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Valkyrie cited for alleged transphobia

A number of transgender women allege being denied access to a bar in Taguig City because they are said to be “cross dressing”. According to Naomi Fontanos of GANDA Filipinas, this “demonstrates how widespread the discrimination that transgender Filipinos face not only in getting access to public accommodations such as restaurants, gyms, malls, trains, et cetera, but also to education, employment, and social services including healthcare.” A dialogue is now being sought with the management of the bar for it to revisit its anti-trans policies.

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SCREEN CAPTURE OF VEEJAY FLORESCA'S TUMBLR ACCOUNT

SCREEN CAPTURE (FROM VEEJAY FLORESCA’S INSTRAGRAM ACCOUNT) SHOWING THE FASHION DESIGNER PHOTOGRAPHED BESIDE AN IMAGE OF HER CREATION.

Even as the LGBT community all over the world marks June as the Pride month in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots that is considered to have helped ignite the modern LGBT movement, transgender woman fashion designer Veejay Floresca alleged that on June 13, she was almost refused entry by high-end bar Valkyrie in Taguig City.

Veejay Floresca

Interviewed by Outrage Magazine, Floresca stated that even if she was on the guest list, “the bouncer (still) refused to let me in. He said that they don’t allow crossdressers (inside the venue),” said Floresca, who stressed that when she went to the venue, “I wore a very decent dress; nothing vulgar.”

According to Floresca, she was eventually allowed to enter the venue, though only after she showed the bouncers her California State I.D., where her gender marker identifies her as “female”.

Floresca was, by the way, earlier warned about the alleged practice of barring transgender women of Valkyrie. When her sister mentioned “one of the newest and hottest clubs in the city”, she warned Floresca that she “witnessed many times (when) transgender women weren’t able to get in (the venue).” Floresca was, therefore, asked to get in touch with her friends from high places (e.g. owners of Valkyrie, or at least those who know the owners of the bar) for her name to be included in the guest list.

“I feel sad,” Floresca said. “In my three years of living in the US, this never happened to me.”

NOT THE FIRST

Floresca is actually not the first to raise this issue.

Earlier, Miss Gay Manila 2015 Trixie Maristela also alleged that she was denied entry into the venue after being told to dress up like a man or get a VIP table.

Interestingly, according to Maristela, she had been frequenting Valkyrie, and her earlier visits were not problematic, highlighting a seeming inconsistent implementation of dress code policies.

Trixie Maristela

Even earlier, In February, one Mico Lloren alleged that his transgender friend was also denied access to Valkyrie. In a Facebook post, Lloren stated that a bouncer wanted his transgender friend to “wear pants since her ID is showing ‘male’.”

Mico Lloren

Lloren’s party actually had a table reserved for them, highlighting inconsistent bar entry practices, considering Maristela’s claim that she was told to get a VIP table for her to be allowed entry.

“In what other circumstances would it be (okay) to discriminate against someone like that? To deny someone access to public accommodations? Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, whether we’re stopping at a bar for a drink, eating in a restaurant, or seeking medical treatment,” Lloren wrote, admitted to being “stung” by the experience.

WIDESPREAD DISCRIMINATION

According to Naomi Fontanos, who heads Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas, “Valykrie is part of a long list of establishments including Embassy Super Club in Taguig, Prive in Makati, Manor Club in Eastwood, Aruba Bar and Restaurant in Metrowalk in Pasig with dress codes that target and oppress transgender women. I have no idea how this dress codes are used in dealing with trans male customers, but they are definitely used to bar entry, refuse service to, and publicly humiliate transgender women in the Philippines whose legal documents of course reflect our male sex assignment at birth and the legal names we were given at birth but did not choose.”

For Fontanos, “the Valkyrie case demonstrates how widespread the discrimination that transgender Filipinos face not only in getting access to public accommodations such as restaurants, gyms, malls, trains, et cetera, but also to education, employment, and social services including healthcare.”

“No crossdressing” policies are not new. In the past, establishments like Cafe Havana and Ice Vodka Bar in Greenbelt 3 made the news for such policies; these were eventually successfully overturned through advocacy work.

“However, with no national anti-discrimination law in place, these policies actually continue to be enforced although sometimes inconsistently,” Fontanos said.

All the same, for Fontanos, “while an anti-discrimination law in place will certainly help change the situation, the heart of the matter here really is gender-based oppression or how people’s notions of gender become a basis to treat others badly. So, what we really want to change here are perceptions of gender or preconceived notions about what it means to be a gendered person and a customer. And that goes right to the heart of business policy and should be asked of business owners: Do people who do fit into your notions of gender NOT DESERVE to be customers in your establishments? Why? I have found that when you asked these questions, business owners usually have no clear cut answers and realize they impose a silly practice that will give them a bad reputation and lose them customers in the long run. So they eventually remove their anti-trans dress code policy. Some establishments have remained stubborn however like Aruba Bar and Restaurant in Metrowalk, Pasig. This shows that in the Philippines, if you have money and connections, you can get away with bad behavior.”

OPEN TO DIALOGUE

Outrage Magazine tried to inquire about Valkyrie’s policies through its listed hotline (+63 917 680 8888), but has been unsuccessful in getting any response.*

However, earlier reporting on this same issue in March, Philstar.com was able to speak with a certain Monique who confirmed that they do not allow crossdressers to enter the club.

Asked… for confirmation, Monique clarified that a transgender can still be allowed to enter the club “as long as medyo decent naman daw po ang suot.”

Monique said that by saying decent, they mean “not super sexy” or “not too daring.”

“We allow crossdressers basta huwag lang po daring na iyong tipong mababastos sila,” the receptionist said.

Fontanos said that such venues may let transwomen in later on, but “what if they have a female client who presents as male just because she finds those clothes more comfortable? Or what if they have a real live heterosexual male cross dresser go there? Those people are not necessarily part of the trans, les, bi, gay, queer and intersex (TLBGQI) community, but are also affected by this issue. If we will fight these types of policies, we must fight for the right of all to be themselves.”

“In the end, I hope that Valkyrie agrees to a dialogue and later on lifts its anti-trans dress code policy. Ultimately, what we want is for all establishments to adopt a human rights business policy that upholds the principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination across the board,” Fontanos ended.

*THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY, AND OUTRAGE MAGAZINE – JUST AS WE WILL CONTINUE PRESENTING THE SIDE OF THOSE WHO ALLEGE GETTING DISCRIMINATED BY THE VENUE – WILL CONTINUE TO TRY TO REACH OUT TO VALKYRIE TO GET ITS SIDE OF THE STORY

NEWSMAKERS

Straight cisgender people more likely to be open-minded, accepting if they see LGBTQIA people in media

Those who have seen LGBTQIA representation are more accepting of gay and lesbian people than those who haven’t (48% to 35%). They are also more accepting of bisexual people (45% to 31%), and of non-binary people (41% to 30%).

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Straight cisgender people more likely to be open-minded and accepting if they see LGBTQIA people in the media. This is according to a study by US media organization GLAAD.

GLAAD’s researchers surveyed 2,031 non-LGBTQIA Americans (those who saw LGBTQIA people in the media, and those who say they have not seen LGBTQIA media representation recently). They found 80% of those who saw LGBTQIA representation are more supportive of equal rights, compared to 70% of those who haven’t seen LGBTQIA people in the media.

For the companies jumping into the rainbow bandwagon: 85% of the straight, cisgender respondents think that companies who include LGBTQIA people in their advertising are showing their “commitment to offering products to all types of customers”.

According to Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD: “The findings of this study send a strong message to brands and media outlets. Including (LGBTQIA) people in ads, films, and TV is good for business and good for the world.”

Other findings include:

  • Those who have seen LGBTQIA representation are more accepting of gay and lesbian people than those who haven’t (48% to 35%).
  • They are also more accepting of bisexual people (45% to 31%).
  • They are also more accepting of non-binary people (41% to 30%).
  • 72% of those who see LGBTQIA representation are more likely to be comfortable with an LGBTQIA family member (versus 66% of those who don’t see that representation).
  • They are more likely to be comfortable if an LGBTQIA family with children moves into their neighborhood (79% to 72%).
  • They are also more likely to be comfortable starting a conversation with someone who is not straight (81% to 76%).
  • 73% of those who have seen LGBTQIA representation first group would be happy if their doctor is gay, lesbian or bi (against 67% of those who haven’t seen recent LGBTQIA representation.

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Health & Wellness

Gender affirmation linked with trans, gender nonbinary youth mental health improvement

Having accessed multiple steps of gender affirmation (social, legal, and medical/surgical) was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and less anxiety. Furthermore, engaging in gender affirmation processes helped youth to develop a sense of pride and positivity about their gender identity and a feeling of being socially accepted.

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Enabling transgender and gender nonbinary youth to access gender affirmation processes is good.

This is according to a study – “Gender Affirmation Is Associated with Transgender and Gender Nonbinary Youth Mental Health Improvement” – done by Anna Martha Vaitses Fontanari, Felipe Vilanova, Maiko Abel Schneider, Itala Chinazzo, Bianca Machado Soll, Karine Schwarz, Maria Inês Rodrigues Lobato, and Angelo Brandelli Costa; and which appeared in LGBT Health.

The study aimed to evaluate the impact of each domain of gender affirmation (social, legal, and medical/surgical) on the mental health of transgender and gender nonbinary youth. To do this, 350 transgender boys, transgender girls, and gender nonbinary Brazilian youth, aged from 16 to 24 years old, were asked to answer an online survey.

Among the 350 participants, a total of 149 (42.64%) youth identified as transgender boys, 85 (24.28%) identified as transgender girls, and 116 (33.14%) identified as gender nonbinary youth. The mean age was 18.61 (95% confidence interval 18.34–18.88) years. Having accessed multiple steps of gender affirmation (social, legal, and medical/surgical) was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and less anxiety. Furthermore, engaging in gender affirmation processes helped youth to develop a sense of pride and positivity about their gender identity and a feeling of being socially accepted.

“Enabling transgender and gender nonbinary youth to access gender affirmation processes more easily should be considered as a strategy to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, as well as to improve gender positivity,” the researchers stated.

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Love Affairs

LGBTQIA people think domestic violence is a cis-straight issue – study

A study found that domestic and family violence (DFV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) were perceived by community members and professional stakeholders to be a “heterosexual issue that did not easily apply to LGBTQIA relationships.”

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Members of the LGBTQIA community think domestic violence is a cis-straight issue. This is according to a study conducted by Relationships Australia New South Wales (RANSW) and ACON (formerly the AIDS Council of NSW), and was published by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety.

As stated in “Developing LGBTQ programs for perpetrators and victims/survivors of domestic and family violence”, many LGBTQIA people think domestic violence is an issue only faced by people who are both cisgender and straight.

The study found that domestic and family violence (DFV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) were perceived by community members and professional stakeholders to be a “heterosexual issue that did not easily apply to LGBTQIA relationships.”

“In particular, many community members held the view that relationships between (LGBTQIA) people could avoid the inherent sexism and patriarchal values of heterosexual, cisgender relationships, and, by implication, avoid DFV/IPV.”

In a way, this doesn’t come as a complete surprise, considering the language and framework used when discussing DFV and IPV.

The study noted that “although DFV and IPV have received increased attention in recent years, the focus has been on addressing intimate abuse between cisgender, heterosexual people with greater attention paid to male perpetrators.”

Also, “clients and potential clients did not have a full understanding of what constitutes domestic violence and felt this term related only to physical forms of abuse.”

And so “although (LGBTQIA) perpetrator interventions, and research around them, are emergent at best, the scant literature does provide a little information which can be used
to inform program developers and clinical practice.”

The researchers also noted particular kinds of abuse not seen among cis-straight people.

For instance, there are “identity-based tactics of abuse” where the fear of exposure or outing is used as a weapon within queer relationships.

After an individual has appraised that he/she may be experiencing abuse, seeking appropriate intervention may also be challenging because of non-inclusive services currently available.

The researchers recommended the following:

  • Make LGBTQIA inclusivity training required learning for all DFV/IPV sector staff, particularly those employed in specialized DFV/IPV roles.
  • Advocate that inclusivity training be made mandatory within clinical organizations, and among police and legal professionals.
  • Develop referral pathways into LGBTQIA-friendly DFV/IPV programs for key professionals, such as court support workers and magistrates.
  • Increase representation of LGBTQIA people in promotional material about DFV/IPV.
  • Use social media platforms to increase DFV/IPV awareness in LGBTQIA communities and use these channels to engage clients for future programs.
  • Provide ongoing funding to develop, trial and implement tailored programs. Short funding cycles do not provide adequate time to populate groups within an underdeveloped community area.
  • Ensure programs respond to diverse needs within mixed LGBTQIA groups and manage transphobia and biphobia.

This isn’t the first time DFV and IPV within the LGBTQIA community was tackled – even if it remains to be under-researched, and not widely tackled within the LGBTQIA community. In 2018, for instance, a study found that nearly half of men in same-sex couples suffered some form of abuse at the hands of their partner, according to a study that surveyed 320 men (160 male couples) in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago in the US to measure emotional abuse, controlling behaviors, monitoring of partners, and HIV-related abuse.

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NEWSMAKERS

LGB individuals have less contact with, and live geographically farther from siblings

LGB individuals had less frequent contact with, and lived geographically farther from their siblings. The pattern of effects was similar for bisexual and gay or lesbian individuals, and stronger for male than female sexual minority individuals.

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Lesbian, gay and bisexual people tend to live geographically farther away from their brothers and sisters, and have less less frequent contact with them. This is according to new research from Australia, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

The study – “Sexual Orientation, Geographic Proximity, and Contact Frequency Between Adult Siblings“, authored by Francisco Perales and Stefanie Plage – suggests that (no surprise here) sexual stigma is a reason why this is so, as it can harm family relationships.

To compare the closeness of sibling relations between individuals with different sexual orientations, the study used data from an Australian national survey (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey). The researchers analyzed data from 13,252 individuals with 35,622 individual‐sibling pairs.

Key results indicated that — when compared with heterosexual individuals — LGB individuals had less frequent contact with, and lived geographically farther from their siblings. The pattern of effects was similar for bisexual and gay or lesbian individuals, and stronger for male than female sexual minority individuals.

According to the researchers, the findings are consistent with theoretical perspectives highlighting the unique barriers to socioeconomic inclusion experienced by individuals from sexual minorities. They suggest that these barriers begin within the nuclear family.

As quoted by PsyPost, study author Perales said: “We know that people who identify as LGB tend to experience poorer outcomes across life domains than heterosexual people… The dominant explanation for this is that these individuals receive lower levels of social support from their family and the broader community. This is because non-heterosexuality remains a stigmatized and not fully accepted social status.”

Family support – or its lack – is an important issue for members of the LGBTQIA community. A 2016 study, for instance, noted that more than 42% of the individuals who self-identified as transgender or gender nonconforming reported a suicide attempt, and over 26% had misused drugs or alcohol to cope with transgender-related discrimination. After controlling for age, race/ethnicity, sex assigned at birth, binary gender identity, income, education, and employment status, family rejection was associated with increased odds of both behaviors. Odds increased significantly with increasing levels of family rejection.

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NEWSMAKERS

Tech-related jealousy is real… including LGBTQIAs

According to the Pew Research Center, about one-third of LGB partnered adults whose significant other uses social media report that they have felt jealous or unsure in their current relationship because of how their partner interacted with others on social media (versus 22% of straight people who say this).

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Social media can be a source of jealousy and uncertainty in relationships – especially for younger adults.

This is according to a Pew Research Center study (with the survey conducted in October 2019, though the study was only released recently) that found that, indeed, many people encounter tech-related struggles with their significant others.

In “Dating and Relationships in the Digital Age”, Pew Research Center noted that “younger people value social media as a place to share how much they care about their partner or to keep up with what’s going on in their partner’s life.” However, “they also acknowledge some of the downsides that these sites can have on relationships.”

Twenty-three percent (23%) of adults with partners who use social media say they have felt jealous or unsure about their relationship because of the way their current spouse or partner interacts with other people on social media.

Now get this: the number is higher among those in younger age groups.

Among partnered adults whose significant other uses social media, 34% of 18- to 29-year-olds and 26% of those ages 30 to 49 say they have felt jealous or unsure in their current relationship because of how their partner interacted with others on social media. This is definitely higher than the 19% of those aged 50 to 64 who say this, and 4% of those ages 65 and up.

The insecurity is also common among those not married – i.e. 37% of unmarried adults with partners who are social media users say they have felt this way about their current partner, while only 17% of married people say the same.

Women are reportedly more likely to express displeasure with how their significant other interacts with others on social media (29% vs. 17% for men).

Meanwhile, college graduates are less likely to report having felt this way than those with some college experience or a high school degree or less.

And yes, LGBTQIA community members are no different.

According to the Pew Research Center, about one-third of LGB partnered adults whose significant other uses social media report that they have felt jealous or unsure in their current relationship because of how their partner interacted with others on social media (versus 22% of straight people who say this).

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NEWSMAKERS

Marriage equality boosted US economy by $3.8B since 2015 – study

Marriage equality in the US injected approximately state and local economies by an estimated $3.8 billion, and generated an estimated $244.1 million in state and local sales tax revenue since 2015.

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Marriage equality in the US injected approximately state and local economies by an estimated $3.8 billion, and generated an estimated $244.1 million in state and local sales tax revenue since 2015, when the US Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the country’s constitution guarantees all couples the right to marry, extending marriage to same-sex couples throughout. This spending, by the way, supported an estimated 45,000 jobs for one full year.

This is according to “The Economic Impact of Marriage Equality Five Years after Obergefell v. Hodges”, a study done by the Williams Institute at California’s UCLA School of Law.

The Williams Institute study included figures and estimates based on data from the US Census Bureau.

Approximately 293,000 LGBTQIA couples tied the knot since the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality.

“Marriage equality has changed the lives of same-sex couples and their families,” said the study’s lead author Christy Mallory. “It has also provided a sizable benefit to business and state and local governments.”

Broken down, the amounts spent were:

  • Some $3.2 billion on weddings
  • $544 million by traveling wedding guests
  • $244 million in state and local taxes

The US is one of only 28 United Nations’ member states recognizing marriage equality.

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