Connect with us

NEWSMAKERS

In Eastern Samar State University, the toilet as battleground to eradicate LGBT discrimination

Eastern Samar State University in Borongan City allocated LGBT-specific toilets for its students and staff. According to the university’s student publication head, Dave Elgera Lampanizo, the move can help “promote gender equality that will (in turn) probably eradicate the gender gap, and deal with the discrimination experienced by LGBT people (here).”

Published

on

When Eastern Samar State University in Borongan City decided to allocate LGBT-specific toilets for its students and staff, it was lauded as a “relevant move that recognized and appreciated that LGBT people are part of our (academic) community,” the university’s student publication head, Dave Elgera Lampanizo, said to Outrage Magazine, the only LGBT publication in the Philippines. The move can help “promote gender equality that will (in turn) probably eradicate the gender gap, and deal with the discrimination experienced by LGBT people (here).”

The move to have LGBT toilets in Eastern Samar State University was spearheaded by Dr. Jovito Madeja, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and then approved by the university president, Dr. Edmundo Campoto. Fitting the role of LGBT people picking up the cudgels for other LGBT people, both are also members of LGBT community.

Considering that there are quarters in the LGBT community that stress the need not of segregation but of integration – i.e. that there is no need to have separate spaces like toilets, but instead just allow people to use toilets that fit their identity – Lampanizo said that this solution has something to do with “preference”. “There are LGBT people who still prefer to use ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ toilets; but there are those (who would rather have one just for them). These needs are now answered. And I believe that these comfort rooms could help lessen the hesitation (of these LGBT people in accessing them); and it could help deal with the discrimination (they may encounter if they use the traditional toilets).”

With this move, there are now two additional comfort rooms in Eastern Samar State University: one for transgender men, and another for trans women.

NEWSMAKERS

Facebook, Instagram ban contents promoting conversion ‘therapy’

Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) will reportedly start banning any content that promotes the so-called “conversion therapy”.

Published

on

Photo by @screenpost from Unsplash.com

Long time coming.

Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) will reportedly start banning any content that promotes the so-called “conversion therapy”.

“Conversion therapy” is the most widely-used term used to describe practices attempting to change, suppress or divert one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It is also called reorientation therapy, reparative therapy, reintegrative therapy, or, more recently, support for unwanted same-sex attraction or transgender identities.

Medical associations are critical of this practice – e.g. the World Psychiatric Association criticized these as “wholly unethical,” and the Pan American Health Organization warned that they pose “a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.”

As reported, Facebook is expanding its existing policies on hate speech worldwide to include posts that advertise or promote the practice.

This actually comes at the heels of appeals from users to remove an Instagram account used by Core Issues Trust, a UK-based promoter of conversion therapy.

In a statement related to the appeals, Tara Hopkins, Instagram’s public policy director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in a statement: “We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services. We have removed violating content from @coreissuestrusttv. We are always reviewing our policies and will continue to consult with experts and people with personal experiences to inform our approach.”

The platform will similarly stop recommending content related to conversion therapy, including testimonials to its supposed efficacy, or posts in praise of or in support of the practice.

In case info re “conversion therapy” shows in your newsfeed, it may be because it’s from a “legislative context”, which remains allowed.

Earlier in 2020, Instagram banned advertisements for the process.

Continue Reading

NEWSMAKERS

Pushing to be pro-LGBTQIA beyond Pride month

Many companies surface during Pride month to claim their supposed pro-LGBTQIA credentials, meriting a closer look. Outrage Magazine interviews Everise Philippines on this.

Published

on

Screencap from the FB page of Everise Philippines

For June, just as members of the LGBTQIA community marked Pride, Everise Philippines – one of the emerging BPOs in the country – launched the “Love Experience” (LX) campaign to symbolize the company’s move to “encourage empathy and acceptance of all”; and released the “LX Heartbeat Headset” to “spark dialogue about how change has to come from within” via a rainbow-inspired headset (which is, obviously, ubiquitous in the BPO industry).

“As a vehicle for communication, (this) is intended to remind people that no matter who is on the other end of the line, it is important to listen with an empathetic ear and turn any hateful speech into an open and tolerant dialogue,” the company stated in a press release at that time.

But much has been said about the “participation” of private companies in LGBTQIA Pride, with many of them traversing a thin line that could signify real support or… to be honest, co-opting of the rainbow to boost image and, thus, the bottom-lines (and many times, Pride organizers are complacent to this).

This is, therefore, where various companies’ after-Pride efforts merit scrutiny; on whether what they do is just for show, or they really mean to help a community that continues to experience discrimination.

At least for Everise Philippines, “diversity is one of Everise’s core values and is embedded in our culture,” said Ma Ann Reyes, VP for human resources. And “although affirmative action helps with our diversity goals, we are conscious that it should not be the basis for decision making, because it can lead to reverse discrimination.”

And so the company contributes to the “larger community” by providing donations (e.g. car rides and clothes; just as it gives daily essentials to elderly gay people who have no family).

Beyond handouts, though, and “since the company’s inception, Everise Philippines has offered same-sex benefits, “including maternity benefit schemes, and healthcare policies where partners can be listed as dependents.” Gender-neutral bathrooms are also available in offices.

“Everise Philippines provides equal employment opportunities to our people irrespective of gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, color, physical ability or sexual orientation. Our employees are given the same fair access to opportunities, including access to jobs, training and development, and promotional opportunities. Our compensation and benefits policies do not favor any individual group, and is based on the experience, skills and overall contribution to business goals,” said Reyes.

Asked if the company has future plans in helping the LGBTQIA community re: A) Pushing for anti-discrimination bill/law in the Philippines; Pushing for marriage equality; and C) Pushing for gender recognition law in the country, Reyes said that “when it comes to our people’s welfare, we make a stand that they should not be discriminated against and we maintain our commitment to diversity and inclusion practices.”

For Reyes, “the workplace should be a safe and comfortable space for everyone, and businesses have the responsibility of keeping it that way. For many LGBTQIA employees, this isn’t always the case, and workplace discrimination often goes unnoticed. However, if businesses were to introduce policies and measures that support the LGBTQIA community, it could have a direct impact on individuals, which can lessen discrimination and increase openness. By creating an LGBTQIA inclusive environment, LGBTQIA staff can be themselves, feel more welcome, and thrive within any company.”

In the end, “Everise Philippines’ success and growth… are determined by its ability to welcome, understand, and efficiently manage diversity. We believe that when people of
different backgrounds and beliefs work together as a team, we progress collectively. By promoting this internally within Everise Philippines, we hope our culture will spread externally around the world and showcase how successful a company can be when everyone has a voice,” Reyes said.

Continue Reading

NEWSMAKERS

Documenting sexual orientation and gender identity is critical – study

In spite of the recommendations that sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), as well as sexual behavior, be routinely documented for all patients accessing clinical care, collection of this data and documentation remains abysmally low especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) communities.

Published

on

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels.com

In spite of the recommendations that sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), as well as sexual behavior, be routinely documented for all patients accessing clinical care, collection of this data and documentation remains abysmally low especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) communities.

Most electronic health records (EHR) do not have expanded data fields that include all aspects of SOGI and data are not uniformly captured across EHR platforms. While provider discomfort is often cited as a reason for low SOGI data collection, all patients report high levels of acceptance and satisfaction with the collection of personal SOGI data.

“SOGI is an important dimension of individual self-perception and behavior, and has profound effects on health, whether a patient identifies as an LGBTQIA, cisgender (nontransgender), or a heterosexual person,” explains Carl Streed, Jr., MD, MPH, FACP, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), in an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health.

Streed, who also is a primary care physician and research lead in the Center for Transgender Medicine & Surgery at Boston Medical Center, believes the collection of SOGI data are a critical step in systematically documenting and addressing health disparities affecting LGBTQIA persons.

“Patient-provider discussions about SOGI can facilitate a more accurate assessment of self-reported health and behaviors. Additionally, if clinicians do not know their patients’ SOGI status and sexual behavior, important therapeutic and preventive services may be ignored, including HIV screening, appropriate referrals for behavioral health care and support services that incorporate patients’ specific needs,” he says.

In addition to improving care, Streed believes the gathering of structured SOGI data will facilitate information sharing for clinical care, research and public health interventions that can reduce health care disparities in these underserved populations.

“Gathering SOGI structured data in clinical settings via EHRs will help clinicians, researchers, health care system administrators and policymakers better understand LGBTQIA health regarding disparities in insurance coverage, access to care, diagnosis, and treatment of health conditions. As LGBTQIA+ persons are at increased risk for worse COVID-19 outcomes, SOGI data collection in EHRs would further elucidate public health disparities and identify opportunities for interventions,” he says.

Streed stresses that additional policies that mandate, incentivize and enforce SOGI data collection are needed to increase compliance and the use of data. “With the proliferation of EHRs and federal guidance for their implementation, the tools to routinize complete and comprehensive SOGI data collection exist; what remains is the will to adapt and improve our health care system.”

Continue Reading

NEWSMAKERS

Back-riding also allowed for LGBTQIA couples; but proof of relationship required

Supposedly as a means to help Filipinos who need various modes of transportation to go from point A to B, even LGBTQIA people in relationships are now allowed to “back-ride” in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas. The catch: They need to provide proof that they are couples or live-in partners.

Published

on

Photo by Davids Kokainis from Unsplash.com

Supposedly pro-equality, though also highlighting the lack of legal standing of LGBTQIA relationships.

As the Philippines – and the rest of the world, for that matter – enters the “new normal”, and supposedly as a means to help Filipinos who need various modes of transportation to go from point A to B, even LGBTQIA people in relationships are now allowed to “back-ride” in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas. The catch: They need to provide proof that they are couples or live-in partners.

This was announced by Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, who stated at the Laging Handa public briefing: “Binanggit ng National Task Force na ito ay para sa married couple and others na live-in partners. So in essence, kung ‘yung ating mga kasamahan sa LGBTQI ay magkasama sa isang bahay at sila naman ay live-in partners, kasama rin sila doon.

He added: “Ang kailangan lamang po ay mga patunay na sila ay nakatira doon sa iisang lugar o iisang address ng iisang bahay para mapatunayan na sila ay magkasama.

And so for couples with both people assigned males or both assigned females at birth, authorities “could consider” their IDs… preferably specifically stating that they live under the same roof.

Sa ngayon, kung nagpatunay lang na meron silang ID doon, ayun po ay kino-consider natin,” Eleazar said.

Since not all co-habiting same-sex couples share the same address, an extra work is necessitated: “Kung makakakuha ng additional certification coming from the barangay, maganda din po ‘yan.”

Aside from highlighting the lack of legal recognition of LGBTQIA relationships in the Philippines, this attempt to allow back-riding is actually criticized – e.g. a barrier is still required between the driver and the back-rider (supposedly to “prevent COVID-19 infection in case some people may take advantage and pretend to be married couples or partners); and only couples are allowed to exclude other people who may actually be also living under the same roof (such as parents and their children).

Tuloy-tuloy lang po ang pag-aaral ng ating TWG (Technical Working Group) ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) para ma-improve pa ang sistema na ito para sa kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan,” Eleazar said.

Continue Reading

NEWSMAKERS

Opposition to sexual- and gender-minority rights linked to support for Christian dominance

Opposition to sexual- and gender-minority rights was correlated with Christian and political conservatism, and with the belief that Christians should be the dominant group in society.

Published

on

Photo by Jon Tyson from Unsplash.com

Many Christian and political conservatives in support legislation to deny sexual and gender minorities the rights others enjoy: unfettered access to jobs, housing, services and public facilities; the opportunity to marry as they choose; and the right to adopt a child.

A study published in the American Journal of Community Psychology offers insight into the factors that correlate with support for such laws. The study asked 1,015 heterosexual college undergraduates who self-identified as either Christian (68%) or nonreligious a series of questions to determine their thoughts and attitudes about Christian privilege and power in society. The researchers also asked whether participants supported or opposed efforts to curtail the rights of sexual and gender minorities.

In the US for instance, “aAlthough same-sex marriage is now the law of the land… there continue to be problems with employment discrimination, housing discrimination and other types of discrimination against sexual and gender minorities,” said Nathan Todd, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who led the study. “One of the key barriers to those rights has been opposition from some Christian and political conservatives. We wanted to know whether people’s ideas about political power explain some of this opposition.”

Todd and his colleagues evaluated participants’ take on Christian power and influence in society. The students were asked to rank how strongly they agreed or disagreed with statements such as: “To be Christian is to have religious advantage in this country.” Or, “Christianity is valued more in this society than other religions.”

The researchers also asked participants whether Christians “should have religious advantage in this country,” or if Christianity “should be valued more in this society than other religions.” These questions differentiated participants’ awareness of advantages conferred to Christians in the U.S. from the belief that such advantages are right and should exist, Todd said.

Because Christian practices and traditions are so embedded in life and politics, identifying as Christian confers a lot of privileges, he said.

“People who are Christian are not singled out or asked to speak for their religion on a regular basis, as members of other religions often are,” Todd said. “Christians (including the US) do not face systemic bias or violence based on their religion and they do not live in fear of this type of experience.”

Other advantages stem from the fact that government and school calendars revolve around the Christian sabbath and Christian holidays. A large majority of elected officials also identify as Christian.

“All of these factors work together to the advantage of Christians,” Todd said.

Participants also rated their support or opposition to specific sexual- and gender-minority rights, such as the right to marry, to adopt children or to have equal access to jobs and housing, and to use public bathroom facilities that align with one’s gender identity. They also rated how strongly they identified as political conservatives, and Christian students rated how strongly their religious beliefs aligned with conservative Christian views.

“Our analyses revealed that opposition to sexual- and gender-minority rights was correlated with Christian and political conservatism, and with the belief that Christians should be the dominant group in society,” Todd said.

Further analyses suggested that greater support for Christians being the dominant group in power in the society partially explains why Christian conservatives and political conservatives oppose sexual- and gender-minority rights, he said. These findings were consistent across Christian and nonreligious students.

“Our goal with this study is not to antagonize or demonize political or Christian conservatives, but to learn more about what drives them to support or oppose sexual- and gender-minority rights,” Todd said. “I also think it’s a mistake to characterize all Christians as thinking or acting the same way, especially as some Christians do support rights for sexual and gender minorities.”

Todd said he hopes the research will increase constructive dialogue by promoting a broader understanding of the relationship between Christianity, politics, and sexual- and gender-minority rights.

Continue Reading

NEWSMAKERS

73% of LGBTQ youth bullied for reasons beyond their sexual identity

Ninety-one percent (91%) of LGBTQ adolescents in a US survey report at least one experience of bias-based bullying.

Published

on

Photo by Christian Sterk from Unsplash.com

Ninety-one percent (91%) of LGBTQ adolescents in a US survey report at least one experience of bias-based bullying, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. This number is more than double estimates from previous studies with predominantly heterosexual youth.

By the time they reach middle school, sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents are at heightened risk of suicide, depression, sleep troubles, and eating disorders. These health consequences often stem from the distress of being stigmatized for their sexual and gender identities. Based on this knowledge, researchers wanted to learn whether being mistreated for other reasons (such as their weight, race/ethnicity, religion, disability status) also contributes to their health.

“When considering approaches to reduce health risk, we need to better understand the wide range of bias-based bullying experienced by SGM adolescents,” says Leah Lessard, postdoctoral fellow at the Rudd Center and lead author of the study. “Given that multiple forms of bias-based bullying can worsen negative health behaviors, it is critical to understand how school-based interventions, such as Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs), may be able to reduce targeted bullying.”

The study reports findings from the LGBTQ National Teen Survey, a comprehensive survey conducted in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign to assess victimization, health behaviors, family relationships, and experiences of LGBTQ adolescents across the United States. Researchers asked participants ages 13-17 questions about school-based GSAs, their experiences of bias-based bullying, and health risk indicators, including stress, sleep problems, depression, and unhealthy weight behaviors.

Key findings include:

  • 73% of SGM adolescents surveyed reported experiences of bias-based bullying for reasons beyond their sexual or gender identities, such as being bullied because of their body weight (57%), race/ethnicity (30%) and religion (27%).
  • Each type of bullying was positively related to health risk, including depression, sleep problems, stress, and unhealthy weight control behaviors.
  • The presence of a Gay Straight Alliance at school was associated with less bullying of students for their weight, gender, religion, disability, and sexuality.

Given these results, GSAs have positive implications for not only students facing LGBTQ-related bullying, but also for those who experience other types of bias-based bullying. By reducing rates of targeted victimization, these organizations may help lower the risk of unhealthy behaviors in vulnerable adolescents.

“The harmful effects and wide range of bias-based bullying experienced by SGM youth calls attention to the importance of promoting broad-reaching inclusion and acceptance within schools, ” said Lessard. “Due to the breadth of stigma-reduction across multiple social identities, our results underscore GSAs as a promising avenue to support healthy outcomes for SGM youth.”

These findings are particularly important as schools face new challenges in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As smartphones and social media usage increase, the possibility for bias-based cyberbullying does too. Educators and student leaders can host virtual GSA meetings and utilize online learning platforms to continue to foster social inclusion for adolescents at risk for victimization in the absence of in-person meetings.

Study co-authors include Leah Lessard, Rebecca Puhl, Ryan Watson of the University of Connecticut.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

Most Popular