Queer News This Week!

Posted in Uncategorized by Moe on May 12, 2010

Newsweek’s Straight Jacket

A Newsweek journalist criticized gay actors claiming that “it’s ok for straight actors to play gay” but “it’s rare for someone to pull off the trick in reverse”. The article argues that out gay actors are not believable as straight characters and points specifically to Sean Hayes and Jonathan Groff. The article has spawned controversy and a response letter from Kristen Chenoweth**.

Poll: Maryland Divided On Gay Marriage

A recent poll of Maryland voters has found that 46% favor same-sex marriage and 44% are opposed while 10% have no opinion. Comparing this poll with those from previous years, it seems that Maryland voters are slowly shifting towards a majority favoring same-sex marriage and supporting the recognition of the rights of couples married in other states.

Hope Board Stands pat On Gay Policy

Recently the administration of Hope College in Michigan brought their policy on homosexuality up for a review. Hope College, a traditionally Christian college, was addressing the concerns of petitioners who began mobilizing in 2009 after the administration did not allow a screening of the film “Milk” to be held on campus.

All of these stories represent an array of differing aspects of the Queer/Race crossroads. The queering of individuals in the arts, in politics, and in education are all hot button issues going on at the moment. I thought that it was important to find articles that were both positive and negative. While the writer of the first article is, in my opinion, setting the image of gay actors back 50 years (if not more), the poll made me feel a bit more optimistic about the acceptance of queer individuals. I also thought it was interesting to read about the “gay policy” of a religious college. Being a product of public schools for my whole life, I can’t imagine going to a college that would have a policy that condemns homosexuality but “supports fair and kind treatment for people with homosexual orientation”. How is it “fair” to condemn someone’s identity whether sexual, racial, etc.? Even more surprising to me was the Newsweek article’s criticism of out gay actors. The article seriously implied that gay actors would have better careers if they did not come out. By criticizing both Hayes and Groff, both of whom have recently officially come out, the writer is supporting a culture in which actors stigmatize themselves.

* Kristin Chenoweth’s Response Letter

* Newsweek’s response to Chenoweth and the Controversy


Feeling “Magenta” on my Creativity

Posted in Uncategorized by iTerp on April 7, 2010

I had some major difficulties trying to come up with this blog post — I hate when people say they’re not creative, because everyone is good at expressing something in some unique way, but I really felt like the color “magenta.” I’m not sure if many of you frequent the Lifetime circuit or are well-versed in your Golden Girls episodes, but Blanche (the “youngest” older woman explains her feeling like the color “magenta” because she’s a mix of all different emotions and colors inside.) This is close as I could come to describing my feeling about this post.

So, I felt, why not try and put the magenta on the paper.

Now, the following picture is my interpretation of my experiences with the LGBT community. Some of the photos I chose were purposefully stereotyped (i.e. Elton John and Rosie) and others were ones that I found interesting. I also picked dominant institutions that shape individuals’ lives, schools, the church, military, pop culture, and applied them to the knowledge I’ve acquired while in this course. I wanted the image to illustrate conflicting and sarcastic views of queer life (see comic strip), bright and more eye-catching photos (see Hollywood Blvd. and the HIV/Aids condom) and conversation pieces (see “Hate, it’s taught.” and “Out Ranks”.)

I kind of felt that a lot of what I was throwing down on the page was like an erupting gay volcano full of glitter, once it started, there was no stopping it and everything was covered. Most of the images I selected I already had an idea of the direction I wanted to take, but others kind of fell into my lap. For instance, the “Out ranks” one was where I was “Googling” gays and the military. There were some interesting links that popped up on the sites too, things like “Gay teleconferencing” and an “exclusive web offer to cleanse gays of their religious sins.” It was interesting to see the tags and how the images were filtered down…i.e. search the words “gay in school” and there’s an interesting article on a Maryland delegate that wants all LGBT sites blocked in schools. This made me reflect on how people search and what their motives are for searching on the internet.  (i.e. are they searching to learn more, or searching to reinforce ideas/stereotypes?).

Despite my first “magenta” feelings, this was an awesome project — I thought I’d tie in my original magenta ring of mixed emotions around the images to show the lump sum of my work. Hope you enjoy!

Magenta Presentation

No Place Like Home

Posted in Uncategorized by Lorena A. on March 23, 2010

The mug crashed to the floor. The coffee pooled at her feet but my mother did not even blink. “What do you mean, you like girls? ¡Tú no sabes lo que dices!”

I couldn’t bring myself to look at her but I said” Yes I do know what I’m saying mami. I don’t date boys. I don’t like them. I can’t hide who I am anymore.”

She just stood there in the puddle of coffee, staring at me as if I had suddenly grown a horn in the middle of my forehead. Finally, she stretched her mouth in a weird way that was supposed to be a smile. “You’re just joking right? It’s not funny! You, a lesbiana? Don’t ever joke like that again!”

I took a deep breath and looked her in the eyes. “Es la verdad,” I told her. “I’m not playing Mami. I’m a lesbian. I have a girlfriend. Se llama Ana and I love her with all my heart and if I keep hiding it then it would be like admitting there’s something wrong with that. Pero yo sé, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s why I’m telling you.”

For a split second, I hoped she would hug me and tell me everything was fine. Silly me. The next thing I knew, she was smacking me with the loaf of wheat bread that had been on the breakfast table. “Get out!” she screamed at me. “Get out of my house right now! You weren’t raised to be a pervert! Get out, get out, get out!”

“Mami,” I cried, “What are you saying? I’m your daughter!”

She yanked the door open and shoved me out. “No you’re not mi hija anymore! ¡Mejor muerta que lesbiana!” With that, she slammed the door in my face.

Explanation:  the above is what I imagine would happen if I came out to my mother. Though I’m not gay, it’s always fun to come up with things that upset her. And NOTHING would upset a strict, overbearing, Catholic, and Latina mom then a dyke daughter. However, it seems like everytime I watch a tv show or read a fiction book where someone comes out of the closet, the family is very accepting. But I’ve also noticed that the family is usually white. That’s because tolerance and understanding of queerness just doesn’t happen in a Latino family. My parents are blatant homophobes and there’s absolutely no way you can say anything to change their minds. Trust me , I’ve tried. Just last week I overheard them talking about how children that are adopted by gay couples will just be abused and grow up to be gay themselves. I think the worst thing I’ve heard my father say was that gays should be burned alive. Who the fuck says that about another human being??

The vast majority of my friends have parents that are the same way. I wonder if this is particular to having grown up in Latin America decades ago? Is it because of religion/church teachings? Is it because Latino culture is very focused on traditional gender roles and men are supposed to be macho? I just don’t get it. As Latinos, we are judged harshly all the time. People assume we don’t speak English, we’re illegal, we don’t pay taxes, we’re stealing jobs. And they hate us for it. So why does our culture foster hate for others when we know how painful that behavior can be?

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Around The World in February

Posted in Architecture by kaykay on February 26, 2010

Equality in the Military

The article, “Equality in the Military” proves that we need every able-bodied soldier serving in the military, whether gay or straight. It has taken many years to progress in a positive way for gays and lesbians in the military, but it is slowly but surely changing. If you serve in the military you should not have to hide your sexual preference. You are serving a job and should not be looked upon differently because of that.

England’s Anglican clerics back gay marriages in church

Across the world in London, homosexual partners are granted the right in marriage. The Clerical belief of the Anglican Church was the importance of religion and marriage, not of sexual orientation. They have realized that it is more important to celebrate the promise of religion and “to deny people of faith the opportunity of registering the most important promise of their lives in their willing church or synagogue, according to its liturgy, is plainly discriminatory.”

Gay Rights in China: Road to Respect

The U.S. military and people of the Anglican Church are not the only ones celebrating a piece of freedom. Pensioner, Ba Li, celebrates his 72nd birthday with his boyfriend after living years of being imprisoned for his sexuality. Ba Li is hopeful for the future of the gay and lesbian community, despite the hardships he’s had to face in the past. Although the community is slowly progressing, he believes that “people now enjoy more freedom than ever to express their sexuality” than ever in the past.

These three current events really stood out to me because they are all interlinked in the LGBT community as a celebration of progression. As shown in these three different articles, I believe that it is most important that we celebrate the progression of freedom. We shouldn’t shy away from talking about the setbacks, instead we should acknowledge them and see how we can move onward from them.

It is interesting to me that people the U.S. are not the only ones facing progression with gay and lesbian movements. As a world, and within each own’s culture, people within the gay and lesbian community face a discrimination whether dealing with the politics, religion, or acceptance of their culture.

I would simulate the first article in comparison to discrimination in the workplace. It’s not about your sexual preference, it’s about your ability to preform your job. It is such a sickening discrimination to separate someone from the military because of that. I’m glad that we are moving forward with removing that rule in the military. As for the marriage of gays and lesbians within the Church, I agree with the fact that marriage should be more an important celebration of religion (if applicable). As for the story of Ba Lai in China, it is an extremely hopeful and celebratory story. If more and more gays and lesbians can celebrate their freedom in a country that was once so repressed and against gays and lesbians, then the world will be moving in a positive direction. As I am Chinese-American, I have not dealt with such harsh environments, but knowing some background knowledge of the Chinese I am proud that they are moving forward from ignorance.

Race and Sexuality à la the Socialist Worker

Posted in Uncategorized by cpeverley on February 20, 2010

The Socialist Worker is a newspaper and daily web site that describes itself as “presenting a wide array of left voices involved in today’s struggles and taking up today’s political questions.” Similar to the way in which Prof. Cruz-Malave presented 42nd St/ Times Square as a confluence of culture, race, and class under the sign of “gay,” the Socialist Worker unites under the umbrella of “leftist”/”socialist.”

Sherry Wolf (LGBT socialist activist who I think is awesome) discusses the judicial challenge on Prop 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. She talks about the irony of the fact that Olson and Boies (the challengers) plan to use the (essentialist) claim that sexual orientation is immutable and that, like racial minorities and religious groups, gays and lesbians should be treated as a “suspect class,” while the right wing is taking up the constructionist view. Also, she noted that Judge Vaugn Walker (who NOM is challenging because he is gay) ruled that the proceedings should be taped for YouTube, which I think is really cool!

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer made an absolutely horrendous statement comparing welfare recipients to stray dogs. A blogger talks about her frustration with the statement, and with the country’s lack of frustration with the statement, a phenomenon that she attributes to the lack of political representation of the poor.

This article discusses the media coverage of the group of “missionaries” who are in prison under investigation for kidnapping after trying to take Haitian “orphans” (two thirds of whom had at least one parent) to the Dominican Republic, with the intention of finding American, Christian adoptive parents for them.  The media is practically portraying the group as victims, and the blogger the role that cultural and religious imperialism play in the coverage of the situation.

I chose these three articles because although they are not directly related to each other, they all address the underlying ideologies and hegemonies that influence these current events. (In my experience, if there’s one thing that socialists do well and reliably, it’s identifying instances of hegemony!) Sherry Wolf points out the essentialist/constructionist conflicts in the trial of Prop 8, and thinks about how the success or failure of each ideological approach to the case could have long-lasting repercussions for LGBT people. The blogger of “It’s racism, and they know it” looks at the realities of identity politics and the non-unity of people under identities of “class,” the underlying assumptions that we make about the nature of activism and how it affects current movements, and at the relationship between race and class in politics.

The article about the “Christian Right kidnappers” goes beyond the logistics and legality of the situation and instead looks at the ways in which notions of cultural, economic, racial, and religious superiority affected the reaction to the situation. The blogger points out that the same action by, say, Muslim missionaries, would have been met with outrage at their audacity at seeking to convert young children in the wake of a natural disaster… which is exactly what the Christian missionaries tried to do. Because the missionaries were white, middle-class, American, and Christian, though, the media has almost embraced them as victims. This reaction to their actions reflects an underlying (or not-so-underlying) affinity of many Americans to have these kinds of imperialist impulses and feelings of cultural/racial/economic/religious superiority.