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Go for broke in Mr. Gay World 2014

Meet Randolph Val Palma, a six-footer and 31-year-old Davaoeño, who will carry the Philippine flag to the upcoming Mr. Gay World, a global competition that goes beyond beauty to find the “most inspiring and compelling gay man in the world”, to be held in Rome at the end of this month.

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Will the Philippines' very own Randolph Val Palma finally bring home the Mr. Gay World crown? PHOTO COURTESY OF MR. GAY WORLD

Will the Philippines’ very own Randolph Val Palma finally bring home the Mr. Gay World crown?
PHOTO COURTESY OF MR. GAY WORLD

Christopher Michael Olwage of New Zealand’s time as Mr. Gay World 2013 is about to end in a few days, and many pageant enthusiasts across the globe are now looking forward to meet “that next gay man” who will champion LGBTQIA human rights not just in his own country, but on the global stage.

The contestants from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Iceland. ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF MR. GAY WORLD

The contestants from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Iceland.
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF MR. GAY WORLD

Mr. Gay World is not a usual beauty contest. At least in the dictionary of Eric Butter, the pageant’s co-founder and president, it is defined as “the toughest job interview in the world.” It is based on the visionary pillars of friendship, diversity and respect, and the winners chosen year after year will serve as role models and ambassadors for young gay men of the world. The sixth edition of the pageant will be held in the southern part of Eternal City, in Rome, Italy, from August 25 to 31.

Randolph Val Palma will be the Philippine envoy to this year’s competition. The 31-year-old and six-footer native of Davao City was appointed by Mr. Gay World for Asia regional director Noemi Alberto and Winnstruck Productions president Mac Bordallo, the local franchise holders of the global search. No local competition was held this year due to time constraints. Palma was actually first runner-up to eventual titleholder Carlito Rosadiño in the Mr. Gay World Philippines 2012 tilt.

Val works as a part-time runway model, and a team leader for JP Morgan Chase & Co., a global financial services firm. He completed his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology, majoring in technology teacher education, at the University of Southwestern Philippines, under a scholarship program of the Department of Science and Technology. He passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers in 2004. He is the son of the late Randy Palma, a military police, and Gene Digal, a retired nurse.

The pressure is on him as he will try to equal, if not surpass, the previous good standing of the Philippines in Mr. Gay World. David Noel Bosley was semifinalist in 2010; Marc Ernest Biala was semifinalist, Best in National Costume and Mr. Gay Popularity in 2011. Carlito Rosadiño was semifinalist, Best in National Costume and Mr. Gay Popularity in 2012. And Erimar Ortigas was also semifinalist and Mr. Gay Popularity last year.

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But the Mr. Gay World crown still remains elusive to the Philippines.

“I am not thinking of the pressure (anymore). I just maximize whatever time is left for me to prepare. I was only informed by the organizers two months ago. I’ve been dieting and going to the gym (since then). Seeing my co-candidates’ pictures online (honestly speaking), I cannot totally compete with their well-toned bodies. (You see), it’s impossible for me to have six-pack abs in a short period of time,” he said with a smile in an interview with Outrage Magazine.

The delegates from India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Syria, United Kingdom, USA and Venezuela ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF MR. GAY WORLD

The delegates from India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Syria, United Kingdom, USA and Venezuela
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF MR. GAY WORLD

“But I think my competitive edge is my working knowledge of various issues confronting the LGBT community here in our country. Even before joining Mr. Gay World Philippines two years ago, I was already helping the LGBT community. I am part of the ‘Take The Test’ project. During my free days at work, I volunteer in providing adequate information about HIV and AIDS through screening and pre-test/post-test counseling. It’s my little way of making everyone a responsible owner of their own sexuality.”

When asked how excited he is in his ultimate pageant assignment, Val said: “Very excited! It’s my first time to travel in Europe, and my mom (who has just retired) will be coming with me! Her presence and guidance in my forthcoming journey will be my immense source of strength.”

MEET THE CANDIDATES

Mr. Gay World 2014 is going to be tough, as this year will have the most number of participants, with 32. They must compete in different challenges first — written test, art exhibit, national costume, formal wear, swimwear, photo shoot, sports and series of off- and on-stage interviews — to earn points. Their preliminary and final scores will be added up and the delegate with the highest mark will be crowned as the overall winner.

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Here are 12 delegates that will make Randolph Val Palma compete harder.

  1. Christopher Glebatsas, 35, an Australian who runs a skin care business with his partner. He has a master’s degree in applied finance and spent most of his life working for investment banks.
  2. Austria’s Klaus Burkart, 20, is a milk technologist. The youngest delegate in this year’s batch is the strongest contender for the Mr. Gay Photogenic special award.
  3. Christepher Wee of Canada is a private school teacher in Greater Vancouver. He teaches elementary and secondary-level students and specializes in visual arts and modern language acquisition. He’s also an actor, TV host and model in Asia. He obtained his fine arts and education degrees at the University of British Columbia.
  4. Cyprus’ Kiriakos Spanos, 26, completed his economics and management degree at the London Metropolitan University. He also took up teaching and currently works as an English teacher in Madrid, Spain.
  5. Sushant Divgikar of India, 24, is a certified psychologist, professional singer, model, actor and TV personality. He’s presently pursuing his master’s degree in counseling psychology and psychotherapy. Sushant spends his free time counseling and mentoring young adults struggling with issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.
  6. Italy’s Nicola La Triglia, 28, is a lawyer and PhD student in theory of law. “Know yourself authentically, accept yourself, and love yourself so you can ‘authentically’ love,” is his message of hope and liberation to all of the candidates who will compete with him on his home turf.
  7. Pedro Cervantes Alvarez, 25, is a veterinarian and would be happy to become Mexico’s newest export to the global LGBT community. There’s never been a winner from his country—Pico Velasco Michel almost did by placing third in 2009—and he believes that it’s about time. He is also an active volunteer in Vida Plena Puebla A.C., a social LGBT group.
  8. Troy Williams, 33 worked as a lawyer for the past six years in Sydney and London. But he’s just headed to Auckland University to take up medicine. Since New Zealand is one of the best-performing countries in the history of Mister Gay World, with consecutive wins by Andreas Derleth in 2012 and Christopher Michael Olwage last year, Troy has the pressure of achieving a three-peat victory for his country.
  9. South Africa’s Werner de Waal, 26, is an accountant by profession. He thinks that LGBT people who are approaching their retirement age should have a sort of retirement home or village dedicated for them, a community that understands and has their best interest at heart.
  10. Stuart Hatton Jr. of the United Kingdom, 29, graduated with a degree in language and linguistics at the Newcastle University in England. He’s a part-time professional undergarments model and a full-time dance teacher.
  11. United States’ Damien Darrell Rodgers, 33, is a personal fitness trainer. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management and will be going back to school in a few months from now to pursue his master’s degree in international business.
  12. Luis Ernesto Vento, 33, from Venezuela, is a visual merchandiser for a national department store chain. A graduate of tourism and interior designing, he prepared for this pageant by polishing his knowledge of human rights, civil unions and gay marriage.
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Completing this year’s lineup of candidates are Belgium’s Willem Joris, 28, PhD student in media studies; Geroge Todorov, 32, model from Bulgaria; Cambodia’s Chetra Chan Hun, 25, jewelry shop salesman; Julien Mbiada, 29, recruitment coordinator from Cambodia; Costa Rica’s Javier Salazar Alfaro, 34, a university professor; Michael Klapetek, 29, theater dancer from Czech Republic; Denmark’s Christian Sebastian, 24, education major and bartender; Peter Linden, 29, professional photographer from Finland; France’s Jordan Joly, 22, makeup artist and stylist; Fabrice Gayakpa, 22, student and model from Germany; Michael Morril, 35, an American migrant teacher from Hong Kong; Iceland’s Troy Michael Jónsson, 27, actor and recording artist; Ozak, 26, from Indonesia; Robbie Lawlor, 23, peer mentor with Ireland’s largest HIV clinic and co-organizer of an HIV social group; Namibia’s Nelson Kenneth Goagoseb, 31, community facilitator for an LGBT organization; Nick Flanagan, 22, sports injury specialist and orthopedic rehabilitation specialist from Ireland; Pakistan’s Amir Rafique, 31, model; Edgar Moreno, 33, actor and model from Spain; and Syria’s Feras Zhk, 32.

Filipinos around the world can help Randolph Val Palma win the Mr. Gay Popularity special award and land a possible spot in the pageant’s semifinal round by clicking this link and voting once every 24 hours until 2:00AM of August 31 (Manila time).

Giovanni Paolo J. Yazon is just your average journalist who can't live without a huge plate of cheesy spaghetti, three cups of brewed coffee, and high-speed Internet every single day. A graduate of mass communication at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, he chased loads of actors, beauty queens, pop artists and even college basketball players until the wee hours of the morning to write their stories eight years. Ivan (how those close to him call him) presently works as a full-time search engine optimization copywriter and an image consultant. He splurges his take-home pay in motivational books and spends his free time touring different heritage towns in the country.

NEWSMAKERS

Cebu Pacific hires transwomen flight attendants

Cebu Pacific Airlines, one of the two biggest airline companies in the Philippines, has hired its first transgender women flight attendants – Mikee Vitug and Jess Labares.

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Screencap from the Facebook post of Jess Labares

A move to recognize transgender women.

Cebu Pacific Airlines, one of the two biggest airline companies in the Philippines, has hired its first transgender women flight attendants – Mikee Vitug and Jess Labares.

Since it was established 19 years ago to compete with Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific has flown over 100 million passengers; and now flies to over 60 destinations in Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

In a Facebook post sharing her “achievement”, Vitug said she was actually hesitant to apply at first, particularly because of the still-conservative view of Filipinos. But after some prodding, she relented.

“I hope it will spark a change sa kung paano ang pagtingin ng mga tao sa mga transwoman na hindi kami i-box or i-stereotype kasi tao din naman kami,” Vitug stated. “To those people who are afraid of going out of their comfort zone, to those people who want to make a change but keep on holding themselves back because of prejudice, judgement, and discrimination, just listen to your heart and make it happen because nothing is impossible.”

Do not be afraid to fail, be fraid of not trying.Take a leap of faith, you never know what is waiting for you on the…

Posted by Mikee Vitug on Monday, November 18, 2019

For her part, Labares said that she hopes “this will be an inspiration not just to the LGBTQ community but to everyone who dreams and has goals in life to never give up on something you really want… Perseverance, positivity, determination and loving what you are doing are some of the perfect formula to achieve your goal and will definitely lead you the way to success and happiness.”

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Fifty seven days..57 days of hardship, tears, laughters and sacrifice.Becoming a cabin crew was never a childhood…

Posted by Jess Labares on Monday, November 18, 2019

While this development is noteworthy for Cebu pacific Airlines, the company’s hiring policy is still not exactly completely non-discriminatory – e.g. it continues to be ageist and lookist. As per cabincrewhg.com, the airline company only hires those between the ages of 18-25, and to succeed, applicants should have “weight proportionate to height”, “clear complexion” and “catchy smile.”

The shameful practices promoting outdated visions of what a flight attendants should look like – and how they should behave – continues to be dominant. For instance, the national airlines of Saudi Arabia and Oman – Saudia and Oman Air – closely follow the Cebu pacific Airlines recruitment format by hiring only female cabin crew members aged to 30. Candidates should also be slim and free of any marks or scars

But overseas, other progressive developments have been happening in the airline industry. In 2017, for instance, in Russia, a Moscow court ruled in favor of a flight attendant who said Russia’s flagship airline stopped assigning her to work long-haul international flights because of her weight. And in April 2019, Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic modified their dress codes and no longer required female flight attendants to wear makeup. Pants were also given to all as a standard uniform option.

Also, earlier, Khrise Castro was hired by American Airlines, proving – as she stated in her Facebook post – that “I am living proof that dreams do come true no matter how impossible it seems.”

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From Khrise Castro of American Airlines:"Being a flight attendant is the ultimate dream for a lot of females and…

Posted by Flyhigh Manila on Saturday, April 6, 2019

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Sexual minorities continue to face discrimination, despite increasing support

While sexual minorities are not inherently more vulnerable to health concerns, their experiences with anti-LGB stress, stigma, and discrimination across the life course may lead to poor and complicated health patterns.

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Photo by Delia Giandeini from Unsplash.com

Despite increasing support for the rights of people in the LGBTQ+ community, discrimination remains a critical and ongoing issue for this population, according to a study published in the Journal of Homosexuality.

Researchers found that adults who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual — as well as people who reported same-sex attraction or same-sex sexual partners, referred to as sexual minorities — experienced discrimination and victimization at different rates across age.

Cara Exten, assistant professor of nursing at Penn State, said the findings are a reminder that discrimination is still a significant issue for sexual minorities, which is key for policy, prevention and intervention.

“We conducted this study because we wanted to better understand discrimination experiences affecting sexual minority populations,” Exten said. “We wanted to examine whether there were adults at particular ages who were more likely to have experienced discrimination in the past year — and if so, what types of discrimination. We aimed to call attention to the continued high rates of discrimination that LGBTQ+ individuals are experiencing — because we know that these experiences affect their health.”

Collaborator Stephanie Lanza, professor of biobehavioral health and director of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, noted that “a better understanding of recent experiences of discrimination among adults across a wide range of ages is necessary so that we can add to the national discourse on LGBTQ+ disparities in physical and mental health. Importantly, examining specific types of discrimination experienced by sexual minorities across age can indicate where there is greatest need for intervention — both to support individuals and to address stigma more broadly.”

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According to the researchers, previous work has found that sexual minorities tend to experience poorer health than non-sexual minorities. Exten said that while sexual minorities are not inherently more vulnerable to health concerns, their experiences with anti-LGB stress, stigma, and discrimination across the life course may lead to poor and complicated health patterns.

“Research has linked discrimination and poor health outcomes among minorities, but we didn’t have a clear picture of whether sexual minorities may be more or less vulnerable to experiencing discrimination at certain points during their life,” Exten said. “We might, for example, find that older adults are more likely to experience discrimination in health care settings as they age, given that older adults are more likely to need medical care.”

The researchers used data gathered from a nationally representative study of U.S. citizens on 2,993 sexual minorities between the ages of 18 and 65. Participants answered a questionnaire about how often they had experienced discrimination in the previous year due to being perceived as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

The survey included questions about whether they had experienced six different forms of discrimination. The researchers grouped the different types of discrimination into three groups: general, like in public places like shops or restaurants; victimization, such as being called names, pushed or threatened; and healthcare discrimination, such as trouble obtaining healthcare due to sexual orientation, or discrimination during treatment.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that 17% of participants had experienced some form of discrimination in the previous year. In total, 13% reported general discrimination, 12% reported victimization and 7% reported healthcare discrimination.

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The researchers also broke down the data by age, gender, and sexual identity. In general, discrimination experiences were most common in early adulthood, with another increase in middle adulthood. Males were generally more likely to report having experienced anti-LGB discrimination and victimization in the last year. Healthcare discrimination peaked among individuals in their early 50s.

“The overall rates were quite high,” Exten said. “This was particularly true in some subgroups of the community. Among 18-year-olds, one in five males experienced victimization in the past year. Experiencing victimization can be quite traumatic, and certainly acts as a stressor for these individuals. We hope these findings will be a call to action.”

Exten said the findings suggest the need for continued work in reducing discrimination.

“Reducing discrimination in the United States will require broad approaches within our communities, schools, workplaces, healthcare facilities, and families,” Exten said. “It is critical that we continue to recognize that discrimination is happening and that we continue to work to develop more inclusive policies and spaces in our communities.

Jessica N. Fish, University of Maryland; and Stephen T. Russell, University of Texas at Austin, also participated in this work.

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Facial recognition software has a gender problem

A study found that facial analysis services performed consistently worse on transgender individuals, and were universally unable to classify non-binary genders.

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Photo by Pierrick VAN-TROOST from Unsplash.com

With a brief glance at a single face, emerging facial recognition software can now categorize the gender of many men and women with remarkable accuracy.

But if that face belongs to a transgender person, such systems get it wrong more than one third of the time, according to new University of Colorado Boulder research.

“We found that facial analysis services performed consistently worse on transgender individuals, and were universally unable to classify non-binary genders,” said lead author Morgan Klaus Scheuerman, a PhD student in the Information Science department. “While there are many different types of people out there, these systems have an extremely limited view of what gender looks like.”

The study comes at a time when facial analysis technologies – which use hidden cameras to assess and characterize certain features about an individual – are becoming increasingly prevalent, embedded in everything from smartphone dating apps and digital kiosks at malls to airport security and law enforcement surveillance systems.

Previous research suggests they tend to be most accurate when assessing the gender of white men, but misidentify women of color as much as one-third of the time.

“We knew there were inherent biases in these systems around race and ethnicity and we suspected there would also be problems around gender,” said senior author Jed Brubaker, an assistant professor of Information Science. “We set out to test this in the real world.”

Researchers collected 2,450 images of faces from Instagram, each of which had been labeled by its owner with a hashtag indicating their gender identity. The pictures were then divided into seven groups of 350 images (#women, #man, #transwoman, #transman, #agender, #agenderqueer, #nonbinary) and analyzed by four of the largest providers of facial analysis services (IBM, Amazon, Microsoft and Clarifai).

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Notably, Google was not included because it does not offer gender recognition services.

On average, the systems were most accurate with photos of cisgender women (those born female and identifying as female), getting their gender right 98.3% of the time. They categorized cisgender men accurately 97.6% of the time.

But trans men were wrongly identified as women up to 38% of the time.

And those who identified as agender, genderqueer or nonbinary – indicating that they identify as neither male or female – were mischaracterized 100 percent of the time.

“These systems don’t know any other language but male or female, so for many gender identities it is not possible for them to be correct,” says Brubaker.

The study also suggests that such services identify gender based on outdated stereotypes.

When Scheuerman, who is male and has long hair, submitted his own picture, half categorized him as female.

The researchers could not get access to the training data, or image inputs used to “teach” the system what male and female looks like, but previous research suggests they assess things like eye position, lip fullness, hair length and even clothing.

“These systems run the risk of reinforcing stereotypes of what you should look like if you want to be recognized as a man or a woman. And that impacts everyone,” said Scheuerman.

The market for facial recognition services is projected to double by 2024, as tech developers work to improve human-robot interaction and more carefully target ads to shoppers. Already, Brubaker notes, people engage with facial recognition technology every day to gain access to their smartphones or log into their computers.

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If it has a tendency to misgender certain, already vulnerable, populations that could have grave consequences.

For instance, a match-making app could set someone up on a date with the wrong gender, leading to a potentially dangerous situation. Or a mismatch between the gender a facial recognition program sees and the documentation a person carries could lead to problems getting through airport security, says Scheuerman.

He is most concerned that such systems reaffirm notions that transgender people don’t fit in.

“People think of computer vision as futuristic, but there are lots of people who could be left out of this so-called future,” he said.

The authors say they’d like to see tech companies move away from gender classification entirely and stick to more specific labels like “long hair” or “make-up” when assessing images.

“When you walk down the street you might look at someone and presume that you know what their gender is, but that is a really quaint idea from the ’90s and it is not what the world is like anymore,” said Brubaker. “As our vision and our cultural understanding of what gender is has evolved. The algorithms driving our technological future have not. That’s deeply problematic.”

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Movie industry’s prejudice against people with disabilities still strong

More than half of the films (58) evaluated in 2018 did not include a single character (even non-speaking role) with a disability, a four-year high. Furthermore, 83 films had no female characters with a disability. This is an increase from 2017 but on par with 2015.

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Photo by Sabeel Ahammed from Pexels.com

Unlike in television, where disability representation has gone up in recent years, the percentage of characters with disabilities in the top 1,200 films has hit a four-year low. Just 1.6% of the 4,445 speaking characters analyzed have a disability, according to a study by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Five of these films revolved around an underrepresented leading character with a disability and one showcased a leading character from the LGBT community.

“Including characters with disabilities does not happen by accident,” said Lauren Appelbaum, who leads RespectAbility’s Hollywood Inclusion efforts as the organization’s VP of communications and author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit. “What we see on screen influences how we act in real life, but that is dependent on filmmakers choosing to include individuals with disabilities in diverse and accurate portrayals. Thus, when just fewer than two percent of films include speaking characters with disabilities, the disability community is pretty much erased on screen. When filmmakers choose to include characters with disabilities, they can help to remove the stigmas that currently exist about interacting with individuals with disabilities.”

When the Annenberg study began tracking disability four years ago, it found 2.4% of speaking characters had disabilities, staying fairly consistent at 2.7% in 2016 and 2.5% in 2017. In each of those years, at least one film (two in 2015 and 2017) had proportional representation of characters with disabilities, compared to the US Census information. None of the films evaluated from 2018 featured proportional representation of characters with disabilities when compared to the US population.

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“With more than a quarter of the US population identifying as having a disability, these numbers are dismal,” Appelbaum added. “In fact, the difference between the percentage of speaking characters with disabilities and reality in the US population is the largest difference in the inclusion crisis in film, at 25.6 (27.2% of US population versus 1.6% of speaking characters).”

More than half of the films (58) evaluated in 2018 did not include a single character (even non-speaking role) with a disability, a four-year high. Furthermore, 83 films had no female characters with a disability. This is an increase from 2017 but on par with 2015.

“You’re basically seeing the erasure of whole communities,” said Marc Choueiti, program director at the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and one of the study’s authors.

“Entertainment contributes to our values and ideals,” RespectAbility’s president Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi added. “With just 1.6% of speaking characters having disabilities in film, compared to 25% of American adults having a disability, we will continue to work with entertainment leaders to promote positive, accurate, diverse and inclusive media portrayals on TV and in film. Disability impacts every gender, race, age and sexual orientation. We want the film industry to understand that accurate, authentic and diverse portrayals of disability benefit everyone.”

Disability Affects All

Despite the fact that people of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, etc., have disabilities, the films evaluated in this study do not show it.

Nearly three-quarters of the characters with disabilities were male (72.5%) and 27.5% were female. Most characters with disabilities were white (63.1%), while 36.9% were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Just two characters with disabilities were LGB.

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One statistic represents improvement, however. The percentage of underrepresented characters with disabilities increased 9.9% points compared to 2017. A corresponding decrease in white characters occurred. However, the numbers leave a lot of room for additional improvement.

“Once again, the predominant picture of characters with disabilities is one of a straight, white, male,” the study reports. “These results have remained consistent across the four years of films examined, which means that for nearly half of a decade, audiences have seen persistent under and misrepresentation of individuals with disabilities in top movies.”

Disabilities Represented

A total of nine films had a lead or co-lead character with a disability. These individuals experienced depression, dyslexia, disfigurement, blindness, heart conditions, HIV/AIDS or missing limbs. Five of these films centered on an underrepresented leading character with a disability, and one movie showcased the story of an LGBT leading character with a disability. In terms of ensemble casts, two films featured leading characters with disabilities, one male and one female, both of whom were white, and one was bisexual.

In terms of all characters with a speaking role, more than half of the characters (38) were shown to have a physical disability (55.1%), including mobility issues, amputation or severe disfigurement. Nearly one-third (30.4%) of characters have a cognitive disability, such as depression, anxiety or PTSD. And 27.5% of characters were shown with a communicative disability, such as blindness or deafness. As a character could experience a disability in more than one domain, the percentages do not total to 100%.

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When looking behind the camera, there are no statistics for people with disabilities. Currently, no major production company tracks disability status for any of its employees, so the data does not yet exist.

Room for Improvement

While the statistics for characters with disabilities – as well as those who are LGBTQ – are lackluster, the overall numbers for women and people of color as leads increased in meaningful ways.

“The good news is companies are making more of an effort to be inclusive,” said Stacy L. Smith, director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and one of the study’s authors. “We’re seeing movement. Of course, we always want it to be faster, but all of the activism and advocacy appears to be yielding results.”

She added, “We’re seeing that studios are recognizing that all that mythologizing about who can lead a film or carry a film was just that — mythologizing.”

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In the Scene

UP Repertory Company to focus on LGBTQIA stories in opening of 47th production season

UP Repertory Company opens its 47th production season with DADA: The Chika Minutes¸ a performance of LGBTQIA stories.

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This November, the UP Repertory Company opens its 47th production season with DADA: The Chika Minutes¸ a performance of LGBTQIA stories. 

DADA: The Chika Minutes is a documentary theater performance of various narratives from the LGBTQIA community, exploring documentary merged with the company’s own art form, tula dula (a poem written in verse, acted out in mime). With 16 segments of a spectra of LGBTQIA narratives, DADA will be tackling the real life experiences of kids to OFWs to pageant queens to sex workers to community builders and activists. 

“In this period of intense hate crimes, controversies and fake news about SOGIE, we bring the stories of the LGBTQIA you might have missed,” UP Repertory Company stated. 

With the dramaturgy of Ligaya Sinfuego, additional choreography by Michelle Alde, and choreography and direction by Jasper Villasis and Malvin Ramos.

DADA: The Chika Minutes will be staged this coming November 28 and 29 (7pm) and November 30 (3pm and 7pm) in UP Diliman.

For details on tickets and show venue, contact Hillary Guevara at 0906 626 0900.

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New intervention may help ease young children’s biases against gender-nonconforming peers

A study found that 8- and 9-year-olds can be influenced to be more positive toward their gender-nonconforming peers.

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Worldwide, gender nonconformity is on the rise. Children who don’t conform to their birth sex are often perceived less positively, which may harm their well-being. A new study of Chinese kindergarten- and elementary-school-age children looked at the development of biases against gender-nonconforming peers and tested an intervention to modify their biases. The study found that although children were indeed less positive toward gender-nonconforming peers than toward gender-conforming peers, showing children certain examples of gender-nonconforming peers reduced bias against them. These findings can inform efforts to reduce bias against gender nonconformity.

The study – titled “Child Development, Children’s Appraisals of Gender Nonconformity: Developmental Pattern and Intervention” – was conducted by researchers at the University of Hong Kong, the University of Toronto Mississauga, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. It is published in Child Development, a journal of the Society for Research in Child Development.

“Our study breaks new ground by showing that 8- and 9-year-olds can be influenced to be more positive toward their gender-nonconforming peers,” notes Ivy Wong, assistant professor of psychology and gender development at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong, who led the study. “The findings can help develop strategies to reduce bias against gender nonconformity; a bias which appears to place some children at risk of peer rejection.”

Researchers tested 315 Hong Kong Chinese children in two studies. In the first study, 4-, 5-, 8-, and 9-year-olds watched vignettes about hypothetical boys and girls who were gender conforming and gender nonconforming in play, appearance, preferences for playmates, and activities. Afterwards, they were asked questions about their views of the children in the vignettes, took part in a behavioral task about sharing with the children in the vignettes, and ranked the children they had watched from most to least favorite.

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The study found that the children as young as 4-years old gave less positive appraisals and shared less generously with peers who did not conform to stereotypical expressions of gender. This finding was stronger when the children watching the vignettes were older or the children in the videos were boys.

In the second study, 8- and 9-year-olds took part in an intervention before viewing the vignettes. They saw stories about boys and girls who were portrayed as defying gender expectations in playing with toys, engaging in activities, and wearing clothing. However, the hypothetical children were also portrayed as gender conforming and thus, similar to most children of their gender in certain ways (e.g., a boy who likes to wear pink also enjoys playing basketball, a girl who likes to play with action figures also likes to jump rope) and having some positive attributes (e.g., getting good grades at school). Another group of 8- and 9-year-olds was shown stories of zoo animals, which served as a control condition. Afterwards, both groups of participating children answered the same questions and took part in the same tests as in the first study.

This study found that showing 8- and 9-year-olds examples of gender-nonconforming peers who showed positive and gender-conforming characteristics–the latter of which likely increases perceived similarity to the participants, given that most children are gender normative by definition–reduced bias against gender nonconformity.

“Our study suggests that highlighting positive attributes of individuals and qualities that gender-conforming and nonconforming children share more broadly–without highlighting whether they are conforming or nonconforming–could be helpful,” according to Doug VanderLaan, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga and co-corresponding author of the study. “For example, teachers could create opportunities for children to learn about how each person is special as an individual and ways that they are potentially similar.”

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The authors acknowledge several limitations to their study, including that it was conducted in a lab and used hypothetical children in the vignettes, and that it focused on short- and not long-term effects.

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