave of social change regarding LGBT rights has been happening. Meanwhile, supporters of the Traditional Plan include many African and Philippine UMC members, as well as evangelical members from Europe and the US.

This backward decision is feared to cause a schism in one of the world’s largest Protestant churches.

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High percentages of LGBTQ youth also teased and bullied because of body weight

44% to 70% of LGBTQ teens reported weight-based teasing from family members, 41% to 57% reported weight-based teasing from peers, and as many as 44% reported weight-based teasing from both family members and peers.

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Teased and bullied for being LGBTQ; and then teased and bullied for one’s body weight. At times even by fellow LGBTQ people.

This is according to a study, published in Pediatric Obesity, that noted that adolescents who identify as LGBTQ often face double victimization and bullying because of their sexual and/or gender identity, and because of their body weight – in some cases at higher rates than previous reports of weight-based bullying in heterosexual youth.

The research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut involved 9,838 adolescents who participated in the 2017 LGBTQ National Teen Survey, a comprehensive survey conducted in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to assess victimization, health behaviors, family relationships, and experiences of LGBTQ adolescents across the US.

Researchers found that across sexual identities, 44% to 70% of LGBTQ teens reported weight-based teasing from family members, 41% to 57% reported weight-based teasing from peers, and as many as 44% reported weight-based teasing from both family members and peers.

Also, approximately one in 4 teens reported these experiences at school, and body weight was the third most common reason that these adolescents indicated they were teased or treated badly (behind sexual orientation and gender identity).

“Body weight is often absent in school-based anti-bullying policies, and our findings suggest that heightened awareness of this issue may be warranted in school settings to ensure that weight-based victimization is adequately addressed and that sexual and gender minority youth are recognized as potentially vulnerable targets of weight-based bullying,” said Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the UConn Rudd Center, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, and the study’s lead author.

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Study co-authors include Rebecca Puhl, Ryan Watson, and Mary Himmelstein of the University of Connecticut.

Adolescent obesity rates currently reach 20% in the US alone, and weight-based victimization has become a widespread form of mistreatment experienced by youth. This victimization has harmful health consequences, including increased risk for depression, low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, poor body image, disordered eating, harmful weight control behaviors, and lower levels of physical activity.

Although there is mounting evidence of weight-based victimization in youth, there has been little attention to this issue in LGBTQ adolescents, despite their high prevalence of overweight and obesity and increased risk for victimization.

“These issues warrant attention among healthcare providers, parents, educators, and all others who interact with adolescents. Increased consideration must be given to the intersection of social identities related to body weight, sexual orientation, and gender identity in youth,” said Ryan Watson, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut and co-author of the study.

The study also found that regardless of the source (family or peers) of weight-based victimization, sexual and gender minority adolescents face these experiences across diverse body weight categories. The highest rates of weight-based victimization occurred in LGBTQ adolescents with obesity (as many as 77% reported these experiences), but high percentages of teens at lower body weight categories were also vulnerable – 55-64% of those with an underweight BMI reported weight-based victimization.

The researchers recommend for healthcare providers to be aware that sexual and gender minority youth can be vulnerable to weight-based victimization, regardless of their body size. The study similarly suggests that it may be warranted to screen LGBTQ youth for their victimization experiences not only in the context of sexual and gender identity, but also in the context of body weight.

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Condom use pushed to deal with HIV

For “Love Walk”, PAFPI’s workers/volunteers distributed condoms and lubricants in different areas in the cities of Manila and Pasay, with the approach hoping to “educate (particularly men) and to try to change their attitudes, their outlook, and their (sex) behaviors.”

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In December 2018, the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) reported 877 new HIV cases in the Philippines, with the country now registering 32 new HIV cases every day. And of that figure, 98% (or 861 of the cases) were from sexual contact, which remains the main mode of HIV transmission in the country.

This is the backdrop of the push for condom use of the Positive Action Foundation Philippines Inc. (PAFPI), a non-government organization serving the PLHIV community, via its “Love Walk” advocacy.

Now in its seventh year, “Love Walk” is basically “an HIV awareness campaign” that brings together people to “directly respond to the HIV epidemic affecting the Philippines.”

According to Moses Ayuha, from PAFPI, there are other lessons that may continue to be taught to deal with HIV, including teaching people to abstain from sex to avoid possible HIV infection. However, he said that there is also a need for a more realistic look approach at the situation because “not everybody abstains anyway.”

For Ayuha, and in a gist, there are people who – even if they are already aware of (other) ways to supposedly avoid getting infected with HIV – still have unprotected sex. “These are the people we need to reach.”

For “Love Walk”, PAFPI’s workers/volunteers distributed condoms and lubricants in different areas in the cities of Manila and Pasay, with the approach hoping to “educate (particularly men) and to try to change their attitudes, their outlook, and their (sex) behaviors.”

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Ayuha admitted that efforts like the “Love Walk” continue to be challenging, particularly since bringing the sex educating straight to the streets means teaching people about HIV off the bat. “The challenge ay kung paano ipaliliwanag sa mga tao ang HIV sa kalsada at paano rin maiintindhan ng tao ang kahalagahan ng pagpapa-test (The challenge is how to explain HIV to people on the sreets, and how to tell people about the importance of getting tested for HIV),” he said.

It is also not uncomoon to encounter unwanted responses from people who may not support efforts like “Love Walk.”

Sinasabi namin na hindi naman pag namigay ng condom, (we already) promote sex,” Ayuha said. “It’s just one of the preventive measures. And because – nowadays, people are having sex – we just encourage people to be responsible.” 

In the end, for Ayuha, efforts like the “Love Walk” will continue to be relevant until “we’ve finally properly dealt with HIV.” – ARTICLE FILED WITH LUWELA RODRIGO

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Relationship between police officers and LGBT people remains strained

Homophobic and heterosexist attitudes of police against the LGBT community has resulted in under-policing when they are victimized, but over-policing in places of leisure – damaging trust between the two parties.

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Homophobic and heterosexist attitudes of police against the LGBT community has resulted in under-policing when they are victimized, but over-policing in places of leisure – damaging trust between the two parties. This is according to a study that also suggests that the relationship between police officers and LGBT people remains strained across several dimensions.

A new study by Florida Atlantic University and collaborators from Arizona State University and the University of Rhode Island examines the relationship between procedural justice (fairness and perceived respect of the police-citizen encounter) and perceptions of police legitimacy (willingness to recognize police authority) among a historically marginalized population.

“LGBT people often found themselves in trouble with the law for a variety of reasons like criminal laws against sodomy or dressing in ‘drag.’ Police regularly raided LGBT bars and charged patrons with lewdness,” said Lisa M. Dario, Ph.D., lead author and an assistant professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice within FAU’s College for Design and Social Inquiry in the US. “While there is a lot of research on the LGBT community’s relationship with police, there is scant research on how they perceive police legitimacy and what predicts their willingness to obey, cooperate, and recognize police authority.”

For the study, the researchers set out to test two hypotheses: greater perceptions of procedural justice would predict greater levels of police legitimacy; and lesbian women would report lower levels of legitimacy compared to other groups.

Results, published in the Journal of Homosexuality, confirm their first hypothesis that procedural justice and legitimacy are positively related. For their second hypothesis, however, they found mixed support. As they predicted, lesbian, bisexual and transgender females reported significantly lower levels of police legitimacy than heterosexual cisgender women and gay males. They speculate that this may be a result of lesbian, bisexual and trans women experiencing both sexism and homophobia, which, in turn compounds the amount of minority stress that they experience. Conversely, they did not find a significant difference in perceptions of police legitimacy between heterosexual men and lesbian women.

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Other findings show that race, age, gender, and relationship status were not significant predictors of police legitimacy. Yet, in the first study model, Hispanic ethnicity was. Surprisingly, Hispanic respondents reported greater perceptions of police legitimacy compared to non-Hispanic respondents. Historically, blacks and Hispanics in general have more negative views of police than wites. Self-identifying as LGBT did not significantly lower perception of police legitimacy compared to non-LGBT respondents.

“Studying the views of this often-invisible segment of society is necessary to highlight the areas where law enforcement needs to improve in order to positively affect their legitimacy and, ultimately, citizen compliance,” said Dario. “If officers believe they will be caught and punished for behaviors that violate formal policies, then they will be less likely to engage in such behaviors. Moreover, crime in all its diversity would be more effectively combatted if more LGBT people could have greater trust and confidence in the police.”

Study co-authors are Henry F. Fradella, Ph.D., a professor and associate director in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University; Megan Verhagen, a graduate research assistant at Arizona State University; and Megan M. Parry, Ph.D., an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Rhode Island.

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Anti-bullying laws associated with fewer suicide attempts

Sexual minority youth have a higher prevalence of bullying and attempted suicide than non-sexual minority youth.

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New research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that anti-bullying laws that explicitly protect youth based on sexual orientation are associated with fewer suicide attempts among all youth, regardless of sexual orientation.

In addition, enumeration of sexual orientation was associated with fewer experiences of stressors, such as feeling unsafe at school and being physically forced to have sexual intercourse.

The report, “Sexual Orientation Enumeration in State Antibullying Statutes in the United States: Association with Bullying and Suicide Ideation and Attempts Among Youth” appears in LGBT Health and is co-authored by Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., Distinguished Senior Public Policy Scholar at the Williams Institute, Feijun Luo, Ph.D., Economist at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Bianca D.M. Wilson, Ph.D., Rabbi Barbara Zacky Senior Public Policy Scholar at the Williams Institute, and Deborah M. Stone, ScD, MSW, MPH, Behavioral Scientist at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

It is worth noting that the study, while shedding light on the effect of anti-discrimination policies on the overall health of LGBTQIA people, was done in the US. No similar study has been done in the Philippines, where there is still no national law protecting the rights of LGBTQIA people; and with only a handful of local government units (LGUs) with anti-discrimination ordinances.

In this study, while fewer youth attempted suicide in American states with sexual orientation-inclusive anti-bullying laws, more sexual minority youth experience bullying and other stressors, and they are more likely than non-sexual minority youth to experience suicide ideation and attempts—whether or not their state has explicit sexual orientation protections.

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“Enumeration of sexual orientation in state anti-bullying laws is a first step,” said lead author Ilan H. Meyer, a senior public policy scholar at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. “These laws are associated with fewer suicide attempts but do not eliminate disparities between sexual minority and non- sexual minority youth. Additional interventions, such as training teachers, instituting school-based support groups, and promoting social connectedness between youth and their communities may help reduce disparities in exposure to bullying and its ill effects for sexual minority youth.”

In the US, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws aimed at reducing bullying. Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia have enumerated anti-bullying laws that explicitly prohibit harassment and victimization of students based on sexual orientation.

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