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LGBTQIA community still has issues with trans people, racism & ableism

Claims of celebrating diversity sound hollow with 51% of queer and trans people of color, 36% of trans people, and 13% of disabled LGBTQIA people saying they faced discrimination from the wider LGBTQIA community.

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PHOTO TAKEN DURING METRO MANILA LGBT PRIDE PARADE 2018

We’re not as accepting of diversity as we say or even think we are.

Fifty-one (51) per cent of queer and trans people of color said they have faced discrimination from the wider LGBTQIA community. This is according to Stonewall UK, a charity organization in the UK, which released a report based on YouGov polling of over 5,000 LGBT people, and which investigated the experiences of different groups of LGBTQIA people.

Other findings included:

  • More than a third of trans people (36%) say they’ve experienced discrimination from within the community;
  • One in eight LGBTQIA disabled people whose activities are ‘limited a lot’ (13%) say they’ve experienced discrimination from within the community; and
  • One in five LGBTQIA people of non-Christian faith (21%) say they’ve experienced discrimination from within the community because of different parts of their identities.

As it is, growing up LGBTQIA continues to be difficult. Less than half of lesbian, gay and bi people (46%) and trans people (47%) feel able to be open about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity to their whole family. Meanwhile, a third of bi people (32%) say they cannot be open about their sexual orientation with anyone in their family.

And while the LGBTQIA community is supposed to offer the support that families fail to do, “this research gives a worrying insight into just how serious a problem prejudice is within our community, and we need to talk about it. Users of dating apps will be familiar with phrases like ‘No blacks, no Asians’ and ‘No chocolate, no curry, no rice, no spice’ becoming the modern-day versions of ‘No blacks, no dogs, no Gypsies’,” said Ruth Hunt, chief executive at Stonewall UK.

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Stonewall UK also stressed that there are vulnerable communities facing “double discrimination”. For instance, more than a third of trans people experienced discrimination or poor treatment; a quarter of disabled people had similar feelings of discrimination; and those who practice religion also face risks of exclusion.

The report gives several suggestions for improvement particularly in LGBT organizations, such as ensuring more diversity in decision-making groups, anti-discrimination training, partnering with disability groups, as well as listening to and giving a platform to others.

“It’s only by working together that we can create a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception,” Hunt ended.

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‘Sextortion’ labeled as most important and fastest-growing cyberthreat to children

Adolescents who identified as non-heterosexual were more than twice as likely to be the victim of sextortion. This finding is consistent with other forms of online abuse, including cyberbullying and electronic dating violence, which research has shown is more common among those who do not identify as heterosexual.

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“Sextortion” has been labeled as the most important and fastest-growing cyberthreat to children, with more minor victims per offender than all other child sexual exploitation offenses, according to  the United States Department of Justice. 

Sextortion is the “threatened dissemination of explicit, intimate or embarrassing images of a sexual nature without consent. Usually, it is for the purpose of getting more images, sexual acts, money or something else.”

Despite increased public interest in sextortion, there have been no studies to empirically examine this behavior among adolescents. This is why researchers from Florida Atlantic University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire conducted a study that explored sextortion prevalence behaviors among 5,568 middle and high school students in the US between the ages of 12 to 17 years.

The study, published in the journal Sexual Abuse, found that 5% of these youth had been the target of sextortion, and 3% admitted that they had done it to others. Males were significantly more likely than females to have participated in sextortion both as a victim and as an offender.

How the Vic Fabe issue highlights that we can be our worst enemies…

The study also found that adolescents who identified as non-heterosexual were more than twice as likely to be the victim of sextortion. This is consistent with other forms of online abuse, including cyberbullying and electronic dating violence, which research has shown is more common among those who do not identify as heterosexual.

READ:  The Stonewall Inn: Tracing the beginnings of Pride…

The study did not find any difference by race and age, although 15 year olds were generally more likely to be involved compared with other groups.

The study also found that most sextortion experiences occurred within existing relationships (romantic or otherwise). It was rare that the person targeted by someone was not well known to the target.

Sextortion-related activities varied, and included: being stalked or harassed (9.7% of males and 23.5% of females), being contacted repeatedly online or by phone (42.9% of males and 40.9% of females), and having a fake online profile created about them (11.2% of males and 8.7% of females).

Most notably, 24.8% of males and 26.1% of females who were sextorted said the offender posted the sexual image of them online, while 25.5% of male victims and 29.6% of female victims said the offender sent the sexual image of them to someone else without their permission.

“Threats that were made were ultimately carried out in some way, and some of these instances may indeed be more accurately characterized as ‘revenge porn,’ another behavior involving the unauthorized distribution of explicit images,” said Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., co-author, a professor in FAU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice within the College for Design and Social Inquiry, and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “Revenge porn is less colloquially known as ‘non-consensual pornography.’ However, the primary difference between revenge porn tends to be public while sextortion is usually private, unless threats are ultimately carried out.”

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Not surprisingly, only a few sextortion victims reported the experience to parents or other adult authorities. And among those who reported, more females informed their parents than did males. Also, very few sextortion victims reported it to the site or app where the situation occurred.

The researchers – Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D., who co-authored – advise youth to be cautious when it comes to how much trust they can extend to others. But they also suggested for parents and other adults who work with teens to cultivate them in a healthy dose of skepticism about the sharing of personal (particularly sexual) content to anyone in their circle because – as the research showed – sextortion rarely involves strangers.

“Youth may fall prey to victimization more readily than adults because of the naiveté that stems from a simple lack of experience in the ways of life and love,” Hinduja ended.

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Avon signs up to UN’s LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business

The UN Standards were produced in collaboration with the Institute for Human Rights and Business and build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They reflect the input of hundreds of companies across diverse sectors. Over 200 companies worldwide have expressed support for the Standard.

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Avon announced its support for the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business to tackle discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. Expressing support for the UN Standards on LGBTI is a continuation of Avon’s “commitment to social progress and freedom of expression – principles that underpin its business and brand proposition.”

Avon is proud to have been one of the original signatories to the UN Women’s Economic Principles and this commitment to the LGBTI Standards is a natural extension of Avon’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Avon has a strong track record of standing up for LGBTI rights and has championed LGBTI role models including Brazilian pop star and drag queen Pabllo Vittar, and singer and transsexual activist Candy Mel. A recent campaign in BrazilAvon’s biggest market, included a series of testimonials from Avon ambassadors and beauty entrepreneurs from the LGBTQIA+ community, including artist Rosa Luz, Brazilian model Bia Gremion and Avon sales executive Gaby Varconti. 

In Mexico Avon recently collaborated with the beauty influencer and transgender activist for tolerance, Victoria Volkova, to create Aura. The fragrance has been one of the most successful launches of the year for Avon Mexico.

Jan Zijderveld, CEO of Avon, said: “Avon is an open company, and our underlying principles of respect for rights apply to everyone. Discrimination is not welcome at Avon in any shape or form. We want to be a fully inclusive company for LGBTI employees, associates and representatives, and also for our customers and suppliers. Challenging stereotypes is at the heart of many of our campaigns, and we will work to promote positive representations of LGBTI people across our business. Creativity and innovation are unleashed when everyone can flourish. That is the environment in which Avon as a business was built and will thrive.”

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Zeid Ra‘ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “If we are to achieve faster global progress towards equality for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people, businesses will not only have to meet their human rights responsibilities, they must become active agents of change.”

The UN Standards were produced in collaboration with the Institute for Human Rights and Business and build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They reflect the input of hundreds of companies across diverse sectors. Over 200 companies worldwide have expressed support for the Standard.

By expressing support for these Standards, Avon commits to:

  1. Respect human rights at all times
    Avon will develop policies, exercise due diligence, and remediate adverse impacts to ensure they respect human rights of LGBTI people. Avon will also establish mechanisms to monitor and communicate about their compliance with human rights standards.
  2. Eliminate discrimination in the workplace
    Avon will ensure that there is no discrimination in recruitment, employment, working conditions, benefits, respect for privacy, or treatment of harassment.
  3. Provide support in the workplace
    Avon will provide a positive, affirmative environment so that LGBTI employees can work with dignity and without stigma.
  4. Prevent other human rights violations in the marketplace
    Avon will not discriminate against LGBTI suppliers, distributors or customers, and will leverage our business to prevent discrimination and related abuses by their business partners.
  5. Act in the public sphere
    Avon will contribute to stopping human rights abuses in the countries in which we operate. In doing so, we will consult with local communities to identify steps they might take — including public advocacy, collective action, social dialogue, support for LGBTI organizations, and challenging abusive government actions.
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Fabrice Houdart, United Nations Human Rights Officer and co-author of the Standards said: “It is particularly meaningful to have Avon join the early supporters of these Standards as Avon has always been about inclusion, and this is a natural extension of that practice and philosophy. Avon is demonstrating a leadership role in fostering greater inclusion of LGBTI people in the many places it does business. We hope more businesses will follow globally.”

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Only 17% of Phl companies have anti-discrimination policies in place, according to study

To push for stronger action which will challenge Philippine businesses and fellow LGBT organizations to ensure LGBT diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce is launching a campaign, #ZEROto100PH.

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Some may say LGBT workplace discrimination isn’t real; but 30-year old transwoman Grace (not her real name) begs to differ. While she now runs her own beauty business, she had to face prejudice and bigotry as a transwoman professional before she decided to become an entrepreneur.

One morning, the sales director in a previous company based in Metro Manila called her for a meeting. She was one week in the job and had her hopes up. Little did she know that she was about to have a taste of transphobia that fateful day.

“He told me that I should dress appropriately,” Grace said, recalling how her superior – a cisgender heterosexual man – singled her out for wearing casual female clothing in the office. This, despite the fact that other women in the office were freely wearing the same kind of clothing she was called out for.

That wasn’t the only time she experienced that kind of discrimination.

In 2010, she recalled applying for a company where the hiring executive strongly suggested changing her gender expression would make her a more suitable candidate for the position.

“I asked for a feedback kasi, if open for diversity,” she said. “Then the interviewer said that it could help if I had ‘clean’, short hair. I had long hair since college.”

She was forced to have her hair cut–despite the fact that her hair length wasn’t really a part of the job description. While this opened doors for her, she decided that she no longer wanted to pretend.

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“In the last company I worked in, I finally asked if I can grow my hair back. I didn’t get any response. That’s when I decided I was going to start on my own.”

In the absence of a law that protects LGBT people in the workplace, professionals like Grace will continue to face discrimination–hindering them from contributing to their fullest potential.

In fact, Filipino companies have failed dismally in the country’s first Philippine Corporate SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression) Diversity and Inclusiveness Index, a study done by the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce, an organization which champions the LGBT contribution in Philippine business.

The study aims to establish a quantitative baseline SOGIE Corporate Diversity and Inclusiveness Index across the top corporations as well as other small and medium enterprises in the Philippines.

Undertaken by research firm Cogencia with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Philippines, the study surveyed 100 companies which cumulatively employ 267,231 people.

These companies are classified according to these broad categories: Philippine-based (those that operate mainly or are headquartered in the Philippines), Foreign-headquartered, BPO/BPS (Business Process Outsourcing/Services), and Government.

Only 17% of companies interviewed have policies in place against discrimination based on SOGIE. All are from BPO/BPS and Foreign-headquartered organizations.

Meanwhile, companies which do not have LGBT-inclusive policies and benefits also did not express interest in creating said company policies and benefits in the next 5 years.

“The results of this study are a wake-up call to all of us, not just businesses or professionals, but also our senators who are impeding the passage of the Senate Bill No. 1271, or the Anti-Discrimination Bill,” says Brian Tenorio, chair of the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “Our fellow LGBT professionals must be guaranteed their protection in the workplace, so they can positively contribute to their respective companies, without fear of prejudice or discrimination.”

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Adds H.E. Marion Derckx, Ambassador of the Netherlands Embassy in the Philippines: “Keeping the benefits of diversity requires awareness and action from all sides – from employers, from employees and also from government. Diversity is about inclusion.”

To push for stronger action which will challenge Philippine businesses and fellow LGBT organizations to ensure LGBT diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce is launching a campaign, #ZEROto100PH.

The campaign aims to get 100 Philippine companies in 2019 to pledge their commitment towards LGBT diversity and inclusion, starting with SOGIE training in their workplace and revising their company policies to protect LGBT professionals.

Full copy of the report, visit www.lgbtph.org/csdi.

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Malaysian Prime Minister stresses his government’s rejection of LGBT rights

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad voiced his government’s rejection of LGBT rights. “Sometimes Asians accept Western values without questioning,” he said. “We should be free not to change our values according to their wishes.”

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IMAGE DETAIL FROM ZUKIMAN MOHAMAD FROM PEXEL.COM

Strong(est) erroneous rebuke of LGBT community.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad voiced his government’s rejection of LGBT rights. Speaking in Chulalongkorn Univeristy, the 93-year-old Mohamad said that “at this moment, we don’t accept LGBT,” adding that LGBT rights are incompatible with the “institution of marriage and institution of family.”

In particular, Mohamad irrationally used the debunked “being LGBT is Western” argument.

“Sometimes Asians accept Western values without questioning,” he said. “We should be free not to change our values according to their wishes.”

In May 2018, Malaysia started to block Internet access to public information about HIV/AIDS and LGBT travel. On May 4, Sinar Project, a Malaysian media watchdog, reported the country’s first known online censorship of an LGBT-specific community travel website, Utopia-Asia.com, which TMNet, a Malaysian Internet Service provider, began blocking in April without explanation. Ooni Explorer, a global observation network for detecting censorship, surveillance and traffic manipulation on the Internet, found that TMNet was engaging in DNS tampering by re-routing Utopia Asia’s domain name to display a false notice and deceive customers in Malaysia into thinking those resources no longer existed.

Malaysia begins blocking online HIV and AIDS, LGBT travel information

But anti-LGBT efforts have long been noted in Malaysia. In 2015, the Justice for Sisters criticized arrests made following the decision by the country’s Federal Court on Section 66, triggering a wave of fear among the transgender community to freely move. This development affects LGBT of various countries – e.g. on October 21, three transpinays were arrested in Terengganu in a raid by the immigration department after undercover clients solicited sex from them (the three are currently detained at the Ajil immigration depot, and may be jailed or fined if found guilty).

Malaysia as a study of increasing violence against transwomen in APAC

Sodomy is still a crime in Malaysia, where the dominant religion is Islam.

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Knowing LGT people not enough, social contact more important in understanding, according to study

Especially in liberal cultural climates, simply knowing a gay or lesbian person may no longer serve as a correlation of supportive attitudes toward LGT people.  Instead, desired social contact may be a more salient measure of understanding attitudes toward gays and lesbians.

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Just knowing lesbian, gay and transgender (LGT) people is not enough in the development of supportive attitudes toward LGT people; and actual social contact with them is more important in understanding them. This is according to a study done by Meredith G. F. Worthen, “Social Contact, Social Distancing, and Attitudes Toward LGT Individuals: A Cross-Cultural Study of College Students in the United States, Italy, and Spain,” which was published in the Journal of Homosexuality.

In the study, Worthen examined how measures of social contact and social distancing relate to attitudes toward lesbian, gay and transgender individuals. Worthen used a scale she developed and data from college students in the US (Oklahoma and Texas), Italy and Spain to offer the first cross-cultural comparisons of attitudes toward transgender people in the US and European Union. The goal was to develop a more in-depth understanding of global LGT prejudices and to promote future research that better counteracts negative prejudices toward these groups.

This study suggests that especially in liberal cultural climates, simply knowing a gay or lesbian person may no longer serve as a correlation of supportive attitudes toward LGT people.  Instead, desired social contact may be a more salient measure of understanding attitudes toward gays and lesbians in both conservative and liberal cultural climates. In contrast, because a minority of Americans and Europeans indicate they know a transgender person, actual social contact may still correlate with attitudes toward and desired social contact with transgender people in both conservative and liberal cultural climates.

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“The findings suggest that measures of desired social contact with LGT people are more strongly related to LGT support than simple measures of knowing LGT people. This is likely because more and more people know LGT people than in the past. But as demonstrated in this study, these patterns differ based on cultural climate and by stigmatized group (lesbian, gay or transgender),” said Worthen.

While there is a great deal of variation in attitudes toward LGT people across the globe, the US and the European Union have been actively working toward more support of LGT people in the past decade. Even so, “cultural tensions remain high, and in certain parts of the US and the European Union, negative attitudes toward and public support of LGT issues persist.”

This study also showed some locations are especially supportive, while others have yet to adopt widespread policies that support LGT people. In the US, Oklahoma is known for its conservative perspectives, while Texas has ‘liberal pockets’ that support LGT issues. In the European Union, Italy is dominated by traditional cultural attitudes, while Spain was among the first locations in the world to recognize same-sex marriage. In addition, most Americans and Europeans know someone who is gay or lesbian, but a smaller percentage know someone who is transgender.

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LGBTQ retirees worry more about market volatility; admit to taking more risk than may be prudent

Overall, LGBTQ pre-retirees plan to retire later than the general population and are likely to expect that their retirement income will last at least as long as needed.

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Compared to other retirees and pre-retirees, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) people are more inclined to see a need to preserve their retirement savings yet are more likely to take bigger risks when it comes to investing, according to a new study from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual).

Retirees and pre-retirees who are LGBTQ are more likely to say they should become more conservative with their money as they approach retirement (42 percent) than to maintain a more aggressive investment strategy (28 percent), according to the MassMutual LGBTQ Retirement Risk Study.

Yet, 65 percent of LGBTQ respondents describe their investment mix as growth- rather than preservation-oriented compared to 52 percent of the general population; 31 percent of LGBTQ respondents acknowledge that they may be taking more risk than they should compared to 22 percent of other retirees and pre-retirees, the study finds. Meanwhile, 17 percent of both LGBTQ respondents overall and LGBTQ retirees say they want their retirement investments to significantly outperform the market compared to 13 percent of the general population overall and 9 percent of general population retirees.

“MassMutual’s study shows that many LGBTQ retirees and pre-retirees may benefit from consulting a financial advisor about their retirement investment goals, something less than half currently do, and may benefit from help leading into retirement and securing their finances through retirement,” said Catherine Cannon, Head of Personal Markets at MassMutual. “Of those respondents in our study who do work with  a financial advisor, six in 10 say their advisor has encouraged them to change their investment mix and 87 percent of those folks were advised to become more conservative as they enter retirement.”

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Overall, LGBTQ pre-retirees plan to retire later than the general population and are likely to expect that their retirement income will last at least as long as needed. While retirees and pre-retirees overall expect to live 24 years in retirement, the study finds, LGBTQ respondents say they expect to spend two fewer years retired.  Both the general population and LGBTQ respondents peg their retirement savings to last 25 years.

LGBTQ retirees and pre-retirees express more confidence than the general population that they will be financially prepared for retirement, especially pre-retirees.

Despite being relatively confident in their financial prospects in retirement, stock market volatility and a major downturn in the stock market seem worrisome for the LGBTQ community as people approach or live in retirement. Nearly three-quarters of LGBTQ respondents (74 percent) expressed concern about volatility, with 27 percent saying they are “very concerned.” The general population is somewhat less concerned, with 72 percent concerned and 21 percent “very concerned.”

However, LGBTQ respondents indicate greater comfort in taking investment risk with only 20 percent willing to accept “below average” or “low investment returns” in exchange for greater safety, according to the study.  Overall, respondents seem to seek a balance between growth and preservation.

“The LGBTQ community’s sentiments about investment risk – especially just before and just into retirement – are well-founded,” Cannon said. “With some professional investment assistance and a more disciplined approach, LGBTQ retirees and pre-retirees may become even more comfortable in their retirement.”

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The internet-based study was conducted on behalf of MassMutual by Greenwald & Associates and polled 801 retirees who have been retired for no more than 15 years and 804 pre-retirees within 15 years of retirement. The study included an oversample of 315 LGBTQ respondents, including 149 pre-retirees and 166 retirees. Pre-retirees were required to have household incomes of at least $40,000 and retired respondents had at least $100,000 in investable assets and participated in making household financial decisions. The research was conducted in early 2018.

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