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Intolerant of Intolerance

Civil rights are not a matter of religious opinion or personal preference. If you seek to deny others their civil rights, you are a bigot.

Scientific facts are not a matter of religious interpretation or parental prerogative. If you seek to deny others—especially your own children—education, then you are denying them a basic human right. And if you disbelieve in science despite the evidence available and reasons apparent, you are suppressing truth and spreading disinformation.

Your choice

Reproductive Health, sex education and science education, divorce and gay marriage—these are all civil rights issues. Denying others their choice is denying them their civil rights. In contrast, allowing other people their civil rights—specifically Reproductive Health, divorce, and gay marriage—does not curtail your own freedom.

  • If you want to refuse the health and economic benefits of contraception and responsible family planning and if you stubbornly believe that an abstinence-only approach works despite evidence to the contrary, that is your choice and your loss.
  • If you refuse to believe in sex education after learning all the facts and if you refuse to believe in the science of evolution and natural history after learning all the evidence and how it is the foundation to understanding and making sense of this world, that is your choice and your loss.
  • If you disagree with certain music, literature, or other forms of art because of their message, then you can simply choose not to watch or listen. That is your choice and your loss.
  • If you refuse divorce and want to stay in abusive, loveless, and failed relationships, or if you want a priest to have the power to refuse you annulment of your marriage, that is your choice and your loss.
  • If you want to miss out on your friends’, your siblings’, or your children’s joyous weddings simply because they are gay or lesbian, that is your choice and your loss.

None of the proposed laws on Reproductive Health and sex education, divorce and gay marriage will stop you from voluntarily practicing your religious beliefs.

But what I cannot abide by is when you seek to deny others their right to Reproductive Health, sex education and science, divorce, and marriage equality before the law regardless of gender. That is simply oppression. That is simply bigotry. My friend, my kin, I do not want you to be a bigot.

Nor do I want you to prejudice your own children. Your children are individuals, guaranteed to have the same civil rights and choices as everyone. They should not be denied the information, the education, the science, the rationality, and the access necessary to make their own responsible choices when they come of age.

Science and reason are not a matter of religious interpretation or parental prerogative. These are truths that all people—even children—have a right to access, which are a necessity for making responsible and informed decisions.

Education is a basic human right. It is wrong for parents to keeping their children ignorant or misinformed about sex education, literature, philosophy, evolution, natural history, cosmology, plate tectonics, and other fields.

Sex education needs to be taught at schools by professionals trained for the job. Evidently, Filipino parents have failed to educate their children about sex for generations. For many Filipino parents, the only thing they fear more than the possibility of their children (and younger siblings) having premarital sex is confronting them about it. Most youths learn from the media and their peers. Just as abstinence-only policies have failed to foster responsible parenthood, so have ignorance-only policies failed to foster young adults who are empowered about their reproductive rights and responsible about sex. The Reproductive Health bill and Sex Education are necessary because the status quo has evidently failed us.

Truth is truth and it is not for religious schools nor home schooling parents to subvert. There should be no exceptions to any religious institution as to how sex education or even mandatory pre-marriage counseling (as already required under the existing Family Code) is conducted or implemented.

We should love our children regardless of who they were born to be or what personal informed choices they make as adults.

Full Disclosure

I confess, I don’t discriminate. I have friends and family who are either gay, lesbian, separated, together from previous marriages, single mothers, etc. I may not know exactly what it is to be in their place, but I do know what it is to be friend and family. It means standing up with them against prejudice. You can’t be friends or family to someone while denying them equal rights.

I confess, I myself come from the majority in the Philippines. I was born to a Roman Catholic family. I even belong to the currently unfairly advantaged sex; I am a straight man. On the other hand, I am a minority in one crucial aspect; I do not need government help to afford responsible family planning or access information about my reproductive rights like most Filipinos. Many Filipinos do, hence the need for the Reproductive Health bill. And it is a dire need. The Philippines has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The Reproductive Health bill only seeks to provide the poor the same choices and information that the wealthy Filipinos already enjoy, nothing more. But why should

I, a straight guy from the middle class, care about the civil rights of others? Because a republic isn’t just about the rule of the majority. It is also about respect and tolerance for all, most especially minorities, even ones whose lives you disagree with or cannot comprehend.

I confess, I do come from another kind of majority: the majority of Filipinos who support Reproductive Health, are tolerant of gays and lesbians, and are understanding of the realities and complexities of married life. This despite most Filipinos being Catholic.

I confess, it comes easily for me to support Reproductive Health, divorce, and gay marriage because these do not threaten the sanctity of life, the sanctity of my marriage, or my manhood for that matter. I was born this way, and nothing can change that. It is not a choice; my gender is a pillar of my identity. And evidently that is the way for all. Oppression can only drive a person to hide their identity, not change it, as centuries of repression have failed to change people’s genders. People will be who they are, regardless. People will love who they love, regardless. However, being a bigot wouldn’t be me. It is not natural for anyone to deny others equality. More importantly, supporting civil rights not only frees the oppressed, it frees the oppressor. There is no neutral in the battle between right or wrong. Those who fail to act and testify against wrongs committed to others are accessories and accomplices to it.

I confess, there are beliefs and lifestyles among the people whose civil rights I defend that I do not share. But I also know that neither agreement nor understanding are necessary. None of us owes anyone an explanation when we all are in the constant process of self-discovery and realization. Even the ones we have loved for years constantly surprise us. We do not need anyone else’s permission to be ourselves. We only owe it to each other to tolerate one another, to allow one another the freedom to pursue happiness.

So what about your beliefs? Shouldn’t these be tolerated as well? Not if they impose on the lives of others. You just can’t claim that your religious sensitivities are offended every time you disagree with someone so you can shut them down.

It was your choice to be offended, not theirs. They are just being themselves. For as long as they are not forcing their choices on anyone and are not spreading hate, violence or lies, all people have a right to be who they are. Do not deprive others of the same freedoms you enjoy.

Science and Reason

Before you criticize, oppose or support anything, know and read about it. It seems obvious, but many apparently don’t.

With the Reproductive Health bill, opponents criticize it by claiming it “legalizes abortion” and “imposes an ideal family size.” Read the bill in its entirety and know that it says nothing of that sort. In adherence to the 1996 Philippine Constitution, the Reproductive Health bill reiterates its support in protecting the health of the unborn.

Then they claim that some forms of contraception such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and “morning-after pills” that prevent conception even a few days after unprotected sex are also abortifacients. IUDs and morning-after pills work by not only preventing fertilization—the fusion of sperm and egg—but also implantation—the adherence of the embryo to the wall of the uterus. American and British laws define the beginning pregnancy and the conception of human life at implantation, hence the classification of IUDs and morning-after pills as contraceptives, not abortifacients.

Doctors, bioethicists, law experts and theologians of several religions define implantation as the beginning of human life for several reasons:

  • The ability to create embryos in vitro (such as in test tube babies fertilized outside the womb) has proven that fertilization does not automatically result in pregnancy. Only after implantation does an embryo’s existence have an effect on the mother’s body. It is only upon implantation that a fetus receives oxygen and nutrients from the mother to grow into a human being. It is at this point when the fetus cannot survive except within the woman’s body. Any rights granted to it must come at the expense of the pregnant woman. Note that to be pregnant—which is to be implanted—means risking one’s life for nine months to bear a new one.
  • Majority of fertilized eggs do not go on to become infants. With unprotected sex, embryos are often formed that never undergo implantation. If fertilization were to be defined as the conception of life, then countless souls have been killed without knowledge or intent.
  • After fertilization and implantation, an embryo can segment to become identical twins—separate and distinct individuals who, despite their similarities, develop their own personalities, experiences and decisions and possess their own unique DNA, fingerprints, etc. If segmentation defines the start of an individual with an indivisible soul, then an embryo prior to the stage of possible segmentation cannot be defined as an individual.

Some even make the ridiculous claim that every sperm is a life. If that is so, then every act of sex is mass murder since the millions of sperm in ejaculated semen all die save for the single one that successfully fuses with the egg cell to form a fertilized embryo. And that’s if fertilization occurs. Often no sperm succeeds at fertilizing the egg and most fertilized eggs do not go on to be infants.

Those who cite “natural” family planning-only policy fail to note that it has simply failed to work despite years of implementation.

Those who cite the cost of implementing Reproductive Health avoid considering the cost of not implementing it: the cost in lives, in health and the economic cost of building more hospitals, homes, schools, jails, and cemeteries on a finite amount of land.

Those who see the Philippines’ environmentally unsustainable population growth as a positive fail to mention that natural resources are finite and that even renewable resources diminish when abused beyond their capacity to recover.

Worse, they see the Philippines’ unsustainable population growth as the solution to declining populations in industrialized countries. Migration has already robbed the country of its talent. Work overseas has already broken so many families apart and exposed so many Filipinos to racism and abuse. Nonetheless, the Reproductive Health bill does not in any way stipulate any means or programs of population control. It only provides the masses choices and information already available to the privileged in the Philippines.

Showing One’s Character

Tellingly, those against Reproductive Health not only oppose IUDs and morning-after pills but also contraceptives that only prevent fertilization and not implantation. They oppose condoms—the only contraceptive device that protects against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS as well as accidental pregnancies. They also are against sex education and knowledge empowerment of young adults. Their definition of conception is but one of many arguments used against all of reproductive health, responsible parenthood, and gender empowerment.

Tellingly, those against Reproductive Health continue using the false specter of “abortion” and “population control” for disinformation and fear mongering despite these being clearly absent in the bill. They also question the science behind it and imagine fantastic conspiracies.

Tellingly, those opposed to the Reproductive Health do so despite the fact that the bill simply affords the poor the same choices and information that wealthy Filipinos already enjoy. These opponents who rabidly denounce the bill had curiously stayed silent for the many years that their privileged class enjoyed these same choices and information.They claim to be “pro-life” but they do not want to foot the bill to truly alleviate poverty, uplift the lives of the masses, and empower women regarding their choices in a meaningful, long-term manner. Charity donations and other public relations and tax deduction gimmicks during holidays and disasters evidently do not substantively alleviate poverty.

Tellingly, those who claim contraception promotes promiscuity ignore that accidental pregnancies, premarital sex, and corruption have long been rife in the Philippines despite 400 years of conservative Roman Catholicism, first forcibly introduced by the rapacious Conquistadors during the time of the murderous Spanish Inquisition. Four hundred years of Inquisition-era Catholicism has evidently done little to make “Good Christians.”

Tellingly, this alarm at liberties already enjoyed by some spreading to all characterizes not only those who oppose Reproductive Health but also those who are against gay marriage, divorce, science education, and sex education as well.

Tellingly, those who denounce gay unions and divorce for supposedly defiling the sanctity of marriage were curiously silent for the decades that spousal abuse, arranged marriages, marriages for convenience and appearances truly made a mockery of the institution.

Tellingly, those who see sex education and science education as a threat to their “prerogative” as parents don’t see inculcating their own religious beliefs upon their children as an imposition.

Tellingly, those who oppose Reproductive Health, gay marriage, divorce, science education and sex education tend to see themselves as devoutly religious, rejecting any facts that run counter to their beliefs.

Tellingly, when engaged in discussion and debate, those who oppose Reproductive Health, gay marriage, divorce, science education, sex education, and other civil rights sometimes comment derisively, “masyado kang matalino (you are too smart).”

Tellingly, Church authorities have threatened those who support Reproductive Health with expulsion from Catholic institutions and excommunication, the same sentence they meted out to famous truth-tellers such as scientist Galileo Galilei who insisted that the Earth revolved around the sun as evidenced by his telescope, Martin Luther who exposed the corruption within the Church as it sold indulgences that“absolved”the wealthy of all their sins for a fee, and Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal who exposed how priests used religion as a tool of oppression by engendering unthinking docility and submissiveness.

Tellingly, those against Reproductive Health include a plagiarist, the unapologetic family of the late Ferdinand Marcos, ousted dictator who instituted corruption in the Philippines, and the Roman Catholic Church, an institution that has been accused and convicted of endemic sexual abuse of minors and well as the systematic and leadership-sanctioned coverups of these cases.

Tellingly, those who are anti-Reproductive Health and anti-gender-equality have wished us ill and even dead. We have endured name calling and threats, disinformation and fear mongering. Anti-Reproductive Health zealots also see natural disasters and misfortunes as collective and indiscriminate punishment, as if those who were most affected deserve it. And yet when the same misfortune falls upon them, they see it as a divine test. In many aspects of their thinking, they lack both rationality and compassion.

Tellingly, we who support civil rights continue to engage in argument, dialogue, and debate. To attempt to communicate is to presume intelligence and humanity in one’s opponent, hence this message.

Nonetheless, the time is upon us when we all must come to a decision that determines our character and our relations. Will we be bigots and truth deniers, or will we be emancipators and truth-tellers? Will we be opponents, or will we be friends and family? I simply cannot tolerate bigots.

Posted in Advocacy, Personal, RH Bill, Science, Secularism0 Comments

The President Asks, What If There is No God?

The President Asks, What If There is No God?

In a recent speech, President Rodrigo Duterte raised the question, “What if there is no God?” He asked this in light of criticism of his stance on the war on drugs and the reinstatement of the death penalty, particularly to those who argue that only God can take a person’s life.

As freethinkers and secularists, we applaud the President’s recognition in that speech that not all Filipinos believe in a god. This might be the first nod toward non-believers by any sitting Philippine President in history. He also raised the valid problem of suffering in a world supposedly designed by a benevolent god.

Perhaps the Filipino public might begin to ask themselves that question, “What if there is no God?” How differently would we organize our lives if there were no God? How would our values change as a society? How much importance would we place on social justice in this life, rather than postponing it to a supposed afterlife?

We believe that it is about time that non-believers were recognized as equal citizens in this Catholicism-dominated country. Despite the Constitutionally protected separation of Church and State, too many politicians have used their belief in God to justify their policies, with Senator Manny Pacquiao leading the charge.

However, we also decry the misuse of atheism and agnosticism to promote non sequitur conclusions. President Duterte raised the issue of God because he believed that the death penalty would be his answer to the absence of a god judging the living and the dead.

We disagree that imposing the death penalty follows from the lack of justice in an afterlife. On the contrary, the highly likely execution of innocent citizens would be exponentially more despicable in the absence of an afterlife. There is no undoing the execution of an innocent life. There is no consolation for the wrongfully executed. In the United States, whose system of criminal investigation is already much more advanced and scientific than the Philippines’, an estimated 4% of defendants on death row are still wrongfully convicted.

And even when we are certain of a person’s guilt, the application of the death penalty should take into account its probable disproportionate imposition on the poor since the drug trade is often a refuge for those abandoned by society to fend for themselves. There is also little evidence that the death penalty is an effective deterrent against crime, when it can also serve to escalate and perpetuate the cycle of violence.

If there is no God, if there is no afterlife, justice in this life is of supreme importance. There would be no God to sort out the dead. Only we can provide justice, and there is no justice without due process.

Posted in Advocacy, Featured, Organization, Politics, Religion, Society1 Comment

FF Podcast 105 (Audio): Sex Workers in the Philippines

FF Podcast 105 (Audio): Sex Workers in the Philippines

FF Audio Podcast 105 Sex Workers in the Philippines

This week, researcher Sharmila Parmanand joins us. We talk about sex workers and their strange position in Philippine society as both “victims” and “criminals” in the eyes of the law.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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Sex Workers in the Philippines | FF Podcast

Sex Workers in the Philippines | FF Podcast

This week, researcher Sharmila Parmanand joins us. We talk about sex workers and their strange position in Philippine society as both “victims” and “criminals” in the eyes of the law.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

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Are Women Equal in the Philippines? | FF Podcast

Are Women Equal in the Philippines? | FF Podcast

This week, we celebrate International Women’s Day with sociologist Nicole Curato. We talk about whether women are really equal in the Philippines and discuss the horrors of denied reproductive health care.

Posted in Advocacy, Gender Rights, Media, Podcast, Society, Video1 Comment

FF Podcast 77: Is Marriage Equality Really an LGBT Victory?

FF Podcast 77: Is Marriage Equality Really an LGBT Victory?

Red Tani and sociologist Nicole Curato explore the implications of the recent US Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

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Tony Meloto and Faith in the Filipino

wec-tony-melotoWith Independence Day upon us, the controversy around Tony Meloto’s University of Hawaii speech reveals much about the racial inferiority complex and machismo culture still deeply entrenched in the Filipino psyche. It reveals how even someone pro-Philippines, pro-poor, and pro-women can succumb to these. More importantly, it reveals how we as a people see ourselves.

Here and then, something comes up and reminds us how our society has a long way to go with nationalistic awareness and racial sensitivity. A while back, I wrote on the blatant “white skin is good, dark skin is bad” message of an FHM cover. Then there was the BAYO campaign that advocated “mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood” as a “sure formula for someone beautiful and world-class” with a “fighting chance to make it in the world arena in all aspects.”

I wasn’t thinking to write another one; Meloto’s statements have been reported and commented on a lot. But I look up to his achievements. My family patronizes the projects of social entrepreneurs like him, down to our Bayani Brews and Human Nature toiletries. I get a lot of mail from young readers of my blog who feel insecure about their skin color or nose or some other thing that makes them wish they were white instead. I see how a lot of us view Filipino-white marriages as success stories, how perfectly acceptable it is to say, “She hit the jackpot with a foreigner. Her kid should be an artista so she can be rich and high-class!” and elicit agreeing nods rather than looks of discomfort. In light of all these, I feel I have to weigh in.

Meloto is a hero and an inspiration to many, myself included. As one commenter pointed out, his life’s work fills gaps that current government policies are unable to address. Many of us see the country’s problems and do little beyond complaining. Some choose to leave, some choose to look out only for their families. Every day, Meloto chooses to do something. Gawad Kalinga has made a huge contribution towards sustainable development and have spurred others into taking action.

When news of his speech broke out, my initial reaction was that I wanted to see the transcript and hear from people who were there. In an age of political correctness, one can’t be too careful with their words lest they be taken out of context. The Internet mob can be cruel. Things can be exaggerated for sensationalism. Verdicts can be readily passed without hearing all testimonies. Surely we could cut slack a man who serves the poor and the homeless, chalk it up to a lapse in judgment?

Then again, a few who attended his other speeches claim that it wouldn’t be the first time his statements were peppered with sexist and racist punchlines. If this is true, then I’d be inclined to see his words in Hawaii as a reflection of his long-held opinions rather than a one-time blip that could be easily forgiven. Not that he asked for it. In lieu of an apology, his response to the criticisms was to express hurt, reason that he was just trying to be funny, and remind people of the good he’s done.

Say we give Meloto the benefit of the doubt.

He reportedly called the poor hopeless and violent, and practically typecast the men as criminally inclined. Perhaps he developed this way of thinking over two decades of working around them, and it was an off-hand expression of his growing jadedness given several unfortunate incidents he has witnessed through the years.

He reportedly expressed that white men could come here to inspire poor Filipino men to be better. Perhaps he sees their potential to become decent husbands, caring fathers, and effective providers, if only there were white role models to show them how. Perhaps he sees the good traits of foreigners like his two sons-in-law and wants more Filipinos to emulate them, like when we see efficient transportation systems abroad and wish our government would follow suit.

He reportedly said that the beauty of Filipino women is one of the country’s best assets. He recommended that we use this asset to entice foreigners to come here and help make our nation prosper. With the image of a poor Filipino man as hopeless and violent—a chain-smoking, womanizing, compulsive-gambling, alcoholic bum who makes his family’s life hell, perhaps Meloto only wants our beautiful women to be saved by the white knights.

The “success story” can go two ways: rich foreigner rescues Filipina from poverty, or handsome foreigner helps Filipina produce what Meloto jokingly called “cappuccino babies.” He is not alone in believing there is a higher success rate for them, and a lucrative market particularly in the local entertainment industry. Beautiful Filipino women are assets, and cute cappuccino babies are commodities. To that effect, women like me could contribute towards a better Philippines by securing for ourselves a suitable Caucasian husband, nowithstanding our education, skills, and determination.

In all likelihood, the motivation behind Meloto’s statements is good. After 20 years, the ripples of change that he started have yet to make tidal waves. Perhaps he so desperately wants to see our nation rise above our difficulties, to finally be able to go toe-to-toe with the First World, and as far as he can see, the things he mentioned would work. Perhaps this is why he is unapologetic about his words being sexist, racist and elitist, maintaining that his deeds go toward the opposite of these.

Whatever the case, the reality is that many Filipinos share these beliefs, learning from their elders and passing on to their children. Most of them do not even recognize the implications, and thus the need for a paradigm shift.

Among those who do, this may be the reason for the outrage: Meloto was the last person expected to be expressing such notions. As Builder of Dreams, it is his responsibility to advocate not only change, but also hope. Hope is the last thing you bring to the table when you suggest that your people aren’t good enough to make it on their own. Dreams are not what you build when you perpetuate rather than challenge the idea that the success of your country lies on its dependence to foreigners.

Bringing lasting change includes fighting against the things have kept us from growing into our own as a nation: our largely patriarchal culture, our racial insecurity, and our tendency for white worship. These are the ills have oppressed the Filipino people for centuries; poverty and corruption are merely their symptoms.

Many are called, few are chosen. As one of the few, changemaker Tony Meloto has both power and passion to lead this fight. His work inspires us to believe we can turn things around for ourselves.

It would help if he continues to believe it, too.

 

Image Source: http://philnews.ph/2012/10/29/tony-meloto-wins-social-entrepreneurship-award-in-france/

Posted in Gender Rights, Personal, Politics0 Comments

FF Podcast 72: Trigger Warnings

FF Podcast 72: Trigger Warnings

This week, we talk about trigger warnings for rape and other topics in fiction. We discuss which topics should have trigger warnings and whether they should exist at all.

You may also download the podcast file here.

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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

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FF Podcast 69: Lee Kuan Yew and Duterte

FF Podcast 69: Lee Kuan Yew and Duterte

This week, we talk about the late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew. We discuss comparisons between him and Davao’s Rodrigo Duterte, as well as the popularity of benevolent dictatorships.

You may also download the podcast file here.

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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

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Gov’t May Choose to Hide Findings of New UN Report on Filipino Women

Through our research it has come to our attention that the Philippine government has been constantly delaying its decision on whether to make public the findings of a recent United Nations (UN) inquiry regarding the state of reproductive rights in the city of Manila. The deadline for its decision is March 6, and requests to the Office of the President for a definitive answer by women’s rights groups have apparently been ignored, leaving one to wonder if the government may be hoping the issue might simply blow over quietly.

IMG_1074

An inquiry into women’s reproductive rights violations allegedly perpetrated by the Manila city government was conducted over the period of July to November in 2013 by members of the UN CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women) Committee. However, under the terms of the segment of that treaty termed the Optional Protocol, national governments are allowed to choose whether or not to publicly disclose the inquiry’s findings and recommendations for action.

According to the proceedings of the committee published in the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a member of the CEDAW Committee, one Pramila Patten, met with the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN Office in July of 2014 in Geneva to discuss the Philippine government’s response to the inquiry findings. In the absence of a positive response from the government, the CEDAW Committee decided to defer the decision for publication of the report until the CEDAW committee’s current session this year, which runs from Feb 16 to March 6 2015.

Given this administration’s publicly stated commitment to transparency and woman’s rights, and the support such a report would provide for the speedy and effective implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (colloquially known as the RH Law), the Filipino Freethinkers wishes to join in the call for the government to make the CEDAW Committee’s findings public before March 6.

Sources:

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights CEDAW page, session reports

United Nations CEDAW Protocol On State Participation

Imposing Misery, original basis for request of inquiry

Original Philippine Commission on Human Rights statement on Manila City Gov’t

Philippine Star Piece reporting on initiation of original report

Posted in Advocacy, Gender Rights, Organization, Press Releases0 Comments

FF Podcast 63: Paint Their Hands Black?

FF Podcast 63: Paint Their Hands Black?

This week, we talk about the Bench billboard that showed a gay couple holding hands and how it was censored.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

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Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

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#JeSuisCharlie

#JeSuisCharlie

The Filipino Freethinkers unequivocally denounce the recent violence that befell the people of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. We uphold that speech, however offensive it may seem, should not be met with violence, as protected under freedom of expression. The spirit of this principle is captured in the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

We offer our deepest sympathies to the bereaved.

cyberscooty-jesuischarlie-remix

Les Filipino Freethinkers condamnent explicitement la violence récente qui est arrivée aux gens de Charlie Hebdo à Paris en France. Nous faisons respecter que l’expression, si offensante soit-elle, ne devrait pas être affrontée avec la violence, comme protégée par la liberté d’expression. L’esprit de ce principe est capté dans les mots d’Evelyn Beatrice Hall, « Je désapprouve ce que vous dites, mais je défendrai jusqu’à la mort votre droit de le dire. »

Nous offrons nos sympathies les plus profondes aux endeuillés.

 

Nous sommes Charlie.

#JeSuisCharlie

Posted in Advocacy, Freedom of Expression, Organization, Press Releases2 Comments

FF Podcast 59 (Audio): UK Bans Kink Porn

FF Podcast 59 (Audio): UK Bans Kink Porn

FF Audio Podcast 059: UK Bans Kink Porn

This week we talk about the United Kingdom’s plans to ban kinky porn, including but not limited to displays of female ejaculation and face-sitting. We also discuss some BDSM basics with an honest-to-goodness BDSM practitioner.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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Men are Cheaters; Women are Gold Diggers (Part 1 of 2)

This article was inspired by a post on the Filipino Freethinkers updates and announcements Facebook group page. One group member casually asked the question, “If all the single men and women left are either philanderers or gold diggers would you look the other way, commit to them and live in delusion because you don’t want to die lonely? Or would you stay single forever?”

The scenario, in my opinion, forces us into what we might call a “false dilemma.” For one it implies that one must “commit” to someone in order to not die lonely, and that loneliness is the reason for why people choose to be in a relationship. But that’s beside the point.

What I found interesting was my own interpretation of the question. I’m not sure if it was intended by the person who posted, but it seemed to me that when the person said “philanderers,” he was referring to the single men; and when he said “gold diggers,” he was referring to the single women.

This is a common association a lot of people make: Men are cheaters; women are gold diggers. I felt that these were rather unfair generalizations. However, I don’t make conclusions based on what I “feel.” I decided to take a quick look at the available information on the subject.

Upset TeenagersDo men cheat more than women? Quick answer: yes. Is it because men are inherently “philanderers”? Nope.

Zach Schonfeld, in a report for The Wire from 2013 writes that, “Wives Are Cheating 40% More Than They Used to, but Still 70% as Much as Men.”

According to Schonfeld, “According to recent data from the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey, American wives were nearly 40 percent more likely to be cheating on their spouses in 2010 than in 1990. The number of husbands reporting infidelity, meanwhile, stayed constant at 21 percent, meaning wives are now cheating 70% as often.”

There are many theories as to why women are, as it seems, suddenly deciding to cheat. Some think it’s because of increased female independence. In other words, women can now afford the consequences of having an affair.

Other people attribute this rise to the cultural shifts happening due to the Internet. There are actually extramarital meetup services like, Ashley Madison, to help facilitate such endeavors.

Schonfeld reports that the data from Ashley Madison confirms the trends revealed by the survey:

“The ratio of males to females is greatest among users older than 65, with 14 men for every woman. The ratio is 4-to-1 among users in their 50s, 3-to-1 for spouses in their 40s, and evenly divided among people using Ashley Madison in their 30s.”

In other words, those whose culture have been influenced by Internet trends, and whose career options and access to resources are not as limited by their sex, are as equally likely to cheat. As the economic gender gap between men and women closes, so does the “cheating gap.”

Based on this information, I think that the reason why men seem to have a higher tendency to cheat is not entirely because of biological reasons (although there are correlations), but rather because society is more permissive of male cheating.

For one, men, especially in the past, often find themselves economically equipped to deal with the consequences. Secondly, when men cheat, they are not publicly shamed as much as women are. At the very least, men are not stripped naked and beaten senseless in public like the poor girl:

CEN_ConcubineBeating_03.jpg

 

In part 2, we’ll take a closer look at the myth that women are “gold-diggers.”

 

Image Sources:

Image 1: https://veronicagraham.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/cheater_1.jpg

Image 2: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2791108/mob-rule-chinese-adulteress-stripped-naked-beaten-senseless-latest-attack-kind.html

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