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#SaveSexyLaBoracay2018 canceled; support for Boracay rehab expressed

The Red Whistle Organization (TRW) announced that it decided to cancel #SaveSexyLaBoracay2018.

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The Red Whistle Organization (TRW) announced that it decided to cancel #SaveSexyLaBoracay2018.

In a statement, the organizers said that “this is a difficult decision for us to make because #SaveSexy was born in #LaBoracay and the Boracay island community has played a gracious host to us in the last five years. The #LaBoracay phenomenon has enabled us to reach hundreds of thousands of people on the ground and online through social media. #LaBoracay is an example that social media can be a tool for social change.”

Also, while TRW is mainly an HIV advocacy organization, “we understand and support the need for Boracay’s rehabilitation and cleanup. Boracay is famous for its once pristine waters and its white sand beaches and without them, it will be hard to sustain its tourism-based economy. There are many approaches to rehabilitation and we support those approaches that will have maximum effect on environmental improvement and minimal impact on the lives and livelihood of our friends who live and work in Boracay.”

In recognition of the important role that Boracay has played in TRW’s advocacy and in support of the multi-sector drive to restore and rehabilitate the island’s natural environment, the organization is planning a fundraising event to support other organizations that will take part in the rehabilitation efforts. The funds raised may also be used to assist individuals who will be directly affected by Boracay’s closure.

“TRW believes that we live in a society where issues intersect. At the end of the day, a vibrant and healthful environment is necessary in our long term vision of a world free of AIDS,” the TRW statement further stated.

For inquiries, contact: Bill Julius Cosare, committee head, #SaveSexyLaBoracay2018 and The Red Whistle Organization, at bill@theredwhistle.com.

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Gay men who ‘sound gay’ encounter more stigma, discrimination from heterosexual peers

Gay men are more likely than lesbian women to face stigma and avoidant prejudice from their heterosexual peers due to the sound of their voice.

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Gay men are more likely than lesbian women to face stigma and avoidant prejudice from their heterosexual peers due to the sound of their voice, a new study in the British Journal of Social Psychology reports. Researchers also found that gay men who believe they sound gay anticipate stigma and are more vigilant regarding the reactions of others.

The study – “Stigmatization of ‘gay-sounding’ voices: The role of heterosexual, lesbian, and gay individuals’ essentialist beliefs” by Fabio Fasoli, Peter Hegarty and David Frost – appeared in the British Journal of Social Psychology.

During this study researchers from the University of Surrey investigated the role of essentialist beliefs — the view that every person has a set of attributes that provide an insight into their identity — of heterosexual, lesbian and gay individuals and whether these beliefs lead to prejudice and rejection towards others. Previous research in this area has shown that gay men’s and lesbian women’s experiences with stigma can lead to a higher likelihood of emotional distress, depression, and anxiety.

In the first part of the study, researchers surveyed 363 heterosexual participants to assess their essentialist beliefs regarding gay and lesbian individuals and asked a series of questions in regards to discreteness ( e.g. “When listening to a person it is possible to detect his/her sexual orientation from his/her voice very quickly”), immutability (e.g. “Gay/lesbian people sound gay/lesbian and there is not much they can do to really change that”) and controllability (e.g. “Gay/lesbian people can choose to sound gay or straight depending on the situation”).

Researchers also investigated whether participants held any prejudices (e.g. “I think male/female homosexuals are disgusting) and avoidant discrimination (e.g., “I would not interact with a man/woman who sounds gay/lesbian if I could avoid it”).

It was found that participants believed voice was a better cue to sexual orientation for men than for women, and their opinions on the discreteness, immutability and controllability of ‘gay-sounding’ voices was linked to higher avoidant discrimination towards gay-sounding men.

In the second part of the study researchers surveyed 147 gay and lesbian participants to examine their essentialist beliefs in relation to self-perception of sounding gay, and whether this led them to expect rejection and be more vigilant, e.g., trying to avoid certain social situations and persons who may ridicule them because of their voices.

Researchers found that gay men’s endorsement of beliefs that people can detect sexual orientation from voice (voice discreteness) and that speakers cannot change the way they sound (voice immutability) were associated with a stronger self-perception of sounding gay. Moreover, gay men who perceived their voices to sound more gay expected more acute rejection from heterosexuals and were more vigilant.

Dr. Fabio Fasoli, Lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Surrey, said: “What we have found is that people have stronger beliefs about the voices of gay men than lesbian women. In particular, beliefs that gay men and straight men have different voices that allow people to detect their sexual orientation was linked to stigmatization, possibly explaining why some heterosexual individuals stigmatize gay-sounding men regardless of their sexuality. Understanding more about essentialist beliefs helps explain both the perpetration of stigma by heterosexuals and the experience of stigma by lesbians and gay men.

“It is clear from this study that voice and the perception of it are linked to stigma. This is important because it can have negative consequences for gay men’s wellbeing.”

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Feelings of anxiety, loneliness widespread among gay, bi, other MSM amid isolation caused by COVID-19

The harm may be more severe among gay and bisexual men, who face disproportionate rates of poor mental health and sexual health outcomes. COVID-19 has exacerbated stress, anxiety and social isolation within our communities.

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Sixty-three percent of gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) reported only leaving their home for essentials amid the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting being in isolation has contributed to feelings of anxiety and loneliness, and dissatisfaction with their sex life.

This is according to a new UCLA-led study – “Associations Between Physical Distancing and Mental Health, Sexual Health and Technology Use Among Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex With Men During the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Ian W. Holloway, PhD, MPH, MSW; Alex Garner, BA; Diane Tan, MSPH; Ayako Miyashita Ochoa, JD; Glen Milo Santos, PhD, MPH; and Sean Howell, BS – that was published in the Journal of Homosexuality.

Due to COVID-19, physical distancing measures have been implemented globally. The researchers, nonetheless, recognize the LGBTQIA community – where the respondents for this study belong to – is historically already disproportionately affected by poor health outcomes. And so the COVID-19 restrictions may add to this.

For this study, 10,079 men in 20 countries were surveyed in April and May 2020 on Hornet, a social networking app, which also participated in the research.

Most of the participants were between the ages of 18 and 34 (55.5%), identified as gay (78.6%), were currently employed (67.7%) and had health care coverage (85.4%). In addition, most lived in a large urban center (69.8%) and were not in a relationship at the time of the survey (67.4%).

The study found:

  • Nearly two-thirds of participants (63%) reported only leaving their home for essentials
  • 37% more likely to feel anxious than those who haven’t stayed in
  • 36% more likely to feel lonely
  • 28% more likely to use text messaging to stay connected with others
  • 54% more likely to use video calls to connect with others
  • Risk reduction and telehealth opportunities may alleviate health challenges for GBMSM in the COVID-19 era

“We know that all people are affected by the isolation that can result from physical distancing,” said Holloway. But the concern is that “the harm may be more severe among gay and bisexual men, who face disproportionate rates of poor mental health and sexual health outcomes. COVID-19 has exacerbated stress, anxiety and social isolation within our communities.”

Social networking apps provide an opportunity for people around the world to connect with others, even cultivating a sense of community. As such, according to co-author Garner, “we must invest in interventions that include harm reduction approaches and leverage technology where possible to increase access to necessary health services and strengthen community connections.”

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Transgender, gender non-conforming teens face unique challenges when dating

Young people who are transgender and gender nonconforming face a different set of challenges than peers during these developmental milestones, a new study suggests.

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Experiencing transphobia and abuse, and struggling with the decision to divulge their gender identity throughout their transition. These are what transgender and gender non-conforming (TNGC) adolescents face when dating, according to a study – “Romantic Relationships in Transgender Adolescents: a Qualitative Study” by Adrian C. Araya, Rebecca Warwick, Daniel Shumer and Ellen Selkie – that appeared in Pediatrics.

According to the study, adolescence is a period of identity formation, a time of questioning one’s belonging and one’s role in society, and a shift from family relationship dependence to preference for friendship. It is also recognized as a time of exploration of love and intimacy, which is considered to be critical to development and adjustment.

But young people who are transgender and gender nonconforming face a different set of challenges than peers during these developmental milestones, the study suggests.

For this study, 30 adolescents (18 transmasculine and 12 transfeminine) between the ages of 15 and 20 years were interviewed. Themes included (1) engagement in romantic relationships, (2) disclosure of gender identity and romantic relationships, (3) experience with abusive relationships, and (4) perceived impact of gender-affirming hormone care on romantic experiences.

The study found that:

  • TGNC adolescents are engaged in romantic experiences before and during social and/or medical transitioning and are cultivating relationships through both proximal peers and online connections.
  • There is perceived benefit of gender-affirming hormone care on romantic experiences.
  • Risk of transphobia in romantic relationships impacts the approach that transgender adolescents take toward romance and influences decisions of identity disclosure.
  • TGNC adolescents have experience with relationship abuse in different forms.

The study also noted that romantic pursuit was hampered by transphobia perpetuated by both cisgender and transgender individuals. This transphobia may stem from adhering to gender binary and correlating sex assigned at birth to gender identity.

To deal with this situation, the researchers suggested that providers should incorporate changes in their approach to counseling and screening when caring for TGNC youth.

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Racism, anti-gay and HIV discrimination heighten risk for arrest and incarceration

Discrimination can occur at all stages of criminal justice involvement, from differential enforcement and/or threats of violence by police officers to court proceedings and sentencings.

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Racial discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, and HIV-status discrimination are all associated with risk for criminal justice involvement.

This is according to new research done by Morgan Philbin, PhD, at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and colleagues, and which appears in the journal Stigma and Health.

As it is, there’s recognition that Black men are imprisoned at nearly seven times the rate of White men; sexual minority young adults are nearly three times more likely to report being criminally sanctioned compared to their heterosexual peers; and the rate of HIV among prisoners is multiple times higher than the general population. Discrimination can occur at all stages of criminal justice involvement, from differential enforcement and/or threats of violence by police officers to court proceedings and sentencings.

The researcher, therefore, wanted to look at why Black young men who have sex with men (YMSM) are disproportionately subject to high rates of arrest and incarceration. For this, 465 Black YMSM at risk for HIV in North Carolina were tapped. Participants completed four online surveys over the course of one year to assess the three predictors at baseline and criminal justice involvement at 3, 6, and 12-month follow-up (the study excluded men with criminal justice involvement at baseline). The researchers assessed discrimination through survey questions asking whether participants were, for example, treated with hostility/coldness by strangers, rejected by a potential sexual/romantic partner, denied a place to live, denied a job, and physically assaulted due to their race, sexual orientation; they also explored how individuals living with HIV were treated within their community.

The research found that perceived racism was the strongest predictor of subsequent criminal justice involvement (29% increased odds) followed by perceptions of sexual orientation discrimination (12% increased odds) and HIV discrimination (6% increased odds).

“Discrimination, in this instance related to race, sexual identity and HIV, is an important driver of health and life opportunities because it directly influences physical and mental health outcomes and can constrain access to education, jobs, and housing,” says Philbin. “Perceived discrimination – especially the experience of racism – placed the men in this study at an increased risk for arrest and incarceration.”

For the researchers, to better understand the lived realities of people burdened with overlapping forms of discrimination, “we must account for the compounding nature of these intersecting axes of social inequality,” says Philbin. “We find that experiences of racism and discrimination based on sexual orientation and HIV status combine to raise these young men’s risk for criminal justice involvement.”

Additional authors include Timothy W. Menza, Oregon Health Authority, Portland; Sara H. Legrand, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; and Kathryn E. Muessig and Lisa Hightow-Weidman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill.

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual medical students more likely to experience burnout – study

17% of LGB medical students reported high levels of burnout compared to 11.1% of heterosexual students.

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Studies have shown that nearly half of all medical students – at least in the US – report symptoms of burnout, a long-term reaction to stress characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism and feelings of decreased personal accomplishment. Beyond the personal toll, the implications for aspiring and practicing physicians can be severe, from reduced quality of care to increased risk of patient safety incidents.

According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, students who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience burnout.

“The health and well-being of trainees is intimately linked to the quality of patient care, physician retention, and is key to reducing care inequities,” said lead author Dr. Elizabeth Samuels, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. “Understanding how the current medical training environment impacts lesbian, gay and bisexual medical students is critical for improving their training experience, building and retaining a workforce of LGB physicians, and also delivering optimal care to all patients — especially those who also identify as LGBTQI+.”

Samuels, who is a practicing emergency physician at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital, focused previous research on equity and diversity in the health care workforce and the care of transgender and gender non-conforming people. Data from Association of American Medical Colleges’ annual survey of graduating medical school served as the basis for this study.

The study, conducted in collaboration with researchers from Yale University, is based on data from the 2016 and 2017 AAMC Medical School Graduation Questionnaire, a national survey that includes questions on everything from medical education to financial costs to clinical experiences. In the survey are questions about negative experiences (mistreatment, burnout) and identity, including sexual orientation. Response options include “heterosexual or straight,” “gay or lesbian” and “bisexual.” The study combined the former into the category of LGB. Information about the gender identity of students who identify as transgender or genderqueer was not provided to the researchers for analysis.

In the study’s analysis of 26,123 total responses, 17% of LGB medical students reported high levels of burnout compared to 11.1% of heterosexual students.

Potential causes of burnout include the intensity of medical training, strained finances and unattainable expectations, the authors note in the study. Mistreatment is also a contributing factor, and there has been increased interest in examining its effects on trainees from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine. However, research has yet to focus specifically on LGB medical students.

In the study, LGB students also reported a higher frequency of perceived mistreatment. For example, 27% of LGB students reported being publicly humiliated, compared with 20.7% of heterosexual students; 23.3% reported perceived mistreatment specific to their sexual orientation at least once during medical school, compared with 1% of heterosexual students.

Samuels notes that mistreatment didn’t completely explain the emotional strain experienced by LGB medical students, who were 30% more likely to experience burnout even after adjusting for reported experiences of mistreatment.

The researchers found that LGB students reporting frequent experiences of mistreatment related to their sexual orientation had an 8 times higher likelihood of burnout compared to heterosexual students. This difference was dramatic when mistreatment occurred more frequently, Samuels said. But at lower levels of mistreatment, the differences weren’t as extreme.

“I think this shows people’s resiliency — up to a point,” Samuels said.

Samuels asserts that there are characteristics of medical training, separate from individual experiences of mistreatment, that leads to increased burnout among LGB trainees. After all, previous studies have shown that a high of LGB medical students report concealing their sexual identity during medical school for fear of discrimination. They also report more depression, anxiety, and low self-rated health compared with heterosexual students.

“Layering concerns about homophobia and discrimination on top of the general intensity of medical training can lead not just to burnout, but also to truly deleterious mental health effects,” Samuels said.

These findings underscore the need for continued, comprehensive support and mentorship for LGBTQ medical students, and the importance of institutional culture change to create healthy, diverse, inclusive medical school learning environments.

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PUP Kasarianlan schedules Pride on March 4-6

For PUP Kasarianlan, “it is important that we do not lose sight of the very reasons for our unity— freedom, equality, and empowerment. Now more than ever is the time to come out as one in creating tangible efforts to immerse ourselves in our advocacies.”

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PUP Kasarianlan, the official student organization of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) for people with diverse SOGIE, has scheduled its annual PUP Pride on March 4, 5 and 6 largely via Zoom.

In a statement, the organization stated that this is “not only… a celebration of love and diversity among people of diverse SOGIE, but it is also a call for everybody to take a stand in our continuous fight for equality and freedom toward a promising future for all of us.”

Themed “Tindig, Laban: Kolektibong Kasarinlan”, this year’s gathering is a continuation of 2020’s “Defying Adversity, Forwarding Advocacy”, which “celebrated the diversity among every Iskolar ng Bayan as we strive to move forward with our advocacies within the community.” This time, though, “we further acknowledge and embrace our differences.”

For PUP Kasarianlan, “it is important that we do not lose sight of the very reasons for our unity— freedom, equality, and empowerment. Now more than ever is the time to come out as one in creating tangible efforts to immerse ourselves in our advocacies. It is not enough that our actions are limited to just raising awareness, there is also a need for us to mobilize and encourage everyone to go out and take our fight to the streets.”

This event also eyes to reach out to legislators to initiate ordinances that would protect the LGBTQIA community against bigotry and discrimination. 

The week-long event includes seminars/forum for basic knowledge of SOGIE, HIV and AIDS, feminism, and timely issues affecting the LGBTQIA Filipino community especially in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be performances.

For more information, head to PUP Kasarianlan’s Facebook page.

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