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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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Over 50% think falling in love online is possible; over 23% believe it’s achievable

56.5% of Grindr users believe they can find love on the dating app. And 25-34-year-olds are the most optimistic about falling in love online, with shared interests the most likely reason to finding love.

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Changing demographics?

What does falling in love mean in 2019? For many, it apparently means heading to an app and hoping to find true love with a swipe or a click; and this is even if there are concerns that online dating may not lead to true love and everyone is in danger of losing it.

Comparethemarket.com surveyed over 2,000 adults to see if love really is on the line or if online dating is simply the newest way to find true love.

The survey found 25-34-year-olds to be the most optimistic about falling in love online, with 34% responding “Yes, definitely” to the question “Do you think it’s possible to fall in love through an online dating site/app?”.

Comparatively, only 30% of 16-24-year-olds, 26% of 35-44-year-olds, 18% of 45-54-year-olds and 15% of the over 55 agreed with the statement.

People who use dating apps tied to shared interests, such as music, are the most likely to believe you can definitely fall in love online, with 69% answering the same question with “Yes, definitely”. The next most optimistic app users were: dating services based on religion (65%), Meetic (68%), SpeedDate.com (64%), OkCupid (59%) and Grindr (56.5%).

With dating apps having more and more game-like features, Comparethemarket.com wanted to find out people’s opinions on how this affects the way they approach dating through apps. The survey discovered that only 7% of people say they often treat dating apps like a game and use strategies to ‘win’.

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The question of who treats dating apps like more of a game out of men and women gets slightly different responses depending if you ask men or women! However, they both agree that men are more likely to treat dating apps like a game, with 25% of women and 14% of men agreeing with this statement. Only 8% of men and 6% of women believe women are the most likely to treat online dating as a game.

The most common bad experience with online dating is a boring first date, with 31% of people claiming to have experienced this. 21% of people have had to run away as the date was so bad,  17% felt that their date clearly fancied someone else.
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It isn’t all roses, however, as there are also bad experiences from online dating. Almost three in five (59%) people say they’ve had a bad experience of online dating, this could be either while talking to someone on the app/website itself or when meeting them in real life. This breaks down as 56% of men and 61% of women.

Per app, the bad experiences are also different.

People who said they used Meetic (95%) most claimed to have had bad experiences either talking with, or meeting, people from the app, followed by Ashley Madison (91%), dating services based on religion (89%), SpeedDate.com (87%) and dating services based on interest (86%).

Meanwhile, 59% of people who said they used Tinder most claimed to have had bad experiences either talking with, or meeting, people from the app, the fewest out of the sites studied, followed by Match.com (62%), PlentyOfFish (64%), and Bumble (68%)

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The most common bad experience with online dating is a boring first date, with 31% of people claiming to have experienced this. 21% of people have had to run away as the date was so bad,  17% felt that their date clearly fancied someone else. For 17% of respondents, the date ended when the person didn’t turn up or left early, and for 13% it was the classic ‘I spilled wine on my date’.

Men are more likely to be stood up than women for a date made through online platforms with 20% claiming their date didn’t turn up or left early, compared to women’s 14%. Men are also a lot more likely to cause a short date with 17% admitting to spilling wine on their date compared to 10% of women.

From bad pick up lines to fake profiles, this is what people consider to be the worst thing about online and app-based dating.

And with apps now generally accepted as sources of lifelong relationships, more are emerging to respond to niche markets. These include: Hater (which has over 1,000,000 users) that – instead of matching with someone because of shared interests – app that matches people based on shared pet hates; Trek Dating (over 500,000 users), a dedicated app for Trekkies who are looking for love; Tastebuds (over 500,000 users) that matches people based on shared music tastes; Muddy Matches (over 200,000 users), which is for the country boy or girl at heart and don’t want to waste time with city folk; and Farmers only (over 150,000 users) for farmers finding love.

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Methodists strengthen anti-LGBT clergy and gay marriage stance

A decision – made by a vote of 438-384 – reinforced a UMC policy established in 1972 stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

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The United Methodist Church (UMC) strengthened its ban on gay and lesbian clergy and same-sex marriages during the church’s General Conference in St. Louis in the US. The decision – made by a vote of 438-384 – reinforced a UMC policy established in 1972 stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

The vote for what is known as the “Traditional Plan” came after church leaders reject an earlier proposal, known as the “One Church Plan”, which would have allowed individual (and local) churches to perform same-sex weddings and hire openly LGBT clergy.

Under the “One Church Plan”, the statement that homosexuality is at odds with Christianity would have been eliminated. But now with the “Traditional Plan” getting more votes, UMC is giving sanctions to those who will break its anti-LGBT policies, and even asks those who will not obey it to find another church.

Many of the supporters of “One Church Plan” came from the US, where a wave of social change regarding LGBT rights has been happening. Meanwhile, supporters of the Traditional Plan include many African and Philippine UMC members, as well as evangelical members from Europe and the US.

This backward decision is feared to cause a schism in one of the world’s largest Protestant churches.

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High percentages of LGBTQ youth also teased and bullied because of body weight

44% to 70% of LGBTQ teens reported weight-based teasing from family members, 41% to 57% reported weight-based teasing from peers, and as many as 44% reported weight-based teasing from both family members and peers.

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Teased and bullied for being LGBTQ; and then teased and bullied for one’s body weight. At times even by fellow LGBTQ people.

This is according to a study, published in Pediatric Obesity, that noted that adolescents who identify as LGBTQ often face double victimization and bullying because of their sexual and/or gender identity, and because of their body weight – in some cases at higher rates than previous reports of weight-based bullying in heterosexual youth.

The research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut involved 9,838 adolescents who participated in the 2017 LGBTQ National Teen Survey, a comprehensive survey conducted in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to assess victimization, health behaviors, family relationships, and experiences of LGBTQ adolescents across the US.

Researchers found that across sexual identities, 44% to 70% of LGBTQ teens reported weight-based teasing from family members, 41% to 57% reported weight-based teasing from peers, and as many as 44% reported weight-based teasing from both family members and peers.

Also, approximately one in 4 teens reported these experiences at school, and body weight was the third most common reason that these adolescents indicated they were teased or treated badly (behind sexual orientation and gender identity).

“Body weight is often absent in school-based anti-bullying policies, and our findings suggest that heightened awareness of this issue may be warranted in school settings to ensure that weight-based victimization is adequately addressed and that sexual and gender minority youth are recognized as potentially vulnerable targets of weight-based bullying,” said Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the UConn Rudd Center, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, and the study’s lead author.

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Study co-authors include Rebecca Puhl, Ryan Watson, and Mary Himmelstein of the University of Connecticut.

Adolescent obesity rates currently reach 20% in the US alone, and weight-based victimization has become a widespread form of mistreatment experienced by youth. This victimization has harmful health consequences, including increased risk for depression, low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, poor body image, disordered eating, harmful weight control behaviors, and lower levels of physical activity.

Although there is mounting evidence of weight-based victimization in youth, there has been little attention to this issue in LGBTQ adolescents, despite their high prevalence of overweight and obesity and increased risk for victimization.

“These issues warrant attention among healthcare providers, parents, educators, and all others who interact with adolescents. Increased consideration must be given to the intersection of social identities related to body weight, sexual orientation, and gender identity in youth,” said Ryan Watson, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut and co-author of the study.

The study also found that regardless of the source (family or peers) of weight-based victimization, sexual and gender minority adolescents face these experiences across diverse body weight categories. The highest rates of weight-based victimization occurred in LGBTQ adolescents with obesity (as many as 77% reported these experiences), but high percentages of teens at lower body weight categories were also vulnerable – 55-64% of those with an underweight BMI reported weight-based victimization.

The researchers recommend for healthcare providers to be aware that sexual and gender minority youth can be vulnerable to weight-based victimization, regardless of their body size. The study similarly suggests that it may be warranted to screen LGBTQ youth for their victimization experiences not only in the context of sexual and gender identity, but also in the context of body weight.

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Condom use pushed to deal with HIV

For “Love Walk”, PAFPI’s workers/volunteers distributed condoms and lubricants in different areas in the cities of Manila and Pasay, with the approach hoping to “educate (particularly men) and to try to change their attitudes, their outlook, and their (sex) behaviors.”

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In December 2018, the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) reported 877 new HIV cases in the Philippines, with the country now registering 32 new HIV cases every day. And of that figure, 98% (or 861 of the cases) were from sexual contact, which remains the main mode of HIV transmission in the country.

This is the backdrop of the push for condom use of the Positive Action Foundation Philippines Inc. (PAFPI), a non-government organization serving the PLHIV community, via its “Love Walk” advocacy.

Now in its seventh year, “Love Walk” is basically “an HIV awareness campaign” that brings together people to “directly respond to the HIV epidemic affecting the Philippines.”

According to Moses Ayuha, from PAFPI, there are other lessons that may continue to be taught to deal with HIV, including teaching people to abstain from sex to avoid possible HIV infection. However, he said that there is also a need for a more realistic look approach at the situation because “not everybody abstains anyway.”

For Ayuha, and in a gist, there are people who – even if they are already aware of (other) ways to supposedly avoid getting infected with HIV – still have unprotected sex. “These are the people we need to reach.”

For “Love Walk”, PAFPI’s workers/volunteers distributed condoms and lubricants in different areas in the cities of Manila and Pasay, with the approach hoping to “educate (particularly men) and to try to change their attitudes, their outlook, and their (sex) behaviors.”

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Ayuha admitted that efforts like the “Love Walk” continue to be challenging, particularly since bringing the sex educating straight to the streets means teaching people about HIV off the bat. “The challenge ay kung paano ipaliliwanag sa mga tao ang HIV sa kalsada at paano rin maiintindhan ng tao ang kahalagahan ng pagpapa-test (The challenge is how to explain HIV to people on the sreets, and how to tell people about the importance of getting tested for HIV),” he said.

It is also not uncomoon to encounter unwanted responses from people who may not support efforts like “Love Walk.”

Sinasabi namin na hindi naman pag namigay ng condom, (we already) promote sex,” Ayuha said. “It’s just one of the preventive measures. And because – nowadays, people are having sex – we just encourage people to be responsible.” 

In the end, for Ayuha, efforts like the “Love Walk” will continue to be relevant until “we’ve finally properly dealt with HIV.” – ARTICLE FILED WITH LUWELA RODRIGO

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Relationship between police officers and LGBT people remains strained

Homophobic and heterosexist attitudes of police against the LGBT community has resulted in under-policing when they are victimized, but over-policing in places of leisure – damaging trust between the two parties.

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Homophobic and heterosexist attitudes of police against the LGBT community has resulted in under-policing when they are victimized, but over-policing in places of leisure – damaging trust between the two parties. This is according to a study that also suggests that the relationship between police officers and LGBT people remains strained across several dimensions.

A new study by Florida Atlantic University and collaborators from Arizona State University and the University of Rhode Island examines the relationship between procedural justice (fairness and perceived respect of the police-citizen encounter) and perceptions of police legitimacy (willingness to recognize police authority) among a historically marginalized population.

“LGBT people often found themselves in trouble with the law for a variety of reasons like criminal laws against sodomy or dressing in ‘drag.’ Police regularly raided LGBT bars and charged patrons with lewdness,” said Lisa M. Dario, Ph.D., lead author and an assistant professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice within FAU’s College for Design and Social Inquiry in the US. “While there is a lot of research on the LGBT community’s relationship with police, there is scant research on how they perceive police legitimacy and what predicts their willingness to obey, cooperate, and recognize police authority.”

For the study, the researchers set out to test two hypotheses: greater perceptions of procedural justice would predict greater levels of police legitimacy; and lesbian women would report lower levels of legitimacy compared to other groups.

Results, published in the Journal of Homosexuality, confirm their first hypothesis that procedural justice and legitimacy are positively related. For their second hypothesis, however, they found mixed support. As they predicted, lesbian, bisexual and transgender females reported significantly lower levels of police legitimacy than heterosexual cisgender women and gay males. They speculate that this may be a result of lesbian, bisexual and trans women experiencing both sexism and homophobia, which, in turn compounds the amount of minority stress that they experience. Conversely, they did not find a significant difference in perceptions of police legitimacy between heterosexual men and lesbian women.

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Other findings show that race, age, gender, and relationship status were not significant predictors of police legitimacy. Yet, in the first study model, Hispanic ethnicity was. Surprisingly, Hispanic respondents reported greater perceptions of police legitimacy compared to non-Hispanic respondents. Historically, blacks and Hispanics in general have more negative views of police than wites. Self-identifying as LGBT did not significantly lower perception of police legitimacy compared to non-LGBT respondents.

“Studying the views of this often-invisible segment of society is necessary to highlight the areas where law enforcement needs to improve in order to positively affect their legitimacy and, ultimately, citizen compliance,” said Dario. “If officers believe they will be caught and punished for behaviors that violate formal policies, then they will be less likely to engage in such behaviors. Moreover, crime in all its diversity would be more effectively combatted if more LGBT people could have greater trust and confidence in the police.”

Study co-authors are Henry F. Fradella, Ph.D., a professor and associate director in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University; Megan Verhagen, a graduate research assistant at Arizona State University; and Megan M. Parry, Ph.D., an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Rhode Island.

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Anti-bullying laws associated with fewer suicide attempts

Sexual minority youth have a higher prevalence of bullying and attempted suicide than non-sexual minority youth.

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New research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that anti-bullying laws that explicitly protect youth based on sexual orientation are associated with fewer suicide attempts among all youth, regardless of sexual orientation.

In addition, enumeration of sexual orientation was associated with fewer experiences of stressors, such as feeling unsafe at school and being physically forced to have sexual intercourse.

The report, “Sexual Orientation Enumeration in State Antibullying Statutes in the United States: Association with Bullying and Suicide Ideation and Attempts Among Youth” appears in LGBT Health and is co-authored by Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., Distinguished Senior Public Policy Scholar at the Williams Institute, Feijun Luo, Ph.D., Economist at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Bianca D.M. Wilson, Ph.D., Rabbi Barbara Zacky Senior Public Policy Scholar at the Williams Institute, and Deborah M. Stone, ScD, MSW, MPH, Behavioral Scientist at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

It is worth noting that the study, while shedding light on the effect of anti-discrimination policies on the overall health of LGBTQIA people, was done in the US. No similar study has been done in the Philippines, where there is still no national law protecting the rights of LGBTQIA people; and with only a handful of local government units (LGUs) with anti-discrimination ordinances.

In this study, while fewer youth attempted suicide in American states with sexual orientation-inclusive anti-bullying laws, more sexual minority youth experience bullying and other stressors, and they are more likely than non-sexual minority youth to experience suicide ideation and attempts—whether or not their state has explicit sexual orientation protections.

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“Enumeration of sexual orientation in state anti-bullying laws is a first step,” said lead author Ilan H. Meyer, a senior public policy scholar at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. “These laws are associated with fewer suicide attempts but do not eliminate disparities between sexual minority and non- sexual minority youth. Additional interventions, such as training teachers, instituting school-based support groups, and promoting social connectedness between youth and their communities may help reduce disparities in exposure to bullying and its ill effects for sexual minority youth.”

In the US, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws aimed at reducing bullying. Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia have enumerated anti-bullying laws that explicitly prohibit harassment and victimization of students based on sexual orientation.

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