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Filipino psychologists organize first LGBT professional group in SEAsia, launch new studies

Aside from launching PAP’s LGBT Psychology Special Interest Group, the first organized collective of mental health professionals dedicated to LGBT rights and well-being in the Philippines and in the Southeast Asian region, PAP also celebrated another first for LGBT psychology in Asia: a special all-LGBT issue of its peer-reviewed research journal, the Philippine Journal of Psychology.

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PJPLGBT psychologists from the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) have organized to add a collective psychological voice in the advocacy for LGBT empowerment.

Psychologists and counselors from the University of the Philippines Diliman, University of the Philippines Tacloban, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University Manila, De La Salle University Dasmariñas, University of Sto Tomas, and University of San Carlos Cebu launched the PAP’s LGBT Psychology Special Interest Group, the first organized collective of mental health professionals dedicated to LGBT rights and well-being in the Philippines and in the Southeast Asian region.

PAP president Dr. Regina Hechanova lauded the initiative as path-breaking not just for Philippine psychology but for the region.

“As Filipino psychologists I have never thought of us as ‘pro-gay’. We are simply pro-person. And pro-human rights,” Hechanova said.

PAP also celebrated another first for LGBT psychology in Asia: a special all-LGBT issue of its peer-reviewed research journal, the Philippine Journal of Psychology. The issue was guest-edited by Prof. Eric Manalastas of UP Diliman and features nine new original research studies conducted in local settings.

For the LGBT issue of the journal, topics ranged from dynamics of Filipino same-sex couples, coming out stories of Waray gay teenagers, and babaeng bakla (“fag hag” women), to sexual prejudice and transphobia in the Philippines, and gay children in conflict with the law.

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Understanding of LGBT realities ‘non-existent’ in most countries – UN expert

More data should be collected to better understand the root causes of violence directed towards LGBT people in the world, says Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on SOGI.

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More data ought to be collected to better understand the root causes of violence directed towards LGBT people in the world. This is the call made by Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, ahead of his presentation to the Human Rights Council.

Madrigal-Borloz noted that policymakers are taking decisions in the dark, left only with personal preconceptions and prejudices. Clear information about the realities as lived by most LGBT people are, at best, little understood, “incomplete and fragmented”, he said, adding that “in most countries, it is simply non-existent” and that “maintaining such a level of ignorance without seeking appropriate evidence is tantamount to criminal negligence.”

For Madrigal-Borloz: “States must adequately address this scourge through public policy, access to justice, law reform or administrative actions.”

There are numerous barriers still faced by LGBT people in various parts of the world, created by criminalization, pathologization, demonization and stigmatization.

Data collection efforts are already underway in some parts of the world and have supported assessments of the situation of LGBT persons in various areas of life, including their relative safety, well-being, health, education and employment. But “many other areas still lack data and remain unexplored, for example, the concerns of aging LGBT people and intersections with disability, racism and xenophobia.”

The rapporteur called on States to “design and implement comprehensive data collection procedures to assess the type, prevalence, trends and patters of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons. When doing so, States should always respect the overriding ‘do no harm’ principle and follow a human rights-based approach to prevent the misuse of collected data.”

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‘Religion never an excuse to hate’ – Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray

“Religion is never an excuse to hate, put down or act indifferent to the suffering of others. I believe God is love, and I will treat everyone – no matter who they are, to best of my ability, with love,” said Catriona Gray via Instagram, in a promo of an alcoholic drink.

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Screencap of Catriona Gray's Instagram account

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray highlighted her support for the LGBTQIA community via a response to those who criticize her for being a Christian who, at the same time, supports the LGBTQIA community.

https://www.instagram.com/p/ByuoMBPAlRk/

On an Instagram account, Gray shared a photo that showed her support for the LGBTQIA community this #Pride2019.

But one of the comments she received questioned her “testimony about your Christianity”, telling her to “please do not compromise.”

Gray replied to the netizen, saying: “My belief as a Christian does not limit me from fighting for the rights of others.” She added that she loves God the way she loves her fellow “fellow brothers and sisters.”

“Religion is never an excuse to hate, put down or act indifferent to the suffering of others. I believe God is love, and I will treat everyone – no matter who they are, to best of my ability, with love,” Gray added.

While the outspokenness is – in itself – commendable, it is worth noting that Gray’s post was also because of her endorsement of @sanmiglightph (San Miguel Light), an alcoholic drink.

San Miguel Light is a product of San Miguel Brewery Inc. (a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation), the Philippines’ largest brewery with a market share of over 95% as of 2008, with earnings reaching P10.042 billion. The company is not known to have efforts to help deal with alcoholism in the country.

Though still not widely discussed particularly in the Philippines, members of the LGBTQIA community are at higher risk for alcoholism (and polysubstance abuse, in general).

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Incidentally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “studies have shown that, when compared with the general population, LGBT individuals are more likely to: use alcohol and drugs; have higher rates of substance abuse; not withhold from alcohol and drug use; and continue heavy drinking into later life.” Up to 25% of gay and transgender people abuse alcohol, compared to 5% to 10% of the general population.

The CDC added that “alcohol and illegal drug use… also contribute to a higher chance of getting HIV and other STDs. Persons using drugs or alcohol may also raise their chances of getting HIV or giving it to others by getting involved in more risky sexual practices and behaviors or through sharing needles or other injection equipment.”

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Pride comeback in Bacolod on June 22

The City of Smiles is slated to host its first Pride parade in four years on June 22 (starting at 3PM), with the event congregating at the Fountain of Justice of the Old City Hall.

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Photo by tanvimalik from Pixabay.com

Rainbow pride returns to Bacolod City.

The City of Smiles is slated to host its first Pride parade in four years on June 22 (starting at 3PM), with the event congregating at the Fountain of Justice of the Old City Hall.

This is a “momentous comeback for Pride and the LGBTQIA presence not only in Bacolod City, but in the entire province of Negros Occidental,” said Girard Mariano Lopez, a Grade 11 student leader and activist from Bacolod City.

The event is helmed by HAPI, and Linghod and Negrosanon Youth Leaders Institute.

Despite not having a Pride-related event for four years, Bacolod City – surprisingly – has an anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO), passed in 2013.Authored by Councilor Em Ang, the ordinance prohibits discrimination of a person because of gender, disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion, and carries a penalty for those who violate it P5,000.00 and/or imprisonment of not more than one year upon the discretion of the court.

For more information, head to Tribu Duag.

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Cebu City’s Pride parade slated on June 22

Cebu City is slated to hold its Pride parade this June 22 (starting 3PM) at Fuente Circle.

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Themed “Pabuhagay”, Cebu City is slated to hold its Pride parade this June 22 (starting 3PM) at Fuente Circle.

The parade, according to Cebu City Anti-discrimination Commission, “commemorates 50 years since the Stonewall Riot in New York in) 1969 – a vital point that marked the dawn of the LGBTQIA’s history of struggles and victories.” However, “the stains of inequality and injustice still linger today” and “as we celebrate Stonewall’s essential role in history, we reflect on its victories and continue to fight our struggles in our own setting – because since and still, Pride is a protest.”

Cebu City already passed the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance in 2012, eventually leading to the formation of the Anti-discrimination Commission in 2017. And while “these have addressed certain demands of (LGBTQIA people)… program implementation specific to the sector remains indefinite.”

For instance, the SOGIE Equality Bill stalled in the Senate; and so this year’s Cebu City parade “calls for the passage of SOGIE Equality Bill in the 18th Congress and in the Cebu City Council.”

“Until every LGBTQIA person from across all sectors of society and among all walks of life gains genuine liberty and equality, the fight remains,” Cebu City Anti-discrimination Commission stated. “The protest continues.”

Head to Cebu City Anti-discrimination Commission for more information.

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Trans people ‘annihilate the concept of nature’, says Vatican

A Vatican position paper notes that the transgender experience is “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants”.

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Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels.com

The Vatican issued a statement rejecting transgender people, saying they “annihilate…the concept of nature”.

The position paper, titled ‘Male And Female He Created Them’ – issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Vatican office responsible for overseeing education – notes that the transgender experience is “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants”.

The document was issued for “all who have a special interest in education, and to those whose work is touched by the question of gender theory.”

Ironically, the Vatican document wants to appear pro-LGBTQIA, stating that a “position held in common is the need to educate children and young people to respect every person in their particularity and difference, so that no one should suffer bullying, violence, insults or unjust discrimination based on their specific characteristics (such as special needs, race, religion, sexual tendencies, etc.).”

But the anti-LGBTQIA stance is apparent.

The document is critical of gender theory, by and large, stating: “ Gender theory (especially in its most radical forms) speaks of a gradual process of denaturalization, that is a move away from nature and towards an absolute option for the decision of the feelings of the human subject. In this understanding of things, the view of both sexuality identity and the family become subject to the same ‘liquidity’ and ‘fluidity’ that characterize other aspects of post-modern culture, often founded on nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants, or momentary desires provoked by emotional impulses and the will of the individual, as opposed to anything based on the truths of existence”.

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The 31-page document – signed by Italians Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi and Archbishop Angelo Zani, with Pope Francis not signing – also calls on doctors to “intervene” on intersex patients, even when parents do not agree.

It states: “In cases where a person’s sex is not clearly defined, it is medical professionals who can make a therapeutic intervention. In such situations, parents cannot make an arbitrary choice on the issue, let alone society. Instead, medical science should act with purely therapeutic ends, and intervene in the least invasive fashion, on the basis of objective parameters and with a view to establishing the person’s constitutive identity.”

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Vienna comes to Manila to celebrate pride, diversity and equality

Under the theme “LGBTQIA+ Greatness in Leadership and the Arts” the Austrian Embassy and its partners Frontrow Philippines and Love Is All We Need bring together Austrian and Filipino equality advocates from the disciplines of photography, visual arts, fashion and makeup, performance art, film and music in a celebration of diversity, unity and equality.

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Austria stands together with the Philippines against gender-based discrimination and violence at its first-ever MNLxVIE Equality Fest, a five-day campaign championing the LGBTQIA+ community through creative activism.

“On this 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Austria continues to take a strong stance against isolation, hatred and discrimination, while honoring self-affirmation, dignity and equality: We are more than our borders. We are more than the languages we speak and the color of our skin. We are more than our gender and who we want to love. This was the mission statement and message that EuroPride 2019 hosted in Vienna this Pride Month successfully delivered. Today, we look back on a great deal of progress, but all along in the sober realization that there is still a way to go. And our ambitions are not restricted to just one country: because LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights – and as Austria we will always stand up for them all over the world,” said Austrian Ambassador Bita Rasoulian.  

Under the theme “LGBTQIA+ Greatness in Leadership and the Arts” the Austrian Embassy and its partners Frontrow Philippines and Love Is All We Need bring together Austrian and Filipino equality advocates from the disciplines of photography, visual arts, fashion and makeup, performance art, film and music in a celebration of diversity, unity and equality.

On June 25 the festival opens with a launch party at Tarzeer Pictures, Makati, by Amb. Rasoulian and equal rights advocates RS Francisco and Queenmelo Esguerra. The launch is accompanied by the photo exhibit “RECORD, RECORD” on Austria’s LGBTQIA+ history and excerpts from the book “Anong Pangalan Mo Sa Gabi?” by UP Babaylan, Babaylanes, Inc. and UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies,  as well as works by renowned and upcoming local LGBTQIA+ photographers. Flying in straight from Austria to join the festival are Austrian intersex rights activist Noah Rieser, filmmaker Gregor Schmidinger and drag queen Tamara Mascara.

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On June 26, the Intramuros Administration unveils a Pride-themed public mural. Situated across Museo de Intramuros, the art work is a collaborative project of the Austrian Embassy, Austrian artist Katharina Kapsamer and Salzburg Global Forum fellow Ralph Eya.

On June 26, drag queen Tamara Mascara, heading cosmetics giant MAC’s Viva Glam online campaign for Pride month in the Philippines, performs at Tomatito, BGC with Filipino queens MC Black, Precious Paula Nicole and Queen Viña! Don’t miss Tamara on June 28 as DJane at XX:XX’s Elephant Night closing party.

On June 27, intersex activist Noah Rieser leads the panel “LGBTQIA+ Greatness in Leadership: An Equality Talk” on Austria’s recent legislation allowing for a third gender option in legal documents. Joining him at the De la Salle-College of Saint Benilde are Myla Escultura of Intersex Philippines, 2018 bar topnotcher Sean Borja and Filipino artist fellows of the Salzburg Global Forum Reymart Cerin, Mark Salvatus, Andrei Venal and filmmaker Cha Roque.

On June 27, Austrian filmmaker Gregor Schmidinger in cooperation with the FDCP premieres his film “NEVRLAND” in Manila at the Cinematheque Centre.

On June 28, Schmidinger and renowned Filipino filmmakers Joel Lamangan, Moira Lang and Samantha Lee discuss LGBTQIA+ films in a Q&A at the UP Film Institute.

On June 29, the MNL-VIE Equality Fest culminates with the Metro Manila Pride March, where Amb. Rasoulian and all festival participants and partners march with The Red Whistle campaign #FuelTheLove and #ExtinguishTheStigma.

MNLxVIE Equality Fest 2019 is supported by the UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, UP Babaylan, Babaylanes, Inc., Benilde Hive and The Red Whistle; with the support of EuroPride Vienna 2019, MAC Cosmetics Philippines, Intramuros Administration, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), Digi Ads and Think Big Events; and venue partners Tarzeer Pictures, Tomatito Manila, UPFI Film Center – Cine Adarna, Cinematheque Centre Manila, SoFA Design Institute and XX XX.

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