What if? What if we could spend Christmas thanking the God of caring and compassion that we have a new Reproductive Health Law in the Philippines? Thank you, God. Thank you, bold legislators. It was not a battle against the Roman Catholic Church. Lord, it was a move toward Your justice, Your Love, Your compassion.
And Senator Soto is obstructing the Conference Committee to reconcile the passed Senate and House bills. What if?
If we look around, what do we see? What if we look honestly at the cold, hard, uncaring, uncompassionate milieu of our world, notwithstanding the world-wide and impressive outpouring of support for the people of Newtown? What if we open our eyes to the injustice sprayed from invisible and visible automatic weapons around the world?
The emotion that President Aquino and President Obama expressed after the Connecticut massacre was admirable and thought-provoking.
What if they would recognize and be moved by and make pledges in behalf of the killings of 265 transgender people in 2012 alone (plus all the other years before)?
Where were they in November when the friends of transgender people mourned the 265 transgender victims of 2012?
The “Memorial Booklet” of GANDA Filipinas, the transgender advocates, lists the 265 “names” and recounts the grisly stories of their deaths – guns, guns, guns and burning, hanging, stoning, slashing, stabbing, throat cutting, strangling, beating, cutting the body into pieces, drowning, decapitation, buried alive.
“Each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people…[yet] even now deaths based on violence based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored.”
My friend, what if? What if the world would mourn and act upon the senseless brutal slaughter of 265 innocent transgender people – as they so rightfully did for the insane killings of 20 innocent children and their hero teachers in Connecticut?
What if? What if President Aquino and President Obama would have attended the November “Day of Remembrance” …”which publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through this vigil we express our love and respect for our people in the face of [inter]national indifference and hatred, [remembering] that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends, and lovers…memorializing those of us who have died by anti-transgender violence.”
Similarly what if they would have been awakened by the senseless murder of my friend Ito?
Now surely it is time to look at gun control. But what about “violence control”? Is mourning our brutally killed loved ones enough? What about action?
One action that has been languishing in the Congress longer than the RH Bill is the Anti-Discrimination Bill that penalizes behavior that discriminates against LGBT people.
All these years the members of the Congress have been shaking in their boots, quivering in fear of retaliation from those who hate condoms and would rather see people suffer and die.
Lord, thank you, I pray, that a majority of our legislators got the guts to give the people more importance than a church’s hatred of condoms. It’s so ironic, Lord — a church which claims to be Your church, which preaches love and practices prejudice and violence toward women and LGBT people.
Yes, deplorably, that’s what they do to LGBT people every day, every decade. Fr. John McNeil (SJ) tried to combat the prejudice from within. They rewarded him with expulsion. Jesus said, “Love.” Yet they influence people like Pacquiao to say, “Let them die.”
Yes, the Philippines is a non-violent culture. But today’s editorial in the Inquirer says something like, “slow down. Don’t forget the Ampatuan mass slaughter which is having such a slow trial now.”
What about more “subtle” violence in our culture? What about the religious violence, the societal violence, the cuddling, the promoting of a culture of hate and violence toward LGBT people?
What if? What if the president, the congress and the people –- is it unimaginable? – what if they would love and respect women who love women and men who love men? And stop the violence? What if? Would it stop or slow down the suicides, murders, firings, evictions, senseless hate and hate crimes?
If the murders of 265 transgender people will not bring a tear to the world,
— what will?
The ecumenical church service that President Obama attended in Newtown was wonderful. We saw arm in arm, literally, Catholic and Muslim ministers, Protestant, Jewish, Anglican, B’Hai, Methodist, – arm in arm – praying and mourning together. It was impressive.
What if? What if they would unite for love and justice for LGBT people?
In the meantime in the Philippines we have five Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) and Catholic Diocese of One Spirit who preach and practice, not only ecumenical unity, but who follow and teach Jesus’ example of love and justice for all.
And that is especially for the marginalized, like Jesus did. He loved to make the marginalized, the hated Samaritans, heroes of his stories, such as the “Good Samaritan.” YET, that was in direct contradiction to the cultural practice of His “church” at the time.
Thank you, lawmakers who voted “yes.” You followed the example of Jesus – who put justice and the “right” first rather “wrong” practiced by His “church.”
What if? What if society would follow the example of the Way of Jesus – rather than the way of hate and prejudice?
Our society could happily take a look at the way of Jesus with regard to another marginalized people in our society.
What if? What if you and I, our neighbors, our friends, and yes, our church, our whole society would stop chasing to the underground (a hidden life) people who have a certain virus.
My God, what did Jesus consistently do about the “sick” people in his life? The lame, the blind, the lepers? And what does our society do to people who have HIV? Stigma!!! Internet paints this picture:
Social stigma is the extreme disapproval of, or discontent with, a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society. Stigma may attach to a person, who differs from social or cultural norms.
Social stigma can result from the perception or attribution, rightly or wrongly, of mental illness, physical disabilities, diseases such as leprosy (see leprosy stigma), illegitimacy, sexual orientation, gender identity skin tone, nationality, ethnicity, religion (or lack of religion) or criminality. Attributes associated with social stigma often vary depending on the geopolitical and corresponding sociopolitical contexts in different parts of the world.”
Society does THAT to LGBT people every day. God forbid that LGBT people would join society in doing THAT to persons with HIV!
I even heard of a cemetery that refused to bury a person with HIV so as “not to contaminate the cemetery.” My God, science has told us that we can drink from the same cup, eat from the same fork? Why does this hate, stigma, fear, and nonsense continue. Why does it drive so many to close the doors of their homes and their hearts?
What if? What if society would follow the authentic example of the Love of Jesus (instead of inventing pseudo ways of hate and prejudice which are a mockery of Jesus by those pretending to follow His way)? Would an authentic follower of Jesus really practice “selective justice” or “selective caring” or “selective compassion”? Some get it; some don’t.
A step has been made in the fearless passage of the RH Law. The hate churches surely will intensify their campaign to prevent any more laws which are pleasing to Jesus, but opposed by the church.
Speaker Belmonte has already announced the next arena. The Philippines and the Vatican are the only countries in the world which refuse their people the right to divorce. The Vatican is dominated by celibate priests, monsignors, bishops, cardinals and popes. They don’t have a problem with divorce for themselves – only divorce for people who need it. The people who need it are human beings who are human and have got stuck in a painful, shattering, perhaps destructive, unworkable marriage.
Every country recognizes that need except the Vatican and those who say “Opo” to the Vatican, that is, of course, the Philippine government in obedience to the Vatican’s bishops.
But what if?
Simple but effective tips on how you can better protect trans women
Given that our lives are considered less than a lot of people, it’s easy for trans women to become victims of violence and for the perpetrator to get away with it. So our best defense against any untoward incident is to always think of our security and the security of our friends.
These are simple but effective tips on how you can better protect the trans women in your lives in the context of a night that could go wrong. Given that our lives are considered less than a lot of people, it’s easy for trans women to become victims of violence and for the perpetrator to get away with it.
So our best defense against any untoward incident is to always think of our security and the security of our friends.
If you are hooking up with someone, ALWAYS send a picture of the person you are hooking up with to people you trust with your life. If you are hooking up with someone from a club, bar, or any public place, ask your friend to take your picture with the person you’d be with. This can be de done discreetly or with the permission of the other person. When asking permission, tell the person that you’re taking his/her picture for security purposes.
If you are going to someone else’s house for a booty call, send your GPS location via Whatsapp OR text the address of your location to people you trust.
If you are walking someone home or dropping them off, do not leave until the person is already inside his/her house. Do not let your drunk or high friend go home alone, either invite your friend to your house or accompany them home.
4. “I’M SAFE” CALL/TEXT.
Always demand an “I’m safe” call/text from your friend as soon as they’re home.
Para kay Jennifer
For Neal Roxas, may people remember the case of Jennifer Laude as a symbol of injustice; and of a world that continues to hate the beauty of LGBTQIA people.
By Neal Roxas
maalala mo sana siya
hindi sa bakas ng mahigpit
na sakal sa kanyang leeg
o sa natapyas nyang tenga,
hindi sa pagkalublob sa inodoro
o sa puting kumot na huling
yumakap sa kanya bago—
maalala mo sana siya
sa malago niyang buhok,
mapungay na mga mata,
hatid ang init nang sya ay makilala,
sa ingay ng kalsada,
at sa sigaw ng masa,
ng pumikit-dumilat na hustisya
sa isang lipunang hindi yumayakap
kundi nananakal ng magaganda
There are two sides to every story
In the Philippines, one in five people suffers from mental health problems. Between 17% and 20% of Filipino adults experience psychiatric disorders, while 10% to 15% of Filipino children suffer from mental health problems. But addressing mental health is not yet among the priorities in the country.
It all happened one busy Monday, in between unfinished deadlines and piling up of workload. The conversation suddenly ended, and it left him dumfounded. He kept looking for answers why it happened. He questioned himself; reviewed all his replies. Everything seemed okay.
His name is Andy. He considers himself as an introvert. There may be times when he can be talkative, but “that is different; I am not face-to-face with the person.”
Sometimes, people call him a “player,” claiming that he just wants to hook them into his “game”.
What not everyone knows is that whenever he starts to be close to someone, he (un)consciously builds walls around him, preventing anyone to get through particularly when he feels there is an attempt to make a deeper connection.
Andy said his intentions are always good. But most of the time, “I am read wrong and taken negatively.”
And every time that kind of thing happens, it just contributes to the sound he has been hearing in his head.
Sometimes it takes on the form of fear… fear of the current situation or the unknown. There are times when it invades his dreams, waking him up in the middle of the night with either a bad headache or heavy breathing. It is usually mistaken as stress.
A glass of warm milk or chilled rosé, a dosage of paracetamol or Valium, counting backwards from 100 while listening to calming music – any of these usually help, but only temporary.
“I found out a few years back that I am dealing with emotional and psychological trauma. I never knew I had one,” Andy said.
A type of mental health condition, trauma is a response to a stressful event. This is usually triggered by a terrifying situation, either experiencing or witnessing it firsthand.
Edgewood Health Network Canada listed down some of the most common symptoms of psychological trauma, i.e.:
- Disruptive recollections of the trauma, including flashbacks
- Emotional and physical reactions in response to reminders
- Negative beliefs about oneself or others
- Inability to feel close to others
- Being easily startled
- Emotional numbness
- Inability to remember aspects of, or all of the traumatic event
- Avoidance of anything that reminds one of the trauma
- Hypervigilance (Always being alert, scanning and assessing for threat)
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing on reality
- Inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep, frequent and frightening nightmares
“When I am interested with someone, to either date that person or befriend him, after a few days, all of a sudden I will shut down,” Andy said. “There are even times when I would literally run away towards the other direction.”
Studies show that trauma also causes anxiety. When there are frequent occurrence of situations related to what caused the trauma or constant exposure to trigger points – confusion and overwhelming emotional and psychological pain will set in – and these translate into anxiety.
In the Philippines, one in five people suffers from mental health problems. Between 17% and 20% of Filipino adults experience psychiatric disorders, while 10% to 15% of Filipino children suffer from mental health problems.
Dealing with trauma
“Sometimes it is better to be alone because you do not need to explain yourself or adjust to them,” Andy said.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are three common ways to cope with trauma:
- Avoiding alcohol and other drugs
- Spending time with loved ones and trusted friends who are supportive
- Trying to maintain normal routines for meals, exercise and sleep
How long will it last? Unfortunately, there is no way to find out since it is not possible to expedite the healing process of trauma. But the intensity of emotional and psychological pain reduces with time.
“I create distractions whenever I feel I am placed inside a box,” Andy said. “Just recently, when I did something like that, the person suddenly disappeared. I was left hanging, I felt like I was all alone.”
Distractions are created by anyone to give themselves breathing space, a moment to take a step back and look at the big picture.
Knowing the other side of the story
Before dismissing someone who seems “different” in terms of how he/she deals with situations, it is better to look a little longer first.
Here are few ways you can help someone who has experienced trauma, as listed by HuffPost:
- Realize that trauma can resurface again and again
- Know that little gestures go a long way
- Reach out on social media
- Ask before you hug someone
- Do not blame the victim
- Help them relax
- Suggest a support group
- Give them space
- Educate yourself
- Do not force them to talk about it
- Be patient
- Accompany them to the scene of the “crime”
- Watch out for warning signs
Keep in mind that it is not your experience/story that you can freely make judgements on, else “attack” it after feeling sour.
“Some five years ago everything fell apart with my life, in my career and health, my partner at that time chose to fool around and left me alone. It was shit. My friends told me that I was broken for four years,” Andy recalled.
That moment did not leave his mind until now. And it affected his trust issues with anything and everything.
A 2016 report by MIMS Today noted that in the Philippines, one in five people suffers from mental health problems. Between 17% and 20% of Filipino adults experience psychiatric disorders, while 10% to 15% of Filipino children suffer from mental health problems.
Unfortunately, it seems like addressing mental health is not yet among the priorities in the Philippines.
Stop humanizing a killer
Being jailed is supposed to punish AND rehabilitate a person. In Pemberton’s case… this is arguable. So stop humanizing him. When so many of you can’t even treat the victim – Jennifer – as a human being.
By now, we all know that when Joseph Scott Pemberton – the American serviceman who murdered Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014 – returns to the US, he will go back to school. Oh, he plans to take up Philosophy. And while studying, he also wants to do sports – e.g. swimming.
These info were provided to us by news outlets; courtesy of the Filipino lawyer who’s been pushing for the convicted American killer, Pemberton, to be freed for his “good conduct”.
And – SERIOUSLY – this has to stop.
Fact: Pemberton killed Jennifer. In cold blood.
Fact: Pemberton considered Jennifer as less of a human, repeatedly referring to her as “it”.
Fact: When he was found guilty, Pemberton was jailed in the custodial facility of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Not in Muntinlupa, but in an air-conditioned “jail”.
Fact: Whether Pemberton exhibited good conduct or not is hard to ascertain EXACTLY because of the special treatment he’s been getting. (Heck, his supposed handlers should all be fired for not documenting Pemberton’s movements!)
Fact: Pemberton’s camp only recently paid what the court told him to pay the Laudes.
Fact: As mentioned in the news, Pemberton doesn’t “mind” apologizing to the family of Jennifer… though only via a statement/press release.
Being jailed is supposed to punish AND rehabilitate a person.
In Pemberton’s case… this is arguable.
So stop humanizing him.
When so many of you can’t even treat the victim – Jennifer – as a human being.
In case you’ve (conveniently) forgotten, her life was cut short.
Pemberton shoved her head in the toilet bowl until she died by asphyxiation by drowning. He then escaped after committing the crime.
She was only 26 when Pemberton killed her.
She was a breadwinner of her family.
But she is now gone.
She won’t be able to go to college.
Or study Philosophy.
Or choose any sport to have fun.
And the person who killed her will live freely, even comfortably… and unapologetically.
Stop humanizing him; push to make him accountable for his crime.
Murderer Pemberton’s ‘absolute pardon’ unacceptable, ludicrous – LGBTQIA Filipinos
Unity statement of LGBTQI organizations against Pemberton’s presidential pardon, with the move said to send out a loud and clear message that a Filipino trans woman’s life does not matter and that it is open season for discrimination and violence against trans people.
We strongly condemn the absolute pardon granted by President Rodrigo Duterte to Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, the US marine convicted for killing Filipino trans woman Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City in 2014.
President Duterte’s claim that Pemberton has suffered injustice when he served time in a special holding cell in Camp Aguinaldo for just 5 years and 10 months out of a 10-year jail sentence is unacceptable and ludicrous. Pemberton should have served time in the National Bilibid Prison, and the President could have granted presidential pardon to a Filipino instead of an American.
Such acts done by the President at this time confirm how his government has been using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to promote and kowtow to foreign interests which have caused profound suffering, indignity, and injustice to the Filipino people.
In spite of earlier pronouncements from Malacañang calling the Olongapo court’s order to release Pemberton earlier as “judicial overreach,” the President’s pardon shows that his so-called support for the LGBTQI community is just mere posturing and exposes the truth about Duterte and his legacy—that as a leader, he is nothing but unjust, misogynistic, and transphobic.
President Duterte’s pardon of Pemberton sends out a loud and clear message that a Filipino trans woman’s life does not matter, that it is open season for discrimination and violence against transgender people, and that American soldiers will continue to get away with murder in Philippine soil.
We urge the entire LGBTQI community and our allies to unite in our opposition against Duterte’s anti-transgender, anti-LGBTQI, anti-women, and anti-people policies. Contrary to propagandists’ claims that Duterte is the president who has done the most for the LGBTQI community, all he has done is to use the LGBTQI community to further his popularity. His government never served our interests nor protected our rights and lives, and today proves that only a murderer can empathize with another murderer.
Call Her Ganda Documentary
Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas
Pioneer Filipino Transgender Men Movement
Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP Kababaihan, Inc.)
Transman Equality and Awareness Movement (TEAM)
Lagablab LGBT Network
Metro Manila Pride
Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders (PANTAY)
Rainbow Rights Philippines
TUP DUGONG BUGHAW
Gayon Albay LGBT Org., Inc.
True Colors Coalition (TCC)
Bicol University – MAGENTA
KAIBA Academic Collective
UP Babaylan – Baguio Chapter
GALANG Philippines, Inc.
UP Babaylan – Clark Chapter
Pinay sa Holland
Call a spade a spade: Deadnaming Jennifer Laude makes you a small-minded bigot
To simplify this argument: You all refer to – among others – Dolphy, Fernando Poe Jr., Nora Aunor, Gary V., Lorna Tolentino, Ogie Alcasid, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Aga Muhlach and Julia Montes with the names they chose for themselves. But when a trans person chooses a name for him or herself, you… refuse? It really just makes you a hater; and one who refuses to learn.
Jennifer Laude is, again, in the news. No thanks to the court-issued order to release her murderer, US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, after staying in a special jail for only six years.
As FYI: Pemberton was initially sentenced to six to 12 years imprisonment by the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 74, in December 2015. He was found guilty of murdering transgender woman Jennifer Laude.
Jennifer – who was only 26 years old at that time of her demise – was found with her head inside a toilet bowl in a room in Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City on October 11, 2014.
Pemberton himself admitted that he killed a “he-she.”
On September 1, the RTC said Pemberton already served a total accumulated time of 10 years, one month, and 10 days. This is including his Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
With the surfacing of this news is the deadnaming of Jennifer – e.g. by select media practitioners, haters of LGBTQIA people, and those claiming that they’re not haters/bigots but are only doing this because they’re using the “legal name” of the person.
As FYI: Deadnaming is when someone – whether intentionally or not – refers a transgender person with the name given them at birth.
And as another FYI: It’s wrong.
Let’s get this out there once and for all.
And enough already.
That this has to stop not just because it’s “PC” (politically correct). Deadnaming degrades and even erases a person – his or her life, agency, etc. At its very core is the individual’s right to determine who he/she is. And when you deadname, you basically refuse to respect this; you decide for the person because it’s what “comfortable” for you and your warped way of thinking.
This doesn’t make you “respectful” of the law (for those who say they’re “just” sticking to “legal names”).
This doesn’t make you “not hateful of the LGBTQIA community” (for those who may use this excuse, usually added with: “I can’t be anti-LGBTQIA because I know someone who’s LGBTQIA”).
This doesn’t make you “right” either.
It really just makes you a hater.
And for those who are well-read or actually know about this, it also makes you a hater who just refuses to learn.
To simplify this argument: You all refer to – among others – Dolphy, Fernando Poe Jr., Nora Aunor, Gary V., Lorna Tolentino, Ogie Alcasid, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Aga Muhlach and Julia Montes with the names they chose for themselves.
You all refer to Pope Francis as such; and you all know that’s not the name given him at birth.
You all call Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Madonna, P!nk, Bruno Mars, Gigi Hadid, Natalie Portman, Demi Moore, Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Prince Harry, Brad Pitt, Lorde, Miley Cyrus, Nicky Minaj, John Legend and Ludacris with the names they chose for themselves.
But when a trans person chooses a name for him or herself, you… refuse?
So let’s call a spade a spade: Deadnaming makes you a small-minded bigot.
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Bisexual adults less likely to enjoy health benefits of education
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Simple but effective tips on how you can better protect trans women
Study links low immunity to poor outcomes in patients with HIV who contract COVID-19
Experiencing police violence worsens mental health in distinct ways
Romantic partners influence each other’s goals
Merriam-Webster updates ‘bisexual’ definition
Short-term use of HIV-prevention medication protects at-risk men on vacation
Those opposing SOGIE Equality Bill claim to be ‘pro-human rights’… but not for LGBTQIA people
Olongapo court orders release of murderer Pemberton
Trans woman killed; body found in lake in Caloocan
Call a spade a spade: Deadnaming Jennifer Laude makes you a small-minded bigot
Duterte grants ‘absolute pardon’ to murderer Pemberton
Stop humanizing a killer
Proposed ‘comprehensive anti-discrimination bill’ called oxymoronic, removes need to protect LGBTQIA Filipinos
Atheists are more likely to sleep better than Catholics and Baptists
A toxic trio of parental problems strongly linked to childhood sexual abuse
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Pansexual in Mindanao: ‘Falling in love with a person’s soul, not the body parts’
At what cost? HIV service disruptions at the time of Covid-19
Keeping the faith at the time of COVID-19
Being trans at the time of Covid-19 lockdown
Living with HIV at the time of Covid-19 lockdown
LGBTQIA people as Covid-19’s hidden victims forced to choose between risking infection or starving
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Para kay Jennifer