HIV problem persists, 750 new HIV cases reported in Dec. 2016
Seven hundred and fifty (750) new cases of HIV infection were reported in December 2016 to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP). With the number, 26 Filipinos now get infected with HIV every day – up from only one in 2008, and even the 17 cases per day registered only three years ago (in 2017). “To be blunt, we’re beyond considering this as just a disturbing trend,” said Michael David dela Cruz Tan, editor of Outrage Magazine, the only LGBT publication in the Philippines, which also has HIV-related efforts.
Seven hundred and fifty (750) new cases of HIV infection were reported in December 2016 to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP). The trend for the epidemic in the country continues to be the same, with most (96%) of the cases involving males, and more than half belonging to the 25-34 year age group while 29% were youth aged 15-24 years.
With the number, 26 Filipinos now get infected with HIV every day – up from only one in 2008, and even the 17 cases per day registered only three years ago (in 2017).
“To be blunt, we’re beyond considering this as just a disturbing trend,” said Michael David dela Cruz Tan, editor of Outrage Magazine, the only LGBT publication in the Philippines, which also has HIV-related efforts. “Expect for this epidemic to only worsen, with the worsening situation something we’re not ready – or even able – to deal with. The continuing lack of attention given to this has long pushed us beyond the point of no return.”
MODES OF TRANSMISSION
As per the registry, most (734 of the 750 cases) were infected with HIV through sexual contact. Eighty-eight percent of infections transmitted through sexual contact were among men who have sex with other men (MSM). It is worth noting that in the early years of the epidemic (1984-1990), 62% (133 of 216 cases) were female. But from 1991 to present, males comprised 93% (36,718 out of 39,395) of the total number of HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines.
Another notable mode of transmission was through needle sharing among injecting drug users (IDU, 16).
The regions with the most number of reported cases were: National Capital Region (NCR) with 267 (36%) cases, Region 4A with 136 (18%) cases, Region 3 with 74 (10%) cases, Region 7 with 59 (8%) cases, and Region 11 with 46 (6%) cases. One hundred sixty-eight (168) cases (22%) came from the rest of the country.
Three pregnant women were diagnosed with HIV in December 2016, with two cases recorded from NCR and one case from Region 7.
The HARP reported that “the absolute number of cases among females has also been increasing. Cases of HIV transmission from mother to child are more likely to increase if female patients are not linked to HIV care. Ninety-three percent (2,600) of all female cases were diagnosed when they were between 15-49 years of age.”
INVOLVING YOUNGER PEOPLE INFECTED
Those who are getting infected with HIV in the Philippines are also getting younger. While the age group with the biggest proportion of cases between 2001 to 2005 was 35-49 years, starting from 2006, the age proportion shifted to 25-34 years. The proportion of HIV positive cases in the 15-24 year age group increased from 25% in 2006-2010 to 28% in 2011-2016.
REPORTING NEWER TRENDS
Aside from HIV infecting more MSM and IDU, in December 2016, 9% (66) of the reported cases engaged in transactional sex. Most (92%) were male whose ages ranged from 19 to 72 years (median: 30 years), while five were female whose ages ranged from 21-29 years (median: 24 years). Thirty-four (34) males who engaged in transactional sex were the ones who paid for sex.
As for HARP’s definition, people who engage in transactional sex are those who report that they pay for sex, regularly accept payment for sex, or do both.
From December 2012 (when HARP started monitoring those who engage in transactional sex) to December 2016, a total of 3,522 cases reported were people who engaged in transactional sex. Ninety-six percent (3,372) were male. Of the 39,622 cases, 1,904 (5%) paid for sex, 1,062 (3%) accepted payment for sex, and 556 (1%) engaged in both.
ACCESS TO TREATMENT
In December 2016, there were 524 patients who started on ART. The median CD4 of these patients upon enrollment was 130 cells/mm3. One of these patients who started on antiretroviral treatment (ART) died within the same month.
As of December 2016, a total of 17,940 PLHIVs were presently on ART. Most (97%) were males. Ninety-five percent were on first line regimen, 4% were on second line regimen, and 1% were on other regimen.
The number of those who are currently accessing treatment is not even half the cumulative number of HIV cases in the Philippines that reach 39,622.
The first AIDS case in the Philippines was reported in 1984. From January 1984 to December 2016, there has been 39,622 HIV Ab sero-positive cases reported to the HARP. More than half (20,386 or 51%) were from the 25-34 year age group while 10,720 (27%) were youth aged 15-24 years.
HARP reported 37 deaths in December 2016, with 34 (92%) of them male and three (8%) female. Twenty (54%) of the reported deaths belong to 25-34 year age group, eight were 15-24 age group, seven were adult aged 35-49 years old, and two were above 50 years old.
All of these deaths were infected through sexual contact (six male-female sex, 19 male-male sex, 12 sex with both males and females).
Already, a total of 1,969 death were reported from January 1984 to December 2016.
Under-reporting is, however, acknowledged.
Outrage Magazine’s Tan said that “a lot more needs to be done. And fast.”
Among Tan’s recommendations include “prompt and proper implementation of the RH Law that could help facilitate sex education and access to safer sexual knowledge/practices, immediate amendment of the extremely outdated AIDS Law, introduction of science-based/backed knowledge (e.g. introduction of PrEP and teachings about undetectable=untransmittable), harmonizing HIV-related efforts particularly in treatment hubs, confronting the ‘profiteering’ happening in dealing with HIV, and dealing with stigma and discrimination affecting PLHIVs.”
In a statement released to Outrage Magazine, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) said that “given that it is a fast growing epidemic, a comprehensive response of access to prevention, treatment care and support is necessary to bring HIV under control.”
Part of this, according to NCCP, is “a comprehensive and age appropriate sex and sexuality education through the combined efforts of government, civil society and church… to counter the flood of information or misinformation accessible to our young people.” For the NCCP, “sexuality is a gift from God” and it “subscribes to a deliberate, careful and responsible celebration of that gift. Abstinence, being drug free, fidelity and committed relationships are paramount. This should not exclude other evidence informed prevention strategies such as the use of condoms. The correct and consistent use of condoms has proven to be effective in preventing HIV transmission between discordant couples (i.e. one partner is HIV negative and the other is positive).”
The NCCP bemoaned that “there is more to be desired in addressing certain conditions in society” that make people vulnerable to HIV. “Among these are poverty and other economic imbalances, not to mention the social stigma that comes from a misinformed populace. This is true especially in the case of our youth who grow up being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex, and where the lack of social and religious acceptance leaves them no room to be authentic.”
5 LGBTQIA ‘markers’ in Phl for 2018
With an eye to doing more to achieve more in 2019 (and the coming years), here is a short list of some of the markers for LGBTQIA Philippines’ 2018.
2018 has been busy for the LGBTQIA community in the Philippines, with numerous happenings marking either backward or onward movements for the local LGBTQIA struggle.
With an eye to doing more to achieve more in 2019 (and the coming years), here is a short list of some of the markers for LGBTQIA Philippines’ 2018.
1. Gathering of 20,000+ pax for Metro Manila’s one-day Pride parade
Particularly if the “measurement” is the Western perspective, 2018’s Metro Manila Pride parade proved that LGBTQIA Filipinos may already be woke.
Perhaps showing growing widespread popularity of everything LGBT-related in the Philippines, Metro Manila’s annual LGBT gathering patterned after Western Pride celebration/s was attended by an estimated 25,000 people. Even if figures are wrong, this still easily topped 2017’s 8,000 participants in the event that was held in Marikina City for two years now.
Here’s the thing, though: While the number is impressive as a show of force and as advertising magnet for those targeting the pink market, it – nonetheless – does not necessarily equate to promotion of LGBT causes in the Philippines. The challenge is still how to convert this number to attend not just one-day partying, but – say – joining rallies to push for the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB).
2. Inability of the LGBTQIA community to gather as many to promote Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB)
The SOGIE Equality Bill was already passed by the likes of Reps. Geraldine Roman and Kaka Bag-ao in the House of Representatives in 2017, the first time it went this far in 11 years. And yet the Senate version – that is in the hands of Liberal Party-aligned Akbayan partylist helmed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros – is not gaining grounds.
Linked to, and stressed by #1 above, actual participation by LGBTQIA people to promote the ADB continues to be very limited. Various LGBTQIA organizations have attempted to hold events to push for ADB to be passed in the Senate; but these were – without mixing words – basically flops, failing to get the “numbers game” of the one-day Pride party.
The elitist and very “exclusive” approach to the ADB is also not helping.
Still, some of these efforts are worth highlighting, e.g.:
In May, student leaders asked the new Senate leadership of Sen. Tito Sotto to prove that it is better. Over 500 students – including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) Filipinos and their supporters – to the new Senate President Tito Sotto and Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri. The call is to end the debates and eventually pass the SOGIE Equality Bill to protect the LGBTQI Filipinos from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).
In July, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) called for the speedy passing of bills that could help better the plight of LGBTQIA people in the Philippines.
3. Inadvertently “killing” ADB for this Congress
Perhaps not surprisingly – with anti-LGBTQIA politicians (e.g. Sens. Sotto, Manny Pacquiao and Joel Villanueva) – the Senate version of the anti-discrimination bill (ADB) – the Senate Bill No. 1271 – remains stalled in the Philippine Senate.
Worse, the ADB has become political football; with even supposed ADB supporters ending up backing those opposing it.
For instance, in March, politicians supposed to interpellate the ADB sponsor, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, either balked or walked out. The Senate agenda for March 21 (as an example) reflected Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian as the person who will interpellate (instead of Sen. Villanueva). The switcheroo is bad enough; but Gatchalian left the halls of Senate before his chance to interpellate, thereby effectively stalling the ADB. And for as long as there are senators still wanting to interpellate, the ADB – or any bill – can’t progress to the next steps, so that this is effectively a delaying tactic.
No progress has happened since then.
And with the May 2019 elections in the corner, passing the ADB in the Senate now seems improbable.
4. Growing number of LGBTQIA-related efforts – e.g. Pride parades, ADOs and private initiatives
Still sans a national law protecting the human rights of LGBTQIA Filipinos, many of LGBTQIA-related efforts are going local.
There are educational institutions hosting Pride-related events.
In March, for instance, the LGBTQIA community of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa in the City of Manila stressed the importance of “real diversity” as it celebrated its 4th Pride. The hosting of Pride in PUP has actually been inconsistent, with the first one held in the 1990s, and only followed by the second one in 2015. It was only in the last two years when Pride was held consistently. Themed “Putting we in diversity”, the gathering that was helmed by Kasarianlan, the only LGBTQIA organization in PUP, “eyed to emphasize that we can’t truly claim pride if this is not inclusive of all of us,” said Jan Melchor Rosellon, the student organization’s former inang reyna/head.
Various local government units (LGUs) also still have Pride events.
Themed “This is Pride”, the 12th Baguio LGBT Pride Parade 2018 on November 24 “acknowledged that the community is still facing a lot of issues, so that we are coming out on the streets to continue the struggle for LGBT rights not yet won,” said Archie Montevirgen, chairperson of Amianan Pride Council.
And just as the year was about to close, the City of San Juan held its second LGBTQIA Pride parade. This is part of the mandate of City Ordinance No. 55, or the anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) of the City of San Juan, which was passed in the third quarter of 2017 to protect the human rights of its LGBTQIA constituents.
Re localized anti-discrimination policies (via anti-discrimination ordinances, or ADOs), a handful of LGUs took the leap to advocate for their LGBTQIA constituents.
In May, the city of Mandaluyong passed Ordinance 698, S-2018, which seeks to “uphold the rights of all Filipinos especially those discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).” With this, it is now “the policy of the Mandaluyong City government to afford equal protection to LGBTQI people as guaranteed by our Constitution and to craft legal legislative measures in support of this aim.”
In June, the city of Iloilo joined the ranks of local government units (LGUs) with LGBTQI anti-discrimination ordinances (ADOs), with the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) unanimously approving its ADO mandating non-discrimination of members of minority sectors including the LGBTQI community. The ADO was sponsored by Councilor Liezl Joy Zulueta-Salazar, chair of the SP Committee on Women and Family Relations. Councilor Love Baronda helped with the content/provisions of the ordinance.
And in October, Malabon City passed an anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) that prohibits: discrimination in schools and the workplace, delivery of goods or services, accommodation, restaurants, movie houses and malls. It also prohibits ridiculing a person based on gender and/or sexual orientation. Penalties for discriminatory act/s include imprisonment for one month to one year, a fine of P1,000 to P5,000, or both.
Meanwhile, companies are finally, finally joining the rainbow bandwagon – whether as a PR initiative (we’re looking at you, Bench!) or to change internal policies – e.g.: As an attempt to ramp up its responses to a diverse workforce, Unilever now offers a 20-day paid leave for fathers, healthcare benefits for same-sex partners and paid absences for adoptive parents. According to Unilever Philippines chairman and CEO Benjie Yap, “diversity is an essential requirement in the today’s workforce, as it lends to new ideas, energies, and solutions.”)
5. New HIV infections now reach 32 cases per day
October highlighted the continuing disturbing worsening HIV situation in the Philippines, with an estimated 32 new HIV cases now happening in the country every day. For October, there were 1,072 new HIV cases reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP).
It was in September when this number (i.e. 32 new HIV cases per day) was first reported. Prior to that, the country “only” had 31 new HIV cases reported daily, though even this figure was already considered high compared to figures from past years. In 2009, the country only had two new HIV cases per day. By 2015, the number increased to 22; and in the early part of 2018, the number was 31.
From January 1984 (when the first HIV case was reported in the country) to October 2018 (when the latest figures were belatedly – as usual – released by the HARP), the Philippines already had a total of 60,207 HIV cases. It is worth noting that 9,605 of that figure was reported from January to October 2018 alone.
The deaths related to HIV are also getting worrying.
The DOH reported that for August, there were 159 HIV-related deaths; in July, there were “only” 30. The figure may even be higher because of under- or non-reporting.
The worsening HIV situation is perhaps not surprising considering the foot-dragging and wrong priorities of bodies dealing with HIV in the Philippines.
NGOs, CBOs or CSOs aren’t always better, with issues similarly affecting them – from profiteering to abusing positions of power to the detriment of people living with HIV and Filipinos in general.
Relevance of public & private sectors’ support highlighted in Quezon City’s 2018 Pride parade
Highlighting the importance of the participation of all stakeholders, not just the LGBTQIA community but also including the public and the private sectors, Quezon City in Metro Manila held one of the last Pride parades in the Philippines for 2018.
Highlighting the importance of the participation of all stakeholders, not just the LGBTQIA community but also including the public (including government) and the private sectors, Quezon City in Metro Manila held one of the last Pride parades in the Philippines for 2018.
Hanz Defensor, who helms Quezon City Pride Council (QCPC), the organizer of the annual gathering, told Outrage Magazine in an exclusive interview that Quezon City is “quite fortunate” that it now has an anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) that protects LGBTQIA people from discrimination.
Signed by mayor Herbert Bautista (whose term ends in May 2019), City Ordinance 2357-2014, otherwise known as The Quezon City Gender-Fair Ordinance, eyes to “to actively work for the elimination of all forms of discrimination that violate the equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution, existing laws, and The Yogyakarta Principles; and to value the dignity of every person, guarantee full respect for human rights and give the highest priority to measures that protect and enhance the right of all people; regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).”
But Defensor said that, “admittedly, kulang pa rin (this is still lacking).” This is because – even if they already have the ADO and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), the actual implementation continues to be challenging.
Quezon City, Defensor noted as an example, has “a lot of business establishments, and while they know that discriminating against LGBTQIA people in the city is prohibited by law, not all of them actually have a copy of the ADO and the IRR to know the small details.”
As he encouraged particularly those affected by the ADO to “download (the same) from Quezon City’s official website”, he is also encouraging other local government units to already take steps to also protect their LGBTQIA constituents, perhaps learning from Quezon City’s example.
The same sentiment was expressed in a letter sent to QCPC by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, who remarked that Quezon City’s ADO – which also mandates the annual holding of the Pride parade – “has become a source of inspiration for advocates of gay rights in the Philippines and the rest of the world” because “it has institutionalized the city’s progressive and inclusive policy that eliminates discrimination on the basis of SOGIE.”
Though criticized for pinkwashing, Duterte still expressed hope that Pride further strengthens “the solidarity of (the) community so you may inspire the entire nation with the diversity and dynamism of your talents and skills.”
To contextualize, past administrations did not openly support Pride-related events.
Also, even if Akbayan partylist – which is aligned with Liberal Party that helmed the country under Pres. Benigno Aquino III prior to Duterte’s term – has been sponsoring the anti-discrimination bill for almost 20 years now, it still fails to gain traction, including during Aquino’s administration when it was largely ignored.
As an FYI, Quezon City actually hosted the largely accepted first Pride March in Asia.
On June 26, 1994, ProGay Philippines and Metropolitan Community Church helmed a march in Quezon City. Dubbed as “Stonewall Manila” or as “Pride Revolution”, it was held in remembrance of the Stonewall Inn Riots and coincided with a bigger march against the imposition of the Value Added Tax (VAT).
Defensor stressed the need to be pro-active when confronting LGBTQIA-related discrimination. While the ADO is there, he said that should LGBTQIA people from Quezon City experience discrimination, “seek help” and know that “QCPC is here, and the LGU will back you.”
San Juan hosts 2nd Pride parade to stress city’s support for ‘equality in diversity’
The City of San Juan held its second LGBTQIA Pride parade. According to San Juan City Vice Mayor Janella Ejercito Estrada: “San Juan Pride is about people recognizing individuality, diversity and equality. We are all equal…”
Rainbow explosion in the City of San Juan.
Just as the year is about to close, the City of San Juan held its second LGBTQIA Pride parade. This is part of the mandate of City Ordinance No. 55, or the anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) of the City of San Juan, which was passed in the third quarter of 2017 to protect the human rights of its LGBTQIA constituents.
Exclusively interviewed by Outrage Magazine, San Juan City Vice Mayor Janella Ejercito Estrada – who backed the ADO when it was still being proposed by Councilor Mary Joy Ibuna-Leoy – said that “San Juan Pride is about people recognizing individuality, diversity and equality. Lahat naman tayo ay pantay-pantay (we are all equal)… and (so) I’m an advocate for equality.”
Estrada added: “We acknowledge that LGBT rights are human rights; and we protect (those) rights here in San Juan.”
Pride – including Metro Manila’s – is admittedly fast be becoming a commercial endeavor. But Faustino “Bubsie” L. Sabarez III, national chairman of LGBT Pilipinas, said that “we still need Pride because it highlights individuality and the celebration of diversity.” He added that “safe spaces are still needed to celebrate being LGBTQIA, and (Pride) is one such space.”
Dindi Tan, Secretary-General of LGBT Pilipinas, added that Pride – such as San Juan’s – shows “where we are now.”
The city, for instance, has its ADO. This ADO, by the way, is not exclusive to LGBTQI people, but is also for those who may experience discrimination based on: race, disability, ethnicity and religious affiliation.
San Juan’s ADO prohibits, among others: employment-related discrimination; discrimination in education; discrimination in delivery of goods and services; discrimination in accommodation; verbal/non-verbal ridicule and vilification; harassment, unjust detention and involuntary confinement; disallowance from entry or refusal to serve; and the promotion of LGBT discrimination. Any person held liable under the ordinance may be penalized with imprisonment for 60 days to a year or fined up to P3,000, or both, depending on the discretion of a court.
Tan is also realistic in saying that the anti-discrimination bill (ADB) being pushed in the Senate by Sen. Rosa Hontiveros of Akbayan is basically dead. Its counterpart in the House of Representatives was passed with the big help of trans Rep. Geraldine Roman of the First District of Bataan; but the version in the Upper House failed to gain traction not only because of the opposition of select senators particularly Tito Sotto, Manny Pacquiao and Joel Villanueva, but also because of the exclusivist approach in the pushing for the ADB.
“Until an ADB is passed, we need ADOs,” Tan said. And local government units with ADOs “should be commended.”
Tan is also pushing for the election (in the 2019 May elections) of “politicians who will deliver,” she said, particularly “the promise for an ADB.”
Moving forward, Vice Mayor Estrada said that they are already eyeing other LGBTQIA-related efforts – e.g. broadening the city’s anti-HIV efforts to “ensure that testing, and then treatment, care and support are widely rendered in the city.”
People now embrace different forms of intimate relationships that flout cultural norms
Social media and the internet empowered individuals with diverse identities and relationship practices to find each other, raising awareness of connections that challenge traditional ideas about the meaning of intimacy.
The 21st century ushered in a “quiet revolution” in the diversity of intimate relationships. With the scale and pace of this social transformation, what is needed is a “reboot” of relationship studies.
This is according to Phillip Hammack, professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz; and lead author of “Queer Intimacies: A New Paradigm for the Study of Relationship Diversity,” an article that appeared in the online edition of The Journal of Sex Research. Hammack’s co-authors include David Frost, associate professor of social psychology at University College London, and Sam Hughes, a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz.
For the authors, social media and the internet empowered individuals with diverse identities and relationship practices to find each other, raising awareness of connections that challenge traditional ideas about the meaning of intimacy.
“I’ve been calling it a quiet revolution, because it’s very different than the sexual revolutions of the 1960s and ’70s, which were so visible,” said Hammack.
Particularly in countries like the US, Hammack said that marriage equality (same-sex marriage was legalized in the US in 2015) is the backdrop for the explosion of relationship diversity that has occurred since the early 2000s.
“Marriage equality opens up the lens to think about diversity beyond just the gender of the people in a relationship,” said Hammack, noting that asexuality, polyamory, and kink/fetish all challenge dominant notions of intimacy.
These people are thriving in intimate relationships far from the cultural norms of monogamy and heterosexuality, including asexual, polyamorous, transgender and gender nonbinary, pansexual, and kink/fetish relationships.
He also said that “it’s a myth that asexual people aren’t in relationships just because they experience little or no sexual desire,” said Hammack. “The assumption is that they are suffering, lonely, and without partners, but that’s not true. They do have intimate relationships, but we don’t know much about them.”
People who identify as asexual “violate the fundamental assumption that intimate relationships are inherently characterized by sex,” said Hammack. They started to organize in the early 2000s, thanks to the internet.
Asexuality was removed from the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013.
In a similar challenge to cultural norms, those who choose polyamorous relationships violate conventions of monogamy by allowing partners to love more than one person. Although gay men have a long tradition of open relationships, and ‘swinging’ was favored by some straight couples in the 1970s, polyamory now appears in the Oxford English Dictionary, following what Hammack referred to as a “simmering movement that challenged heteronormative conventions about what an ideal relationship is supposed to look like.”
Mainstream representations are also affecting concepts and/or relationship practices. For instance, the success of the 2011 novel Fifty Shades of Grey is said to have helped propel mainstream discussion of kink/fetish relationships, which highlight consensual asymmetrical power dynamics in intimate relationships.
Hammack, nonetheless, admitted that even if it made people curious, “the novel was problematic because it didn’t accurately represent the consensual way relationships are configured in the kink community… Kink relationships have been stigmatized because the expectation is that relationships are supposed to be ‘equal’.”
Unfortunately, Hammack said that researchers still know little about what happens within kink/fetish relationships. “To what extent is the power asymmetry just during sex? We don’t know,” said Hammack. “Most of this science doesn’t talk about the relationships. It just talks about specific kinky practices… There’s almost no recognition of relationships – it’s all about sexual gratification, which is only part of the picture.”
Yet other concepts that have emerged are: “queer heterosexuality”, as well as changes in ideas about “chosen families.”
“Heterosexuality is opening up like never before,” said Hammack. “More people who identify as straight will have some same-sex experience – they even refer to ‘heteroflexibility.’ They are not opposed to same-sex encounters.”
This trend is long-established among women, but it’s new among men – and it’s distinct from bisexuality because these men don’t feel equally attracted to men and women. “It’s fascinating to see masculinity opening up this way,” he said.
Hammack noted that still “very, very little” is known about the phenomenon of chosen families as distinct from biological families. This is a phenomenon that has been historically associated with gays and lesbians who “create their own families” after being rejected by biological relatives; however, its prevalence remains a mystery.
This is why Hammack said that more research initiatives should be done to focus on diversity in intimate relationships to “document the diversity of what’s happening out there,” Hammack ended.
1 percent of children aged 9-10 self-identify as gay, bi or trans
While 1% of youth aged 9 and 10 self-identified as LGBT, their parents reported they believed their children were gay, bisexual or transgender at a higher rate.
About 1% of 9 and 10-year old children surveyed self-identified as gay, bisexual or transgender.
This finding was detailed in “Child Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Cohort Study,” co-authored by Jerel P. Calzo and Aaron J. Blashill, and which appeared in JAMA Pediatrics.
Majority of studies indicate that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) self-identification generally occurs during the mid-adolescent years. So “this is such an important stage, biologically and socially,”said lead author Calzo, an associate professor in the SDSU School of Public Health.
At 9 and 10, youth – whether through their peers, media or parents – are beginning to be exposed to more information about relationships and interacting in the world. Also, they may not see any of this as sexual, but they are beginning to experience strong feelings, said Calzo.
Calzo and Blashill utilized the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study dataset, a multisite, longitudinal study exploring brain development and health among children aged 9 and 10 over a 10-year period, leading to the 1 percent finding for self-identification.
“One percent is sizable, given that they are so young,” Blashill said. “For so long, social scientists have assumed that there is no point in asking kids at this age about their sexual orientation, believing they do not have the cognitive ability to understand.” But “it is important to have a baseline to understand how sexuality develops and how it may change over time.”
Blashill and Calzo also sought to understand how parents perceived their children’s sexual and gender identities. Surprisingly, nearly 7% of parents, when asked about the sexual identity of their children, reported their child might be gay; and 1.2% reported that their child might be transgender.
Another finding was that children overwhelmingly reported no problems at home or school related to their minority sexual orientation or gender identity while 7% of parents reported gender identity-based problems.
As sexual and gender minorities experience higher rates of physical and mental health issues than do their heterosexual counterparts, the research “may provide crucial insights into resiliency development within the LGBT community”, said the authors, adding that “it could also help lead to improved programs and policies to better serve the community.”
Yet another key finding is the need for researchers to identify better ways to explore identity issues among younger populations, with about 24% of those surveyed indicating that they did not understand questions about sexual orientation.
“If we can understand identity development earlier and can track development using large datasets, we can begin improving research and prevention around risk and protective factors,” Calzo said,.
Bullying ‘follows’ LGB people from school to work
35.2% of gay/bisexual men who had experienced frequent school-age bullying experience frequent workplace bullying. Among lesbian women, the figure was 29%.
Around one in three lesbian, gay and bi individuals who are bullied at school will have similar experiences in the workplace later in life.
This is according to “School-Age Bullying, Workplace Bullying and Job Satisfaction: Experiences of LGB People in Britain”, a research done by Nick Drydakis from The Manchester School.
For this research, Drydakis approached 400 LGB individuals to ask them about their experiences at school, and also asked them about bullying at their current workplace. He found that 35.2% of gay/bisexual men who had experienced frequent school-age bullying experience frequent workplace bullying. Among lesbian women, the figure was 29%.
When describing their experiences at school, 73% of gay men said they were either constantly, frequently or sometimes bullied. Just 9.9% said they were never bullied. Among lesbian women, 59% experienced constant, frequent, or occasional bullying. The mean age of participants was 37, meaning their school years would have been approximately between 1985 and 1997.
The research also examined job satisfaction. Most gay men said they were “dissatisfied” with their job (56%), while this was also the most common answer for lesbian women (47%).
“This study suggests that bullying may be a chronic problem for LGB individuals, which continues from school to the workplace,” Drydakis said.
This could be for a number of reasons – school-age bullying could be more likely to lead to low self-esteem, a difficulty in forming trusting relationships, or a greater risk of poor mental health. Factors like these may make it more likely they will experience bullying in the workplace later in life.
“Post school-age bullying victims might exhibit characteristics of vulnerability, such as sub-assertive behaviors, which make them attractive targets for unfavorable treatments and evaluations from colleagues and employers in the workplace. “In turn, individuals, firms and society as a whole face long-lasting negative effects which appear to begin in the playground,” Drydakis said.
There is also a negative association between bullying of LGB individuals, and job satisfaction.
Interestingly, the research found that the existence of a workplace group for LGB individuals appeared to result in better job satisfaction, perhaps a lesson for employers wanting a more satisfied and motivated workforce.
“The outcomes of this study suggest… that bullying, when it is experienced by sexual orientation minorities tends to persist over time,” the research concludes. And so “anti‐bullying strategies and affirmative actions in school and the workplace might be of consideration.”