Connect with us

Lifestyle & Culture

Are gay-themed indie films still relevant?

The likes of GMA’s “My Husband’s Lover”, TV5’s “POSI+IVE” or ABS-CBN’s “That’s My Tomboy” and “I Am PoGay” already contribute to the mainstreaming of LGBTQ presence in the media, even if the LGBTQ images they represent can be questioned. So Patrick King Pascual asks: Are gay-themed indie films still relevant today?

Published

on

It was in early part of 2000s when the first batch of indie films, at least the gay-themed ones, prominently made its way to the cinemas. The likes of director Crisaldo Pablo made it seem possible for just about anyone who has a camera and a movie maker software to make (arguably) quality films easy.  “Duda” (Doubt), Pablo’s first successful gay-themed indie film (arguably) paved the way for other indie filmmakers.  And while some succeeded, others failed to encapsulate what a “decent” gay-themed film should be.

Here is a question worth asking: In the LGBTQ community, are indie films still relevant?

There have been countless of films that were memorable, like Adolf Alix Jr.’s “Daybreak”, Joselito Altarejos’s “Ang Lihim ni Antonio”, and Auraeus Solito’sPagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros”, among others.  Notably, these movies became successful in their own ways because the story did not solely revolve around sex. Although their production wasn’t as superb as other indie films, their storylines were strong and they depicted… something real, in  a way.

Admittedly, there were other films that were memorable not because of their narratives, or their production, but because of their shallow sex narratives.  While not everyone may agree with this observation, but Queeriosity Video Project can be argued to have made a name for producing these kinds of films. In truth, there is nothing wrong with this.  In fact, it’s great to have these kinds of films – after all, they diversify the selection of flicks LGBTQ people can watch.  But then again, to be completely blunt, it’s not politically right to dub these films as “empowering the LGBTQ people.”

Of course, who can forget “Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington”? That movie that attempted to be funny by ridiculing gays and using false representations. Then there was “Slumber Party”, another film that used the stereotyped gay images to make the story more “profound”, though it failed by giving the audience instead the wrong notions of how gays act in front of heterosexuals.

The list goes on and on and on… with these indie films (sadly) following the same pattern.

Be honest now: When was the last time you saw a somewhat decent gay-themed movie, where sex was not its main attraction?

Recently, “Mga Adan sa Paraiso” entered the picture.  This is another indie film that attempts to break the pattern of the usual titillating-type of films.

Mga Adan sa Paraiso is different from other indie films.  It tackles the different agendas of homosexuals – how they are being ridiculed and discriminated in the community,” Neys Paolo Cruz, executive producer of Mga Adan sa Paraiso, said in an exclusive Outrage Magazine interview.

Mga Adan sa Paraiso” tells the story of an ex-seminarian, Raffy, who decided to leave his theological service to find his real self. He met with his friends and they went home to his native town, Nueva Ecija. He was then forced to face the questions he had for himself. During his stay in the province, Raffy had sexual relations with a woman. But this experience did not answer his needs completely. He continued to question himself. And then one night, for some reason, one of his (male) friends went to his room and persuaded him to have sex.

“The titillating scenes are a given when it comes to indie films, that is already a fact.  It’s something to attract the audience. But in this film, it’s not all about sex.  There’s (also) comedy and hard drama,” Cruz said.

The film was shot in only two days.

“I can’t really compare our movie to other movies since I haven’t seen other indie films as well,” Cruz said, adding that with “Mga Adan sa Paraiso“, at least they attempted to have something that is “well-crafted” to “capture the hearts of the audience.”

Mga Adan sa Paraiso” is slated to premier sometime this month. With no available trailer anywhere, the audience is left to speculate if the movie will join the roster of tasteless carnal films, or if it will have a storyline worth looking forward to.

Now back to the question: Are gay-themed indie films still relevant today?  Particularly since it can be argued that the likes of GMA’s “My Husband’s Lover”, TV5’s “POSI+IVE” or ABS-CBN’s “That’s My Tomboy” and “I Am PoGay” already contribute to the mainstreaming of LGBTQ presence in the media, even if the LGBTQ images they represent can be questioned.  Still, the mere fact that these giant networks are now devoting so much airtime touching on LGBTQ people remains noteworthy.

And so we ask again, can’t (most) gay-themed indie films be more like the ones in Cinemalaya, where almost everything is well thought of even if the production is not as grand as those produced in the mainstream? Or should the audience just stop expecting that there will be another decent gay-themed indie film again and just wait for big production companies or networks to produce one?

Living life a day at a time – and writing about it, is what Patrick King believes in. A media man, he does not only write (for print) and produce (for a credible show of a local giant network), but – on occasion – goes behind the camera for pride-worthy shots (hey, he helped make Bahaghari Center’s "I dare to care about equality" campaign happen!). He is the senior associate editor of OutrageMag, with his column, "Suspension of Disbelief", covering anything and everything. Whoever said business and pleasure couldn’t mix (that is, partying and working) has yet to meet Patrick King, that’s for sure! Patrick.King.Pascual@outragemag.com

Travel

Thailand could become first Southeast Asian country to legalize same-sex civil partnerships

Thailand’s Cabinet approved a draft bill that will legally recognize same-sex civil partnerships while giving greater rights to same-sex couples. If/when passed into law, this could be the first for any nation in Southeast Asia; and the second in Asia to allow for the registration of same-sex unions after Taiwan legalized marriage equality in 2019.

Published

on

Photo by Sumit Chinchane from Unsplash.com

The rainbow rises in Thailand.

Thailand’s Cabinet approved a draft bill that will legally recognize same-sex civil partnerships while giving greater rights to same-sex couples. If/when passed into law, this could be the first for any nation in Southeast Asia; and the second in Asia to allow for the registration of same-sex unions after Taiwan legalized marriage equality in 2019.

This is a major step, but to clarify, it doesn’t endorse same-sex “marriage(EMPHASIS OURS). Instead, the Civil Partnership Bill allows same-sex couples to legally register their union.

The draft bill defines “civil partners” as “couples born with the same sex”. To register, couples must be at least 17 years old and at least one of the pair must be a Thai citizen; meaning that – similar to Taiwan’s law on this – foreign same-sex couples will not be able register their partnership in Thailand.

Those under the age of 17 must get permission from their parents/legal guardian.

Under the draft bill, same-sex couples will be allowed to adopt children, claim inheritance rights, and jointly manage assets such as property for the first time. However, partners would not be entitled to the same financial benefits that heterosexual couples get from the state.

The bill also covers rules for separations – e.g. unions could be ended by death, voluntary separation or court order.

While the Cabinet’s approval is a major development, process-wise, this is far from over as the draft bill still needs to go through a public hearing and then the House of Representatives (HOR) will debate and vote on it. If HOR passes the bill, it will then will go to the Senate for another vote.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Culture

Top 7 reasons why people use stones and crystals for health healing

Have you ever wondered about the health benefits of these stones and crystals and why are people interested in it in the first place?

Published

on

Traditionally, stones and crystals have been incorporated in the spiritual and emotional healing of the wounded soul, since times unknown.  Healing stones and crystals have been widely found its usage in the alternate healing method, dating back to the ancient Chinese and Indian cultures. The Egyptians were among the first people to wear stones like Lapis Lazuli to ward off the evil and negative energies. 

In the modern days, where some people are uncertain and unsure of pretty much everything in their lives, there are also some serious believers of spiritual healing processes. Hence, today crystals are not only used by the Zen masters, but are also incorporated by common people who believe in the physical and emotional healing powers of these precious gems.

While some spiritual enthusiasts wear the crystals and stones for their healing and calming properties, others wear them for ornamental purposes, making it their style statements. Therefore, we even see top notch celebrities sporting some breathtaking crystals and stone jewelry. From Victoria Beckham to Bella Hadid, everyone seems to be harnessing the healing benefits of crystals and stones. Katy Perry even sleeps with one in her hand during the night.

Have you ever wondered about the health benefits of these stones and crystals and why are people interested in it in the first place? 

In this article, we’ve articulated the numerous benefits of using healing stones and crystals for overall well-being of a person. 

Reasons for Using Stones and Crystals for Healing

Crystals and stones are not only used for the beautification purpose, but they also have healing properties and are known to cure some ailments. For example, Topaz can help bring clarity while Amethyst is good for improving intuition. Moreover, various colorful stones and crystals are associated with the chakras in the body. Thus, crystals and stones can be used in various ways for getting optimal benefits. 

Listed below are some of the most common health benefits of using stones and crystals for healing:

1. Stones and Crystals Help in the Emotional Healing

Emotions can create invisible wounds which apparently doesn’t immediately impact your physical well-being.  However, if left unresolved, they can manifest themselves in form of physical ailments. Nevertheless, you can still see the immediate impact of unpleasant emotions on your mental well-being. Hence, the healing crystals and stones can help in soothing and calming those emotional wounds. 

  • Aquamarine or Gold Topaz: For those, who feel a sense of abandonment, these stones are believed to help you connect to the universal feeling of motherhood. Thereby, it releases your sense of abandonment by connecting you to the higher being and the nature itself.
  • Sapphire: It may help in healing anxiety, depression and insomnia, 
  • Tiger’s eye:  It’s said to remove fear and self-doubt. 
  • Apache tears:  It’s a popular stone for emotional healing.

2. It Induces a Calming Effect

Most stones and crystals are said to create a calming effect on your soul and mind. Since crystals contain the healing energy of the earth, they have an energizing, stabilizing and calming impact on the wounded soul. When crystals or stones interact with the person, they allow positive energy to flow in the body while removing the negative energy. Hence, this creates a relaxing and calming effect. 

3. It Helps in Aligning Vibrations for Mental Clarity

 Each stone or crystal has a unique molecular composition, that projects in form of different vibrations. The stones’ vibrations are used to align your vibrations that further uplift one’s mood, impart mental clarity or simply help someone sleep better. Since crystals vibrate at the same pitch as humans, they can optimize the body’s own healing mechanism by clearing and energizing the energies. For instance, you can use Fluorite to improve mental clarity and focus. 

4. They’re Known to Improve Women’s Health

Crystals today are also being used to help women deal with issues like PMS, childbirth or infertility. 

  • Rose quartz is said to be the stone for love and heals the second chakra connected to the reproductive organs and menstrual cycles. 
  • Moon Stone is also used for regulating the menstrual cycle and balance hormones. In Chinese medicine, this stone is connected to the ren channel which is responsible for fertility. 

5. Crystals Harness the Healing Properties of Nature

All-natural stones and crystals carry within them the healing properties of earth, sun, moon and sometimes other planets, too. When you use a natural crystal, it can help you connect to the various energies of nature which benefits your physical, mental and emotional well-being. For example, 

  • Moonstone helps you harness the energies of the moon and helps stabilize emotions, reduce stress and promote calmness.  
  • Garnet can help you harness the energies of the sun and is said to detoxify the blood and keep the heart healthy. 

6. Crystals Help in Reducing Insomnia 

Lack of proper sleep can have an adverse effect on your physical and emotional well-being. Stones like Amethyst and Jasper can help you sleep better. Amethyst is said to remove the mind’s endless monologue that keeps you awake all night. It’s also effective for reducing nightmares. Place a piece of amethyst under your pillow to reduce restlessness and promote restful sleep. 

7. They are Known to Improve Digestive Health

Some crystals and stones have detoxing properties and can be used as preventive measures for digestive health. Carnelian helps with tissue regeneration and digestion. Carnelian is also used to improve liver, gall bladder, lungs, kidney, spleen, thyroid and pancreas. It can also help with certain eating disorders. 

Ways to Use Healing Stones and Crystals:

  • Set an Intention: You need to have an internal goal or intention to achieve through these crystals. This implies you must program your crystal. To program the crystals, hold the crystal in your hands, think about your intention. The intentions should be precise for the crystal to work and mentally convey the message to the crystal to perform as intended. 
  • Carry your Stones: For your stones to work optimally, they should be in direct contact with you. This way, you can tap into that tremendous natural energy for healing optimally. You can either wear the stone as a pendant or keep it in your pocket or bag. 
  • Meditate with Them: You can use your crystals to connect to your spiritual energy by holding them while you meditate. 
  • Create A Bath Ritual: You can put some healing and detoxing stones in your bath once a week for relaxation and rejuvenation. However, make sure to use appropriate stones as not all stones can be kept in water. To enjoy some self-love and healing, throw in a rose quartz the next time you plan a bath ritual.

Conclusion

Though there may not be any scientific evidence on the healing properties of stone and crystals, but they’ve been used since ages, for physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. While some stones have an energizing effect and others may be used to calm the nerves. Mostly all of them help remove negative energies and blockages, allowing the free flow of energy essential for one’s physical and emotional health. 

When buying crystals, remember to look for crystals that can be used to solve your specific problem. This way, you can get the maximum benefit from it. Ideally, you need to consult a spiritual master to guide you about the specific crystals and stones to help in your healing process.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Culture

Effective exercises to boost your manhood

There are several factors why men can sometimes lose their sexual drive and basic reasons such as fatigue, stress, mental breakdown, and certain prescription drugs such as antidepressant medications.

Published

on

There are several factors why men can sometimes lose their sexual drive and basic reasons such as fatigue, stress, mental breakdown, and certain prescription drugs such as antidepressant medications. Excessive consumption of alcohol, the use of illegal substances, and decreased levels of testosterone could all play a major role. People with depression may feel a loss of desire, and find sex less appealing.

In this writing, we are going to discuss some effective exercises to boost your manhood. 

Abdomen and Lower Back Exercise 

For almost every sexual position, the abdomen and pelvis muscles get used more often. For higher overall abdominal and lower back endurance, exercise reverse curls, squats, sit-ups, planks, and push-ups. Ensure you do not hollow your back, but attempt to maintain all of your muscles functioning during the workout, particularly your abs.

To make sure that you reach all of your core muscles, use side planks that tone and enhance the muscles along your sides, allowing it easier to switch positions and remain balanced. Keep your hip off the floor and legs either stacked or staggered by sitting on your side and pulling yourself up on your elbow. You must place your shoulder above your elbow, and your body is in a straight direction.

Pelvic Floor Exercise

Kegel exercises have demonstrated effectiveness in the category of sexual intercourse. This routine can help boost male and female pelvic muscles. Among the effective male enhancement exercises available online, Kegel or pelvic floor exercise is one of the most helpful for erectile dysfunction. It aims the muscles in the lower part of the pelvis and one is called the pubococcygeus in particular. Practicing pelvic floor exercises in the pubococcygeus can reinforce and boost tone. It may take around four to six weeks for an individual to notice an improvement in erections.

It is an easy but necessary exercise. To do it, lie down with knees bent, feet flat on the concrete, and arms at the sides to trigger the pelvic floor muscles. Then exhale and squeeze the pelvic floor muscles, inhale and release for a count of three. Take the time to find the correct group of muscles, those at the bottom of the pelvis should be the right ones. Be sure the muscles in your abdomen, buttocks, and legs don’t contract. When a person is comfortable doing Kegel exercises 2 to 3 times a day, adding workouts that require more movement will help.

Arm Exercises

Your physical stamina involves a certain amount of forearm strength when you are supporting a sexual position. Elevating the weight on your forearm curls is beneficial. For a couple of days each week, you can perform 1 to 2 sets of forearm curls, and make substantial improvements within a month or two.  

Most men are searching for ways to improve their success in sexual matters. It can include fixing current problems or trying to find new ways to keep their partner satisfied. Exercise and remaining healthy are among the best ways to boost your performance. By keeping your body in shape with regular exercise, you may also improve your sex life.

Continue Reading

Health & Wellness

Incarceration, police discrimination may worsen psychological, physical health of sexual minority men – study

43% of study participants reported police discrimination within the previous year, which was most frequent among those with a history of incarceration. Respondents who faced high levels of police discrimination within the previous year also tended to show high levels of psychological distress and HIV risk, and a low willingness to take PrEP compared with their peers.

Published

on

Photo by Cameron Casey from Pexels.com

Incarceration and police discrimination may contribute to HIV, depression and anxiety among gay, bisexual and other sexual minority men, according to a Rutgers led study.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, examined associations between incarceration, police and law enforcement discrimination and recent arrest particularly with Black sexual minority mens’ psychological distress, risk for HIV and willingness to take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.

“Evidence suggests Black sexual minority men in the US may face some of the highest rates of policing and incarceration in the world,” said lead author, Devin English, assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health. “Despite this, research examining the health impacts of the US carceral system rarely focuses on their experiences.”

The study particularly examined how incarceration and police discrimination, which have roots in enforcing White supremacy and societal heterosexism, are associated with some of the most pressing health crises among Black sexual minority men like depression, anxiety, and HIV.

The researchers surveyed 1,172 Black, gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority men over the age of 16 from across the US who reported behaviors that increased their risk for HIV over the previous six months. Participants reported on their incarceration history, experiences of police and law enforcement discrimination, anxiety and depression, sexual behavior, and willingness to take PrEP.

They found that 43% of study participants reported police discrimination within the previous year, which was most frequent among those with a history of incarceration. Respondents who faced high levels of police discrimination within the previous year also tended to show high levels of psychological distress and HIV risk, and a low willingness to take PrEP compared with their peers. The study also found that respondents who were previously incarcerated or recently arrested had a heightened HIV risk and lower willingness to take PrEP.

“These findings transcend individual-level only explanations to offer structural-level insights about how we think about Black sexual minority men’s HIV risk,” said co-author Lisa Bowleg, professor of psychology at The George Washington University. “The study rightly directs attention to the structural intersectional discrimination that negatively affects Black sexual minority men’s health.”

The findings support the need for anti-racist and anti-heterosexist advocacy and interventions focused on reducing discrimination in societies, and the carceral system specifically.

“Despite experiencing a disproportionate burden of violence and discrimination at the hands of the police, and extremely high carceral rates, Black queer men are largely invisible in discourse on anti-Black policing and incarceration,” said co-author Joseph Carter, doctoral student of health psychology at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. “Our study provides empirical support for the intersectional health impacts of police and carceral discrimination that have been systemically perpetrated onto Black queer men.”

Continue Reading

Travel

City in Massachusetts officially recognizes polyamorous relationships

The city of Somerville in Massachusetts in the US passed an ordinance that officially recognizes polyamorous relationships by no longer limiting the number of people included in domestic partnerships.

Published

on

Photo by Mark Boss from Unsplash.com

#LoveisLove

The city of Somerville in Massachusetts in the US passed an ordinance that officially recognizes polyamorous relationships by no longer limiting the number of people included in domestic partnerships.

With this, Somerville becomes one of the first cities in the US to officially recognize polyamorous relationships.

This move was actually a result of a few subtle language shifts – e.g. instead of defining a relationship as an “entity formed by two persons,” the ordinance now defines it as an “entity formed by people”; replaces “he and she” with “they”; and replaces “both” with “all.”

The City Council passed the ordinance on June 25; and on June 29, Mayor Joe Curtatone signed it into municipal law.

Polyamory is usually defined as the practice of having multiple consensual intimate relationships, and is often described as consensual non-monogamy. Relationships can be sexual or romantic, and are not gender-specific. Polyamorous relationships are diverse and can look different depending on the family. Sometimes it means having a primary relationship and seeking casual intimacy, and sometimes it means involving a third or fourth (and so on) person in building a family structure.

Photo by ATC Comm Photo from Pexels.com

This is important: It is illegal in all 50 American states to be married to more than one person, which is known as polygamy, not polyamory. Polygamy is tied to marriage (and is also gendered); and does not reference romance, intimacy or even consent.

Polyamory, meanwhile, refers to different kinds of arrangements — e.g. when a married couple has regular outside partners. Prior to this ordinance, there was no legal framework in Somerville for polyamorous families to share finances, custody of children or the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage.

Somerville is now in the process of changing the application to include space for more than two partners.

Continue Reading

Travel

Montenegro legalizes same-sex civil partnerships

Montenegro legalized same-sex civil partnerships, in a 42-5 vote among the country’s lawmakers. With this move, it becomes the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognize same-sex couples.

Published

on

Photo by roemi62 at Pixabay.com

Montenegro legalized same-sex civil partnerships, in a 42-5 vote among the country’s lawmakers. With this move, it becomes the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognize same-sex couples.

This is not a complete win, by any means.

While the new law will give same-sex couples the same legal rights as mixed-sex couples, same-sex couples will not have the right to adopt.

The country’s president, Milo Đukanović, tweeted that they were now “one step closer to joining the most developed world democracies.”

The law will come into effect next year, with details yet to be finalized, as well as government clerks needing to undergo training.

Montenegro’s pro-LGBTQIA move is only one of the country’s moves largely driven by its attempt to join the European Union. Another move includes anti-discrimination training for police services and health workers.

Photo by falco at Pixabay.com

Still in the Balkans, parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina are also set to start a consultation that could mean the government starts recognizing same-sex relationships. Now this is worth highlighting: The country is divided into two self-governing entities, and only the Federation is considering the move. The conservative Republika Srpska, which covers less than the Federation, is not considering it.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

Most Popular