Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Filipino Family Day!

The fourth Monday of September (the 26th) is designated as Family Day in the Philippines.  So may I wish you all a wonderful day with your families -- no matter what type of family you have!  Family Day also happens to be the culmination of the DSWD's National Family Week in the Philippines.

All families are equally valid and of equal value and worth.  No matter what your family looks like -- whether you're a traditional family with a mommy and daddy, a single parent family, a same-sex family with two mommies or two daddies, a step (blended) or adoptive family, or a grandparent family -- have a great day sharing the love and bond that makes a family a family.

Happy Family Day to ALL families out there, in the Philippines and beyond!

Friday, September 23, 2011

President Aquino on Same-sex Marriage

President Benigno Aquino III
I know that I usually write a lot of negative posts about the status quo in the Philippines.  It's not that I do so by choice, it's just because there's usually very little good news to report when it comes to LGBT rights in the country.  I wish I could post good and optimistic articles all the time, but, unfortunately, it's not a reality.

But President Aquino's trip to the U.S., which he just returned from early this morning, did manage to catch my attention because of something he said about same-sex couples... and it wasn't all bad.

During an open forum following his speech at the Asian Society in New York City, President Aquino was asked for his thoughts on same-sex marriage.  After obvious hesitation and attempts to wiggle out of the question, he finally relented and said this:

Monday, September 19, 2011

British Prime Minister: "It's Time for Marriage Equality"

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Conservative Party, has announced his public support for same-sex marriage in the UK.

Yes indeed you read that right, he's a conservative.  But European conservatives are much, much different than Filipino conservatives, or even most American conservatives.  European conservatives may be fiscally conservative, but they typically aren't socially conservative right-wing moralists.  While conservative parties in the Philippines (and the Republican Party in the US) often infuse their dialogue with "religiousity" and church-talk, such is not the case among European conservatives.  As a European I say Thank God for that!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Political Correctness: Inclusive of Everyone

The words "politically correct" make some people roll their eyes.  They may feel that society (Western society in particular) has become far too politically correct in the post-modern era, and even the simplest things can run the risk of being offensive to someone, somewhere.  Many heterosexual people aren't sure how to interact with people who are LGBT, in a way that will not be deemed as politically incorrect.

Being politically correct isn't difficult and it doesn't have to be stressful or over the top.  It's actually incredibly easy.  It simply requires knowledge of the golden rule, and one simple word:  inclusion.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ricky Reyes: Great with Hair, Really Bad with Advice

Sorry Ricky, but equality is always the right thing to fight for
Anyone who lives in the Philippines -- or has ever visited one of the scores of malls throughout the country -- has undoubtedly seen the very popular salons of the very well-known Ricky Reyes, usually complete with life-size cutouts of the hairstyle guru standing in the entryway.

Reyes seems like a nice person.  There's no doubt that he's good with hair.  He's become a millionaire precisely because he is so good at it, and kudos to him for that.  But one thing he's not so good at is giving advice.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Cultural & Historical Importance of the Third Gender

Kathoeys:  Thailand's third gender
The concept of the third gender is one that I find fascinating, both in the field of anthropology, and as a biologist.  History is filled with depictions and mentions of the third gender, and practically every culture around the globe has -- or at one time had -- a gender that was seen as being neither fully male nor fully female.  The Philippines is no exception in this regard.

The blurring of the terms 'third gender' and 'third sex' can be confusing, however, as well as inaccurate.  The two are not the same and should not be used synonymously.  This is something we will take a look at here.  There is also a table at the bottom of the article reviewing several of the many cultures that openly recognize a third gender.