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Taiwan shows LGBTQ-friendliness doesn’t mean equality for all

In Taiwan, public attitude towards LGBTQ citizens are non-violent, at best. The rate of hate crimes is relatively low compared to other countries. Be that as it may, there are still a lot of tweaking to do when it comes to having a truly respectful and empowering environment for LGBTQ citizens.

Photo courtesy of Ketty W. Chen

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Taiwanese society, in general, is pretty accepting of diversity. The country is known to have the largest Pride Parade in Asia and leads in LGBTQ rights in the region.  Some queer-centric hang-out spots can be seen around its capital, Taipei – from gay-friendly clubs and cafes, a weekly social activity for LGBTQ folks to the existence of a welcoming Christian church and, presently, being home to the only Taoist temple in the world that hears the prayers of LGBTQ individuals seeking romantic love.

Public attitude towards LGBTQ citizens are non-violent, at best. The rate of hate crimes is relatively low compared to other countries. Be that as it may, there are still a lot of tweaking to do when it comes to having a truly respectful and empowering environment for LGBTQ citizens.

Working on SOGIE (mis)education

At face value, the Taiwanese government endorses LGBTQ rights through its public announcements, bills and policies. But actual implementation is another story. In the same way that the Ministry of Interior fails for years to deliver on its promise to do away with discriminatory requirements on legal gender change, the Ministry of Education (MOE) also disappoints with its crude implementation of the Gender Equity Education Act, which supposedly should promote comprehensive SOGIE awareness and education in schools.

Wayne Lin, consultant for Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association, shared that, In year 2004, Taiwan passed a very advanced, pioneering Gender Equity Education Act. So conceptually, schools need to teach [gender equity education] 4 hours every semester, supposedly. But what’s ‘gender equity education’? That has been the battlefield for the past years… When the government or some professional teachers try to draft a guideline for the teachers… the opposition tries to manipulate fear with misleading information [about gender equity education], and the government doesn’t really take a strong and clear stance [on this policy]… But some teachers still want to do that [impart SOGIE education] so the hotline is [sometimes] invited to schools to talk about gender equity education.”

Wayne added, “I think the MOE doesn’t want to take any political risk… It’s always asking the two sides to fight each other, and the government doesn’t make any decision.”

Anti-LGBTQ groups continue to figure out ways to get into the school system in order to influence policies. For example, they run for the head positions in the parent groups/associations in schools while hiding their identity as anti-LGBTQ. There are organizations dubbed as “parent groups” but are actually an offshoot of conservative religious groups opposing LGBTQ equality. Moreover, anti-LGBTQ groups spread misinformation that schools are teaching students how to have sex and converting them into homosexuality. They would stop at nothing to get Gender Equity Education off of schools’ curricula.

“Several years ago, one Christian legislator asked MOE to let anti-LGBTQ people to get into the Gender Equity Education Committee. They said that anti-LGBTQ opinion is also part of the diversified opinion; therefore, they can get into the committee… So now the Gender Equity Education Committee has a few seats for anti-LGBTQ members, which is very ironic,” Wayne lamented.

Presbyterian Church in Taipei offering its support for LGBTQ+ rights
Photo courtesy of Ketty W. Chen

Establishing an LGBTQ-inclusive environment isn’t only needed in educational institutions. Aside from empowering queer youth, Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association works on providing support to the elderly demographic as well. Wayne shared, “The other thing we also pay quite a lot of attention to is the Long-Term Care Policy Taiwan is forming at this moment… For example, in Taiwan, some long-term care institutions actually are religious, like Muslim or Christian, so we already know some people are so afraid of going into that institution because they don’t know how they will be treated.”

The indifference towards LGBTQ issues, which is also why their rights are not taken seriously enough to be prioritized, can also be felt in the workplace. For example, even though there are work regulations against discrimination, in reality, a lot of queer employees are still not that comfortable to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity for fear of it affecting their career development. Sexual harassment or discrimination cases are also not properly addressed. Basically, as Wayne put it, “You probably would not hear really harsh discrimination, but typically you are ignored. LGBTQ’s are kind of invisible.”

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Much ado about marriage equality

Currently, Taiwan lets LGBTQ couples have civil unions, but which is evidenced only by a piece of paper that brings zero spousal protection or benefits. They are not granted medical visitation rights, joint property rights, parental rights, adoption rights or any of the hundred or so rights given to married couples under the law. Surprisingly, even their national ID cards would still state their status as being “single”, not married. However, according to Reese Li, Secretary of Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy, although such civil unions are only done symbolically without any substantial partnership rights, one goal of this is to let government realize that there is actually a mass of LGBTQ couples who yearn for the right to marry. Hence, they must be given this basic civil right as citizens of the country.

In the past year, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court has declared that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. It was ruled that marriage equality would be implemented after 2 years from May 2017. The options involve amending the Civil Code or, the less appealing route, by crafting a separate law for same-sex marriage. Despite the past media hype, Taiwan’s road to marriage equality is still actually stagnating in legislation. Without a clearly defined law protecting LGBTQ couples’ right to marry, as well as guaranteeing all their rights and benefits in marriage, the future for same-sex matrimony remains vague.

Taiwan’s prominent gay civil rights activist, Chi Chia Wei (祁家威), waves a rainbow flag atop a building.
Photo courtesy of Ketty W. Chen

While the government is being lax on this issue, anti-LGBTQ groups are continuously devising ways to block the progress of marriage equality. Early this year, opposing groups have passed a referendum proposal diluting multifaceted LGBTQ issues into 3 questions: (1) Should homosexuality be taught to primary and high school students? (2) Should marriage be defined as solely between a man and a woman? (3) Should same-sex couples have a different kind of union from marriage?

“Same-sex marriage must be implemented since the Constitutional Court already proclaimed it. It should not be overruled by the referendum. But the main question is ‘How?’… The aim of the anti-gay groups is for legislation to make a ‘special’ law for same-sex marriage, instead of amending the Civil Code [for marriage] because they believe that the Civil Code is theirs”, said Reese Li. “Special laws are written for disadvantaged people in society- for example, indigenous people or children. The purpose is to provide special protection… But the purpose behind anti-gay groups wanting a special law [for same-sex marriage] is from blatant discrimination, not to protect a minority group.”

Anti-LGBTQ protestors in Taiwan join hands as they stand menacingly.
Photo courtesy of Ketty W. Chen

In response to this, a pro-LGBTQ referendum was initiated by Social Democratic Party member Miao Po Ya. They are fighting against well-funded, threatening attempts to trash both the Gender Equity Education Act and marriage equality ruling. Reese shared that the coalition of opposing groups are quite strong since, aside from getting financial and mobilization support from local political and religious organizations, they are also backed by conservative groups in the US and Hong Kong.

At the end of August, the opposing groups’ referendum proposals have been submitted to election authorities. The last stage would involve placing the referendum on ballot in the coming local elections in November 2018. If anti-LGBTQ sentiments were to succeed, government might take this as a sign that Taiwanese society is not yet ready for the progress of LGBTQ rights; and thus, such atmosphere of discrimination could lead to the continuation of curtailing their civil rights.

The sign reads, “In Canada, we are a married couple. Under Taiwanese law, we are mere strangers.”
Photo courtesy of Andrea Toerien

Indeed, same-sex marriage stirs a lot of discussions not just in Taiwan but also in different parts of the world, which can be a good thing for advocating less discrimination for a minority group. However, it’s also getting slammed as a bourgeoisie movement that has strayed away from its roots, furthers inequality and ignores the struggles in structural intersectionality (the same goes for exorbitant celebrations of Pride parades) especially when, at times, it takes a huge slice of attention and funding at the expense of other important socio-politico-economic struggles experienced by LGBTQ’s (e.g. poverty, disability issues, homelessness, HIV-related issues). All this mainstream focus on marriage rights as the helm of LGBTQ advocacy can be rather dismissive and shortsighted.

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In a nutshell, critics assert that since the flawed neoliberal institution of marriage tends to emphasize the gap between the privileged and less privileged, between those with a family and those without a family, not to mention its historical subjugation of women, “marriage equality” then comes off as a misnomer that is not really pushing for equality in its truest sense.

Reese Li gave her two-cents on this particular critique.  “I think we have to look at the situation of each country. First, do the poor in Taiwan not think about marriage? Actually they still look for marriage, and this might be passed down from the conservative thinking in the past of need to marry to have children for manpower. I think many Asian country are like this… advancing marriage equality is not to oppress people or pressure gay people to marry. It only offer an option, a choice…When our organization supported marriage equality, it’s not because a lot of us want to have a wedding, but because a lot of same-sex couples already have kids…. A lot of protection, benefits, rights in society can be obtained through being registered as family. When it comes to single parent, there are less resources provided… Right now, we can only at least make baby steps to deal with the current situation. Personally, I, myself, don’t have any desire for marriage. But marriage can change our legal status and this can guarantee relevant rights and provide more resources. This is our reality now. We can’t just make a gigantic jump and demand government to provide subsidy on an individual citizen basis. That is impossible at this time.”

Wayne Lin is of the same tune with Reese. “Actually even within Hotline we have this kind of debate as well before we decide to work with other groups and the legislators to propose our bill. Yes, we all know that marriage cannot solve all the issues for LGBTQ. Of course, it’s better for everyone to enjoy the rights without getting married under certain circumstances… In the short-term, there’s no way for us to break the current marriage system in Taiwan… So for me it’s [marriage equality advocacy] more practical, just step-by-step… As long as this policy-making can benefit someone in our community, we should do that.”

According to Wayne, marriage equality can be a good talking point for society to start thinking about LGBTQ rights, as well as the concept of marriage and family. “I think majority of society probably doesn’t know LGBTQ that much, especially for the elder group. But this is an opportunity, you can talk to them, you can come out and showcase some story, so that they can better understand… I still believe the movement is really about how you make others understand our situation, and marriage equality is one easy way to open a dialogue. [If] They understand what’s the meaning, benefit or drawback of marriage,…as a beginning, then get a feeling of LGBTQ issues… it’s a methodology or way of doing public education… not everyone can still get married even if [same-sex marriage is] legalized due to economic status or not coming-out to family. So there are still so much work to be done.”

Anti-LGBTQ groups protest against amending Civil Code 972 on marriage.
Photo courtesy of Ketty W. Chen

What makes a family

Another human rights organization known as Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) is working on advocating a multi-family system that aims to provide, not only a legal option for marriage for the LGBTQ community, but also the proper rights and protections for different family structures in Taiwan.

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TAPCPR has 3 different proposals which include marriage equality. The second proposal pertains to a partnership system whereby two individuals can enter into a civil contract that customizes the obligations and rights that they would mutually agree on, such as those relating to inheritance, property and so forth. The third one proposes a multi-member family system that allows individuals to have a contractual option to live and be registered as a family with friends.

However, opposing groups argue that the multi-family system proposal would be dangerous to society as it would destroy traditional relationships and families. It is too radical of an idea to be discussed as of now.

Photo courtesy of Ketty W. Chen

Just with same-sex marriage alone, the voice of opposition can be virulent. While marriage equality advocates are merely fighting for LGBTQ’s right to enter into a monogamous married life and to build a family, anti-LGBTQ groups stretch the imagination beyond ridiculousness. Now, rather than posturing as messengers of God and using battlecries based on subjective interpretations of Bible verses, opposing groups – in an attempt to extend their influence – have rebranded themselves to be ordinary parents or citizens concerned about the future of families in Taiwan.

Aside from the usual conservative religious rhetoric, opponents are also operating out of misguided fear that marriage equality’s agenda is to erode monogamous relationships and family values, as well as to cause people into marrying animals or inanimate objects. They also posit that marriage equality would only worsen the country’s declining birth rate. Another extremist view is that same-sex marriage will lead to the eventual extinction of the human race. Unfortunately, the power of fear-mongering and misinformation over human emotions can never be underestimated.

Such antagonistic perspectives against same-sex marriage cannot be further from the truth. On the contrary, Reese explained that one crucial aspect of the legalization of same-sex marriage is for the protection of children under the care of same-sex parents.

“In legal papers, a kid raised by same-sex couples is indicated as being raised by a single parent only even though the kid is raised by a couple. This can lead to a lot of issues and insecurity when it comes to raising the child as a couple because the other ‘parent’ is considered a stranger under the eyes of law… Even with artificial reproduction done in other countries, when the gay couple comes back to Taiwan, they are not recognized as both parents.”, said Reese.

There are already a huge number of same-sex couples in Taiwan who encounter several issues when it comes to raising their child. A task as simple as taking their children to the doctor or fetching them from school already proves to be such a hassle if the not-legally-recognized parent is the one doing the job. How much more when heavier parental responsibilities must be done for the children’s well-being?

Reese continued on to explain, “Worse comes to worst, if the legally recognized parent dies, the surviving partner can’t continue to take care of the kid. The kid will be separated from the surviving parent because s/he is not recognized by law as parent. By law, the child has to go with blood-related relatives of the deceased parent. But we have to consider that not everyone can still be in good terms with relatives… It will be a bigger problem for the child.”

Photo courtesy of Ketty W. Chen

LGBTQ rights are universal rights 

While Taiwan is an LGBTQ-friendly destination, there are still undoubtedly a lot of obstacles to hurdle through and conflicts to sort out on the ground. Neighboring and distant countries need to keep a close watch and offer an intimate support to the Taiwanese LGBTQ+ community’s clamor for widespread equality – not just for the sake of marrying the person they love, but also to advance SOGIE awareness and education, to foster legal protection for diverse families that exist beyond the outdated concept of a traditional family, as well as to address the myriad of less talked about yet similarly important issues that affect LGBTQ+ folks. After all, their fight is also the fight of every LGBTQ+ and human rights movement around the globe. Even as a small Asian island, its wins could still pack a punch and contribute to putting an end to discrimination and hate crimes against people of different SOGIE.

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NEWSMAKERS

Lesbian porn 151% more popularly watched by women when compared to men

Lesbian porn is by far the most popular category of videos viewed by women, according to Pornhub, adding that lesbian porn is in fact it’s 151% more popular with women when compared to men. Filipino women appear to be… more romantic, with more women watching Romantic (233%) and Verified Couples (160%).

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Lesbian porn is by far the most popular category of videos viewed by women, according to popular porn site Pornhub, which looked into the viewing habits of women to also reveal that lesbian porn is in fact it’s 151% more popular with women when compared to men.

Pornhub looked at the top 20 countries of their site, accounting for 71% of all their women viewers. The site found that women from different parts of the world have different preferences, with categories for their number one choice including: Hentai, Ebony, Anal, Indian, Japanese, Mature and MILF.

Filipino women appear to be… more romantic, with women watching Romantic (233%) and Verified Couples (160%).

In the US, women are 102% more likely to view Ebony videos and 69% more into Interracial. Women in the UK are 474% more likely to view the British category, but they’re also 31% more into Rough Sex. Women in Canada are 36% more into Threesomes, French women are 103% more into Cuckold videos, and Germany women are 165% more into Feet.

Pornhub also analyzed the differences in porn categories between women of different ages. These were their findings:

18 to 24: Hentai (+81%)
25 to 34: Tattooed Women (+32%)
35 to 44: Double Penetration (+29%)
45 to 54: Mature (+39%)
55 to 64: Vintage (+78%)
65+: Handjob (+143%)

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Travel

What are the friendliest countries for LGBT travelers?

Thanks to legal improvements for trans- and intersex persons, as well as anti-hate crime initiatives, this is the first time that Portugal joined the top countries, managing to jump from 27th place to the top to share the first place with Sweden and Canada.

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Portugal, Sweden and Canada are the most LGBT-friendly travel countries in the world, according to the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019.

Thanks to legal improvements for trans- and intersex persons, as well as anti-hate crime initiatives, this is the first time that Portugal joined the top countries, managing to jump from 27th place to the top to share the first place with Sweden and Canada.

Portugal joined the top countries, managing to jump from 27th place to the top to share the first place with Sweden and Canada.
Photo by roya ann miller from Unsplash.com

The top 10 countries in the list (sharing same rankings) are:

1) Canada
1) Portugal
1) Sweden
4) Austria
4) Belgium
4) Denmark
4) Finland
4) Iceland
4) Luxembourg
4) Malta

The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index is updated annually to inform travelers about the situation of LGBT people in 197 countries and regions.

Canada continues to rank as an LGBT-friendly travel country.
Photo by mwangi gatheca from Unsplash.com

One of this year’s rising stars is India. This is largely thanks to the decriminalization of homosexuality and an improved social climate; the country rose from 104th to 57th place.

In 2018 the criminalization of homosexual acts was abolished in Trinidad and Tobago and Angola as well.

With the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, Austria and Malta were also able to secure a place at the top of the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019.

However, the situation for LGBT travelers in Brazil, Germany and the US has worsened. According to SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019, in both Brazil and the US, the right-wing conservative governments introduced initiatives to revoke LGBT rights achieved in the past. These actions led to an increase in homophobic and transphobic violence. There has also been an increase in violence against LGBT people in Germany, and inadequate modern legislation to protect transgender and intersex persons, as well as the lack of any action plan against homophobic violence caused Germany to drop from 3rd to 23rd place.

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Countries such as Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and Switzerland are under special observation because situations in these countries are expected to improve in 2019 as a result of the discussions on the introduction of legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Thailand already moved up 20 places to rank 47 thanks to a campaign against homophobia and the introduction of laws to recognize same-sex civil partnerships. The country already announced introduction of same-sex marriage laws could make it one of the most LGBT-friendly travel destinations in Asia.

In Latin America, the decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR/CIDH) to require nearly all Latin American countries to recognize same-sex marriage may have made news, but to date, same-sex marriage is legal only in Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and in some individual states of Mexico.

Some of the most dangerous countries for LGBT travelers in 2019 include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia and the Chechen Republic in Russia.

Thanks to the decriminalization of homosexuality and an improved social climate, India rose from 104th to 57th place.
Photo by Tiago Rosado from Unsplash.com

The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index is assembled using 14 criteria in three categories: civil rights (e.g. marriage equality); reported LGBT discrimination (e.g. travel restrictions for HIV positive people and the ban on Pride parades or other demonstrations); and threats to individuals by persecution, prison sentences or capital punishment. Evaluated sources include Human Rights Watch, UN ‘s “Free & Equal” campaign, and year-round information on human rights violations against members of the LGBT community.

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Health & Wellness

Bias may affect providers’ knowledge of trans health

According to a study, increased hours of education related to caring for transgender patients may not correlate to more competent care.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash.com

As it is, transgender people already face many barriers in accessing health care, from dealing with issues with intake forms that use non-inclusive language, to challenges finding providers who are knowledgeable about transgender-specific health issues.

But a Michigan Medicine-led study is suggesting that more training may not be the answer to improving competent care, since this study found that more hours of education in the field was not associated with improved knowledge of transgender care among physicians and other providers.

Published in the journal Medical Education, the study found that nearly half of providers said they had cared for a transgender patient, but as many had received no training on the topic. What distinguished knowledgeable providers from those who were less so, however, appeared to have little to do with their medical education.

Transphobia, or a prejudice against people who are transgender, was the only predictor of provider knowledge.

“We were surprised to find that more hours of education about transgender health didn’t correlate with a higher level of knowledge about this topic among providers,” said lead author Daphna Stroumsa, M.D., MPH, an obstetrician gynecologist at University of Michigan’s Von Voigtlander Woman’s Hospital and a National Clinician Scholar at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

“Transgender and gender diverse individuals often face discrimination in health care settings and many are unable to find competent, knowledgeable and culturally-appropriate health care,” Stroumsa added. “Lack of provider knowledge is a significant barrier, but our findings suggest that simply increasing training may not be the solution.

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Because of this, “medical education may need to address transphobia and implicit bias in order to improve the quality of care transgender patients receive,” Stroumsa said.

Researchers surveyed 389 attending physicians, advanced practitioners and residents from the departments of internal medicine, family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology in a large urban health system.

It is worth noting that the study did not evaluate the content or format of the education providers were exposed to; but it is still likely that educational efforts that address unconscious bias would be more effective. Stroumsa noted that even in educational programs that address transgender health, the topic is usually presented as a separate section of provider education, rather than as an integral part of general medical education and training – a distinction which may further fuel “othering” of transgender patients.

Many providers – especially those traditionally considered “women’s health” professionals – likely need to be better prepared to care for transgender patients, Stroumsa said.

People who identify as transgender and non-binary may require many of the services provided by Ob/Gyns and other “women’s healthcare” providers, including prenatal and fertility care, cervical cancer screening, menstrual cycle management, as well as gender transition-related care (i.e. hormone therapy), and other routine Ob-Gyn care.

“We obviously have a lot of work to do in improving health outcomes for gender diverse people,” Stroumsa said. “We need to take a close look at our healthcare environments, practices and approaches to medical education. These are just beginning steps in reducing wide health disparities. Creating a safe, knowledgeable, trustworthy care environment will help us expand the care we provide to a broader more diverse patient population.”

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NEWSMAKERS

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.
Photo by Gilles Lambert from Unsplash.com

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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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

It’s the ‘Year of Pride’ in New York City

The Big Apple is slated to host WorldPride 2019, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in June, a pivotal moment in LGBTQIA history.

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Photo by Carl Solder from Unsplash.com

2019 has been declared in New York City as the “Year of Pride”, just as the Big Apple is slated to host WorldPride 2019, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in June, a pivotal moment in LGBTQIA history.

WorldPride will take place in NYC the first time the global event will be held in the US — from June 25–30, with an anticipated four million visitors.

On June 28, 1969, riots broke out in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, which is now the country’s first national monument dedicated to LGBTQIA rights. This June and throughout 2019, NYC celebrates Pride.

If in NYC, here are some of the exhibitions, activities and events throughout the year to embody the city’s spirit:

ARTS & CULTURE:

Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Againthrough March 31
The Whitney Museum of American Art
Last chance to see the first comprehensive retrospective of Warhol’s work organized by an American institution since 1989, and the largest monographic exhibition to date at the Whitney’s new location.

Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 –through July 14
New York Public Library, Bryant Park, Manhattan
Explore the emergence of the LGBTQ civil rights movement during the 1960s and ’70s through photographs from pioneering journalists Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, that sit alongside the library’s vast archives from LGBTQ history.

Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Nowthrough January 5, 2020
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
This multiphase retrospective features Robert Mapplethorpe’s collages and photographs, as well as the work of contemporary artists who reference the artist.

On the (Queer) WaterfrontMarch 5 through August 4
Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn
Learn about the largely forgotten LGBTQ communities that thrived along Brooklyn’s waterfront in the 1800s and through WWII, highlighting both the changes and continuities in the ideas and experiences of sexuality in Brooklyn.

Lincoln Kirstein’s ModernMarch 17 through June 15
Museum of Modern Art & PS1, Manhattan & Queens
Best known for establishing the New York City Ballet, Kirstein was also a key figure in MoMA’s early history. Bringing together some 300 rare artworks alongside materials drawn from the museum’s archives, the exhibition illuminates Kirstein’s influence on MoMA’s collecting, exhibition and publication history, and his position at the center of a New York network of queer artists, intimates and collaborators.

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Art After Stonewall, 1969–1989
NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, Manhattan – April 24 through July 20 
Leslie-Lohman Museum, Manhattan – April 24 through July 21
Presented in two parts, this will be the first major exhibition to highlight the impact of the LGBTQ civil rights movement on the art world. Over 150 works of art and materials from artists including Nan Goldin, Holly Hughes, Robert Mapplethorpe, Tim Miller, Catherine Opie and Andy Warhol will be on view, paired with that of artists who interacted with queer subculture.

Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall – May 3 through December 8
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn
Borrowing its title from the rallying words of transgender artist and activist Marsha P. Johnson, Nobody Promised You Tomorrow aims to expand understanding of the Stonewall Uprising beyond the image of protesters in the streets to consider the everyday acts that reinforce such public activism.

Camp: Notes on FashionMay 9 through September 8
The Met Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
The Costume Institute’s spring 2019 exhibition will explore the origins of the camp aesthetic featuring nearly 200 objects, including womenswear and menswear, as well as sculptures, paintings and drawings dating from the 17th century to the present. The exhibition is inspired by writer Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp.”

Stonewall 50 ExhibitionsMay 24 through September 22
New-York Historical Society, Manhattan
Letting Loose and Fighting Back: LGBTQ Nightlife Before and After Stonewall will explore the history of LGBTQ bars, clubs and nightlife in NYC during the second half of the 20th century. By the Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives will examine lesbian lives both pre- and post-Stonewall. Special graphic installation, Say It Loud, Out and Proud: Fifty Years of Pride, will feature imagery from five decades of NYC Pride marches.

Music of Conscience SeriesMay 30 and June 1
New York Philharmonic, Manhattan
Experience John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, the New York composer’s “personal response to the AIDS crisis,” inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center created its own Quilt Project, and a portion of that quilt—inscribed by visitors to Central Park in June 1988—will be on display in the lobby of David Geffen Hall.

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PRIDE –June 6 through November
Museum of the City of New York, Manhattan
Examine NYC through the lens of photographer Fred W. McDarrah, who created an encyclopedic archive of culture and politics for The Village Voice; from the Beats of the 1950s to the counterculture of the ’60s to the Stonewall Uprising and major political events of the early 1970s. The exhibition features images of cultural icons such as Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, with attention to gay liberation, anti–Vietnam War marches and the women’s movement.

Walt Whitman: Bard of DemocracyJune 7 through September 15
The Morgan Library & Museum
Experience Whitman’s writing that earned him a global audience, including “O Captain! My Captain!” Additionally, view documents from Oscar Wilde, Hart Crane, Federico García Lorca and Allen Ginsberg, which trace the writer’s influence on the 20th century.

Pride AuctionJune 20
Swann Auction Galleries
A unique and landmark event, featuring work from artists and writers including James Baldwin, Tom of Finland, Gertrude Stein, Alice Walker, Robert Mapplethorpe and more.

NYC LGBT Historic Sites ProjectYear-round
Citywide
The recently launched project is the first initiative to document historic and cultural sites associated with the LGBTQ community in all five boroughs. Sites illustrate the richness of the City’s LGBTQ history and the community’s influence on America.

Alice Austen House Museum Year-round
Staten Island
Take the free Staten Island ferry to visit the Alice Austen House, named by the National Register of Historic Places as the “national site of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) history.” Austen was a turn-of-the-century lesbian photographer who lived with her female companion for many years in her home that boasts views of the Manhattan skyline.

Lesbian Herstory ArchivesYear-round
Brooklyn
View the largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities. Part library, part museum, the LHA is a communal place to browse photographs or files, read a book, watch a video, listen to a CD or LP, do research or volunteer. Group tours can also be arranged.

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50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising Year-round
The Jewish Museum, Manhattan
The museum will pay tribute through a year of programming, while highlighting LGBTQ works of art from the museum’s collection that explore themes of gender and identity.

WorldPride will take place in NYC — the first time the global event will be held in the US — from June 25–30, with an anticipated four million visitors.
Photo by Patrick Hendry from Unsplash.com

BOROUGH PARADES:

Staten Island PrideFestMay 10–19
PrideFest will celebrate 15 years with a full week of events in May, including a 5K fun run, a Sober Coffee House and a Youth Prom. The week ends with an afternoon festival at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden featuring live music, drag performers, food trucks and craft vendors.

Harlem PrideMay 31 through June 29
The 10th anniversary of Harlem Pride in 2019 is also the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. The month-long celebrations will consist of performances, discussions and ceremonies at iconic locations including the Apollo Theater.

Queens Pride – June 2
Pride month kicks off in the heart of Queens with this annual parade down 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, followed by an afternoon street festival in the neighborhood that features music, drag performances and local cuisine. 

Brooklyn Twilight Pride ParadeJune 8
Brooklyn puts its own twist on Pride with a nontraditional march starting at dusk through the streets of Park Slope. A Pride street fair will take place with food, crafts and entertainment before the march.

1 Bronx FestivalJune 23
The march will take place preceding the annual 1 Bronx Festival that promotes inclusion, community and dialogue. Pride events throughout the festival inspire, educate and celebrate the diverse Bronx community.

Furthermore, visit New York City’s historic LGBTQ landmarks, including: Bethesda Fountain; Christopher Park; Julius; The Langston Hughes House; The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center; The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art; New York City AIDS Memorial; Stonewall Inn.

For more information on NYC’s Year of Pride celebrations, visit
nycgo.com/year-of-pride
. For information on WorldPride–specific events, visit nycgo.com/worldpride. And for all things LGBTQIA in NYC, visit nycgo.com/lgbtq.

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Technology

Top apps for gentleman’s smartphone

We’ve done our best to seek out the top apps which are perfect for every modern gentleman today.

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Photo by Benjamin Sow from Unsplash.com

Apps have become integral to the daily lives of most people around the world today, with there seemingly being an app for every situation. While most apps are geared to cater for everyone, there are many which gentlemen will find especially useful when installed on their latest high tech smartphones.

Therefore, we’ve done our best to seek out the top apps which are perfect for every modern gentleman today.

Evernote

Evernote is the app of choice for businessmen and gentlemen alike when it comes to wanting to organize and access whatever matters most on demand. It’s an app which allows the user to keep everything in the one place, be it to-do’s, images, audio, web pages and documents. Evernote can also sync with multiple devices, ensuring that not only is information available whenever it’s needed, it’s also kept up to date too. Evernote works for everyday life and business and is the organiser app that every gentleman needs to install.

PartyCasino

All work and no play can be a bad path to follow, so having the brilliant bespoke PartyCasino app installed is the solution of choice in our eyes. These guys are one of the biggest names in the online and mobile casino sectors. PartyCasino has some of the best online slots and table games which everyone can enjoy. The brand also has great blackjack games – a game that is perfect for the modern gentlemen due to its excitement and potential reward.

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Gordon Ramsay Recipes

There’s no doubt that the number of modern men who enjoy cooking has increased dramatically over the last decade or so. With more and more male celebrity chefs popping up on TV screens, it has seemingly inspired a generation to get into the kitchen and more often. Gordon Ramsay is one of the world’s most popular and recognised multi-Michelin starred chefs, and the Gordon Ramsay Recipes app by Pineapple Developers gives the modern gentleman access to some of his finest recipes and cooking guides in an instant.

My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal is the all in one fitness app that a lot of men are now using in order to get fitter and to lose weight. There’s been a rise in the number of men who are now hitting the gym or looking to lead a healthier lifestyle and My Fitness Pal is the ideal app for them. Not only does it allow a person to track their fitness levels and work outs in depth, it also acts as a calorie and diet monitor too. Users can for example scan barcodes on food items which will automatically add them to their daily food diary.

Smartphones and the apps that are being installed on them are ever changing as time and technology advances but the four mentioned above are what you should expect to find on a gentleman’s device and one’s that a modern man should be downloading and installing.

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