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The OutCrowd Spring 2013


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Syracuse University's student-run LGBT magazine, Spring 2013 issue.

Syracuse University's student-run LGBT magazine, Spring 2013 issue.

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  • 1. Syracuse University, SUNY-ESFThe Independent LGBTQA MagazineSpring 2013 / Issue #10
  • 2. A Gay Educationby Matthew Bennett Jr.I told Dad that I hated himon the way to the ball park when I was ten years old.More than a decade later,as I stand in the garage holding my dusty glove,I remember that I never took those words back.My heart squirms in such a waythat I feel the need to apologize,but then Dad is staring at me as we sit on the couchdisgusted because he’s just learnedmy life won’t turn out the way he planned.“Is this what I’m paying for?A gay education?”I cry as I rest my head on Mom’s shoulder,and Dad slams the door to his bedroom.I almost want to take backeverything I said,but then I’m standing in the hallway after a showerin my childhood homeon 804 West Green Meadows Road.I wrap the towel around my chestbecause that’s what Katy and Karmen do.Dad rips the towel awaywhipping my thighs as he does so.“Men wear towels like this,” he growlsas he places the towel properly around my waist.I storm into my bedroom, eyes red and embarrassedas my head hits the pillow.I lay there and dreamof how things will be different when I’m older,but then it’s my senior year of collegeand I open the mailbox to find a letterletting me know that Dad is struggling to pay my tuition.I place the letter on the tableas Nate places his hands around my waist.We head up to my bedroom,and the old wooden steps creak so loudlythat a thousand miles awayDad rolls over in his sleep.
  • 3. thanksEditor-in-ChiefManaging EditorProduction ManagerFeatures EditorArts & Entertainment EditorSex & Health EditorSocial Politics EditorNarrative EditorSocial Media DirectorFact CheckerDesign DirectorArt DirectorPhotography DirectorContributing WritersContributing DesignersContributing Artists/PhotographersKatie DupereMatty BennettShaun JanisKassie BrabawChamelia MooreSamantha CrawfordMatty BennettKassie BrabawMatty BennettChris McPhersonMitch CampanyErica FisherKatherine FloresMartin BiandoJoe Goings, Anna Hodge,Jorge Talamantes, Erin Reimel,Danielle Stella, Ken Syme,Julie Wilson, Nicky ZamoidaTaylor Arias, Maya QianNatasha Andaz, Emily Andrews,Rachel Barry, Esther Coonfield,Annie Flanagan, Carolyn Glavin,Jack McGowan, Mel Passler,Shira StollHarriet BrownQuartier PrintingClare Merrick
  • 4. letter from the editorIfyou are at all like me, it’s easy to get angry.Angry with the every day shittiness that inhabitslife. And there is a lot of shittiness. Let me countthe ways ...While watching TV (Food Network, to be exact),Paula Deen says her guest’s Southern cookbookis great for a new bride: +1 for sexism, +1 forheterosexismA poster in Newhouse for a male speaker froma sexist magazine has one sole graphic on it – a pairof female legs in high heels: +1 for sexismThe guy in the dining hall yells “cocksucker” tohis friend as an insult: +1 for homophobiaEveryone’s protesting friends on Waverly areequipped with fliers and a Jesus-Hates-You attitude:+1 for bigotryAnd so on, and so on, and so on ...Pretty soon it is the tenth time you’ve explainedyour decision to minor in women’s and genderstudies and LGBT studies. It’s the third time in oneday that you’ve had to tell people at your job inthe art department of the bookstore that no, thatflourished wooden letter on your frat paddle is notgay and yes, I have every right to be offended. It’sthe sixth time in your college career that you sitdown to write a bias-related incident report becauseanother fucking flyer hanging in your residence hallwas offensive. Yeah, you may be a little angry. Andyeah, you may also be a little like me.After all of these instances, it’s easy to want toshut down, not explain, and wish you were passiveenough to let the ignorant be ignorant. But I’mgoing to encourage you to do the opposite – begrateful. Be grateful you are attentive. Be gratefulyou are noticing injustice. Be grateful you are angry.Take the “I feel like this is wrong” feeling and turnit into “I know that this is wrong and I’m gonna dosomething about it.”The OutCrowd will be your little activist friend.That sometimes needed assurance of, “Yeah,we feel you and no, you aren’t overreacting.”That little push to get you through when youfeel defeated by, like, the entire world. Wemay only be a tiny, 49-paged, saddle-stitchedmagazine, but we want to inspire you and haveyou inspire us through anger. Because ourcollective anger means passion.So let’s get pissed: Isn’t this Boy Scoutscenario totally fucked up (pg. 34)? Doesstraight girls kissing to turnon straight mentick you off as much as it bothers us (pg. 20)?Doesn’t the way gender is presented in Mrs.Doubtfire get you down (pg. 40)?Let’s talk about this shit. Let’s push throughthat feeling of defeated anger to use it actively.As my personal favorite activist, The Lorax,once said “Unless someone like you cares awhole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.It’s not.”Let’s get pissed. Let’s get passionate. Let’sget caring. Let’s talk change.photobyMartinBiando
  • 5. The views expressed in The OutCrowd do not necessarily represent those of the entire staff of the publication, itssponsors, or of Syracuse University as an institution. The OutCrowd welcomes all submissions and suggestions butreserves the right to refuse materials at the discretion of its editors. All contents of the publications are copyright2013 by their creator and may not be reproduced without their consent.narrative12162742Totally Different WorldsSelena Gomez: No Other Woman Can CompareAll You AreTechnical Foulsex & health683638Bi and DevotedChronicles of a Grindr NoobDo You Believe in MagicCuring Gay America: A Self-Help Guidefeature2028Kiss the GirlComing Out 2.0social politics323446The Hate CyclePhysically Strong, Mentally Awake, Morally StraightVeiled Yet Vibrantarts & entertainment41418404348Evolution of EntertainmentQueer Across the CountryNew-Age AnthemsLost in Trans*-lationHowl Like You Mean ItComicphotospread491223Jorge TalamantesMaking Up a New PersonaA Long Goodbyeouttable of contents
  • 6. 4 spring 2013Evolution of EntertainmentThe sitcoms that are queer and dear to us throughoutprimetime historyby Kassie Brabawillustrations by Esther CoonfieldArchie Bunker is withouta doubt one of TV’s biggestbigots, but somehow hisshow was able to breakground for the queercommunity. Throughout theseries’ run, a masculine gayman, “female impersonator,”and lesbian cousin all pushedArchie’s buttons — andpushed them good.This police sitcom, whichconsulted the then NationalGay Task Force to developthree gay characters, gaveviewers a believable gay couplein Marty and Darryl, and aneven more believable story linefor officer Zatelli who startsbeing harassed at work once hecomes out as a gay man.All in the Family(1971-1979)Barney Milller(1975-1982)All That Glitters(1977)Ellen(1994-1998)Friends(1994-2004)Sex and the City(1998-2004)This show featured the nation’sfirst transgender character,model Linda Murkland.Unfortunately America wasn’tready for Linda and the showwas cancelled after only 13weeks on air.We watch reruns religiouslyand cry happy tears every timeRoss stops Rachel from gettingon that plane. But did anyonereally think of Friends as aground breaking show for gayrights? Probably not. Fun fact:Friends depicted one of the firstgay weddings in sitcom historywhen Ross’s ex-wife Carolmarries Susan in season two.‘Murica was shocked whenEllen and Ellen cameout in 1997. Coming outconcurrently with theactress who played her,Ellen Morgan, a quirkyformer bookshop ownerwith even quirkier friends,became the first lesbian titlecharacter in the history oftelevision. One year later,ABC cancelled the seriesbecause it had become “toogay.” Really?When a show talks aboutthis much sex, queer peoplecannot be ignored. Stanfordand Marcus, Sex and the City’sresident gays, are one of themost adorable gay couples onTV. Sexually promiscuousSamantha “represents” thebisexual community inher brief relationship withMaria. Visibility? Yes. Goodvisibility? Ehhhh …
  • 7. arts & entertainment5spring 2013You don’t get gayer thanfour old women livingtogether in Florida —especially if one of thosewomen is Betty White.Throw in Blanche’sbrother Clayton, whocomes out and eventuallygets engaged to hispartner Doug, and it’s nowonder that we still loveGolden Girls.Cliff Waters shocks his olderbrothers in episode one when hecomes out of the closet instead ofgetting married, giving unheard ofvisibility to the queer communityas Cliff’s brothers “come to terms”with his sexuality throughoutthe series. One of the mostgroundbreaking characters onthe show is Cliff’s friend DonaldMaltby, an out man who is actuallyproud to be gay.Golden Girls(1985-1992)Brothers(1984-1989)My So Called Life(1994-1995)Queer as Folk(2000-2005)Will and Grace(1998-2006)Glee(2009-present)The Kurt Hummel of the90s, Ricky Vasquez wasunfortunately not luckyenough to have Burt by hisside. Our hearts all brokewhen Ricky called Mr.Katimski shivering from apay phone after he had beenthrown out onto the streets.You just can’t have an evolu-tion of gay characters insitcoms without mentioningWill and Grace. Will andJack accurately show that allgay men are not the sameand they do it with humor.How refreshing!This adaptation of a Britishsitcom, Queer As Folk showsthe everyday lives of … youguessed it, queer people. Whatyou might not know, is thatit was the first hour-longAmerican drama to do so.These characters have anintricate web of relationshipsand friendships – it’s almostlike real life.The show some of us loveto hate and others hate tolove. No matter your feelingsabout Glee, we all mustadmit it shows an enormousrange of queerness. Glee hasdepicted everything from theself-hating gay man to themost accepting father ever(Hey, Burt Hummel!).
  • 8. sex & health6 spring 2013Bi and DevotedWhen the eye of society is on a bisexual woman in loveby Erica Fisherphoto/illustrationbyShiraStollandKatherineFloresWhen people look at me,sometimes I wonder whatthey see.Physically, they see a 20-something girl, 5’6”with brown hair and blue eyes. A straight20-something girl, 5’6” with brown hair andblue eyes. People don’t see me as a girl who isattracted to girls, so I have to surpassthe stereotypes. I always get the samereactions: “You don’t look like a lesbian,”“You and your boyfriend should have athreesome,” “You’re a selfish slut”, etc.My name is Erica Fisher, and I am abisexual woman in a monogamousrelationship with a straight male.Relationships can be difficult, no matteryour sexuality or gender identity.We are all human (probably) and alot of us are going to go through thatannoying, exciting roller coaster thatis a relationship. Relationships are notalways easy and commitment can betough, but being a bisexual womanin a relationship has added flips andcorkscrews that have gotten to benauseating and unbearable.I met my boyfriend when I was at homeon Long Island in summer 2011 andhave now been dating him for over ayear. His name is Ryan Scall; he is a senior atUniversity at Buffalo, on the club hockey team,and is studying environmental engineering.Coming out to Ryan was one of the easiest, butmost nerve-wracking coming out experiencesfor me, simply because our mutual friend toldme I should NOT tell him I am bisexual. “It willscare him away… he wouldn’t be ok with it …
  • 9. sex & health7spring 2013“Monogamy is NOT a possibilityfor someone who is bisexual.”Oche’s not familiar with that kind of shit.”Being the independent thinker I am, Idisregarded what my friend said and told Ryanone of my biggest “secrets.” Apparently, healready knew, was incredibly accepting, anddidn’t understand why I was so afraid to tellhim.I thought to myself, great–the hard part is overright? WRONG.According to society, monogamy is not apossibility for someone who is bisexual.People think that bisexuals can’t bemonogamous because they think we alwayswant men and women at the same time. Theythink we are overly sexual beings who cravesex. The stereotype that bisexuals are moreopen to threesomes because they have to bewith males and females has haunted me, and Iknow it will not stop.Sophomore Aaron Goldsmith, who identifiesas bisexual, can relate. Aaron is currently in arelationship with a man. He and his partnerdo not label their relationship as gay andhave a mutual understanding they are in amonogamous relationship.“There is a stereotype with bisexuals andmonogamy, and that is that people are unableto trust us,” he said.It is obviously problematic when you feellike your own community doesn’t acceptor trust you in monogamous relationships.And I personally have witnessed individualswho label themselves as a part of the LGBTcommunity, but say bisexuals do not exist.In order for bisexual individuals to feel fullyaccepted and understood, this needs to change.As SUNY Oswego sophomore ChrisJankovski, Aaron’s partner, said: “If youcan’t stop using homophobic slander in yourcommunity, how do you expect other peopleto come to terms with it as well?”So, will it actually “get better” from here? Theonly factor that we can rely on is whether ornot people open their mind to the possibility Icould like both men and women, but love onlyone guy.
  • 10. 8 spring 2013sex & healthChronicles of aGrindr NoobDeception on the social app is easier than you thinkby Matthew Bennett Jr..We all have our moment of clarity.Some of those moments involve relationships(that moment after your breakup whenyou understand why everyone thoughthis laugh was obnoxious yet you found itcharming), some moments deal with theprofessional world (that moment you realizethat you spent $200,000 getting a degree inphilosophy and you now work at Starbucks),and some moments are just hard to swallow(that moment you’re chowing down on aCrunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell at 2:30a.m. after a night of drinking and you questionyour current life situation).I recently had one of these moments ofclarity. I don’t think I ever fully understoodhow easy it is to manipulate people until Iinevitably downloaded the Grindr app. Yes,sadly yes, the infamous Grindr. It is here that Irealized how easy it is to become a professionalin textual deception.While some Grindr users claim not to beinterested in hooking up, let’s be honest: theend goal is, more often than not, hooking up.The ways in which users go about choosingtheir potential hookup partners can get ugly(and no, I’m not talking about the 52-year-oldbalding male with a beer gut who sends youthe message “Hung?” every couple days type ofugly).Those few, sheltered individuals who areunaware of Grindr’s wrath may need somefilling in. Basically, every user has a picture(or they leave their profile blank and you mustask to see a picture), a name (if you so choose),some defining attributes (I’m 22, nearby, andclearly not in shape), and finally a short bio.Here is where the gloves come off.I assumed this was where a typical individualwould give a few short tidbits about himself.For example: “Hey there! I love playingvideogames, watching How I Met Your Mother,and oh yeah, sex.” Yet, I was surprised todiscover that the short bio area was used fordifferent purposes.As I perused various profiles, I began tonotice an interesting trend. A lot of the biosread something like this: “I’m masc. and I onlylike masc. guys.” Some were slightly more rude:“Lookin for masc guys. You fat? Go to the gym!SMDH what are u doing with ur life? Dontwaste my time.” Some were straightforward:“Be masculine.” And others were just ignorant:“Masc. only. Not into gay shit.”Being an English major, I love languageand the different ways in which particularvernaculars shape our experiences. Obviouslylanguage is of the utmost importance onsomething like Grindr; there are absolutely noillustration by Esther Coonfield
  • 11. 9spring 2013body language cues or voice inflections thatallude to any underlying meanings. Instead, thebody language lies hidden in the text.Since the recent start of my “Grindring”escapades, I have paid particular attention tothis supposed “masculine” text. I began chattingwith many of these self-proclaimed masculinemen (who only wanted other masculine men),and thus my “studies” began. My findingsshowed a distinct, particular style of textreserved specifically for gay, masculine men.Here are some rules on perfecting “masculinetext.”Masculine Text 101:Rule #1: When messaging, punctuation isunnecessary unless you are asking a question.Even then, the question mark is not warrantedand can be left up to your discretion.Example: “soo what are you doing tonight”Rule #2: When starting a casual conversation,any form of hello is also unnecessary. You cansimply start the conversation with: “bro.” Ifyou feel a form of hello is warranted, use “yo,”or any variation of “yo.”Example: “Yooo”Rule #3: When messaging, pretend as thoughcapitalization does not exist.Example:”dan whats good”Rule #4: Use ellipses in every messagepossible. It is even preferable to use numerousellipses in the same message.Example: “nothing much … getting food now… class got out early”Rule #5: Incorrectly use your/you’re. Alongthose same lines, incorrectly use to/too/two.Example: “yo … your hot. want too hang”Rule #6: There is a definite limit to howmany times you can string “ha” together.When attempting to convey laughter viatext, keep it a simple “haha.” If somethingis actually funny and you aren’t just usinghaha as filler text, add an ‘h’ to the end, asin “hahah.” Restrain yourself. Stringingtoo many “ha’s” together makes yourflamboyant gayness become noticeable, asin “hahahahahahaha.”Rule #7: Use any of the following wordsin approximately 50% of your texts: dude,bro, chill, man, dope.It didn’t take long before I was able toperfectly craft my own masculine text.Thus, I was able to convince practicallyanyone in the Grindrsphere that I wasa “chill dude.” Anyone who knows mepersonally knows that I would neveruse either of these words to describemyself. As much as I wanted to be whatthese masculine men wanted, I knewthat I wasn’t. I knew that the momentthe Grindr walls came down and we metin person, the charade would be over. Irealized how easy it was to manipulatesomeone else’s beliefs about me throughthis textual deception – and that’s whenthe moment of clarity came. I finallyunderstood how much this gay hookupapp was really lacking.No matter what anyone or any statisticsays (supposedly three-fifths of gayrelationships start online, according toStandford research – this includes theGrindrsphere), nothing can ever replacethe initial meeting of two people inperson. No application can substitute thebrilliance, chemistry, and excitement ofthe present moment. So, go ahead and use“masculine text” to deceive those Grindrguys with their perfectly molded pectoralsthat only wear flannel and replace hellowith “bro.” In the end, while your headis down and thumbs are blazing as youperfect your masculine text, you’re goingto miss the cutie that’s checking you outright now. In line. At Chipotle. In thepresent moment. Oc
  • 12. 10 spring 2013“Making Up”Drag is more than just a performance art. It is an art offashion, styling and roleplaying. Makeup allows kings andqueens to cloud their gender identity and createa new persona.
  • 13. 11spring 2013a New Personaby Martin Biando
  • 14. 12 spring 2013Totally DifferentWorldsA few feet away, yet the queer experience at SUNY-ESFdiffers greatly from SUby Danielle StellaTwo smiling faces walk hand-in-handdown the pathway through the SyracuseUniversity quad. Nothing seems terriblyout of the ordinary, but the couple gainsthe attention of quite a few passersby –and not in a good way either. Studentsscoff and stare as the same-sex couple stopssmiling and uncomfortably continuestheir journey, refusing to pull apart theirhands just because of a few narrow-mindedpeople.Unfortunately, this is a situation thathappens all too often, and is a scenario thathappened between my girlfriend and menot more than a month ago. The interestingthing that I have discovered is that I onlyever get said stares when walking throughthe SU campus. Now, I am not saying thatevery person on SU campus is narrow-minded and will take the opportunity toscoff at a same-sex couple, because thatwould be far from true. But, from myown experiences, I can honestly say thatwhen crossing from my safe haven into SUterritory, I dont always feel at ease.My home among homes, the campus Iscoured to find when looking throughnumerous colleges of where I wanted toattend, is that of ESF, Syracuses infamousclose-knit group of neighbors, whose quadcould most likely fit inside the smallestbuilding on SU campus. It is a communityof scientists. It is also a community in whichI never feel as if holding the hand of mygirlfriend will attract the judgmental staresof my fellow classmates. The reason I thinkthis may be, apart from the fact that theseare indeed the students I plan on graduatingwith, is because of the specific bond thatbinds us all: the love for the environment.I know that this may seem like a typicalstumpy comment – but dont write me offjust yet. I honestly believe that the nature ofa person who has an attentive yearning toprotect the environment is a person that hasno trouble opening their heart for peoplewho arent your dictionary-definition of"normal.”
  • 15. 13spring 2013"I honestly believe that the nature of aperson who has an attentive yearningto protect the environment is a personthat has no trouble opening their heartfor people who arent your dictionary-definition of normal. "ESF is a school in which thislove for the Earth is deemed asnecessary. Perhaps the reason thatenvironmentalists are so acceptingis that they too must often havetheir interests pushed toward theback burner. The queer communityalso has its interests, like that of gaymarriage and rights within the workplace,pushed aside for things deemed“moreimportant." It is in this sense that I think thetwo communities are somewhat intertwined.Both groups know what it is like for society tooverlook what it is needed. Both groups areoften ignored and seen as nothing but radicalpeople who are going through a phase.I do believe that there are many good peoplethat attend Syracuse University. But as longas ESF students are partaking in the greaterscheme of the school, to make the world abetter place, they are more than welcome tojoin hands with that of their lover or that oftheir fellow classmate.illustration by Rachel BarryOc
  • 16. 14 spring 2013Queer Acrossarts & entertainmentthe CountryFrom Key West to Wyoming, queeradventures are all over the USby Julie Wilson612 345
  • 17. 15spring 20131. CaliforniaThe Castro District in San Francisco boastseverything gay—restaurants, shopping malls,theaters, stores. The Castro even includes thebuilding that once housed Harvey Milk’s camerastore, Castro Camera. Some have even claimedto see Milk’s ghost in the store.2. WyomingIf for some reason you ever find yourselfstranded in the Mountain Time Zone, makesure you stop by the University of Wyoming inLaramie, Wyoming. It was there, over a decadeago, that gay student Matthew Shepard wastortured and murdered in a hate crime. Honorhis memory by visiting the bench placed by theUniversity in Quealy Plaza.3. IllinoisSpeaking of Chicago, you should stop inBoystown, the first officially recognized gayvillage in the United States. It is here, my queerfriends, at Chicago’s Gay Mart that you willfinally stock up on your much-needed “gaygear” and souvenirs. Maybe catch a baseballgame at Wrigley Field. Halsted Street is yourbest bet for finding more gay businessesnearby. And stop by the Charlie’s bar to seehow it compares to its Denver sibling.4. PennsylvaniaNext stop on this queer-tastic road trip:the gayborhood in the Center City district ofPhilly. It’s got the oldest queer bookstore inthe country, Giovanni’s Room, which has atitle for everyone.5. New YorkIt’s been called “Ken and Barbie’s dreamhouse on acid” and “The Disneyland of Drag”.Lips, a NYC drag dining experience, boastsDinner and a Diva—drag shows and good food—every night Tuesday through Sunday.Are musicals more your thing? Head to theNew World Stages to catch the off-Broadwayshow, Avenue Q. One of the most popular songsis “If You Were Gay” and parodies Bert and Erniefrom Sesame Street.After some renovations, the Stonewall Inn hasbeen reborn. It now hosts cabaret, drag shows,trivia nights, karaoke, local musicians, and evengay wedding receptions (time to live out thatsecret dream of being a wedding crasher).6. FloridaStop by Gianni Versace’s Miami Beachmansion, Casa Casaurina, just by the water.The gay head of the international fashion housewas shot dead on the steps in July 1997 bya another gay man (rejection turned awry?Jealousy? We’ll never know—the murderer shothimself a few days later, dun dun dun).Check out The Garden of Eden, a clothing-optional bar, on Duval Street in Key West,Florida. It’s not awkward to keep your clotheson, so if you’re not up for stripping down, youcan still hang out in this rooftop bar and enjoythe entertainment of older people who thinkthey should still be running around topless, orpantless, or both.BONUS! Car Games• See who can unwrap a Starburst or tie a cherrystem in their mouth.• Feel like reading while your best friend isdriving? Read out loud the sex surveys in Cosmoor catch up on Out, The Advocate, or yourfavorite local queer publication, The OutCrowd.For a longer read, there’s 50 Shades of Gay. Yep,that’s a thing.• Assign someone to make a queer playlist, and ifyou’re totally lost, go to page 36 in this issue forsome “New-Age Gay Anthem.”
  • 18. narrative16 spring 2013Selena Gomez: No OtherWoman Can Compareby Ken SymeTo Julianne: the second grade crush. Theyoung girl who stole the attention of a grade,the target of the popular and the dream of theweak. The great equalizer of heterosexuality,the impossibility for every boy yet a secrethope inspired by his quest for acceptance. Herlong brown hair and radiant smile representedwhat should be attractive, not who, and thecrush became a loud secret, a testament to anormality that was yet to exist but sure to benecessary.Julianne. The first in a long line of girls whowasn’t attracted to me – a series of rejectionsand disappointing outcomes that wouldcontinue for years. The Heartbreak Hotel maybe full of guests, but it doesn’t matter whenyou’re alone in your room.Eventually, Kim came along.She knew for years that I was attracted to her,but for a long time she didn’t feel the sameway. I asked her out a ton of times – morethan I can remember, and certainly morethan I can count. She didn’t seem to mind andnothing really changed – it was just a game ofodds for me, which worked out, so I supposeI did something right. Either way, before ourrelationship even began she knew that I hadbecome a fan of Selena Gomez – the gorgeousDisney star with the long brown hair andradiant smile.The first person I told, however, was myfriend Joey. He was my best friend, so whenhe burst out laughing I didn’t mind. I couldn’tblame him – I was known for being tough, forbeing a man’s man. Yet, for some reason, I feltcompelled to tell Kim, too. And she too wasincredulous.I was driving them home from the movies – itwas the best part of our time together – I wasthe only one of us with a car, so I was alwaysthe designated driver when we went to themovies or to Kennywood, or to mini golf, orwherever. It was odd – we always had a greattime doing whatever activity we chose, but thepart I always looked forward to the most wasthe ride home – the time in the car, with theradio off and the sounds of the night fillingthe air as we cruised along on the empty nightroad talking about whatever came to mind – itcould be something stupid – the obese manwho’d apparently thought it reasonable toprance about the amusement park shirtlesswith funnel cake – or it could be serious – thefuture. We were the troubled teens of thenew generation and yet we were the same asthe old generations, which I suppose is whywe were so troubled. Kim and I were dating,
  • 19. narrative17spring 2013but when the three of us were together thattie was severed and we became a unit. Joeywas my best friend – the one I turned to foreverything. He was the one who encouragedme to ask Kim out, to get up the courage,to go see a movie, to get my dad’s car, to askher to prom, to pay for the limo, the dance,the dinner, and everything in between, andeventually, he was the one to help me throughthe break up, the moving on, the falling back,and the moving on.I was the Selena Gomez fan and the boy whoasked out the girl I had a crush on.In my senior year of a high school, the yearKim and I spent together, I came out withmy Selena secret. It was huge. I was a teenagerower who benched 255 pounds, didn’t takeshit from anybody, idolized Lou Ferrigno, theRed Hot Chili Peppers, U2, loved football andboxing, and melted at the sight of the Disneyprincess who starred on Wizards of WaverlyPlace. This secret – the secret that I was soashamed of – left me in an odd position – do Iretain my masculinity by hiding my femininefandom? Or, should I assert my masculinity byembracing my perceived femininity? I optedfor the latter option, and I wrote an articlefor my school newspaper that announced mystatus as the world’s most outwardly masculineDisney fan-girl. Once I had announced mysecret my exterior shell of masculinity hadbeen covered with a blanket of femininity. Iwrote:“As the thought of revealing an embarrassingsecret about myself went ‘Round and Round’in my head, I decided to ‘Shake it Up’ and ‘LiveLike There’s No Tomorrow.’ ‘Naturally,’ Imade a ‘Scene’ out of the revelation in an effortto get ‘More’ readers. So, I must follow my‘Intuition’ and walk out into the ‘Spotlight.’Therefore, without further ado, I will answerthe call of ‘Tell Me Something I Don’t Know,’and declare; I am a fan of Selena Gomez.Yes, you read that correctly. I, Ken Syme,a fan of U2, Green Day, and the Red HotChili Peppers, a weightlifter, swimmer, andrower, get just as excited about a new SelenaGomez album as the average 12-year-old girldoes (and yes, I did buy the Deluxe Editionof her new album, A Year Without Rain). Asit turns out, nobody’s impressed with howmuch I can bench when ‘Round and Round’is blaring from my iPod. While other machoguys got pumped up about the release of TheExpendables, I rushed out to see Ramona andBeezus. ‘The Way I Loved You’ is the mostplayed song on my iPod, I am a member ofher fan club, and I wrote this article withoutneeding to research anything about her.”But Selena didn’t just shape me, she also putKim into perspective – instead of seeing Kimas perfection, I began to compare her to myperceived image of Gomez, which allowedme to prepare for my next brutally endedrelationship with ease. So, soon Gomezbecame my picture of perfection and myimage of an ideal woman – because it was easyto extrapolate on who she was as a personbased who she was as a celebrity. And, timeafter time I was proven right. Even now, yearsafter I initially declared my fandom, Gomezhas yet to do anything that would offendanyone – she has become my ideally perfectwoman, and she’s made it easier to acceptrejections from the everyday women who Ican now pretend are somehow imperfect. Oc
  • 20. arts & entertainment18 spring 2013“If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me / Have you read theYouTube comments lately?”MacklemoreFrom Tyler, The Creator to LilWayne, it is common knowledge thatthe rap and hip-hop genres are less thanaccepting toward the queer community.With frequent use of the term “faggot” todiscriminatory lyrics toward queer people,it is difficult to find a rap song to listento that isn’t offensive. So in 2012, whenrapper and producer duo Macklemore andRyan Lewis released their song “Same Love,”they made strides toward a change that rapand hip-hop desperately needs: acceptance,less discrimination, and more potential gayanthems.While “Same Love” might be the first powersong in the mainstream rap community, gayanthems are much more frequent in othergenres, and have a much deeper history. Songslike “We Are Family” came out of the R&Bgenre in the late 1970s, Christina Aguilera’sballad “Beautiful” debuted in the mid-2000s,and Jessie J’s 2011 pop/rock song “Who YouAre” are all examples of gay anthems that haveempowered members of the queer community.Let’s look at what makes a gay anthem.While this can be a pretty subjective topic,it usually comes down to a few key things:confidence, community, reassurance, andmotivation.Confidence- “F**kin’ Perfect” by P!nk: Asmembers of a marginalized community,people who identify as queer have had theirfair share of self-doubt. Whether it’s comingout, dealing with labels, or struggling withidentity, it’s comforting to know that nomatter what anyone says, you are good justhow you are -- or, in the words of P!nk,“you’re f**kin’ perfect.”New - AgeGay Anthemsby Nicky ZamoidaSing it in the car, the elevator, the shower―these songs give us powerillustration by Emily Andrews
  • 21. arts & entertainment19spring 2013The gay anthem phenomenon and songs that appeal to the queer community arespreading throughout the music world. Macklemore’s “Same Love” and Frank Ocean’scoming out are positive influences not only in the rap genre, but may also leave theirmarks on the rest of society as well. While several of these tunes might be hiddengems in the queer community, they are enjoyed for their strong message that says,“We are here, we are queer, and we have the music to prove it.” Rock on. OcMotivation - “I Will Survive” by GloriaGaynor: Once you’ve heard the songs that tellyou it gets better, that you’re not alone, andthat you’re perfect, where do you find the driveto get to thatpoint? Themotivationalsongs that haveturned into gayanthems overthe years haveprovided thatdrive for queermusic listeners, and one of the earliest songsto do so is “I Will Survive,” a disco jam thatscreams empowerment and strength.Top 10 Gay Anthems(No Order)“Same Love”Macklemore & Ryan Lewis“I Will Survive”Gloria Gaynor“Beautiful”Christina Aguilera“F**kin’ Perfect”P!nk“Who You Are”Jessie J“True Colors”Cyndi Lauper“We Are Family”Sister Sledge“Vogue”Madonna“The Fighter”Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder“Boy Is A Bottom”Willam, Detox & Vicky VoxCommunity- “We Are Family” by SisterSledge: Any song can be inspirational in that“I can do this” way. But not every song hasa “we can do this” attitude, and that sense ofcommunity is critical to the queer collective.“We Are Family” embodies this oneness that is,after all, the heart of the queer community.Reassurance - “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper:Another theme in the queer community isindividuality. In a society full of conformity andfear of difference, a message that “it’s okay tobe different” is critical. Lauper has an awesomeway of getting this across -- plus, you can’tignore the color = rainbow connection.
  • 22. Kiss the GirlStraight girls kiss, straight men watch, andwhy that matters to queer peopleby Anna HodgeI was unsure how to react when my twoclose female friends started to make outwith one another.It was a Friday night following Thanksgivingbreak. My friends and I were back together inmy dorm room, preparing for a night of funand letting loose.My friends, both of them straight and inrelationships, passionately swapped spit forone minute before parting lips, looking ateach other and laughing. The fusion of alcoholconsumption and male presence equated tostraight-girl on straight-girl action.What surprised me was how casually thesituation was treated. After the alcohol woreoff and a new day began, the two girls laughedoff their hook-up. It was nothing more thana funny story to share in the dining hall thefollowing morning.“Oh yeah, we made out last night,” one girlgiggled. They shared glances that suggested thekiss was like an inside joke — understood byonly the two of them.Our generation is just as synonymous withtechnology and social media as it is withrandom hook-ups — the act of making out(or more) with a stranger at a party. Thephenomenon extends to straight girls whoengage in random hook-ups with each other.A paper published in Psychology of WomenQuarterly found that 69 percent of collegestudents have “been at a party at college andseen 2 girls kissing or making out” while 33percent of college women have “kissed or madeout with someone of the same-sex at a collegeparty.”The act of straight girls kissing is becoming acollege staple. Many girls who engage in theactivity don’t necessarily view it as potentiallynegative act.*Lizzie, a freshman at Syracuse University,first kissed another straight girl at a party thesummer before the start of her freshman year.She views the act “as another form of havingfun.”According to Lizzie, alcohol is influential inher make out sessions with her female friends.“I’ve only kissed other girls when I’ve beenfeature20 spring 2013
  • 23. photosbyMelaniePasslerslightly intoxicated,” she said. “Alcohol has theinfluence of relaxing inhibitions and makingpeople more affectionate than they wouldnormally be.”Ultimately, she says the presence of menencourages the act.“I think other straight girls do it becausethey’re either just having fun, or they’re feelingpressure from the guys they may be aroundat the time to do it to get a reaction out ofpeople,” Lizzie said.And, according to Lizzie, her male friends willopenly admit to enjoying watching girls kissother girls.Straight girls kissing one another is often nottaken as seriously as real intimacy, makingit a casual – and often intoxicated – activityperformed by young women, according toElizabeth Payne, director of The QueeringEducation Research Institute (QuERI). Payneadds that it is believed female desire is inservice of male desire.“A lot of girls who engage in this are inrelationships with men, meaning the intimacywith other girls is allowed because there is anagreement,” Payne said. “It is not consideredthreatening to the primary relationship.”The essay, “Straight Girls Kissing,” by LeilaJ. Rupp and Verta Taylor, published in 2010,discusses how patriarchy is partially behindstraight girl on straight girl action.“…boys enjoying the sight of girls making outrecalls the feminist notion of the ‘male gaze,’calling attention to the power embodied inmen as viewers and women as the viewed,”says Rupp and Taylor.Society’s commodification of female sexualityand of intimate interactions between women,according to Rupp and Taylor, proves thatsexuality is gendered. “That is, men do not,feature21spring 2013
  • 24. Ocat least in contemporary American culture,experience the same kind of fluidity,” the studystates. “Although they may identify as straightand have sex with other men, they certainlydon’t make out at parties for the pleasure ofwomen.”According to Payne, the act of straight girlskissing sends the message that female intimacyis not legitimate and only exists for maleattention—making intimacy between womenextremely “pornified.” She adds that womenwho are truly searching for their sexualidentity tend to explore that part of themselvesprivately.“The majority of women who are not sure oftheir sexuality do not do it in a public place,”Payne said. “Doing that in public would be athreatening experience because your identity isat stake.”Although Lizzie has kissed other straight girls,she does not question her sexuality. However,she does recognize that the act itself cantrivialize the queer community.“For people in relationships, a kiss is supposedto mean something and shows genuineaffection for the other person,” Lizzie said. “Butwhen straight girls are kissing other straightgirls just for a reaction at a party, it becomesmainly sexual and takes away meaning for thegirls who may genuinely like other girls.”According to Lizzie, the presence of males andthe consumption of alcohol are the constantsin the make out sessions, and are the reasonsthey still occur.“Girls often feel the pressure to be sexy andthat often means kissing other girls because themajority of guys will say that watching thingslike that turns them on,” Lizzie said.Women performing acts of same-sex desirefor the male gaze is not anything new. RobinRiley, an assistant professor of women’s andgender studies, described a historical contextaround this behavior. She stated that in decadespast, men would call out women to kiss eachother for money. Riley described more currentsituations of same-sex performatory affectionas enforcing “the idea that women have sex forthe entertainment of men.”Payne adds that ultimately, women will nothave control over their sexuality until there iscomplete gender equality.“Women’s liberation is not done,” Payne said.“There are still steps we need to take to getsolutions.’“I’ve only kissed girls whenI’ve been slightly intoxicated.”*Editor’s Note: Names marked by asteriskchanged for anonymityfeature22 spring 2013
  • 25. Everyone remembers their first love. In a world that is still filled with so much hate towardthe queer community, it can be difficult to find love amongst it all. When you do find thatsomeone, you want to hold on to them for eternity. But what happens when one person in therelationship wants to let go?This series is about a relationship that took an abrupt turn. One minute, everything seemed fineand the next minute the relationship was over. Daisy is coping with the loss of her first love.The first girl she’s ever had the courage to love. And when they found that love, she didn’t carewho knew – her parents, her friends, her gospel choir. All accepted and embraced this love.Now, she will move on, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. But the same supportsystem that helped her embrace her love will be there for her now that it is over.A Long Goodbyespread by Chris McPherson
  • 26. “Even though we’re broken up,I still get so excited when she texts me.”
  • 27. “I don’t want to be just friends with her.We are either together or not.”
  • 28. “I’m over it. I can’t keep doing this.”
  • 29. All You Arenarrativeby Nicky ZamoidaWhen you play the game, sheerconcentration takes over your mind and body.Your jersey is tight around your biceps, sleevespulled snug against your muscles as you hurlthe ball to second base. Your calves are thickbut stiff, strength emanating from their cores,hidden underneath the tall socks you wear, butstill present all the same. The only curves arefrom the muscles that tone your thighs, andthey are only visible when you crouch downto catch a ground ball. Your hands, large andcalloused, are tight around the grip of the bat,ready to release after the contact of a pitch.Your body is strong, tough, built. You areathletic.When you walk down 14th Street, youhave a hint of swagger, a way of draggingyour heels on the pavement with a pace thatannounces that you aren’t in a rush to getanywhere. You stroll into your destinationsupon arrival, with a nod to the people yourecognize. At parties, you dance with an abilitythat catches everyone’s eyes in the room.Your body sways, pressing to your partner:leading, never following. You have the rhythmthat attracts everyone, you are smooth, self-assured. You hold your head high and keepyour grin sly. You are cocky.When you sleep in your boxers, the elasticband hugs your abs, rising and falling withyour steady breaths of slumber. Your flatstomach is accentuated by those lines at thetop of your legs that lead down to your sex,accompanied by a trail of sparse hair sprinkledin a line leading from your belly button tothe same destination. The opening in thefront of your boxers reveals the patch of hairunderneath, curly and dark. A low groanescapes your lips as you go through the motionsof dreaming. You are sexy.When you face your fears, you do so boldly:head on, fists up. The normal fears that plaguethe public are insignificant to you: heights arejust another obstacle, public speaking is yourstrong suit, and you stare failure right in theeyes with your drive and work ethic. You areprotective, territorial; what’s yours is yours. Youkeep your loved ones safe, and don’t allow themany harm. You are the one who comforts thosewho wake up from nightmares, the one whoinspects a foreign sound. You are competitive,driven, a born leader. You are meant to winwhatever competition is put in your path, toprove to yourself if not everyone else that youcan succeed. You feed off of success. You don’ttake orders from anyone. You are determined.You are woman, above all else; the mentallyheadstrong woman who lets nothing get in herway in a masculine-run world. You were thegirl on the baseball field, in a league full of boysand better than most of them. You are going tobe the boss of a company; you are going to getpaid as much as, if not more than, your malecounterparts. You are the only woman in a roomfull of men coding computer programs. Youare presentable, a good talker, sure of yourself;an exceptional example that brains comebefore brawn when you, a woman, nail a jobinterview in a male-dominated career. You arethe beautiful exception to all those misogynisticrules saying that your muscles are for men, thatyour dance moves are for guys, that your bodyhair is for boys. You are the bold, brave, drivenrole model for the girls that want to grow up tobe something, an example-setter for those to bewalking down the same path. You are woman,and boy do I love hearing you roar. Oc27spring 2013
  • 30. feature28 spring 2013Coming Out 2.0How Facebook has created a new eraof coming out by Katie DupereHis timeline says it was somewherebefore cheesy prom photos but after acceptingan offer to college. After countless postswishing him a happy 18th birthday but beforeposting a picture of his freshly pierced ear.But Massachusetts native Tyler Frazer willtell you it was a Sunday night in April 2012,right before the zombies came into his livingroom.His mom called him from downstairs asshe had countless times before. The WalkingDead was about to start. He quickly clickedin the status bar on Facebook and his fingersflew across the keyboard. Without deletingthe words like he had many times before, hehit “post.” And without looking back at hiscomputer screen, he followed his mother’svoice downstairs to where the zombies waited.The show was an hour’s distraction from alife-altering moment. Tyler’s eyes were on thetelevision screen, but his mind was wanderingback upstairs to his computer. He knew ashis Facebook friends were refreshing theirnewsfeed, they would get his message:I’m no longer afraid to admit that I’m gay …Thank you to my loving friends.***Social media is infamous for encouragingthe exchange of private, personal information.For queer people, little gets more personalthan coming out. With 95 percent of peopleborn between 1991 and 1995 having aFacebook and 50 percent of those peopleupdating daily, the integration of socialmedia into everyday interactions has madethis avenue into a place to share all – evensexuality. Connie Albert, a doctoral studentat the University of North Carolina atGreensboro, studied the new trend of thecyber coming out and found that social mediahas redefined this once deeply private process.Albert discovered that coming out via socialmedia gives people a platform to express theirsexuality without percieving a risk physicallyor emotionally. Posting is fast, easy, andwidespread – which can also cause problems.***She was in the company of Lady Gaga,Cynthia Nixon, and thousands of cheeringqueer activists. But Danielle Sutton feltsomething was missing. She wasn’t out asbisexual – and she wanted to be for this day.She quickly dialed her mom’s phone numberand waited for her to pick up. When she heardan answer, she attempted to yell over thecrowd.“I’m bi! I know you don’t know what thatmeans, but I want you to know!”“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” her mom replied. “Havefun.” Click.She knew the message had been lost in thehoots and hollers of the crowd. So Danielleconnected to the Internet on her phone. In themidst of a rainbow-clad crowd at the NationalEquality March in Washington, D.C., Daniellecame out via Facebook. Her status said, “In
  • 31. feature29spring 2013illustrationbyEmilyAndrewshonor of National Coming Out Day, I want theworld to know that I am bisexual and that I amgoing to march proudly.” Or something likethat. She can’t quite remember.But what Danielle does remember is thereactions of family and friends to the news.She received some positive, public commentson the status, but also had around 25 private,negative messages flood her inbox.“There wasone girl I did cheerleading with in high schoolwho said, ‘I can’t believe I did cheerleadingwith you. You were probably looking up myskirt,’” Sutton said of her former Upstate NewYork cheering teammate.Even her mom, who didn’t have aFacebook, felt the impact of her cyber comingout. Her aunt saw the status and calledDanielle’s mom to tell her about the post,which led to another call between Danielle andher mom. It was the first of several times thatDanielle has had to explain why she came outon Facebook.Steven Petrow, journalist and authorof Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay and LesbianManners, said much of the appeal in comingout via social media is the idea of one-stepcoming out. But the process can get a lot morecomplicated, as in Danielle’s case. Petrow saysthat many people don’t think of the widespreadimplications of coming out with a public“bang.” Parents could find out, friends couldfeel left in the dark, and important face-to-faceconversations could go unhad. While comingout via Facebook may seem like a way to knockout a bunch of uncomfortable conversations atonce, sometimes those conversations can justbecome more complicated after telling yourfriend’s list what’s really on your mind.But, Danielle wouldn’t change opening thecloset door in this way. “People always say,‘Facebook isn’t a private thing. Don’t put allyour baggage on Facebook,’” she said. “But, forme, that was the way to do it.”***
  • 32. table of contents38 spring 2012feature30 spring 2013At the end of the zombie invasion, TylerFrazer ran upstairs to see 56 likes on hiscoming out status. By the end of the week, thatnumber climbed to 146. Friends also showedtheir written support, commenting on thestatus with phrases like “I’m proud of you,”“You’re so brave” and “If anyone gives you anyproblems, I’ll take care of it.”Not one person reacted negatively andTyler was relieved. He came out to 290Facebook friends with the click of a mouse.Only 15 of those people had known before thepost. For Tyler, this was the most appealingpart of the decision — the ability to tell a largegroup without a clumsy, uncomfortable, face-to-face conversation.“Once you hit ‘post,’ you can’t take it back,so you dwell on it less,” he said. “Someone isbound to see it once they load their page.” ForTyler, posting the status was an easy, instantcommitment to a public coming out. Seamless,harmless, and accepted.***Garrett Koller lived a double life viaFacebook. The computer buff enabledprivacy settings to protect who saw parts ofhis “About Me” section – the sections thatdisplayed his sexuality. Friends of Garrett’s athis small liberal arts school in Virginia couldsee “Interested in: men” and that he was in arelationship with a boyfriend. But people fromhis home state of Oklahoma were blocked fromviewing these portions of the profile.“Setting up privacy settings gets reallycomplicated,” he said. “If you mess it up theneveryone knows.”For Garrett, being out in certain spaces“He came out to 290 Facebook friends with a clickof a mouse.”while being closeted in others was a struggle.So he decided to open up to his OklahomaFacebook friends by coming out on the socialmedia platform. He told his parents the daybefore the cyber coming out, and then postedthe status for his hometown friends to see. “It’sofficial,” the status proclaimed. “I’m gay andI’m out. Thank you to everyone for all yoursupport. I’m so glad my friends turned out tobe more supportive of me and my being gaythan I could ever have imagined. I couldn’thave done it without all of you.”The status got 141 likes, but the 61comments on the status mostly consisted of areligious debate over whether being gay wasOK. Though Garrett said Virginia has a verysouthern identity, his liberal university friendswere mostly the supportive bunch. From hisOklahoma friends, reactions were mostlynegative. The most discouraging commentcame from a high school classmate who wrote,“I don’t see how you can be gay and still callyourself Christian.”But Garrett knew this reaction was a risk,even a probability, before posting, given hismix of friends. “I knew there were going to benegative comments, but I felt like I was sureenough of myself to be able to take that andstand up to it,” he said.In her research, Connie Albert found thatmany people use social media to come outfor the reasons Garrett described – the abilityto reach a lot of people at the same timeand perceiving less risk both physically andemotionally. Though social media has beenin the news for allowing bullies to target gayteens, Albert found that most queer people
  • 33. table of contents38spring 2012feature31spring 2013view social media as a positive arena forcommunication.With social media platforms expanding anduser numbers climbing, it’s easy for cyberspaceto come into personal space. Steven Petrow’sadvice for coming out is to keep tabs on howsocial media seeps into your life. “You stay incontrol of your technology,” he advises. “Don’tlet your technology get ahead of you.”***Tyler Frazer sips from his coffee cup in abusy cafe on a Saturday afternoon. His dyed redhair sticks up slightly after he plucks off a woolcap. He talks about how his public coming outinspired a wave of students to come out in hishigh school. His voice rises with confidenceas he describes himself a gay ambassador –someone his queer peers turned to for adviceon coming out and someone who stood up toa student who was outing others. “Listen, youcan’t go around outing people,” he told thekid. “You have to let them do it when they areready.”Tyler is a 20-year-old college freshmannow. He graduated third in his class andreceived scholarships to several collegesoutside his Massachusetts hometown. Yet hestill lives at home, commuting to a small localcollege. He had plans to go away to a universitytwo hours from his hometown, but backed outtwo weeks before the big move.“I think that’s the reason I decided to stayactually,” he said about the positive reactionaround his coming out. “The only reason I wasgoing to go away was that, if people reactednegatively, I could start fresh in college.”Though he says his parents favor silenceover a conversation about their son’s sexuality,he is comfortable. He wanted to stay home. Hehasn’t lost any friends. And he wouldn’t changecoming out on Facebook.“When I did it, I felt like this great burdenjust was taken off,” he said. “When I toldpeople individually, it felt like I got a littlebit out of it each time. But when I put it onFacebook I was like, ‘It’s done now. Whateverhappens, happens.’”are there manners to coming out?“There are no manners to coming out. It shouldbe whatever works for the person.”Steven Petrow has heard this argumentmany times, addressing it on his gay mannerswebsite and in books. But Mr. Manners stillbelieves there is an ettiquete to the coming outprocess.“The thinking around coming out is, It isabout me. I need to do it on my own terms,when Im ready, however I want,” Petrow said.But he says this type of logic can leave peoplewith a bad coming out experience by ruiningclose relationships. Instead, Petrow advises onhow to respectfully open the closet door. Usethese tips in your own life or share them withfriends who are getting ready to step out:• Tell core family and friends first. Petrowsuggests building a foundation of supportivepeople to help with the process.• The annoucement doesnt have to be a big,heavy talk. Petrow suggests statements like,“Im now dating … ” as a casual comingout.• Respect the needs of those closest to youby being concious of their concerns andanswering questions. Petrow says, “Whenwe first start to come out to people we areclose to, those conversations are reallyimportant to the relationship.”• Once youve laid that ground work, Petrowsays, its OK to inform others however youfeel comfortable. Even via Facebook.• Know that coming out is a life-long process.“You are always going to find yourself innew environments with new people,” saysPetrow.For more gay manners and advice oncoming out, check out Steven Petrows website,, or pick up his book StevenPetrows Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners:The Definitive Guide to LGBT Life.
  • 34. The Hate CycleAs intercommunal hate continues,so does our oppressionby Chamelia Moore32 spring 2013illustration by Natasha Andaz
  • 35. 33spring 2013OcIt’s not just the fact that our sexualities castus into a complex system of oppression. It’s notjust unfulfilled societal expectations of genderroles, and the straight and queer communitywho attempt to impose them upon us. It’s notjust the differences within the identities of thequeer community that provide rationale forthe basis of intercommunal hate within ourcommunity― it is all of them, and then more.All members of the queer community sharethe fact that they deviate from the very narrowstandards of heteronormativity, yet thereis a hierarchy within and between us thatperpetuates it. Our inability to fully removeourselves from the mentality of heterosexualstandards has consumed us in a way thatdisrupts our acceptance of each other andjades our perception of each other. FreshmanAhmad Saeed has seen this in action and hashis opinions on the “ranking” for each group inthe eyes of the straight community.“L, G, B, T― that’s the hierarchy,” Saeed said.“That’s each identity in the order of queeracceptance within the straight community.”Saeed agrees that hate across the board can beattributed to the heterosexual community’slevels of acceptance. However, within groups,race and class are where even more divisionsare made.*Li, an SU sophomore, explainedheteronormativity can be seen being playedout in which sub-groups of gay men are moreaccepted, both within and out of the queercommunity. Between the perceived gay malesubgroups of what Li describes as “straight-acting, super femme, bear, and otter,” one isaccepted above the rest.“Since we live in a world where being straightis better than being gay, straight-acting guysare seen as better than all of them,” Li said.Saeed agrees that it seems like “straight-acting” gay men get ahead in terms ofacceptance due to this perpetuation ofheteronormativity. However, he alsobelieves that heteronormativity has a way ofmanifesting itself in the queer community –in the form of self patrolling sexual behaviorand gender presentation.“Even though some gay guys are proud ofbeing gay, they also feel like ‘OK, I need tobe masculine for people to accept me more,’”Saeed said. “I feel like there are people whothink they need to be a top and not a bottombecause they think bottoms are the oneswho get fucked and they’re not trying to leteverybody know that they’re getting fucked.”But, we can’t write off this type hate asself-hate. Self-hate cannot fully explain whysome gay men hate other gay men, whysome lesbians hate bisexual women, andwhy transfolks seem generally alienated alltogether. Clearly, the sooner we let go ofpatrolling our behavior and the behavior ofthose within the queer community in orderto please heteronormative standards , thebetter we will be able accept others and mostimportantly ourselves.*Editor’s Note: Names marked byasterisk changed for anonymitysocial politics
  • 36. social politics34 spring 2013Physically Strong,Mentally Awake,Morally StraightEagle Scouts return their ranks in support of gay peersImagine working tirelessly to reach a long-term dream only to have that dream yankedout of your hands. Queer-identified Boy Scoutsknow that feeling.In the summer of 2012, the Boy Scouts ofAmerica (BSA) reaffirmed a policy banningall queer individuals from their ranks; scouts,den leaders, pack leaders — everyone. Thatdecision allows the BSA executive board topublicly deny openly gay scouts their EagleScout award, even after they complete all theprerequisites for the honor.For those of you not familiar with how BoyScouts advance rank, here’s a quick lesson.When a scout meets all the requirementsfor rank advancement, a board of reviewers,normally local volunteers, convene with thescout. This is typical for all awards, thoughthe Eagle award is the top of the ladder, thusbeing the most difficult to acquire. Afterreviewing the scout’s capabilities, the boardmust unanimously decide on whether the scoutshould advance. Restrictions on sexuality is notpart of the Scout’s Law and has not played arole in this rigorous process - until now.Ryan Andresen, an 18-year-old openlygay scout, was approved by the volunteerBoard of Review to receive his Eagle rankin January. Soon after, the official Board ofReview, made up of paid BSA executives,denied his application. As Andresen statedin an interview with Anderson Cooper onCNN, after completing his community project,a tolerance wall promoting kindness andstigmatizing bullying in the middle school heattended, and completing the review, Andresenwas denied his award and was ostracized by hisScoutmaster based on his sexuality.Andresen’s story is not uncommon in theBSA queer community. Numerous groupleaders and volunteers have also been removedfrom their positions within the institutionbecause of their openness to themselves andthose around them about their sexuality.Since the “official clarification” of the BSA’spolicy last June that stated “we do not grantmembership to individuals who are open oravowed homosexuals,” there has been petitions have been written, ralliesby parents and volunteers have been held, andargueably most significant, many Eagle Scoutshave been revoking their own Eagle Ranks insupport of those who have been denied theirs.A Tumblr blog,,has been created allowing ex-Eagle Scouts topost a picture of their letters and ranks beforeshipping them back to BSA headquarters. Onthis blog alone, there are over two hundredposts from now ex-Eagle ranking scouts.Theblog houses letters stating, “I am no longerproud to be the recipient of this award,” or“I do not wish to associate myself with anby Martin Biando
  • 37. social politics35spring 2013organization that discriminates based on sexualorientation,” but one ex-scout, Tim Bradley,says it best:“The Boy Scout Oath admonishes scoutsto do our duty to God, country and otherpeople. My God is one of love and tolerance,forgiveness and understanding. Your currentstance is one of discrimination and intolerance.My country recognizes equal rights forhomosexuals; you have chosen to characterizegays as somehow deviant. Duty to othersmeans helping others, and doing good deeds.One’s sexual orientation does not make aperson less human or in need of care, love andsupport.”Many of the ex-Eagle ranked scouts on theblog have stated that, should the policy changeto one of non-discrimination and tolerance,they would gladly take back their badges.Others have said that it is too little, too late;the BSA can keep their honors.The BSA will continue their discriminationin the name of being “morally straight” at leastuntil May 2013, when a council will meet todiscuss matters of sexual orientation within theranks for the second time.illustrationbyCarolynGlavinOc
  • 38. How flutes and bass drums makesex magic work for queer peopleby Samantha CrawfordWe all have a definition for what sex is; we allalso have a definition for what magic is. Whileour definitions of these terms may vary, weall define them. Some lovers see no way thatthese terms are related, while others placethem together on a regular basis, i.e. “I hadsex last night. It was magical!” This is not anuncommon feeling or thought.But with a little rearranging of the words, avery common experience turns into an abstractone in the blink of an eye. This is the practiceof sex magic. But what is sex magic if notsimply magical sex?Sex magic, which can go by many names, is aform of spiritual sexual expression in whichthe person practicing is able to use theirbreathing, focus, symbolism, perception, andvisualization in order to channel sexual energy,often ending with a visualization that leads toclimaxing. This is done in many ways, and thesex & health36 spring 2013
  • 39. 37spring 2012process varies tremendously from person toperson. Many people who practice sex magicbelieve that the ultimate form of sexual poweris the ability to have an orgasm, and thatthis energy can be created without a partnerthrough the visualization of male-femalesexual encounters.But visualizing heterosexual sex may not workfor people in the queer community. Yet, thatdoesn’t have to restrict us from joining inon some magical sex magic. We just have toget the creative juices flowing and look at analready abstract idea with a further abstractedperspective.Storm Faerywolf, who has been practicing sexmagic for almost 30 years and teaching it formore than 20, believes that if we create queermodels, the queer community can practicesex magic without being forced to utilizeheterosexual models and visuals.The heterosexual model can affect a personin all ways (romantic, sexual, etc.) due to thenatural tendency to want polarity. Faerywolfexplains that he has “… never had an issue withbeing gay and not finding sexual polarity, but… [he] know[s] many who have.”In order to eliminate the heterosexualstructure of sex magic, we must find thingsthat complement each other and are not male-female centered — things that we can visualizeand focus on during sex magic.In a series of essays, Faerywolf discussesalternatives to the heterosexual structure.One of his ideas is to incorporate flutes andbass drums as complementary energies that,when combined, can form a melody. Thesewill represent the parts of sex magic that arenormally powered by the visualization ofpolarity, or opposite energies, of a male-femalesexual encounter.Flora Bevilacqua, a 24-year-old lesbian woman,has been practicing sex magic for two years. Shehas had both negative and positive experienceswith the practice.“When I began, at first it was hard toget through a session without feelinguncomfortable,” Bevilacqua said. “It felt as if Iwas allowing myself to be crossed by a man thenthey started having me think about water andfire instead of a man and woman, and now I loveit.”Substituting the heterosexual model with queermodels allows for anyone to step into sex magic,have a sense of polarity, and find their sexualpower through visualization. While manywonder if the intensity of using a model thatdoes not involve a male-female sexual encounteris the same as one that does, people practicingsex magic have become accepting of all models.The point of sex magic is personal satisfactionand spirituality – no matter the model or theidentity. Ocsex & health
  • 40. Your one-stop shop for all things that cure “the gay”Hey you! Are you tired of pride parades? Do you dislike the flamboyance of Rain and Trexx? Didyou wish Will would just marry Grace and live happily ever after as husband and wife? Do youwant your friends to finally come out of the closet – as heterosexual? Well have I got a somethingfor you!sex & healthCuring Gay America:A Self-Help Guideby Joe Goingsillustration by Jack McGowan38 spring 2013
  • 41. 38spring 2012*In case you didn’t get it, this is satire. We, after all, love gay people just the way they are. Get down with your queer self.Bicycling:Some people ride bikes to relieve stress. Othersdo it to stay fit. You can do it stop being gay!Bicycling: likely the most fun solution in theGuide. It has been said that “homosexuality wasrooted in nervous exhaustion,” so riding a bike forextended periods would, over time, rid a person ofwhat ails them. And that’s backed by neurologistGraeme Hammond, so you know it’s true.Phone applications:Need a quick fix for a life on the go? Look nofurther. Exodus International brings to you themobile app to rid your life of being gay forever!Whether it be personal stories of being gay,answers to frequently asked questions, or blogsfrom student contributors, Exodus Internationalhas everything you need to find “straight” ways tolive your life!Hypno-Coke Therapy:Combining therapies is proven to be quite aresolution for some. For example, combininghypnosis and cocaine to form “Hypno-coke” canyield double the rate of success! Hypno-coke mayseem like a stretch, but think about it: what betterway is there to get someone to follow the rightpath than to get them hopped up on smack andthen play games with their mind while they’recharged? This would most certainly be the mostentertaining route to a gay-free world!Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy:This one is aimed at our rural readers. TheCowboy Church of Virginia has a revolutionary,and quite unique, method to rid your life ofthe homosexual affliction. Raymond Bell, thechurch’s pastor, believes that stroking a horseis a great way to cure being gay. The horseswill help sort out emotions and homosexualfeelings through a range of activities designed todistract you from your “addiction,” as Bell wouldcall it. I don’t know about you, but this soundscompletely legitimate to me!Breastmilk:Are you not a fan of artificial or man-madesolutions? Try this natural remedy, sponsoredby former United States senator from Missouri,Todd Akin. The former senator said that “femalebreast milk - when fed directly to an adulthomosexual male daily for at least four weeks -has a 94 percent chance of permanently curinghomosexual perversions,” according to totallyreputable newssite, The Daily Currant. And all injust four weeks! Wow!Not yet convinced that you need to cure homosexuality? Well look at what it has caused:Hurricanes, Earthquakes,Tsunamis, etc.Natural disasters cleanseAmerica of its evils and wrong-doings.Global WarmingFlaming gaysmake this planetdangerously hot withtheir flaamboyance.DecreasedMarriage RatesDon’t believe me?Rick Santorumwill tell you thetruth.OcListed below in this unique self help guide are some surefire tactics to cure neighbors,friends, and other loved ones of “the gay.” You will be hard pressed to find a solution thatdoes not work. Please read them and find the one that best suits your needs!
  • 42. 41spring 2013Lost In Trans*-lationHow not-so-inclusive cinema has captured the wrong messagesby Erin Reimelarts & entertainmentIsn’t it funny when a man dresses upas a female nanny in order to remain in hischildren’s lives after a messy divorce andcustody battle? Isn’t it romantic when a girldresses like a guy to prove she’s as good as anyman, and in the meantime falls for a boy andthey live happily ever after when she reveals hertrue gender identity?These are the stories we see on the bigscreen: Robin Williams disguises himself inMrs. Doubtfire to spend time with his childrenand Amanda Bynes wins Channing Tatum’sheart while she kicks some soccer-boy butt inShe’s the Man. But just because these movies areprimetime entertainment, it does not mean thatthey are appropriate.Many films portray gender bendingcharacters as comic relief or as people in dressup with simplistic gender identities instead ofdeep, complex people. In White Chicks, FBIagents Kevin and Marcus dress as women inorder to catch criminals, with the comedyportraying their struggle to act as womenas farce. A Disney favorite, Mulan depicts awoman who proves her equality to men only to,in the end, find love in a big, strong guy, revealherself as a woman in disguise, and win hisheart. In the musical and movie Victor Victoria,Victoria disguises herself as a man, Victor, infemale drag tricking a man into thinking sheis actually a man dressed as a woman. Thisleads him to question his sexuality when hedevelops feelings for Victor. After some seriousconfusion, Victoria reveals herself as a woman,rather than as her alter ego, Victor, the man indrag. Luckily for her lover, he no longer has tostray from heterosexuality so the movie can bewrapped up with a neat bow. Needless to say,the movies that illustrate trans* individuals asmultifaceted humans with personalities andstruggles of their own seem to be as difficult tofind as a needle in a haystack.It is challenging to even name any big-timefilms that feature characters with complexgender identities. Some exceptions includeRent, which has the lovable Angel to showhow strong and confident a trans* person canbe and The Birdcage, which features Albert, aendearing and complex drag queen. Both ofthese characters are not only comical at times,but well-developed trans* representations. Thepublic needs to see more characters like Albertand Angel, characters who knowingly embracegender bending while not being offensive tothe trans* community.As queer people are becoming more andmore accepted, it is time for the film industryto reflect their lives. Trans* characters shouldnot be made the butt of the joke. We need tosee positive representations of gender bendingin the media in order to accurately representthe complexity of gender and crush the binariesthat confine all of us.The integration of trans* charactersinto blockbusters is needed to foster a moreaccepting view by both heterosexual individualsand members of the queer community whomay not have an accurate perception of thetrans* community. The future is primedfor films filled with loveable, complex, andrelatable trans* characters rather than overusedand under-representative plot lines of a man inpantyhose. Ocillustration by Rachel Barry
  • 43. narrative42 spring 2013Technical Foulby Kassie BrabawIn a place like Apache, the worth of your familyis measured by the number of years they’ve beenliving in town. The Boone family has been inApache ever since people can remember. Theyare familiar with everyone, and eventually,everyone goes to them.Boone Funeral Home lies one street over fromMain Street. It is a family business that has beenpassed down through the last three generations.Jayson knows, as the oldest son, that the funeralhome will one day be his.Every night after his academic team meeting,Jayson goes home and listens to lectures from hisfather. Jack Boone is worried that his son won’twant the family business. Jayson isn’t friends withthe other families, and Jack overheard the Wilcoxboys making fun of his son’s long blonde hair.“Why don’t ya play a sport, son? Ya know, TalonWilcox started up basketball this year. I betcha’dlike basketball. Why dontcha try it?”Jayson Boone joins the basketball team. He picksup an orange ball and turns it around in hishands. He looks at it from every angle and thencarefully tests it out. It bounces nicely on theshiny laminated hardwood of the high school’sgym. He continues to bounce the ball while theother boys take laps.Coach Mac walks in.“Don’t be such a fag Boone, get in here and dolaps with the other boys.”Jayson is called a fag ten times that day.“Don’t be such a faggot, Boone. Throw that ball.”“Why ya such a fag? Run faster!”“You’re such a fag Jayson! Just pass it to Talon!”Fag, Faggot, Fag, Fag, Fag, Faggot.He goes home that night beat tired from hisfirst day of practice. The boys on the basketballteam are nothing like his friends. They arealways shouting, they call each other “ladies,”and they are constantly joking around andhitting his arms. Jayson doesn’t understandhow they can consider themselves friends. Howcan they even stand to be around each other?Jayson keeps going to practice. Within a fewmonths his muscles begin to grow. He runsfaster, he learns the rules of the game. He getsbetter. His teammates stop calling him “faggot”and start cheering his name. They pass him theball. He makes baskets. They pat his bottom,tell him good job, invite him out to theirparties.Jayson begins to neglect his old friends. Hegoes to the parties. He cuts his hair, saying thatit got in the way during his basketball games.He still makes good grades, but he doesn’t jointhe academic team like he used to. Instead,he spends every day practicing basketball andhanging out with his teammates.Jayson’s little brother Seth wants to join theteam. He is a freshman, skinny, but taller thanhis brother. Seth comes for his first day ofpractice. He examines the ball while the otherboys are doing laps. Seth takes it, bounces it onthe floor, and then bounces it again. He likesthe sound it makes when it hits the ground. Avoice calls out from the sidelines.Jayson shouts to his little brother.“Don’t be such a fag, Seth. Come and run withthe rest of us.” Oc
  • 44. Ginsberg invites us to claim our marginalized livesillustrationbyKatherineFloresby Matthew Bennett Jr.Poetry captures moments unlikeany other art form. Vulnerability,accessibility, and musicality are merely afew of the tools used by an author to crafta particular emotion and vision. Eachauthor has his own exact lens throughwhich he perceives his life experiences. Itis through this lens that he chooses wordswhich give insight into his enigmatic viewof existence.Allen Ginsberg, a famous poet of the BeatGeneration, saw the world around him inan eerily vibrant way – a way in which noother poet, no other person, could everimagine. Through his oracular words,Ginsberg crafted one of the most famouspoems of all time.“I saw the best minds of my generationdestroyed by madness, starving hystericalLike You Mean Itarts & entertainment43spring 2013HOWL
  • 45. arts & entertainmentspring 201344naked, dragging themselves through the negrostreets at dawn looking for an angry fix, Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenlyconnection to the starry dynamo in the machineryof night,”These iconic first lines from Ginsberg’s poemtitled Howl were first published in 1956. In theyears since its first publication, his book Howland Other Poems has over a million copies inprint and has been translated into numerouslanguages. In 2010, James Franco playedGinsberg inthe film titledHowl – writtenand directedby AcademyAward winnersRob Epsteinand JeffreyFriedman.Ginsberg’s Howlremains oneof the mostinfluential andextensively read poems of the 20th century, as itsparked censorship trials and obscenity chargesbased on its content.Ultimately, the outcome of the trials concludedthat City Lights Publishing was able to continueprinting Howl – and Ginsberg was able toexpress himself through the words he chose– based on his freedom as an author to writeexactly what he wanted. These trials, and theutter opposition to the content of Ginsberg’spoems, were what catapulted his work to reachsuperstardom and truly come to life.“…who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked withdelight in police cars for committing no crime buttheir own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,who howled on their knees in the subway andwere dragged off the roof waving genitals andmanuscripts,”Poetry is a complex craft, seeing as onecannot simply translate poetry into prose– yet through hishonest, and at timesalarmingly frankwords, one cansense Ginsberg’sview of societyas a degrading,dehumanizinginstitution.In interviewswith Ginsberg,he discusseshis alienation from society due to hishomosexuality. Yet it was his homosexualitythat sparked not only his self-examination, buthis detailed realization of his environment andthe awareness that everyone around him wasdifferent – that he was different.Ginsberg believed that Howl was oftenmisinterpreted as a poem that promotedand celebrated homosexuality. However,Howl is really a promotion of frankness, nomatter what the subject. The ability to speakHowl is really apromotion offrankness, nomatter what thesubject.”“
  • 46. arts & entertainment45spring 2013frankly about any subject is socially useful,and it breaks down the constructed barrierssurrounding what is supposedly sociallyacceptable.“…who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintlymotorcyclists, and screamed with joy, who blew andwere blown by those human seraphim, the sailors,caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love,”In Howl, Ginsberg describes his experiencesbeing a gay man in New York City in the1950s. His ability to be frank about subjectivelyunacceptable situations breaks the social iceand allows him to avoid nothing. While manyof the experiences Ginsberg depicts in Howl areveiled in in ominous, obscure language, it isclear that he does not run from objectificationand marginalization. Ginsberg claims his life– he laughs at it, and he is bold in his decisionto record his perceptions in his widely readpoem. I believe Ginsberg invites us to claimour lives as well.Howl would have never existed had it notbeen for the oppression that inspired it.Allen Ginsberg’s life was filled moments ofhate, moments of fury, moments of utterdisbelief, yet it is moments like these thatshape the multiplicity of life experiencesthat simultaneously exist. These momentshave the ability to fuel an incredible work ofart – or have the potential to be the catalystfor the downfall of a human being. It is achoice how to react to the dehumanizingmachine of society. It is a choice that a writer,a poet, a person, must make every day. It is achoice that Ginsberg calls into question in hisprophetic work of art Howl.“…with the absolute heart of the poem of lifebutchered out of their own bodiesgood to eat a thousand years.” OcAllen Ginsberg via
  • 47. In Japan, there is a saying: the stake that sticksout gets hammered down. In other words, tryto blend in. This deeply ingrained notion ofbehavior runs through all veins of Japanesesociety, and as a gay-identifying individual,acutely self-aware of my own identity, it’s easyto see how this concept impacts gay life inJapan.Let me begin by making a brief disclaimer:Japan is not a society entirely at odds with self-expression, at least outwardly. Japanese peopleare perhaps world-renowned for their art,music, architecture and fashion. Moreover,in places like Tokyo’s Harajuku and Akihabaraneighborhoods, one can find a seemingepicenter of subcultures swarming with youthsporting anything from Victorian-inspiredpetticoats and parasols to hair so straightened,colored, and processed it would appear to besynthetic. It is also appropriate to say that anyfashion in Japan can work, so long as you bearthe self-conviction. However, such liberal self-expression is only tolerated to a limited extent,especially when it threatens family life or thecollective functioning of society.For Japanese, there is a responsibilityto one’s lineage that is well-known in EastAsian culture generally. This duty to one’sfamily extends beyond the four walls of home,however. With a dwindling birth rate, Japanesepeople feel a certain obligation to procreate tothe state as well. Without a doubt, traditionalvalues can often times leave little room foranything else.Veiled Yet VibrantNormalizing queer culture in Japan will take time and patienceby Vittorio DiVenturaIn Osaka, Japan—where I’m currentlysituated—it only takes a brief stroll down thecity’s gay neighborhood, Doyama-cho, tounderstand how Japan’s queer communityis so vibrant yet shadowed. My first strollthrough Doyama-cho was not planned. Onthe surface, it seemed I had wandered into anyother place in Osaka. The area’s streets werefilled with small, dimly lit ramen shops linedwith lanterns and numerous signs hangingoverhead. Various bars that seemed to cater tomixed crowds and raucous pachinko parlorsshrouded in rainbow neon lights that hintedat the true nature of the area. If my ability toread kanji had been more advanced at the time,perhaps I would’ve picked up on the areasplethora of gay bars, bathhouses, and lovehotels. It wasn’t until I returned with a groupof female friends, however, that I realized I wasthe one being checked out.Still, compared to gay areas in Europeanand American cities, Doyama-cho is low-key,bearing few, if any, gay rainbow flags andno official sign demarcating the area, mainlybecause the queer community prefers it thatway. Upon discovering this area, I soon learnedof the various kinds of themed bars as well. Forexample, some bars cater to Japan’s businessclass who are notoriously referred to as salarymen. These men are often the ones caughtleading double lives. Still, other bars cater toyounger, queer identifying Japanese men.More interestingly, many of these clubsand bars ensure a particular kind of crowdnarrativeEditor’s Note: Vittorio DiVentura is currently in his second semester of studying abroad in Japan. In this piece, he looksat the intersection of Japanese culture and queerness.46 spring 2013
  • 48. arts & entertainmentthrough stringently enforced entrance rules.For instance, some bars which only cater toJapanese people won’t let foreigners in, whileothers cater more specifically to foreignersinterested in Japanese people. Here in theWest we might frown on such blatantdiscrimination, but it should be particularlyrevealing of how many Japanese people wantgay culture to exist in Japan: separately.Indeed, Osaka’s gay culture could beclassified as clandestine, which then begsus to wonder how the media and generalpopulation perceive the queer community.Throughout the media, there are quite a fewvery famous gay figures on Japanese television.Perhaps the most widely known gay figureis the internationally-known Razor RamonHard Gay, also known simply by Japanese asHard Gay. Hard Gay was first premiered ona Japanese variety show called Daibakuten,where he was well received and remains amainstay in Japanese television. Hard Gay isfamous for dressing in typical BDSM attire,rapid hip thrusting, and coming to the rescueof many endangered straight people. Thepunch line here, though, is that Hard Gay isnot really gay. So, while many of his anticsare undoubtedly amusing, his portrayal of thequeer community should also be criticizedfor generating stereotypes. Then again, if onebecame familiar with Japanese media, theywould soon find that this is the general notionof gay people: amusing, overly-promiscuousand not to be taken seriously.There is no doubt in my mind that Japanhas much to learn in the way of integratingthe queer community into its own. However,I cannot say that Japan is entirely unfriendlyto gay people. In fact, at times being able toexpress myself however I wish, outwardly—interms of my fashion, mannerisms, and what wemight consider “gay behavior”— I undoubtedlyfeel safer here than I do in America. Perhapswhen it comes to normalizing queer culturehere, however, it will require a bit of patienceand a gradual warming up to, the same sort ofprocess it can sometimes take getting to knowthe Japanese themselves.Oc47spring 2013photo by Vittorio DiVentura
  • 49. 48 spring 2012comic by Katherine Flores
  • 50. out49spring 2012jorgetalamantes“I would’ve never known you were gayuntil you told me!” is a phrase I usuallyhear when people first learn about my sexualorientation.I have known about my sexual identitysince I was a young boy, however I have nevermade it the foundation for my character. It’scertainly important to accept yourself, butI don’t think that coming out should be asexpected for LGBTQ individuals as it is inour society. When I meet new people, I don’tthink it’s necessary that they know every aspectabout my persona.I had a friend in high school that would say,“I don’t know why people are scared to comeout of the closet. True friends will accept themregardless of who they love.” I would alwaysprotest him and ask why the concept of beingin the closet holds a negative meaning. For me,being “in the closet” was never due to shame orfear. Rather, I chose to keep my sexual identityto myself because it wasn’t something thatmade an incredible impact in my personality.I become friends with people who arerespectful, charismatic, and funny—traits thatshould remain the same regardless of sexualorientation.If people choose to become acquainted withme, it should be because of my personality,not my sexual orientation (unless they areromantic partners, of course). Don’t get mewrong, I have no problem celebrating peoplewho chose to live their life expressing theirsexual desires openly. I am not opposed topeople knowing about or questioning mysexual orientation; it’s just never the first thingthat people know about me.People sometimes assume that I’m tryingto hide my sexual orientation or that I’mattempting to “be straight”, but that’s not thecase. I am proud of who I am, and I have noshame in people knowing I’m gay. I decided to“come out” to my parents because I wanted toexpress myself completely with the two peoplethat gave life to me.Unlike many of the stories that I’ve heardor read about people that come out to theirparents, I was lucky enough to have a very easy“process.” My coming out went something like:“Um, mom … I have something to tell you.”“Yes?”“I … I’m hungry! Yes, very hungry.”And she looked at me like I was delirious.I ran out of her room, but then came backand confidently told her “I’m gay.” She smiledand thanked me for sharing such an importantaspect of my life with her. We hugged and thenshe said: “What do you want for dinner?”Sexual orientation and coming out is apersonal experience that is different for everyperson. When asked to share my story, I gladlyvolunteered because I felt that it was importantfor people to realize that not all coming outstories are sad or full of dread. Being in thecloset doesn’t make people “less gay” or equateto shame.You’ve probably heard people say, “it’s okayto be gay”, but just know that it’s just as okay tobe quiet about your sexual orientation as muchas it is to be “out and proud.”
  • 51. Follow us on Twitter@OutCrowdMagSULike us on FacebookView past issues Student Fee