Tag Archive | "LGBT Rights"

A Conversation with James Randi


Conversations for a Cause returns with an interview with The Amazing Randi. We ask him about The Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge and his experiences in testing fantastic claims by people who call themselves psychic.

You may also download the video file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Gender Rights, Media, Podcast, Religion, VideoComments (0)

A Conversation with DJ Grothe of JREF


This week, we talk with DJ Grothe, President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. We discuss freethought, scientific skepticism, and social justice activism.

You may also download the video file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Media, Podcast, Religion, Science, VideoComments (0)

Love is Thicker Than Water (But Not True Semen)


Andy_Gibbq_(2)Former CBCP President Oscar Cruz has said that LGBT weddings are OK, but there’s a catch: Lesbians can only marry gays, gays can only marry lesbians, and the rest can only marry someone from the LGBT community if the other party has a different set of sexual organs:

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.

Aside from having the right pair of genitals, Cruz mentioned two other requirements for couples: capacity to consummate the union, and the possibility of conception. Many commented with the same questions: What about love? Is marriage just about sex? What about straight couples who cannot have children?

This led a fellow freethinker to write a satirical article about Catholic marriage, reporting that the Church will now integrate a sperm count in the wedding ceremony. I hope that few would miss the fact that this is satire. But no matter how satirical, I don’t think it comes close to how absurd the official Church position is. I’ll get to this shortly, but first, a reminder: The following is not satire.

Correcting Cruz

First of all, I’m surprised that Cruz got an important detail wrong, considering he is the judicial vicar of the CBCP National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal. Possibility of conception is not a requirement for marriage. Or stated another way, sterility is not a marital impediment:

Can. 1084: §3. Sterility neither prohibits nor nullifies marriage, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 1098. (The marriage contract can be invalidated if one of the parties is dishonest about their sterility.)

Although Cruz was wrong about sterility, he was right about impotence. Couples who want to get married must have the capacity to “consummate the union”:

Can. 1084 §1. Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have intercourse, whether on the part of the man or the woman, whether absolute or relative, nullifies marriage by its very nature.

So sterility is OK, but impotence is not. But this was not always the case.

Cum Frequenter and True Semen

In 1587, Pope Sixtus issued a papal document known as the Cum frequenter. (Again, this is not satire.) In the document, Pope Sixtus said that because eunuchs cannot have intercourse, they shouldn’t be allowed to marry. This was interpreted as saying that for men to have proper marital intercourse, they must be able to produce “true semen.” True semen, as it was first understood, meant that it contained a crucial element that could only come from the testicles: sperm. In other words, even sterility was an impediment to marriage.

Scientists soon discovered that the male ejaculate contained not only sperm but other stuff as well. According to Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, semen is “composed of spermatozoa in a nutrient plasma, secretions from the prostate, seminal vesicles and various other glands, epithelial cells and minor constituents.” So it could be argued that sperm, although often found in semen, was not what made semen “true.”

The uncertainty on what constitutes true semen led the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to allow marriage involving men who had legally imposed vasectomies. It was only in 1977 when the CDF declared with certainty that canonical potency “does not necessarily require anything in the ejaculate that has been produced in the testicles.” True semen need not have sperm.

What’s Love Got To Do With It

But if sperm is no longer crucial, what is? Three things: (1) an erect penis (2) penetrating a vagina and (3) secreting true semen. The reason for this, however convoluted, is easy enough to explain. When a married couple successfully procreates in the Church-approved way, all 3 things are present. Therefore, all 3 things are essential in every sexual act — even though it may not necessarily lead to procreation.

So even though sterile couples cannot have children when they have sex, the fact that they’re having sex in the same Church-approved way that fertile couples do makes their intercourse valid.

Unfortunately, the first requirement — an erect penis — rules out the Church-approved way for impotent men. And the fact that there has to be one penis and one vagina rules out the Church-approved way for same-sex couples.

It’s also worth noting that even fertile couples who do not ever plan to have children are not allowed to marry. This, together with the other rules I’ve discussed reveal the Church’s true understanding of marriage: nothing more than a license to have sex. It doesn’t matter to the Church how much two people care for one another. Love may be thicker than water, but not true semen.

Posted in Politics, ReligionComments (2)

A Very, Very Narrow-Minded View on Gay Marriage


marriage-equality-1I hate to admit this but my mind is pretty impenetrable. After reading what passes for a “stand” on legalizing same-sex marriage in the Philippines, my opinion on the matter remains the same. I just can’t (and I probably never will) understand why anyone would want to vote against gay people getting married.

I hate hearing people say that same-sex marriages will destroy the sanctity of that union. On the top of my head, here are 5 things that are currently destroying the sanctity of marriage:

  1. Domestic violence.
  2. Non-consensual non-monogamy (or infidelity with deliberate deceit).
  3. Getting married because of economic reasons.
  4. Getting married because someone got knocked up.
  5. Getting married under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Nobody’s asking me but I don’t think marriages were ever sacred. Most marriages in the good old days were done to acquire land, to obtain financial security, to improve social status, to gain more political power…  pretty much the same reasons why most people are getting married today. Romantic love is a fairly recent invention but as far as myths go, it’s also a fairly good thing to put your faith in. I get very giddy when I see couples holding hands while walking because even though it doesn’t seem to exist for me, it’s nice to see that it is real for some people. They’re not hurting me, unless I’m particularly hormonal that day and I start wondering why I’m still single.

I’m also perpetually perplexed by people who cry foul for their divine being of choice. Take the people who believe in Judeo-Christian god for example. You’ll occasionally find them protesting on the streets carrying “God hates fags” posters (even though their god allegedly created everything – hell included because, as you might know, Lucifer came from heaven too). I envy them because they have so much time in their hands, as I’m pretty sure it takes a while to organize a protest. It takes time and effort to create banners and posters but I suppose nothing bonds people closer than a common enemy. All that hate must have the kick of a million energy drinks.

Anyway, it perplexes me because if they hate “fags” so much… why not just let them burn in hell? What’s all the fuss trying to save damned souls? Don’t you people want more space in heaven? I’m pretty sure all your efforts have already been recognized by the bearded one upstairs. Do good and be good, that’s all you need to do right? I checked the Bible and from what I can tell, there are only two things that will guarantee safe passage to hell: suicide and doubt. So unless you killed yourself and/or you’re an atheist, all you need to do is to ask for forgiveness and you’re all set to go up.

Marriage isn’t as sacred as you want to think it is and the promise of hell for other people seems desirable if you hate them, which leaves us with… it’s unnatural?

Do you know what I think is unnatural? Wearing clothes. Animals don’t wear clothes. Why don’t we legislate a law against wearing clothes? Especially hideous ones like leopard prints. And glittery shoes. Why do people wear these things? Sometimes together. It’s just unnatural. Let’s ban it.

Oh, what’s that? I’m using my own subjective opinion of what is fashionable? You mean to say that I can continue to disapprove of them without depriving them the pleasure of being dressed horribly? And what’s that? They think my outfits are just as bad? Wait, wait, wait. Do you mean to tell me that we can coexist being poorly dressed and disapproving of each other without having to ban anything?

Alright, alright. I have to be honest. The reason why I’m this close-minded is because I like humans. Not women, not men: humans. Have I kissed a girl and liked it? Indeed I have. She was a very beautiful, very intelligent but also very silly adult female and we never had sex but I loved her for seven years and we didn’t hurt anyone but each other.

I know it’s hard to look at something you find unsightly. I really, really find leopard print and glittery shoes ugly but here’s a trick that addresses the problem: turn away. No one is asking me to approve, no one is asking me to change my opinion about it, but I’m very aware that I don’t have the right to tell them that they should stop wearing that abominable print simply because I find it weird. I don’t think anyone has the right to tell anyone that they are not allowed to love someone simply because they happen to be of the same sex.

On the top of my head, here are 3 pairings that need more negative attention than same-sex couples:

  1. “Consensual” pedophilia. I’m pretty close-minded about this too. I don’t think it’s proper to sexualize children.
  2. People afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome.
  3. Rape victims who are forced to marry their rapists.

There’s just so much suffering in the world. I just don’t see the point of depriving anyone of some modest amount of joy, no matter how temporary it may be or even if I get nothing out of it. I don’t plan on ever getting married so this really doesn’t concern me. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t concern straight people either so I don’t see why they have so much say in it. Pardon my ignorance.

Posted in Advocacy, Gender Rights, Personal, Politics, SocietyComments (5)

The Privilege of Personhood: Why Same-Sex Couples Deserve the Right to Marry


Marriage is a right, or more specifically, a privilege. According to the Hohfeldian system for describing the form of rights, to say that one has a privilege-right to do something is to say that one has no duty not to do it. Do gay couples have the right to marry? No – not in this country, or at least not yet.  While there is nothing in our Constitution that prohibits same-sex marriage, our Family Code requires that the contracting parties must be a man and a woman.

And this is why same-sex marriage advocates would be wasting their time if they try to convince the bishops of their so-called rights. Aside from the fact that the Church hierarchy could never go against its own doctrine, the fight should be brought where it belongs – in congress – to lobby our legislators into amending the Family Code by giving same-sex couples the right to marry.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Rights dominate modern understandings of what actions are permissible and which institutions are just. Rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, and the shape of morality as it is currently perceived. To accept a set of rights is to approve a distribution of freedom and authority, and so to endorse a certain view of what may, must, and must not be done.”

By giving gay couples the right to marry, we would be dramatically reshaping our country’s morality, and this is why the Church is vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage because it goes against its moral teachings.  At this point it is important to note that the bishops and priests are not violating the separation of Church and State by speaking out against what they believe to be a grave wrong; they are merely asserting their right to freely exercise their religion as guaranteed by the same constitutional provision that commands the State not to respect an establishment of religion by passing “laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.”

While the non-establishment clause commands our lawmakers not to listen to the Catholic Church or any religion for that matter, the more important issue to be resolved is, why should we grant gay couples the right to marry in the first place? The moral philosopher Warren Quinn gives a very compelling argument:

“A person is constituted by his body and his mind. They are parts or aspects of him. For that very reason, it is fitting that he have primary say over what may be done to them—not because such an arrangement best promotes overall human welfare, but because any arrangement that denied him that say would be a grave indignity. In giving him this authority, morality recognizes his existence as an individual with ends of his own—an independent being. Since that is what he is, he deserves this recognition.”

It is high time our society truly recognize that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders are individuals with ends of their own, and if we look deeper we will find that beneath the differences in sexual orientation, their ends are not really unlike our own, and that is to find happiness in love and companionship. Giving them the right to marry accords them the much-needed legal recognition and protection of their partnerships, including property rights, successional rights, pension benefits, presumed insurable interest on the lives of their partners, and especially next-of-kin rights in hospitals. Is that too much to ask?

Posted in Advocacy, Gender Rights, Politics, Religion, SocietyComments (89)

An Open Letter to Miriam Quiambao: Let’s defend every word in the Bible!


The following piece was inspired by this letter.

Dear Miriam Quiambao,

 

Congratulations on standing up for the truth given by God in the Bible! Literally interpreting the Bible is what we should really do. The word of God is the word of God. Those who believe in God shouldn’t doubt the Bible: each word in the Bible, each punctuation mark, each syllable was written by the owner and creator of the universe, period. I love your zealous and unwavering faith that everything that the Bible says is true and that we should follow it.

I know that we should take the Bible as it is. There’s no doubt that God forbids cross-dressing; Deuteronomy 22:5 says that. Leviticus 18:22 implies that homosexuality is an abomination to God’s eyes as well. But I’m having some problems with other verses in the Bible. Please help me with what to do about them because, just like you, I want to live my life in accordance with the word of God.

1. According to Genesis, God only created men and women. Nothing else, no one in between. Just either men or women. Now, Genesis 1:5 says that God created only evening and morning. There was no mention about afternoon, dusk, dawn, midnight, the blue hour, etc. As a literal follower of the Bible, how should I regard these “other” parts of the day? To borrow your own words, are they the “lies of the devil?” Why do we have these abominations? Is God testing my faith?

2. I’m so confused about what to wear now, Miriam. I feel that I’m such an abomination in the eyes of God. You know why? Detueronomy 22:11. God clearly and literally forbids wearing clothing made of fabric that are combined together, such as wool and linen woven together. I have lots of clothes made of combined fabric. What should I do with them? Should I change my wardrobe and burn all these clothes, just like how God burned Sodom and Gomorrah? Miriam, please promise us, in the name of the Truth contained in the Bible, that you will never ever wear such clothes! Moreover, Deuteronomy 22:12 says that we should place tassels on the four corners of the cloaks we wear. Why didn’t your evening gown during the Ms. Universe pageant in 1999 have any tassels? Was this a flaw in the design? Or was the gown designed by the devil? Oh my God, Miriam, please burn that gown now, as that is not something God wants you to wear! Save your soul, sister!

3. I’m so disturbed by how marriage laws in our country work, Miriam. Clearly, this country will rot in hell. Why? It is not following Deuteronomy 22:13-20. We should include virginity tests for women before they get married. And if it’s proven that these women are not virgins, we should stone them to death just like how Deuteronomy 22:21 recommends! Miriam, please tell me you were a virgin when you married your husband!

4. I want to share the truth of the Bible to my neighbor, Miriam. Here’s the case: The woman’s husband died recently; and they have no children. Deuteronomy 25:5 clearly says that in situations like this, the woman is only allowed to marry her brother-in-law. They are not following this. Should I go to them and share to them this Universal Truth so that they can follow what the Lord wants?

5. Miriam, I wonder how we can implement Deuteronomy 25:13. It says that we shouldn’t have two different weights in our bags. Can you share to me the weights of the contents of your bag?

6. Leviticus 1:14-17 says that the smell of burning dove and pigeon is an aroma pleasing to the Lord. I tried to burn doves and pigeons yesterday as part of my daily routine in pleasing God but my neighbor stopped me. He said this is cruelty to animals. Can you help me pray over my neighbor’s soul so he can finally see the Truth?

7. I’m very troubled by the presence of Lydia’s Lechon in our neighborhood. Leviticus 3:17 clearly says that we must not eat any fat. Can you support my petition against Lydia’s Lechon?

8. Why do people go to dermatologists, Miriam? Isn’t this a clear violation of the word of God? Leviticus 13:2 is clear: We must go to a priest, not a dermatologist.

9. One of my neighbors is poor. I advised the father of the household to sell one of his daughters as a slave so they can have money. He told me that I was insane. I told them God clearly allows this in Exodus 21:7. How much do you think he should sell his daughter for?

10. Miriam, why do people work on the Sabbath day? Exodus 35:2 clearly forbids this. Should we start putting them to death as the Bible recommends?

11. A lot of Filipinas work as domestic helpers in other countries. Most of them are beaten by their employers. Should we condemn their employers or should we just allow them to be beaten up as long as they can get up after a day or two, as what Exodus 21:20-21 wants us to do? It does say, “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.”

A friend of mine told me that these words should not be taken out of context. I told him, No! These words are the words of God and they apply in every context, at all times, everywhere and every time, as God’s words are eternal. Deuteronomy 26:16 is clear about this: “The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.” When I told him about that, he told me that God is shit. Oh dear, that comment ended our friendship. And I’m now actually planning the time and place where our entire barangay can stone him to death as recommended by Leviticus 24:16. Would you like to join us in fulfilling what the Lord our God wants us to do? Where can I send the invitation?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Let’s defend every word in the Bible!

 

Your number 1 fan,

Melody

Posted in Advocacy, Gender Rights, Humor, Religion, SocietyComments (18)

Why Miriam Quiambao Will Continue to be Ms. Universe in My Eyes


I love Arnold Clavio. I love how he handled his interview with Miriam Qiuambao and Naomi Fontanos (Chairwoman of Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines) on the topic of transgender women being allowed to compete in the Ms. Universe pageant. Clavio kept the mood light, he did not show any bias or transphobia, and he asked the right questions.

I also love Naomi for not letting Miriam get away with her attempt to impose her version of the truth on Naomi. I love Naomi for standing up for transwomen and LGBT people.

But most of all, I love Miriam for embodying what a beauty queen should be. Sure, she does not completely understand the difference between sex and gender. Sure, by saying that womanhood is determined by chromosomes, she has effectively misinformed her more than 250,000 Twitter followers. But I don’t take this against her. It is irresponsible, definitely! But she is a beauty queen, not a gender and sexuality expert. So chill out!

I also love Miriam for using her own masculine childhood experience of playing with soldiers and “going on adventures” and how it did not turn her into a man. And of course, I agree that just because you played with dolls when you were young, it doesn’t mean you will become a woman. I’m not quite sure where she got this line of thinking but hey, beauty queens will be beauty queens. So don’t worry girls, you can do boy stuff and still be a beauty queen when you grow up. Take it from Miriam!

And I just love how she constantly used her faith throughout the discussion. Sure, it was arrogant of her to say that she knew the truth and Naomi didn’t. Hell, she was practically telling Naomi that Naomi’s entire life was a big lie! Sure, she probably doesn’t know that the existence of an absolute truth has been debated by philosophers for so many millennia. But on stage, “Leave it to God” will earn you more beauty queen points than “The truth in a particular context – (is) a statement that is known to be correct —ie. in accord with reality, as corroborated by evidence or related experience.

So do I hate Miriam Quiambao? Of course not! This whole fuss just reinforced my original belief that beauty pageants should just be abolished in the first place. Miss Universe is run by a rude, disrespectful, macho businessman who cares about ticket sales — not gender equality. If it has to do with gender at all, it perpetuates gender stereotypes. It objectifies women and reduces beauty to being young, single, and infertile (read: get older than 27, marry your partner, or get pregnant and you are disqualified).

Do I love Miriam? Of course! Well, maybe not as much as before but I am still a huge fan of her outer beauty. You could say I’ve lost hope in her when I saw how things turned out after I wrote her an open letter. But when the dust has settled, when people start overreacting to other news, when we start getting used to small steps that lead to social change, I will continue to be amazed by Miriam’s statuesque pose. I will still watch Miriam get clobbered by Eugene Domingo in Kimmy Dora Part 2. And yes, Miriam Quiambao will continue to be Ms. Universe in my eyes!

Image from http://miriamquiambao.tripod.com/home.html

Posted in Gender Rights, Humor, SocietyComments (9)

An Open Letter to Miriam Quiambao (1999 Ms. Universe Runner-Up)


Dear Miriam,

Warm greetings to a lovely woman! I have been a big fan ever since you placed first runner up in the 1999 Ms. Universe. Yes, even before major major mistakes and tsunami walks came into existence, you already captured the global audience (and me) with your signature statuesque pose. And who could forget how gracefully you picked yourself up when you fell on stage? Indeed, you have become an inspiration to other women. As for me, my admiration went beyond that pageant. I consider you one of the few women in show business who actually have real skill and talent plus a humanitarian heart to boot.

But today, I am writing you about this deep pang of disappointment that stabbed me from the inside when I read your tweets. The first that caught my attention was this:

Screenshot of retweet

(http://m.tmi.me/obI4l – posting retweet as original has been deleted)

I immediately called this out and sent you a direct tweet:

my reply

after which, you replaced your tweet with this (the version that others picked up and retweeted):

Miriam s new tweet

I want to make it clear that I have yet to take a stand on the policy change so I don’t think we will have any problems in that area. I am writing you in hopes that I could help you form a new perspective on transgender issues and concepts by addressing your tweets point by point.

Tweet #1:

Tweet #1

Do not be surprised but just by putting the words “real” and “women” next to each other, you have already made a discriminatory remark. You have already judged transgender women as “fake women” thereby relegating them to second class citizens. My friend Sass wrote a comprehensive explanation on what makes a woman, a woman. She wrote:

“How do you determine who is “naturally born a woman”? By considering who is born with a vagina or not? Or by considering the configuration of the brain when one is born? According to research, the sexual differentiaton of the body into male and female does not end when you were born. The brain itself undergoes sexual differentation as well and this sexual differentation happens independently of the differentiation of the genitalia, and it continues even after you were born (Hence, assigning a baby female or male at birth should be, at best, considered provisional). ALL these processes are natural. If we are going to use this line of thinking with the case of Jenna Talackova. Jenna is a “natural woman” for she was born with a brain that sexually differentiated into a female brain. Unless of course you want to confine femaleness to (being born with a vagina), which of course is not a scientific decision but a social decision based on a genital centric tradition.”

 

Although I could be wrong, I believe you are the kind of person who would favor the brain as the seat of identity instead of the genitals. Indeed, if a baby is born without genitals, we can always wait for the baby to grow up and decide (using their brain) if their identity is female or male. However, if a baby is born with genitalia but without a brain, this discussion would be irrelevant as there would not even be a living human to speak of. So as long as there is a functioning brain that self-identifies as female, the owner of that brain shall be a woman, a “real woman”, regardless of her genitalia.

Tweet #2:

Actually, the Miss Universe website states the following rule:

“CAN CONTESTANTS BE MARRIED?

No, contestants may not be married or pregnant. They must not have ever been married, not had a marriage annulled nor given birth to, or parented, a child. The titleholders are also required to remain single throughout their reign.”

Falling in love and marrying a partner, giving birth, becoming a mother, aren’t all these part of the essence of being a woman? Before you even turn your back on Jenna, shouldn’t you be defending the rights of the “real women” out there who are disqualified because they’ve gone through such womanly experiences like giving birth? This is not a rhetorical question. I honestly, genuinely believe you are in a position to push this kind of change. I honestly, genuinely believe that given a choice you would pick the path of inclusiveness (questioning this rule) instead of the path of exclusiveness (disapproving of Jenna’s participation).

Tweet #3

Tweet #3

By letting Jenna participate after disqualifying her, Donald Trump has sent a very powerful message. And that message is when Jenna won her case, she “stood up for the rest of the women who have fallen whether on or off stage,” through Jenna’s example, she has “shown courage and strength of being a woman,” she is “a good example to the rest of the women in the world!” Oh wait, that was your message. But see, if you claim to be a humanitarian, I would expect that you would see the positive and share in human celebration rather than see the negative and throw a curtain of exclusion.

I don ‘t think your world would fall apart if I decided I didn’t like you anymore but much of how I regard you depends on how you will respond to this situation. With some luck and critical analysis, may you join the ranks of other LGBT allies like Hillary ClintonAnne Hathaway, and Adam Levine. When that day comes, no Jenna Talackova would have to pick herself up from falling on a transphobic misinformed stage.

Still a fan,

Ron de Vera

(signed)

Posted in SocietyComments (37)

Ten Commonly Used Fallacies Against LGBT Rights Activists


Logical debate is a necessary part of every activist’s life. But before engaging in a debate, make sure you ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do I know the subject? – For seasoned activists, this should be a given. But for newbies, it is normal to romanticize passion and equate it with victory. If you don’t think you can pull it off, leave it to the experts. If you think you can, make sure you have information handy.

2. Are my objectives realistic? – If you are about to argue with a religious fundamentalist with the intent of convincing the person to turn against faith, you might as well argue with a 10-foot tall slab of concrete. As a personal policy, I never engage in debate to win. I engage to educate and to learn.

3. Are we both clear on the parameters? – At the onset, make sure both of you know the rules. I generally do not engage if I know that Bible verses will be used against me. It defeats the purpose of a logical debate. But for some people, that is perfectly fine. So know what parameters work best for you.

4. Can I document the whole discussion? – If you can’t document the discussion, then be prepared for a lot of moving goalposts (discussed later). Documenting the discussion ensures that both of you have a way of getting back on track. It’s also a nifty way of catching contradictions.

5. Will this do more good than harm? – Sometimes, winning an argument will actually put you in a worse position or result in more damage to your cause. Be selective. Choose your battles.

 

 

If you answered “yes” to all these questions, then I present to you ten commonly used fallacies and what to do when they are used against you in logical debate (actual quotes from actual debates are found here):

 

Fallacy #1: Appeal to Nature – “This is the fallacy of assuming that whatever is “natural” or consistent with “nature” (somehow defined) is good, or that whatever conflicts with nature is bad”

Example:

“Marriage is only between a man and a woman because that is the natural law of things”

What you can do: Aside from explicitly calling out that this is a fallacy called “Appeal to Nature,” you can also point out that it is in our nature to get sick and eventually die. This means that preventing death and sickness from happening is unnatural. And yet we don’t consider modern medicine and doctors as “bad.”

 

Fallacy #2: Appeal to Popularity – “The basic idea is that a claim is accepted as being true simply because most people are favorably inclined towards the claim.”

Example:

“I am against same-sex marriage because a majority of the population is against it.”

What you can do: As with the first fallacy and all the succeeding fallacies, it is a must that you call out what kind of fallacy the person is using. And then point out that in the past, a majority of the population also believed that the world was flat and the earth was the center of the universe. Both arguments turned out to be false. If you are in the US, you can also point out that last April, same-sex marriage supporters outnumbered the opposition for the first time. Unfortunately, we have no such survey in the Philippines yet.

 

Fallacy #3: Appeal to Tradition – “Appeal to Tradition is a fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that something is better or correct simply because it is older, traditional, or “always has been done.”

Example:

“Marriage is reserved for heterosexuals because that’s how marriage has been defined for 2000 years”

What you can do: State that slavery was also acceptable for more than 2000 years but that does not make it right. Also state that the 2000 year old definition of marriage has already been redefined a decade ago when same-sex marriage was made legal in the following countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden.

 

Fallacy #4: Cherry Picking – “Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.”

Example: 

PERSON A: “Laws are based on natural moral standards”

PERSON B: “Then why did the Supreme Court disallow Comelec to use morality in denying Ladlad accreditation?”

PERSON A: “The Supreme Court respected Ladlad’s right to freedom of expression.”

*It is true that the Supreme Court cited the right to freedom of expression. But what PERSON A conveniently left out was that the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Comelec also included “Public Morals” as an invalid ground for blocking Ladlad, thereby disproving PERSON A’s original claim.

What you can do: Refute the claim by presenting the rest of the facts that the person left out. The complete and original text of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Ladlad vs Comelec case is available online. But put simply, the Supreme Court disallowed the Comelec to use Public Morals and Religious Belief to deny Ladlad accreditation. This is important jurisprudence because it tells the public that the use of morality and religion in deciding state affairs is unconstitutional.

 

Fallacy #5: False Analogy – “A false analogy is a rhetorical fallacy that uses an analogy (comparing objects or ideas with similar characteristics) to support an argument, but the conclusion made by it is not supported by the analogy due to the differences between the two objects.”

Example:

“Marriage is not for everyone. For example, minors can’t marry. Mentally handicapped people can’t marry. Humans can’t marry their pets”

What you can do: Explain why the analogies presented are not similar to the original argument. In this case, the family code of the Philippines requires legal consent from both parties, which minors, the mentally handicapped, and pets cannot provide. And then avoid analogies entirely because if they are not used smartly, they have the tendency to backfire.

 

Fallacy #6: Moving The Goalpost – “The “Moving the Goalpost” logical fallacy is another one that has a fairly descriptive name. It is the case when Person A makes a claim, Person B refutes it, and Person A moves on to a new or revised claim, generally without acknowledging or responding to Person B’s refutation. Hence, the goalpost of the claim has been shifted or moved in order to keep the claim alive.”

Example:

PERSON A: “Moral relativism causes same-sex marriage!”

PERSON B: “But earlier, you said same-sex marriage causes moral relativism, not the other way around.”

PERSON A: “No, what I meant was same-sex marriage reinforces moral relativism. I admit that is was poorly constructed because I was in a hurry.”

What you can do: Keep track of how many times the person moves goalposts. If the person does this often enough, faulty logic will soon expose itself. The key here is documenting the entire conversation.

 

Fallacy #7: Presenting Opinion as Fact – “In casual use, the term opinion may be the result of a person’s perspective, understanding, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. It may refer to unsubstantiated information, in contrast to knowledge and fact-based beliefs.”

Example: 

“Laws are based on natural moral standards”

*when what the person really meant to say was “Laws should be based on natural moral standards”

What you can do: Assert that in the absence of facts, all you have is opinion. But be cautious, too, because not all facts are from credible sources. Prefer facts over stats because stats can be manipulated depending on who is doing the study.

 

Fallacy #8: Red Herring – “A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic”

Example:

PERSON A: “It is not true that homosexuals were not allowed to run for public office”

PERSON B: “Ladlad was barred by Comelec”

PERSON A: “The Comelec didn’t just bar Ladlad because of homosexuality because that is oversimplifying the position. Just look at gay pride marches. It is embarrassing. But I’m not saying that just because homosexuals behave that way, they can be discriminated against. I don’t understand why people assume that just because I think homosexuality is disordered that I automatically want to bully homosexuals. That’s pretty immature.”

What you can do: Acknowledge the new information presented. But make sure that your acknowledgement is not taken as agreement. State the exact same question for emphasis before the red herring was thrown at you. Again, this is why documentation is key.

 

Fallacy #9: Slippery Slope – “The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question.”

Example:

“Same-sex marriage will cause population implosion.”

What you can do: Ask “how” and ask for facts just a few repetitions short of ad nauseam. Let them ramble and eventually, they will run into self-contradictions. In which case, be ready for more moving goalposts and more red herrings.

 

Fallacy #10: Spotlight Fallacy – “The Spotlight fallacy is committed when a person uncritically assumes that all members or cases of a certain class or type are like those that receive the most attention or coverage in the media.”

Example:

“Gays are not oppressed because that’s not what we see in the media”

What you can do: State factual evidence to the contrary. From an international perspective, the United Nations recently released its first report on LGBT rights. You can also download the Philippine LGBT Coalition report (which I co-authored Ü) to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review. It is a good resource for citing actual documented discrimination against LGBT people in the Philippines.

 

These are just some of the common fallacies I’ve encountered recently. If you know of more or have found other effective ways of handling them, help our readers and post your experience here.

 

Happy debating!

 

“Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world: all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it.” – Albert Einstein, 1954″

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13 Comments that Put dboncan in My LGBT Spotlight


Dear dboncan,

Thank you for reading my article “Why LGBT people must get personal with the Catholic Church.” I read through the comments you made on the Filipino Freethinkers site and picked out 13 that I thought I could address immediately. The rest of your comments were clearly opinions that I know you will hold on to dearly so I will treat them with respect by setting them aside.

Let me be transparent with you. My objective for taking time and responding to you today is, at the most, to turn you into an ally, and at the least, to change some of your perceptions by giving you needed information.

Of course, this is only possible if both of us keep an open mind and remain calm and objective. So if, at any point, you show signs that you have closed your mind about the topic without hopes of turning you into an ally, or make personal remarks similar to your verbal attacks against the other commenters, then I will respectfully withdraw from the discussion.

Here goes.

 

Comment #1:

“Let’s see you are pissed because violence is done to them, well so am I. But the law protects everyone and if there is violence, are you telling me that the police won’t act on it just because the victim is homosexual?”

My response: Yes. There are several reported cases of police not enforcing the law because the victims or complainants were not heterosexual. There are even cases where police take advantage of the situation and harrass the complainant or extort money from them. If you need further information. I will refer you to the right organizations but I cannot post cases here because of confidentiality issues. The bottom line is, to say that “the law protects everyone” is only good on paper but it is not implemented in reality.

 

Comment #2:

Are you telling me that you want legislation that will penalize bullying of homosexuals… but what not weaklings, handicapped, etc… the bullying of homosexuals is because of the perception that they are weak.”

My response: Yes, we want that kind of legislation. But just because we cite examples of discrimination against LGBT people most of the time, it doesn’t mean we do not acknowledge the existence of discrimination against other vulnerable sectors. It only means that we are able to expound on these examples because they are closer to our daily experience. In the same manner, people with disabilities (PWDs) normally cite discrimination against PWDs but it doesn’t mean they don’t recognize the existence of discrimination against others, like, say, indigenous peoples. SB2814 is a bill that will give us, and other vulnerable sectors, that kind of protection.

“Legarda Hails Passage on Third Reading of Anti-Discrimination Bill” –http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2011/1122_legarda1.asp – accessed 2011-12-11

 

Comment #3:

“A comment above says he is pissed because he can’t hold hands in public without being looked at strangely, should we penalize staring behavior as well?”

My response: Please do not put words in my mouth. This is what I said:

“The truth is, the “Marxist mold” and the politics behind the LGBT movement are irrelevant to me when I can’t hold hands with my partner in public. To me, it is hardly political, it is personal.”

In the context of that paragraph, I did not say I was pissed, I did not say anything about being looked at strangely, and I did not demand penalizing staring behavior. All I did was illustrate my point that not everyone in the LGBT movement has a political agenda and not everything about LGBT activism is political. Sometimes, the discrimination we experience is very personal in nature and has little to do with the politics that Acosta was refering to in her presentation.

If you are referring to someone else’s comment, please post it here and I will gladly apologize for assuming I was the subject.

 

Comment #4:

“How can marriage be an absolute basic human right?”

My response: Because that’s what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says and as a member of the United Nations, the Philippine government has the obligation to protect, respect, promote, and fulfill this right as many countries have already done:

“Article 1. – All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

“Article 2. – Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

“Article 16. – (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” – http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml – accessed 2011-12-11

 

Comment #5:

“Can minors marry? why not if it is an absolute right? can mentally handicapped people marry? can humans opt to marry their pets?”

My response: These are all false analogies. Please refer to Article 16 Section 2 (above). You cannot get “free and full consent of the intending spouses” if your intending spouse is a minor, a pet, or mentally handicapped.

 

Comment #6:

“Some “rights” are not absolute some are.”

My response: This is simply incorrect. Being absolute is not a characteristic of human rights. Human rights are “Universal, Inalienable, Interdependent, Indivisible, Equal and Non-discriminatory”

“What are human rights?” – http://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx – accessed 2011-12-11

 

Comment #7:

“Tell me how the LGBT are sidelined politically? Has any LGBT been disallowed the right to suffrage or to run for public office, given a drivers license, cedula, taxed higher, refused enrollment in school or refuses police protection solely by their orientation?”

My response: Yes. Ladlad Party List was disallowed in 2009 to run for public office. They were eventually allowed to run when the Supreme Court ruled in their favor but the case is a clear example of discrimination in politics based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, the Supreme Court blasted the Commission on Elections for using the Bible and Quran in its decision. Here are the first two paragraphs of the Supreme Court’s ruling:

“Our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 5 that “[n]o law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” At bottom, what our nonestablishment clause calls for is “government neutrality in religious matters.”[24] Clearly, “governmental reliance on religious justification is inconsistent with this policy of neutrality.”[25]

We thus find that it was grave violation of the non-establishment clause for the COMELEC to utilize the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang Ladlad. Rather than relying on religious belief, the legitimacy of the Assailed Resolutions should depend, instead, on whether the COMELEC is able to advance some justification for its rulings beyond mere conformity to religious doctrine. Otherwise stated, government must act for secular purposes and in ways that have primarily secular effects.”

“G.R. No. 190582 – SC Decision on Ladlad vs Comelec” –http://icj.org/dwn/database/Ang%20Ladlad%20LGBT%20Party%20v.%20COMELEC.pdf – accessed 2011-12-11

People who live with partners of the same sex and raise a family are taxed higher because in the eyes of BIR, the tax status of both individuals is “single” and not “married with dependents.” But in reality, their expenses are comparable to expenses of heterosexual couples who enjoy tax benefits of being legally married.

We have documented cases of schools who conduct masculinity tests and reject students who fail this test. This discrimination also affects even heterosexuals who show signs of femininity.

 

Comment #8:

“I oppose this because its repercussions introduce a society where morality becomes relative to a persons preference and taste!”

My response: Morality has always been “relative to a persons preference and taste.” What is moral for a Christian might not be moral for a Muslim and vice versa. Thankfully, our government operates on the rules of law and not the rules of morality. As I’ve already mentioned above, the Supreme Court favored Ladlad Party List and struck down Comelec when it used morality as grounds to bar Ladlad party list from running for the 2010 elections.

Same-sex marriage is already legal in the following countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden

Can you explain the “repercussions” of same-sex marriage in these countries?

 

Comment #9:

“I oppose certain moves in granting homosexuals sweeping “rights” which should be rightly reserved for heterosexuals like marriage or adoption.”

My response: There are no rights that are “rightly reserved for heterosexuals” as this is clear violation of Article 2 of the universal declaration of human rights.

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”

 

Comment #10:

“it does not follow that just because someone is productive, they can also contribute to the growth of society in the sense of which i was referring to, i.e. propagate and raise children.”

My response: There are heterosexuals who are unable to propagate and there are heterosexuals who simply want to marry but do not plan on having children. Since they are unable to contribute to the growth of society in the sense that you are referring to, should they be disallowed to marry?

 

Comment #11:

“It falsely imparts to children that there is such a thing as a third sex when there isn’t.”

My Response: You are right. There is no third sex. There is a whole spectrum of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. And that is what children need to learn and understand.

 

Comment #12:

“It is a pretentious union with pretentious results.”

My response: I take offense in this statement. There is nothing pretentious about the celebration of two people being in love and committing their lives to each other. There is nothing pretentious about a person being able to claim inheritance benefits of their spouse, being a beneficiary to health insurance, visitation rights, etc. These results are very real and contribute to the well-being of a person. Please do not trivialize them by calling them pretentious.

 

Comment #13:

“cisgendered” seriously there is a term? the terms cis and trans used to be a chemical prefix and the word gender used to refer to parts of speech.” I am so amused, we get a chemical prefix and combine it with a reference to a part of speech and we have a sex that is somewhere in between male/female and homosexual.WOW!”

My response: Again, I take offense in your tone. All kinds of terms come up regularly in order to define human experience. Words like insulares, peninsulares, flips, chinks, jejemons, hipsters, dorks, nerds, squatters, kasambahay, whether with negative or positive connotations, were all coined because of the psycho-social need of certain sectors to create a group they can associate with or have an available term to refer to a sector of society. I highly doubt that international law experts, civil society groups, humanitarians, and diplomats said “WOW!” and were as “amused” as you were when they used these terms in drafting the Yogyakarta Principles and the UN resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Also, there is no “sex that is somewhere in between male/female and homosexual.” Both males and females can actually identify as homosexual, transgender, or cisgender. Once you understand the intricacies of these terms, you might be less amused and might find more respect for the people who self-identify with these terms. Here are a couple of sites that might help you understand the terms:

“Transgender, Genderqueer, Cisgender… What Do These Terms Mean?’ –http://kinseyconfidential.org/transgender-genderqueer-cisgender-terms/ – accessed 2011-12-11

“TRANS 101: CISGENDER” – http://www.basicrights.org/uncategorized/trans-101-cisgender/ – accessed 2011-12-11

 

So again, I hope you take the information seriously. If, as early as now, you’ve already made a decision that I will be unsuccessful in either or both of my two objectives, then feel free to ignore this.

Thank you for your time.

Ronald “Ron” de Vera (aka rondevera)

 

| Read more from the same writer here |

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To the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Re: Article on Gay Rights


Dear Editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer,

 

Having relied on The Philippine Daily Inquirer as an essential source of information on Philippine politics, lifestyle, and business, I would like to commend the newspaper for continuing to cover stories that matter to Filipinos both in the Philippines and abroad, often with exceptional depth and quality.

Thus, given my past admiration, it is with utter disappointment that I write to strongly critique a recent article, entitled “CBCP Wants Anti-Discrimination Bill Cleansed of Provisions on Gay Rights”, published on December 7th, 2011. In this article, Nina Calleja discusses the CBCP’s opposition to the current Senate Bill 2814 (Anti-Ethnic, Racial or Religious Discrimination and Profiling Act of 2011). Although the bill has passed the third reading in the Senate, it still has to go through harmonizing through bicameral discussions. The CBCP thus wants the phrase “sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity” removed from inclusion as the bill goes through this harmonizing process.

 

My opposition to the article stems from the following reasons:

1) Given the article’s public nature, and its ability to influence debate regarding an issue with such high stakes, I found it offensive that Calleja chooses to ignore one side of the conversation. Thus, she does not interview anyone—political activists, legislators, and academics to name a few—that could possibly provide feedback regarding the reason for the bill’s inclusion of this phrase in the first place. Off the top of my head, I could already recount many people who could have discussed the issue with similar depth and complexity. If Calleja can claim that no other sources of this information were available at the time of the article’s writing, then that should have been stated in the article, to at least give the impression of balanced coverage. Yet this article, as seemingly straightforward as it is, nonetheless provides a biased reading of the bill, and the CBCP’s stance as a whole.

2) Related to this bias, I was a bit offended by the tone of the article, especially the use of the word “cleanse” in the title. This word presupposes that the bill was polluted, tainted, and made “dirty” (the oppositional word to cleanse by the way) with the inclusion of a non-discrimination phrase that includes women and LGBT identified individuals. How come Calleja did not use “remove”, “stripped”, “taken out” or any possible terms that could convey a similar message, without the overtly political tone? Rather than having myself be accused of being defensive, I’d like to return to the article, and point to the copious amounts of quotations, perspectives, and frameworks coming from the CBCP, without ANY other possible viewpoints being included from the other side. This to me is explicit proof of the article’s point, which is to sway a particular set of legislators and the population, towards its bias around the topic. Granted that anyone should be able to write an opinion in a newspaper, then I suggest that as the Editor, you should have included this article in the Opinion section, NOT the News section as it still currently sits in.

3) Finally, as an out Filipino gay man, as an Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies, as a Filipino living in the Philippines and abroad, and as someone who feels invested in the equal rights of women and LGBT Filipinos, I would like to provide a counter-discourse to what Calleja wrote.

A) I find it offensive that Calleja can include passages about our “choice”, about our “third sex”, and about how the threat of the bill’s rightfully “changing society” for the better, without a single gesture or awareness of the violence that these harmful statements enact on our community. During the recently concluded Philippine Gay Pride (December 1), I saw the commitment of our community in fighting the continued spread of discrimination for everyone, not just LGBT identified folks, and to fighting the continued lack of awareness about HIV/AIDS (which is why the parade was timed to coincide with World Aids Day). Thus, as a community, we also desire the non-discrimination of everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, class, and religion (which the bill would have still preserved). This is the ethical thrust of the current bill, which is why sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity” were included in the last version.

B) As you can see in the bill’s phrasing, the removal of non-discrimination based on sex and gender would then also exclude not only “sexual orientation” but also sex and gender discrimination itself. Does the CBCP want the continue disenfranchisement of women and men based on their gender and sex (and not just sexual orientation)? I highly doubt the CBCP can claim that they believe women should still be discriminated, and survive politically (even though it is a religious group primarily).

C) The role of a newspaper, aside from providing information, is to educate the population. Thus, balanced reporting, which we had so forcefully fought for amidst multiple regimes and dictatorship, need to be preserved at all costs. This article, and its clearly skewed perspectives, fails to do so. Thus, it needs to be retracted immediately.

Thanks for your time. And regardless of the outcome of this letter, I do hope it gets noted. I’d still like to read the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and teach it to my students. Some of that faith needs to be restored.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Robert Diaz

Assistant Professor

Women and Gender Studies Program

Wilfrid Laurier University

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Why LGBT People Must Get Personal with the Catholic Church


When Pope John Paul II formally apologized for the persecution of Galileo, it was an apology that took the Catholic Church more than 300 years to make.

If it also needs 300 years for the Catholic Church to apologize for the persecution of LGBT people, then there is no better time for LGBT activists to start working on this but today. And there is a great opportunity today to open minds and provide accurate information to refute the statements of Dr. Ligaya Anacta Acosta, regional director of Human Life International (HLI) Asia and Oceania, that appeared on two different articles.

In the article “Being portrayed as oppressed is best way to public sympathy, homosexual activists told,” Acosta asked the following questions:

“Are they really oppressed? We see many gays in the media… in fact, they lord it over [in the industry] so how can they say that they are being oppressed?”

I must say that this is perhaps the weakest, most misinformed reasoning that I have ever heard. The media is the last place Acosta should look at if she wants to have a glimpse of reality. This kind of reasoning is an insult to the couples who were almost declared persona non grata for committing their lives to each other. This reasoning is an insult to Hender Gercio who was denied the simple right to be addressed with the right pronoun in class. It is an insult to the gays and transgenders in Cebu who were attacked with pellet guns. It is a grave insult to the more than 141 LGBT Filipinos who were not only oppressed but killed because of hatred. Acosta must rethink her conclusions because they are based on a distorted version of reality. Otherwise, it would do her well to actually talk to the gay media personalities she is referring to and ask them what kind of oppression they had to go through (and are still going through) before reaching their current status.

Acosta has also claimed that the “homosexual revolution” is political as it is based on a “Marxist mold.” In the article “‘Homosexuals are born that way’ theory long debunked,” the article supports her claim with the following statement:

“Another significant incident in the history of the homosexual agenda was the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental disorders by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which turned out to be a political move rather than one based on findings of scientists.”

Acosta is then quoted as saying:

“Is homosexuality really normal? This all started in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association, under intense pressure from gay groups, removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. But we have to take note that [the organization] never did say that [homosexuality] was normal,”

This is another case of picking out facts that conveniently support one’s argument while leaving out the rest of the evidence, thereby suggesting an imbalanced perspective.

According to Eric Manalastas of the Psychological Association of the Philippines, “there are lots of studies that show being lesbian/gay is not a disorder.” Manalastas adds that this is “why the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) was revised — in response to better knowledge and growing understanding that the problem was not being gay/lesbian. Rather the problem was the stigma and discrimination faced by gay and lesbian people”

This also begs the question of how homosexuality was even included in that list to begin with. Acosta must present compelling scientific evidence to support the inclusion of homosexuality in that list. If she cannot, then it is irrelevant if the move to take homosexuality off the list is political in nature or not.

The truth is, the “Marxist mold” and the politics behind the LGBT movement are irrelevant to me when I can’t hold hands with my partner in public. To me, it is hardly political, it is personal. When children are bullied because of how they express their sexuality, it doesn’t matter to them what disorders are on the list of the American Psychiatric Association. To these children, it is hardly political, it is personal. When lesbians are raped to cure them of their “disease,” they don’t care much about how homosexual activists gain public sympathy. To these lesbians, it is hardly political, it is personal.

So stop referring to our activism as the “homosexual agenda” and start acknowledging our human rights. Don’t wait another 300 years before admitting you have been as wrong about us as you were about the universe 300 years ago. All it takes is a little love and compassion and you will see that our oppression is very real. Our oppression is very personal.

 

Read original article here | Read more from the same writer here

 

 

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Shedding Light on “Dr.” Acosta’s Gay Discrimination Lecture


It’s been a while since we’ve last heard from Dr. Ligaya Acosta, who drew acclaim for her sold-out performance at last January’s RH Bill forum at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. Everybody still remembers how her crazy antics had the audience rolling in the aisles…

Wait, what do you mean that was serious? Oh my.

In any case, Dr. Acosta’s at it again, but instead of more aneurysm-inducing presentations on the Reproductive Health Bill, she’s set her sights on the gay community. Ligaya goes through great lengths in her rhetoric to discuss the rising trend for gay rights, before attempting to dismiss its legitimacy.

I’ve taken the liberty of correcting her more salient points where necessary. After all, much like her, I would prefer to hear the truth of the matter 😉

Curing the “Disease”

Dr. Ligaya Anacta Acosta, regional director of Human Life International (HLI) Asia and Oceania told delegates to the “Philippines for Life” Congress that there is a need to alert the public about the campaign to promote homosexual practice, and to call people in all sectors— especially us in the Catholic Church — to make a firm and appropriate response and address different approaches available to men and women of homosexual inclination who wish to leave… the life of active homosexuality.”

Said “appropriate response” includes the use of conversion therapy from groups such as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which claims that it has means of curing homosexuality, as if it were a mental disorder.

The problem is, gay conversion therapy has long been debunked by the greater medical community. The British Medical Association (BMA) has declared conversion therapy to be harmful to patients, while the American Psychological Association (APA) has removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders all the way back in 1975.

You’re probably wondering why a good doctor like Acosta would be advocating gays to undergo quack treatment to “cure” their condition. *Hint hint*: She’s not a medical doctor. Acosta’s HLI profile indicates that she has a Doctorate in Management, and Bachelor Degrees in Law and Social Work. Note the lack of certification in psychiatry, or even a graduate degree in psychology.

Discrimination? What Discrimination?

Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, she reminded everyone that healing can be and has been found after living a homosexual lifestyle, and that “every sign of discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

Acosta noted that there is an agenda to advance homosexual rights by presenting gays as a discriminated minority.

Are homosexuals really discriminated against? Whether or not the answer is yes, presenting themselves as victims of oppression is one of the steps in advancing homosexual rights, ultimately to include the recognition of such rights by the law, she said.

Let’s humor Ligaya’s question, and see what a few minutes of Googling turns up:

  • The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) actively supported the passing of Proposition 8, which criminalized gay marriages in the State of California.
  • The Roman Catholic Church opposed the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which adds sexual orientation to existing anti-discrimination laws in the United States.
  • Catholic charities refused to allow gay couples to adopt children, and while receiving state money at that.
  • The CBCP threatened legal action for a gay wedding in Baguio…against a denomination that’s not even Catholic.

And these are just the Catholic cases. I have yet to cite the more recent examples from around the globe, such as Nigeria’s recent gay marriage ban, or Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill (which was in turn linked to anti-gay Christian fundamentalism.

So despite Ligaya’s baseless posturing, we have plenty of evidence to indicate that not only are gays being discriminated against, but that one of the groups responsible for this discrimination is the RCC itself. At least we now know why she’s being so evasive.

Starstruck

“Are they really oppressed? We see many gays in the media… in fact, they lord it over [in the industry] so how can they say that they are being oppressed?” Acosta asked a group of over 200 pro-life delegates.

While it is true that the appearance of gays like Vice Ganda in Philippine cinema can be seen as progress, it is also equally true that gays are still a discriminated minority that are the target of hate crimes. These two facts do not cancel each other out. As per the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, At least 32 were killed in 2011, and another 34 in 2010, with the victims being targeted because of their sexual orientation.

Following Ligaya’s logic, it’d be like saying it’s alright not to give a damn about the chronic problem of domestic violence our women face, or that 11 of them die each day because of birth complications, because we have Sarah Geronimo, KC Concepcion, Kim Chiu, and Shamcey Supsup in the spotlight.

Her reasoning is flawless!

Illegitimate

 Being true to the pro-abortion, pro-gay rights monicker given to him, the president has established an LGBT Month (LGBT stands for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders), appointed homosexuals as key officials in government, and carried out other measures that have ended up bestowing illegitimate rights on homosexual members of society.

What Acosta calls “illegitimate,” most people see as progress to a more tolerant society that grants gays the same rights as any other person. They’re in the same vein as the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the legalization of same-sex marriage in states such as New York, and the enactment of more comprehensive anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws.

None of these measures grant any “special” or “illegitimate” privileges to the LGBT community. At the very least, they provide them with same rights as everybody else, and ensure that they don’t have to live in fear of being discriminated against.

Ligaya’s attempt to make the matter of gay equality an issue is tantamount to her crying over the fact that blacks can finally sit anywhere they damn want on a bus.

Gay Recruitment

“Hindi lang po ‘yan sa US because the policies of the United States of America affect the whole world… It’s actually also part of population control. If they cannot force us to legalize abortion or massively use contraception, then [they] promote homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. Start at kindergarten… and therefore we have to know what is the agenda.”

Yes. Because as everybody knows, going gay is the perfect alternative if your girlfriend refuses to let you do it because you’re not wearing rubber.

For the readers who’ve seen the Harvey Milk film, Ligaya’s “Gays recruiting your children in schools” argument should be familiar. It was the same mantra chanted by the Save our Children coalition founded by singer and notorious anti-gay bigot Anita Bryant.

The coalition was established to help repeal a Florida ordinance that made it illegal to discriminate based on an individual’s sexual orientation. And much like Bryant, Ligaya has yet to present any evidence that gays are indeed turning our schools into recruitment centers for their cause.

New World Order

“I have to tell you that there is a huge homosexual network all over the world, and although constituting a minority only of less than 3% of the population, we have to know that the homosexual movement is highly organized and very well-financed,” Acosta pointed out.

For once, Ligaya is right. Sort of.

There are a growing number of movements around the world that are advocating the eradication of discrimination against the LGBT community. One of the biggest being the United Nations, which passed a resolution this year declaring equal rights for all people, regardless of their gender identity.

There’s also the It Gets Better Project, established to provide moral support for LGBT teens who are being bullied and discriminated against in school because of their sexual orientation.

By contrast, Catholic-affiliated anti-gay groups such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has been losing legal ground over its accusations of experiencing harassment while advocating gay discrimination; One incident involved one of its members being given mean looks as he handed out anti-gay pamphlets.

And if Ligaya really wants to push the matter of highly organized and well-funded groups with an agenda, she doesn’t have to look further than her own Human Life International. Over its history, HLI has been knee-deep in scandals regarding the accuracy of its research and its blatant…well…insanity.

Here’s a few choice words from Father Thomas Euteneuer, HLI’s president from 2000 to 2010:

Fundamentally, Harry Potter indoctrinates young souls in the language and mechanics of the occult. The fact that the fake curses and hexes are not able to be reproduced because the “ingredients” are pure fantasy is beside the point. Curses are not pure fantasy. The fact that “curse” as such, and other elements of witchcraft, are presented in a glorified state throughout the Harry Potter series means that our kids’ minds are being introduced to and imbued with occult imagery.

Euteneuer subsequently left HLI, under a cloud of suspicion that he had sexually abused a woman he was performing exorcism duties for.

If there is anything we can take away from people like Ligaya, it is that they are running scared. They are terrified of the fact that in the past few years, several landmark decisions have been made that are slowly eroding the layer upon layer of lies that the Catholic Church sits upon.

Posted in Personal, Religion, SocietyComments (7)

The Gayness of Midas Marquez and the Men of Ethiopia


The sexuality of Supreme Court Spokesperson Midas Marquez has become the topic of debates when a video of him addressing the press went viral yesterday.

In the video, Marquez is seen reacting to a microphone falling off the podium. In less than 24 hours, the video has been shared more than 11,000 times on Facebook and has had more than 12,000 views and more than 100 comments on YouTube.

Here is an overview of how YouTube users have reacted to the video as of writing:

1. Yes, he is definitely gay – 28% (38/136)
2. I don’t care, this is funny – 27% (37/136)
3. Flagged as spam/removed – 18% (24/136)
4. No, this does not make him gay – 7% (9/136)
5. It doesn’t matter, he’s doing his job well – 5% (7/136)
6. Please think about the welfare of his children – 4% (6/136)
7. Yes, he is gay, and that is a pity because he is handsome – 4% (5/136)
8. Yes, he is gay, but it’s okay, he’s doing his job well – 4% (5/136)
9. I don’t care, he’s hot – 3% (4/136)
10. So what if he’s gay? – 1% (1/136)

(Data based on a total of 136 comments. Unrelated comments were not included)

What is worth mentioning is that some of the homophobic comments (both on YouTube and Facebook) were actually made by some people who self-identify as LGBT activists. Granted that LGBT activism in the Philippines has come a long way, such homophobic remarks are indicative of the level of maturity of this movement.

PEP proves that photo of Piolo Pascual holding hands with Sam Milby is fake

Marquez is not the first personality subjected to this debate. Not so recently, actors Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby were rumored to be a gay couple. Photos of them holding hands circulated on the Internet. Interestingly, arguments mostly revolved around whether the photos were authentic or manipulated and not whether holding hands with another man was evidence of homosexuality. The general theme of the discussions were that if the photos were authentic, then it was validation that Pascual and Milby were indeed in a homosexual relationship. Yet again, some LGBT activists participated in these fundamentally flawed discussions. It was proven later on that the photos were digitally enhanced.

Despite the lack of scientific evidence, we (laypeople and activists alike) seem to stubbornly hold on to this convenient belief that we can determine a person’s sexual orientation (whether the person is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight) just by observing the person’s gender expression (whether the person acts feminine or masculine based on socially accepted norms). It is not uncommon for people to claim that they have a functional “gaydar,” albeit they are not always able to explain their criteria.

It is acceptable for two men to hold hands in Ethiopia as it is part of their culture

Fortunately, this behavior is not innate. Humans are not born with the prejudice that men holding hands with other men are gay. For example, in Ethiopian culture, it is socially acceptable for men to hold hands with other men in public. This is not because Ethiopian culture is accepting of homosexuality, in fact, homosexuality is illegal in that country. Holding hands is acceptable because Ethiopians were not taught by their culture that this type of male-to-male gender expression is evidence of gay sexual orientation. Showing them photos of Pascual and Milby holding hands would mean absolutely nothing except that the two men are obviously friends.

At the end of the day, the question should not even be about sexual orientation or gender expression. We should strive for a society that has reached a level of acceptance wherein sexuality does not even figure in discussions. Call me strange but I think there are lessons to be learned from the perceived gayness of Midas Marquez and the men of Ethiopia.

Read original article here.

Posted in Media, SocietyComments (2)

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