Monday, November 21, 2011

The Devotion Project

A friend of mine shared a YouTube link a few days back with the title, The Devotion Project. And it is the most poignant short film I ever saw.
Devotion (noun): 1. profound dedication; 2. earnest attachment to a cause, person etc. (
According to their website, The Devotion Project is a series of short documentary portraits of LGBT couples, examining and celebrating their commitment and devotion. This first short film in the series, "More than Ever" documents Bill Campbell and John Hilton's 54-year love story. It won the Audience Award for Best Short at Newfest: The New York LGBT Film Festival (and it won my heart)

It is only less than ten minutes, watch the film here:

Beautiful story.

54 years! That is 4536 gay relationship months or 378 gay relationship years! (Funny, they say that for every month you are in a same-sex relationship, it is multiplied by seven months)

After watching the film -- and also being a counseling psychologist and a gay-relationship-advocate wannabee, I asked myself, what was their secret? I want to know their secret because I know it is not easy. I had two 3-year relationships and currently working on another one (Oh incidentally, we are celebrating our third month today and this film is a sweet reminder that sometimes it hurts but sometimes it also last in love instead!)

But I discovered one secret and John Hilton wrote it last July 2011 in Life Lesson with Bill Campbell.
"How can love be profane if it really is love?," he asked. 
"Every day of our life together, Bill and I valued more and more, the privilege of spending our life with each other. We quickly admonished ourselves about any feelings of guilt about our happiness but instead concentrated to understand it as the very evidence we perpetually sought that we were living in the right way."
 The director and producer Anthony Osso shared the birth of this project. Watch it here:

My prayer tonight: "I want to be like that and I can do that too."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) comes out of the closet!

I am happy and proud of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) – to which I am a member – for their recent statement on non-discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression! This is both a historic event for Philippine psychology and for Filipino LGBTs.

I was part of the consultation with other LGBT and non-LGBT psychologists but it was Eric JulianManalastas who gave his body and soul to it (no pun directed). Thank you, Eric – you are really a king (or queen, whatever you prefer) in LGBT psychology!

You can check the PAP’s statement in their News and Updates section of their website.

Or, you can just read on.

Statement of the Psychological Association of the Philippines on Non Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos continue to experience stigma, prejudice, and discrimination in Philippine society. This stigma is manifested in actions such as: bullying, teasing, and harassment of LGBT children and adolescents in families, schools, and communities; media portrayal of LGBTs as frivolous, untrustworthy, and even dangerous or predatory; denying transgender Filipinos entry into commercial establishments; pigeonholing LGBT Filipinos into particularly limited roles and occupations; or curtailing their rights to participate in the political sphere.

LGBT Filipinos often confront social pressures to hide, suppress or even attempt to change their identities and expressions as conditions for their social acceptance and enjoyment of rights. Although many LGBTs learn to cope with this social stigma, these experiences can cause serious psychological distress, including immediate consequences such as fear, sadness, alienation, anger, and internalized stigma (Hatzenbuehler, 2009; Meyer, 2003). This anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination tend to be based on a rhetoric of moral condemnation and are fueled by ignorance or unfounded beliefs associating these gender expressions and sexual orientations with psychopathology or maladjustment.

However, decades of scientific research have led mental health professional organizations worldwide to conclude that lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations are normal variants of human sexuality.  These include: the American Psychiatric Association in 1973, the American Psychological Association in 1975, British Psychological Society, the Colombian Society of Psychology, Psychological Society of South Africa, the Australian Psychological Society, and the International Network on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns and Transgender Issues in Psychology, among others.

The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) aligns itself with the global initiatives to remove the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with diverse sexualities and to promote the wellbeing of LGBT people. Moreover, the PAP Code of Ethics (2010) is clear in its stance against discrimination. Filipino psychologists are called upon to recognize the unique worth and inherent dignity of all human beings; and to respect the diversity among persons and peoples (Principle I, a and b).  This means that Filipino psychologists should not discriminate against or demean persons based on actual or perceived differences in characteristics including gender identity and sexual orientation (Ethical Standard III-A and C; V-B.8).

In order to eliminate stigma, prejudice, discrimination and violence against LGBT, the PAP resolves to support efforts to:

• oppose all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression;

• repeal discriminatory laws and policies, and support the passage of legislation at the local and national levels that protect the rights and promote the welfare of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions;

• eliminate all forms of prejudice and discrimination against LGBTs in teaching, research, psychological interventions, assessment and other psychological programs;

• encourage psychological research that addresses the needs and concerns of LGBT Filipinos and their families and communities;

• disseminate and apply accurate and evidence-based information about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to design interventions that foster mental health and wellbeing of LGBT Filipinos.


American Psychiatric Association. (1973). Position statement on homosexuality and civil rights. American Journal of Psychiatry, 131; 497.

Anton, B.S. (2009). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association for the legislative year 2008: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives, February 22-24, 2008, Washington, DC, and August 13 and 17, 2008, Boston, MA, and minutes of the February, June, August, and December 2008 meetings of the Board of Directors. American Psychologist, 64; 372-453.

Conger, J.J. (1975). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1974: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 30; 620-651.

Hatzenbuehler, M. L. (2009). How does sexual minority stigma “get under the skin”? A psychological mediation framework. Psychological Bulletin, 135; 707-730.

International Network for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns and Transgender Issues in Psychology (2001). Sexual orientation and mental health: Toward global perspectives on practice and policy. Retrieved from

Meyer, I. H. (2003).Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129; 674-697.

Psychological Association of the Philippines Scientific and Professional Ethics Committee. (2010). Code of Ethics for Philippine Psychologists. Philippine Journal of Psychology, 43; 195-217.