Extra Credit Blog Post 2

Before discussing the pros and cons of gay marriage, I thought society was making huge strides towards equality. However, after analyzing why gay marriage is a merely a stepping stone in the grand scheme of things, I see why many LGBTQ are more reluctant to be satisfied with the new laws. I think it’s really easy to fall in love with the idea of something, like gay marriage. For instance, from the outset, more benefits seems like the ideal goal. But, when not all members of the LGBTQ community are equally represented, and therefore not equally benefiting from the new laws, then the goals of the community should perhaps be reevaluated. The platform should be more inclusive because justice for some isn’t justice for all. Moreover, I now see why some couples simply don’t want to be apart of a system that is inherently racist and homophobic. People tend to think that by passing a law, or making an opportunity available, that all their problems will be solved. In order for the system to be truly beneficial, individuals need to change their views and become accepting, rather than just passing a law while simultaneously being homophobic. Why should a couple invest hundreds and thousands of dollars into a system that does not fully support them.

I also really enjoyed the many different perspectives against equality offered. It covered a wide range of topics, often overlooked. In addition, it debunked claims many gay people believed, which was interesting. Typically, people counter arguments that go against their groups beliefs. However, some gay supporters argued why gay marriage was detrimental. It also shed light on the versatile views within the community. Originally, I thought a majority of gay people were for gay marriage. But it was refreshing to see why so many were against it.

Raven symone does’t want to be labeled (second post for any unit)

First off, I love Raven for her show during my childhood and for this interview. Her tweet saying, “I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you” was so over analyzed it amasses me. First off, why is someone’s orientation (someone who hasn’t even been on TV recently for that matter) such big ‘news’? She came out with multiple statements saying her orientation is her own and yet people still probed into her personal life trying to label her sexuality as ‘lesbian’. A CNN article published august 5th 2013 responded within three days of her tweeting about marriage laws being passed in Minnesota and Rhode Island. And even in that article she is labeled a lesbian and gay even though her tweet says nothing about herself, she had asked multiple times for people to stay out of her business, and she has come out saying she does not want to be labeled. This interview with Operah came out October 5 2014, about a year after the so famous tweet. Operah asks about her orientation and when Raven replies with her ‘I don’t want to be labeled’. It just amazes me that she got so much coverage simply for being proud of same sex marriage laws being passed. I’m not trying to say that celebrities coming out to the public isn’t amazing. It’s great that more widely know people are able to come out and represent the LGBTQ++ community. I just really like that Raven’s choosing to ‘be out’ and not label herself. I feel like she (maybe accidentally) is representing a different part of the LGBTQ++ community, those you don’t want labels and those who prefer to stay ambiguous.

(The CNN article is http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/02/showbiz/raven-symone-comes-out/ in case you we’re interested interested)

Extra credit blog post #1

Prompt from the week of 9/19: Describe an encounter with homophobia, whether from your own life or from the life of somebody you know. Change names for anonymity if you like. What happened? Was it easy or difficult to identify this as homophobia? What other contexts were in play at the same time? How did the location in space or time (recently? A long time ago? In the US or abroad? Urban or rural?) affect what happened?

My sophomore year of high school everyone was starting to come into their own. For the most part my school was fairly supportive in students choice of sexuality. Until one day we started an after school club called the fashion club. The fashion was open to men and women. It’s objective was to model the latest fashion on runways that were created at school as well as fashion competitions. As the fashion club grew it started to grow with men, men that were open with their sexuality and identified as gay. My friend was one of the members and had just came out. During one show he dressed in a skirt and pumps. My male friends were very homophobic and begun to treat him different. They refused to hang with him and said he couldn’t even touch them acting with ignorance. I know it really affected my friend. He hated the fact that he was treated different because of his sexuality. I remember how bad his spirit was broken but, he soon realized he needed no ones approval to be happy with himself and eventually are friends grew to understand him and be comfortable. They had to take the time to understand him rather than frowning upon him. He couldn’t help the way he felt and it was unfair that they wanted to ridicule without taking the proper time to understand.

Same Sex Marriage Thoughts

Before this class, I did care a lot about same sex marriage. Politically, it seemed like a big change that would be a big step in the right direction. The readings in this class did discuss many other LGBT issues- arguably more important issues. I do understand the critique with the focus on same sex marriage and the belief that too much importance might be placed on it. However, my feelings on same sex marriage and the need for it have not changed. I was aware of the other issues before this class as well, and I cared about them too. I didn’t ignore the stories of gay teens committing suicide or the discrimination a trans person experienced in the workplace. One of the feelings people in the LGBT community have expressed is that straight/cisgendered people focus on same sex marriage and in a way forget to pay attention to other problems. They think that being pro gay marriage means they care and that’s the end of it. Only being able to use myself as an example, this is not the case.

Another discussion we had was about people who don’t want to get married or don’t want to be invited into a system that isn’t set up for them. I feel that it is worse to deny everyone the option than to give the option to people who don’t want it. For those in the community who don’t want to get married or disagree with it for whatever reason, there will be nobody forcing them to participate. But for those couples that have been waiting and wishing to get married or those who are dating and might see it in their future, the option would be welcomed (presumably). The way I see the legalization of same sex marriage is an attempt to start mending the wounds and accept the community. It says, “sorry we haven’t included you in the past, but we’re trying now.” That is why I find it hard to completely understand people’s anger or dissatisfaction with legal marriage.

Extra credit blog post 2

I strongly believe that prison and law enforcement is an important issue concerning the LGBT community. People shouldn’t be treated unfairly based off of their sexuality. One of the topics we’ve been talking about in class that concerns law enforcement is the series Orange is the New Black. The depictions of the officers on the series is very interesting. In reality, some of the officers feel that it is okay to look at the women prisoners in sexual manners without disregard to how the might feel. Making them uncomfortable blurting out somewhat sexual slurs in some cases. But, on the show this isn’t clearly shown. Society doesn’t really acknowledge as law enforcement issue in the queer community a big deal. For example, one officer in particular would make sexual advances to the prisoners. While, in real life the officers might somewhat enforce a little law enforcement. In some films today you will see an ocassional scene in which a woman is being abused by law enforcement or it is witness and not discussed. People barely try to intervene to prevent future cases from happening. At the moment I can’t remember the name of the film but, one particular film I watched was based around the life of women in prison. This one woman called “baby” was repeatedly beaten and raped by law enforcement. This was so continuous to the point that he impregnated her and eventually had her murdered in the prison while covering up her murder. Cases like this happen frequently and are still covered to this day. Women shouldn’t have to be concerned about their safety around law enforcement, regardless of their sexuality. Therefore the queer community could definitely use the change. I do have hope for the near future that this conflict can be put to rest. Bisexual, gay, heterosexual, etc no one should be treated as such.

Trans individuals in prisons

One of my favorite discussions from this class was about the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. The show has been acclaimed for being a primary vehicle in the mainstreaming of queer culture. We also discussed the show in the context of queer individuals in the prison system. My favorite character on the show is a transgender woman named Sophia. Played by Laverne Cox, she was also the author of some of our readings on transgender advocacy. Although she was not featured as much as I would have liked, the episodes that follow her story bring up some pressing transgender issues. One specific episode deals with the prison changing and eventually excluding her hormone prescription, due to budget cuts. Hormone levels are extremely sensitive, especially in transitioning individuals, and drastic changes can lead to physical and emotional pain. The Affordable Care Act has recently been amended to include treatment of transgender people, and the scenario in this episode would be deemed unconstitutional.

During our discussion, we briefly talked about hate crimes outside of the prison system, but did not really discuss violence within the system. LGBT individuals, specifically transgender, are the major targets of violence and rape in prisons. Below is a link to an article about one trans woman’s time in prison:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/a-transgender-woman-says-she-was-locked-in-a-cell-with-her-r

The woman describes being locked in a cell with her rapist. She reports the man repeatedly forced himself upon her, while prison authorities refused to grant her requests for protective custody. This brings up the greater issue of gender identity. Unless one’s gender has been legally changed, many prisons will include trans individuals with members of the opposite sex from which they identify. Green, the woman from the article, described it as, “being thrown to the wolves.” The question that arises is, where should trans individuals without legal recognition be placed, and how can violence be prevented?

Gay Marriage

 

Since the beginning of the semester I’ve always been pro-gay marriage.

In all honestly I believe gay couples should have the right to the same circumstances of marriage as heterosexual couples do. There should be no reason why because of your sexuality you’re not allowed to make decisions for your loved one in the unique case that they pass in death, or not be able to share entities. I mean it’s really absurd. Just because an individual may choose to join union with the same sex doesn’t mean they should be casted out from the same privileges and rights that come with the union of marriage. This caused me to shift my perspective on marriage and realize that not only more law enforcement is needed but, there is a bigger picture behind gay marriage. Since the readings I’ve gained a better grasp on why people may consider union such a big issue. Not paying attention to the fact that there are bigger issues surfacing as a result. Issue embedded in race, culture, class, etc. In one particular reading, “Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black???” by Kenyon Farrow he places light about how he feels black more openly is against marriage. He later goes further into detail about how Gay Marriage is controlled by a higher power behind white supremacy. He gives example of how blacks frown upon the idea through music and other aspects. Being an African American myself I’ve experienced these things first hand. Unfortunately, I have friends that are against the idea for ridiculous reasons based on society, through what they see on music videos and TV. If they see a music icon frowning upon it my friends will sometimes shift and gravitate to it. Even today for example, in the rap industry we have a new rapper named Young Thug that allegedly is the first open gay male rapper. Because he is comfortable with his sexuality some people how begun to frown upon him and stopped reporting his music because of his choice in lifestyle, not taking into account his personality, character or his heart. I’ve see people post disrespectful and hurtful posts about him online. Personal pictures of him to critiquing regular pictures of him engaging in his work, and this definitely has become a problem that was grown and not declined. So over my entire attitude has changed since this reading and I can see the bigger picture though I am still pro-gay marriage.

Online writing task 14

In my lifetime I have only attended one wedding. It was of a distant cousin of mine (or was it a cousin of my parents?) and my only real recollection of it was boredom, and getting food poisoning from undercooked food at the reception. Suffice to say, I wasn’t particularly affected by the ceremony itself. That being said, the idea of marriage seems to be a very romantic concept, and at least to me, it is rather appealing. To find somebody you care about enough to want to spend the rest of your life with them would be fantastic- so why not commemorate it with a big celebration of your love?

Of course, this is all a very idealized concept and in reality, life is not so flawless and carefree. In this sense, I can certainly understand when circumstances cause marriage to take a back seat in a couple’s priorities- even in straight ones, let alone queer couples. In a world where equality is still out of reach for many, perhaps assuring personal safety and fighting for human rights would be more important than say, an overt and likely costly declaration of love.

What exactly does this concept of “human rights” mean, though? For people outside of the queer community, it can be a bit difficult or even exhausting to define. How would it be possible to pass a law against microtransgressions without getting shut out and told to “deal with it”? And if Macklemore wrote a song about the homelessness many LGBTQ youth face after coming out, I somehow doubt it would become such a beloved anthem by straight people. It just doesn’t have the same kind of wholesomeness as the concept of “Same Love”, and by extension, marriage.

Supporting same-sex marriage gives people an easily definable, relatable concept to rally behind that doesn’t have to conjure up the not-so-nice sides of being a minority. After all, who hasn’t felt a bond between another human? By supporting same-sex marriage, it gives straight people a simple way to get their daily serving of diversity, all without really having to think about their position of privilege or the many, many other struggles queer people face- and we get the added benefit of normalizing them! With the campaign of same-sex marriage, it is all too easy to fall into a representation of queer people that is rather vanilla, in order to gain the support of straight voters. Thus, we are faced with a choice- either assimilate, or get no rights at all. Oppressors don’t really like recognizing there are some breeds of people that are happy with their own identity, it seems.

Of course, none of this is to say that the pursuit of same-sex marriage is a despicable thing. I just think it is important that we all evaluate our priorities. After all, where will Macklemore be for me when I want to get married to someone of my same gender and potentially half my family refuses to attend the wedding? Who will write a song for me when I am not comfortable holding hands in public with the one I love?

Ah, well. At least we are moving in the right direction.

Same Sex Marriage vs. LGBTQ Discrimination

Before taking this class, same sex marriage was the only thing I really thought about when thinking of the LGBTQ community. I was ashamed of this after being in this class because there are so many more issues that need to be addressed other than marriage. But looking back on it now, same sex marriage was the only issue the was all around me. Whether on the news or in the newspaper, this issue was the only one making the headlines. After taking this class, I know now that that is not the case. There are so many LGBTQ issues that need to be addressed like discrimination, abuse, and just simply the fact people are so uneducated about this community. After taking this class, my vision of same-sex marriage has not only shifted, but moved down on it’s priority level. Yes, it is most definitely still important because I know I would be devastated and beyond pissed if I didn’t have the right and could not marry the one person I loved and wanted to be with, but I think someone dying of physical abuse or, even worse, suicide from verbal abuse is definitely higher on the priority list. The legislation not only for not only same-sex marriage, but just the basic rights for the LGBTQ community, well, sucks! We say we are a “land of the free” country and support freedom of speech and expression, but we are sure to turn our backs when there is someone dying from abuse and neglect because a person is queer. The reading that most matches with my perspective on same-sex marriage is “Why Gay Marriage IS the End of the World” by Matilda Bernstein Sycamore in Against Equality. She states in the passage, “Many of us grew up experiencing the lovely embrace of about how marriage is, and has always been a central place for beating up, raping and abusing women, children, queers, and transpeople. And, even better–getting away with it!” I agree 100% with this and it also relates to what I was saying earlier. Society and legislation think so badly of same-sex marriage when married heterosexual couples are beating and raping and murdering each other, but just like LGBTQ discrimination, it’s looked passed and they get away with it. It is so sad the society we are apart of. But, on the bright side, legislation is moving in the right direction now with same-sex marriage! We are counting down the states left to pass and legalize same-sex marriage laws and that is definitely a good start to all of this! I just hope once same-sex marriage gets finished with, legislation will start with more important issues in the LGBTQ community.

Extra Credit Post #2: Representation in Modern Family

Prompt from week of 10/31: “What are the queer media images you recall best? Find a clip on YouTube that’s an example of LGBTQ representation. Contextualize it (when and where did it air? Do you know anything about how it was viewed?) and connect it to the readings from class.”

I’ve wanted to talk about Modern Family all semester, but I decided to wait until toward the end so I could try to synthesize everything we learned in class. The show started on FOX in 2009. This clip from Modern Family is representative of their most pervasive problem with representation: the stereotypical portrayal of their gay men as flamboyant and “feminine.” The clip is spliced together, with some parts missing, but the general plot is the same: the man who hits Mitch & Cam with their car ends up fleeing the scene of the accident, and Cam chases after him. He does so while letting out high-pitched screeches and running with his arms out in a ridiculous gesture.

Now, of course, one clip is not necessarily an all-encompassing representation. Mitch & Cam are two of the show’s main characters, and they are dynamic; the show’s writers give both men moments of “flamboyance” but also give both of them moments of “masculinity” (unpack these terms as you will). But this is not enough for these writers to wash their hands of under-representation, because they under-represent other groups as well.

Of the (approx.) 11 main characters on the show, only three are people of color, and one of those three is Mitch & Cam’s adopted daughter from Vietnam who doesn’t get a speaking role for several seasons. Of the other two, one is Gloria, Jay’s Colombian trophy wife, who is heavily stereotyped. She is loud and abrasive, and though she too can be dynamic, she is usually portrayed as a Latina stereotype.

There is only one queer character of color that I’ve seen, and he’s Mitch & Cam’s gay black friend who owns a clothing store. He’s completely flat and one-dimensional as a minor character and is only in a handful of episodes. He only exists within Mitch & Cam’s “queer sphere.”

The last issue I want to address with this show’s portrayal of queer characters is their normalization. Though it is not extreme, since it’s partially in opposition to their flamboyant stereotypes, Mitch & Cam are still somewhat normalized. They are rarely (if ever) portrayed as being intimate compared to the show’s straight couples, and there is even an airport scene where Phil & Claire share a passionate kiss upon being reunited, while Mitch & Cam just hug. These two also are fit into the narrative of straight life: they adopt a child and get married.

Even despite all these problems, Modern Family is one of my favorite shows; it is both hilarious and heartfelt. But I can acknowledge the issues it has now, and I find myself less inclined to believe all the media hype about its progressiveness and breaking of new ground. This family is pretty modern, but they still have a ways to go.