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Viber celebrates LGBT Pride… for a fee

Viber has joined the bandwagon of tech companies that mark LGBT Pride this June with the release of LGBT-related stickers. The catch: the stickers aren’t for free; the packet costs $1.99.

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Celebrate Pride… for $1.99.

Viber has joined the bandwagon of tech companies that mark LGBT Pride this June with the release of LGBT-related stickers. The catch: the stickers aren’t for free; the packet costs $1.99.

Viber’s approach may be sending out a message about the company’s pro-LGBT values; but it also highlights how corporations profit from the LGBT community.

Already, Twitter, Facebook, Google and Instagram released free LGBT-related emojis for Pride.

NEWSMAKERS

Makati City police now – apparently – profiling members of LGBTQIA community

The practice of profiling members of the LGBTQIA community is – apparently – actually already part of the implemented practices of Makati City’s police via its “Operation X-Men.”

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Screencap from Makati City police's SCADS

On February 14, transgender woman Anne Pelos was walking along Makati Ave. in Makati City, when she was stopped by a police officer who wanted her to go with him to the police station. Asked why, Pelos was told Makati police was instructed to to bring in transgender people (in this case in particular, transgender women) “for profiling.”

Though Pelos – who works in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry – was able to walk away from the traumatizing incident with her friends documenting/recording what transpired, the practice of profiling members of the LGBTQIA community is – apparently – actually already part of the implemented practices of Makati City’s police via its “Operation X-Men.”

In January, in an earlier post in Facebook, Makati police’s Station Community Affairs and Development Section (SCADS) stated that “Oplan X-Men is an intensified operation that aims to rescue ladyboys (sic) from exploitation and human trafficking in ill-repute areas.”

On January 22, at 11:52 PM, for that matter, the city’s police “invited” 67 individuals to the Makati City Police Station, with those invited coming from “illegal settlers inside Manila South Cemetery” and as a result of “Oplan X-Men at Burgos, Poblacion, Makati City.”

As reported, the rounding up of people was “conducted through the combined efforts of Station Operations, Women’s Desk, Station Intelligence and Station and Drug Enforcement Unit.”

According to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which has started investigating “Oplan X-Men”, the CHR recognizes incidents in which the police may “invite” individuals to their headquarters. However, “the public should exercise caution, as these may be used to effect warrantless arrests,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia was quoted as saying by Inquirer.net.

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De Guia added that “this recent incident further highlights the violence and harassment experienced every day by the LGBTQI community because of their sexual orientation and gender identity (and expression).”

On her Facebook recollection of the incident, Pelos surmised that she was targeted because of what she was wearing (i.e. a white tube dress, which may be stereotypically associated with what sex workers in the area also wear).

But Pelos said that “I have an honest and decent job…” adding that “you should not just judge all trans people and drag them to the police precinct.”

Makati City’s PNP has yet to release a statement on this, particularly following the fallout/debacle.

This is not the first ill-conceived attempt to profile members of the LGBTQIA community.

In 2017, former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista issued a memorandum to task the heads of the local government unit’s various offices to profile “all employees who belong to the (LGBTQIA community)… regardless of the employment agreement.”

Incidentally, Nazi Germany also profiled members of the LGBTQIA community; and under the Third Reich, it is estimated that approximately 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality, of which around 5,000-15,000 were sent to concentration camps.

For CHR’s De Guia, the incident stresses “the need to pass the SOGIE Equality Bill to penalize all forms of discrimination.”

The proposed bill that eyes to protect the human rights of members of the LGBTQIA community continues to languish in Congress after two decades.

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Women in leadership positions face more sexual harassment

Power in the workplace does not stop women’s exposure to sexual harassment. On the contrary, women with supervisory positions are harassed more than women employees.

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Photo by Isabella Mariana from Pexels.com

Power in the workplace does not stop women’s exposure to sexual harassment. On the contrary, women with supervisory positions are harassed more than women employees. These are the results from a new study from the Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University, which examined the conditions in Sweden, USA and Japan.

Written by Folke, O., Rickne, J., Tanaka, S., & Tateishi, Y., Sexual Harassment of Women Leaders appeared in Daedalus.

By analyzing the responses from three surveys, researchers at the Swedish Institute for Social Research, SOFI, at Stockholm University, together with fellow American and Japanese researchers, have studied the prevalence of sexual harassment across the organizational hierarchy. The study shows that women with supervisory positions experienced between 30 and 100 per cent more sexual harassment than other women employees. This was true across the United States, Japan, and Sweden, three countries with different gender norms and levels of gender equality in the labour market. Comparing levels of leadership, exposure to harassment was greatest at lower levels of leadership, but remained substantial and similar to the level of harassment for the highest positions.

“When we first started to study sexual harassment, we expected a higher exposure for women with less power in the workplace. Instead we found the contrary. When you think about it, there are logical explanations: a supervisor is exposed to new groups of potential perpetrators. She can be harassed both from her subordinates and from higher-level management within the company. More harassment from these two groups is also what we saw when we asked the women who had harassed them,” says Johanna Rickne, Professor of Economics at SOFI.

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In all three countries, women with supervisory positions were subject to more harassment when their subordinates consisted of mostly men.

“Sexual harassment means that women’s career advancement comes at a higher cost than men’s, especially in male-dominated industries and firms. Additional survey data from the United States and Japan showed that harassment of supervisors was not only more common than for employees, but was also followed by more negative professional and social consequences. This included getting a reputation of being a ‘trouble maker’ and missing out on promotions or training,” says Olle Folke, affiliated researcher at SOFI and associate professor at Uppsala University.

The study addressed the risk of measurement error from different awareness of sexual harassment among supervisors and employees. Questions on whether or not particular behaviours should, or should not, be defined as harassment showed similar answers in the two groups. This makes it unlikely that the results derive from different perceptions of work interactions, rather than different treatment in those interactions.

The study used two different measurement tools. The surveys in the United States and Japan included the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire, a survey instrument with a list of behaviours, developed for studies in the US military. All three countries were also surveyed with subjective questions about whether the person had been exposed to sexual harassment. The time span for all questions was the previous 12 months.

The Swedish results come from five waves of the Swedish Work Environment Survey, a nationally representative dataset collected biannually by Statistics Sweden (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2007) and with a total of 23,994 female respondents. In the United States and Japan, the research team collected new survey material during 2019. The US sample included 1,573 employed female citizens, whereof 62 per cent had supervisory positions, while the Japanese sample included 1,573 respondents, of which 17 per cent of the women were in supervisory positions. Apart from questions about sexual harassments, respondents were asked about perpetrators, how they reacted to the harassment, and what social and professional consequences followed the victimization.

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Transfer of Pemberton to Bilibid sought after VFA termination

The killer of transgender woman Jennifer Laude, US serviceman Joseph Scott Pemberton, should be transferred to the New Bilibid Prison following the termination of the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US.

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Stop the special treatment.

The killer of transgender woman Jennifer Laude, US serviceman Joseph Scott Pemberton, should be transferred to the New Bilibid Prison following the termination of the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US.

This is the call made by Atty. Harry Roque, who served as the legal counsel of the Laude family, at CNN Philippines’ The Source.

“I hope after the six month period, and the VFA has finally been terminated, that he will be finally moved to Muntinlupa where he belongs — together with the Ampatuans and other killers,” Roque was quoted as saying.

Pemberton was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison after he was found guilty in the 2014 murder of Laude, who was found lifeless in an Olongapo City motel room after a night out with Pemberton in October of that year. With her neck blackened with strangulation marks, Laude was found with her head rammed into a toilet.

To date, the American soldier is detained at the custodial center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. And for Roque, even if this is pursuant to provisions of the 1998 military deal, this is a copout since the space is a “golden cage”.

Now with the notice of VFA termination on the table, Roque said Pemberton’s move to the state penitentiary should now be pursued.

“The only reason why he’s being kept in that golden cage is because of the VFA. Without the VFA, he should be treated like all other prisoners, convicted felons, and sent to Muntinlupa,” Roque said.

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According to Ms Kate Montecarlo Cordova or the Association of Transgender People in the Philippines (ATP), “it does not bother me if he will be transferred to Bilibid after the cancellation of VFA if that is the right thing to do. Doing what is the right thing through legal means is upholding justice and righteousness. It is serving what is due both to the victim and to the perpetrator.”

And in a statement provided to Outrage Magazine, Toni Gee Fernandez of the Mujer LGBT Organization, Inc. in Zamboanga in Mindanao said that they “commend… our national government for taking on the courage and strong political will to make a stand in terminating the VFA.”

But “this historic decision by the government gives rise to two very crucial questions (also affecting) the LGBTQIA community”: 1) Due to the termination, can the Philippines… finally exercise jurisdiction over any and all US military personnel for crimes committed within our territory? 2) If so, does this mean that Pemberton, the US military personnel convicted for the brutal murder of Jennifer Laude in 2014, be finally moved to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City to continue serving the remainder of his sentence?

For Mujer LGBT Organization, Inc.: “It is high time that we let our laws take over those who deserve to be punished for what they did to our countrymen.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Religious, moral beliefs may exacerbate concerns about porn addiction

Moral or religious beliefs may lead some people to believe they are addicted to pornography even when their porn use is low or average.

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Photo by Artem Labunsky from Unsplash.com

Moral or religious beliefs may lead some people to believe they are addicted to pornography even when their porn use is low or average, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Self-reported addiction to pornography is probably deeply intertwined with religious and moral beliefs for some people,” said lead researcher Joshua B. Grubbs, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University. “When people morally disapprove of pornography but still use it anyway, they are more likely to report that pornography is interfering with their lives.”

In two studies with more than 3,500 participants, the researchers found that moral or religious beliefs may be a central contributing factor to distress over porn use. Such a view may complicate an accurate diagnosis of compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD), which includes porn addiction and detrimental sexual behaviors such as patronizing prostitutes. The research was published online in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

“Moral Incongruence and Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Results From Cross-Sectional Interactions and Parallel Growth Curve Analyses” was done by Joshua B. Grubbs, PhD, Bowling Green State University; Samuel L. Perry, University of Oklahoma-Norman; Shane W. Kraus, PhD, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Karol Lewczuk, PhD, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University; and Mateusz Gola, PhD, University of California-San Diego and Polish Academy of Sciences

In one experiment, 2,200 online participants who were selected to be representative of the U.S. population, along with 467 undergraduate students from Bowling Green State University, were surveyed about their porn use and their religious and moral beliefs. People who viewed pornography and believed pornography is morally wrong were more likely to report that they were addicted to porn than those who didn’t find porn use to be morally objectionable. Participants who reported they were religious or who regularly attended religious services were more likely to believe they were addicted to porn, even if their porn use was the same as less religious participants who didn’t believe their porn use was a problem.

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In another online experiment, 850 U.S. adults who used porn were surveyed about their porn use and religious beliefs and then were invited to complete follow-up surveys every four months for a year. The findings were similar, with more religious participants reporting an addiction to pornography. These feelings tracked together over time: Increases in feelings of moral disapproval of pornography corresponded to increases in feelings of addiction to pornography.

“We are not suggesting that people need to change their moral or religious beliefs, but it’s not helpful for someone with a low or normal amount of porn use to be convinced that they have an addiction because they feel bad about it,” Grubbs said. “However, if someone wants to reduce their porn use because it causes distress, then therapists should work with them in a non-judgmental way that doesn’t induce shame.”

CSBD has been controversial due to conflicting research on whether it is a distinct mental illness. CSBD is not included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013. In 2018, the World Health Organization included CSBD in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases, a commonly used worldwide standard reference for health conditions and mental illnesses. In the International Classification of Diseases, CSBD is categorized as an impulse control disorder, which includes “a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behavior.”

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Grubbs said he supports a diagnosis for CSBD as a distinct mental illness, but mental health professionals must ensure their own biases don’t lead to inaccurate diagnoses. Previous research has shown that therapists are less likely to diagnose LGBTQ people with CSBD, while religious therapists are more likely to view porn use as addictive and evidence of a mental illness.

Some people seeking treatment for CSBD may not meet the diagnostic criteria even if they are distressed about their porn use, Grubbs said. Clinicians will need to find objective measures, not just the subjective feelings of clients, to diagnose CSBD, such as failed attempts to stop using porn or impairment in job or family duties caused by porn use.

“This diagnosis enables access to care for people who need treatment,” Grubbs said. “Just like cultural sensitivity is needed for any diagnosis, CSBD will require that clinicians and therapists be aware of and sensitive to the unique aspects of themselves and their clients that might influence how symptoms should be addressed.”

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NEWSMAKERS

How personality predicts seeing others as sex objects

Several personality traits related to psychopathy – especially being openly antagonistic – predict a tendency to view others as merely sex objects.

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen from Unsplash.com

Several personality traits related to psychopathy – especially being openly antagonistic – predict a tendency to view others as merely sex objects, finds a study by psychologists at Emory University. The journal “Personality Disorders: Theory, Research and Treatment” published the study, which the authors believe is the first to identify key personality correlates of interpersonal sexual objectification.

The #MeToo movement has raised awareness of the ongoing problem of sexual harassment and sexual assault, notes Thomas Costello, a PhD candidate in psychology at Emory and first author of the study. Much less is known, he says, about those likely to think of someone as little more than their sexual parts.

“Understanding the personality traits associated with sexual objectification allows us to identify those at risk of having this attitude and to potentially design an intervention for them,” Costello says. “This is important because sexual objectification can be a precursor to sexual harassment and sexual violence.”

Psychopathy is a personality disorder associated with a constellation of characteristics, such as boldness, impulsivity, narcissism, cold-heartedness, disinhibition and meanness.

Most people who have some personality traits associated with psychopathy do not fulfill the criteria for full-blown psychopathy, explains Emory psychology professor Scott Lilienfeld, senior author of the paper and an expert on personality disorders.

“These so-called ‘dark’ personality traits occur on a continuum, like height and weight or blood pressure,” he explains. “Many people have at least some of these traits to some degree, and other people may not have any of them to a high degree.”

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For the current study, the researchers wanted to test whether traits underlying psychopathy — which is associated with sexual aggression, harassment and violence — could provide a framework for understanding and statistically predicting attitudes of sexual objectification among the general population.

The study used a self-reporting survey that included questions about attitudes, as well as behaviors, regarding sexual objectification and measurements of psychopathy-related personality traits. The researchers collected data from 800 U.S. community members drawn from Amazon Mechanical Turk, an online crowdsourcing platform.

An analysis of the data showed that meanness, or being antagonistic towards others, was the strongest predictor for attitudes of sexual objectification, followed closely by disinhibition. Cold-heartedness and boldness were also predictors, but the effect sizes were smaller.

“We were surprised that cold-heartedness — or being a callous, detached person — was not as good a predictor as meanness, or being openly malicious,” Lilienfeld says.

The survey participants included both men and women. As expected, more men than women scored higher on the sexual objectification scale. But psychopathic traits were even better predictors of attitudes of sexual objectification in the female respondents.

“It may be that social norms are much stronger against women sexually objectifying others, so this attitude would be less likely to be expressed, except among women with higher degrees of these dark personality traits,” Costello says.

He hopes that the #MeToo movement may also increase societal pressure against men perceiving others as sex objects. “The ongoing cultural conversation and growing awareness of the problem of sexual objectification is a great opportunity for research into why it occurs,” he says.

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Co-authors of the study include Emory graduates Brett Murphy (now a post-doctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Ashley Watts (now a post-doc at the University of Missouri at Columbia).

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Occupational gender bias prevalent in online images, Rutgers study finds

A study finds that online images of men and women in four professions – librarian, nurse, computer programmer, and civil engineer – tend to represent and reinforce existing gender stereotypes.

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Photo by Le Buzz from Unsplash.com

Rutgers researchers say gender bias and stereotypes corresponding to certain occupations are prevalent on digital and social media platforms.

The study, published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, finds that online images of men and women in four professions – librarian, nurse, computer programmer, and civil engineer – tend to represent and reinforce existing gender stereotypes.

In the study, Rutgers researchers analyzed search results for images of people in each of the four occupations on four digital media platforms: Twitter, NYTimes.com, Wikipedia, and Shutterstock. They also compared the search results to the gender representation of each occupation as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The results showed gender stereotypes and biases to be prevalent. Women were overrepresented as librarians and nurses and underrepresented as computer programmers and civil engineers, especially when the collection and curation of content is largely automated by an algorithm, such as on Twitter.

However, on platforms where individuals can generate and curate content more directly, such as the NYTimes.com and Shutterstock, stereotypes were more likely to be challenged. Search results of NYTimes.com, for example, produced images of civil engineers who are women, and nurses who are men, more often than would be expected given their representation in the Labor Statistics.

“More direct content curation will help counter gender stereotypes,” said Vivek Singh, an assistant professor of library and information science in Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information.

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While women generally tend to be underrepresented in male-dominated professions on digital media platforms, Singh noted some progress toward equity in the gendered presentation of images from 2018 to 2019. For instance, more women were shown in images for male-dominated professions on Twitter in 2019 than in 2018.

“Gender bias limits the ability of people to select careers that may suit them and impedes fair practices, pay equity and equality,” said co-author Mary Chayko, a sociologist and interdisciplinary teaching professor at the School of Communication and Information. “Understanding the prevalence and patterns of bias and stereotypes in online images is essential, and can help us challenge, and hopefully someday break, these stereotypes.”

The researchers said that the study could help prevent biases from being designed into digital media platforms, algorithms, and artificial intelligence software. And while human beings indeed construct algorithms, the study’s results may help content creators and platform designers identify whether algorithm-heavy or human-heavy curation may be better suited to a task.

The study was co-authored by Raj Inamdar, a research associate at Rutgers’ Behavioral Informatics Lab and Diana Floegel, a doctoral student at Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information.

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