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Almost a decade ago, I read articles that piqued my interest in gay rights – specifically that gay couples do not have visitation rights when their partner is in the hospital nor can they make medical decisions on their behalf.  It was heartbreaking to read one particular story where a woman was on life support but the partner could not visit nor make any decisions for her.  The family, which had long disowned the woman on life support when she came out as a lesbian, could visit, make health decisions for her, even make funeral arrangements for her if she dies; the partner, who had been by her side for the past several years, could do none of those things.

Around the same time, I had a co-worker who is a lesbian, & she told me her frustration that she couldn’t add her partner to our employer sponsored health insurance.  They would have to get it separately through their own respective employers, which would be more expensive.  Her partner had just been hired elsewhere & would have to wait the three to six months before she could qualify for health insurance there.  In the meantime, my co-worker’s partner was without health insurance.

Since that day, I’ve been in favor of gay rights because, simply,  they are human rights.

Someone once posted on my fb wall  that in cases like the ones above, a gay couple can use a living will or some other legal document.  But for me, that’s beside the point.  A heterosexual couple in an emergency situation or a medical situation gone awry, the doctor isn’t going to ask for legal documents like that, it’s automatic that you can visit your spouse and make medical decisions for him/her.  Heck, you can simply say “I’m the spouse” & they’re not going to ask for a copy of your marriage license to prove you’re married.  But if you’re a same-sex couple & you say, “I’m his/her partner“, sorry, you’ll need documents to prove your relationship.

Fortunately, times have changed since the time I read those articles.  In January 2011, new hospital visitation regulations took effect that allow patients to decide who has visitation rights & who can make decisions on their behalf.  However, implementation of these rules are inconsistent, as proven by an email I received a few days ago from change.org which I read only now. The link is here.

After reading that, I went on google to look up a national gay rights organization & was led to this website, the Human Rights Campaign.  I sent them a question, & they replied back with this very informative link, the Answers to Questions about Marriage Equality.

A few things I learned:

Social Security benefits. Married people receive Social Security payments upon the death of a spouse. Despite paying payroll taxes, gay and lesbian partners receive no Social Security survivor benefits — resulting in an average annual income loss of $5,528 upon the death of a partner.

Family leave. Married workers are legally entitled to unpaid leave from their jobs to care for an ill spouse. Gay and lesbian workers are not entitled to family leave to care for their partners.

Estate taxes. A married person automatically inherits all the property of his or her deceased spouse without paying estate taxes. A gay or lesbian taxpayer is forced to pay estate taxes on property inherited from a deceased partner.

Plus there are more than 1,000 federal benefits & protections of marriage that are denied to gay couples as a result of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines “marriage as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife; and (2) “spouse” as only a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.

So gay rights, yes, I’m all for it!  We still have a long, long way to go, but I’m confident we will move on the path towards equal rights for all, regardless of one’s sexual orientation.

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I originally wrote this 9/11/07 & posted it on my friendster blog in response to a magazine article written by a pretentious writer who made offensive remarks about OFWs.   I’ve added a few more brief paragraphs to this entry.

Eh ano ngayon kung graduate ka ng kilalang school?  Education and achievement, least of all the ability to clearly communicate one’s ideas, have nothing to do with what school you came from.  When I was interviewing job applicants in the course of my work in the human resources field before in the Philippines, very few from so-called elite schools were able to articulately answer my interview questions.  Most of them had the affected kolehiyala accent common at the time (like the way Kris Aquino speaks), but few had any substance, let alone proper grammar when they spoke.  And when I read their resumes & brief answers on the application forms, the incorrect spelling & grammar made me cringe.

On that note, eh ano ngayon kung college graduate ka?  Some of the wisest, funniest, & most decent people I’ve been fortunate to have met have never finished or let alone reached college.  Being a decent human being requires no diploma or schooling.

Eh ano ngayon kung gwapo o maganda ka?  Looks fade, dahling.  The title of a book I read said it right, “Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever.”  You’d better have more to offer than just a pretty face, because in 10, 20, 30 years from now, you’re gonna look like the rest of us.  I prefer a man or woman of substance any time over a person with just a pretty face.  You may get any man or woman you want, but the question is, will you be able to keep that person?

Eh ano ngayon kung mayaman ka?  Your big home, fancy car, brand name clothes & expensive jewelry don’t impress me.  Unless you’re using your money & influence to do good in the world ala Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates, you’re just another self-absorbed, self-indulgent person who thinks that showing off or bragging about stuff you have will mask the insecurities you so desperately try to hide behind all your material trappings, to no avail.

Eh ano ngayon kung nakarating ka abroad?  Traveling or living in another country doesn’t make you better than those who haven’t left their hometowns.

Eh ano ngayon kung domestic helper, entertainer, yaya, cook, waiter kaibigan ko o ibang tao?  They’re making an honest, decent living.  They’re not drug pushers, prostitutes or criminals.  I have faith that someday they’ll do better for themselves if they want to.  If they’re perfectly happy with whatever job they have, who are we to judge?

Eh ano ngayon kung araw-araw o linggu-linggo ka nagsisimba?  Are you merely a Sunday Christian or do you actually put the Lord’s teachings into practice?  Regardless of what your religious denomination is, do you have a personal code of ethics that you strive to live by?  All those priests who were involved in abusing kids practically lived at the churches.  Religiosity isn’t the same as spirituality.

Eh ano ngayon kung bading o tomboy ang isang tao?  A person’s sexual orientation does you no harm & doesn’t make him or her less than a person.  Set aside your disgust about two consenting adults who happen to be gay having sex, and realize that they should be entitled to the same civil rights as heterosexuals.

Eh ano ngayon kung mataas nang position mo sa pinagtatrabahuan mo?  That doesn’t make you a better person than the rest of us.  We applaud you for your hard work & achievements in your professional life, but that doesn’t give you the right to look down on those of us who have not yet reached the height of our careers or who have chosen a different path.

Eh ano ngayon kung housewife ‘lang’ ang isang babae?  A woman who chooses to stay home to rear her kids, whether it be for a few years or till the kids graduate, is doing a great service by parenting her  kids.  Being a parent is the most difficult yet most rewarding job in the world, never diminish that by using the word ‘lang.’

Hay naku, enough of this ranting.  Magkaka-wrinkles lang beauty ko.

Eh ano ngayon kung magka-wrinkles ako?  Maganda pa rin ako 🙂

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