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Prexy vote highlights LGBT community division

Following the much-hyped claim that the LGBT community in the Philippines supports the candidacy of Mar Roxas, numerous LGBT leaders cried foul. As Pastor Kakay Pamaran of the MCCQC said: “First, there is no such thing as a national LGBT organization… (so) if there is no consolidation of a national LGBT organization, an opinion/position/endorsement is not only illogical, it is – as of now – fringe fiction. And (secondly), it is antithetical to the diversity that we profess.”

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ELECTION TIME IS WAR TIME.

Following the much-hyped claim that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines already expressed its support of Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas, numerous LGBT leaders cried foul.

A press conference – attended by the likes of Bemz Benedito, Rich Paras, Geraldine Roman and Renee Salud representing the LGBT community – was captured in Twitter posts of a certain Bong Concepcion (@aalconcepcion), where it was claimed that: “LGBT FOR MAR ROXAS We respect ourselves. Mar and Leni respect the LGBTs too.”

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Another post stated: “LGBT FOR MAR ROXAS! Presscon has started. Naninindigan na para sa mas maayos at disenteng bukas!”

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“This claim – particularly the generalization – is contentious if not, quite frankly, insulting,” said Michael David C. Tan, editor of LGBT publication Outrage Magazine. “Bad and even sad as it may sound, there is no unified Filipino LGBT community to speak of, and as such, the members of the Filipino LGBT community do not have a widely accepted LGBT leader who can claim to represent all of them.”

Tan noted that “members of the LGBT community have different preferences (for the coming election), and disregarding this for political expediency is outrageous. This move is actually even more divisive, instead of helping unite the Filipino LGBT community.”

Tan added: “If you represent yourself/your organization, fine. If you claim to represent all of us, naghahanap ka ng gulo (you’re looking for trouble). And those who also report on this should be aware of this.”

For Rev. Fr. Regen R. Luna of the Ekklesia Tou Theou (Church of God), an LGBT-affirming church in Dasmariñas, Cavite: “Hindi po totoo na buong LGBT community sa buong Pilipinas ay sumusuporta kay Mar Roxas. Kami po ay sumusuporta kay Mayor (Rodrigo) Duterte. Ang totoo, wala pong isang national organization para sa LGBT sa buong Pilipinas. Kailanman hindi nirerepresent ni Bemz Benedito o ng Ladlad ang lahat ng LGBT sa buong Pilipinas. Sinuportahan namin si Mayor Duterte dahil siya lang ang may naipasang anti-discrimination ordinance para sa mga LGBT people sa Davao City kung ikukumpara kay Roxas. Ladlad does not represent all of us.”

Luna added: “May iba din pong mga LGBT na sumusuporta sa ibang (There are other LGBT people who support other) candidates and we respect their decisions.”

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From Mindanao, Stephen Christian Quilacio, who helms the Northern Mindanao AIDS Advocates, said that “LGBT people who claim to support Roxas can do so – but only on a personal capacity. To actually claim that you speak for us is plain wrong.” On a personal level, “I don’t support Roxas; he has not done a thing to progress the human rights of LGBT people. But that’s me. Now speak only for yourself, not for all of us.”

Also from Mindanao, Astrid Joy Padillo of the United Lesbians of Davao said: “Really? We support Mar Roxas? He has not even reached out to us. Does he even know we, the United Lesbians of Davao, exist? So tell me, which LGBT community are they referring to? Because we, the ULD, support no one else but Mayor-soon-to-be-president Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his vice president Allan Cayetano. It is time for the Philippines to understand that a few LGBT groups in Luzon do not (compose) the entire LGBT community. Stop speaking on our behalf.”

Kaming mga Bisaya kabalo mo-istorya (We Visayans know how to speak for ourselves). Know that we exist and our voice is a force to be reckoned with,” added Ziekent dela Pena, also of the United Lesbians of Davao.

Members of the United Lesbians of Davao who support the candidacy of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

Members of the United Lesbians of Davao who support the candidacy of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

Parañaque City-based long-time LGBT advocate Yffar Aquino said: “The LGBT community doesn’t have a single individual candidate that we are supporting as one. There is no organization or group of individuals yet in the Philippines that can represent the entire rainbow community, thus endorse a particular presidentiable. In the same manner that we are composed of diverse individuals of different sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions, we also have our different opinions and ideologies as to whom our support should be devoted to based on our candidate’s platforms. For this election, the votes within the community are not leaning towards one candidate but clustered. There are different movements from here and there shouting their candidate’s name.”

Aquino added: “We should take note that the pressing matter here is that the (would-be) president we must be voting for should be a leader who will uphold gender equality as a part of his/her agenda and has shown history of support to the LGBT community.”

In Baguio City, LGBT activist Myke Abaya Sotero said that “the LGBT (community) is a diverse community. While I respect any LGBT to form their own group in support for a certain candidate, no one can lay claim that the LGBT community is united in supporting a candidate, especially one who has done nothing to uplift the rights and welfare of LGBT people in the country. LGBT people look at a person’s track record and his/her stand on LGBT issues. There has been no other candidate who has the welfare of LGBT people in mind other than Mayor Duterte.”

Meanwhile, transwoman community leader Aloha Filipina said that “naku, malaking drama yan; hiwa-hiwalay tayo (oh my, that can cause a lot of dramas; we are segregated). I am and a lot more LGBT people support Miriam Santiago; and others support Duterte.”

Pastor Kakay Pamaran of the Metropolitan Community Church-Quezon City said: “Una (First), there is no such thing as a national LGBT organization because at this point of our chapter in the story of shaping society, our ‘organizing’ has not transcended identity politics as yet. If there is no consolidation of a national LGBT organization, an opinion/position/endorsement is not only illogical, it is – as of now – fringe fiction. And (secondly), it is antithetical to the diversity that we profess.”

Also in Quezon City, trans activist Dindi Tan, former board member of the Quezon City Pride Council, convenor of Ilocos Sur Pride Council, and chair of Pink Warriors QC, said: “We can all agree to disagree that for this election, we have different bets. But let’s not forget how a party that systematically undermined our very own interests by advancing their own and subordinating ours. We are not at all surprised. A good number of members of the LGBT community felt alienated by the recent endorsement of Roxas by a certain group claiming to represent us. Successive losses in an election is a wake-up call to re-asses the failed leadership of some people and how their supposed ascendancy impacts the dynamics in critical elections such as this.”

She added that “the good thing is, more and more LGBT voters are getting to have more informed choices and have since become politically mature enough to decide whats best for them. I would like to believe that the ‘temperature check’ in the community based on our engagements suggest a more favorable clamor for change and not for the ‘status quo’.”

For Roxanne Omega Doron of Cebu-City-based Bisdak Pride: “I respect diversity of opinions and political stands coming from the members of the LGBT community re endorsing a particular candidate for elections who they think will help advance our socio-political and economic rights. Maybe (it is) because of our diversity that we also have diverse political stands. Whatever the motivation, I think it is inappropriate for a particular LGBT group or individual to speak and announce publicly their favored candidate in behalf of the entire LGBT community. The Philippine elections is a highly divisive and cruel political exercise and it is unfortunate that a claim of a particular group or individual will add burden to the already marginalized and oppressed LGBT community.”

Meanwhile, Krizia Zegers of the Association of Transgender People in the Philippines, said: “I have nothing against Bemz and her group… but I completely disagree with their claim that the LGBT community supports Roxas. Was there a consensus that involved all LGBT organizations or all that represent our community? There’s none that I can think of…”

In a press release received by Outrage Magazine after the aforementioned press conference that was not even attended by Roxas or his running mate Leni Robredo, it was claimed that the presidential candidate “expressed strong support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community”. The same PR material claimed that Roxas will certify the anti-discrimination bill as an urgent measure to be passed by both Congress and the Senate the moment he sits in office, and that he will push for civil unions (even if Roxas already earlier said that he does not believe in marriage equality).

Transwoman Benedito of the LGBT Party List, who was present at the event, said: “Again, we gathered as LGBT members from different organizations to support our personal choice. We never said even in our statements that we represent the entire LGBT universe or community.”

THIS STORY WAS AMENDED ON APRIL 23 (9:31AM) TO INCLUDE THE STATEMENTS OF: REV. FR. PASTOR MYKE SOTERO, DINDI TAN, KRIZIA ZEGERS AND BEMZ BENEDITO.
THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY AND THE POSITIONS OF OTHER LGBT COMMUNITY LEADERS WILL BE ADDED AS SOON AS THEY ARE RECEIVED

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).

NEWSMAKERS

Social isolation exacerbates the situation of school bullying victims

The results verified that, in each class, people take on roles and positions in a social hierarchy that tend to remain fixed for some time, making it difficult for victims to break free from this destructive pattern of domination and submission. This could explain why bullying can be prolonged over time and create chronic victims.

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In school bullying, there are people who are chronic victims. The acts of aggression that they experience are not limited to a particular moment or period of time, but rather part of a sustained process over a long period of time. These aggressions have much more serious consequences: chronic victims show higher levels of stress and personality issues that do not appear in students who have no connection to school bullying or those who have experienced it for shorter periods of time.

Studies on bullying tend to analyze the variables that influence the victimization of certain people but usually overlook the variable of time, which is an important factor in order to understand the processes that a person who is constantly a victim of intimidation and aggression undergoes. A University of Cordoba research team wanted to study how levels of popularity, acceptance and friendship vary over time depending on if the victims are sporadic, chronic or experience varying degrees of bullying.

“There were several questions we came up with. Does being a victim for a prolonged period of time lead to deteriorated peer relationships? Does improving social status and friendship with schoolmates help to break free from victimization?” explains Eva Romera, researcher on the study along with researchers Rosario Ortega, Ana Bravo and Carmen Jiménez.

This research study is part of the project “Social and moral competence and peer group ecology in violence among schoolchildren: a longitudinal and transactional study”, coordinated by Eva Romera. This project aims to analyze how the dynamics between social, motivational and moral factors develop in peer groups in relation to bullying and cyberbullying.

The study is particularly relevant in preteen and teenage years, stages when the relationships between friendship, acceptance and visibility within the group acquire greater prominence and when there is greater vulnerability in terms of bullying. Questionnaires were given out at three different moments: the first in October 2017, the second in May 2018 and the third in October 2018.

In total, 1346 students participated who, when data was first gathered, were in fifth grade (primary school), seventh grade (secondary school) and ninth grade (secondary school) at 22 different schools in the province of Cordoba.

Among the students who took part in the study, 38.80% had been victims of school bullying by their schoolmates at some time. Of those, 64.4% were categorized as sporadic victims, 26.8% as victims of varying degrees and 8.8% as chronic victims.

The results verified that, in each class, people take on roles and positions in a social hierarchy that tend to remain fixed for some time, making it difficult for victims to break free from this destructive pattern of domination and submission. This could explain why bullying can be prolonged over time and create chronic victims. These results support the idea that a key intervention tactic in these situations could be trying to break down those social structures that become toxic in the classroom.

As far as sporadic victims and victims of varying degrees, these had stable levels of acceptance, popularity and friendship over time. However, in the case of chronic victims, these levels decreased, meaning that as victimization becomes chronic, people are viewed as less popular by the others and they lose friendships with them. This situation of rejection and isolation that victims undergo is exacerbated and makes it difficult for the victim to find opportunities to break free from the bullying by themselves. This demonstrates that maintaining quality friendships could act as a protective factor against bullying.

The results verified that, in each class, people take on roles and positions in a social hierarchy that tend to remain fixed for some time, making it difficult for victims to break free from this destructive pattern of domination and submission. This could explain why bullying can be prolonged over time and create chronic victims.

“The results of this study suggest that the stabilization of the victimization of a person at school has highly negative social repercussions and requires prevention and intervention measures in order to remedy not only the effects associated with this process, but also the conditioning factors that reinforce the act of subjecting certain children to being isolated from and rejected by their schoolmates”, explains Romera.

The aim of this study is to raise awareness among the educational community, especially among educators, on the crucial role that they must perform to prevent behaviors of rejection suffered by victims as well as pointing out their role as a guide in the management of group relations. The results emphasize that fostering a friendly atmosphere among children in the classroom, as well as promoting the development of social, moral and emotional competences, are key to preventing school bullying. All this can be done using resources that favor dialog, conflict resolution, cooperation and free expression of opinions as a positive way to manage social relations.

Bullying is, obviously a big issue in the LGBTQIA community.

In June 2020, for instance, researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found that death records of LGBTQ youth who died by suicide were substantially more likely to mention bullying as a factor than their non-LGBTQ peers. The researchers reviewed nearly 10,000 death records of youth ages 10 to 19 who died by suicide in the US from 2003 to 2017.

Earlier, in 2019, another study found that bullying is more prevalent in birth-assigned females and in out individuals, commonly consisting of homophobic/transphobic (particularly in socially transitioned individuals) or appearance-related (particularly in out individuals) name calling.

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Contrary to portrayal, study finds young adults make rational choice when selecting romantic partners

There is a tendency to view sexual decision making in young adults as a highly variable and somewhat random process, more influenced by hormones or impulsivity than rational processes. But a study found that young adults are highly consistent in their choices, balancing potential partners’ level of attractiveness against the potential risk for sexually transmitted infection.

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A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that young adults – contrary to how they are sometimes portrayed in the media – tend to make highly rational decisions when it comes to selecting potential romantic partners.

This is not to say that young adults make risk-free choices, but they appear to consider both the risks and benefits of their sexual behavior in a highly consistent and thoughtful manner.

“There is a tendency to view sexual decision making in young adults as a highly variable and somewhat random process, more influenced by hormones or impulsivity than rational processes,” said Laura Hatz, a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri and lead author of the study. “Our study suggests, however, that young adults are highly consistent in their choices, balancing potential partners’ level of attractiveness against the potential risk for sexually transmitted infection.”

The research – “Young adults make rational sexual decisions” – involved presenting 257 participants with hypothetical “sexual gambles” in which a photo of a potential partner’s face was shown alongside an associated, though purely hypothetical, risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

Nearly all participants in the study made consistently rational choices, as defined by established models of psychological behavior. Prior research has shown that, in general, individuals tend to use what are known as heuristic decision strategies – cognitive shortcuts that may ignore some information – to make choices in life.

Hatz and her colleagues found that even individuals who could be identified as classic heuristic decision makers for monetary-based choices became rational decision makers when similar choices were framed as sexual choices.

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Bisexual adults less likely to enjoy health benefits of education

Education has long been linked to health – the more schooling people have, the healthier they are likely to be. But a study found that the health benefits of a good education are less evident among well-educated bisexual adults.

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Education has long been linked to health – the more schooling people have, the healthier they are likely to be. But a new study from Rice University sociologists found that the health benefits of a good education are less evident among well-educated bisexual adults.

“Education and health: The joint role of gender and sexual identity” examines health among straight, bisexual, gay and lesbian adults with various educational backgrounds. Authors Zhe Zhang, a postdoctoral research fellow at Rice, Bridget Gorman, a professor of sociology at Rice, and Alexa Solazzo, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, were particularly interested in bisexual adults, since they may experience distinctive health vulnerabilities.

The researchers found that while having at least a bachelor’s degree was linked to better health among bisexual adults, they received less benefit than heterosexual and gay or lesbian adults with similar education. This effect was especially true for bisexual women.

“The health benefits of education are well established – so much so that anything we do to promote and improve public education should really be viewed as health policy,” Gorman said. “It’s that impactful on health and well-being. That our analysis showed less health benefit associated with education among bisexual adults compared to heterosexual, gay and lesbian adults is concerning.”

While the researchers could not pinpoint the exact cause, they theorized the problem might be social stigma and additional anxiety among women due to gender discrimination, Zhang said.

“Discrimination of any kind can take a heavy toll on health,” Zhang said. “While we cannot say with certainty that is what is happening in this study, it’s a very real possibility.”

The authors based their study on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which included a sample of more than 1.2 million adults living in 44 U.S. states and territories from 2011-2017. They hope the study will raise awareness of the issue and help health professionals provide better care.

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Same-gender couples interact better than heterosexual couples

In terms of the quality of interactions with their partners, the study found same-gendered relationships had better-quality interactions than found in different-gendered relationships.

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Same-gender couples have higher-quality interactions with one another than heterosexual couples.

This is according to a new UC Riverside study that also holds that couples with two men have the smallest social networks.

Researcher Megan Robbins says the recent study is the first to compare same- and different-sex couples’ social networks and daily interactions with one another.

Past research shows that same-gender couples enjoy strengths including appreciation of individual differences, positive emotions, and effective communication. But research hasn’t compared the quality of their daily interactions – inside and outside the couple dynamic – to those of heterosexual couples. 

“The comparison is important because there is so much research linking the quality of romantic relationships and other social ties to health and well-being, yet it is unclear if this applies similarly or differently to people in same-gender romantic relationships because they have been historically excluded from past research,” said Robbins, who is an associate professor of psychology at UCR. Reasons for potential differences include the stigma sexual minorities face, and also their resilience.

For the study, Robbins and her team recruited same-gender and different-gender couples throughout Southern California. The couples had to be in a married or “married-like” committed relationship; living together for at least a year; and have no physical or mental health conditions that impeded their daily functioning.

Among those who applied to be in the study, 78 couples were found to be eligible, 77 of which provided enough data to be used. Twenty-four of the couples were woman-woman; 20 were man-man, and 33 were man-woman.

Participants met with the researchers on two separate Fridays, a month apart, completing surveys. They received text or email prompts several times in the days following the in-person meetings. In the text/email prompts, participants were asked whether they had an interaction with their partner, a family member, or a friend in the past 10 minutes, then asked to rate the quality of the social interaction using a five-point scale – one being unpleasant; three, neutral; five, pleasant.

In terms of social networks, the study found couples in man-man relationships had smaller social networks than woman-woman and man-woman couples. On the other end of the results spectrum, women in relationships with men were most likely to have the largest social networks.

Robbins said the finding is consistent with previous research showing men with men experience the least acceptance among family members.

“We hypothesized that one model for how the social life of people in same-gender couples might differ from those in different-gender couples was a honing model, where people in same-gender couples reduce their social networks down to only those people who are supportive. We found some support for this by learning that the men with men had the smallest social networks in our sample.,” Robbins said.

The quality of interactions with families was reported to be greatest by same-gender couples. There was no difference for interaction quality with friends.

In terms of the quality of interactions with their partners, the study found same-gendered relationships had better-quality interactions than found in different-gendered relationships.

Robbins said that may be due to greater similarity between partners when they share a gender identity, and greater equality within the couple, compared to people in different-sex couples.

“When male and female partners interact, they may do so from a culturally imposed frame wherein men and women are considered ‘opposites,’ which creates more potential for tension in interactions,” Robbins wrote in the paper, titled Social Compensation and Honing Frameworks, and published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

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Initiatives empowering employees can backfire – study

When properly implemented, empowerment initiatives can lead to heightened motivation, productivity and creativity. However, whether these initiatives are effective at all levels of the organization depends on the management style of the person implementing them.

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Strategies meant to motivate people in the workplace may have unintended consequences, depending on who’s in charge. Research from Michigan State University and Ohio State University shows that empowerment initiatives aren’t necessarily the answer for business leaders hoping to motivate their employees.

“People tend to think of empowerment in uniformly positive ways,” said Nicholas Hays, study co-author and associate professor of management in MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business. “After all, humans crave independence and control so giving it to them at work should be a good thing. However, as people feel increasingly autonomous, they can also become unmoored from others’ needs, expectations and social norms.”

Hays explained that, in recent decades, companies have increasingly implemented various forms of empowerment initiatives that assume empowered leaders will translate into empowered workers.

The paper – published in Journal of Applied Psychology – found that, when properly implemented, empowerment initiatives can lead to heightened motivation, productivity and creativity. However, whether these initiatives are effective at all levels of the organization depends on the management style of the person implementing them.

Leaders who really care about being respected by their subordinates tend to react to empowerment initiatives by ‘paying it forward’ with certain behaviors. This could include things like allowing subordinates to set their own goals or decide how to accomplish tasks.

Hays – along with Broad College of Business colleague, Russell E. Johnson, MSU Foundation Professor of management, and Hun Whee Lee, assistant professor of management at Ohio State University and lead author of the study – found that superiors who value being respected will respond to empowerment initiatives by, in turn, empowering their workers. But, superiors who value being in charge will, somewhat ironically, respond to empowerment initiatives by closely controlling, dominating and managing their employees.

The researchers conducted three separate studies measuring outcomes of empowerment initiatives that considered personality trait data and leader behavior.

“We found that leaders who really care about being respected by their subordinates tend to react to empowerment initiatives by ‘paying it forward’ with certain behaviors. This could include things like allowing subordinates to set their own goals or decide how to accomplish tasks,” Lee said. “In contrast, leaders who prefer to be in control and tell others what to do tend to react to these initiatives by doubling down on their desire for control. This is when we see things like micromanaging or setting specific goals for subordinates.”

If an employee is uncomfortable with a superior’s leadership style, the researchers say it may be beneficial to have a candid conversation between worker and boss.

“Many leaders are receptive to feedback and want to provide employees what they need to succeed at work,” Hays said. “If that doesn’t work, looking for different groups to join – either within an organization and with a different supervisor or even by changing organizations altogether – is sometimes the best option.”

And in the unprecedented workplace environment of 2020, Hays also offered insight into what he believes the paper’s findings may indicate for employees in real time.

“To the extent that leaders prioritize dominance and being in charge, they may go out of their way to micromanage employees by, for example, monitoring their online status and requesting frequent check-ins,” Hays said. “I wouldn’t necessarily characterize this as abusing an empowerment initiative, but certainly could rub employees the wrong way.”

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Virgos are discriminated against in dating and job recruitment – MIT research

Research found that “astrological stereotypes” about personalities formed without pre-existing social reality, yet are shaping social reality via discrimination, especially against Virgos.

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Which comes first, stereotypes or social reality?

In a recent paper, MIT Sloan School of Management Prof. Jackson Lu studied a novel form of stereotyping and discrimination in China based on Western astrological signs. He found that “astrological stereotypes” about personalities formed without pre-existing social reality, yet are shaping social reality via discrimination, especially against Virgos.

“Because stereotypes and social reality are mutually reinforcing, it is often difficult to know whether a given stereotype has emerged from pre-existing social reality, or instead has shaped social reality over time to resemble the stereotype. It’s a chicken-or-egg problem that social scientists have struggled to answer,” says Lu.

To help disentangle stereotypes from social reality, Lu and his colleagues conducted the first systematic examination of astrological stereotyping and discrimination in China. Through globalization, these signs were introduced to China and translated from English into Chinese. With the aid of social media, astrological signs have become a mainstream cultural trend in China.

There is also ample anecdotal evidence that people use astrological signs to infer personality traits and to make decisions about dating and employment. Importantly, each astrological sign is associated with certain personalities based on how its name is translated into Chinese.

“For example, the word ‘Virgo’ is literally translated as ‘virgin’ in Chinese, and Virgos are stereotyped as having disagreeable personalities like being fussy, critical, and picky,” he says. “Some Chinese job postings state that Virgo candidates are not wanted, and some Chinese people avoid Virgos on dating apps.”

In one study, the researchers conducted surveys asking Chinese people about their impressions of the astrological signs. Participants clearly ranked Virgos as the worst sign, followed by Scorpio because its Chinese translation is associated with the poisonous scorpion.

Further studies examined two Chinese translations of the word “Virgo.” The researchers leveraged an interesting fact that Virgo can be translated in two ways: “Virgin” is the well-known translation in astrology, whereas “royal chamber lady” is the lesser-known translation in astronomy. Participants viewed a profile of a Virgo individual. The profiles were identical, except that Virgo was either translated as “virgin” or “royal chamber lady.” Participants perceived the “virgin” profile as a more disagreeable person compared to the “royal chamber lady” profile.

“This study shows that translation can play a critical role in creating stereotypes,” says Lu.

The researchers consistently found that hiring managers – at least in China – are less willing to hire Virgos because of their perceived disagreeable personalities.

In another study, the researchers experimented with a popular Chinese dating app, using an identical profile but with different astrological signs: Virgo, Leo, or Libra. The Virgo profile received a lot fewer “likes” than the Leo and Libra profiles, which suggests that people are discriminating against Virgos in dating.

They also conducted a similar experiment in the context of hiring, using the same resume but with different astrological signs. The researchers consistently found that hiring managers – at least in China – are less willing to hire Virgos because of their perceived disagreeable personalities.

As for whether there is any basis for such discrimination based on astrological signs, Lu says their studies found none. “We found no evidence that astrological signs predict personality or job performance.”

Lu notes, “Unlike race or gender, astrological signs are not a protected class, yet they form the basis for widespread discrimination in social contexts like dating and hiring. People need to be aware of this phenomenon.”

He adds, “In the case of astrological stereotypes in China, the chicken-and-egg question has a clear answer. The stereotypes came first because of language translations, and those stereotypes then shaped social reality via discrimination.”

Lu is the lead author of “Disentangling Stereotypes from Social Reality: Astrological Stereotypes and Discrimination in China,” with Xin Lucy Liu of Peking University, Hui Liao of the University of Maryland, and Lei Wang of Peking University. Their paper was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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