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Teaching Deaf Mindanawons about community-based HIV screening

Select members of the Deaf community in Mindanao were trained not only on the basics of HIV, but also on community-based HIV screening.

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“We’ve (actually) been given info on the basics of HIV,” admitted Prime Truya, a local Deaf LGBTQIA community leader from Davao City, “but past efforts have been limited to ‘basic knowledge’ sharing.”

With this, select members of the Deaf community in Mindanao were trained not only on the basics of HIV, but also on community-based HIV screening.

This endeavor – part of a project by Bahaghari Center for Research, Education an Advocacy, Inc. (Bahaghari Center), backed by collaboration between Youth LEAD and Y-PEER (Asia Pacific Center), which eyes to address Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) needs of Young Key Populations (YKPs) In Asia and the Pacific – is the first to actually teach the Deaf about actual screening/testing.

The goal, said Disney Aguila of Bahaghari Center and Pinoy Deaf Rainbow, Inc., is not just to “inform them that this issue is just as important to them. It is also to equip them with the actual know-how on what to do to become solutions in dealing with this issue.”

This project is also a follow-through of the public service announcements (PSAs) developed in Filipino Sign Language (FSL) to specifically tap the Deaf community.

PSA on HIV basics released in Filipino Sign Language

PSA on getting tested for HIV released in Filipino Sign Language

PSA deals in Filipino Sign Language what happens after rapid HIV test

Aguila lamented that “the Deaf community is often left behind in HIV-related efforts. Not surprisingly, we have a lot of catching up to do.”

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In Davao City, for instance, at least prior to the Bahaghari Center project, none of the Deaf community members were trained to screen/test others for HIV. This “approach of not empowering us makes us dependent on Hearing people,” Aguila said, adding that this dependence is not always good because “it disempowers us in dealing with this issue.”

Aguila admitted that the Deaf community will continue to have “an uphill battle in fighting HIV exactly because of this playing catch-up,” she said. “But every effort than can be done now should already be done now.”

The community-based HIV screening trainings are provided by The Red Ribbon Project, Inc.

Other supporters of the project include: Outrage Magazine, Fringe Publishing, Pinoy Deaf Rainbow, TransDeaf Philippines, Deaf Dykes United and Pinoy Deaf Queer.

Aaron Bonette is a batang beki - a "cisgender gay man, if you will", he says. He established EU Bahaghari in Enverga University in Lucena, where he was one of the leaders to mainstream discussions of LGBT issues particularly among the youth. He is currently helping out LGBT community organizing, believing that it is when we work together that we are strongest ("Call me idealistic, I don't care!" he says). He writes for Outrage Magazine to provide the youth perspective - meaning, he tries to be serious even as he tries to "party, party, party", befitting his newbie status.

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Media shape public opinion about surrogacy and homosexuality

One issue that is beginning to arouse public debate about which most audiences do not have any direct experience is the matter of surrogacy on the part of homosexual couples.

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill from Unsplash.com

The media play a key role in informing society and at the same time an important role in shaping perceptions and judgements about social issues, particularly concerning issues on which there is insufficient knowledge and/or a lack of experience. And one issue that is beginning to arouse public debate about which most audiences do not have any direct experience is the matter of surrogacy on the part of homosexual couples.

This was the focus of a research that eyed to explore how public opinion on surrogacy and gay parenthood is shaped. Carried out by Rafael Ventura and Carles Roca-Cuberes, researchers with the Department of Communication at UPF, together with Xosé Ramón Rodríguez-Polo, a researcher at Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid University, this was published in Journal of Homosexuality.

In Spain for instance, according to the barometer of the Sociological Research Centre, 86.8% of the population claims to get its news via the television. Although in principle television news programs aim to produce the most objective content possible, it is also true that they construct discourses about reality that may promote certain behaviors and attitudes by their audiences.

“In our study, we focus on the formation of attitudes about surrogacy and gay parenthood analyzing the audience’s interpretation of a news item broadcast on Spanish television,” said Rafael Ventura, first author of the paper.

To test this, the authors set up four discussion groups consisting of 6 to 10 people each, two adults (40- 60 years) and two younger people (20-30 years), a total of 17 women and 16 men, from Barcelona and Madrid. They then analyzed each person’s interpretation of a television news item broadcast in Spain to perform a qualitative content analysis of the discourse produced by the participants.

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The researchers based themselves on three main issues: the values transmitted by the media about surrogacy; what relationship they attributed to surrogacy and gay parenthood, and finally, if the interpretation of a news item differed according to the age of the audience.

To study the formation of participants’ attitudes, the researchers used a Spanish news item about surrogacy that included all of these key issues. The selected item was broadcast at prime time on TV1, the news program with the largest audience in Spain.

The news item dealt with the fact that surrogacy is illegal in Spain and, therefore, there are increasing numbers of Spanish couples, including homosexual couples, traveling to other countries, such as India, to have a child. The story was illustrated with a real case and the argument revolved around the desire of homosexual couples to become parents and the consequences for the women involved.

Initially, the two groups of participants (adults and youths) stated that they had limited data and a lack of contextual information that prevented them from forming an opinion based on the evidence explained in the news. Nevertheless, both groups agreed in that they rejected surrogacy after watching the news programme, mainly due to the way the news had presented the Indian women: as victims of exploitation and in a situation of poverty. The authors found that as the debate progressed, there was greater rejection towards homosexuals due to the fact that they were taking advantage of the poverty of women in countries like India to achieve their goal of having a baby.

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The results show that the focus of the content of the news put to debate contributed to defending an attitude of the repudiation of surrogacy, with a feeling of aversion that also extended to gay couples wishing to become parents.

“As we saw in the results of our study, attributing responsibilities, placing the debate on surrogacy on the conflict of homosexual couples who want to become parents, on the one hand, and the feminist rejection of the commodification of the woman’s body, on the other, may have very negative consequences for the traditional link between the feminist movement and the LGBT community,” said the authors. “It may feed discriminatory attitudes towards gay couples and create a clash between the feminist and the LGBT causes, forcing the public to adopt a position in favor of one of the two sides, as it is interpreted as a controversy,” they add.

There is still no law specifically dealing with surrogacy in the Philippines, even if this has been entering the Filipino news cycle/awareness because of the involvement of well-to-do people, including Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez, as well as gay fragrance entrepreneur Joel Cruz.

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Those rejecting gay people ‘don’t have human heart’ – Pope Francis

Even if his LGBTQIA support continues to be spotty, Pope Francis said: “We are all human beings and have dignity. It does not matter who you are or how you live your life, you do not lose your dignity… There are people that prefer to select or discard people, because of the adjective. These people don’t have a human heart.”

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Photo by Tama66 from Pixabay.com

Another rainbow-supporting message from the Vatican – at least on the surface.

“Giving more importance to the adjective (i.e. ‘gay’) than the noun — this is not good.”

This is what Pope Francis said when he met with gay British comedian Stephen K. Amos, one of eight celebrities who participated in BBC Two’s “Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome”, a docu-series about faith and spirituality.

Amos, who is grieving the loss of his mother and twin sister, told the Roman Catholic Church leader that he’s “looking for answers and faith, but as a gay man, I don’t feel accepted.”

Pope Francis responded that “We are all human beings and have dignity. It does not matter who you are or how you live your life, you do not lose your dignity… There are people that prefer to select or discard people, because of the adjective. These people don’t have a human heart.”

The Roman Catholic Church has historically resisted strides in LGBTQIA liberation, but Pope Francis has – particularly on the surface – shown a more progressive view than his predecessors.

But his messages on LGBTQIA issues have been mixed.

In 2013, for instance, he was widely quoted for saying: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

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But in 2018, he reportedly instructed bishops to keep gay men out of the priesthood. He also reportedly criticized trans-inclusive education, arguing instead that children be taught to “accept their own body as it was created”; and he objects to marriage equality.

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Like watching porn? You’re more likely to be bi, says study

Heterosexual people are more likely to watch porn once a week or several times a week, but bi people are more than twice as likely to watch porn several times a day than once a week.

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Photo by SuicideOmen from Pixabay.com

People who watch more porn on a regular basis are more likely to be bisexual, according to a new survey that also noted that LGBTQIA people – in general – are also more likely to watch porn daily.

Porn site xHamster discovered these correlations based on a survey of over 11,000 users who answered questions about their porn watching habits and identity, among others.

Majority (67.7%) of xHamster users identify as heterosexual, with bisexuals the second largest group (22.3%).

Acknowledging that the site has primarily heterosexual content, xHamster noted that watching porn “opens up users to the idea of a more fluid sexuality”.

Overall, the survey found bi people are more likely to watch porn several times a day – i.e. Heterosexual people are more likely to watch porn once a week or several times a week, but bi people are more than twice as likely to watch porn several times a day than once a week.

Note that bi people are in the same league with gay men and lesbians, who watch porn more frequently than their straight peers. While most users (a majority of each group) watch weekly, bi people and gay men and lesbians watch daily more than straight users.

When xHamster isolated the data collated by gender, it found that 38% of women in the survey identified as bisexual, and this may be skewing the data.

But when the data was narrowed down to just bi men, it was found that 10.8% watched once a week and 27.2% watched multiple times a day.

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Majority of the respondents also consider porn as a healthy sexual outlet, with bi people the most likely to agree with this (85%).

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Mormon church drops anti-LGBT policy from 2015; children of same-sex couples can now be baptized

A 2015 church rule stipulated that church members in same-sex marriages were apostates and subject to excommunication, and that children of same-sex couples were banned from rituals like baptisms and baby-naming ceremonies.

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Gilbert Arizona Temple in Gilbert, United States. Photo by Joe Cook from Unsplash.com

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nee Mormon church) announced that it would allow children of same-sex couples to be baptized.

This is a reversal of church policy from one of the more prominent anti-LGBTQIA religious groups. A 2015 church rule stipulated that church members in same-sex marriages were apostates and subject to excommunication, and that children of same-sex couples were banned from rituals like baptisms and baby-naming ceremonies.

But the decision, which was delivered by President Dallin H. Oaks, did not end the church’s teaching that acting on same-sex attraction is sinful.

“While we cannot change the Lord’s doctrine, we want our members and our policies to be considerate of those struggling with the challenges of mortality,” the First Presidency, the church’s highest governing body, said in a statement. “We want to reduce the hate and contention so common today.

It is worth noting that the church still considers same-sex marriage “to be a serious transgression,” the statement added, but “it will not be treated as apostasy for purposes of Church discipline.”

It added that instead, “the immoral conduct in heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same way.”

The 2015 policy allowed children of same-sex couples to join the church only after they reached the age of 18 and moved out of their parents’ homes, technically abandoning their families. They also had to disavow same-sex relationships and receive approval from the church’s leadership.

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Gay, lesbian, bi people more likely to perpetrate or become victims of ‘revenge porn’

The rainbow community is tarnished, with gay, lesbian and bisexual respondents more than twice as likely to admit to taking and threatening to distribute sexual images of another person without their consent. They were also 2.5 times more likely to actually distribute them.

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Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are more likely to perpetrate or become victims of “revenge porn” and other forms of abuse involving sexual photos or videos.

This is according to a study done by researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and first reported by Perth Now.

The researchers polled more than 4,200 people aged 16 to 49, asking them if they’d secretly taken photos or videos of someone, distributed the images, or threatened to do so. Eleven percent (11%) admitted to engaging in some form of image-based sexual abuse over their lifetime.

Behaviors included here are: receiving a consensually-shared nude or sexual selfie and sending it onto others without the subject’s consent; covertly filming or photographing someone without their knowledge; and threatening to share or sharing explicit images of another person — including past sexual partners — in an attempt to embarrass or humiliate others.

Another 9% of the respondents said that they had taken nude or sexual photos or videos of someone without their consent, and 6% admitted to distributing such images. This includes instances where people covertly filmed up women’s skirts or down their blouses.

Interestingly, self-identified victims of these abuses were also more likely to be abusers. And these abusers were also more likely to share images of people they knew, including partners, ex-partners, friends and even relatives, rather than images of strangers.

Men were twice as likely as women to admit to perpetrating revenge porn.

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The rainbow community is tarnished, with gay, lesbian and bisexual respondents more than twice as likely to admit to taking and threatening to distribute sexual images of another person without their consent. They were also 2.5 times more likely to actually distribute them.

Additionally, gay and bisexual men were more likely to engage in such behavior than lesbian or bisexual women.

Governments all over the world are actually already developing/implementing laws pertaining “revenge porn:, even if the success of cases still largely depend on the willingness of victims to go after the perpetrators.

In the Philippines, for instance, there is an existing Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 (Republic Act 9995) that eyes to prevent the publication, copying and distribution of similar materials that would damage the honor of a person on media platforms.

However, violations to this law continue to increase. Data from the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) Cybercrime division show that in the first three months of 2019 alone, there were already 142 reported cases of violations of RA 9995, a figure surpassing the total 94 cases filed in all of 2018.

For its part, the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) recorded 106 cases in the first two months of the year: 49 in January and 57 in February.

Members of the local LGBTQIA community also make the news for this, including – and more recently – the Vic Fabe scandal.

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Men are over three times more likely to sleep with someone on a first date than women

A survey of 2,500 adults has revealed that 13% of men compared with just 4% of women would sleep with someone on or after a first date.

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen from Unsplash.com

An online poll of 2,493 adults conducted for Psychic Guild in the US reveals 13% of males admit that they would sleep with someone on or after a first date, compared with just 4% of women.

The poll exposed that nearly twice as many females as males would either wait until marriage or abstain at 23% (the highest result of all categories in the survey) and 14%, respectively.

The unanimous result for both genders combined is that 18% of the respondents would either wait until marriage or abstain, and the lowest figures across the board come from the 8 to 10 dates category.

The split also shows the highest result for males at 17% saying they would wait until the third date and the lowest at 3% saying that they would wait for 8 to 10 dates. The lowest result on the female side is also either 8 to 10 dates or 1 (the first) date.

Alice Ruffle, editor at PsychicGuild.com, said: “It’s interesting that by the 3rd date a whopping 40% of men would hope to sleep with their new partner by then. This compares with only 18% of women (less than half), which shows the sexual promiscuity of men over women. Furthermore, the third date remains true for both genders – it is by far the most popular date by which couples would expect to sleep together.”

The total sample size is 2,493 adults. The fieldwork was undertaken between 14th – 18th March 2019, with the survey carried out anonymously online. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all American adults (aged 18+).

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