Sam Miguel
06-22-2007, 03:13 PM
Well, we may as well have one of THESE threads. ;D

Let's just please remember that just because this is a hardcore site this is NOT A LICENSE TO START PUTTING HARDCORE PORN OR THOUGHTS on this thread.

Try to get clever and we will BAN YOUR SORRY ARSE.

Here's a question: Do women still expect the men to pick up the tab on dates? Even co-called "casual" dates?

Kid Cubao
06-22-2007, 06:58 PM
eat the fence, sam miguel. sa tagalog, depende.

maraming klaseng tao, at maraming klaseng babae. i can't say for certain whether that's the case for all women, but don't be surprised if there are those who expect the men to pick up the tab. just the same, dapat parating may pasobrang cash ang lalaki pag lumalabas. kamtotingkopit, that's when a credit card is most useful.

Howard the Duck
06-22-2007, 07:56 PM
oh yes! its sexy time! ;D

06-22-2007, 08:42 PM
Question posed by a lady friend:

"What is it about lesbians or girls making out that guys find so hot?"

atenean_blooded says (after a swig of beer):


06-23-2007, 08:27 AM
Here's a question: Do women still expect the men to pick up the tab on dates? Even co-called "casual" dates?
When the tab arrives, I always take out my wallet as a sign that I'm willing to pay for my share, and when the guy I'm with tells me to put it away, then I don't push the matter ;D

I've never been asked to pay for my share of the tab, let alone the whole thing. (Kung papabayarin ako ng whole tab, sipa na agad si lalaki. Sino siya, anak ni Vilma?*)

*Lucky = sinusuwerte

06-23-2007, 09:14 AM
In our culture,pag nililigawan mo palang,it is mandatory na ang lalaki ang magbabayad, kung ang babae nag insist na magbabayad,you're quite sure that she's into you. ;D Once the relationship gets intimate yun medyo nagiging flexible na.The guy will always ask for the check pero at times, the girl's ready to split the bill or maybe even pay for it.

I guess, another appropriate question is where is a good first date place?

06-23-2007, 09:25 AM
In our culture,pag nililigawan mo palang,it is mandatory na ang lalaki ang magbabayad, kung ang babae nag insist na magbabayad,you're quite sure that she's into you. ;D Once the relationship gets intimate yun medyo nagiging flexible na.The guy will always ask for the check pero at times, the girl's ready to split the bill or maybe even pay for it.
Ganun ba? I hadn't known that. I offer (but not insist, hahaha moocher) to pay to show that I can take care of myself. Fortunately, that's never misguided any of the guys I've gone out with into thinking I'm *that* interested :P

06-23-2007, 08:58 PM
Ma'am, offering is quite different from insisting. :) Pag insisting kasi, it's either they grow money in trees in their own backyard, you filled up a big void, matagal ka ng crush o di kaya gusto ka na ipakilala sa mga magulang at kamag-anak(short of bribing,in a nice way). Otherwise po, offering to pay on a date wouldn't send any wrong signals,it just shows independence on your part.:)

Howard the Duck
06-24-2007, 12:27 AM
Lesbian incest -- is it wrong?


I was going to post the accompanying pic but it might be illegal :P

06-24-2007, 02:10 PM
Lesbian incest -- is it wrong?


I was going to post the accompanying pic but it might be illegal :P

It won't be wrong if it's between Raquel and CJ Gibson.

(If you don't know who they are, look them up.)

Ahihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihi ;D

06-25-2007, 10:28 AM
Picking up the tab: as a personal rule I ALWAYS pick up the tab on dates. UNLESS it was the lady who asked me out and insisted on paying. Being an old-fashioned sort from the 20th century though I get a little wary about women asking me out unless they're one of those close friends / coworkers you've worked with for at least a year / relatives / former bosses / ex-future in-laws you are still on good terms with.

First date place? Don't try to get too cute or clever or try too hard I always say. First dates can get tense enough on their own without you having to worry about being cute / clever / trying too hard. Here's my rule of thumb: it has to be a place with waiters, and they have to let me in wearing shorts. If not then it gets too fussy for me. Also, try not to do a first date after office hours; you'll be a little dicky after a day at the office.

06-25-2007, 10:50 AM
In our culture,pag nililigawan mo palang,it is mandatory na ang lalaki ang magbabayad, kung ang babae nag insist na magbabayad,you're quite sure that she's into you. ;D* Once the relationship gets intimate yun medyo nagiging flexible na.The guy will always ask for the check pero at times, the girl's ready to split the bill or maybe even pay for it.*

I guess, another appropriate question is where is a good first date place?

I've read somewhere that when the girl offers to pay, either 1) she's really into you or 2) she wants to have everything settled para wala nang maisumbat ang guy sa kanya when things go for the worse. I personally know someone whose mindset is similar to #2. Works just fine with me, either way.

06-25-2007, 10:55 AM
Kapag napagkasunduan niyong magkape na kayong dalawa lang nung binibini ay "date" na ba 'yon?

06-25-2007, 11:04 AM
Kapag napagkasunduan niyong magkape na kayong dalawa lang nung binibini ay "date" na ba 'yon?

Depende siguro. Halimbawa, ako, sanay nang magkape sa Starbucks, kaya hindi na big deal sa akin ang kape. Pero para sa iba, baka big deal na 'yun. So, sa kaso namin ng ka-relasyon ko, una kaming "lumabas" sa Coffee Bean sa Gateway. Nagtext siya na nasa Cubao raw siya. Sabi ko, "Dadaan ako diyan, may kailangan kasi akong bilhin." Ayun, nagkita kami without knowing that one thing would lead to another. She considers it our first date dahil kaming dalawa lang ang magkasama, pero ako naman, hindi, dahil biglaan at walang prior na usapan. And besides, having coffee isn't a big deal.

But then again, maaaring tama nga ang awiting ito:

"It started over coffee, we ended up as friends... It's funny how from simple things, the very best things begiiiiiiiin... This is it, AHHHH..." ;D

06-25-2007, 02:10 PM
during the pkiligan stage, pag intresado ako sa babae, NEVER KO SYANG PINAGBABAYAD.

macho to, no!

Sam Miguel
06-25-2007, 05:12 PM
What do you guys think of "group" dates?

I have a lasy friend who is dethly afraid of going out with a guy on her own and insists that if she be set up with someone that it at least be in a group setting such as an after-office drink or karaoke or whatnot. If and when she hits it off with the guy then and only then will she consent to go out with him just the two of them.

06-25-2007, 11:53 PM
eto ginagawa ko pag UAAP season dati..

bibili ako ng tickets for 2 pag meron laro ang ADMU tapos yayin ko GF ko sa malapit sa venue ng game tapos dadaan kami kung saan nakapost yung game sched.. tapos sabihin ko gusto mo ba manood ng game ? (kunwari out of the blue lang yung suggestion) pag umoo, papakita ko na yung tickets.. pero after a few games hindi na umubra.. hehe ;D

buti nalang blue eagle fan din GF ko at andyan pa si Chris Tiu ;D

Sam Miguel
06-27-2007, 12:52 PM
I find the dynamics of group dating akin to Elven runes, as in I don't get it.

Shouldn't a date technically involve only two people as a general rule?

How does getting into the so-called group setting help the date dynamic?

06-27-2007, 01:44 PM
I think group dates are a big help in the exploratory period, when the two parties are just getting to know each other and may be awkward about going out in a more formal, one-on-one setting. The friends are there to provide moral support and help keep things flowing, and if the two parties like each other, then they can see each other on their own next time.

The good thing, too, about group dates is that if things don't work out, then at least you didn't waste the outing because you were still with people you like. :P

06-27-2007, 02:01 PM
A date, wow. I haven't gone out on one of those since, well, since I first asked out my future wife. And that was waaay back in the year when UP made the Final Four and finished third (that long!).

And yes, I picked up the tab. Pero nung mga one year na kami, hindi na ako nahiyang sabihin once in a while, "Hon, ikaw muna. Ang layo ng ATM eh." Hehe.

06-27-2007, 05:57 PM
Here's something I read off GQ, seems to fit right in with this thread___


You might dream about a girl who loves sports as much as you do, who knows Ben Wallace from Rasheed Wallace. But we’re here to tell you: Careful what you wish for

I used to work in D.C. with a golf nut named Chuck. He played four times a week, practiced his putting stroke during meetings, and traded IM flurries with his foursome partners the way some guys do with their girlfriends. Chuck was smart, funny, and halfway handsome, in a Justin Leonard kind of way, but hadn’t dated seriously in years. “Girls always end up feeling like they’re in competition with my love for golf,” he explained. “And golf always wins.”

Then Chuck started going out with a woman he’d met at his favorite course. She could play. She read Golf Digest. She could drill a 3-iron. Chuck talked endlessly about her and her “brilliant” golf game. “She nailed eight fairways on the back nine and got up and down out of a trap on seventeen,” he once told me. “She tees off from the fucking tips, dude.” Before long, Chuck’s new girlfriend was joining his regular group on Saturdays. Chuck was living the dream.

It didn’t take long for the grumbling to begin. “Basically, the guys weren’t having it,” he says. And they made their feelings clear to Chuck, who found himself in an agonizing predicament—ditch his friends or ditch his dream girl. “The truth is,” he says, “it was more fun when it was just me and the guys.” Chuck’s girlfriend wasn’t too psyched when he suggested that she could play with them, um, maybe a little less often? She took her clubs and bailed. “The only place I see her these days is in the newspaper when she wins some of these local tournaments,” Chuck says.

I can’t say I blame him for any of this. If you’re like Chuck—or like me, for that matter—sports are more than your passion; they’re your lifeblood. And as life becomes more and more complicated—jobs, girlfriends, wives, kids—it becomes harder and harder to fit them in without causing stress in your relationships. So the idea of finding a woman who enjoys sports as much as you do—someone who lives for a round of golf on Saturday, who digs SportsCenter—is pretty damn appealing.

Or at least that’s what I used to think.

My sport is basketball. On summer evenings, I go by all the parks in Ann Arbor looking for a game. There are few better feelings in life than walking up to the court, tossing down your keys, and exchanging a subtle nod with the other fiends. But what is it about playing ball that makes it my religion?

Sports occupy a parallel universe, one that’s appealingly different from my real life. For starters, it’s possible to win—clean and simple. Watching sports on TV works the same way: When your team wins, you win, too. For a moment, everything feels right in the world. Real lives don’t work like this. Victory is rarely so clear-cut. But the true magic of entering your sports universe is that all the problems of real life recede. You’re never going to be fretting about your sorry LSAT scores while you’re driving to the hoop.

Women, naturally, don’t want you disappearing into another universe. They’re in a relationship with you because they want to spend time with you, not hang out alone in the house while you head to your buddy’s place to watch six straight hours of football. And because they’re bound to see sports as a competitor, they give you grief for indulging in them. Which is why that fantasy you’ve always nurtured, of finding a woman who loves sports as much as you do, has such everlasting allure.

But gentlemen, you gots to listen up. I don’t like bursting bubbles, but this is one of those things—like dating a 19-year-old—that sound great in theory but fall apart when put to the test. Yes, if your girlfriend loved sports, you wouldn’t have to negotiate for the right to go to that Pistons game. But the truth is, combining separate universes leads to disaster. (Think Total Recall.) Bringing a woman into your sports universe crashes the mainframe. Ask my old coworker Chuck the golfer. He learned something axiomatic: Guys want to play sports with other guys, not your girlfriend.

The same goes for watching sports. When you watch a game with her in the room—even if she’s as passionate about sports as you are—her mere presence is enough to pull you out of your alternate universe, back into real life. My friend Tim, a jazz saxophonist and die-hard Pistons fan, dated a girl who was also into the team. “I watched the whole 2005 playoffs with her, and it was a nightmare,” he says. “She’d yell at the TV every single time a call went against us. I tried to explain to her, you can’t argue every call—I mean, that’s how you lose credibility with the refs. She was like, ‘We’re thousands of miles from the arena. They can’t hear us!’ Not to be superstitious, but I think she may have cost us that Game 7 in San Antonio.” Tim and his girlfriend split up soon after.

In April I went to a Tigers game with my dad. He’s a huge sports fan and played five years of semipro baseball himself. He’s still pretty hard-core about it, too: When he goes to the ballpark, he brings a mitt and buys a scorecard and pencil. He always seemed to pull off the husband-father-sports-nut thing pretty well, so I asked him: Do you think sports and girlfriends can ever successfully mix?

“The thing you’re looking for,” he said, “is not a woman to play sports with you or watch sports with you but a woman who understands how important sports can be. A woman who supports your passion and loves that you love sports.” He went on, “I never really played sports with your mother, but she understood their role in my life, because she was an athlete, too. She played lacrosse, she rode horses, she loved sailing.” She understood, he said, that there were times that he just needed to get out and go for a run or field some grounders or sit on the couch and watch nine innings of a Tigers game. “That doesn’t mean you have to find an athlete to date. Any woman who has passions—gardening, painting, whatever—she’s gonna understand and respect whatever makes you happy.”
But, I said, isn’t it strange to compartmentalize your love of sports and your relationship? Did you ever try to find ways to share this stuff with Mom?

“Your mother went to home games at Michigan Stadium with me for years,” he said. “This is the biggest football stadium in the world. She’d bring a book and read. But she’d come to the games, and I appreciated that. She loved the wave.

“I’ll tell you what happens, though. One day you have kids and you don’t have to wish anymore that you had a girlfriend who loved sports. Because if you love sports, you can teach your kid to love sports, and that’s the best feeling in life.” He passed me his mitt, scorecard, and pencil. “I’m going to get another beer,” he said. “Score this half inning for me. Any foul balls come this way, you know what to do.”

06-29-2007, 05:41 PM
Pay attention boys and girls...

10 Ways to Ruin a First Date

By Kathryn Lord

Special to Yahoo! Personals

1. Don't look like your picture. Post an old picture from when you were thinner or had more hair.

Or you could post a photo of someone else: your daughter (folks always say you could be twins, right?), a model you plucked from an online site (hey, didn't you say you always wanted to be a model?), or your "sort of" twin brother (non-identical).

2. Don't make any special effort to present yourself well. Dress for a first meeting the way you would for a Saturday night at home, rationalizing that you want to appear "real" and be liked for the way that you are.
Maybe it is a kindness to show, right up front, what your date's Saturday nights would be like if they were to marry you!

3. Be late. Nothing says you couldn't care less than to be late. While arriving early might give you the advantage of being able to see your date before he/she sees you, being late implies you are too important to be polite.

4. Forget your wallet. Male or female, the "I forgot my wallet" schtick is the fastest route to being labeled cheap.

If you are a guy and this is a coffee date, springing for both cups is a bargain-rate way to look good. And ladies, men notice if you offer to pay, even if they insist on opening their wallet for your latte.

5. Use your cell phone. Go ahead, plunk your cell phone down on the table between the two of you, leave it on and answer every call, taking as long as you want while ignoring your date.

Cell phones are the best excuse for blanket rudeness that has been invented. They have no place on a date, except as a safety mechanism.

6. Brag. My grandma used to say "Don't brag," and when you are on a date, she was -- and is -- so right.
However, if you can't resist, talk about the price you paid for your car, flash your Rolex, and prop your implants on the table. Tell how important you are at work and how many men or women are dropping at your feet.

See how your date reacts... if they are still at the table.

7. Complain. Whine. Grouse. Say how no one listens to you and you are looking for someone who will.

Go on and on about your health problems or, better yet, your dietary quirks. Then notice that your date is in such a rotten mood, whine about that, and chalk this date up to yet another one of those horrid experiences.

8. Be rude. To your date, and to everyone around you. Talk down to the waitperson and don't leave a tip. Complain to the management about the poor service. Ask your date what the last STD they had was or whether they are still fertile.

If you must, really pull out the stops and get all your orifices going: burp, pass gas, scratch scabs, pick your nose or blow it on your hand.

9. Try to get sexy. Tell your date that she is turning you on and you want to see her naked. Move in too close too fast, hugging, touching or kissing, despite what your date is signaling.

Grab his butt when you meet. Wear clothes that are too short, too tight and in general too slutty. Talk sexy and do it loud.

10. Tell dirty, racist or just plain poor-taste stories. You know that you are funny, especially after you have a couple of drinks. If it is a coffee date, then stop off for a couple of quick ones before you get there.

You know that men (or women) like a good sexy joke, so fire away. And most people think that racist or bathroom stories are hilarious, so your date should too. After all, you want a partner who can take a joke, don't you?

12-28-2008, 11:03 AM
Do married couples still date?

02-23-2009, 10:06 AM
Oo naman. Pag utos ni kumander.

01-07-2011, 04:02 PM
So, any love and dating stories to start off the new year...?

11-15-2011, 04:00 PM
matatapos na ang taon, wala pa ring married couples na nag-share.

baka raw kasi ma-hack ng mg missus at magulat pag nalamang may dine-date pala si mister...

Sam Miguel
11-16-2011, 07:07 AM
You know what they keep saying about women that "No means No"...?

I wonder, at a practical level, up to what point can a woman say "no"...?

Let's say you've run all the bases already, slid safely into home plate, as it were. Home plate! Can a woman really still say "no"...?

Come on, this is home plate for godsakes, siguro naman sa punto na 'yan, dapat naman wala ng bawian.

Sam Miguel
12-22-2011, 09:06 AM
Why is it almost impossible to get a room during this time of year...?

12-30-2011, 07:43 AM
Why is it almost impossible to get a room during this time of year...?

Sunod-sunod mga Christmas party, dami nag party, lahat yata ng opisina nag party. A perfect alibi to stay out late and arrive home early next day.

Simply, the party itself is the perfect excuse to give the spouses. ;D

Hon', xmas party ng companya, baga umagahin na ako nang uwi....

Hon', xmas party ng department, uumagahin....

Hon', may party para sa mga client....

01-15-2012, 10:37 PM
Why is it almost impossible to get a room during this time of year...?

Sunod-sunod mga Christmas party, dami nag party, lahat yata ng opisina nag party. A perfect alibi to stay out late and arrive home early next day.

Simply, the party itself is the perfect excuse to give the spouses. ;D

Hon', xmas party ng companya, baga umagahin na ako nang uwi....

Hon', xmas party ng department, uumagahin....

Hon', may party para sa mga client....

Hahaha. Sam, it's true a lot of x-mas parties are now being held inside hotel rooms/suites. I've attended three last month and these are real x-mas parties, especially for really small businesses/companies with just about 10- 15 employees. It makes sense because the female employees get to sleep in the room/suite instead of going home early which is a party spoiler or going home late which is dangerous. Lahat nga lang ng mga lalaki e kailangan umuwi. ;D

02-29-2012, 01:57 PM
Pati sa "hubaran", may racism na din? Ano ba yan! :D


FHM apologizes for 'racist' cover
By AP (The Philippine Star) Updated February 29, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (5) View comments

MANILA, Philippines - A Philippine men’s magazine has apologized and pulled its cover after critics described it as racist.

FHM Philippines said Monday it has decided to change the cover of its March issue which showed a fair-skinned actress, Bela Padilla, in a hot pink bikini flanked by dark-skinned women in black bikinis. The caption said, “Bela Padilla stepping out of the shadows.”

Padilla, a soap opera star, has a Filipino mother and a British father.

The magazine said after uploading the issue on its Facebook page it received a slew of complaints that the cover was racist.

FHM apologized and said it will use a different cover when the magazine hits newsstands in March.

It said it will strive to be more sensitive in the future.

08-19-2012, 11:11 PM
7 things women find unattractive about men

Posted at 08/19/2012 12:19 PM | Updated as of 08/19/2012 12:19 PM

One minute you’re making our hearts all warm and fuzzy, and the next we feel a little bit sick because of your gender-specific habits. We know you gentlemen aren’t all the same, but when a man has any of the following habits it’s unattractive. Here are seven things women find unattractive about men:

1: Boasting

Some guys big themselves up so much that it would appear they’re trying to prove to themselves that they’re a good catch. We’ve heard about how amazing your job is, how much money you’re earning, how hot your exes were, how everyone loves you. Now time to talk about ourselves... nope, because you haven’t finished bigging up your car and your house and your hilarious personality (erm, really?). Do you think that all this bragging will make us overlook the fact that you’re so boring? Being egotistical won’t make the ladies stick around so employ a bit of modesty and try asking questions about us rather than blabbing about yourself all the time.

2: Having no old-fashioned values

We don’t expect you to act like one of the gentlemen from a Charles Dickens’ film, but not being gentlemanly at all is a huge turn-off. You can take us on a few dates and treat us like a queen but the day you leave us to walk down a dark alley to find our car is the day we suddenly realise we’re not attracted to you anymore. We want a man who has old-fashioned values and treats his women with respect. We like to be looked after and feel safe when we’re with you, not feel as though you could ditch us at any moment because you’ve remembered you’re late for the pub with the lads.

3: No sense of humor

If there’s one thing a man must possess to make us feel attracted to them, it’s a sense of humor. It’s a powerful tool in a conversation, particularly when overcoming awkward moments, and not having one makes you seem overly serious and boring. When we’re laughing until we can barely breathe at something undeniably hilarious, it’s not very attractive when you sit there straight-faced and serious. The guy who is having a laugh with his friends, however, always looks like a fun person to be around. We like the guy who is intelligent enough to make us laugh until our ribs hurt and won’t give us an evil stare when we start breaking out into a giggle.

4: Scratching your private parts

They’re the big manly hands we like to hold, the hands that make us feel safe, the hands you cook the tea with on the odd occasion, and the hands you er... scratch your privates with – nice. It’s definitely a turn-off for women when men shamelessly scratch "down there" without a care in the world. It gets worse when you insist on stealing our chips. You don’t pinch one off the top; you rummage right the way down to the bottom with your scratching hand. At least get your scratching fix in the bathroom when you’re not in full view of everyone else. And then wash your hands afterwards.

5: Lack of ambition

Most women are attracted to men who have a focus in life, and we find it repulsive if you have no ambition to achieve anything. It makes it hard for us to respect you if you can’t speak to us about your goals, ideas, and things you want to achieve. No one wants to settle down with the guy who gets his kicks out of lazing around on the sofa watching day time television while we’re working hard to achieve our dreams. Getting your kicks out of video games and nothing else is sad and boring.

6: Expecting us to clean up after you

So you get annoyed at us for nagging, right? Well don’t give us a reason to nag then. If you didn’t leave a trail of clothes, food, and towels around the house then we wouldn’t have anything to nag about. You make out as though we’re clean freaks whose lives revolve around cleaning and tidying when, in actual fact, we just don’t want to live in a pig sty. You suddenly lose your attractiveness once we’ve seen your boxer shorts scattered around the floor and your beard hairs in the sink. We’ll clean our stuff up, you clean yours. We know this will never happen, but you’d be a million times more attractive if it did.

7: Being over-protective

As much as we love to feel safe and cared for, there’s a fine line between that and being over-protected. Being over-protective is a sign of insecurity, and we like our men to be independent and tough. One minute we’re saying thanks to the postman for delivering a parcel, the next we’re being accused by our other half of flirting and wanting to marry the guy. Accusing us of fancying every Tom, Dick and Harry that crosses our path is annoying and it makes you seriously unattractive. Read more on www.realbuzz.com.

Sam Miguel
11-22-2012, 08:01 AM
Is Paula Broadwell’s wardrobe fair game?

By Ruth Marcus, Nov 21, 2012 06:26 PM EST

The Washington Post Thursday, November 22, 2:26 AM

If you’ve been following the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell story, you may have seen this shirt: black and silky and flouncy and very, very arm-baring. Also shoulder-baring.

Not what your mother would advise you to wear on national television. Not what my mother would advise, anyway. Even if the national television is “The Daily Show” and you have a push-up contest planned with Jon Stewart.

Why am I bringing this up, again? I referred to the halter top in a recent column about Petraeus, noting, “Beware the woman who goes on ‘The Daily Show’ wearing a black silk halter top and flaunting her toned triceps.”

Some readers — some female readers, to be precise — chided me for sexism. “Why is it okay to imply that a woman who wears a halter top to show off her guns on ‘The Daily Show’ must be a seductress?” asked one e-mailer. “That is dangerously close to the mind-set that suggests women who are raped are somehow responsible because of the way they dress. Shame on you.”

Another reader, in a letter to the editor, wondered, “Are black silk halter tops the mark of some sort of vindictive, national security-threatening evildoer? Or was Marcus resorting to stereotypes?” Her conclusion: “Dumping on Broadwell because of how she dresses does a disservice to all women.”

These are reasonable points, reasonably made. So let me explain why my response is to double down on the halter comments.

Women, especially women who are in public life, have it a lot harder than men when it comes to clothes. Men have uniforms — literally, in the case of the military, figuratively in the business world. These are comforting in their mindlessness and automaticity; they are reliable signifiers of status.

It is no accident that Petraeus is reported to have shown up to speak at a Washington dinner wearing military medals on his suit jacket lapel. “In public, he seemed to miss the comfort and confidence that his uniform provided,” The Post’s Greg Jaffe wrote.

Testify before Congress, wear your navy suit, or maybe your charcoal one. Go to the Aspen Institute for a security panel, bring a navy blazer and chinos. When President Obama wakes up weekday mornings, he picks between the gray suits and the navy ones.

The effective absence of fashion choice is stifling for a few men — I have a lobbyist friend with a fondness for red Prada loafers — but welcome, I think, for most. Which tie is not a high-wire fashion choice.

For women in the public eye, all fashion choices are high-wire. Just ask Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Appear on the Senate floor with a shirt just a few centimeters off, and you get a fashion critic writing about your public display of cleavage. Turn up at a presidential campaign debate wearing a bright pink jacket, and you get John Edwards commenting on it. Walk off the plane without your hair done and your makeup on, and you get people talking about how tired you look.

So when Broadwell shows up — repeatedly — in skimpy, form-fitting, attention-grabbing outfits, she is making a fashion statement: Look at me! Pay attention to my body!

The halter was not a one-off, it was a theme. In Afghanistan, The Post reported, Broadwell’s “form-fitting clothes made a lasting impression on longtime Afghan hands, and Petraeus once admonished her, through a staffer, to ‘dress down.’ ”

Of course Petraeus is responsible for his misconduct; my point was that he should have looked at her and known better. But she should have known better, too. No woman is responsible for being raped, no matter what’s she’s wearing. We are responsible, however, for the way in which we present ourselves publicly. We are asking for sexist treatment when we dress like sex objects.

If you want to be taken seriously, dress the part. That doesn’t mean frumpy or mannish, it just means appropriate for the occasion. If people are talking about what you’re wearing — other than to say, “Nice jacket, Hillary” — you’re probably wearing the wrong thing or too little of it.

In other words, it’s not that “dumping on Broadwell because of how she dresses does a disservice to all women.” If there was any disservice to women, it was how Broadwell dressed.

Sam Miguel
11-22-2012, 08:06 AM
^^^ You go into shark-infested waters with a bleeding wound what do you think the sharks will do to you?

Sam Miguel
02-13-2013, 09:31 AM
No more free passes to famous men who abuse women

Posted by Aly Neel on February 12, 2013 at 9:12 am

Mumford and Sons may have taken home the top award at the Grammys, but that’s not what Twitter was buzzing about Sunday night.

The camera zeroed in on megastar Rihanna, smiling, intertwined with and resting her head on Chris Brown’s shoulder. The snuggle fest began trending on Twitter with comments about how “in love” and “phenomenal” the couple looked together.

How perfect after Rihanna’s interview about their reunion for Rolling Stone’s Valentine’s Day issue.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Forgive me for bringing this up, but have we already forgotten what happened four years ago?

Allow me to jog your memory. The night before the 2009 Grammy Awards, Rihanna and Brown were taking a drive. They began to argue. Brown then proceeded to bang Rihanna’s head against the car window, bite and punch her repeatedly and even threatened to kill her.

As I watched Brown on Sunday slide his arm around Rihanna and grin into the camera, I couldn’t help but think of what he tweeted after storming out of his infamous 2011 interview on “Good Morning America”: “I’m so over people bringing this past s**t up!!! Yet we praise Charlie sheen and other celebs for their bulls**t.”

Well, he’s partially right.

The entertainment industry isn’t exactly known for weeding out or even punishing male celebrities with histories of violence against women.

Let’s start with Sheen, a habitual abuser. In 1990, he shot his fiancee Kelly Preston in the arm. While the incident was dismissed as an accident, she promptly broke off the engagement. Six years later, Sheen was arrested for reportedly beating his girlfriend Brittany Ashland. He pleaded no-contest to the charges and was sentenced to a one-year suspended prison sentence and two years of probation. In 2006, his wife Denise Richards got a restraining order against Sheen for his “continued threats of violence.”

After allegedly assaulting and threatening his wife Brooke Mueller with a knife in 2009, Sheen was charged with felony menacing, third degree assault and criminal mischief. But a plea bargain reduced the charges to misdemeanor assault and a jail sentence of 30 days in rehab, 30 days of probation and 36 hours of anger management.

Gossip outlets in recent months have speculated about the possibility of another celebrity reunion—Sean Penn and Madonna. Most of the coverage, interestingly enough, has glossed over Penn’s violent, abusive behavior while the “Poison Penns” were married. Once, Madonna was hospitalized after Penn struck her with a baseball bat. He was charged with domestic assault in 1988 and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. The two divorced a year later.

Sean Connery’s first wife, Diane Cilento, has alleged he verbally and physically abused her while they were married. But, in an interview with Barbara Walters, the former James Bond said he doesn’t think slapping a woman every now and then is a big deal.

The inclusion of rap star Eminem, whose controversial lyrics have explored a myriad of sex crime fantasies like raping his mother and assaulting underage girls, on this list is almost too obvious. In May 2000, he released a song named after his ex-wife, Kim Mathers, in which he verbally abuses her and slits her throat. Later that year, she attempted suicide after watching him perform the song.

In 2010, he collaborated with Rihanna on the song “Love the Way You Lie” about domestic abuse. “It’s something that, [Eminem and I have] both experienced on different sides, different ends of the table,” Rihanna was quoted then as saying.

Many, including Rihanna, praised Eminem for his insightful break-down of the cycle of domestic violence. “Lost” actor Dominic Monaghan, who stars in the music video alongside Megan Fox, told MTV the song shows “there’s nothing sexy or cool or fun about being in a violent relationship.”

Hmm. Perhaps this stab at accountability would have been more believable if other songs on his album entitled “Recovery” weren’t saying the exact opposite. “I’ll be nicer to women when Aquaman drowns and Human Torch starts swimmin,’” he growls in “Cold Wind Blows.”

And then, of course, there’s Woody Allen. No, he has no history of domestic violence but marrying your adopted daughter and allegedly molesting your daughter by birth are pretty nasty (the judge ended up ruling the sex abuse charges were inconclusive).

Likewise, film director Roman Polanksi was arrested in 1977 for raping a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles, but has evaded justice for decades in Europe.

The types of abuse these male celebrities inflicted and the ensuing public reaction differ but what’s more important is what ties them together – they all still have successful careers.

Sheen was the highest-paid actor on TV in 2010. Penn, with two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award under his belt, is considered one of the greats and known for his humanitarian work. Connery, with a number of Golden Globes and awards also attached to his name, was voted “Sexiest Man of the Century” in 1999 and “Scotland’s Greatest Living Treasure” in 2011. Who knew hitting a woman could be such a turn-on?

Rolling Stone has named Eminem, one of the best-selling artists in the world, the King of Hip Hop and among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Allen’s illustrious career in film includes four Oscars, nine BAFTAs and two Golden Globes, and Hollywood continues to allow Polanski to direct blockbuster movies, and major actors, directors, producers and industry executives consistently line up to work with him and to nominate him for Oscars.

Brown’s pouting over the number of get-away-with-abuse-free passes our society doles out to male celebrities doesn’t appear to be so far off. But has he really been denied one? Perhaps Brown’s gotten a little more heat from the media because of the high-profile woman that he beat but let’s do a quick assessment.

The R&B artist was charged with felony assault, but did no jail time. Brown was in court just last week facing allegations that he falsified community service records, the same community service he was supposed to do for assaulting Rihanna. The case has been adjourned for another two months. Three years after attacking Rihanna, Brown won his first Grammy. And his performance at the 2012 award show was widely celebrated as his “comeback.”

Doesn’t look like Brown’s doing so bad after all.

Some have called us a bunch of haters. But, as She the People colleague Michelle Bernard wrote yesterday, “Domestic violence, the propensity of some to accept it, its causes, and its aftermath is everyone’s business.”

After all, 22 percent to 25 percent of American women will face domestic violence at some point in their lifetimes.

Last year, Anea Bogue of the non-profit social campaign Miss Representation listed “nine disturbing messages that will perpetuate the self-esteem crisis among girls and women unless we collectively speak up.” Guess what made No. 7: “Men beating the crap out of their female partners just isn’t that big a deal.” Evidence A: The success of and support for Chris Brown.

But, as evinced by the exhaustingly long list of violence and abuse perpetrators and victims in Hollywood, the problem is bigger than Chrihanna (cringe).

“Hollywood has long operated on ugly double standards,” Jennifer L. Pozner, executive director of Women In Media & News, and author of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, told me. ”Female celebrities are harshly judged for such sins as enjoying sex (‘Bimbo!’; ‘Slut!’), eating food (‘Baby bump?’; ‘FAT!’) or even being the victims of violence, as witness all the trash-talking about what Rihanna must have done to ‘provoke’ Chris Brown into beating her.”

And don’t forget the real victim here, the Grammys. “ Grammy Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich told reporters ‘that we [the Grammys] were the victim of what happened,’” Pozner said. “Right: because network awards show ratings are what really matter when domestic violence occurs between two of music’s megastars, not the bodily integrity or individual dignity of a female victim of intimate partner violence.”

“The larger risk now is that because millions of young girls and boys love the music of Chris Brown and think Charlie Sheen is hilarious, our media is giving celebrity men a free pass to abuse women,” Jennifer Siebel Newsom, CEO of MissRepresentation.org, said.

Some good news: We all have the power to make ourselves heard when we don’t like what we see in the media.

“While we can’t change court decisions and whether or not these women take these men back into their lives, we do have a responsibility to use our voice to counter the media narratives which say abusing women is an acceptable norm,” Newsom said.

Of course, the media and those who run and work in media companies are responsible as well.

“Rather than giving Charlie Sheen a starring role in a sitcom, or Chris Brown a spotlight performance at an awards show, our media outlets should show some restraint and care for the viewing public,” Newsom argued.

There are plenty of talented performers in the world–don’t tell me we can’t find a few who don’t abuse women.

[I]Aly Neel is a journalist based in Istanbul.

Sam Miguel
02-13-2013, 09:32 AM
^^^ One question yet to be definitively answered: Why do abused women let men abuse them? And why - like idiot Rihanna - do they get back together with them? Stupidity really is its own worst punishment.

Sam Miguel
02-22-2013, 01:39 PM
‘You’ll date when you’re 30’


By Cito Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 22, 2013 - 12:00am

My church mate was visibly concerned but he waited for our small group meeting to end before calling my attention and asking me a question that almost all fathers want to avoid or live in denial of: “If someone, (a boy, obviously) from another school invited your daughter to be his partner at their high school prom,” would you allow her?

I should have replied: “Don’t pass the buck! It’s your daughter not mine!”

Unfortunately when one reaches a level of seniority and some notion of respect, it becomes incumbent upon us to dig deep and provide an answer that is both full of wisdom and comfort. Sooner or later all fathers who have a beloved daughter or daughters will pass the rite of passage, that Filipinos often refer to as “Men paying for their sins.”

Frankly I find that phrase or commentary quite stupid if not unfair, because human nature and evolution dictate that young men will chase girls and seek out a mate just as it is in the nature of fathers to protect their families, chase away young men at the door or shoot trespassers who may want to include our daughters into their tribe.

Unfortunately we no longer practice rituals of elimination where they can be gladiators until there is only the “last man standing.” It would also amuse me no end to watch some city slicker do the “paninilbihan” where young men follow the example of Jacob in the book of Genesis who served 7 years plus 7 in order to marry his true love Rachel. Pity the poor fellow who has to take care of 50 pigs on the loose, feed chickens, dogs, wash cars and climb coconut trees while enduring the Evil Eye of Beltran!

While I had nothing but sympathy for my friend, I also had to offer him my cold and impersonal advice: Do you even have to think about it? If the fella does not go to the same school, does not attend the same church and does not appreciate the same value system, Kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan?

My reply will undoubtedly trigger varied responses, but if we don’t share the same views, we don’t shame the same views. Children and family are extensions of our being, the ones we love the most and God willing should be a reflection of what we believe and value the most.

When my daughter asked me the hypothetical question if I would allow her to go on a date, I answered in the affirmative. “Yes, of course. I will allow you to go on dates... when you’re 30.” I will also allow you to get married to a man who deeply loves God first, and you second.

But before you marry I will require two things: A) that you both sign a pre-nuptial agreement that what you own before the wedding stays yours and what is his is yours. What I leave behind can only be transferable to my future “Christian” grandchildren; B) Just like your mother, you will retain your maiden name, because I don’t see any logic why a woman’s name and heritage should be obliterated by some ill-conceived practice imposed by men! If I don’t have sons to carry on the family name, my daughter should at least be left with the honor of having her own name and her own identity.

Yes my daughter is only 12, but if you have any pre-teen and teenagers in the house, I’m certain that most, if not all of you are already having bouts of sleepless nights about their insensitive questions on dating, proms and marriage. It’s so bad that some friends on Facebook want to have Junior & Senior Proms outlawed or declared illegal in the Philippines, while a few are saving up for a rapid reload shotgun and scatter shell ammunition.

Whatever you do, do something. It would be a big mistake to think that problems or questions will solve themselves. As best we can, my friends and I have always tried our best to step on the brakes of whatever it is we’re doing, turn to our children, listen and talk about whatever it is that’s on their mind. PROCESS the data, the concern, the issue. Don’t ever, ever dismiss it, ignore it or defer it. That is your child in front of you not some possession you can pick up or place down whenever it pleases you.

When my daughter and I talked about proms, I shared its history, she talked about how the pre-teens wanted it and we talked about the good and the bad aspects of proms. It should never be as simple as “I want to go” or “you shouldn’t go.” Discussing it does not mean you’re being O-C or obsessive, you are teaching and learning. Don’t let others put a burden of guilt on you.

As for Proms, I have seen more than enough movies and TV shows revolving around junior-senior proms, and the unending repeats of scenes where they drink themselves unconscious and the subsequent focus on juniors and seniors doing their best to get laid as their rite of passage to “college” or freedom. Having lived abroad I have seen how real it is.

You have to wonder why we in the Philippines persist in promoting and practicing a largely American practice that costs a lot of money, causes sleepless nights for parents before and during the prom, often adds to the statistical data on birthrates in 9 months or less, all because it’s customary or part of tradition.

Obviously, I am not a big fan of prom nights especially since it’s one of those events that highlights the social inequality or economic status of students. It’s an event that drives a knife through the heart of young people who don’t get asked to be someone’s date or have to hide as the jester or a tom boy to cover their looks and imperfections.

Clearly I have strong feelings about this borrowed tradition from rich plantation landlords of the west that celebrated the coming of age of their sons and daughters with formal dances and elegant clothing while slaves served or watched in the distance or the dark. Why tell the world that your baby is officially a lady? I’ll wait until she’s 30!

02-22-2013, 02:01 PM
The commercialization of love


By Nelson A. Navarro

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 17, 2013 - 12:00am

I grew up when Valentine’s Day was a strange custom, too difficult for young people to comprehend, much less practice.

Not that we were not taught to cut hearts out of red Cartolina to decorate the school’s bulletin boards. Or urged to make individual valentine’s cards, just in case we wished to publicly declare or acknowledge affection for somebody in class.

That was the way in small towns in those rather uncomplicated days. We aped everything American, from playing Santa Claus to reciting the “Gettysburg Address” to celebrating the day of hearts in ways today’s marketing geniuses of Hallmark Cards, Godiva Chocolates or, closer to home, the flower merchants of La Trinidad, Baguio would have approved of.

We were most awkward about this thing called love. We skirted the related question of sex and focused solely on romance, but largely of the platonic kind. Good boys and girls were not allowed to engage in sex before marriage. And of course, marriage was the be-all and end-all of love, and it involved parents and the entire community because it was supposed to last forever.

Love may have seemed innocent and fancy-free, but it came freighted with stern warnings and absolute prohibitions. Example: never touch the merchandise because it will be deemed sold and for immediate delivery. No exchange, no return. Boy or girl, you’re only given one chance at marriage and you better not blow it.

Boys had one distinct advantage: they could run away or indulgent parents shielded them from shotgun weddings. Whether they got pregnant or not, wayward girls were considered damaged goods. They had to be passed off as virgins somewhere else far away, where nosey people didn’t bother with the equivalent of marital credit investigation.

I can’t blame today’s teenagers and young lovers for laughing hard at the positively antediluvian values and practices that tormented their parents’ and past generations. In our day, pills and condoms were unheard of. Intended or not, pregnancy meant instant wedlock, no ifs, ands or buts. Safe abortions were rare and unheard of. The crippling burden of shame or guilt was something else.

There was no individual dating, just school dances where the sexes were segregated in opposite ends of the hall. Dancing was a matter of “hele-hele bago quire” or literally dragging reluctant pairs to the dance floor. The taboo about touching led to girls being taught how to push their left hands to the guys’ shoulders to prevent direct body contact. Very few daring couples danced cheek-to-cheek or tried the “dip” when nobody was looking. But the girls always paid the heavy price of being labeled sluts and otherwise deemed disqualified from proper marriages.

Although guys appeared exempt from the fallout of hypocrisy, the truth was that they were also blacklisted in more subtle ways than one. Prospective in-laws knew how to ferret out rascals; it’s besotted females who defied grave parental warnings, often to their eternal regret in the not-too-distant future.

In my small circle of nerdy boys, we took love and marriage very seriously. “If I expect my bride to be a virgin,” said my best friend, who went on to become a pastor in Canada, “I also have to be a virgin on our wedding night.”

As far as our pre-Opus Dei crowd was concerned, there was no sowing of wild oats with obliging housemaids. We sought no cheap solace from ladies of the night who were there to “break-in” fumbling adolescent boys. We were called sissies and worse, but we were undeterred. Many of the smart alecks who tormented us no end, incidentally, ended up with bad and unhappy marriages, some more than once.

How did we come upon or adopt values that were already considered pathetically laughable in our semi-liberated era?

Well, we were raised high up in the mountains of Mindanao, a few light years away from the slowly changing morals of Manila in the conservative but restless 1950s. We were country bumpkins in all matters of civilization, especially in love and sex.

There was hardly any challenge to fictional true love and repressed sex where we lived and where our basic beliefs were set for life.

I cannot speak for the Roman Catholics because I went to Baptist Church. What I can say is that our church brooked nothing worldly or sinful — no smoking or drinking, no movies except The Ten Commandments and the life of Martin Luther. What finally alienated me came in my senior year in high school the day after our Saturday junior-senior prom when everybody had fun dancing The Twist, the dance craze of the late 1950s.

“Last night,” our enraged pastor thundered from the pulpit as my friends and I sat like felons on trial in the front pews, “some of our young people sinned. They were dancing to the music of the devil.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. The Twist was evil? We kids assumed it was the kind of dance our elders would not raise any furor about. Nobody held hands or embraced as in the Tango, Cha-Cha or Slow Drag. We just wiggled and twisted our hips; it did not matter whether you were dancing with a boy or a girl. It was a group or tribal dance set to rousing music like the polka, if you could call it that.

Anyway, we had to apologize against our will in front of the disapproving congregation. This left a bad taste in the mouth. My disenchantment led me out of Baptist fundamentalism and towards the spirit of ecumenism that attracted me not long after in college. I did not turn to Roman Catholicism, but to the idea of meditating alone, late at night in the absolute silence of UP’s Church of the Holy Sacrifice. In my US exile, I went to Methodist Church, a very secular and tolerant religion.

Over and above our childhood isolation in Bukidnon, there was the disturbing but eye-opening influence of Hollywood movies that touched on the brewing youth rebellion of the day. Remember that the movies then subscribed to a strict moral code that has since been abandoned with a vengeance. There was no pornography of the kind that’s so brazenly unapologetic and pervasive today.

What was considered immoral was depicted on screen, but as negative examples to teach people why they should stick to the straight and narrow path. The immoral and evil types were always punished in the end; they either faced cinematic deaths or were held out as tragic characters never to be emulated. One such harrowing movie was Peyton Place with Lana Turner and Arthur Kennedy, which exposed us to the terrible power of small-town hypocrisy and intolerance.

02-22-2013, 02:02 PM
Splendor in the Grass starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty was another shocker. Natalie’s character gave in to desire too easily and was condemned as a bad girl unworthy of marriage to the handsomest and richest boy in town. She had a nervous breakdown and was sent off to a mental asylum; he’s packed off to Yale where he soon dropped out after his father committed suicide upon losing his fortune in the 1929 market crash. The unfortunate male ended up a poor farmer and married a waitress.

Next time the former lovers met years later was a bittersweet moment about missed opportunities and deep regrets that were echoed, of course, by William Wordworth’s haunting poem on the timeless follies of youth.

Life imitated art in our town but with happier results. One bright and strong-willed girl from a leading family went to college in Cebu and fell in love with a townmate from a good but impoverished family.

This story was a tearjerker straight out of the Tagalog movies. But of course, the girl’s uppity parents were outraged and demanded that the couple immediately part ways. Just like that. The couple refused and were thrown out of the girl’s wealthy family to fend for themselves.

I was a witness to this textbook case of how narrow-minded parents and conniving people in the community could get in the way of honest love and basic human decency. The outcasts were forced to rent a small room in a dingy old house near the elementary school. She offered piano lessons to earn some cash to feed themselves and their baby. He did odd jobs in a town where word was out not to have anything to do with them.

My mom was one of those who defied the ban by enrolling me as one of girl’s few paying students. I recall her indignant mother coming to our house to get Mom to cooperate with the family’s unforgiving crusade to “teach our daughter a lesson.”

The couple and their baby were compelled to leave town to seek their fortune elsewhere. She went back to school on scholarships, her husband working on the side and fully supportive of his wife’s high academic aspirations.

Many years later, I met her again — a successful career woman with a PhD and several books on ethnic literature to her credit. She even spoke good Spanish, having gone to Madrid for further studies. Their love and marriage endured. I don’t know if they were ever forgiven by her overbearing parents. But I thought that that was completely unnecessary because the couple had made it on their own.

What have I learned about love down the years?

My skeptical attitude about Valentine’s Day and all that jazz remains unchanged. I feel we must focus on the beauty and purity of love, not on its boundless commercial and sybaritic possibilities. Finding love is finding your soulmate and that calls for personal celebration, not a mass orgy of conspicuous affection and consumption. In this sense, any day can be Valentine’s Day, to be marked without having to climb to the rooftops or maxing out anybody’s credit limit.

Just consider the dubious pagan origins of this Feb. 14 celebration that’s only second to New Year’s Eve in pushing hotels, restaurants, night clubs, jewelers, florists, airlines, department stores and other businesses to the heights of creative and profit-oriented frenzy.

There may have been more than one St. Valentinus in pre-Christian third-century Rome, the best known martyred for his Christian beliefs and for casting a covetous eye on a girl named Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer. This sob story of martyrdom, not romance (theirs was unrequited and from a brutal distance) did not gain traction until the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer turned it into a parable of courtly love some 10 centuries later in the High Middle Ages.

But it was Victorian England of the 19th century that gradually turned Chaucer’s Valentine romanticism into a global phenomenon, starting with the exchange of handmade cards and graduating into a commercial vehicle for the empire’s chocolate and perfume makers. The purveyors of luxury goods and services from champagne to diamonds could not be far behind.

Just like Christmas and Mother’s Day, Valentine’s started out as a simple but charming idea that evolved over time and became a universal mania because it made eminent entrepreneurial sense. Love became grander and more outlandish than ever as the merchants plumbed the labyrinths of fantasy and greed. We have to rescue the purest of all human emotions from the grubby hands of these charlatans of honeyed words and extravagant promises.

03-05-2013, 03:47 PM
Not Tonight, Honey, I Have a Penis

The sitcom stereotype goes like this: Guy is always horny, guy tries to have sex with girl, girl shoots him down. But as Siobhan Rosen tells it, the script's been flipped. And now there's an awful lot of young, perfectly sex-capable dudes who won't get off their asses to, well, get some...

By Siobhan RosenMarch 2013 Hey, guys, recognize these excuses for not having sex? Stomachache. Headache. Stressed. Gassy. Tired. Leg cramps. The old "Maybe we should just talk some more?" I do, because I've been hearing them from men—a.k.a., the supposedly sex-obsessed sex—far too much. These days, more often than you'd think, guys are begging off the one thing we women are expecting you to beg for.

It's not like I'm trying to hump the pope's leg here. These are men who have previously made it clear that they enjoy having sex with me: boyfriends, guys I've been dating for a while, men with whom I regularly bump nethers. Yet they seem to turn me down way more than I turn them down. Or to frame it positively: I want to have sex more than they do. I don't expect laundry Sunday to unfold like Basic Instinct. But getting laid four or five times a week? That would be nice.

Lest you think I'm some sort of unreliable narrator (read: nympho), know that plenty of my female friends are having the same problem. One pal, a girl who's been living with her boyfriend for two years, told me she aims for sex only once or twice a week and still often gets denied. She'll put on something sexy and hear, "I have to get up early." Another friend knows that when she sees her boyfriend putting in his retainer, she's going to bed unboinked, no matter how hard she tries.

To be fair (and painfully obvious): Men are human, too. You guys have feelings and problems and hungers that sometimes take precedence over boning. Maybe you had too many beers and are experiencing acute alcohol-related performance anxiety. Or maybe your not-in-the-moodness has to do with something bigger: the ubiquity of porn—effortlessly consumed like a drive-through value meal—or some existential male malaise that Zach Braff will surely explore in his next movie.

But still, it can be hard for us ladyfolk to reconcile your unwillingness to bed us with the larger cultural perception that all men are Wile E. Coyote-level schemers trying to get laid. At least that's the view reinforced everywhere from beer commercials to Anthony Weiner's extracurricular penis pic-ing to Cosmo cover lines swearing that men think about sex every seven seconds. And to be denied in light of that? It's enough to make us think you're a dick for withholding yours.

See, women take it personally. After years of battling the dreaded sexlesshousewife stereotype, we're careful not to nonchalantly spurn your advances. But now we have to worry about morphing into the other sitcom cliché—the dopey husband, pawing pathetically for a bone. There are only so many times even the most brazen among us are going to get rejected before icily retreating into non-initiation mode forever. And just in general, we keep tabs on these kinds of things. A week goes by without sex? We notice. I get the feeling men don't monitor the situation in such a macro sense. As far as you're concerned, a good sex life is just having sex when you feel like having sex.

But guess what? That's selfish. Sex is a two-way street! Or...I suppose, if I'm being technical about it, it's more of a one-lane freeway tunnel and a car driven by a confused 16-year-old who keeps switching between drive and reverse over and over. The larger point is: Just try saying yes to us more often. Even if you're a little tired. Even if Mumford & Sons are doing that namby-pamby forest jig thing you like so much on Fallon. (DVR, dude.) We'll be happier, so by Newton's Law of Relationships, you will be, too. And I also can pretty much guarantee you won't regret getting busy, either. It's not a trip to the dentist's chair, it's sex. Three minutes in, you're going to be having a blast. Just hopefully not a literal one.

Siobhan Rosen is a pseudonym. The author would rather her grandmother remain ignorant of her hearty sexual appetite.

Sam Miguel
03-11-2013, 09:13 AM
‘Halik ng Tarantula’–profound psycho-sexual drama is now plain gay romance

By Cora Llamas

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:42 am | Saturday, March 9th, 2013

The press releases and the surrounding hype made no bones about it: The main attraction of this production, “Halik ng Tarantula,” a straight-play adaptation of Manuel Puig’s novel “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” is celebrity BB Gandanghari who is making her entrance into Philippine theater. Gandanghari is also the play’s producer.

There is nothing wrong with that per se. Many of the leading Broadway shows as well as some of Manila’s finest productions had name film stars cross over to the stage to bring in a new audience eager to see how the artist in question would rise to the challenge. Those who do succeed lose themselves in the character and bring their own nuances into their interpretation of the role, blending seamlessly with the other merits of the production as a whole. What starts out as a star turn becomes a striking, bona- fide, dramatic performance.

There is so much to delve into in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” which has been translated both into celluloid and musical theater. The musical version, with book by theater luminary Terence McNally and set to music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1993.

William Hurt and the late Raul Julia played the leads in Hector Babenco’s 1985 movie. Hurt justifiably won several major awards such as the Oscar and the Cannes Film Festival for his turn as Molina, the homosexual imprisoned in an Argentine jail for allegedly corrupting a minor.

Molina is a juicy, meaty part that actors wanting to test their dramatic range would want to sink their teeth into. Back then, it was considered a bold if risky career move for Hurt, one of the top leading men in the 1980s.

As written, Molina is a flamboyant, complex character whose escapades into the films that he loves function as a mirror of his own fears, his fellow inmate’s, as well as the audience’s.

Punchy material

In “Halik ng Tarantula,” the late playwright Rene Villanueva shifted the scene from Argentina to Manila, and the use of the street vernacular makes the material punchy, familiar and easy to relate to. By itself, the dialogue of this adaptation was meant to light sparks between the two characters. For it must be remembered that, regardless of Molina’s flamboyance, this is a play about two characters: his and fellow inmate Valentin—two characters whose worlds are very much apart and yet at the end find common ground in their humanity.

Molina is supposedly the shallow one who prefers to dream away his difficulties by recollecting his favorite movies, while Valentin is the pragmatic, hardened rebel soldier who has no illusions about the world he is fighting in. The titular “spider woman” is the enigmatic character in Molina’s tale, ostensibly representing their innermost desires: Molina’s desire to be a woman and Valentin’s longing for his lost fiancée.

Their contrasts make these two characters immediate combatants, yet their own quest for their humanity and their place in the world draws them together. The characters were written to make the audience confront their own internal demons: Where does hope lie? When does one fight and when does one let go? What is the better world that we must build? To what lengths should we go to reclaim our identity and self-respect?

It is a tapestry of difficult soul-searching that the spider woman, embodied in the leading lady character narrated by Molina, weaves the two characters into.

Homegrown dialogue

The discourses between Molina and Valentin should have been alternately explosive, gut-wrenching and comforting as they collide and connect. However, from the beginning, Gandanghari and Jet Alcantara as Valentin play it as a buddy movie. There is no initial animosity, no tension at the difference, not even the macho soldier’s disgust at sharing a cell with a gay inmate.

Villanueva’s homegrown dialogue works against itself as the familiarity of the language makes the two bounce off each other like estranged but now reunited childhood friends. There is no drama in them drawing closer to each other, because they seem never to have been apart.

Much of the philosophical, political and emotional layering that we had seen in the film and the musical, and which is ostensibly present in the original novel, is lost in this approach. Perhaps director Soxie Topacio should have rehearsed his actors more.

Gandanghari’s one-note performance plays Molina as an aggrieved homosexual out for his self-respect, and who happens to fall in love with his cell mate. The center of the drama no longer lies on how the two create a bridge between them while preserving their differences, but on how and when Valentin will reciprocate Molina’s affections.

No texture

The inevitability of it all makes you want to just have the play on flash-forward mode. Nowhere do we feel Valentin’s struggle with his self-identity as he finds a connection with someone so alien to him. Instead, Alcantara’s physicality is highlighted in scenes featuring his frequent partial nudity, all meant to titillate but ultimately uncover nothing of the texture of the material.

The sex that happens in the film and the musical resonates as a closure and acknowledgement that the walls have temporarily opened. The characters have reached a détente, but they have not lost their souls or their causes in the process.

In this production, the sex is the ultimate payoff as Molina wins her man despite his macho veneer and reluctance, and everything else becomes anticlimactic. The ending that should have seen a poignant separation of ways becomes a reunion in heaven, metaphorical or otherwise.

At the end, Molina is even acknowledged as the spider woman or the tarantula of the production. The lady in question was more than that. She was mysterious, enigmatic, revealing, with a key into the dark and redemptive natures of the human soul. Unfortunately, this writer never saw her in this production.

03-11-2013, 12:54 PM
The Repulsive Vanity of the Male Self-Portrait

Hugo Schwyzer

"You're doing a piece about dick pics, right?"

After announcing on Facebook and Twitter that I'd be writing a column on men and selfshot images, I got some version of that question from five different people. It might be a little late to write about Brett Favre or Anthony Weiner, they seemed to think, but perhaps, they thought, I had a new take on why so many dudes love to send photos of their penises to the eager and the horrified alike.
The assumption makes sense — we're used to the idea that many men are hungry to show off their erections. What we talk about less often is the "man selfie" — photos that emphasize the face rather than the body, of the sort that are safe to put on a Facebook profile or an online dating site. Having a few of those photos is indispensable, especially on an OK Cupid or a Match-type site. But what if a guy has more than a few? Is there an "evident vanity threshold" past which even the handsomest man gets steadily less hot?

I put that question to Emily McCombs, Executive Editor at XoJane. Emily recently wrote an ode to selfies, noting the role they play in her own fight to maintain high self-esteem. iPhone self-portraits, she notes, are just the updated version of the widespread impulse to catch a glimpse of oneself in every reflective surface. Having grow up suffering from socially-conditioned body dysmorphia, Emily writes that for her, mirrors and selfies "tell a truer truth than the voices inside my head." Commenters celebrated; "LindseyWoho" receiving 34 upvotes for telling Emily "love your selfies, love other people's selfies, love my own selfies. Babes all around!"

The selfie-celebration, however, isn't for everyone. "I am ashamed as a feminist to admit that while I champion vanity in women, I find it kind of off-putting in men," Emily told me in an email. "I'd rather a man be thinking about how pretty I am than worrying about how pretty he is. I don't dislike vain men as people, but I wouldn't want to date one." When I put a query out on social media, I got much the same reply: male vanity, at least the kind made evident by too many smart phone self-portraits, is a major turn-off.

Part of that double standard has to do with how we gender insecurity. We expect and encourage women's self-doubt, encouraging girls to learn to bond with one another by sharing anxieties and exchanging reassuring, reciprocal affirmations. In a world of rigid gender binaries, vanity becomes an exclusively feminine trait. A woman who cares intensely about her appearance somehow becomes more of a woman for doing so — a man who is inordinately pre-occupied with his looks becomes less of a man.

Many men get around that problem of feminized vanity by offering hyper-masculine selfies. The dick pic is an obvious example — an erection is by definition the antithesis of the feminine. More PG-rated but still masculine selfies are the ubiquitous muscle shots. A six-pack, ripped pecs , and a scowl on a young man's dating profile may come across as anxious overkill, but it's a way of presenting what he hopes will be an alluring image — without risking the accusation of feminine self-absorption. The more the selfie focuses only on his face rather than the most male parts of his body, the greater the risk of coming across as vain.

Yet no matter what he shows of himself, every male self-portrait risks displaying the vanity and insecurity that Emily McCombs and so many others find so "off-putting." Most men figure out that the most attractive photos a guy can have on his Facebook or dating profiles are those taken by others. (This is the standard advice given by the "experts" who offer to makeover someone's online image.) The key is to ensure that someone else captures you looking good, preferably in action — playing a sport, laughing with friends, giving a speech. Handsomeness should be incidental, even effortless, and not intentional, affected, posed, and feminine. (As a counterpoint to McCombs, I was mocked very publicly by a men's rights activist for having one too many self-portraits on my Facebook.)

What's so off-putting about male vanity isn't just that it's perceived as feminine. It's also that it warns of potential infidelity and long-term neediness. "The more selfies a guy has, the more obvious it is he craves validation," my friend Lindsay said. "The more validation he needs, the less likely it is that any one woman will be able to give it to him." Dealing lovingly and compassionately with a partner's body image issues is a very real emotional labor. For women who often already do the bulk of psychological relationship maintenance anyway, the idea of constantly soothing a vain man's anxiety about his looks can be more than a little exhausting.

All the research suggests that rates of body dysmorphia are rising among young men. For a host of reasons, Millenial guys report more anxiety about their appearance than do older men. It would be wrong to claim a false equivalence — incidences of eating disorders remain much higher among young women. At the same time, however, women enjoy (if that's the word) the very small freedom to publicly acknowledge both vanity and anxiety. (Just last week, XoJane launched a spin-off beauty site, unashamedly if ironically called XoVain.) This doesn't mean that women who take many selfies always get the praise and reassurance that Emily McCombs got in the comments beneath her piece. But it does mean that for better or worse, men who post more than a small handful of selfies risk alienating the very audience they're trying to attract.


Jezebel columnist Hugo Schwyzer teaches history and gender studies at Pasadena City College and is a nationally-known speaker on sex, masculinity, body image and beauty culture. He also blogs at his eponymous site. Follow him on Twitter: @hugoschwyzer.

Sam Miguel
03-25-2013, 11:10 AM
Good art, bad artist

By September Mahino

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 22, 2013 - 12:00am

Better the devil you know than Galliano — if you’re Jewish: After his dismissal from Dior and being found guilty of making anti-Semitic remarks in 2011, John Galliano’s comeback began with a three-week internship under Oscar de la Renta last month.

MANILA, Philippines - Maybe it comes with age but I have been finding myself more judgmental of other people’s behavior.

With “common” people — acquaintances, neighbors, co-workers, the people on your Twitter feed, that woman you always bump into at events but whose name you can never remember, that guy at the counter of the 7-Eleven you frequent — judgment comes easy, and often.

But when it comes to someone I consider a creative genius, someone whose work I greatly enjoy and respect, judgment becomes really difficult but yes, it does come. Especially if that behavior is beyond what can be brushed off as mere artistic.

This is why it baffles me how so many people are willing to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear when it comes to the misbehavior of artists who are so influential, they have transcended the art world and became global celebrities. Here’s just a short laundry list of them, both living and dead, and some of their side-eye-worthy acts (to put it mildly): John Galliano, racism and anti-Semitism; Coco Chanel, sympathizing with and spying for the Nazis; Pablo Picasso, womanizing; Terry Richardson, sexual harassment and overall misogyny; Roman Polanski, (take a deep breath) “rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor,” as summarized in Wikipedia.

Chanel’s anti-Semitic slant has been, so far, only claimed in journalist Hal Vaughan’s 2011 book Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War, though her relationship with German officer and reported Abwehr spy Hans Gunther von Dincklage was quite well-known. Picasso was never prosecuted for his rampant philandering and the trail of wretched women he left behind. Polanski counts among his avid supporters Woody Allen, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, and Whoopi “rape-rape” Goldberg, and he has yet to serve time for his crime. Richardson continues to do work with some of the most influential names in the fashion industry. And Galliano was taken under Oscar de la Renta’s wing for a three-week apprenticeship just last February, which concluded in a New York Fashion Week show that may not have credited the former Dior designer but still signaled to everyone his return to the industry.

Each of them received slaps on the wrists for their sins, pre- or posthumously and in varying degrees. The fact remains, though, that while they have displayed abhorrent behavior that would bring a lifetime of disgrace to any other person, these artists and a whole lot more like them continue to be admired and even revered because of their body of work.

Does good art, then, necessitate bad behavior? Does good art excuse bad behavior?

In his June 2012 New York Times article “Good Art, Bad People,” Charles McGrath posited that “the creation of truly great art requires a degree of concentration, commitment, dedication, and preoccupation — of selfishness, in a word — that sets the artist apart and makes him not an outlaw, exactly, but a law unto himself.” Because of how much a piece of art can affect the observer, we non-artists immediately assume how transcendental it might be for the one who created it, to the point where societal norms don’t hold sway over them anymore. They see more, hear more, feel more than we do. Artistic temperament, as we like to sugarcoat it.

There is also that romantic notion of how art is born out of the most troubled and sinister places of the human psyche, a sublimation of whatever darkness lurks inside the artist. That notion may be true but it also highlights how we have inextricably linked darkness with creativity. Art, after all, is a free-for-all arena where the most disturbing sh*t can be presented and played out in a manner that is palatable; if it’s not that dark, we’re not that interested.

Now, on our part as the spectator, do we or do we not separate the art from the person?

In many Chris Brown posts on Oh No They Didn’t, it isn’t just the terrible victim-blaming or his fans’ numerous justifications of his violent and misogynistic behavior that alarms me. It’s the fence-sitters, the ones who deplore his actions in one breath then say, “But his music is so good” the next. (Granted, they may be 14-year-olds in need of exposure to much, much better yet under-appreciated urban music.) A commenter on Historum.com on a thread about whether artists should be judged for their personal behavior, their art, or both wrote: “The personal behavior of all humans should be judged as humans. Any art should be judged for its unherent (sic) merit. Different stuff, different standards; there’s no reason to mix them.” The statement is reflective of the general sentiment in the thread, which is that people should like a work of art for its own sake and not bring into it the personal life and debaucheries of its creator.

But I find this separation of the person from the work potentially dangerous. It is a permissive attitude that enables egos already inflated by the public adulation, as seen by Polanski’s woe-is-me open letter “I can remain silent no longer” (which can be read on www.laregledujeu.org), written some months after his arrest in Zurich in 2009. Thirty years after he skipped town to avoid doing jail time for his crime, Polanski and his disappointing Hollywood supporters, which sadly include Tilda Swinton, Monica Belucci, and Wes Anderson, cry foul about the director getting held in jail for extradition. Between these talents and the millions of Beliebers who retweet Justin Bieber’s “Focus on the positive” rebuttals, I can hardly see any difference when it comes to enabling bad behavior — which could possibly tell a young, impressionable mind that if you’re talented enough or at least famous enough, you can get away with anything.

What really makes me indignant about these creative geniuses, or any person for that matter, getting a free pass is the presence of equally great artists who are (or were) also decent human beings. In the celebrity world, there are hardly any other actors more venerated than Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, and yet they seem to be the nicest folks around. He may had been l’enfant terrible but the late Alexander McQueen never got to a point where he would taunt people that their mothers and forefathers should be “gassed.” Johannes Vermeer responded to the selfish call of his art, working slowly and meticulously to the economic detriment of his family and his artistic career, but by all accounts he was a faithful husband and a good father.

Of course, I do recognize that the world is all the richer for the significant contributions that great artists, both the good apples and the bad ones, have made all throughout the history of humanity. But is it too much to ask of our artists now to respect women and to refrain from slurring gays and any other race? And is it too much to ask of ourselves to make no one above not just the law but also the judgment?

Also, if they’re so good at what they do, why can’t artists sublimate the worst of their behaviors into their work, like some sort of Dorian Gray portrait?

McGrath puts into words the kind of question an artist (or a writer or a musician or a director or any type of creative) and a spectator should raise when it comes to art in relation to real life: how many stories (or paintings or songs or movies), however good, are worth the pain and unhappiness of others?

It’s a question that remains difficult, even impossible to answer.

Sam Miguel
04-25-2013, 09:44 AM
Makati ranks 3rd in Asia’s top 10 most promiscuous cities

By Matikas Santos


6:29 pm | Thursday, October 18th, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Makati City ranks third in the top 10 most promiscuous cities in Asia with 77 percent of men saying they have had five or more sexual partners in a year, according to an online study conducted by a worldwide dating website.

SeekingArrangement.com, a dating website that aims to establish “Mutually Beneficial Relationships” between men “Sugar Daddies” and women “Sugar Babies,” has revealed the results of their recent study that an average of 76 percent of men throughout Asia have four or more sexual partners a year.

The study, which surveyed 10,000 male members of the dating website, found that Bangkok, Thailand ranked first with 83 percent of men saying they had more than five sexual partners per year.

Osaka, Japan was second with 80 percent while Makati, Philippines ranked third with 77 percent, the study said.

The Asian average was found to be lower when compared to Europe and the United States, where men averaged at seven or more partners per year, it added.

“Asia is known for efficiency and discipline. There is a common misconception in the West that Asian men are not as promiscuous as Americans,” Brandon Wade, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of SeekingArrangement.com, said in the statement.

“It is simply not true. Because of the fast-paced lifestyle in these cities, men are always looking to relieve stress. In a city where the market is constantly changing, so goes the dating pool,” Wade said.

Trailing Philippines in third place are Hyderabad, India (76 percent), Saigon, Vietnam (72 percent), Seoul, South Korea (65 percent), Shanghai, China (58 percent), Saint Petersburg, Russia (57 percent), Singapore, Singapore (53 percent), and Beijing, China (49 percent).

The study also found three cities with the least amount of promiscuity. Sixty-six percent of men in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia reported having two or more sexual partners per year.

Hong Kong, China ranked second with 61 percent and Kyoto, Japan ranked third with 53 percent, the study said.

SeekingArrangement.com was launched in 2006 and has over 1.7 million members globally. It claims to be the world’s largest sugar daddy dating network, that pairs “wealthy men with beautiful women seeking mutually beneficial relationships.

04-28-2013, 09:23 PM
7 health benefits of sex

Posted at 04/28/2013 1:08 PM | Updated as of 04/28/2013 7:06 PM

Healthy reasons to have more sex

It turns out that an apple a day isn’t the only thing to keep the doctor away; sex has a long and extensive repertoire of health benefits also. While we have nothing against apples, we know a lot of people who would prefer to get their health kick from some intimate time between the sheets, and oh boy, does this provide a health kick! Here are the seven health benefits of sex.

1. Sex eases pain

"Not tonight darling, I’ve got a headache." That old chestnut is a common excuse to get out of sex when people simply can’t be bothered, but it’s time to put this age-old excuse to bed once and for all. Have you ever noticed that if you’ve been feeling a few aches and pains before sex, they are usually non-existent afterwards? This is down to the increased endorphins that soar through your body during sex. Indeed, as you approach and then achieve "the big O," oxytocin surges through your body and relieves pain. Mother Nature, you’re very clever!

2. Sex burns fat

Sex is good for your waistline? Perfect! Indeed, while it’s obvious that most physical activity helps you to shed the muffin top, you may not be aware of exactly how much fat sex can burn. Vigorous sex burns approximately 150 calories every 30 minutes – that’s 300 calories for an hour-long session! The key word here though, ladies and gents, is “vigorous.” Lying on your back while your partner does all of the work is not going to burn fat so make sure you’re giving it your all. If anyone can think of a better excuse to have sex, please let us know.

3. Sex increases lifespan

Several studies have suggested that getting down and dirty could extend our lifespan by a considerable amount – up to eight years! A 25-year study carried out by Duke University in the United States found that the more sexual activity we’re involved in, the longer we live. Indeed, of the 270 people who took part in the 25-year study, everyone who had a healthy, regular sex life lived up to eight years longer than those who had little interest in it. The motto of this story? Never give up on sex, no matter how old you are.

4. Sex strengthens pelvic floor muscles

Gents, we know what you’re thinking: “Pelvic floor exercises are for women.” Think again. While Kegel exercises are often recommended to women for their ability to treat incontinence and re-strengthen the muscles around ‘that’ area after childbirth, they’re beneficial for both genders. Indeed, the benefits of Kegel exercises in men include helping with impotence and reducing the risk of prostate cancer. And how do you go about doing Kegel exercises if you’re a man? Sex is just one of the many ways – both men and women are performing Kegel exercises during sex, without even realizing it.

5. Sex lowers your stress levels

Scientists in Scotland carried out a study to see how well 24 women and 22 men coped under pressure. The study found that those with a healthy sex life who had recently had sex were less stressed when asked to deliver a public speech than those who hadn’t had sex. A separate study carried out by scientists in an Arizona state university found that of the 58 middle-aged women who took part in the survey, those who had recent and regular sex had significantly lower levels of stress and a significantly higher mood the next day.

6. Sex strengthens the immune system

Scientists at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, carried out a study on 112 college students who recorded their sexual behavior and provided saliva samples. The study revealed that those who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of immunoglobulin than those who had sex less frequently. Immunoglobulin is an antibody that boosts your immune system and more of it is present during sexy time. More of the immunoglobulin hormone means less risk of developing colds or other infections.

7. Sex helps you to look younger

Sex doesn’t just make you feel younger – research suggests it can make you look younger also. When we reach orgasm, our bodies secrete DHEA, a clever little hormone. Indeed, the benefits of DHEA on our health are too many to list here, but in general, it boosts the immune system, improves cognitive function, improves cardiovascular health and keeps our skin looking fresh and young. The more often you have sex, the younger you’ll look. We’d much rather have sex than fork out lots of money on expensive anti-ageing creams.

Sam Miguel
05-03-2013, 08:32 AM
Coming out

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:54 pm | Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

In a candid article cowritten for Sports Illustrated and circulated a few days ago, the seven-footer Jason Collins became the first active National Basketball Association player to come out as gay. His magazine essay began with three simple declarations: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

Is his decision to publicly embrace his true sexual orientation what the legendary tennis player Martina Navratilova says it is, a true “game changer”? It’s possible. Navratilova, who came out in 1981—that is, when Collins was a mere infant—knows why team sports in general have had an adverse impact on gay athletes, and regards professional basketball as one of the “last bastions of homophobia.”

“In tennis, there are no bosses, no general managers and no coaches who can keep players from competing. So I was safe in that regard,” Navratilova said. “For team sports athletes, this is not the case. A homophobic coach at any level—high school, college or pros—could keep a player from playing.”

But the times, they are a-changing.

The response to Collins in the United States has been largely positive. A first summary of the reactions, prepared by BBC, notes that the player received expressions of support from the NBA as an institution, from Nike as a major advertiser, and especially from fellow players like superstar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.

But he has also received less than welcome feedback, including from an ESPN on-air analyst, who questioned whether it was possible to be both Christian and a person openly living as a homosexual. The general response to Collins’ announcement, however, has been positive, an encouraging sign of a more tolerant public perhaps best symbolized by the congratulatory phone call he received from US President Barack Obama.

To be sure, the 12-season veteran is not exactly a marginalized figure in US society. He was a roommate of Joe Kennedy’s, a member of the storied American clan who now serves as a US congressman from Massachusetts. He was a classmate of Chelsea Clinton’s, the daughter of the former president. He graduated from Stanford, one of the best universities in the world. Above all, he plays in the NBA, mastering a game that he has in his own lifetime seen grow tremendously in global popularity.

All the same, he belongs to a recognizable group that is vulnerable to harassment, violence, even blackmail: people who live in fear of being found out. He writes: “No one wants to live in fear …. It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I’ve endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time.”

Would Collins receive the same kind of welcome in the Philippines? Suppose, to try our hand at a thought experiment, Collins could not agree on the terms of contract with a prospective team, and failed to suit up for the NBA’s next season. Suppose, further, that he decided to try his luck in the reinvigorated Philippine Basketball Association. What would happen then?

It is easy enough to imagine the shouts of “bakla!” that will fall on him from the bleachers, beginning with his first game. In a basketball-crazy country like ours, calling down insults on the opposing team’s players is part of the game. The more personal or insensitive the insult, the merrier. Much of that is, to use street talk, without malice—the literal translation of the common phrase “walang malisya,” meaning no offense meant.

But in truth, treating the perceived or actual sexual orientation of someone as sport, as part of the fun, is offensive and even wounding. If the rambunctious crowds that avidly watch basketball games, whether in the professional league or the barangay liga, are a reflection of our public square, we have some way to go to reach maturity—or, at the least, in tolerance for the gay.

At the Cebu edition of the Inquirer Senate Forum last week, a political science professor asked a candidate whether he supported same-sex marriage, noting that while the issue was unrelated to the forum topic of political dynasties, it touched on the same democratic principle: equality of opportunity. He is right. In Collins’ case as in the future of marriage, that is the true issue.

Sam Miguel
05-03-2013, 08:37 AM
^^^ Let me just repeat what a lot of my closest friends and I think on this matter of being gay: We think there is something wrong with any person born a particular gender and yet refusing to conform to what nature gave him / her.

We use a simple (maybe even simplistic) example:

If you come home one day and find your younger brother walking on hands and knees, baying and panting with his tongue out, licking at you and even barking - in other words thinking and acting like a dog - would you embrace and accept him for coming out and finally admitting, accepting and becoming openly a dog? F--- no! You'd bundle him up and bring him to the nearest psych ward for immediate and intensive treatment until he returned to normal.

Why then would you treat this brother of yours differently if you came home one day and found him wearing a sexy cocktail dress, killer pumps, makeup, lipstick, eyes and his hair done in the Jennifer layers?

I mean really, aren't those the exact same cases? He is not a dog so he he should not act like one. He is not a woman so he should not act like one. That seems pretty straightforward and uncomplicated.

Sam Miguel
05-08-2013, 09:26 AM
Body ethics

By Michael L. Tan

Philippine Daily Inquirer

9:17 pm | Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Recently I wrote about how two Filipino women working overseas had gotten into trouble for fondling the genitals of children. (“No touch,” Inquirer, 3/5/13). One was a nanny and was arrested and jailed for touching and kissing her ward’s genitals while giving him a bath. The other lost custody of her daughter after a divorce, when her non-Filipino husband claimed she was “abusing” the child through touching.

Despite our claims of sexual conservatism, many Filipinos are quite liberal about this kind of body contact, which in other countries can be interpreted as child sexual abuse. The women who do this to young children—usually their own sons—say they do this out of “gigil” or uncontrollable affection, the kind that makes you want to pinch someone except here there’s much more involved than pinching.

In my column I mentioned that this practice is marked by class differences, more accepted as innocent and harmless by lower classes, while upper-class Filipinos might not even be aware that this is happening.

Besides this practice involving children, adult males will also grab each other’s “baskets” from time to time, not out of gigil (I hope) but out of mischief, complete with macho “Uy, pare!” During basketball games (not the PBA), you’ll also see some of these foul moves, intended to distract.

After my column came out, one of my medical anthropology students, Noemi Bayoneta, wrote me about her memories of her hometown in Mindanao, and one “notorious” middle-aged woman known for doing a bit of what I’ll call “nutcracking,” accompanied by an exclamation “Hello, Dudungggg!”

Let me explain all those terms. “Nuts” is an English slang word for, well, let me use another slang term, the balls, and the way my student described this ninja “tita,” it really sounded like it was more than just grabbing. Dodong (or dudung) is a term of affection in the Visayas for little boys, although this tita spared no one, little or not, and some older males were known to flee in fear whenever she would appear.

I am certain this tita didn’t do all of this completely at random, meaning she did pick her victims from among people she knew. She has since passed on where, I hope, she hasn’t been picking on angel nuts.

Woman to woman

What surprised me from among the readers’ feedback was an e-mail from another medical anthropologist, Chic-chic Dagapioso, who noted that there is also woman-to-woman touching and, sometimes, grabbing. Here are excerpts from her e-mail:

“. . . We have women who, as a form of greeting, would ‘touch-that-part’ (the crotch; sometimes the breasts). Some of us feel uncomfortable about this type of touching, while some of us say ‘okay lang’ or ‘joke lang.’ There is laughter, sometimes uncomfortable. . .”

I asked around among my women friends and again found a class difference, similar to the one in the “Hello Dodong” phenomenon. Upper-class Filipino women were surprised to hear about this, while middle- and low-income women shrugged their shoulders and said, yes, it happens. . . a lot and that it’s frequently done as an “ambush” to surprise friends.

All this makes for an intriguing case study on the relationship of ethics and proxemics—proxemics being the study of how cultures define our bodies and spaces. Put another way, different cultures have different definitions of what’s public and private with our bodies, who can touch whom in what part of the body, and the type of touching. The acceptability of the practices is also bound to social relationships: mother and child, yaya and ward, pare to pare, mare to mare and to some extent, an older person to a younger one.

Central to our body ethics is a definition of what “private” means. Upper-class pregnant women, for example, complain about how in the Philippines people will approach them and ask how the pregnancy is coming along, and then rub the belly, sometimes even putting their ear to the abdomen, “Oh, it kicked!” The women who complain say they feel this touching is an assault on their privacy.

The “rules” will vary even with one cultural group. Thus even among Filipinos, there will be some groups that are more “touchy” than others. People in the Visayas are more prone to touch people than, say Tagalogs, as a way of greeting, or while conversing with each other. Then again, I’ve met people in the Visayas who are uncomfortable even about this casual touching.

With antisexual harassment laws in place, we need to be very conscious about the links between culture and ethics and to learn to respect boundaries. The antisexual harassment campaigns are there to address the potential for sexual abuse that comes out of power differentials. Harassment exists when someone takes advantage of his or her social position to take advantage of someone of lower status. Thus sexual harassment is frequently that of a man preying on a woman, an adult victimizing a child, an employer pressuring an employee, a teacher hitting on a student. What could be affectionate touching among friends becomes harassment when it’s a teacher using that same kind of contact with a student.


We need to revisit traditional practices and find a middle path between prudishness and lasciviousness. Christianity and Islam tend to be quite severe about bodies, especially women’s, as sources of temptations. Thus we see very restrictive rules to cover up bodies, and strict “no touch” rules. Unfortunately, the more restrictive the rules are, for example covering up the body, the more mysterious, and alluring, the bodies become.

Children need to be taught, at an early age, about appreciating, protecting and respecting the human body. By scolding children and calling them “bastos” for talking about the body and the genitals, we are only reinforcing a dark view of sexuality and, ironically, make them even more vulnerable to sexual abuse.

Especially because there is a cultural practice that allows adults to fondle children’s genitals, we need to have a very strong and clear message for children: no one, not even their own parents, has the right to touch their genitals. Philippine languages have many terms that can be used to define what a “bastos” (disrespectful) touch is: for example, the Tagalog hipo and himas.

For adults, it’s a mutated English word, tsansing, that captures the malicious intent. As far as I know, there is no English word “chancing” while “chance” has no sexual connotations. There is an entry on urbandictionary.com for chancing, noting that it is a Filipino slang, with this definition: “secretly peeking, or slyly touching restricted body parts.”

I’ve wondered if “tsansing” came about as more Filipinos realized that people were taking advantage of our generally touchy culture to take a “chance,” to take advantage of other people. A thin line indeed separates the naughty “Hello Dodong” and sexual harassment.

Sam Miguel
06-03-2013, 10:21 AM
(Deleted by Member)

Sam Miguel
06-05-2013, 09:05 AM
Deadly MERS-CoV

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:26 am | Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Latest reports put the figures at 51 confirmed cases of infection and 30 deaths—or a mortality rate of 60 percent. The SARS-like virus first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012, initially named novel coronavirus or nCoV but now officially dubbed the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), has killed 24 persons in the kingdom; it has also spread to eight other countries, Italy being the latest to report a MERS-CoV infection that afflicted a 45-year-old man who had traveled to Jordan.

The other countries with reported cases of the ailment now include Jordan, Qatar, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates.

What do these countries have in common, especially those in the Middle East? They all have sizable OFW populations, with some 1.5 million Filipinos working and residing in Saudi Arabia alone. Given what is known so far of the virus—that, as pointed out by Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general for health security and the environment of the World Health Organization, “the different clusters seen in multiple countries increasingly support the hypothesis that when there is close contact this novel coronavirus can transmit from person-to-person”—Filipino workers in the kingdom and in other countries with a similar outbreak are at risk of contracting the ailment.

President Aquino must thus heed the call of the OFW group Migrante-Middle East for the Philippine government to send medical attachés to Saudi Arabia to educate the workers and prepare them for contingencies.

“There are lots of medical concerns by our fellow OFWs not only in Saudi Arabia but also in other Mideast countries. Giving them right information, education, and guidance would be of help to prevent work-related diseases,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME regional coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, in a statement.

An information and education campaign is the least the government can do to prepare OFWs for any health emergency in their host countries. While virologist Nathan Wolfe, in a National Geographic interview, has said that there is still much to be discovered about the virus—“We do not know how MERS originated, and while human-to-human transmission has been confirmed, we do not know the precise mechanism of transmission. We still don’t know definitively what percentage of people who are infected will die (i.e., the case mortality rate)”—the rapid rate of transmission and the ease with which it has crossed borders has also left scientists like him worried.

A “threat to the entire world” was how Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general of WHO, recently described the virus. “We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat. Any new disease that is emerging faster than our understanding is never under control,” she said.

MERS-CoV is from the same viral family as the bug behind SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the outbreak that leapt out of China and East Asia in 2003, spread to other parts of the world and eventually killed 775 people. Like SARS, the Middle Eastern virus is said to produce severe respiratory symptoms from fever and cough to pneumonia, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms and kidney failure.

It was eventually established that the SARS virus infected humans from their original animal hosts, and was spread through coughing or sneezing. In the case of MERS-CoV, Wolfe said “human-to-human transmission has been reported… particularly in cases with sustained contact such as health-care workers.”

As new cases have been reported with increasing frequency, the Philippine government must take a proactive stance and prepare for the possibility that any one or two of the millions of OFWs in the Middle East and other affected countries will not only come down with the disease but also unknowingly bring it home. Some 25,000 OFWs are deployed every month to Saudi Arabia alone. They need to be alerted to take extra precautions in their personal health and hygiene, and to keep themselves updated on new developments, health measures and warnings about the illness.

Migrante has another sensible suggestion: Make the deployment of a team or teams of medical attachés in Saudi Arabia permanent, to continuously serve the needs of the OFW population there, outbreak or no outbreak. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, it’s time for the Department of Health to put in place contingency measures, and to officially alert the public about the deadly MERS-CoV.

Sam Miguel
06-06-2013, 08:50 AM
Ordained pastors living with HIV/AIDS

By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:42 pm | Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

In this age of public disclosures of personal matters by well-known personalities, it still comes as a surprise—discomfiting, but also profoundly moving—for church persons in responsible positions to come out to disclose they are HIV-positive.

Here in the Philippines are two esteemed visitors, Reverend Canon Dr. Gideon Byamugisha of Uganda and Reverend Rosemary Phumzile Mabizela of South Africa. Both are positive for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) that could lead to the life-threatening AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

Both are outspoken advocates for the removal of the stigma attached to persons living with HIV/AIDS. Both remain in active service in their churches and in HIV/AIDS-related international campaigns. Both are still here in the Philippines as guests of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines’ Cosmopolitan Church in Manila.

I was fortunate and honored to have met the two advocates, along with Elijah Fung of a Hong Kong-based HIV education center at a forum last Monday. Fung is in touch with overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong.

HIV/AIDS, which first burst into the medical scene in the 1980s, has long been associated—often erroneously—only with irresponsible sexual behavior and drug use through syringes when in fact there are a number of other ways of transmitting and contracting the virus. This had added to the stigma attached to being HIV-positive. Before potent drugs to tame the virus were discovered, having HIV was a death sentence. Not anymore. But this does not mean lowering the guard. And this does not mean the large majority of people in this world have changed their attitudes toward persons living with HIV/AIDS.

In Africa where the two pastors come from, the incidence of HIV/AIDS is still relatively high compared to other regions of the world. And church persons in Africa have not been spared.

Byamugisha, who is soon to become a visiting professor at a US university, teaches courses on “religion, activism and socioeconomic development in Africa and the diaspora.” He has a long string of academic achievements. He is a founding member of the African Network of Religious Leaders Living with and Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS.

A former Catholic, Mabizela is a Presbyterian pastor and executive director of the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV and AIDS.

Both had lost their spouse/partner to AIDS. Both with children, they have since remarried—Byamugisha to an HIV-positive woman—and found ways to beget HIV-negative children. When asked how, the irrepressible Mabizela answered with a loud guffaw, “The natural way!” She added with humor that HIV had done nothing to make her lose weight.

Their life stories are for the books.

Before the small press conference began, I whispered to Assistant Pastor Al Senturias and moderator Dr. Erlinda Senturias that I needed to know how the main speakers contracted HIV and how they learned about it without my asking so publicly. Sure enough, both spoke about the matter so spontaneously. (I can’t share their stories in detail because of space limitations. Suffice it to say that unknown to both, their deceased better halves had been HIV-infected.)

Some quick facts: HIV is transmitted through infected persons’ body fluids: blood (through transfusion), semen, vaginal/cervical fluids and breast milk. It is not contracted through touch, inhalation, food or drinking water. It cannot thrive outside the human body.

The main themes of the two pastors’ campaign talks everywhere are: “To end the stigma, to create safe spaces for people living with HIV/AIDS, and to heal fear through education.”

They have come up with catchy acronyms like SAVE: S for safer practices, including knowing your HIV status, delaying sexual debut, abstinence, mutual partner fidelity, safe blood, clean syringes, condom use; A for access to treatment and nutrition; V for voluntary counseling and confidential testing; and E for empowerment of women, youth, children and men.

They raise the need to end SSD DIM, or stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and misaction. And the need to end fear—of the unknown, of being contaminated, of lack of access to resources, of being excluded by loved ones, of leaving orphaned children, of not being able to do anything about AIDS, and of death.

One of the questions I asked was about disclosure. Does a person living with HIV have to make a disclosure? When, to whom, and how? Is it a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation? Is it necessary?

The answer I got from the two pastors was that their stature in their churches and communities was a factor in their decision to disclose. In the case of Byamugisha, he was very lucky that his bishop had been very supportive from the start. The decision of the two pastors to disclose was almost imperative in order that they could help in the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.

But not everyone living with the virus would have the same effect or influence. Some may experience rejection and discrimination in their families, workplace and communities. Not everyone needs to disclose or be compelled to disclose.

Both robust and energetic, Byamugisha and Mabizela are the picture of physical health on the outside. There is no denying that they are living with a virus that has yet to be totally conquered by science and medicine. Byamugisha revealed that he had gone through a near-death scare, but survived.

Both continue to be a blessing to the anti-HIV/AIDS advocacy, in the churches and outside, in their communities in Africa and in the world.

Sam Miguel
06-20-2013, 08:27 AM
Catholic Church has no problem with marriage between gay man, lesbian

By Philip C. Tubeza

Philippine Daily Inquirer

7:01 pm | Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — Two homosexual men cannot marry but a gay man and a lesbian can tie the knot, according to the head of the Catholic Church’s matrimonial court.

Archbishop Oscar Cruz, judicial vicar of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, all but ruled out any chance of the Catholic Church agreeing to same-sex unions in the Philippines but said a lesbian and gay man might be allowed to marry.

“May a lesbian marry a gay man? My answer is ‘yes’ because in that instance the capacity to consummate the union is there. The anatomy is there. The possibility of conception is there,” Cruz told a church forum on Tuesday.

“I ask this question to myself and I have thought about it for a long time and the answer is ‘yes’,” he said.

Cruz was explaining the Church’s opposition to gay marriage or same-sex civil unions.

Several European church leaders — including Godfried Cardinal Daneels, the former Archbishop of Mechelin-Brussels, and the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ — recently made statements that were seen as hinting of eventual Church approval for gay civil unions.

But Cruz said gay advocates would have a difficult job getting legal approval for gay civil unions in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country.

“That will be against the Constitution and against the Family Code of the Philippines. So, they have to revise the Constitution for that,” he said.

“The law says marriage is between a man and a woman and for raising a family,” he said.

Cruz said the Catholic Church would oppose gay civil unions and other related proposals if these were filed in Congress.

“For the Church, even if you turn it upside down and call it by another name, it would still not be marriage. For the Church, even if a hundred (judges) bless a same-sex wedding, it would still not be effective,” he said.

The Church earlier warned that after the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health Law, similar proposals for same-sex marriage, divorce and euthanasia would follow.

However, gay groups have denied actively pushing for gay marriage in the country. They accuse the Church of using the issue to block other gay civil rights legislation proposals.

“They always use that as a specter to block any other piece of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) rights legislation,” said Jonas Bagas, executive director of the TLF Share Collective.

“So, even with the anti-discrimination bill, they would frame it as a gay marriage bill,” he said.

Cruz said homosexuality would be a valid ground for the annulment but has been seldom used as a reason in annulment petitions.

“More often, it’s is about psychological problems, meaning there is some kind of mental impairment or emotional disturbance,” he said.

Sam Miguel
06-20-2013, 08:28 AM
^^^ Dammit Cruz, why'd you have to go half-arsed on this issue? Just say NO across the board on it!

Sam Miguel
06-28-2013, 09:07 AM
Pinoy generations

By Michael L. Tan

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:32 pm | Thursday, June 27th, 2013

I’ve been preparing for a lecture on demography (the study of populations) and anthropology (the study of culture). One of the case studies I’ll be using is that of American-coined generations of “baby boomers,” “Gen X” and the “millennials.” The premise here is that a shared exposure to key historical events, social developments, even technological change, results in a generational culture.

Summer of Love

A recent issue of Time magazine focused on the millennials but explained how the members of each generation came to be what they were. For example, those born from 1943 to 1960 are referred to as baby boomers because right after World War II there was a surge in birth rates.

The baby boomers are described as a generation “who came of age in the Summer of Love” (meaning the late 1960s). It was a generation that saw affluence, but many of the yuppies (young upwardly mobile professionals) “lost fortunes in the stock-market crash of 1987,” and many are unable to retire because their savings were affected by the crisis in the late 1990s.

Generation X, those born from 1961 to 1980, are characterized as “kids of working moms and divorced parents,” growing into adulthood “marked by a sense of ennui,” with economic prospects somewhat bleak, meaning this is the first generation that may not be able to earn more than their parents.

Then we get to the millennials, also known as Generation Y, born between 1980 and 2000. This is the generation that grew up with the Internet, and older ones are now carving out careers, but still amid an uncertain economic environment.

The Time articles give more details on how each generation was shaped by its times. The millennial generation is said to have a stronger sense of entitlement, growing up in an environment of numerous consumer goods. Despite continuing economic uncertainty, this generation’s access to the Internet means its members get more information at their fingertips, which means more opportunities, so this generation is not as rebellious as previous ones.

There’s much more in the Time articles but reading these made me think: Do these generational divisions, and characterizations, apply to Filipinos? What are the main forces—economic, technological, social—that shape the culture of whatever generations we might identify?

Great optimism

Let me give a very tentative breakdown of our generations, at least with the middle and upper classes, with readers encouraged to jump into the discussion, perhaps from your own experiences of a generational culture.

I think we have much to share with the American baby boomers. I am from that generation and saw how the Philippines went through a period of great optimism in the postwar period. We were, after all, one of the most advanced countries in Asia. There was probably more social mobility at that time, greater chances to move up the economic ladder as long as you got to college.

Like their American counterparts, Filipino baby boomers saw challenges to social and moral norms. We aped the American hippies, rocked and rolled. There were mind-altering drugs, too, mainly pot (marijuana) and downers. Many from the baby-boomer generation were caught up by the nationalist movements, the First Quarter Storm of 1970, and then martial law, and for some baby boomers, a life underground.

The baby boomers struggled through the last years of the dictatorship, and rejoiced at Edsa with high hopes for a better future. The baby boomers are now approaching, or have reached, senior citizenship. Some are lucky to be financially stable but others face uncertain senior citizenship because of global financial problems.

We can probably retain the American generational divide and talk about our version of Gen X—those born between 1960 and 1980. This was a generation that grew up knowing only one president—Ferdinand Marcos. I began to teach in 1985, and I remember how difficult it was to get students to challenge the status quo. They were lucky because they came of age in an age of restored democracy. Some were brought to Edsa in 1986, sharing their parents’—the baby boomers’—euphoria.


This was the generation that left the country in large numbers, as overseas work became the major economic activity for the country. If Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could keep herself in power for a decade, it was because overseas work provided a safety valve that prevented discontent from boiling over. Besides that, our Gen X was more cynical about politics, seeing how Edsa I and II have been betrayed. I’ve wondered if Gen X’s problem drugs—shabu, for example, with its terrible mood upswings and crashes—reflect a change in ethos. The baby boomers downed themselves, chanting a mantra of “Peace, man.” Shabu is different, ambiguous, X-factored.

Our Gen X is now in midlife, fascinated by the new technologies but not always comfortable with them. Like their American counterparts, many have not been able to do as well as their baby-boomer parents. Many in fact have some degree of dependence on their parents, which can translate into less personal autonomy.

Then the millennials, born from 1980 to 2000. Again, like their American counterparts, Filipino millennials have seen, and are captivated by, the new technologies. Although the Philippines has lagged behind its neighbors, there is still enough of Asian prosperity spilling over. Many of this generation have joined or will join the diaspora for a better life abroad, but large numbers now stay, benefiting from the world of outsourcing, which has allowed young people economic independence and, often, strong consumerism: Buy, buy, buy. Businesses rejoice, calling this a demographic dividend. Many of this generation are innovative and entrepreneurial, but I worry, too, about extravagance and of a generation that might find itself struggling later in life, with little savings.

All said, if the descriptions of these generations bear close similarity to those of the Americans, it is because we speak of the middle and upper classes. For the poor, the similarities are superficial: shared sartorial fashions, for example. Poor or rich, we wore bell bottoms in the 1970s, with jokes sometimes about the SDK, not the radical Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan but Samahan ng mga Double Knit. From one generation to another, the poor have limited mobility, Gen X, Gen Y, millennials not carrying any significant meaning.

What will the next generation be called? Your guess is as good as mine. I thought of K to 12 and smartphones and tablets shaping this generation. You tell me what you see in your children.

* * *

Sam Miguel
06-28-2013, 09:17 AM
^^^ This generation? A generation of vapid, shallow dumbasses. Generation's become great when they survive wars and/or revolutions. My generation had Martial Law then EDSA then the failed RAM coups of Gringo et al.

The one immediately after mine at least had Erap's impeachment trial and GMA's EDSA.

The one immediately after that had the PNoy presidency and Corona's impeachment trial.

This one has Nancy Binay for at least the next six years, and Jejomar for the 2016. Good luck with that.

Sam Miguel
07-03-2013, 08:40 AM

By Michael L. Tan

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:40 pm | Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

As expected, there have been furious protests against the recent Supreme Court decisions in the United States opening the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage in more states. Similar protests were elicited a few weeks ago in France, when its Parliament ratified same-sex marriage throughout that country.

I’ve lost count of the number of countries and, in federal systems like America, states and provinces that allow such unions. Clearly, the tide has turned and we will see many more countries allowing such marriages.

The argument against same-sex marriage is that such an arrangement will destroy the family, and by extension, society. The debates then go on and on around issues that will never be resolved, or that people don’t want to resolve. For example, there’s the argument that God intended families to be headed by a man and a woman, and the “proof” is that “he created Adam and Eve and not Tom and Jerry.” There’s no logical way to prove or disprove that assertion, any more than we can prove or disprove the existence of a God.

Then you have assertions that children raised by same-sex couples will all end up gay or lesbian. The counterarguments are easy: How come straight (heterosexual) couples, including those who are fanatically antigay, still end up having gay and lesbian children? (Besides, you should be so lucky if you do have gay and lesbian children, but let me save that for Friday.)

At this point, I’m more worried that all the fire and fury around same-sex marriage obscure realities and challenges that must be faced in relation to families. “Two-daddy” and “two-mommy” families are only one of an amazing variety of families out there, and we should be talking about parenting, not just marriage. This variation in families and parenting was in fact the focus of a paper I delivered last May at the Philippine Pediatric Society’s annual convention.

Solo, surrogate, etc.

Here are some of those variations besides the standard “one-man-one-woman-united-for-life” arrangement that we think is the norm:

Solo parenting is usually by a woman but also now involves more men. Sometimes the arrangement is temporary, as when a spouse works far away from home. (This can be as simple as someone whose family is in Cavite but who works in Manila and goes home only on weekends, or much more complicated such as someone working in Dubai on a one- or two-year contract.)

Then there are permanent solo-parenting arrangements, forced upon the solo parent because of a spouse or partner’s death, legal separation, or abandonment. There is also solo parenting by choice—for example, a woman not wanting to marry the boyfriend who got her pregnant.

Let’s not forget a solo-parenting arrangement that has long been in place in the Philippines and is very common: the unmarried aunt who offers to take a nephew or niece to raise on her own.

Then there are people who are married and living together but who may as well be solo parents given the way the spouse shirks parenting responsibilities.

A second major variation is surrogate parenting. When both parents are absent, we have all kinds of people taking over the parenting of the children left behind: Lolo and Lola (and they may not just be grandparents but also granduncles or grandaunts), an uncle or aunt, elder siblings. Don’t just think of the people who went to live overseas. Ask your domestic helpers and there’s a high likelihood they have children, sometimes very young, left in the provinces with Lolo and Lola.

A third variation is the blended family, where one or both parents have children from previous unions. This can get very complicated. I know a woman who had seven children from five different men (I don’t even want to use the word “father” here.) She was living with the fifth one, who had very gallantly agreed to raise the previous children, besides his own.

Multiple families

A fourth variation is multiple families by an individual. Multiple families are legal if you are a Muslim male—up to a fourth wife. Divorce is also allowed for Muslims in the Philippines, so there may even be more than four families. Christians are bound by laws that do not allow divorce, but multiple families are not uncommon, and are sometimes legal because of annulment, but are often “extralegal,” with society even giving tacit acceptance (as we see with so many of our politicians and celebrities).

Families with adopted children are the fifth variation. There may be legal adoptions, but I suspect most adoptions in the Philippines are informal because the legal processes are so convoluted and difficult. Very often, adoption is an informal arrangement involving a close relative’s children. But there are also many cases now of couples adopting children from orphanages, or those abandoned in the streets, in maternity wards (yes, it happens more often than you think). There are even women offering their children for sale, and I have to warn that “buying” such children is illegal, tantamount to trafficking. (There are people who do buy children to use in conditions close to chattel slavery.)

Finally, we return to arrangements with “two daddies” or “two mommies.” These unions are not legally recognized in the Philippines but are becoming more common. Gay “weddings” are not legally recognized here but have made it into the media, mainly for the shock effect. Gay couples with children are less willing to be featured because antigay feelings in the Philippines remain strong, and the children need to be protected.

And more…

There are variations on the variations, I warn our physicians and medical students because of the importance of getting family histories. The Philippines being the Philippines, there are manipulated legal papers like “simulated births,” where adoptive parents magically become biological parents on a birth certificate. Or, there is the “anak ko, apo ko” phenomenon, where a Lolo and Lola register themselves as the parents of a grandchild, because the grandchild came from an unmarried daughter and they want to avoid social stigma. (Of course, the Lola-Nanay has to be in her 40s, at most.)

I can hear some of you arguing that with all these complicated variations, we’re lucky we don’t have divorce, we’re lucky we don’t have same-sex marriage. Let’s just keep things simple, one man, one woman, united for life.

But, if you want to take up the “Adam and Eve” thread of discussion, we do have Adams born to love Adams, and Eves born to love Eves, and Adams born to love Adams and Eves, and Eves born to love Adams and Eves. Straight, gay, bisexual, married or not, people go into relationships, some of which will flourish, maybe last a lifetime, or fail even with the most valiant efforts to keep these afloat.

Again, whatever their sexual orientation, married or not, people will have children. But not all, not even those who do reproduce, will choose to parent. Societies need to respond to the needs around child-rearing, and to find ways to ensure, through its structures and institutions, that we have families where children are raised with love, and commitment. That is what I will discuss on Friday.

07-07-2013, 08:05 AM
The US military’s rape culture

By Naomi Wolf

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:53 pm | Saturday, July 6th, 2013

NEW YORK—Around the world, people’s understanding of why rape happens usually takes one of two forms. Either it is like lightning, striking some unlucky woman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time (an isolated, mysterious event, caused by some individual man’s sudden psychopathology), or it is “explained” by some seductive transgression by the victim (the wrong dress, a misplaced smile).

But the idea of a “rape culture”—a concept formulated by feminists in the 1970s as they developed the study of sexual violence—has hardly made a dent in mainstream consciousness. The notion that there are systems, institutions, and attitudes that are more likely to encourage rape and protect rapists is still marginal to most people, if they have encountered it at all.

That is a shame, because there have been numerous recent illustrations of the tragic implications of rape culture. Reports of widespread sexual violence in India, South Africa, and recently Brazil have finally triggered a long-overdue, more systemic examination of how those societies may be fostering rape, not as a distant possibility in women’s lives, but as an ever-present, life-altering, daily source of terror.

The latest “rape culture” to be exposed—in recent documentaries, lawsuits, and legislative hearings—is embedded within the US military. As The Guardian reported in 2011, women soldiers in Iraq faced a higher likelihood of being sexually assaulted by a colleague than they did of dying by enemy fire.

So pervasive is the sexual violence aimed at American women soldiers that a group of veterans sued the Pentagon, hoping to spur change. Twenty-five women and three men claimed that they had endured sexual assaults while serving, and laid the blame at the feet of former US Defense Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates. The reason, the lawsuit claims, is that these men oversaw an institutional culture that punished those who reported the assaults, while refusing to punish the attackers.

When Maricella Guzman reported a sexual assault in her first month of service in the Navy, instead of being “taken seriously,” she says, “I was forced to do sit-ups.” Women soldiers who had served in Afghanistan came forward to speak with the filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, whose Oscar-nominated film “The Invisible War” exposed the scale of the problem. The fear of rape at US-held battlefields led directly to endemic illnesses caused by dehydration: Women at the front, serving in 110-degree heat (43 degrees Celsius), did everything possible to avoid drinking, because rape was so common in the latrines.

The tales of colleagues, and even superiors, assaulting soldiers whose lives they are supposed to protect—stories that reveal the license that the attackers must have felt they had—are harrowing enough. What becomes clear from story after story in “The Invisible War” is a consistent—indeed, nearly identical—narrative of concealment, cover-up, and punishment of alleged victims, for whom justice was almost impossible to obtain through institutional channels.

One obvious cause of this is that, in the US military, soldiers report sexual assault to their superiors in the chain of command, rather than to a separate, independent investigative body. As testimony by servicewomen (and some men) reveals, this almost inevitably creates powerful incentives to quash investigations. After all, it looks bad for the supervisor if a rape took place on his (or her) watch. It also makes intimidating complainants easy, because they are direct subordinates.

Is this reporting structure unique to the US military, or is it the norm in mixed-gender armed forces in other advanced democracies (or near-democracies)? Unfortunately, rape is so poorly documented and researched that such data are not readily available.

But, apart from this corrupt reporting structure, there probably are other aspects of US military life that foster “rape culture.” Researchers from Stanley Milgram to Phillip Zimbardo have shown that atrocities can be committed more easily when ordinary subjects (that is, not sociopaths) become desensitized in various ways. This can include exposure to authority figures who normalize violence by framing it as acceptable or good; depictions of the “other” as less than human; and widespread impunity.

Given that these conditions increase people’s propensity to commit atrocities, or to torture, is it any surprise that rape is so prevalent in the US military? Countless iterations of torture as a tacit policy in US-run military prisons, from Abu Ghraib to Bagram, have normalized violence beyond the international laws of war.

Similarly, the nature of US military tactics—which in recent years have frequently conflated civilian “collateral damage” with combat against armed enemies—has dehumanized the victims. And the message from the top (as Rumsfeld put it, “the enemy” is not dressed in a uniform these days) fosters further desensitization.

Finally, the many unpunished crimes already committed in the US military—such as torture—have encouraged too many soldiers to assume that impunity prevails.

Can the US military’s rape culture be changed? Congressional leaders have held hearings and vowed reform—but there have been hearings and vows before. Yet another lawsuit regarding sex crimes was dismissed this year.

There can be no meaningful change until US military leaders reestablish the rules and the code of honor that have protected soldiers—and the armed forces’ legitimacy and prestige—for generations. Soldiers respect their service and themselves when they know that there is a high normative bar between licit battlefield aggression and extralegal mayhem.

Indeed, most of the US military men and women I have met long to embody the role of a warrior who acts on a bright-line understanding of the difference between right and wrong. Of course, moral clarity may inevitably yield to the fog of war. But that is arguably much more likely to happen when soldiers have become inured to lawlessness in their own ranks. Project Syndicate

Sam Miguel
08-06-2013, 09:44 AM
Same sex US fiancée visa petitions now OK – but beware of scammers

By Ted Laguatan

12:06 am | Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Last month, the US Supreme Court decided that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Essentially, DOMA was a federal law that defines a legal marriage as that between a man and a woman. By striking it down as being unconstitutional, this meant that laws in various states allowing same sex marriages are now considered legal.

This major US Supreme Court decision has far-reaching ramifications. For all practical and theoretical purposes, same sex spouses will now be treated legally as similar to opposite sex spouses. They will have the same legal benefits and liabilities as opposite sex spouses. For example: Real or personal property, acquired during marriage, generally becomes community property (unless the source of the acquisition funds is identified and recognized as separate property belonging to only one of the spouses). The debt of one party generally also becomes community debt with some exceptions.

Issues re social security benefits, pension rights, insurance coverage, widow or widower benefits, estate inheritance, etc. – are all affected.

Shortly after the US Supreme Court decision, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a directive that henceforth, same sex spouses will have the same benefits under the US immigration laws as opposite sex spouses. For example: Immigrant visas can now be filed by US citizens for their same sex spouses; Those entering the US on nonimmigrant working visas or investors’ visas can also now include their same sex spouses as their dependents.

But these same sex spousal benefits are conditional on the marriage being legal in the country or state where it took place. Currently, there are 15 countries including the US where same sex marriage is considered legal: Belgium, Netherlands, South Africa, Norway, Uruguay, Argentina, Spain, Canada, France, New Zealand, Iceland, Portugal, Sweden, Brazil.

For countries where same sex marriage is not legal like the Philippines and others, many ask me if there are other alternatives to bring their same sex boyfriends or girlfriends to the US.

One way of course is to go to any of the mentioned countries above and get married there. But this involves securing visas, hotel and travel expenses, lengthy travel times, language problems, making marriage arrangements and other hassles.

In my column article three weeks ago, I suggested utilizing fiancée (or fiancé) visa petitions, which I conjectured, could be a viable option. I theorized that even if the couple is not yet married, they will be getting married in the US in a state (like California) where same sex marriage is now legal. I figured that Secretary Napolitano, a reasonable person and other equally reasonable people involved in determining immigration policy – would not object to fiancée visa petitions in same sex relationships – as it is in keeping with the spirit of the law. I figured correctly.

Six days ago, Napolitano issued another official directive to the US Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) – stating that henceforth, I-129 Fiancée Visa petitions by US citizens in same sex relationships will be honored and processed by her agency. This is a tremendous benefit for those coming from countries like the Philippines where same sex marriage is not considered legal. They can now come to the US on fiancée visas and get married here.

Currently, the processing time for fiancée visa petitions is from five to eight months. When the fiancée arrives in the US, the couple needs to get married within 90 days after which the fiancée may apply for adjustment of status to secure her immigrant visa.

As in so many other immigration law matters, certain complex issues and details are involved.

The services of competent and honest immigration lawyers can be very valuable. But please, be careful of crooks and scammers. I consistently warn immigrant communities and individuals about: 1) Non-licensed individuals practicing law or doing illegal things. 2) Licensed lawyers who file frivolous asylum claims which may temporarily provide employment authorization to applicants but which are eventually denied administratively subjecting applicants to removal proceedings in court. 3) Licensed lawyers who advertise heavily and charge clients enormous fees.

Many of these lawyers who advertise heavily are not even officially certified by the State Bar as Specialists or Experts in Immigration Law – but charge even as much as 15 times more than Certified Expert-Specialists. Who do you think pays for their costly advertisements?

Call the State Bar to verify whether a lawyer is a certified Immigration Law Specialist or Expert.

For the California State Bar telephones: Northern California 415-538-2000 , Southern California 213-765-1000 State Bars regulate lawyers.

To be fair, even those lawyers not certified as Expert-Specialists in Immigration Law by the State

Bar in a state is not prohibited from practicing Immigration Law. But being officially certified as an expert guarantees the client that the lawyer knows his stuff. To be a certified Expert Specialist, the lawyer must pass a difficult set of exams and must have had extensive experience in practically all the different kinds of immigration law cases.

It’s a good idea to consult with two or three lawyers before deciding on which one to retain. This is money well spent. A competent honest lawyer can really help and can save the client a lot of headaches and money.

From 1990 to 2008, a Filipino-American woman who styled herself as a “Bonded Immigration Law Consultant” – operated offices in different parts of the US purportedly providing legal services to mostly Filipino immigrants. She had offices in San Jose, La Jollla, Beverly Hills and New York City.

In 2008, federal authorities raided her offices and seized her files. According to the charges filed against her, she victimized numerous unsuspecting undocumented immigrants charging them more than $7000 each – giving them the false promise that they would eventually get their immigrant visas if they have an approved Alien Labor Certification from the Department of Labor and an employment based petition filed for them. The reality is that in general, an undocumented or overstaying alien cannot adjust his or her status on the basis of an employment-based petition.

Most of the woman’s victims were either Filipino owners of care or nursing homes who paid for her fees or undocumented immigrant employees of these facilities who gave her monthly payments from their limited incomes. After more than three years of investigation, a federal grand jury indicted her in May 2010. She is charged with numerous counts of immigration, mail and tax fraud. Federal authorities allege that she earned millions that she did not properly declare in her income tax returns. Her case is ongoing.

Unsuspecting hardworking innocent undocumented immigrants with limited resources eager to legalize their papers – often fall victims to greedy no-compassion scammers who cause them so much pain and suffering. So – be careful.

Sam Miguel
08-08-2013, 02:26 PM
[Dash of SAS]

The problem with virginity

by Ana P. Santos

Posted on 04/23/2013 9:01 PM | Updated 04/25/2013 10:28 AM

Dash of SAS joins the Rappler conversation as a regular column on sex positivism. We’ll dish out bits of juicy insights and ask biting questions meant to provoke thought and rouse positive conversations about sexuality. Changing the way we view sex starts with the way we talk about it.

After a Rappler #SexTalk Google+ Hangout, I was asked if oral sex causes pregnancy -- on Twitter.

I was quite surprised by the publicly posted question, but not caught entirely off guard, thanks to a friend who suggested that I reply, “Hindi ka mabubuntis, ‘day! Mabubusog ka lang!” [You won’t get pregnant, girlfriend, but you will have a full stomach!]

It was a tempting reply, but I decided to give her the scientific facts: “No, unprotected oral sex does not cause pregnancy, but oral sex can lead to STIs.”

She was not content with my reply and I asked that I follow her fake Twitter account so she could send me a DM (direct message).

In her succession of DMs (it was, of course, longer than 140 characters), she revealed her nagging concern and a little bit more about her sexual activity.

She described -- apologizing for going into graphic detail because she didn’t know what to call this sexual practic -- how her boyfriend would slide his penis outside her vagina but never put it inside. She was looking for reassurance that this would not get her pregnant.

Unfortunately, it was assurance neither science nor I could give and told her, “Even without penetration, pre-ejaculation fluid already contains a mixture of sperm and semen, which can get you pregnant or give you an STI. I recommend you use a condom at all times.”

“But he’s never put it inside because I don’t want him to,” she protested.

I restrained myself from telling her that genitalia is slippery when wet and there is a high probability that her boyfriend would “slip” and fall inside.

Her protests matched her persistence as her DMs continued to flood my inbox. “And I’m a virgin. So very limited chances of getting pregnant, right?”

Ah…and there lies the problem with virginity and the obsession with preserving the hymen.

The flawed logic of abstinence-only programs

On paper, it may seem like abstinence-only programs are an appropriate response to combating teen pregnancy and rising STIs.

But in the practice of real life, it is not exactly the case.

The Guttmacher Institute, a leading US-based research institute on sexual reproductive health conducted a study, “Consequences of Sex Education on Teen and Young Adult Sexual Behaviors and Outcomes” (also published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health), and showed that teens who receive sex education that talks about both waiting to have sex and methods of birth control are more responsible about sexual activity than those who receive no sex education at all.

The study, done among a group of 4,691 men and women, aged 15-24 in a 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth, showed the following:

Respondents who had received instruction on both abstinence and birth control were older at first sex than their peers who had received no formal instruction. They were also more likely to have used condoms or other contraceptives at first sex. In addition, these respondents also reportedly had healthier partnerships.

Condom use at first sex was significantly less likely among females who received only abstinence instruction than among those who had received information about both abstinence and birth control.

Given the possible influence this information has on sexual activity, it was also recommended that this information reach people before they start engaging in sexual activity.

Everything but the girl

In a study on taking a virginity pledge published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and American Journal of Sociology, Drs Hannah Brückner and Peter Bearman found that taking a virginity pledge does delay sexual initiation among people -- but only for an average of 18 months.

Brückner and Bearman found that among sexually experienced youth, more than 88% of pledgers had broken their pledge and had sex before marriage. (Remember Britney Spears?) They found "loopholes" to keep their pledges (and their hymen intact) by engaging in risky oral or anal sex instead.

It was not clear in the study what caused them to break their pledge, but the study showed that once they engaged in sexual activity, they did not use contraception or condoms and were therefore at higher risk for STIs and unintended pregnancy and usually had more partners in a shorter period of time.

A number of studies show that providing comprehensive sexual health education has a better impact on delaying sexual initiation and developing sexually responsible attitudes than abstinence-only programs.

Some reasons that have been forwarded.

1. It puts restrictions where there should be options

An abstinence-only program is premised on prohibitions and restrictions and gives very little options. Its message is not to have sex, but does not offer alternatives like making responsible sexual health decisions if you do.

2. It limits the definition of virginity to an intact hymen and regulates sex to be within the bounds of marriage

In so doing, it effectively fails to consider and provide options for those who cannot get married like the LGBT community.

It may keep people from keeping their hymen intact, but not from engaging in sex altogether. So couples try everything from dry humping to oral sex, anal sex or like the girl on Twitter, sliding the penis outside the vagina and never putting it inside. Everything but the girl, as they say.

3. It limits the discussion to just sex and not having it when the issue is so much more than that

Just as learning Math was more than just putting 2 and 2 together, sex education is so much more than sex.

Math is a lesson in logic, accuracy, order and sequence. Similarly, sex education is also about relationships you have with yourself and others, and how decisions you make can impact the future. The deeper lessons of sex education are accountability and forward-thinking.

Just to be clear, as any sexual health educator will tell you, abstinence is the most effective form of birth control and protection against STIs. But it must not be done selectively by engaging in haphazard alternatives meant to simply comply with preserving the hymen.

And as for virginity -- let virginity be a choice, not one imposed by social conditioning and the need for moral acceptance. Let virginity be a personal decision rather than a measure of someone’s character, or lack of it. - Rappler.com

Sam Miguel
08-08-2013, 02:35 PM
When two boys hold hands
by Shakira Sison
Posted on 08/08/2013 12:15 AM | Updated 08/08/2013 9:59 AM

You see them casually on the street, or in your school, or in the mall. It's still a fairly uncommon sight so you must elbow your friend or take a closer look, and steal a glance at these two boys who are breaking the natural order in your eyes.

You even look at their hands, big joints, strong fingers, thick wrists and big watches. How can they stand to hold another man's hand? You think it's gross, you wonder why they couldn't get girls instead. You see their proud, clean faces and think, "Sayang, ang guwapo pa naman.” (Too bad when they're so handsome.)

Almost immediately you feel a sense of loss. For losing one more able man in society, a source of sperm, or a viable penis in your life. As if he'd ever go for you, as if he's ever considered your kind, or felt propagation of the species was more important than being true to one's heart.

Just pieces of meat

By instinct you picture anal sex, because that's all they are to you. You've reduced these boys to all the dirty jokes you know, all the insults you've hurled and heard, all in the form of what you call humor.

You think it's so disgusting that these people dare to use their "mismatched" parts together. It's so gross that you can't stop thinking of the blow jobs they give each other, calling it unnatural and less genuine than "real sex," because they enjoy the kind of pleasure you find so appalling that your fantasies must force these strangers to live it.

You don't even know them but you think you do. You've assessed, based on a 5-second once-over, who is bottom and who is top, which one was so desperate for love he had to turn gay, which one is more girly based on their clothes or manner of speech, and which one was just influenced (or paid), being the “real” man.

You don't even know them but you've already imagined one bent over and receiving the other. You've already made a joke about rectal emergencies in hospitals and loose-assed fart sounds. You don't even know them but they're already lustful pieces of rowdy beasts, just pieces of meat in your eyes.

The fact is you don't want to know them, because they might become human to you. You don't want to know that each boy in that couple is not afraid of you, or that they don’t care what your thoughts are about them or what you want to say. They've heard so much worse.

A lifetime of hurts

Long before that day you saw them, each boy in that tangle has already gone through a lifetime of hurts and failures. He's already been teased, bullied, and threatened with violence because he wasn't like all the other boys.

His own father could have beaten him and his own mother already threatened to disown him. He has already spent nights crying in his bed begging for God to change his most innocent feelings about his identity and desires. He's already hated himself and echoed the disgust we've all fed him, the very first time he realized he had a crush on another guy.

No matter how young he is, or how smart and how talented, that boy you're laughing at already considered taking his own life. All because of someone like you.

Those boys are stronger than you will ever be, and braver than you could ever become. You were never made to sing or dance so relatives could laugh at your effeminate ways when you thought they just liked your talent.

You were never asked by your own parents to correct your mannerisms because it embarrassed them. Most of all, you were never told that you would burn in hell for falling in love. Do you think your wrong impression of them even comes close to what they've already endured?

Imagine being sexualized

Imagine if you saw a teenage boy and girl holding hands and automatically thought of the girl spread-eagled on the guy. Imagine if you and your wife were in the mall and people just pictured her vagina wrapped around your member on your romantic wedding night.

Imagine if you and your beloved girlfriend always brought on the image of her mouth accommodating your penis. It's violating and very offensive, isn't it? Especially for a woman, being thought of in this manner makes one feel dirty and molested. Guess what? This is how it feels when lesbians and gays are sexualized — in your "private" thoughts, in your "honest" questions, and in your "innocent" jokes.

The next time you see two boys or two girls together, before you launch your assumptions and figure out who's the "man" and who's the "woman," before you decide which of the girls was too desperate to get a real man, before you ask each other how you think lesbians make love; how about just letting them have their moment without you?

Can you please ignore them the way you've ignored every other straight couple, and the way we've ignored you? Have the decency to respect us the way we've had to respect you, for simply being a person. We thought you deserved it, so we hope you'd do the same.

Show of hands

Each half of that couple, by the simple defiant act of holding the other one's hand, is choosing to face a hateful world and telling their partner, "I'm with you no matter what they say or do." It is a statement you won't understand because your first love was never ruined by your own parents and friends, and turned into a porn film or a religious offense. It's a gesture whose gravity you don't get because nobody ever stared at you with so much malice and contempt for simply walking with someone you care for.

It's a moment gays and lesbians claim with everything they have, armed only with all of their hurts and the pull of their hearts, braving reactions and risking harm, just to be able to say something you’ve never had to and fortunately never will: "This is the one I love, and there's nothing you or anyone can do about that." – Rappler.com

Sam Miguel
08-12-2013, 10:58 AM
In Jamaica, transgender teen killed by mob

By David McFadden

(Associated Press) | Updated August 12, 2013 - 6:33am

MONTEGO BAY — Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out. His father not only kicked him out of the house at the age of 14 but also helped jeering neighbors push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up.

By age 16, the teenager was dead — beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman. His mistake: confiding to a friend that he was attending a "straight" party as a girl for the first time in his life.

"When I saw Dwayne's body, I started shaking and crying," said Khloe, one of three transgender friends who shared a derelict house with the teenager in the hills above the north coast city of Montego Bay. Like many transgender and gay people in Jamaica, Khloe wouldn't give a full name out of fear.

"It was horrible. It was so, so painful to see him like that."

International advocacy groups often portray this Caribbean island as the most hostile country in the Western Hemisphere for gay and transgender people. After two prominent gay rights activists were murdered, a researcher with the US-based Human Rights Watch in 2006 called the environment in Jamaica for such groups "the worst any of us has ever seen."

Local activists have since disputed that label, but still say homophobia is pervasive. Dwayne's horrific July 22 murder has made headlines in newspapers on the island and stirred calls in some quarters for doing more to protect Jamaica's gay community, especially those who live on the streets and resort to sex work.

Advocates say much of the homophobia is fueled by a nearly 150-year-old anti-sodomy law that bans anal sex as well as by dancehall reggae performers who flaunt anti-gay themes. The island's main gay rights group estimated that two homosexual men were killed for their sexual orientation last year, and 36 were the victims of mob violence.

For years, Jamaica's gay community has lived so far underground that their parties and church services were held in secret locations. Many gays have stuck to a "don't ask, don't tell" policy of keeping their sexual orientation hidden to avoid scrutiny or protect loved ones.

"Judging by comments made on social media, most Jamaicans think Dwayne Jones brought his death on himself for wearing a dress and dancing in a society that has made it abundantly clear that homosexuals are neither to be seen nor heard," said Annie Paul, a blogger and publications officer at Jamaica's campus of the University of the West Indies.

Some say the hostility partly stems from the legacy of slavery when black men were sometimes sodomized as punishment or humiliation. Some historians believe that practice carried over into a general dread of homosexuality.

But in recent years, emboldened young people such as Dwayne have helped bring the island's gay and transgender community out of the shadows. A small group of gay runaways now rowdily congregates on the streets of Kingston's financial district.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's government has also vowed to put the anti-sodomy law to a "conscience vote" in Parliament, and she said during her 2011 campaign that only merit would decide who got a Cabinet position in her government. By contrast, former Prime Minister Bruce Golding said in 2008 that he would never allow homosexuals in his Cabinet.

Dane Lewis, executive director of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays, said there were increasing "pockets of tolerance" on the island.

"We can say that we are becoming more tolerant. And thankfully that's because of people like Dwayne who have helped push the envelope," said Lewis, one of the few Jamaican gays who will publicly disclose his full name.

Yet rights groups still complain of the slow pace of the investigation into Jones' murder, despite the justice minister calling for a full probe.

Police spokesman Steve Brown said detectives working the case are struggling to overcome a chronic problem: a strong anti-informant culture that makes eyewitnesses to murders and other crimes too afraid or simply unwilling to come forward.

Even though some 300 people were at the dance party in the small riverside community of Irwin, police have yet to make a single arrest in Dwayne's murder. Police say witnesses have said they couldn't see the attackers' faces.

Dwayne was the center of attraction shortly after arriving in a taxi at 2 a.m. with his two 23-year-old housemates, Khloe and Keke. Dwayne's expert dance moves, long legs and high cheekbones quickly made him the one that the guys were trying to get next to.

Like many Jamaican homosexuals, Dwayne was careful about confiding in others about his sexual orientation. But when he saw a girl he had known from church, he told her he was attending the party in drag.

Minutes later, according to Khloe and Keke, the girl's male friends gathered around Dwayne in the dimly-lit street asking: "Are you a woman or a man?" One man waved a lighter's flame near Dwayne's sneakers, asking whether a girl could have such big feet.

Then, his friends said, another man grabbed a lantern from an outdoor bar and walked over to Dwayne, shining the bright light over him from head to toe. "It's a man," he concluded, while the others hissed "batty boy" and other anti-gay epithets.

Khloe says she tried to steer him away from the crowd, whispering in Dwayne's ear: "Walk with me, walk with me." But Dwayne pulled away, loudly insisting to partygoers that he was a girl. When someone behind him snapped his bra strap, the teen panicked and raced down the street.

But he couldn't run fast enough to escape the mob.

The teenager was viciously assaulted and apparently half-conscious for some two hours before another sustained attack finished him off, according to Khloe, who was also beaten and nearly raped. She hid in a nearby church and then the surrounding woods, unable to call for help because she didn't have her cellphone.

Dwayne's father in the Montego Bay slum of North Gully didn't want to talk about his son's life or death. The teen's family wouldn't even claim the body, according to Dwayne's friends.

They remembered him as a spirited boy with a contagious laugh who dreamt of becoming a performer like Lady Gaga. He was also a street-smart hustler who resorted to sleeping in the bushes or on beaches when he became homeless. He won a local dancing competition during his time on the streets and was affectionately nicknamed "Gully Queen."

"He was the youngest of us but he was a diva," Khloe said. "He was always very feisty and joking around."

Inside their squatter house, Khloe and Keke said, they still talk to their dead friend.

"I'll be cooking in the kitchen and I'll say, 'Dwayne, you hungry?' or something like that," said Keke while sitting on the old mattress in her bedroom, flinching as neighborhood dogs barked outside. "We just miss him all the time. Sometimes I think I see him."

But down the hall, Dwayne's room is empty except for pink window curtains decorated with roses, his favorite flower.

08-13-2013, 07:34 AM
^ Wow. So things aren't so chill there after all despite the ganja (sorry for the stereotype. couldn't help it).

08-14-2013, 10:43 AM
^ Been there twice, not a stereotype, hahaha!

Sunshine cries rape, files raps vs Cesar

By Janvic Mateo

(The Philippine Star) | Updated August 14, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Actress Sunshine Cruz yesterday filed a criminal complaint against her estranged husband, actor-director Cesar Montano, for alleged physical abuse and rape.

Cruz charged Montano with violation of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Law before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.

When contacted by The STAR, Montano refused to comment on the complaint, citing the gag order issued by the court. But he said he would speak at the proper venue.

Sources said Cruz and Montano have filed for an annulment.

Enumerating the alleged violent acts committed by the actor, Cruz said she almost lost consciousness when Montano, at one instance, slapped her on the face and hit her head on a concrete wall.

On May 12, 2013, she alleged that Montano barged into her house in Quezon City while she was alone and “attacked her, employed physical harm, and raped her.”

The estranged couple had been living separately since their much publicized split-up several months ago.

The actress claimed that Montano’s “foregoing and other series of philandering and womanizing ways” caused their more than 12-year marriage to deteriorate.

She said that she and their children were compelled to leave their conjugal home in February this year.

According to Cruz, Montano deprived her and their kids of “support, shelter, and means of transportation, considering that the children are already of school age.”

She accused him of harassment by threatening her with physical harm, obscene accusations, and grave defamation. She cited several text messages allegedly coming from Montano.

Cruz, who appeared at the Quezon City Hall of Justice to swear on her complaint, said her estranged husband “deceitfully” took custody of their children on July 29 and refused to return them to her.

“He deliberately and forcibly refused to release the minor children to the complainant, and continues to deny complainant the rightful custody and access to her three minor daughters,” read the complaint filed through her lawyer Bonifacio Alentajan.

They asked the prosecutor’s office to file a case against Montano before the Quezon City regional trial court.

Alentajan told reporters that Cruz filed a separate petition for a temporary protection order against Montano.

The lawyer refused to provide details on the petition due to a gag order issued by the court.

08-14-2013, 10:45 AM
Koko’s wife eyes ‘abuse’ raps

By Evelyn Macairan

(The Philippine Star) | Updated August 14, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former beauty queen Jewel May Lobaton on Monday said she may file charges of psychological and economic abuse against her estranged husband, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

Without going into details, Lobaton, winner of the 1998 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe title, said she was consulting lawyers about the possibility of filing charges against Pimentel, with whom she has two children.

“Right now I am talking to my legal adviser, Atty. Salvador Panelo, about it. If there is proof, we are considering legal remedies. I am also asking counsel from my friends,” Lobaton told reporters at the Manila Hotel Monday night where she was sworn in as president of the Inner Wheel Club of Manila.

“This is not going to be easy. I am going to fight a battle not only for myself but also for my children and for all the other women who are going through the same thing,” Lobaton said.

When asked what forms of abuse she endured during her marriage, she only said she was not physically battered.

“It would have been better if it was physical,” she said.

Panelo said Lobaton’s marital problems could be covered by Republic Act no. 9262 or “An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, and Prescribing Penalties.”

Lobaton said she had hoped to have an amicable settlement with her husband for the sake of their children.

“During the past two years, I think I have given my best. I have extended so much love, care and protection to my husband but this time I have decided that it is time to move on,” she added.

Lobaton said she gave Pimentel two years to talk about saving their relationship. The couple had been estranged since 2011.

“He only gave me 15 to 20 minutes of his time despite what I did for him during the campaign. I do a lot of stuff for him because I care for him, he is my husband and the father of our children,” she said.

Pimentel ran for re-election in the May 2013 midterm polls.

Church, civil annulments

Lobaton said she will also file an annulment case in court.

“I will start first with an annulment. I think the fastest and most objective way to deal with separation or a broken marriage is through an annulment, so I might initiate it,” she said.

In a press conference in Bacolod last October, Lobaton said she had just filed a church annulment of her marriage to Pimentel before the Marriage Tribunal of the Diocese of Bacolod. The two were married on Jan. 4, 2000.

She said they both agreed that she will be the one to file the church annulment as he was too busy to file it himself.

They also agreed that the senator will take charge of filing for a civil annulment of their marriage before the courts, she said.

Lobaton said Pimentel is not aware of her plans and neither is she privy to his plans.

“We are not talking about it. As parents, we just talk about when the children will visit him and when I will get the children,” she said.

Lobaton said she has prepared her children about her plans to file abuse charges against Pimentel.

“My two boys are intelligent boys and I have been treating them as adults. I am very honest to them. I tell them that we love them but we could no longer live in the same house,” she said.

Lobaton encouraged other women who are getting maltreatment to seek help.

“I am here to tell all women that if you want to fight for your rights, if you are being abused and not given due treatment both as a person and as a woman, you should seek help because we have a lot of help desks for women and there are legal remedies. If you are abused, I am your friend,” she said.

No comment

Pimentel refused to comment on Lobaton’s statements.

He appealed to the Senate media yesterday not to make a national issue out of his personal life.

“That has been reported many times. Let us just concentrate on those who have been affected by Typhoon Labuyo,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters.

A Bar topnotcher, Pimentel said he has read the law and he knows his rights.

“This is a free country. She can file any case she wants. But then I also have rights. I will defend myself against baseless and harassment charges. And of course, I can also file cases,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel had issued a statement in May last year, saying, “I confirm my separation from my wife of close to 12 years, Jewel May Lobaton. We have been living separately since November 2011.”

Best of friends

Also last year, Lobaton was romantically linked to former Bacolod representative Anthony Rolando Golez and rumors said Golez was the reason for the separation of the Pimentel couple.

Golez and Lobaton denied the rumors, but they were seen together in some public occasions during the election season.

At that time, Lobaton said she would campaign for Golez, who was seeking reelection.

“We are the best of friends. My commitment to him as his friend is, I will stay beside him no matter what other people say,” she said.

Lobaton had also denied allegations that her personal belongings were found in the conjugal home of Golez and his estranged wife, Princess Soraya Jaafar, in Bacolod when the latter had it padlocked.

“Those were not my things. I have no business in the house of congressman Golez,” she said.

“The personal matter between congressman Golez and his wife is none of my business. I am very much aware of it but I am not in a position to comment on that,” Lobaton said.

Napoles who?

Meanwhile, Lobaton also denied knowing businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

“I do not know Janet Napoles. I did not borrow P10 million from her. I have not met her. When I saw the papers the other day, that was the first time I saw her face,” she said.

Panelo said his client is also complaining about the remark made by Pimentel, who did not clear his estranged wife from any involvement with Napoles. – With Danny Dangcalan, Christina Mendez

08-14-2013, 11:12 AM
Sunshine: Cesar raped me on Mother's Day


Posted at 08/13/2013 2:33 PM | Updated as of 08/13/2013 8:39 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) – Actress Sunshine Cruz filed a complaint-affidavit before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Tuesday morning in an Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children case against her husband, actor Cesar Montano.

Among the claims the actress made was an alleged incident of rape last May.

The “Dugong Buhay” star recalled that on Mother's Day, May 12, Montano allegedly "barged" into her residence, "where she was alone, and then violently attacked her, employed physical violence and raped" her.

Cruz was accompanied by her legal counsel, Atty. Bonifacio Alentajan, in the filing of the case.

The actress claims Montano has committed -- and still continues to commit -- acts of violence and verbal abuse against her and her three daughters.

Cruz described Montano as "a very domineering, philandering husband that demanded full submission and obedience" from her.

She also detailed a recent affair between her husband and starlet Krista Miller which, she said, had adverse effects on her daughters, who had read the text messages exchanged between Montano and Miller.

Cruz said her daughter also witnessed her father receive a text photo of Miller in a bikini.

In addition to these claims of abuse, Cruz said she has been denied access to her children since July 29, despite her efforts for them to be brought home.

“Bilang tatay siya ng mga anak ko, as much as possible, we want to protect the person. But since the 29th, hindi ko na rin nakita ang mga anak ko. Hindi ko alam kung bakit ganun kaya I decided to do this already,” she said.

Cruz said this was the trigger for her to file this case against her husband.

“Kasi kapag nasa work naman ako, hinahayaan kong kunin niya ang mga bata. Pero hindi na niya sinauli, puro tomorrow, tomorrow. 'Yung tomorrow na 'yun tumagal na nang tumagal hanggang sa I realized na he’s not going to give back my kids,” she said.

Cruz said she is willing to lose everything except her kids.

“Napakahirap sa akin kasi I’ve been a devoted wife and a mom to my children. Sinakripisyo ko nga lahat para sa mga anak ko tapos parang pusa ka na lang na tinanggalan ng mga kuting. Masakit sa akin ang mga nangyayari,” she said.

Cruz has been granted a temporary protection order by the QC RTC weeks ago, prohibiting Montano to come within 300 meters of her.

A petition for a permanent protection order (PPO) is currently being heard at the QC RTC. A second hearing is scheduled on August 15.

Last January, Cruz announced that she has decided to live apart from Montano, her husband of 13 years, for good. This after Montano was romantically linked to Miller, who recently appeared in a film with the 50-year-old actor.

Before the controversial breakup involving Miller, the celebrity couple, by Cruz's admission, had gone through several rough patches due to Montano's questionable relationships with his co-workers.

ABS-CBN News asked Montano for his side on the issue, but the actor opted not to give any statement for now. -- Report by Ginger Conejero, ABS-CBN News

08-29-2013, 01:56 PM
Coming out of the closet sample letter

by Shakira Sison

Posted on 08/28/2013 7:04 PM | Updated 08/28/2013 7:40 PM

Dear Nanay/Tatay/Mom/Dad/Ma/Pa (choose one or two),

I know it's been a while since we last talked, and I know you've noticed that I haven't been myself. It's true, and sometimes I just don't know how to keep lugging around this weight with me not knowing what will happen if I share it with someone, or at least ask for help in carrying the load.

So I'm writing you a letter, because it's been so hard to say it all in one shot without breaking down and crying, or getting into a fight with you, or being so terrified of your reaction that I'll just change my mind and pretend nothing's wrong, and that my feelings can wait, or maybe I can still change so I don't have to deal with having to tell you.

I'm gay. I've been gay for a while now and I've known I was different since I was small. Please know that I wouldn't be coming to you now with this information if there were other options, so please don't ask me if I'm sure or if I think I can still change my mind.

I was born this way

Please don't ask me to try dating the opposite sex, because I have tried, or at least considered it and rejected it as much as you would reject the suggestion of dating the same sex. I know that sometimes same-sex crushes can be a phase for some, and if that were the case with me I'd tell you (or wouldn't have to tell you) that it's just a meaningless crush.

But this is not a phase. It's part of who I am and who I'm going to be. I can only love another (girl/boy), and I am so scared that you'll hate me. So many people around me already do. I've been teased enough and heard so many hurtful things about being gay long before I realized I actually was, and long before I decided to tell you. I was hoping that unlike the rest of the world, you wouldn't hate me too. I hope that I'm not wrong.

I'm so scared you'll also tell me that the world will not like me, and that our religion will shun me, or that I will end up alone. I've already heard all of that before but hoped that someone who loves me would never say those things. I'm afraid you'll blame yourself and tell me it was because of (too many/not enough) days playing sports, spending too much time with (insert gay relative/friend here), or that it has anything to do with how you raised me. It doesn't.

I was born this way, and it's not your fault. It's not even a fault, because I am most happy when I'm free to be myself and can be open about being gay. I know that it's not what you intended for me, and that you probably don't understand what I'm telling you right now and what it means. But the only thing I ask is that you understand me, being your child, and that you won't reject me.

I am happy

I've thought about it a million times and played all the scenarios in my head. You know sometimes when I am quiet and you ask me what I am thinking or what is wrong? That's me playing out my options. I know that the easiest route to avoid all of this would be to keep my secret to myself so I don't rock our boat.

I could take all the steps you expect of me and find an opposite-sex spouse, marry and have a family. I know that would make you happy. But your happiness at that lie would crush me. I'm sorry if I believe that you don't want to crush my heart and soul by following what you want for me. I’m sorry if it turns out that your happiness would be affected if I decided to pursue mine.

I know that you will be worried about me and what my future will be. I know that you might think that gay people cannot marry and have families. But we do have those options, and I don't want you to be worried. I only want you to understand that the person I will love and who will take care of me might not be the picture you have in your mind.

You have raised me so well, and have given me so many opportunities. What I have told you right now does not change my prospects for happiness, for a good career, or for a happy home life. In fact, I can't wait to share my happiness with you.

Accept me

Please know that I've been thinking about telling you for a long time, and I didn't have to tell you now, or at all. But I don't know, maybe something in me is saying that you'll love me no matter what, just like you've always said that I could choose any ambition, career, or hobby that makes me happy.

You've always taught me to be truthful, to be honest with myself and with others, so I hope you know that I can only be happy being true to myself. Maybe it's naive for me to hope that I could share my happiness with you when I find the one for me, or that you will accept me as I am, as well as the family that I hope to have one day.

I hope that you will still love me and respect me the way you always have, the way you've embraced me and the person I've become, the way you have loved everything about me before everything I've told you today.

I love you, and it's taken all my strength to take the biggest risk of my life by asking you today to love me too. All of me, the way I love all of you.


(insert name)

Sam Miguel
08-30-2013, 09:57 AM
Court upholds 1st ban on gay-to-straight therapy

Associated Press

7:55 am | Friday, August 30th, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court sided with California on Thursday and upheld the first law in the nation banning a psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay youth straight.

In a resounding, unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the state law barring the so-called gay aversion therapy legal in every respect.

The judges said trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation through intense therapy appeared dangerous, and that California lawmakers properly showed that the sexual orientation change efforts were outside the scientific mainstream and have been rejected for good reason.

“One could argue that children under the age of 18 are especially vulnerable with respect to sexual identity and that their parents’ judgment may be clouded by this emotionally charged issue as well,” Judge Susan Graber wrote for the court panel.

The California Legislature cited reports, experts and anecdotes involving suicides, substance abuse and other behavior by young recipients of the therapy before members voted last year to ban it for minors.

“Efforts to change a young person’s sexual orientation pose critical health risks, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide,” Lambda Legal, which defends gay rights, said in an email statement about Thursday’s ruling.

The activities of pastors and lay counselors who are unlicensed but provide such therapy through church programs are not covered by the law.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed a similar law that would also outlaw the therapy in his state.

Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal aid group that represents support of the practice, said it will either ask a larger panel of the court to reconsider the decision or petition the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case. Liberty Counsel is also fighting the New Jersey law.

“The minors that Liberty Counsel represents do not want to act on same-sex attractions, nor do they want to engage in such behavior,” the group said in an email statement. “They are greatly benefiting from this counseling.”

Liberty and other backers of the therapy argue that lawmakers have no conclusive, scientific proof that the therapy does harm.

When California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law, he said the therapy was “quackery,” and sessions trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation have “no basis in science or medicine.”

The court ruling on Thursday resolved two conflicting lower decisions while reinstating the ban.

Those decisions came after judges wrestled with the legality of the state law that backers said punishes licensed therapists for trying to change the sexual orientation of minors.

The 9th Circuit said lawmakers relied on sufficient credible data to pass the law, including scientific reports, expert testimony and anecdotal evidence. No mainstream psychological organization supports the treatment.

The Legislature also considered evidence that the practice is safe and effective, but the overwhelming consensus was that it was harmful and ineffective, Graber wrote for the panel.

“On this record, we have no trouble concluding that the Legislature acted rationally by relying on that consensus,” she said.

Graber said the court only had to decide whether the therapy was potentially harmful to children and didn’t need to decide if it was dangerous for adults because their emotions about their sexual identity may be vastly different.

Supporters of the therapy argued in court that the state law violated the free speech rights of counselors; the law was so poorly written that it left practitioners confused over determining the legality of their treatment; and trampled on parental rights to make mental health decisions for their children. In short, the proponents of the therapy argued that the state law cut off a legitimate mental health treatment.

The law says therapists and counselors who practice the therapy would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards. It was supposed to take effect at the beginning of the year but was put on hold pending the 9th Circuit’s ruling.

Thursday’s ruling reverses that injunction.

Sam Miguel
09-25-2013, 09:51 AM
Laws that discriminate against women

by Ana P. Santos

Posted on 09/24/2013 10:30 AM | Updated 09/24/2013 12:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Under Philippine law, a woman may be accused of adultery or having sexual relations with a man that is not her husband. Adultery may be substantiated with the presentation of circumstantial evidence. However, under the same law, a man may only be accused of concubinage.

The difference? There are three and they are not limited to what happens in between the sheets.

Concubinage requires evidence to prove that a man is having sex with a woman who is not his wife under scandalous circumstances, that he is keeping the woman [with whom he is carrying on sexual relationship with] in the conjugal home or that he is cohabiting with her in another dwelling.

Concubinage requires proof while adultery may be premised on circumstance.

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the government agency tasked with championing gender equality, has included the amendment of the Infidelity Law in the Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda for the 16th Congress. The PCW is also calling for the amendment or repeal of other specific provisions of the Revised Penal Code and Family Code , an amendment to the Anti-Rape Law and Anti-Sexual Harassment Law and the enactment of the Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy

“Certain laws really need to be amended, either they are updated to reflect the issues of the current times or they should be repealed altogether,” said Anette Baleda, PCW Chief of the Policy Development and Advocacy Division.

Archaic and outdated

The Infidelity Law is based on the Revised Penal Code issued in 1930.

The Revised Penal Code superseded the Spanish Legal Code, which was in place from 1886-1930.

“The rationale for this law was to protect the lineage of the family. Women who have sexual relations with a man who is not her husband may get pregnant and bring in foreign blood to the family,” said Baleda.

“This really needs updating because in this day and age, there are modern ways of proving paternity. Also, apart from the varying definitions of infidelity, the degree of punishment also discriminate against women,” added Baleda.

Under the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for women who commit adultery ranges from 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to a maximum of 6 years. The penalty for men who commit concubinage ranges from 6 months and 1 day to a maximum of 4 years and 2 months.

A policy note issued by the PCW proposes addressing the inequalities in this law while still protecting the institution of marriage by not distinguishing between the infidelity of a man from the infidelity of a woman, imposing the same penalties for offending parties, and barring an offended party from instituting a criminal prosecution if he or she is also guilty of committing infidelity.

But a women’s rights NGO has a different view and is calling for the complete repeal on the penal provision on adultery.

“Equalizing the penalty for marital infidelity does not promote equality of women. The provision on adultery infringes on one's right to sexuality. Moreover, in reality, the batterer-husbands are the ones who file such adultery cases to harass their wives,” said Clara Padilla, executive director of EnGendeRights.


Other similar provisions in the Revised Penal Code included in the Women’s Legislative Agenda that the PCW says discriminate against women is Article 247 on Death or Physical Injuries Inflicted Under Exceptional Circumstances.

Article 247 states that if any legally married spouse who unexpectedly catches his or her spouse having sex with another and shall kill or seriously harm one or both of them shall face the penalty of destierro, which prohibits the convicted person from entering court‐designated places or a specified radius of those places.

Article 247 also makes a direct reference daughters under 18: “These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to parents with respect to their daughters under eighteen years of age, and their seducer, while the daughters are living with their parents.”

“Our recommendation is to have this provision repealed all together. The provision on daughters discriminate against women and killing is killing; people should not be allowed to take the law into their own hands,” explained Baleda.

Another provision, Article 351 on Pre-Mature Marriage prohibits women to re-marry within 301 days from the death of her husband or prior to delivery if she was pregnant at the time of his death.

“The period 301 days is roughly equivalent to the nine months of pregnancy and is again linked with protecting the lineage of the family. With the modern scientific ways we now have to prove paternity, we are recommending that this provision be repealed,” said Baleda.

Why is it taking so long?

There have been a number of laws and international agreements the Philippines has entered into promising equality and the to promotion the rights of women.

The Magna Carta of Women, which was passed in 1999 provides for the amendment or repeal of laws that are discriminatory to women, as does the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development (PPGD).

So why is it taking so long to have these laws amended or repealed?

“Unang – una na lang, tignan natin ang hystorical composisyon ng Congress, karamihan mga lalaki. Sinasabi nga natin ng macho ang Congresso,” said Rhoda Avila, secretary-general of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP). “Pangalawa, kahit na babae ang Congressista, hindi ibi sabibin pro-women ang pananaw nya sa mga batas.” [First of all, we have to look at the historical composition of Congress; they are mostly men. We say that we have a macho Congress. Secondly, even if we have female legislators, it doesn’t mean that they are automatically pro-women.”]

DSWP is a nationwide grassroots organization that has been lobbying for policies that will women’s empowerment, women’s sexual reproductive health rights, among others.

Kung titingin mo nga, kapag ang panukalang batas ay dudulot ng kabutihan sa sambayanan, lalong lalo na sa mga kababakihan, napakahirap ito ipasa. Hindi ito ang nagiging priority ng Congresso, said Avila citing the experience of policy activists in pushing for pro-women legislation. “The amendments in the Anti-Rape Law took 10 years, the VAWC (violence against women and their children) Law, 10 years din. Ang RH Law, 14 years na kasalukuyang pa din nakabinbin sa Courte Suprema.”

But the PCW remains positive that the Women’s Legislative Agenda will be given priority in the 16th Congress.

“The PCW is optimistic that the proposed measures will be passed in the 16th Congress, especially now that the House of Representatives has 79 women legislators and the Senate with six women senators, the highest in the history of Philippine politics,” said in a released statement. – [I]Rappler.com

Sam Miguel
09-26-2013, 09:48 AM
Why do we hate effeminate men?

by Shakira Sison

Posted on 09/26/2013 8:26 AM | Updated 09/26/2013 8:41 AM

I hear it often in the form of a thoughtless compliment: "Lesbians are okay. Basta huwag lang bakla (Just not gay men)."

I once asked a classmate why. He said he couldn't stand effeminate men. "Gusto kong pagsasapakin (I want to maul them)," he said. Another man told me that whenever he sees a transgender female, he wants to pull off her earrings and tell her, "Umayos ka nga! (Go fix yourself!)"

Why the animosity? Why is there this vicious knee-jerk response of violence to someone who is simply breaking norms? We'd like to believe that gay men are a legitimate part of our society, and yet when attacks happen, it's usually directed at the more effeminate ones. What irks us about the feminine man?

The road to manhood

The road to manhood in the Philippines (and in many near-theocratic countries) is a difficult and restrictive journey for boys whose objective becomes the assertion of one's masculinity as often and as early as they can.

This is more common in developing countries where poverty makes men feel they have no control of their surroundings and finances. In search of power, they tend to dominate the men around them and restrict the role of women to assert their masculinity. In these environments, gender norms are so strong and the penalties for not fitting into the masculine model are severe, such as bullying and physical assault by one's own parents or peers, to name a few. Boys grow up policing each other, identifying and weeding out the weak, the not so manly, or "the girls."

Femininity is a step down

What is so reprehensible about femininity? Why is it such an unwanted behavior for a boy to exhibit a slight bend in the hand, an appreciation for fashion and style, or to play with other girls? What are we afraid of when a boy shows feminine qualities?

The hierarchy within the Filipino family is pretty firm, even with a rise in single mother households and alternative structures. To a man, adopting the role of a woman is a step down from being padre de familia (head of household) and is emasculating, because the traditional role of women is still to keep the home and care for children. The male figure is still the decision maker, often the breadwinner, and even if he does not bring home the bacon, the wife is often more than willing to take a step back to preserve her husband's "manhood." As such, a boy that exhibits female traits is often thought of as one who will be dominated by a man, cannot and will not make decisions, is frail and easily oppressed.

Who would want a life of subservience for their child? Except of course if she's already a girl, then it's fine, right?

With how boys are prized and men are revered in our society, it would definitely be disheartening to "lose" a son's manhood because a lot relies on a boy to carry on his father's masculinity, to lead the home after him, and then head a family of his own. Sociologically, we look for the presence of a man to judge if a particular family unit is strong and intact, and we make assumptions about its integrity when there is no masculine figure. Because traditional roles dictate that a man should protect and provide for his family, we assume there is no protector nor provider if there is no manly presence. Couldn't he do this if he had feminine qualities?

Except that the world (and even the Philippines) has progressed far past these ideas. Many a household have been lead by women, and even by gay men. Even the stereotypical parloristas have been known to support their entire families and make financial decisions the way their straight, ‘hard male’ counterparts could not. But in the end, when it comes down to respect, even if family members are grateful for the parlorista's financial support, they are very quick to qualify a flaw - "kahit na bakla siya (even if he's gay )" - as if femininity and providing for one's family are mutually exclusive.

Homophobia equals misogyny

It's hard not to feel that the hatred of effeminate men translates to a hatred of women. In a way, feminine qualities are associated with inferiority and not something to which one should aspire or be proud of. To wear mommy's dress is to be mommy - weak and subservient - and therefore, nothing like a 'real' man.

It is in the thought that women are by nature submissive, fickle, intellectually inferior and emotionally unpredictable that perpetuates this hatred when men show these qualities. It stirs in them lessons from youth that to be female is to be inferior, and will deserve ridicule or physical harm. Early on, boys learn that to be an effeminate man is to be someone's bitch, and only women deserve to be dominated by a man.

If a man is acting more feminine, men react to this because they despise the role they themselves give women, but it's totally fine if a woman has that role because they believe that's her place. A submissive woman affirms traditional masculinity and manhood, while an assertive woman or a feminine man challenges it.

A disgust for femininity

The next time we encounter our own adverse response to effeminate men, let's ask ourselves: What womanly trait do we see in them that we hate? What are the connotations of that gesture or act? Why doesn't it belong in a man? What happens if we allow it to flourish in a man? Why does it belong only in a woman?

When we equate gentleness, flamboyance, and beauty with inferiority; and when we take softness or eloquence as being emotional and irrational, we refuse to let our men have these traits. We limit these traits to women as negatives. When we make sure only ‘real men’ are heads of households, soldiers or police officers, does that mean we view female qualities as flaws?

The next time you feel these reactions, ask yourself: Why do we take such great measures to sway our sons away from femininity? Could it be that our girls have a certain place in society that we accept? It must be so bad that we are hell bent that our sons never step down to that sad place only women should take. We'd rather harm our sons by changing their ways, rather than see in them a female trait. - Rappler.com

Sam Miguel
09-26-2013, 09:50 AM
^^^ We hate the effeminate / effete man because he is not acting as a man ought. It's like when your car is making a funny sound every time you turn turn the ignition. If something is not acting / working as it should our logical conclusion is that there is something wrong with it. When something is wrong we try to fix it so it acts / works as it should.

Is that a difficult line of logic to follow?

Sam Miguel
10-03-2013, 11:17 AM
‘Dad, I’m moving out’

By Chiara U. Mesiona

Philippine Daily Inquirer

8:36 pm | Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

One of the scariest things I have ever pushed myself to do is sit my father down and ask him to let me move out of his house and into an apartment with my best friend. It wasn’t the living-on-my-own part that frightened me; rather, it was the potentially catastrophic, volcanic eruption of anger and disappointment from him.

But what happened was worse: He began to tear up. When the man you have looked up to since you were a child, the man who maintains this unbreakable protective exterior under which you can’t help but take cover, breaks into tears—speechless, I might add, for about 10 straight minutes—it breaks you even more.

According to Jim Coleman, resource speaker and father of four girls, the first rule in father-daughter relationships is that fathers wound their daughters. The second rule is that you cannot change the first rule. He means to say that fathers will make decisions, whether with too much love or too little, that will affect their daughters throughout their lifetime.

Observing it closely, I see that there is some sort of rite of passage that a daughter goes through: from complete awe of and dependence on her father to self-doubt, to recognition of disillusionment, to initial dynamic friction, before outright rebellion, and then finally detachment.

A father’s opinion possesses a unique weight. Everything he says and does is amplified or even glorified in a little girl’s mind. I can’t help it. That’s what happens when you’re daddy’s little girl.

My father seemed to enjoy my dependence on him, and in fact still does at times, and though I would never have admitted it back then, I quite delighted in being (for lack of a better term) the spoiled youngest of four girls. With much pride, I grew up claiming that “I am my father’s daughter” as if it were a golden ticket, an easy pass, and I could get through absolutely anything and beat absolutely anyone. Confidence is great, but I bordered on being cocky.

Then I grew up, as little girls do. I woke up and I was 23, and suddenly I could see the little chinks in my father’s armor that I had never noticed before. My peers went on with their lives, and not surprisingly I realized how behind I was in terms of strength of character, and how much I needed to catch up. Needless to say, gaining countless failures shattered my disillusionment. My father was not infallible, after all. I was not invincible, after all. I was a weak small fish in a very big ocean. I grudgingly accepted that I had much to learn. My father’s achievements were not mine. His properties were not mine. His history was not mine.

Predictably, my initial course of action was to “blame thy parents.” But as daughters get old, so do excuses, and there was nothing left to do but change. Adapt. Claim something that’s mine.

Fathers are strong and firm, but I have to admit it is funny how a daughter can dismantle them, most of the time unknowingly. Maybe I was still in my rebellion phase, but leaving my father’s house was a melodramatic, quite literal, and quite necessary breakaway. This was normal. This was inevitable.

Fathers, therefore, must prepare for its coming. They are normally pre-programmed to fear their daughter’s capability to think and choose for herself, to materially provide, and provide even more, and to pave a way usually not of her choosing because of some self-serving intention to perpetuate their legacy. They shouldn’t.

They should be a provider, give enough of the material things, but never put a limit to communication and support. As little girls get older, we realize that these are things that build value through time, not things that turn into clutter and eventually are thrown out. They should provide with the primary motive of equipping her to fight on her own, and protect with the primary purpose of fortifying her character so she can protect herself. They should be careful of their expectations and words because these can either build the potential of a daughter to be creative, organic and genuine—or break her.

We are our fathers’ daughters, but they shouldn’t forget that they are their daughters’ fathers, too.

I personally recommend that a daughter smoothly fly out of her father’s nest. In my case, it let me define my own success and independence. Nonetheless, we should thank parents for our difficulty because when we come out of it, we will be stronger and our own person. We must accept our parents’ imperfections because only through this can we fully come to terms with our own “chinks.”

But after detachment, there is one final and most critical stage, which I am relieved to have surpassed: redefining and rebuilding the father-daughter dynamic. Without this, it will be limbo-like—prolonged unfinished business, festering expectations, disappointments, hate and distance. This is what we daughters must be wary of most of all. Break away, but don’t forget to come back and build something better.

10-25-2013, 01:51 PM
Unique campaign


By Jose C. Sison

(The Philippine Star) | Updated October 25, 2013 - 12:00am

From any point of view there is simply something improper in a relationship between an old man in his 60s and a young girl only 16 years old. This is an oddity that may be of common occurrence but it will certainly attract media attention if it involves a celebrated Filipino singer of yore known for his compositions with meaningful messages, and an unknown minor. It is really not established or admitted that their affair ended in carnal knowledge of the girl. But if there is such carnal knowledge it may even be punishable as a crime of simple seduction under our Revised Penal Code if deceit is employed. And in this case it is most likely that there is deceit simply because of the big age gap between them. Of course this element of the crime must be proven beyond reasonable doubt and cannot just be subject of unfounded conclusion, so it cannot really be said that 60 year old singer has committed a crime.

But even if there is no criminal act of seduction here, still there appears to be some form of abuse and exploitation prejudicial to the development of the minor. This kind of affair may amount to “violence” against a woman of tender age even if no actual physical force or intimidation is employed. It may constitute a violation of R.A. 7610 otherwise known as an “Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination and for other Purposes.”

The girl in this case indeed falls under the category of “children” for she is a person below 18 of age (Section 3, [a]). And under Section 10 (b) “any person shall keep in his company a minor who is ten years his junior in any public or private place” has also committed acts of “abuse prejudicial to the child’s development.” The only exception here is if he is keeping the child in his custody as part in the performance of a social, moral or legal duty, which is definitely not the case here.

Of course we should not immediately condemn the sexagenarian singer for he may really be doing these things out of pure love. Indeed we should give him the benefit of the doubt especially because he is one of the most admired and talented singers in the country. The problem however is the publication of whole affair that has definitely scandalized society. He should just have kept it as quiet as possible.

In this connection, coming to mind right away is another well known Filipino artist, a very talented stage actress who became involved in a movement to end violence against women and children. She is no other than Ms. Monique Wilson who has been involved in the V-Day Movement, a global activist movement that raises awareness on the issues of violence against women and children and the efforts to end it by raising funds for this purpose. The movement was founded by award winning playwright Eve Ensler known for her many artistic works more especially the multi-awarded play, The “Vagina Monologues” precisely dealing on these issues. The play has already been staged here starring Ms. Monique Wilson herself.

The V-Day movement has already raised over $100 million in its fund campaign; educated millions about the issue on violence against women and children and the efforts to end it; crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns; reopened shelters and funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq.

For more than 15 years, V-Day activists have mobilized in more than 200 countries and worked tirelessly on the grassroots level to demand an end to all forms of violence against women and girls. In the face of resistance, V-day activists have raised consciousness about the injustices committed against women, obtained enactment of laws or changed some of them, funded rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters, and groups doing essential work of ending violence and serving survivors and educating their communities. According to Ms. Wilson, the tradition peculiar to some countries recognizing absolute authority of the father as head of the family or patriarchy, as well the institutionalized hatred of women or misogyny create barriers to real justice for survivors.

Recently, V-Day has again launched the campaign called “One Billion Rising For Justice” to be held on February 14, 2014, Valentines’ Day (this is why the movement is called V-Day). One billion rising refers to the one billion women or one in three women in the planet who will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. This campaign will build upon the energy and momentum created last February 14, 2013 when one billion activists in 207 countries came together to strike, dance and rise to end violence and injustice against women and girls. This year the campaign will focus on the issue of “justice for all survivors of gender violence and an end to the rampant impunity that prevails globally”. The campaign is a recognition that violence against women and girls cannot end “without looking at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy” at the heart of which is impunity.

As Ms. Wilson, who has been named a Director of the campaign said: Our stories have been buried, denied, erased, altered and minimized by patriarchal systems that allow impunity to reign. Justice begins when we speak, release and acknowledge the truth in solidarity and community.” So the affair on February 14, 2014 is “an invitation to break free from confinement, obligation, shame, guilt, grief pain, humiliation, rage and bondage through art, dance, marches, rituals songs spoken word, testimonies and whatever way that best expresses their outrage, their needs, their desires and their joys.” On that day, people around the world will “RISE, RELEASE, and DANCE.”

* * *

Sam Miguel
11-06-2013, 10:07 AM
Glitz, politics as Russia hosts Miss Universe; Miss PH favored to take title

Agence France-Presse

9:42 am | Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

MOSCOW—Russia on Tuesday began hosting Miss Universe for the first time in the pageant’s 61-year history, with contestants from 86 countries shimmying along a catwalk in a concert hall in Moscow.

Politics came near to overshadowing the glitz as one US host refused to come in protest at an anti-gay law, while the contest’s owner, Donald Trump, declared US leaker Edward Snowden, who is living in hiding in Russia, persona non grata.

Tuesday’s preliminary round saw participants strut across a stage with a backdrop of onion domes, first in black and red bikinis, and then in sparkling and slinky evening dresses.

The women did not speak except to give their name and country. The biggest cheers went to the Russian contestant as well as those from Mexico and the Philippines, who were greeted by flag-waving fans.

Widely tipped to take the crown this year is Miss Philippines, 24-year-old chemistry graduate Ariella Arida.

The winner will be crowned at the main show on Saturday, which includes an interview round.

The judges for the main show will include Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and flamboyant Russian pop king Filipp Kirkorov, while ex-Spice Girls star Mel B will co-host.

The organizers promise the unveiling of a million-dollar “emerald, ruby and diamond” swimming costume on Saturday, which the winner will get to wear.

Row on gay rights

While hardly a trail-blazer on gender issues, Miss Universe this year has prompted a row on gay rights.

The show’s initial co-host Andy Cohen, who is openly gay, pulled out in August because of the choice of Russia as the venue.

He criticized a law passed by Putin in June that bars promoting homosexuality in the presence of minors and has prompted international concern that it can be used to crack down on gay pride events.

However, NBC host Thomas Roberts, who is also gay and has married his partner, has taken over the role.

“I choose to offer my support of the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay,” he said in a statement, while calling Russia’s treatment of gay people “unacceptable.”

Miss USA, Erin Brady, said she understood why Cohen pulled out.

“I think a lot of people had mixed emotions coming here. If that’s something he believed in and he didn’t feel comfortable, then I support that,” she told AFP.

But she said that Roberts “had a different outlook on it, he thought: well you know what, I want to come here and show people that it’s OK.”

The show’s billionaire owner Trump took to Twitter last month to bar National Security Agency leaker Snowden from attending the show.

“Message to Edward Snowden, you’re banned from @MissUniverse. Unless you want me to take you back home to face justice!” he wrote.

Snowden is believed to be living in or near Moscow after leaving its Sheremetyevo airport for a secret address in August.

Trump issued an invitation to Putin, however, telling NBC in October that: “We have invited Vladimir Putin and I know for a fact that he wants very much to come.”

“It would be beautiful to have him there and I would be honored to meet him,” said Miss USA Brady.

The contest began in Palm Beach in 1952 and still bans its contestants from being married or pregnant. Complete with swimsuit round, the contest remains hugely popular, particularly in Central and South America.

Russia won Miss Universe in 2002, but the policewoman Oksana Fyodorova was dethroned after US shock jock Howard Stern provoked her into chatting about her sex life. She now presents a children’s television show.

The show is being held in Crocus City Hall, a concert venue by the Moscow ring road. Performing at the show will be pop singer Emin Agalarov, whose family company built the venue. He has made a video with the current Miss Universe, American Olivia Culpo.

The singer, known as Emin, is also the son-in-law of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and performed at the Eurovision song contest when it was held in Baku last year.—Anna Malpas

11-18-2013, 06:40 AM
The problem with virginity

by Ana P. Santos

Posted on 04/23/2013 9:01 PM | Updated 04/25/2013 10:28 AM


After a Rappler #SexTalk Google+ Hangout, I was asked if oral sex causes pregnancy -- on Twitter.

I was quite surprised by the publicly posted question, but not caught entirely off guard, thanks to a friend who suggested that I reply, “Hindi ka mabubuntis, ‘day! Mabubusog ka lang!” [You won’t get pregnant, girlfriend, but you will have a full stomach!]

It was a tempting reply, but I decided to give her the scientific facts: “No, unprotected oral sex does not cause pregnancy, but oral sex can lead to STIs.”

She was not content with my reply and I asked that I follow her fake Twitter account so she could send me a DM (direct message).

In her succession of DMs (it was, of course, longer than 140 characters), she revealed her nagging concern and a little bit more about her sexual activity.

She described -- apologizing for going into graphic detail because she didn’t know what to call this sexual practic -- how her boyfriend would slide his penis outside her vagina but never put it inside. She was looking for reassurance that this would not get her pregnant.

Unfortunately, it was assurance neither science nor I could give and told her, “Even without penetration, pre-ejaculation fluid already contains a mixture of sperm and semen, which can get you pregnant or give you an STI. I recommend you use a condom at all times.”

“But he’s never put it inside because I don’t want him to,” she protested.

I restrained myself from telling her that genitalia is slippery when wet and there is a high probability that her boyfriend would “slip” and fall inside.

Her protests matched her persistence as her DMs continued to flood my inbox. “And I’m a virgin. So very limited chances of getting pregnant, right?”

Ah…and there lies the problem with virginity and the obsession with preserving the hymen.

The flawed logic of abstinence only programs

On paper, it may seem like abstinence-only programs are an appropriate response to combatting teen pregnancy and rising STIs.

But in the practice of real life, it is not exactly the case.

The Guttmacher Institute, a leading US-based research institute on sexual reproductive health conducted a study, “Consequences of Sex Education on Teen and Young Adult Sexual Behaviors and Outcomes” (also published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health), and showed that teens who receive sex education that talks about both waiting to have sex and methods of birth control are more responsible about sexual activity than those who receive no sex education at all.

The study, done among a group of 4,691 men and women, aged 15-24 in a 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth, showed the following:

Respondents who had received instruction on both abstinence and birth control were older at first sex than their peers who had received no formal instruction. They were also more likely to have used condoms or other contraceptives at first sex. In addition, these respondents also reportedly had healthier partnerships.

Condom use at first sex was significantly less likely among females who received only abstinence instruction than among those who had received information about both abstinence and birth control.

Given the possible influence this information has on sexual activity, it was also recommended that this information reach people before they start engaging in sexual activity.

Everything but the girl

In a study on taking a virginity pledge published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and American Journal of Sociology, Drs Hannah Brückner and Peter Bearman found that taking a virginity pledge does delay sexual initiation among people -- but only for an average of 18 months.

Brückner and Bearman found that among sexually experienced youth, more than 88% of pledgers had broken their pledge and had sex before marriage. (Remember Britney Spears?) They found "loopholes" to keep their pledges (and their hymen intact) by engaging in risky oral or anal sex instead.

It was not clear in the study what caused them to break their pledge, but the study showed that once they engaged in sexual activity, they did not use contraception or condoms and were therefore at higher risk for STIs and unintended pregnancy and usually had more partners in a shorter period of time.

A number of studies show that providing comprehensive sexual health education has a better impact on delaying sexual initiation and developing sexually responsible attitudes than abstinence-only programs.

Some reasons that have been forwarded.

1. It puts restrictions where there should be options

An abstinence-only program is premised on prohibitions and restrictions and gives very little options. Its message is not to have sex, but does not offer alternatives like making responsible sexual health decisions if you do.

2. It limits the definition of virginity to an intact hymen and regulates sex to be within the bounds of marriage

In so doing, it effectively fails to consider and provide options for those who cannot get married like the LGBT community.

It may keep people from keeping their hymen intact, but not from engaging in sex altogether. So couples try everything from dry humping to oral sex, anal sex or like the girl on Twitter, sliding the penis outside the vagina and never putting it inside. Everything but the girl, as they say.

3. It limits the discussion to just sex and not having it when the issue is so much more than that

Just as learning Math was more than just putting 2 and 2 together, sex education is so much more than sex.

Math is a lesson in logic, accuracy, order and sequence. Similarly, sex education is also about relationships you have with yourself and others, and how decisions you make can impact the future. The deeper lessons of sex education are accountability and forward-thinking.

Just to be clear, as any sexual health educator will tell you, abstinence is the most effective form of birth control and protection against STIs. But it must not be done selectively by engaging in haphazard alternatives meant to simply comply with preserving the hymen.

And as for virginity -- let virginity be a choice, not one imposed by social conditioning and the need for moral acceptance. Let virginity be a personal decision rather than a measure of someone’s character, or lack of it. - Rappler.com

11-18-2013, 03:34 PM
What the Gay Community Lost While It Was Winning Gay Marriage

A new book highlights the shortcomings of the campaign for marriage equality—but is it too pessimistic about what its success means for the LGBT community?

Noah Berlatsky Nov 15 2013, 11:28 AM ET

In 1990, 75 percent of Americans believed homosexual sex was immoral, and gay marriage was illegal in literally every jurisdiction in the world. Not quite 25 years later, a majority of Americans support gay marriage, and among young people support is as high as 70 percent. That is a breathtaking transformation; if you'd told LGBT organizations and advocates a quarter century ago that they were on the verge of a public relations coup of this magnitude, almost none of them would have believed it. Even now, it's hard to credit. How on earth did it happen?

Leigh Moscowitz's new book, The Battle Over Marriage: Gay Rights Activism Through the Media doesn't set out to answer that question, but it does hint at one possibility: that the public relations revolution was achieved, in part, through the tremendous savviness and hard work of gay rights activists.

In the 1990s and early 2000s antipathy to LGBT people in the media was intense, and appeared in ways both overt and subtle. Even when the topic was gay marriage or gays in the military, gay life was exoticized: Images accompanying LGBT news items often showed "seedy gay bars or seminaked parade revelers," in the words of an Advocate article Moscowitz quotes. News networks often framed debates in terms of God vs. gays, with gay activists on one side and anti-homosexual religious leaders, with all the respectability that religion lends, on the other.

But, as Moscowitz shows, LGBT organizations figured out ways to respond. They sent video tapes of gays and lesbians in domestic settings—"walking their dog, cooking dinner, coming home from work"—to the TV networks for use as background, or “b-roll,” footage for related news stories. They worked to get LGBT-friendly religious leaders in front of the cameras.

The campaign against negative representation, particularly in the gay marriage debate, was effective. As Moscowitz points out though, the LGBT community’s public relations successes have created some problems as well. In particular, the push for gay marriage has drawn attention away from other issues. For example, lesbian and gay people can still be fired for their sexual orientation in 24 states; transgender people can be fired in 44. (A national LGBT employment non-discrimination law is currently stalled in the House.)

More generally, the very topic of marriage equality foregrounds assimilation; those b-rolls sent to the studios presented LGBT people as typical middle-Americans, working middle-class jobs, raising kids, living the American dream. The half-naked Pride paraders were carefully pushed off center-stage. At the extremes, this trend meant gay people themselves were sidelined, as in the much-maligned failed 2012 Proposition 8 campaign in California, which focused on straight politicians and allies touting gay marriage rather than showing pictures of gay families (though, as Moscowitz says, a campaign in Maine the same year which centered on gay families also failed).

Moscowitz writes that, "in selling one particular version of gay and lesbian life, the movement risks unintentionally casting other forms of gay identity (not being part of a monogamous, married, child-rearing couple) to the margins." She argues that when news media chose LGBT weddings to highlight, they inevitably included couples who looked and acted as much like traditional heterosexual couples as possible. In a couple of instances, Moscowitz says, "one partner took the last name of the other, ironically participating in a heterosexist and patriarchal practice historically rooted in property ownership."

Moscowitz's general point is well-taken; assimilation is a loss as well as a triumph, and its rewards don't always extend to those who, for whatever reason, can't or won't fit themselves into the wedding cummerbund society demands. But is it really "ironic" for gays or lesbians to take on their partner's name? Does that really mean the couples in question are blind to patriarchy and property ownership? As an analogy: Moscowitz is in the academy, an institution which long restricted or outright excluded women. Is it ironic for her to be writing as a woman or advocating for gay rights in that context? Or does it show, not that Moscowitz is deluded, but that institutions can change? Similarly, when a woman takes another woman's name upon marriage, it could be seen not as ironic capitulation, but as an insistence that the rituals of marriage are about two becoming one in the name of love, rather than about property ownership. Assimilation is often seen as being a one-way process, in which a minority becomes more like the majority. But I think it could instead be viewed as a dialectic, which changes not just the assimilated but the assimilator as well.

This is not to dismiss Moscowitz's concerns. She's certainly correct when she emphasizes that the egalitarian potential of gay marriage will only be met "if the conversation about marriage…remains focused on the ummarrieds as well": Gay people shouldn't need to get married to be recognized as human, nor should only married gay people have equal rights.
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"Marriage inevitably values heterosexual hierarchies and lifelong monogamous commitment," Moscowitz says — but that "inevitably" is exactly what's at stake in the marriage equality debate. Conservatives who insist that gays marrying will change marriage as we know it are correct. As Stephanie Coontz has shown, marriage has changed a lot over the last hundred years; it's a dynamic institution. Accepting LGBT people into marriage will change marriage. Which is a bad thing if you value patriarchy more than love, and a good thing if you value the reverse.

It's worth remembering that while there are certainly problems with marriage, those problems aren't "inherent," as Moscowitz calls them. On the contrary, the massive change in attitudes towards gay marriage suggests that qualities seen as inherent to marriage can in fact change with remarkable quickness. Perhaps the reason opinions on marriage equality shifted so quickly is that gay marriage is forward rather than backward looking; it ties in to the increasingly prevalent view of marriage as individual choice rather than as an economic partnership or a machine for producing heirs. More and more, marriage is what we want it to be — and if gay people have taught the media and the rest of us to want it to be more equal, then so much the better for everyone.

Sam Miguel
12-12-2013, 11:00 AM




Sam Miguel
12-12-2013, 11:06 AM
Is that bakla after you?

by Shakira Sison

Posted on 12/12/2013 8:08 AM | Updated 12/12/2013 8:31 AM

You're not really afraid of gay men. You're afraid that a man will treat you the way you treat women. “Sexual Discrimination of the Mind” by Andy Singer (link:http://andysinger.com)

For every gay man there is a straight man who has feared him. In Filipino culture it isn't unusual to hear, "Pare, bading ba yan? Baka hipuan ka n'yan! (Is he gay? He might fondle you!)" in reference to a gay acquaintance. Whenever these men know they will be in contact with a gay man - be it a doctor, a friend, a teacher, or a classmate - they are on high alert, as if this bakla just has to satisfy himself on them and will not be stopped.

Why are straight men compelled to believe that gay men are out to molest them?

It is not rare for straight men to give proud statements of how they would physically attack a gay man should they feel threatened by them sexually. "'Pag may bading na tumingin sakin sa CR, uumbagin ko (I'm going to hit any gay man who looks at me in the bathroom)." Men seem to be so on guard about the bakla's advances to the point of violence, as if gay men are compelled to force themselves on them.

The threat of a male body

Many men fear that the bakla will come on to them as if gay men have no control of their desires. They believe that men are wired with strong sexual urges, but unlike a female admirer, a gay man might actually be able to physically overpower them. But bearing this view is an admission that all men are helpless to their sexuality. Or does it become okay if the objects of their uncontrollable urges are women? Does it make it "normal" when men harass women instead of men?

The fear of the predatory gay man is the closest men will get to the fear constantly felt by women who have to fight off unwanted advances daily. It's true what they say that you're not really afraid of gay men, but just afraid a man will treat you the way you treat women. You're afraid that a man who has the physical ability to force himself on you will do so on a whim. Congratulations! You’ve just described the fear women face in their daily lives.

False generalizations

Of course, there are gay men who are overly pushy about their desires and enjoy teasing men about wanting them sexually, just like there are many straight men who do this to women. Men constantly chase women, harass them and sexually assault them, but this is not a reason to fear all men in general, right? Just like there are many straight men who respect women and would never force them against their wishes, most gay men pursue romantic and sexual prospects in a mature and sensitive manner.

Majority of sex offenders are heterosexual men, and yet gay men are often blamed for instances of pedophilia and molestation. It's fairly common for a female victim of sexual abuse to be told to keep quiet or to be blamed for the assault, but an aggressive gay man is treated as if he needs to be exposed. A straight man is also never blamed for his outfit or his actions if he is ever assaulted. Why the double standard? Men who chase women relentlessly are referred to as "lalake lang (simply being men)," but a man who chases other men is suddenly an aberration - a sick person who must be stopped with violence - when the only difference is their object of affection. Is it because it's not "normal" the way chasing women is?

Do unto others

The next time you encounter a gay man and fear that this person (who has never wronged you) will pursue you sexually, ask yourself the following things:

1. How would you feel if every woman you meet feels you will rape them? When you are suspicious of every bakla you meet, this is how you're treating them.

2. What qualities make you completely irresistible that gay men have to pursue you? Are you that incredibly hot that they would risk a violent reaction just to touch you? It might be time for a mirror.

3. As a straight man, do you have some taste in women and practice restraint, or do you fondle each one you see? Gay men are just as picky, reserved, and as hesitant as you are when it comes to women, unless of course you do not have these qualities.

4. Are you afraid that being flattered by a man's attention instead of reacting violently to it makes you gay? You are not gay until you enjoy sex with men, and assaulting men doesn’t mean you’re not. Is it absolutely impossible to simply decline politely, the way you would if you were pursued by a woman who isn't your type?

5. How would you feel if women had a plan of violence against you if you simply looked their way? You are right - it's incredibly paranoid, baseless, and an outright obsession. Check who actually has a physical need to hurt someone, because it might just be you.

Things seem to drastically shift when one places themselves in the shoes of others, or when one reverses the roles and treats homosexuals as people just like you with valid desires and needs. Gay men exist all around you, and they're not just the ones you can pinpoint and avoid. Contrary to popular opinion, gay people actually know where to find consensual sex. We are not these sex-starved uncontrollable perverts in your mind.

So the next time you think gay people keep coming on to you, try not to flatter yourself. We do have some taste, and we get what we need without much effort from other consenting adults, and mostly from our kind. Consider too that your paranoia may be a reflection of your secret desires. That bakla is not out to get you, no more than you are out to force yourself on every woman around.

Sam Miguel
02-12-2014, 01:46 PM
Beyond Vhong, Deniece: The issue of rape

by Nikki Luna

Posted on 02/08/2014 9:14 AM | Updated 02/08/2014 11:51 AM

Claire, my classmate at the UP Women and Development Studies, was buying taho from a vendor one early morning when she again heard about the hottest topic in town: "Deniece deserves to be raped," the vendor said in Filipino. "With that pretty face, anyone could have taken advantage of her." Claire walked away without buying taho, muttering in disbelief: “Even Disney has stepped up to being gender-sensitive.”

Claire worked as a program officer for the Women and Gender Program of the Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development. She also was in the United Nations Women as a consultant for the CEDAW and UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace and Security Program of UN Women Philippines. Nevertheless, one does not really need Claire’s profile and background to understand her ire.

After the Vhong Navarro-Deniece Cornejo incident went viral on social media, the same video of the battered Navarro sharing his story in an interview was played again and again to the public. The media bit the drama for ratings. The alleged rape case hogged the airwaves, airtime, and headlines. The public forgot more pressing issues such as the pork barrel, Yolanda victims, Zamboanga siege victims, child abuse sex online victims, and the demolition in San Roque, Quezon City, where even children were not spared the violence. These were all put aside for the juicier gossip.

All eyes were on Navarro, lying in his hospital bed – the picture of the perfect victim. He said in the interview, “Kasi ako Tito Boy hindi ako gagawa ng move kung hindi siya nagpakita ng motibo na may gustong mangyari.”Kasi kung ayaw niya, sana sumigaw siya ng rape, sana may kalmot ako pag-uwi, may galos ako, meron siyang galos or sakal pero wala po. Maliwanag po na gusto niya yung nangyari.”

A 37-year-old able individual was leaving all the actions and its consequences up to a 22-year-old woman, insisting she asked for it. Our netizens have shared their two cents on the issue with staggering ferocity. Fellow Filipinos – both men and women – were quick to blame the alleged rape victim, zeroing in on her cosmetic/plastic surgeries, her background, her career.

Without casting judgment on the case, how about we go way back in 1982?


A 14-year-old girl finally made her dream come true when she entered the world of showbiz. But only two years after, 16-year-old Pepsi Paloma suddenly dropped from fame to notoriety, when she became an alleged rape victim of much adored veteran actors Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon and Richie d’ Horsie.

Pepsi filed a rape case against the three men with the late Rene Cayetano as her lawyer. The three men made a public apology in their popular noontime show, "Eat, Bulaga!." They knelt in front of the cameras to ask for forgiveness for whatever wrong they may have done. Some say that Tito Sotto later on convinced her to withdraw the allegations. Eventually, she went on to take other projects as if nothing happened. One couldn’t help but wonder though if the rape case weighed her down to a point that at the age of 19, only five years after making her dream come true, Delia Smith or Pepsi Paloma killed herself.

There was also the 22-year-old “Nicole” who filed a rape case against Daniel Smith, an American soldier, in Subic. Cristy Ramos and Amanda Coling likewise filed sexual harassment raps against Azkal players. Bashers taunted these women who dared to speak up, too. Their sentiment was based on the alleged rapists’ looks. They looked too good to rape. “Type ng Pinay ‘yang gandang lalaki. Baka sila (Azkals players) ang ni-rape.”

These days, the burden of proving the crime seems to always lie with the female victim. The woman should be aware of “signs” to prevent rape. When there are no signs of aggression, when she doesn't scream loud enough or forcefully fight her perpetrator – it is the woman’s fault. It is not rape but a consensual act.

I know of a rape victim who was forced to do a blow job. When she was being grilled by the court, she was asked why she didn't bite her aggressor's penis when it was in her mouth. The malice underlining the interrogation discouraged her. There she was being forced to recall the trauma inside a courtroom. She, too, withdrew her case.

The systemic discrimination against women who file sexual abuse/harassment cases is alarming. In most of these controversial rape cases, the men are almost immediately cleared of responsibilities—be it due to their power, popularity, appearance and stature.

The stigma remains. Rape victims are now judged guilty until proven innocent. Meanwhile, they have to live with the verbal abuse and public lynching.

No excuses

Of course, we're aware of cases where rape victims lie and make up stories. Yes, there are some who can be morally inept. But the issue isn’t about the small pie of “alleged victims.”

A bigger picture needs to be addressed. Women are being raped. And when we allow ourselves to speak about victims as if they deserve it – define her by her social background, judge her because of her chosen work – we partake in this brand of violence against women.

We cannot easily objectify the women/victims. Each survivor is different in the same way that each perpetrator is unique. The issue is simple: There is no excuse when you violate a woman. Not the amount of alcohol she has had, not the length of her skirt or the neckline of her top. It isn’t whether she trusted to be with “friends” with the group that happened to be all male. No one has the right to violate her in any way.

Rape happens anywhere, anytime. In dark alleys, parking lots, offices, matrimonial beds. You can be raped by a stranger, a priest, a celebrity, a teacher, your own brother, your own father. The abuser has many faces. And he does not discriminate. But he does have a perceived easy target.

Since the second-wave feminism, the woman was given a so-called legitimate space outside the home. But the change is largely an incorporation into the neoliberal system, wherein her worth is measured by the wage she receives. She has stepped out and she has to step up to balance both home and work responsibilities.

But inside and outside of these acceptable spaces, the woman is still beholden to discrimination.

The easiest targets of abuse are the women who are outside – of the home, office, factory, family. This is the story of “Nicole.” This is the story, in varying shades, of all the other alleged rape victims. The premise is these women are supposed to “know” what they are getting themselves into. After all, they do earn from “selling” their bodies and appearances – bar girls, “guest relations officers,” promo girls, escorts, models, actresses.

Vicious tradition of shaming

The woman who is out of bounds from the modern society’s construct of what she should be – strong yet pure, a trouper but modest, hardworking but decent – is deemed solely to blame for her actions.

The Navarro-Cornejo issue is slowly dying down these days. Along with it is the death of another alleged rape victim’s reputation. Navarro, as far as the greater public believes, is not a rapist but just a womanizer.

Beyond Vhong and Deniece, the history of women victims we’ve known by their first names – Pepsi, Nicole, Cristy, Amanda, Deniece – is something to think about. There is one narrative that makes all of these stories of women rape victims sound one and the same.

One needs to ask, why this tradition of impunity? And one will be led to a simple answer: because, like the perpetrators, one has also objectified the women. Hence the ability to name-call, reducing the woman to a word. “Pokpok.” “Malandi.” “Kaladkarin.” “Bayaran”

There is a need to rethink this vicious tradition of shaming the woman. The state needs to cooperate. And the media. It should never name the woman victim. It is a basic human right for a rape victim not to be named publicly. Nor should media organizations exploit the popularity of a rape issue to raise their ratings and profits.

The far bigger challenge is the integration of gender-sensitivity practice at the grassroots – in schools, where both girls and boys will be taught a fair sense of respect for each other as part of the curriculum. At this age, it seems laughable to teach such a basic concept in school.

But this is precisely what should be made known: that the givens are not always acceptable. It is hard to reform a culture of patriarchy but a small step towards popularizing a new perspective will be vital.

We need re-education. We need to see every woman as integral to the community. They could have been our mother, our sister, our wife, our daughter. They cried for help. We do not shun and dig a deeper grave for them. We listen and help. We collectively reach out and protect. Such is a community where rape is not a contested issue but a clear criminal act. Such is a community where women can live. - Rappler.com

Nikki Luna is an artist, graduate of UP Diliman Fine Arts and took her art residency at the Cooper Union in New York, She is also the founder of non-profit organization StartARTproject providing art workshops to women and youth victims of human rights violations. Her women advocacies are endeavors she is currently studying in depth in her MA in Women and Development Studies in UP.

Sam Miguel
02-12-2014, 02:03 PM
^^^ I still think that if a woman knowingly and deliberately acts like a slut, dresses a like a slut and talks like a slut, then she has given up all her rights not to be treated as anything but a slut.

The uncomfortable question therefore is: Can sluts be rape victims?

I say they can't.

Because if sluts can be rape victims and go after their rapist, are we to shoot every shark in the oceans when they go after a swimmer with an open, bleeding wound who took to shark-infested waters because the sharks devoured him to death?

Rapist = predator, shark = predator, therefore rapist = shark. Yes?

To those who say there should never be such a thing as "asking for it", I think you seriously need to wake and grow the hell up.

Fact of the matter is I think there really are women out there - fully cognizant, fully aware - of the consequences of their own actions (wearing a micro-miniskirt, or showing so much cleavage they may as well have gone out topless, f--- me 4-inch heels, lap dance with drinks in hand on guys in clubs, etc) and yet still wonder why the men who see them look at them as if they were a piece of meat just dying to get seriously down and dirty.

Seriously? You're wondering that? My dear, did you bother looking in the mirror before stepping outside? What did you think that man would think of you while you ground your t-back and lace-covered vagina on his lap as you sucked on that frozen vodka cranberry icicle?

You wear outfits to display your body (or parts thereof), put on the "I'm a hottie, look at me" attitude, make the eyes, pout the lips, throw back the hair, maybe even out and out grab a guy's crotch in a dark corner of the club, and when he's jumped you, proceeded to tear your clothes off, you're actually wondering where it all went wrong, and you're actually saying "No, no, that's not what I meant!" like it was all the guy's fault?

Seriously? You get to do that?

I'm sorry but no, if there was any justice in this world, no, you would never, should never, could never do that.

And if you do, and the guy does what the guy - understandably after all of that - does, you do not get to cry "rape".

Sam Miguel
02-17-2014, 10:25 AM
Who's screwing who?

by Ana P. Santos

Posted on 02/14/2014 1:04 PM | Updated 02/14/2014 4:25 PM

There are about 800,000 who have had f*ck buddies or friends with benefits, according to the recently released Young Adult Fertility Survey (YAFS4). Four in every 100 Filipino youth have had sex with someone they met online or through text messaging. For a vast majority of these sexual encounters, neither contraception nor protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) were used.

The the premiere study on Filipino youth behaviors conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPPI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) also revealed there are about 1.4 million girls between the ages 15 to19 who are now mothers.

The statistics certainly made the headlines, but was anybody really surprised at the level and frequency of sex young people are having?

Sex and youth have always been on the same side of the bed, one chasing after the other in a frenzied often confused dance of surrender and suppression.

During the time of our grandmothers, the remedy to this dilemma was to run away in the middle of the night and elope. When retold to their children and us, their grandchildren, it is a story of audacity and romance.

In the generation that followed, the empire cut wedding dress was the default fashion trend as brides with baby bumps walked (or waddled) down the aisle. Eloping was replaced by mandatory matrimony - it pretty much took care of the predicament of “getting pregnant out of wedlock.”

Today’s technology has speeded up the meeting, courtship, and relationship process. The ubiquity of mobile phones, our cultural penchant for texting, and the preoccupation with social media networks have blurred the lines between relationship stages. Today, the benefits of technology include ease of connectivity and a wide network of potential hook-ups.

The YAFS4 numbers were simply telling us what we already knew: that more and more young people are having sex. In my family alone, I am a five-time grand-aunt, thanks to nieces and nephews, the youngest of whom became a parent at 14.

Just about the only thing that hasn’t changed is the shock, the disdain of some adults who have clacked their tongues and tsk’d tsk’d their disapproval. They’re doing the exact same thing they’ve been doing for ages when it comes to youth and sex - condemn and forbid - but are expecting different results. This form of inaction is probably easier than admitting that young people are having more sex than they are.

In denial

Today’s youth have every opportunity to exchange in sex but there remains no corresponding measures to guide them to make informed decisions, give them access to services, and adequately educate them about positive sexuality and behavior.

As a result, many young people become a statistic as they live out the long-term ramification of our inaction, complacency, and denial. As teen parents, they are more likely to discontinue school and contribute to the drop-out rate.

As an underdeveloped human resource, their insufficient education and skills lead to low-paying jobs and they become an unemployed or migration statistic. Youth is abruptly cut short and so much is lost: time, hope, and optimism – replaced with its adult counterparts of responsibility and resignation.

Changing the message

In the process of writing this article, and as always when I am writing about this subject matter, my mind goes back to a public service announcement about teen pregnancy that I was exposed to growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For me at least, it was so effective that I remember it to this day. The ad mixed wit and reality check, leaving out the preachy scare tactics that I probably would have resisted as a rebellious and invincible tween.

It was a simple ad, but it successfully acknowledged two things: (1) that teens can and will try to get frisky and (2) they need to be reminded of the possible consequences of the decisions they make. It’s like a grown up version of choose your own adventure or trying to find out what’s behind door number 3.

What would be so wrong with sending out messages about healthy relationships to young people in a language that they understand and is relevant to them? In parallel, we could communicate that abstinence is a choice and that contraception is a responsibility. Then, as they say “share” this information with them, bring it where they are: on social networks, on mobile SMS, in chat rooms or on an app.

We could use the same technology that gives them access and opportunity to casual sex and risky sexual behavior to give them information under the protection of privacy and anonymity.

What is so wrong about giving our young people proper information and entrusting them with the power to decide for themselves?

What if we start doing something different and acknowledge that we have a duty and an opportunity to equip our youth with proper information on sex and sexuality? Until we can do that, the young will just continue doing what they’ve been doing - screwing around - but in the end, it’s us as a nation who will be screwed. – Rappler.com

Sam Miguel
02-21-2014, 11:57 AM
Religious freedom bill riles gay rights supporters

Associated Press

10:23 am | Friday, February 21st, 2014

PHOENIX – Arizona’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays and others. Democrats called the proposal “state-sanctioned discrimination” and an embarrassment.

The 33-27 vote by the House sends the bill to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.

The legislation prompted a heated debate on the floor of the Republican-dominated House, touching on issues such as religious freedom, constitutional protections and civil rights.

It comes as an increasing number of conservative U.S. states grapple with ways to counter the increasing legality of gay marriage.

Seventeen states, plus the Washington capital district, allow gay marriage, most of them in the Northeast. The movement toward legalizing gay marriage especially gained momentum after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year to strike down part of a federal law that prevented the government from recognizing same-sex marriages. On Thursday, Oregon’s attorney general announced she will not defend that state’s ban on gay marriage, joining the top lawyers in at least five other U.S. states who have made similar decisions.

Republicans said Arizona’s bill is about protecting religious freedom and not discrimination.

They cited the case of a New Mexico photographer who was sued after refusing to take wedding pictures of a gay couple and said Arizona needs a law to protect people in the state from what they called heavy-handed actions by courts and law enforcement.

Opponents raised scenarios in which gay people in Arizona could be denied service at a restaurant or refused medical treatment if a business owner thought homosexuality was not in accordance with his religion. One lawmaker held up a sign that read “NO GAYS ALLOWED” in arguing what could happen if the law took effect, drawing a rebuke for violating House rules.

Similar religious protection legislation has been introduced in Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma, but Arizona’s plan is the only one that has passed.

The bill is backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage. “We see a growing hostility toward religion,” said Josh Kredit, legal counsel for the group.

All but three Republicans in the House backed the bill Thursday evening. The Senate passed the bill a day earlier on a straight party-line vote of 17-13.

Brewer doesn’t comment on pending legislation, but she vetoed a similar measure last year. That action, however, came during an unrelated political standoff, and it’s not clear whether she would support or reject this plan.

Arizona’s voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage as a state constitutional amendment in 2008. It’s one of 29 states with such prohibitions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Federal judges have recently struck down bans in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, but those decisions are under appeal.

02-26-2014, 11:24 AM
Arizona uses religion as a shield for bigotry

By Harold Meyerson, Wednesday, February 26, 9:08 AM E-mail the writer

As patriotism can be the last refuge of scoundrels, so religion can be the last refuge of bigots.

The most recent attempts to besmirch religion have come from Arizona’s Republican state legislators, who last week, on a near- party-line vote, passed a bill allowing businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds. The bill is on the desk of Republican Gov. Jan Brewer; she has until week’s end to sign or veto it.

Arizona’s Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, recognize that a bill permitting restaurants, hotels and other business to deny service to gays and lesbians on religious grounds might (and should) strike many Americans as an affront to our foundational creed “that all men are created equal.” They have called on Brewer to reject the bill. So has the state’s Chamber of Commerce, which fears that some businesses would decide not to set up shop in Arizona if they knew their homosexual employees could be subjected to that kind of discrimination. A host of other officials have called for a veto, including three Republican legislators who voted for the bill but have had second thoughts.

Recently in Kansas, Republican legislators in the lower house passed a kindred bill only to have it die in the state Senate when GOP legislative leaders realized that it went too far. But the fact that two absurd proposals swept through two states’ legislative bodies with nearly unanimous Republican support signals a kind of panic within the GOP base at the recent advances in gay and lesbian equality, in particular the right to marry. It signals that Republicans, and some religious leaders, are willing to invoke religion as a cloak for their bigotry.

That wouldn’t be the first time, of course, that religion has served as a shield for those who would deny their fellow Americans the most rudimentary equal rights. During the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s, a number of Southern fundamentalist ministers preached that racial segregation was God’s design. In a 1960 Easter Sunday radio sermon, the Rev. Bob Jones, founder of South Carolina’s eponymous Christian university, told his listeners, “If you are against segregation and against racial separation, then you are against God Almighty.” Labeling as “Satanic” those who were working to abolish Jim Crow laws, Jones preached that it was God who “drew the boundary lines between races.”

Mainstream Southern denominations, by contrast, did support desegregation, and the Rev. Billy Graham, crucially, declined to oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act while it was pending in Congress. But the religious case for discrimination was alive and well in Southern fundamentalist circles — as it is alive and well, apparently, in some parts of the Republican Party today.

And not just in the Republican Party. The Arizona Catholic Conference is among those urging Brewer to sign the bill. Just to be clear: No one is advocating that priests, the Catholic Church or other religious institutions be compelled to preside over same-sex marriages. The issue is whether businesses can refuse service to gays and lesbians based on the businesses’ religious beliefs, though you probably have to believe that corporations are people to grant that businesses can have religious beliefs.

That the Catholic Church in Arizona is opposed to gay marriage is hardly news. But its willingness to go so far as to create a right for private businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation is appalling. It harks back more to the spirit of Bob Jones than to that of the brave priests and nuns who went to the South in the ’50s and ’60s to demonstrate for civil rights — or, for that matter, to the spirit of Pope Francis. Indeed, the church’s opposition seems to reflect the pre-Enlightenment social conservatism that Francis’s predecessors sought to impose on the church through their hierarchical appointments. If the church’s position on the Arizona bill is any indication, those appointments continue to pose a huge problem for the Catholic Church in America — for its future among the young and for its moral stature.

On the other hand, the president of Uganda signed into law Monday a statute that would sentence to life in prison people convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” (that is, people convicted more than once for having had gay sex). If Arizona’s Republicans and Catholic bishops don’t like it here, why don’t they move to Uganda?

02-27-2014, 10:16 AM
Is 'fag' fit to print?

by Shakira Sison

Posted on 02/27/2014 6:54 AM | Updated 02/27/2014 8:18 AM

A woman who married a fag was the original title of the column Mon Tulfo wrote before netizen reactions prompted the publication to change "fag" to "gay man." Yet several instances of the word still remained in the article, while other misnomers like "man-woman" and "closet queen" still described an allegedly gay husband who happened to err against the writer's godchild.

If I didn't see the date on it, I'd think it was published in the fifties by an ultra-conservative right-wing publication. It simply didn't belong in the Inquirer, which has been known to be more sophisticated, more socially progressive, and more gender sensitive than to allow the use of such language.

Recall that last year Pol Medina was let go from the newspaper because of the reactions against a comic strip that pointed out the known irony in how exclusive Catholic schools seem to be factories for lesbians. St. Scholastica's College reacted by way of a letter threatening to file a lawsuit. They had to. There had to be some action otherwise they would admit that they "condone" homosexuality in their school (my alma mater, yes - insert your conclusion here).

Pugad Baboy was suspended and the issue died down eventually, the nuns had their way and parents were appeased. Pol gave his apology, left his comic strip's home of 25 years, and was hired swiftly by Rappler where Pugad now makes its home.

Nobody apologized to lesbians for the implication that they are something to be avoided, condoned, or corrected, and that somehow the visibility of lesbians in exclusive girls’ schools was a negative.

But that's okay. The LGBTQ community has long been the whipping boy of media and general society anyway. Other broadsheets have published "expert" advice from a psychologist who said that parents should tell boys that playing with gender non-conforming toys is wrong and makes one gay. Even the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecologists Society once proclaimed that "lesbians are not women" and therefore don't need reproductive healthcare.

Never mind Tulfo too, whose default argument for anything seems to be that the subject is gay, or that he and his brothers are not homos, if he does not resort to his default intelligent responses "Gago!" and "Tanga!" So classy. Never mind that his shamed mestiza inaanak has been named in a major newspaper and called physically endowed by her own Ninong. By the column's logic this beauty must somehow result in perfect marital relations.

Many women are fooled by men, and relatively rarely by gay men. Most of the culprits are heterosexual philanderers, liars, and abusers. But not all women have a ninong in Mon Tulfo who is able to call the father of her child a fag, a man-woman, or closet queen in a national daily for posterity.

What's in "fag" or "faggot" anyway, other than being a derogatory word used against gay men the way the N-word is used for African Americans?

Since it is an English word, its sting isn't as strong to Filipinos, most of whom might just equate it to the word "bakla." Think of it as the same as calling a woman who is pregnant out of wedlock (like Tulfo's ahijada once was) a disgrasyada or a dalagang butas. That is the difference between simple terms and derogatory words, and sometimes a vernacular equivalent is necessary for us to feel a word's punch. I would never call a woman any of those words, and even if my opinions are my own, this publication would never let those words (when used against another person, named or otherwise) see print either.

Calling a gay man a faggot is like calling Aetas "nognog," like calling Tagbanuas "mangmang," like calling Indians "bumbay" or "five-six." It is offensive and reflects the speaker's lack of class, manners, worldliness, and sensitivity.

Calling a gay man a "man-woman" or a lesbian a "rug-muncher" is like calling a child with Down's Syndrome "kulang-kulang" - something most of us would never even imagine saying.

Derogatory words stem from hurtful stereotypes and have no place in modern civilized language. They only find their way into the speech of savages, in intentionally hurtful statements whose only objective is to offend and ruffle feathers. Think Ann Coulter. Think Rush Limbaugh. Think Mon Tulfo.

Fortunately for us the world is changing, and it is turning fast. Anyone born in the last four decades quickly learns what is socially-conscious and respectful speech and writing, and what is not. Anyone in the modern world knows that Filipinos swim in social media and either gather their impressions from intelligent, civilized discourse - or get lost in the noise and echo it.

Even a teenager knows what hate speech is, and that misogynist, homophobic writing has become the shameful (and often laughable) exception and not the rule. Who even speaks that way anymore, but that embarrassing uncle in our family gatherings who gets too drunk and cops a feel of his own nieces?

Any publication set to survive must not live in fear of editing obsolete writing that is steeped in hate and bigotry.

Coming from someone who belongs to a minority, wanting to correct the use of hurtful words risks my being labeled as overly sensitive or pikon. It always seems that way when it's not your minority that's being spoken of, doesn't it? Remember that Filipinos are more than quick to jump on even blatantly satirical mentions of our country as a nation of servants. There is a difference between hate speech, humor and satire, and I hope you know what sets them apart.

Fair and honest discourse devoid of insults and name-calling isn't tiptoeing. It isn't coddling sensitive people, nor is it an extreme effort at political correctness, nor is it aiming to please. It's just how civilized people talk these days.

But then there's always the language of the ignorant past, one that sets to divide and one-up one another, where one presents herself as better at the expense of someone who is less white, less wealthy, or less of a "man." We always have a choice in the way we conduct ourselves, and I hope the choice you make every day is the right one.

Don't say (or allow people to say) "fag" unless you're also the type to call an autistic child "kulang-kulang." You’re better than that.

02-27-2014, 10:28 AM
Uganda paper lists 'homos' as anti-gay law takes effect

by Agence France-Presse

Posted on 02/25/2014 7:57 PM | Updated 02/25/2014 11:25 PM

KAMPALA, Uganda (Updated) – A Ugandan newspaper listed Tuesday, February 25, 200 people it accused of being gay, a day after the president called homosexuals 'mercenaries' and signing one of the world's toughest anti-gay laws.

"Exposed!" the headline of the Red Pepper tabloid read, beneath photographs of Ugandans it said were gay, as well as reporting on lurid stories of alleged homosexual actions.

"Uganda's 200 top homos named," the daily newspaper added, which listed both those who have openly declared their sexuality as well as those who had not, including gay rights activists, priests and music stars.

"In salutation to the new law, today we unleash Uganda's top homos and their sympathisers," the newspaper added.

In 2011, prominent Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato was bludgeoned to death at his home after a different newspaper splashed photos, names and addresses of gays in Uganda on its front page along with a yellow banner reading "Hang Them".

On Monday, February 24, President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill into law which holds that repeat homosexuals should be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays.

Museveni said he could not understand how one could "fail to be attracted to all these beautiful women and be attracted to a man" instead and described in graphic details his particular revulsion to oral sex.

"There is something really wrong with you," Museveni, a devout evangelical Christian who has been in power nearly 3 decades, said of gay men.

Foreign aid cut

The signing of the law came despite fierce criticism from Western nations and key donors, including US President Barack Obama, who has warned that ties between Kampala and Washington would be damaged.

The bill will provide a stiff test for foreign donors, with Museveni warning Western nations not to meddle in the central African nation's affairs, and that he was not afraid of aid being cut.

Some donors were quick to punish Kampala by freezing or redirecting aid money.

The Netherlands froze a seven-million-euro subsidy to Uganda's legal system, while Denmark and Norway said they would redirect around six million euros each towards private sector initiatives, aid agencies and rights organisations.

Sweden's Finance Minister Anders Borg, who is visiting Uganda for meetings on trade and economic issues, has met with gay rights activists.

He told reporters in Kampala the law was a "serious violation of human rights" and that it "presents an economic risk for Uganda."

Last year the Red Pepper published photographs of retired gay British man Bernard Randall, taken from his stolen laptop.

Randall, who was then arrested on charges "trafficking obscene publications," was deported last month.

Prominent Ugandan gay activist Jacqueline Kasha posted photographs of the newspaper's front page on Twitter, warning that the "media witch hunt is back".

#AHBUganda: The media witch hunt is back. 200 Top Homos exposed in redpepper pic.twitter.com/sbofQxvSyM
— Kasha Jacqueline (@KashaJacqueline) February 25, 2014

Homophobia is widespread in Uganda, where American-style evangelical Christianity is on the rise.

Gay men and women in the country face frequent harassment and threats of violence, and rights activists have reported cases of lesbians being subjected to "corrective" rapes.

But the passing of the bill has been popularly received in Uganda, where Museveni – in power for 28 years – faces reelection in 2016.

Ben Shepherd, of Britain's Chatham House think tank, noted there is "very little downside" for Museveni in passing the bill.

"He will face criticism from human rights groups, and even the loss of some donor funding," he wrote.

"But he has not enjoyed warm relations with either for some time, and any loss would almost certainly be more than off-set by a much needed domestic bounce."

Museveni earlier this month also signed into law anti-pornography and dress code legislation which outlaws "provocative" clothing. – Rappler.com

02-27-2014, 10:47 AM
Something that's been bothering me a lot about this whole gay-bashing issue: Are gay people saying us non-gay folks HAVE TO accept them? As in, we don't have a choice in the matter?

Mali yata 'yon ah.

How come they get to have a choice to be gay and insist on being accepted, while the non-gay do not get a choice whether or not to reject them?

Let's look at it from a legal perspective: Is there any right in our 1987 Constitution that is not already enjoyed by all of us, gay and non-gay alike?

Are there any laws (outside of the definition of marriage in the Family Code of 1988 ) that explicitly say that certain rights and benefits are withheld from gay people?

Is being gay even defined in any of our laws as a crime?

Ok naman lahat hindi ba?

My problem is that the LGBT community seems to be insisting that they be accepted by the (still mostly non-gay) society at large, because they say so.


Papano kung may mga modern Nazi sympathizers na sinabing tanggapin ko din sila kasi political opinion nila 'yon?

Papano kung may mga modern cannibals na nandadakip, pumapatay at kumakain ng tao dahil katutubong paniniwala nila 'yon?

Papano kung may mga modern slave owners na kinakadena at nanlalatigo pa ng mga alipin nila dahil ganun talaga paniniwala nila?

Tatanggapin ko din ba dapat lahat ng mga ulol na ito?

I find modern Nazis, cannibals and slave owners personally, philosophically and inherently repugnant and offensive to the core of my very being.

Does that make me chauvinistic? Insensitive? Ignorant? Intolerant?

Because I get the sense that when I reject gay people because in my deepest heart of hearts I really do consider them repugnant and offensive to my own personal values, I get the feeling that I will be labeled chauvinistic, insensitive, ignorant and intolerant? Why?

Nazi guy: "Jews are the problem! Let's kill them all!"

Cannibal guy: "Human flesh is delicious! Let's eat some humans!"

Slave owner guy: "Negroes are fit only to be slaves! Let's chain 'em down, whip 'em and make 'em do all the dirty work!"

Gay guy: "I was born with a dick but that was a mistake! I'm going to fuck fellow guys!"

You see what I'm saying here? There is an intrinsic wrongness about all of these propositions. They are, in a word, UNACCEPTABLE.

Sam Miguel
03-14-2014, 09:24 AM
Young gender gaps

By Michael L. Tan

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:23 am | Friday, March 14th, 2014

March is Women’s Month, a good time to reflect on some of the statistics that came out of the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS) conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI). The survey involved more than 19,000 Filipinos aged 15 to 24, from throughout the Philippines, and some preliminary statistics were released in February.

The YAFS figures show a narrowing gender gap for sexual and nonsexual behaviors which, on the surface, may reflect growing equality between males and females but, on closer analysis, suggest that perhaps there is growing inequity that urgently needs responses from families, schools and communities.

The 2013 YAFS was significant because of many new questions—around diet for example, and self-perceptions—but because they were new, comparisons cannot be made across time. Four vital areas do have data that were collected in previous YAFS: smoking, drinking, drugs and premarital sex.

Smoking, drinking, drugs

I wrote earlier on the trends in smoking, which show a very welcome decline among young Filipinos, but which I feel still needs more push to drive the rates down.

There is a sharp gender gap in smoking, one which is actually good. Among males, the percentage of current smokers went from 40.4 percent in 1994 to 37.6 percent in 2002 and 35.4 percent in 2013. Among females, the figures were 4.2 percent in 1994, increasing to 5.9 percent in 2002, and then declining to 4.7 percent in 2013. While there is a wide gap between current male and female smokers, note that the figure for female smokers in 2013 is still higher than in 1994.

The percentage may seem very low for young female smokers but considering that teenage pregnancy rates are very high, an issue which I’ll discuss in a while, we are talking here about risks for both the young mother and the fetus. Mothers who smoke have higher risks of having premature births, miscarriages and underweight babies. We may also need a separate antitobacco campaign for females, to point out that smoking also increases risks, later in life, for cervix cancer and one type of ovarian cancer.

For drug use, there is a welcome gender gap. Among males, current drug users moved from 10.9 percent in 1997 to 19.2 percent in 2002 and then dropped to 7.1 percent in 2013. For females, drug use has been consistently low, at 1 percent in 1997, almost tripling to 2.8 percent in 2002 and then dropping to 0.8 percent in 2013.

Let’s move on to alcohol use. The percentage of current drinkers among males declined from 60.5 percent in 1994 to 61.1 percent in 2002 and 53.2 percent in 2013. Among females, the figures were 16 percent in 1994, 23.6 percent in 1997 and a slight decline to 21 percent in 2013. The gender gap between males and females is narrower for drinking than for smoking.

We need to pay more attention to alcohol use among young Filipino women because drinking can increase risks around sexual behavior due to impaired judgement. Back in 1995, I worked with psychology professor Theresa Batangan on a project looking at young Filipinos’ sexuality in Manila and Iloilo, and we had many interviews where both males and females talked about how alcohol made it “easier” to ask for, or give, sex.

In the 2013 YAFS, researchers also asked current drinkers, for the first time, if they had ever taken alcohol to the point of passing out, and those who said yes were 18.4 percent of males and 5 percent of females. I will discuss binge drinking in a future column, but you can imagine what can happen when a young girl passes out while drinking.


We come now to premarital sex, where the gender gap is narrowing very dramatically. In 1994, 26.1 percent of males reported having had premarital sex. This increased to 31.2 percent in 2002 and 35.5 percent in 2013. Among females, the figures were 10.2 percent in 1994, increasing to 16 percent in 2002 and to 28.7 percent in 2013.

Some of my non-social-scientist friends commented that the gap probably never existed, asking how could such a situation come to pass where 26 percent of males and only 10 percent of females were shown to have had premarital sex (as in 1994).

There are a number of possible explanations.

First, it is well-known among social science researchers worldwide that males tend to overreport sexual behavior as part of their macho bragging, and females tend to underreport because of social norms around female chastity. No doubt, females may be more willing now to report premarital sex, and that itself is an indicator of social change.

Second, the “discrepancies” in the figures relate to the patterns of sexual partners. Note that the survey covered only young people, specifically aged 15 to 24. People do not confine sex to those within their own age groups. Young men, for example, have been known to go for older (and more willing?) women.

Now even if the partnering is within that age group of 15 to 24, you could have a smaller group of young females who may be more willing to have sex. This could include, but would not be limited, to sex workers. Ironically, our moralistic norms could contribute to this. Again in the 1995 research I was involved in, young girls would talk about how the stigma of having had premarital sex could lead to low self-esteem because of social ostracism—frequently using the metaphor of the broken jar (basag na ang banga)—and leading to more premarital sex, or even entering sex work. I never forgot one case where the parents actually pushed a young girl into prostitution, saying she was “broken” anyway.

I should mention a last source of partners among young men. In the 1995 research we found people talking about different binyag or baptisms. After the first baptism as a toddler, the subsequent ones are sexual, and young men would talk about a second baptism with an older woman, for example, and then a third with another male, and then a girlfriend, and then finally, the woman they would marry.

How then should we look at the 2013 YAFS statistics with 28.7 percent of females and 35.5 percent of males having had premarital sex? At first blush, it could indicate greater gender equality. But there is another statistic from YAFS that would challenge that assumption: The 2002 YAFS found that 6.3 percent of young adult females had begun bearing children. This doubled to 13.6 percent in 2013, which means young women are having premarital sex but do not seem to be aware of contraception—or, if they are aware, are unable to insist on protecting themselves.

Far from becoming more “liberated,” our young girls are ending up being exposed to more sexual risks. UPPI will release more figures in a few months about other sexual behaviors like casual sex and FUBU (“friends with benefits,” and I’m using the polite translation of the acronym) which will offer more material for discussion around the gender gap.

08-14-2014, 11:33 AM
Lupit ng hipag ko. nung isang araw nangimbita ng mga kaibigan niya pero imbis na sa bahay nila sa bahay ko pinapunta. Ngayon naman kakain ng pananghalian sa bahay magiimbita na naman ng ibang tao. Tindi mo! Anong lahi mo? Ang Kapal ng mukha mo! naiirita na ako. Pinariringgan na kita kapal ka pa rin.

Sam Miguel
01-09-2015, 08:13 AM
^^^ Sapakin mo na, haha!

Sam Miguel
01-09-2015, 08:16 AM
What I've learned from dating a Filipino woman

British traveler Jon Howe recalls his experience dating a fellow long-term adventurer, Filipino Kach Medina. What was supposed to be a two-week visit for them has since turned into almost two years together

Jonathan Howe

Published 5:25 PM, Nov 23, 2014

Updated 10:13 PM, Nov 26, 2014

Back in 2005 and for about 10 years before, I was living in the UK, studying architecture and working 9-to-5s in different architectural practices. I had great employers and colleagues and although I enjoyed my work, I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing. There had to be more to life than walking into the same building every day, seeing the same people and doing pretty much the same things over and over again.

I decided it was time for a serious change in my life, so I saved for a year, sold my car and anything else that could be sold, bought a one-way ticket and left the UK with nothing but my backpack. It was whilst travelling through Laos by motorbike with my best friend that I stumbled across this young Filipino backpacker.

I instantly felt she was different from all of the girls I met while backpacking, and we hit it off straight away. Although we went our separate ways shortly after, we kept in touch. After two months, Kach came to visit me in Hanoi for two weeks, where I had set myself up as an English teacher. Well, two weeks has since turned into almost two years, 7 countries, many random jobs and countless stories to tell!

Whilst I traveled quite a bit as a child, with my parents working in Africa, when you travel as an adult you see things differently and it changes you – sometimes in very subtle ways, sometimes more obviously. However, when you’re in a long-term relationship with someone from another country and culture, then you begin to see the differences much more clearly. (READ: 10 Commandments for your next travels)

Being from the United Kingdom, you inevitably become accustomed to Western ways and of course in turn, Western women. Having left Britain some time ago and having now been with Kach for over a year, I thought I’d reflect on some of the things I’ve learned being in a relationship with a Filipina and how I may have changed in the process.

Open arms. Open doors . In the UK, if a person, known or unknown, were to arrive at your door, for what we’ll assume is some good and honest reason, then you would at first be a little suspicious. ‘They must want something from me,’ you would think, or even more sadly, ‘What? A person? At my door? How strange!’

Now, in stark contrast, if you find yourself at the front door of a Filipino and are invited inside, then you’ll discover that they are some of the warmest, most welcoming people on the planet. Even before you can manage a single, socially awkward , ‘Err, hello, so nice to meet you,’ you’ll already have met Mum, Dad, the grandparents and anyone else who happens to be in easy reach.

Not only that, but quite literally out of nowhere, there will appear enough food to feed a small village for a week. No, seriously it’s awesome, Filipina grandmas have magic food powers!

I’ll never think of breakfast the same way ever again.

British breakfast – Porridge, toast, orange juice, bacon and sausage – with beans, if you’re feeling rebellious. Done!

Filipino breakfast – Adobo – Lots of meat, marinated in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic…with rice!

Tocino – Pork belly (the fattiest, tastiest bit!), with sugar and salt, then fried till crispy…with rice!

Food in the Philippines is incredible, it’s as simple as that. One thing that shocked me, however, was the choice of breakfast food. I’ve always been accustomed to one or two pieces of bacon or a juicy Cumberland sausage in the morning, but now I get mood swings if I haven’t eaten half a pig and a kilo of rice by 9am!

Ah, karaoke.

I’ve always been a little partial to loudly and drunkenly screaming out Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer,” but since being with Kach I’ve developed a sixth sense, which I have decided to call, ‘Microphonia.’ I can sense a Karaoke machine within a 20-mile radius and I’m quite prepared to kill for a can of Red Horse beer and the chance to sing Pusong Bato in a bar full of random strangers!

I will never haggle like a Filipino

Growing up in Africa, I had plenty of opportunities to observe my parents negotiating down the price of everything from fruit and vegetables, to decorative woodcarvings and even (ahem) speeding tickets. So obviously some of this bargaining power must have rubbed off on me, right?

Sure, I can get a few dollars off the price of some tourist souvenirs in the market and maybe even bargain down my overnight bus ticket a little, but I’m no match for Kach.

For Kach, everything is a potential discount, matter how small. She will quite happily spend half an hour trying to negotiate 5 cents off the price of an apple and then perform a victory dance on upon completion of the deal! She never even wanted the apple. (READ: 5 tips for your budget trips)

The mysterious truth

It’s a well-trodden stereotype in the West that Asian women are exceptionally loving, loyal and generous to their men and this is certainly true of Filipino women (though I’ve only known one!).

However, let it be crystal clear that this is not the same as subservient; personally I want a relationship, an equal partner. It’s the little things that count, like lovingly prepared home-cooked meals every day and random head massages – not because you asked or she feels she has to, but because she wants to.

Be sure not to take her for granted though. She may be extremely loving, caring and loyal, but that doesn’t mean she’ll let you get away with being a shit boyfriend or husband. ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ does not even begin to describe an angry Filipina – You have been warned!

Kach often tells me that although many Filipinos are very patient, if you push them too far, they could really hurt you. Of course, I think she’s probably just trying to scare me, but would you take that risk with the woman who watches you sleep?!

So there you have it: 5 things I’ve learned after almost two incredible years together. All I can say is this – whether it be eating pork fat for breakfast, god-awful singing or embarrassing bargaining techniques, life is a whole lot more interesting this way. – Rappler.com

Jonathan Howe is the British traveler and writer behind twomonkeystravelgroup.com, working his way around the world finding new and interesting ways to support a life of long-term travel. He loves tropical beaches, surfing, hiking, the outdoors, yoga, adventure sports and motorbikes. Follow him at facebook.com/twomonkeystravel

Sam Miguel
05-07-2015, 02:57 PM
5 Insane Lies You Probably Believe About American Families

By J.F. Sargent

May 05, 2015

Children are important to me. Partly because harvesting and enslaving them is a big part of my long-term career goals, and partly because they're the only people who agree with me that flicking boogers is hilarious. But they're mostly important for, ya know, pragmatic reasons: Kids are the future, and if we want our species to prosper, we gotta take care of them. So, naturally, I'm going to use my column today to talk about the wrong kinds of families, and make those people feel bad about the terrible, terrible job they're doing raising their kids.

No, obviously I'm not going to do that, because generalizing about different kinds of family structures almost always backfires -- especially if you refuse to do any research first. Because as much as we hear about how shitty single parents are, how modern kids are all disrespectful murder-hooligans, and how absent black fathers are ruining a generation of youth, the truth is ...

#5. You Don't Need Stay-At-Home Parents To Raise Kids Properly

Working moms are the favorite punching bag of people who don't understand that it's not cool to punch moms. Mothers are 79 percent less likely to be hired than non-mothers are, and while childless women make 90 percent of a man's salary, women with children make only 73 percent. You might say, "Well, of course! That's because they can't focus on their career, what with all the baby-raisin' that they gotta get up to!" Except employed fathers are actually treated favorably over non-fathers in the workplace -- so while it's a good career decision for a man to have a baby (or, ya know, convince a woman to have a baby for him), it's a terrible career decision for a woman in the exact same position. It really seems like everyone is assuming that women are supposed to stay home and look after their kids and punishing them for not doing it. And while that's dickish, do they at least have a point? Would America's kids be better off if their moms didn't have to get jobs?

Nope! First off, dads are just as capable of being good parents as moms are, so it's absurd to have that double standard. But, more importantly -- and kind of impossibly -- modern families are actually spending more time with their kids than ever, even when both parents work.

So, what's going on? Is it parent cloning? It's parent cloning facilities, isn't it, you crazy bastards? You can't even begin to understand the- oh wait, no, sorry. I misread my source: It turns out that (according to the historians) the modern, non-traditional family setup is just more efficient. First of all, people are more likely to marry other people that they actually want to hang out with, so when they have time off from work, family is the obvious destination. Also, when both parents are working, that means both parents are dividing the housework -- which means it gets done more efficiently.

Finally, hanging out with your kid is more important than it ever has been, so parents are more concerned with setting their kid down the right path by, ya know, reading them magazines and watching Aliens together or whatever. It should be pretty obvious at this point that I do not have kids.

#4. No, There's Not A Crisis Of Absent Black Fathers

Presidential candidate Rand Paul recently mentioned on a radio show that the Baltimore protests were the result of absent fathers. Then he insisted that it "isn't just a racial thing," but come on. Come on.

Come on.

Maybe Paul was just projecting his resentment that Papa Ronny couldn't join him on his road trip. Or maybe he was just doing his part to make sure the "absent black father" stereotype continues to be absolutely freaking everywhere. And, at first glance, it seems like the statistics support it. Journalists love to point out that 72 percent of black kids are born to unwed mothers, which raises the question: Are all the black dads too busy at Dave Matthews concerts? Wait, no, that's white guys. Is it that they can't stop doing illegal drugs? Shit, that's white guys again. I'm so bad at this.

See, when you see a racial disparity in a statistic like that and immediately your explanation is that one skin color must be less good at a thing than another skin color, well, you're not just being racist, you're being lazy. It turns out that "unwed mother" doesn't automatically mean "absent father," particularly since black fathers are more likely to be involved in their kids' lives than any other dad race. See, in this country, black families live in poverty at the highest rate, money problems are one of the biggest things that families fight about, and separate studies have found that poverty has a negative impact on a family's structure. If there isn't enough money for everyone to survive, people aren't going to be as happy, and the family is going to be in trouble. They'll be more compelled to try different things.

Basically, these dads are are dealing with a situation that's just a tad more complicated than the statistic implies. Because our assumptions paint a certain type of picture that really looks nothing like anyone's life. Because no one statistic tells the whole story. It's just like Mark Twain said: "There are lies, damn lies, statistics, and then people who falsely credit this quote to me, Mark Twain. Thanks for coming to visit me in the past with your time machine, Sarge. We had a great time together. Bye now."

#3. Troublemaker Kids Aren't Doomed To Be Criminals

Everyone from parents to anybody who's ever spent some time around children knows that obedience is the best trait a kid can have. Real talk: I once spent 45 minutes trying to put a sweatshirt on my cousin's 2-year-old, and by the end she was somehow wearing fewer clothes, and I was crying on the floor in a fetal position. If those little brats would just do what we say, all the time, then most of the problems in the world would be solved, and I wouldn't feel stressed out, like, ever. Seriously, this doesn't seem controversial at all: Obedient children are better. In fact, I think obedient anything is better.

Nope! Ignoring the rules and forging your own path is actually the best way to be successful, from a very early age. Kids who are called "troubled" in kindergarten actually do just as well as their peers in school. When they get a little older, teens that have a smart mouth on them and are constantly talking back to their parents actually tend to be more resistant to negative peer pressure, because they're talking back to everyone, not just their parents.

Finally, a study in Sweden showed that entrepreneurs were more likely to have a criminal record, and studies in America found that successful entrepreneurs were more likely to have engaged in "aggressive, illicit, and risky behavior" in high school." Basically, the bigger a shit you are as a kid, the better you are at contributing to society as an adult. Being a troublemaker doesn't turn you into one of society's problems; it turns you into one of our greatest assets.

But you know what does turn a troublemaker into society's problem? Throwing it in prison. Putting kids in baby jail or, even worse, charging them as adults and putting them in adult jail doesn't scare them straight; it just traumatizes the ever-loving shit out of them and robs them of key coming-of-age experiences, making it harder for them to fit in society as adults and increasing the chances that they'll turn to crime again -- not because they're Simon Phoenix from Demolition Man but because they're fucking hungry.

If you're lucky enough to have avoided the big house until now, take a minute with me here and pretend that you hadn't. Imagine if, as a kid, you got caught committing one of the several crimes that you probably committed (Illegal drugs? Shoplifting? Trespassing? I did all that!). Then imagine the cops were like, "OK, you know the entire age of 16? You're going to spend it in a box." How would that have changed your life? Maybe you would've had to put off getting that first job. Maybe you never would've met that crazy girl/guy who taught you how to fuck in a tree/bathtub/Ferris wheel (I don't know your life). The point is, key moments in your psychosocial development would never have happened, and on top of that, you'd have to deal with all the baggage that comes with being a felon. Think you would've made it to college after that? Think you'd be where you are now, or someplace way worse?

The point is, shitty kids can actually turn out pretty great if we don't overreact like a bunch of small-minded assholes. They turn into, like I said, entrepreneurs. And I think this is a pretty important lesson for us all to learn, because Steve Jobs is dead and my cellphone kinda blows.

Just as a warning, the next page is where this article gets kinda dark.

Sam Miguel
05-07-2015, 02:59 PM
^^^ (Cont'd)

#2. "Traditional" Families Are No Better Than Any Other Type Of Family

As fellow columnist Kathy Benjamin pointed out last week, nuclear families have never been the norm in all of history. Probably because they would've been laughably impractical in olden times, when everything was covered in measles and Pa's gun couldn't reload fast enough to kill all the rampaging packs of werewolves. But there's a reason it caught on, right? Like, it has to be the best way to raise a child, right? We wouldn't pick that structure totally arbitrarily, would we?

Yes, we kinda did, since studies consistently find that the mama/papa/baby-bear family structure is no better than any other type. In fact, it's "non-traditional" family "styles" that seem to have the best luck: One study found that children of single mothers in multi-generational homes tend to be the best at not drinking and smoking in high school (which is another reason Rand Paul's weird comment about absent fathers is super wrong), while the children of parents in a homosexual relationship tend to get the best grades and have fewer behavior problems -- that is, once you control for financial disparity. Because, once you really start digging, you realize that your parents' income is a bigger indicator of your future success than anyone wants to admit.

Because even though there's nothing wrong with "non-traditional" family structures, they end up disadvantaged anyway because of all the ways society is trying to screw them. According to a study by the Department Of Housing And Urban Development, nuclear families built around heterosexual relationships are more likely to receive favorable treatment when searching for housing, which is an indicator of the types of struggles that "non-traditional" families face. And people tend to assume that single parents can only fuck up their kids, partly because people on the news keep saying it's true -- even though it's super, super not.

Basically, we all decided that there was one "good" type of family, and then put up huge roadblocks to sabotage the success of other, "alternative" family structures. Which makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. And speaking of self-fulfilling prophecies ...

#1. Your Life Is Defined More By Luck Than Hard Work

You know the American Dream: work hard, dream big, get rewarded. Or, in nerdy terms, you start out as a low-level NPC, but through hard work you keep leveling up your bank account until you reach a limit break and the law no longer applies to you. Every single argument we've talked about in this article is based on the idea that there is something of a level playing field for families. If you're a good parent to your kids and teach them the right shit, then it doesn't matter how much money you make or where you live -- they'll have the tools they need to succeed.

Ha! Wouldn't that be nice. No, it turns out that who you are is less important to your success than who your parents were: Statistically speaking, a rich kid who drops out of college is likely to end up doing better in life than a poor kid who sticks around long enough (and takes out enough predatory student loans) to graduate. A big study of over 800 kids in Baltimore, from first grade to their late 20s, found pretty much the same thing: Only 33 of the kids -- that's 4 percent -- managed to climb out of their income bracket, or get college degrees. You can work your ass off to raise kids, and you can break your spine trying to be a good and honest person, but in the end, dumb luck decides whether or not you ever claw your way out of the bottom of the poverty pit.

As for why, I mean, there's all kinds of speculation we can do. Most jobs require extensive networking, and since low-income kids learn different social skills than kids in high-income families, they're probably finding themselves with a huge disadvantage on that front. Then there are unpaid internships, which are considered a career-necessity by rich kids and a hilarious fantasy by 20-year-olds who have to pay for their own gas and cellphone. In fact, you know those "troublemaker" entrepreneurs I mentioned a couple entries ago? They also tended to come from wealthy families.

Of course, this doesn't mean that hard work doesn't help. I don't know anyone who's doing well in life and hasn't broken their goddamn back, every day, for years. But there are a ton of other folks doing the same goddamn thing and not getting those same opportunities. Luck is just a way bigger part of it than anyone wants to admit. In fact, I think we're so addicted to this meritocracy myth that every lie in this article is just another attempt to hide the fact that the line between rich and poor has a barbwire fence built over it.

Sam Miguel
06-17-2015, 07:40 AM
Former Johns Hopkins Chief of Psychiatry DESTROYS ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner

TPIWriter | 96,571 views

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, is a brilliant former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has written more than 125 peer-reviewed medical journal articles and has published six scholarly books. When it comes to former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner’s recent changes, he has things to say which will make liberals furious!

McHugh reaffirms the obvious – changing the sex of a human is not possible. And, instead of a liberating sexual movement, those who think they are transgender are actually suffering from a life-destroying mental disorder. Wow!

Take a look at what he has to say…

While the Obama administration, Hollywood and major media such as Time magazine promote transgenderism as “normal,” said Dr. McHugh, these “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”
“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality,” McHugh wrote. “The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”

The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh.

This assumption, that one’s gender is only in the mind regardless of anatomical reality, has led some transgendered people to push for social acceptance and affirmation of their own subjective “personal truth,” said Dr. McHugh. As a result, some states – California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor,” he said.

The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”

“And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh.

The former Johns Hopkins chief of psychiatry also warned against enabling or encouraging certain subgroups of the transgendered, such as young people “susceptible to suggestion from ‘everything is normal’ sex education,” and the schools’ “diversity counselors” who, like “cult leaders,” may “encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”

Dr. McHugh also reported that there are “misguided doctors” who, working with very young children who seem to imitate the opposite sex, will administer “puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous – even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.”

Such action comes “close to child abuse,” said Dr. McHugh, given that close to 80% of those kids will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”

via CNS News

This sort of shocking life change should not be celebrated. We should have great sympathy for people struggling with this illness, as it is quite bizarre to willingly go through such massive surface-level changes.

Clearly, this doctor’s comments will annoy many liberals and transgender-activists, but it’s the truth.

10-20-2017, 07:20 AM
I've been polyamorous for almost a decade

By Laurie Penny October 12, 2017 | 12:56pm | Updated

Polyamory, if you believe the newspapers, is the hot new lifestyle option for affectless hipsters with alarming haircuts, or a sex cult, or both. A wave of trend articles and documentaries has thrown new light on the practice, also known as "ethical non-monogamy" ? a technical term for any arrangement in which you're allowed to date and snuggle and sleep with whomever you want, as long as everyone involved is happy. Responses to this idea range from parental concern to outright panic. Sleeping around is all well and good, but do we have to talk about it? Have we no shame? What's wrong, after all, with good old-fashioned adultery?

Having been polyamorous for almost a decade, I spend a good deal of time explaining what it all means. When I told my magazine editor that I wanted to write about polyamory, she adjusted her monocle, puffed on her pipe and said, "In my day, young lady, we just called it shagging around." So I consider it my duty to her and the rest of the unenlightened to explain what it is that's different about how the kids are doing it these days.

The state of polyamory today

The short answer is: It's not the sleeping around that's new. There's nothing new about sleeping around. I hear that it's been popular since at least 1963. What's new is talking about it like grownups. It's the conversations. It's the texts with your girlfriend's boyfriend about what to get her for her birthday. It's sharing your Google Calendars to make sure nobody feels neglected.

The Daily Mail would have you believe that polyamory is all wild orgies full of rainbow-haired hedonists rhythmically thrusting aside common decency and battering sexual continence into submission with suspicious bits of rubber. And there's some truth to that. But far more of my polyamorous life involves making tea and talking sensibly about boundaries, safe sex and whose turn it is to do the washing up.

Over the past 10 years, I have been a "single poly" with no main partner; I have been in three-person relationships; I have had open relationships and dated people in open marriages. The best parts of those experiences have overwhelmingly been clothed ones.

'How very millennial'

There's something profoundly millennial about polyamory, something quintessentially bound up with my fearful, frustrated, over-examined generation, with our swollen sense of consequence, our need to balance instant gratification with the impulse to do good in a world gone mad. We want the sexual adventure and the free love that our parents, at least in theory, got to enjoy, but we also have a greater understanding of what could go wrong. We want fun and freedom, but we also want a good mark on the test. We want to do the right thing.

All of this makes polyamory sound a bit nerdy, a bit swotty ? and it is. I find myself bewildered when online trend pieces going for titillation clicks present polyamory as gruesomely hip or freakishly fashionable. Polyamory is a great many things, but it is not cool. Talking honestly about feelings will never be cool. Spending time discussing interpersonal boundaries and setting realistic expectations wasn't cool in the 1970s and it isn't cool now. It is, however, necessary.

There is so little that makes ethical sense in the lives of young and youngish people today. If there is an economic type that is over-represented among the poly people I have encountered, it is members of the precariat: what Paul Mason memorably called the middle-class "graduate with no future." Even the limited social and economic certainties that our parents grew up with are unavailable to us. We are told, especially if we are women, that the answer to loneliness and frustration is to find that one, ideal partner who will fulfill all our emotional, financial, domestic and sexual needs. We are told this even though we know full well that it doesn?t work out for a lot of people. Almost half of all marriages end in divorce.

Challenging the doctrine of monogamy

Paradoxically, as the moral grip of religious patriarchy has loosened its hold in the West, the doctrine of monogamous romance has become ever more entrenched. Marriage was once understood as a practical, domestic arrangement that involved a certain amount of self-denial. Now your life partner is also supposed to answer your every intimate and practical need, from orgasms to organizing the school run.

Polyamory is a response to the understanding that, for a great many of us, that ideal is impractical, if not an active source of unhappiness. People have all sorts of needs at different times in their lives ? for love, companionship, care and intimacy, sexual adventure and self-expression ? and expecting one person to be able to meet them all is not just unrealistic, it?s unreasonable. Women in particular, who often end up doing the bulk of the emotional labor in traditional, monogamous, heterosexual relationships, don?t have the energy to be anyone's everything.

I don't expect anyone to be everything to me. I want my freedom and I want to be ethical and I also want care and affection and pleasure in my life. I guess I'm greedy. I guess I'm a woman who wants to have it all. It's just that my version of "having it all" is a little different from the picture of marriage, mortgage and monogamy to which I was raised to aspire.

Not all polyamorous relationships work out ? nor do all conventional relationships. We're making it up as we go along. It would be helpful to be able to do that without also having to deal with prejudice and suspicion.

It's easy to see where the suspicion comes from. The idea of desire without bounds or limits is threatening. It's a threat to a social order that exerts control by putting fences around our fantasies and making it wicked to want anything unsanctioned. It's a threat to a society that has developed around the idea of mandatory heterosexual partnership as a way to organize households. It's threatening because it's utopian in a culture whose imagination is dystopian because it's about pleasure and abundance in a culture that imposes scarcity and self-denial. Freedom is often frightening ? and polyamory is about balancing freedom with mutual care. In this atomized society, that's still a radical idea.

Extract taken from "Bitch Doctrine" by Laurie Penny, published by Bloomsbury, out now $24.99.

12-05-2017, 11:48 AM
US Supreme Court backs ruling against gay spouse benefits

Associated Press / 09:53 AM December 05, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas, United States - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that gay spouses may not be entitled to government-subsidized workplace benefits - a potential victory for social conservatives hoping to chip away at 2015's legalization of same-sex marriage.

In June, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a lower court's decision favoring spousal benefits for gay city employees in Houston, ordering the issue back to trial. That was a major reversal for the all-Republican state high court, which previously refused to even consider the benefits case after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision that the Constitution grants gay couples who want to marry "equal dignity in the eyes of the law."

The Texas court changed its mind and heard the case amid intense pressure from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton, as well as dozens of other conservative elected officials, church leaders and grassroots activists. They argued that the case may help Texas limit the scope of the Supreme Court ruling, especially in how it is applied to states.

Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision to reject Houston?s appeal of the Texas court decision came without dissent or comment. The case began with a coalition of religious and socially conservative groups suing America?s fourth-largest city in 2013 to block a move to offer same-sex spousal benefits to municipal employees.

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of the civil rights group GLAAD, said the U.S. Supreme Court "has just let an alarming ruling by the Texas Supreme Court stand which plainly undercuts the rights of married same-sex couples."

"Today?s abnegation by the nation's highest court opens the door for an onslaught of challenges to the rights of LGBTQ people at every step," Ellis said in a statement.

But other advocates said Monday's action simply shows the Texas case is not fully concluded, rather than indicating how the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately rule on the larger issue.

"There was high hope that the Texas decision was so wrong that the court wouldn't sit by and let it go," said Kenneth Upton, a Dallas-based attorney for the prominent LGBT-rights group Lambda Legal. "That's not how it works with the Supreme Court."

Houston has been paying same-sex benefits amid the case's developments and will continue to do so while it progresses through lower Texas courts. The city argues that the 2015 legalization of gay marriage meant all marriages are equal, so anything offered to opposite-sex couples must be offered to same-sex ones.

Conservative groups counter that the U.S. Supreme Court didn't declare spousal benefits a fundamental right of marriage two years ago, and that it should be up to states to decide. They also see a chance for Texas to defend religious liberty under a state gay marriage ban that voters approved in 2005.

Jared Woodfill, a Houston attorney and conservative activist at the center of the case, called Monday's action by the nation's high court, "A nice early Christmas present."

"The U.S. Supreme court could have taken the case and used it to further expand Obergefell. They chose not to," he said. "It's confirmation that the Texas Supreme Court got it right."

Woodfill said that religious liberty groups in two other states had contacted him in years past, seeking information about Texas? legal challenge.

"It obviously has precedential value, not just for Texas but the entire country," Woodfill said. However, the court has said on several occasions that the denial of such petitions "without more has no significance as a ruling."

In August, three Houston city employees and their spouses sued the city in federal court, concerned that the civil case could force the city to stop paying same-sex benefits. A federal judge dismissed that case last month, saying it was too early since the civil case was still proceeding. Upton, who represented the city employees, said they were ready to sue again depending on what happens in Texas courts. /cbb

12-05-2017, 11:57 AM
Sex scandals dampen holiday celebrations

Associated Press / 07:46 AM December 05, 2017

NEW YORK, United States - 'Tis the season to keep that office holiday party from adding to the list of workplace sexual misconduct scandals.

With the names of Weinstein, Spacey and Lauer likely getting more mentions this year than Dancer, Prancer and Blitzen, employers are making sure their year-end staff merrymaking doesn't generate more inappropriate conduct.

There will be less booze at many. An independent business organization has renewed its annual warning not to hang mistletoe. And some will have party monitors, keeping an eye out for inappropriate behavior.

TV and movies often depict office parties as wildly inappropriate bacchanals or excruciatingly awkward fiascoes, if not, horrifyingly, both. But even a regular office party can be complicated because the rules people normally observe at work don't quite apply, which makes it easier for people to accidentally cross a line - or try to get away with serious misbehavior. Especially when too much drinking is involved.

According to a survey by Chicago-based consulting company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, only 49 percent of companies plan to serve alcohol at their holiday events. Last year that number was 62 percent, the highest number in the decade the firm has run its survey. The number had been going up each year as the economy improved.

"As soon as you introduce alcohol at an off-site activity, peoples' guards are dropped," said Ed Yost, manager of employee relations and development for the Society for Human Resource Management based in Alexandria, Virginia. "It's presumed to be a less formal, more social environment. Some people will drink more than they typically would on a Friday night or a Saturday because it's an open bar or a free cocktail hour."

The Huffington Post reported Friday that Vox Media, which runs sites including Vox and Recode, won't have an open bar this year at its holiday party and will instead give employees two tickets they can redeem for drinks. It will also have more food than in years past. The company recently fired its editorial director, Lockhart Steele, after a former employee made allegations of sexual harassment against him.

A survey by Bloomberg Law said those kinds of safeguards are common: while most companies ask bartenders or security or even some employees to keep an eye on how much partygoers are drinking, others limit the number of free drinks or the time they're available. A small minority have cash bars instead of an open bar.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses recommends all of those steps, and adds another that might seem obvious these days: don?t hang mistletoe. It's been giving those suggestions for several years.

Yost said he always gets a lot of requests for advice in planning and managing these events, but he's getting even more of them this year. He said he?ll be spending his corporate holiday party the way he always does: patrolling hallways, checking secluded areas and trying to watch for people who look like they are stuck in an uncomfortable situation ? for example, inappropriate touching or a conversation that's taken a bad turn. If they're visibly uncomfortable, he'll intervene and plan a later conversation with the person responsible.

The Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey shows that about 80 percent of companies will have a holiday party, the same as last year. And not everyone is planning changes.

Anthony Vitiello, the marketing director for software company UltraShipTMS, said he planned his company's event and didn't rethink it. For the last few years the firm?s has marked the holiday with drinks and passed hors d'oeuvres in the wine cellar of a local restaurant. Vitiello thinks the formal setting makes the event calmer.

"We haven't had any incidents, not a single one I can recall, where anyone got loud or over-consumed," he said. He added that many of the Fairlawn, New Jersey, company's 25 employees go out for drinks once a month, and he's not aware of any cases of misconduct.

Yost said he?s not making changes to his group's event either. He added that companies concerned about sexual misconduct need to look further than the holiday party.

"While there are additional complications that are associated with a holiday event, that's one day a year," he said. /cbb

01-15-2018, 09:32 AM
From Inquirer online ...

French Actress Catherine Deneuve Has a Problem with the #MeToo Campaign


A few years ago, walking along the streets of New York City, my mother was apparently running a mental tally of men who walked past us with a compliment or a wolf-whistle directed at me. She was rather miffed that I, then in my late 40s, seemed to still be able to attract appreciative looks and comments, not to mention less polite leery glances and catcalls, from the opposite sex, men of varying ages and ethnicities and degrees of hotness; men in smart suits, men in worker's overalls, men in uniform, men in casual attire; men who seemed prosperous and sophisticated, men who were plebs.

It didn't matter to her who the men were or where they came from. It mattered that they noticed me and chose to express, completely unbidden, their appreciation of my looks. It mattered that they noticed me, despite the fact that I was of an age that would indicate that I was not exactly in the first - nor second - blush of youth. It mattered that decades before, men had often expressed, completely unbidden, the same appreciation of her (admittedly stunning) looks, whether in Europe, or America, or even Asia, and now she was invisible.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't delighted by the male attention I was receiving. It was quite flattering, considering I was a single mother of two grown daughters, to discover that I still had "it."

So I can understand, to a certain extent, the sentiments of Catherine Deneuve, et al, the 100 or so French female actresses, writers, journalists, and academics who lamented, in an open letter to Le Monde, the indiscriminate stridency of the #MeToo movement across the Atlantic, and its accompanying mission of vigilante justice, the poisoning of relations between men and women, the politicization of something as edifyingly primal and basic as flirtation and the appreciation of female sexuality, the curtailment of sexual freedom in the in order to forward a feminist agenda that viewed men as adversaries, not partners or lovers.

"Rape is a crime," the letter stated. "But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a chauvinist aggression. As a result of the Weinstein affair, there has been a legitimate realization of the sexual violence women experience, particularly in the workplace, where some men abuse their power. It was necessary. But now this liberation of speech has been turned on its head."

It went on to say, "This expedited justice already has its victims, men prevented from practicing their profession as punishment, forced to resign, etc., while the only thing they did wrong was touching a knee, trying to steal a kiss, or speaking about 'intimate' things at a work dinner, or sending messages with sexual connotation to a woman whose feelings were not mutual."

While the letter does make some valid points - it also attacks #BalanceTonPorc, the French counterpart of #MeToo - it does highlight a very French sensibility that women of a certain generation, like Catherine Deneuve, have always embodied, a sensibility that seems to have contributed to the particular mystique that surrounds French women: that they prize sensuality and the art of seduction, that they support sexual freedom, regarding sex as being about pleasure first and foremost, that they don't think of women as victims and abhor "self-victimization." And that a woman’s desirability is something to cultivate, celebrate and maintain. A woman who is no longer desirable is no longer powerful; she is invisible, her value diminished.

Implicit in this way of thinking, however, is that men are and will always be the arbiters of a woman's desirability. Even a magnificent Fanny Ardant, in her 60s, was desperate for the sexual attentions of a much younger man, who clearly was a jerk, in the movie Bright Days Ahead, because it meant she was still vital and desirable. And my 70-something mother, on a certain level, sought this same validation in New York, hoping to find it in the odd male gaze that could somehow appreciate the vital and desirable woman dressed in an elegant trench coat, who could still flirt and dazzle with disarming quips like the Catherine Deneuves of this world. I did mention to her that perhaps giving up smoking in an increasingly health-conscious America might make her more attractive.

So for all the letter's talk about "inner freedom," and the power that comes from knowing that "a woman can, in the same day, lead a professional team and enjoy being the sexual object of a man, without being a 'promiscuous woman,' nor a vile accomplice of patriarchy," it seemed to insist on a woman's right to be appreciated and objectified, without acknowledging that there are men who insist, equally, on appreciating and objectifying women to the point of violence, abuse, harassment, and assault.

Perhaps it's true that women should never underestimate the power of charm and flirtation, or even sexy underwear. And women should never have to be victimized. But men should also understand and respect boundaries.

10-01-2019, 11:45 AM
Pick One Date Spot and Stick to It

Without the logistical back-and-forth, you’re free to concentrate on the one thing that actually matters.

By Kate Mooney

September 30, 2019

When it comes to planning first dates, folks typically fall into one of two camps (or so I’ve gathered, as I’ve opted for a different approach.) Conventionally, both people discuss what they’d like to do on the date, where to meet, and when.

There’s another set, though, of alpha daters who can’t be bothered with fielding this discussion every single time. Instead, they take charge of the planning themselves, inviting each new person to the same establishment: a bar or restaurant they’ve locked down as their First Date Spot. It’s a crap shoot whether or not they’ll like their date, of course, but at least they know they like the bar—and eliminating this one variable makes the whole experience that much less of a hassle.

Before she met her husband, Dr. Jess Carbino, a dating expert and former sociologist for Tinder and Bumble, took the majority of her first dates to one of three restaurants, all located within walking distance from her apartment in Los Angeles. The main impetus for Carbino was convenience: “I could sit at the bar and have a drink and wait for the person, and if I didn’t like them I would just walk home... or Uber home if I was worried about them following me,” she recalls.

At the time, Carbino was on a quest to find the man she wanted to marry, she says, and was willing to go on as many first dates as it would take. Managing the sheer volume of meet ups—particularly in a sprawling city like LA—underscored her need for reliable, go-to date spots. “There’s so much that goes into coordinating and planning a date, so having one set thing that’s easy is really comforting,” she says.

When Joel Kahn, a senior video producer at Lifehacker, was single, he grew impatient with the logistical back-and-forth of planning dates. “I thought, ‘Why am I producing a whole event tailored to each person when I know what I like to eat, what’s convenient for me, and we could maybe remove some of the variables by doing the same thing each time?’” he says. So he picked an Italian restaurant located near a major train hub and designated it his first-date spot.

Kahn wrote about his “patented three-date method”—after round one, there’s a second date at an ice cream parlor, and a third dinner date at his apartment. Some of his colleagues have (lovingly) deemed his approach “sociopathic,” as it treats potential partners like contestants on a twisted reality dating show. But Kahn, who’s now engaged, insists it worked for him: “It helped me get a good read on the person because I wasn’t distracted by the ambience or the restaurant.” He patronized these establishments exclusively for dates, and wouldn’t recommend deploying the system at your neighborhood go-to, where the bartenders could blow up your spot with a well-intentioned comment.

Brooklyn bartender Natalie Hernandez regularly observes a handful of serial first-daters where she works—folks who come in as often as three times a week with different dates. But she doesn’t think of them as regulars. “It’s their [date] spot, but not their spot to hang out,” she says. “I think they’re almost embarrassed by what they’re doing. They don’t even sit at the bar—they kinda keep to themselves.” Hernandez told me that she, too, keeps her love life separate from her regular haunts because “you don’t shit where you eat.”

While returning to the same familiar location can eliminate some of the stress involved with first dates, it can also make dating seem “too routine, which may cause you to show up less excited or not make as good of a first impression,” according to dating coach Samantha Burns, author of Done with Dating: 7 Steps to Finding Your Person. “If you're really jazzed about someone, go out of your way to pick a first-date location that you think they'd like based on your conversations, not just because it's convenient or inside your comfort zone,” she recommends.

But for some singles, bringing first dates to the same establishment isn’t just motivated by comfort or convenience; it’s also a smart move, safety-wise.

“It can be especially calming for women if they know that people at the restaurant or the bar know who they are and can help them out in a situation that might be uncomfortable,” says Carbino, who didn’t try to hide from restaurant staffers that she was routinely bringing in dates to the same locations. At some bars, patrons are encouraged to ask for an “angel shot” from the bartender, code that their date is making them feel unsafe. When ordered with ice, it means “call an Uber”; with lime, “call the police”; or neat, “walk me to my car.”

I used to work at a restaurant that drew an older first-date crowd, likely because it was a casual, small plates joint where you could share dishes like the pate or grilled octopus and have a couple of cocktails without spending a fortune or needing a slice afterwards. When one beloved regular would come in with new dudes, it was actually sort of fun for the staff because we were on her team—we’d check how the date was going, gossip about the guy when he went to the bathroom, that sort of thing.

Another set, typically bachelors in their 40s or 50s, frequently wined and dined their dates there, but didn’t establish a rapport with the staff beyond a sort of unspoken pact: we poured them top-shelf single-barrel bourbon, or whatever aspirational menu item they’d order to flex on their latest companion, and kept mum about the fact that we’d seen their game plenty of times before. In exchange—and this is key—they tipped generously.

Staging each new face-to-face against the same bar backdrop can exacerbate the all-too-common feeling of first-date burnout—you’re just going through the motions, having nearly the same conversations, ordering literally the same drinks. On the other hand, if having your routine spot makes the hellscape of dating easier to navigate, there really shouldn’t be any shame in that. But if you’re gonna shit where you eat, be prepared to clean up the mess—and don’t skimp on the gratuity.

10-14-2019, 01:30 PM
From GQ online ...

This Is What Happened When I Tried to Have Sex Like Leonardo DiCaprio Allegedly Has Sex

Getting freaky while vaping and wearing headphones sounds promising, so Sophia Benoit decided to give it a shot.

By Sophia Benoit

June 27, 2019

Vapes of Wrath is permanently closed, according to Yelp. It may have been replaced by BUZZ “R” US, another shop on the street where I work, but my mission to find a vape is momentarily stifled, putting my mission to have sex like Leonardo DiCaprio allegedly does in jeopardy.

According to tabloid lore, the rumored Leo method allegedly involves wearing noise-canceling headphones while hitting a vape. A blonde model is likely present. And it’s likely aboard a yacht. Now, I wasn’t going to be able to fuck a model—I know my limits—and I don’t know anyone with an eco-friendly super yacht. But the headphones and vaping business… that I could swing.

Except, it turns out, my understanding of what vaping entails is shaky, at best. (Big congrats to my middle school; D.A.R.E. worked!) I’ve also never used noise-cancelling headphones. (My editor assures me normal headphones will do; I am skeptical but also not rich enough to buy noise-cancelling headphones just to fuck my boyfriend as kind of a joke for an assignment.) The only thing I’ve been assigned to do that I have done before is… have sex.

Because I did not yet know anything about vapes or their attendant terminology, and a cursory Google search did not clarify much for me, I asked my boyfriend, who’s smoked both weed and cigarettes before, “You can vape weed right?”

To which he confusedly replied “...yes?”

“I need to vape weed for a story.” I then explained the assignment. “Sophia,” he said, “when people say vaping, they usually mean nicotine.”

Oh. Oh.

I wasn’t about to lose my nicotine virginity for journalism, so we headed to the one dispensary in town for a weed vape—not the tank-like variety Leo is frequently seen with in public.

I approach the counter. “One vape of sativa please,” I ask a woman with green hair.

She starts clinically pointing out strains. Shit.

I begin to ask: “This is going to be a dumb question, but—” and then my boyfriend (not a model), who I brought for backup, laughs; she does not “—what’s the difference between strains?”

I love hot people. They so rarely make you feel dumb, even when you are asking something incredibly dumb. This is how Leo feels, I bet. Everything is easy with hot people—they have an earnestness about them that is often incidentally generous. She starts in on what each flavor tastes like. The lemon one? Sweet and citrusy. The mimosa one? Also sweet and citrusy. The one with candy in the title? Actually, she has no idea, but this other girl who works there says it’s her favorite. The other ones “taste more like weed.” Lemon it is!

So we head home with some vaguely citrus-y weed. The vape is charged. Sex is planned. I’m off work and I’m going to get high. To hell with Leo; this is about me now.

We head to the bedroom and hit our first roadblock: I can’t get my wireless headphones to work. I’m highly skeptical about the acrobatics involved with bringing a cord into the equation, thereby tethering myself to my phone. I’ve had to stop sex to get my hair uncaught from the headboard, and now I’m supposed to add in a four foot cord and electronics? My boyfriend is laughing, even though he’s trying to keep the vibe sexy.

So I lie on my back, vaping in bed while my boyfriend fetches me his big, over-the-ear, not at all cordless headphones. Imagine a gamer headset with no microphone. Had my great Uncle Bob worn these headphones during World War II, he wouldn’t have lost his hearing.

But sex is all about momentum, and the headphones fiasco killed the mood. I’m not sure that there even was a mood, but whatever sexy inclinations we had? Evaporated.

So we re-calibrate. I lie back down, slide the headphones on, hit shuffle on Spotify, and take a puff from the vape. “Hymn to the Sea” from the Titanic soundtrack starts playing.

I admittedly didn’t know what to play during sex; I tried to channel Leonardo DiCaprio’s (alleged) sexy mindset and guess what he would listen to, and all I came up with is climate change podcasts. So the Titanic soundtrack it is. (I found out later that he reportedly listens to MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” which is perhaps the most passive-aggressive sex song other than that Norah Jones song where she sings “don’t know why I didn’t come,” over and over.)

The over-the-ear headphones actually work better than advertised. I can’t hear my boyfriend at all, and that part is kind of… nice. Not in a jokey, “I want men to not talk hahaha!” way. (Men should be making more noise in bed, for my money.) But in a sensory deprivation kind of way. It was a fun experiment, one that rules out almost every position other than lying back and getting eaten out. The logistics of doggy style with noise-canceling, over-the-ear, non-cordless headphones escape me.

It’s nigh impossible to actually have high-level-participatory sex when you have headphones in and you are vaping. What do you do? Hold a penis in one hand and a vape in the other? I mean, this is a recipe for not pulling your weight in bed. (Not that I mind!) My boyfriend, oblivious to the maritime dirge playing in my ear, is making his way downtown, walking fast, faces pass, so good for him; I barely notice.

At one point, I drop the vape and on my arm and it burns a little. I’m trying to stay horny listening to pan flutes except it’s impossible. A fool's errand. I cannot stop laughing.

I take my headphones off. “I don’t think I can do this,” I tell my boyfriend.

“Do you want me to stop?” he asks.

I think for a minute. “I’m going to try Beyoncé.”

This is my last ditch effort to connect with Leo. I don’t think that he listens to Beyoncé during sex, but if you don’t feel sexy when the bass boomphs in “Partition,” you’re never going to. My boyfriend goes back to work—this may be the first time I’m grateful for how hard it is to stymie male horniness.

But alas, for maybe the first time in recorded history, Beyoncé didn’t solve my problem. Even the phrase “He likes to call me peaches when we get this nasty” barely registered. I finally call a timeout.

This whole thing... is not sexy. It feels deranged at best and callous towards your sex partner at worst. We have some normal sex instead—which, was pretty great because weed—sans accessories.

The only conceivable way that you can have sex—and by that I mean lie back while someone does sex to you—with headphones on and a vape in your hand is if your ego is the size of say… an ill-fated ocean vessel that slams into an iceberg. In a tiny way, I begin to understand Leo’s (alleged) headspace. His level of fame. It’s a fame that would afford anyone enough self-importance that getting fellatio’d while you vape with noise-canceling headphones on is not ridiculous, but in its own twisted way, desirable. There's a level of disengagement with the world that being rich affords you; you’ll know you’ve made it when you can fuck to “Hymn of the Sea.”

10-23-2019, 01:33 PM
From GQ online ...

How to Break Up With Someone Without Being the Worst

The key is to be truthful without being overly honest.

By Sophia Benoit

October 22, 2019

Like leather pants, deals with the devil, and Mini Coopers, relationships are incredibly tricky to get out of. Mostly, that’s because ending a relationship sucks and there’s no good time or way to do it. Trying to plan how to break up with someone without hurting them is like scheming about how to best drop a grand piano on someone’s foot.

On top of that, while society has a whole built-in sympathy mechanism for people who have been broken up with, we quickly forget about the person who had to do the dumping, which usually takes a lot of courage and self-inflicts a lot of pain. No one comes over with ice cream because you dumped someone. No one expects you to be locked in the supply closet at work crying again because you realize it’s not working out with your partner. It’s a lonely, isolating act, and you’re the bad guy.

But there are, of course, ways to make it suck a bit less for all parties involved.

Pick a neutral time and place.That means not their birthday, not seven minutes before they’re supposed to leave for work, and not while either of you is naked. Again, there’s never a good time to break up with someone—it’s not like anyone sits around thinking, “Eh, having my heart smashed would be okay right now.” You can, however, mitigate the awkwardness of the conversation by picking a private location (don’t break up over the phone unless you have to) and a time as far away from any major holidays as possible. No one needs their Aunt Fran probing them about why the two of you didn’t work out or to watch another friend get engaged over New Years while they try to not drunk dial you. (For breakups, I suggest August, which is always a bit dull.) In all seriousness, once you know that you need to break up with someone, it’s difficult—and rather cruel—to keep going through the motions with them. That said, if you’ve somehow come to this realization during their PopPop’s funeral, keep it to yourself for a bit.

Keep it snappy. When you do have the conversation, don’t belabor it, and don’t have it more than once. Unless you share custody of something with a longer lifespan than a gerbil, you do not need to keep talking to this person. Maybe you have to send the dreaded, “I’m missing my Nintendo Switch controller; do you have it?” text, but wait at least one month to do so. If you’re in the same friend group, your timeline of acting like things are cool between you two might be rushed, or perhaps you see them at work occasionally and must Keep Things Cordial. Fine. But hashing and rehashing the breakup itself only prolongs the pain. So, if your soon-to-be-ex repeatedly asks to talk, it’s perfectly reasonable (and, in fact, healthy) to say, “I cannot have this conversation again; I’ve let you know where I stand. I’m sure that will seem very heartless of me, and I’m sorry.” If you’re going to be one of those unhinged people who insists on remaining friends with someone whose naughty parts they’ve licked, fine, but you, the breaker-upper, may not reach out.

Avoid cliché. If you say the words, “It’s not you, it’s me,” I will come set your car on fire with my mind. There’s a reason there aren’t pithy Hallmark cards to do your breaking up for you: the least you can do when severing a relationship is put it in your own words. Since the dawn of humanity, couples have broken up approximately 900 billion times (conservative estimate). No one is expecting you to pen some brand new, heretofore unspoken breakup soliloquy with new insights into what it means to lose love, but at least tailor what you’re saying to the actual situation at hand. Say what you mean, be clear and concise, and get out.

Be truthful, but not overly honest. At the heart of all breakups is the sentiment, “I don’t love you.” It may be, “I don’t love you enough to get through your gambling addiction” It may be “I don’t love you anymore.” It may be “I don’t just love you; I also love Gigi from spin class.” Whatever your exact reason, the why does not need to be explicitly communicated. (You may disagree with me; that’s fine). Even if someone begs you to give them a specific reason, it’s rarely a good idea to disclose, “You’re too much like your mother and that frightens me,” or, “You lack ambition and it may be your depression, but I’m unwilling to stick around and find out.” Those things are incredibly painful and stick with people for months, if not years. Be truthful, without being brutally, scathingly honest. You can say, “I’m no longer in love with you, and I wish I were, and I wish I felt this was working because I do care about you a lot, but I can’t stay in this relationship.” That is truthful without saying, “I don’t think you’re fun to be around.”

Remember that you can’t give closure. The reason brutal excavations of What Went Wrong aren’t worth it? Because there’s no such thing as closure. The concept of closure rests on the idea that love and falling out of love are explicable, and therefore understandable, but in reality it will never feel acceptable for someone to dump you. Closure is a well-propagated scam! It’s delusional to think there are some magic words out there that you, the dumper, could say that would instantly heal the other persons’ wounds. Should they press you for a reason, it’s okay to repeat yourself or to say, “I don’t know.” Sure, that might be annoying for your soon-to-be-ex to hear, but saying nothing sticks in the craw less than, “I still fantasize about my ex and don’t think you’ll ever stack up to her.”

Don’t back track or hedge. If you’re going to break up with someone, for the love of god, do not leave any openings for the other person to talk you out of your decision. That only makes things 452 times worse the next time you break up with them, which will almost inevitably happen. (Sure, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend got back together and it worked and so did your old boss and his third wife. Those are called exceptions; it’s safe to assume you are not one). Once you’ve reached the point where acknowledge you need to break up with someone, you need to go through with it. Much like a good golf swing, breakups are about follow through.

Own it. Apologize. Admit that this is on you. Agree that it’s unfair. Take a little bit of a metaphorical beating (obviously I’m not talking about verbal or physical abuse here, I mean be cool if you don’t get all of your books back). Own that you did this and then forgive yourself. It’s easy to internalize that you are The Worst Bad Guy of All Time for breaking someone’s heart, for not wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone. But breaking up with someone is not a crime. It’s not inherently cruel. It’s just another part of relationships. Unfortunately, it’s the shitty part, and this time, it’s your fault. Sorry, dude.

10-23-2019, 01:42 PM
From GQ online ...

And Now, Some Timeless Wisdom from GQ’s Legendary Style Guy

Enjoy a few of Glenn O’Brien’s patented Secrets to Better Living.

By The Editors of GQ

October 21, 2019

Of all the writers who have ever graced GQ’s pages, few could turn a phrase like Glenn O’Brien, the magazine's longtime Style Guy. For over 15 years, his column dispensed immaculate style advice and unmatchable wit. If you needed to know which shoes to wear with that suit, how to navigate a cocktail party, or what it was like to work for Andy Warhol, Glenn was your man. O’Brien passed away in 2017, but his tremendous influence survives in an entire generation of readers that hung on his hard-won wisdom. (As the below shows, Glenn was basically tweeting long before the invention of Twitter.)

I don’t need no Martha Stewart nor Deepak Chopra to tell me how to live my life, but then again I can semi-dig where they’re coming from, because living is an art, and sometimes you need a guru to point you toward Mecca or Nirvana or Mount Olympus or Sherry Lehman. I’ve had my share of gurus in the art of living (Frank Sinatra, Robert Benchley, Miles Davis, Fred Hughes, Keith Sonnier, eg.) but by now I have attained perfect mastery myself, and so I’m passing along a few tips for your consideration.

It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed for an occasion. It will appear that you are going somewhere better later.

Drink champagne. If you have only one thing in the refrigerator it should be champagne. (And then butter.) You’ll be ready to celebrate or seduce at all times. And if you don’t drink anything else you’ll never get a hangover. And if it’s too expensive then you’re probably drinking too much anyway. Cut down and make it bubbles.

Vinyl. Collect 33 ⅓ records. They sound good the sleeves look great lying around the pad. Take that Cohiba label off the cigar. Unless, of course, you’re going to stick it up your ass.

Expensive sheets. Better than furniture, baby. Porthault turned my life around. That high thread count will keep your bed crowded.

On a budget? Forget those $7 bottles of Pellegrino and Evian in restaurants and drink from our excellent New York City supply. It’s in your coffee and soup anyway.

Answer the phone “Studio.” Everyone will think you’re an artist.

Don’t give too many people your cell phone number. Get a beeper and screen.

If you order white wine in a restaurant and it’s not cold enough, dump the contents of a salt shaker into the ice bucket and mix well.

Read the tabloids before you read the Times. It’s a more natural transition from the dream state to full wakefulness.

Don’t be afraid to ask the dentist for painkillers. There is no nobility in suffering and there are ten thousand dentists in the naked city.

Don’t buy stocks, buy good stuff. You can’t sit on, drive, wear or flaunt stocks and bonds. Some Japanese bank goes boom and the market crashes. But a ‘59 Cadillac Eldorado Seville will never go down in value and you can drive it to the bank looking good.

Black tie means you have to wear a tie. Duh.

If you want a good dog, go to the pound. Mutts are the true aristocrats of the canine gene pool, representing the nobility of natural selection.

Artists are the real saints. You can never know enough about Duke Ellington.

Don’t lie. Say what you think and smile. Be ruthless and affectionate. Let them think you’re being ironic. Speak the truth and beam.

When you eat a big meat sandwich, eat a pickle. It’s the antidote.

Make your bed when you get up. It gives you more of a will to live.

Have nice stationary and write thank you notes at every opportunity. Thanks for the gift, for the meal, for the appointment, for the shag, etc… Thank you for letting me be myself again. Flattery may get you somewhere. Gratitude will get you everywhere.

Consume ethically. When it comes to athletic footwear, don’t believe the hype. Kathie Lee Gifford took the rap for Nike. Philosophers don’t run sweatshops. Buy American. Buy New Balance and Converse.

Take your son to work on “take your daughter to work day.”

Don’t just read your own horoscope in the paper, read all twelve, that way you’ll know who to watch out for.

When travelling always try to carry everything on the plane, saving maybe an hour, maybe your wardrobe. The worst that can happen is you’ll have to check it at the gate. Last luggage on, first luggage off.

If you find yourself having too many hangovers but you don’t feel ready for AA, try drinking something you don’t like. If vodka goes down too easy, try a nice expensive single malt scotch with a difficult to pronounce name.

Watching network television is decadent. Get up a regular card game at least once a week to expand your interactions with other humans. ER is degeneracy. Contract Bridge is civilization. Have you ScrabbledTM lately? It’s a rush.

Get a china pattern and publicize it. This will give your tasteless parents, relatives and friends something to give you for birthdays and holidays that can’t fail.

Revenge should be savored. Revenge should be fun. Don’t get all hot under the collar and antsy. Just wait for your moment, even if it takes a lifetime.

Be beautiful and be loveable. By any means necessary. The forces of love, humor and gorgeousness may appear ruthless at times, but look at what we’re up against.

11-08-2019, 09:58 AM
Love on the line

By: Angela Gabrielle Fabunan - @inquirerdotnet

INQUIRER.net / 08:30 AM November 08, 2019

We meet in the dark of the night, huddled over our phones, in bed, behind closed doors. We meet on the internet.

We also meet in the light of morning, with the spread of breakfast before us, with the day’s first beams streaming in.

We know who we are talking to. I know the shape of his body, his face, his hands. He knows when I’m happy and knows when I’m not in the mood. I learn to say “good morning” before breakfast, when we meet online after meeting in the dreamworld.

I learn about his country, his ex-wife, his tendency to be indirect. He knows how to contact me, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, on WhatsApp, on Viber, and more. I learn to say, “Good night.”

We are everywhere, together.

Sometimes, I think, maybe I just made it up, but it was true. I knew in my heart of hearts everything that ever happened between us was made up of the real and unreal, but it was still true. You know that gut feeling you get when someone you love is near? It feels real, doesn’t it? And when your feelings are confirmed, you know that you’ve always known all along.

He would message saying he’s glad I am eating, at the exact moment of me eating a meal; that he knew exactly where I was; that he knew where I was at every moment, and who I was with. He’s a man made up of different voices. It’s similar in poetry — some poets have a distinct voice, some poets try to hide that voice yet their personalities still come out. Words are reliable, in that way, and what is the internet but a vehicle made out of words?

I know, because his many voices are full, direct statements. A command even when it’s a question.

I have loved a shadow but that shadow ruled over me. He was always the dominant one, back then, and I submitted; I consented to the game we played.

But then came the times when I lost the shadow of myself to the shadow of who I loved. And we both knew it.

In the early years, living with a man in a mask was tough. I would agonize over the cyberspace exchanges and obsess over who was hacking my phone. I was extremely interested in hackers and how they do what they do. Needless to say, I got extremely paranoid. Had I done something wrong? Were these conversations safe? Does he love me less because he does this to me?

I understand, now, his reasons, after nearly half a decade of conversations. I understand that I have my reasons too, for continuing to undergo this, which sometimes feels like a limitation, but more often than not, an exciting love affair. A love conducted through a secret rendezvous online.

Is it, or am I, or is he, less real? I think not.

Now, I have adjusted to this crazy debacle. My time is my time, and I choose to spend it the way I want to. I talk to who I want. And I want to talk to him. I am still that young girl in a yellow sundress looking for the right room in a strange new school, but I have just grown a little bit older.

I know love comes with understanding, and I believe there is an understanding between us. Even the dominant and submissive parts of us understand that it is a performance, a play that we could not act out in real life.

He has softened, through the years, adjusted to our random conversations, adjusted to my anger and my joy. He’s direct, these days, telling me what he wants and doesn’t want, as if he has just figured it out himself. Meanwhile, we have adjusted to each other’s various tones, to our silences when we’re angry, to the guilty facts between us.

And yes, of course, I understand, it’s not for some people. These type of mysteries, be they closed or open secrets, will always have its critics — its naysayers, its public investigative fingers on a very private thing. But while it’s still private, let me please cherish it. Let me relish it, please.

Perhaps I will never be able to write about it fully. But writing helps unravel the shadows, so that what looks like a dark image might actually be a colorful one — under the right filter, of course. When I write about this in my poetry, I hide behind metaphors. They comfort, similar to our good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and good night exchanges.

Metaphors have always been my crutch at explaining a hyperreal situation. But I have chosen to write about this now, because I want to say it in the plainest of words, to express how real the internet life can be, and about the love that takes place there.

That’s where we as humans now meet, in metaphors online, because that’s where we’re most comfortable. It’s a place we never tire of going to. You may meet the love of your life, or simply one of your lovers, on the net.

But it doesn’t make it any less real.


Angela Gabrielle Fabunan is a poet, essayist and editor. Her poetry collection, “The Sea That Beckoned”, was published by the England-based Platypus Press. Her works have appeared in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Manileño Magazine, and Inklette Magazine for which she is poetry editor. She won a Palanca Award for her poems “Homecoming Collection” in 2016, and is taking up her masters in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines.

11-08-2019, 10:05 AM
Cheating for answers

By: JM Tolentino - @inquirerdotnet

INQUIRER.net / 04:54 PM October 25, 2019

Cheating is cheating, however you do it.

Temptations seem to be anywhere and just within reach nowadays – could be through a few clicks or taps of the gadget and there you go – you have your instant love life, virtual mistress or paramour. With the proliferation of different modes of communication, it has become a lot easier to break the matrimonial vow of loyalty and faithfulness. You just need a cellphone (or any gadget), headset and apps. With these, one can disrupt marriages and even wreck homes.

I always thought my husband would never hurt me. I have always believed in the faithfulness of my husband and never did it cross my mind that he will cheat because I see him as an exceptional guy – a man whose love for me is strong enough to keep him away from temptations. But I was wrong.

I caught my husband cheating, having an online fling, as he claims. I have read their exchanges of messages, how they greet one another each day, update each other of their day’s activity, or simply say good night as they sleep with their own partners. I have seen how they have exchanged selfies along with I miss you’s. Some lines are familiar because my husband said the same things to me. Some pictures I can recognize because he had also sent those to me, as updates of his activity, and so on. Through the messages and pictures sent, I have seen a love story developed. Reading their conversations is like reading a typical “Why can’t it be” love story. I couldn’t believe I was reading what seems to be an ideal love story were it not only for the fact that the guy is already married – and hey, he is my husband.

I could not forget that fateful night when I accidentally discovered my husband’s affair. It was late night after a drinking session and he was really inebriated. His phone vibrated and a message displayed “Pssst!” I’m not really into checking his phone because I trust him so much. All those years, I believed he was honest to me and could not do anything to hurt me. But it seems I believed in a fantasy. Out of curiosity, I opened the message, and I felt stabbed by it.

The evil truth unveiled. The saying that “the truth hurts” is certainly an understatement. I couldn’t describe the pain of being betrayed by the person I love and trust the most. It was disturbing and oddly enough, hilarious. It’s like saying I love you but I can kill you. I love you but I fell for somebody else. And the next questions I found myself asking were: What went wrong? What is lacking in me? Why did he cheat on me?

Fights led to more fights. Confrontations led to nothing but denial despite overwhelming evidence of infidelity. It was excruciatingly painful to think that there were days I was not the one making him smile; instead it was the thought of that girl or a selfie sent to him. I couldn’t help but wonder next if I was the one he was thinking about when we are making love, or was he wishing I was somebody else? I was devastated.

The situation created a monster in me – wanting to get even, wanting to hurt the persons responsible for the pain, responsible in betraying me.

Our marriage would have been easily destroyed as I was ready to give up. But I have seen how he regretted what happened. He asked for forgiveness and assured me that girl was nobody but an online fling, just a past time. But such assurance didn’t help ease the pain. Like a broken glass, my trust cannot be restored. For me, it was cheating no matter how he calls it.

On second thought, I have a family to protect, kids to raise, and dreams to pursue. Thus, no matter how deep the cut was, I managed to get up. It took time, but slowly, I picked up my broken pieces and found the path to forgiveness. It wasn’t easy but I made a choice. I may have forgiven him for the sake of the family that we built, for me to move on, but I can never forget. I could not find the strength to forgive and forget. I can only do one at a time perhaps. The family survived. The marriage was saved. But I was not the same person ever since.

God really has a way of teaching us lessons. There came a point when it was my turn to face the battle that my husband went through – overcoming temptations. I met a man at the prime of his life. I stumbled upon a guy that I first met a long time ago – young, full of zest and dreams, with a pretty face and an incredibly attractive smile. He used to be my student during his freshman and sophomore years. Now, he is all grown up, a young professional, an incredibly handsome bachelor. Am I too lucky that he had a crush on me as he claims in his messages? Yes, it all started with social media, we reconnected. This time, I am no longer the teacher he used to be afraid of – as he would say, he finds me young-looking for my age. We started with simple greetings, followed by what seemed to be harmless chats. Then he started flirting and I found myself smiling every time he sends messages. I didn’t notice, but I have been enjoying random conversations with him and even found myself telling him my biggest heartbreak. He became a constant chatmate. I looked forward to receiving his messages. Also, suddenly, I felt young.

We started exchanging sweet messages and even naughty ones, justifying it with the reason that we are both adults, with a disclaimer that it all meant nothing. I didn’t know how all these were to him but everything to me was special – I was feeling something different. I hate to admit it but I thought I like him. I felt ok seeing him happy. It felt alright seeing him smile, seeing his face, a body part, his silhouette, the food he eats, places had been to, or just anything about him. Unexpectedly, my situation has changed. Am I the one cheating this time?

I immensely enjoyed our conversations. I started being interested in his personal affairs. I began fantasizing, wishing I was the young girl that he could be with and that I could personally see him and spend time with him. I wished I was born in a different time so that maybe we can end up together. What am I exactly doing? Am I falling for him? Is this possible, to fall for a guy simply by looking at his pretty unfiltered pictures, reading his messages, and imagining things which shouldn’t be? I was such a mess.

I would like to think it was simply an obsessive admiration for his stunning good looks. This couldn’t be because I am married and would be too old for him. I knew I must find a way to resist the temptation waving at me. Then memories flashed back, that of my husband and his girl. Was this how my husband felt when he was exchanging messages with her? Was he this excited? Did he long to spend time with that girl? Did he wish to be the man who could make that girl happy? Could I be worse than my husband as it appears that admittedly I am falling for the young man? I was after all enjoying the attention from him and reciprocating his alluring messages. What if this goes beyond online?

But one thing to me is sure – the situation is already a form of cheating. Reality indeed is painful. I became the one betraying my husband this time, breaking the vow of matrimony, and destroying the family we built and hope to protect. The moment somebody occupies your mind, the moment you give your attention to someone other than your partner, you are cheating.

The excuse “just online” is not valid because feelings are involved, our thoughts are occupied. I am old enough to set aside fantasies. I have my reality – a beautiful family. I thought what I was doing must stop. Yes, my husband sinned but this is not a justification for me to do the same. I can be the better person. I should be the better person. Perhaps, it was God’s way of teaching me a lesson – that I could not hold to that grudge for such a long time. If I want to move on, I should just lift everything to him, even the questions I long to be answered.

Through prayers, I surpassed the test of temptation. I realized the repercussions of my actions. Of course, I will not play saint. I know I have sinned, I know I cheated, in my own way, in my thoughts. It had to stop.

To that pretty face which almost lured me to temptation, thank you for making it clear that I am a human and that I have a choice – to be tempted or to stay strong. I wish you well and pray that you will soon find that woman who will make you happy, not just in your imagination, and who will love you the way that I wish to do but cannot, and someone who will be faithful to you no matter what. As I bid you goodbye, I want to thank you for making me smile and forget my pain for a while. If in the future we cross paths, you need not stop and pat my back, nor take a pause and turn your back. A simple greeting would be enough. Thank you for helping me end the quest for answers.

To my husband, forgive me, for I almost gave up on us. To this very day, while I still remember the pain you’ve caused me, I will not forget how we promised to be together no matter what. You will still be the person I will come home to – the man that I promised to love and to hold forever. Let’s start anew, with the lessons from our past. I forgive us.


JM Tolentino lives and works in Manila. Writing was her first love. She also loves to cook and read books during her spare time. She is a wife and mother committed to protecting her family.