Wednesday, April 20, 2005

4/20/05 Service learning reflection

i worked with pride to bring the "love makes a family" photo exhibit to geneseo. its a traveling exhibit of glbt families. the exhibit is meant to educate people on the diversity of families and meant to confront issues of stereotypes. there were 25 photos and each photo had a quote and two-three pages of each families story.

initially, we had a meeting to discuss advertising. this is an important issue for any show and discussion to get the word and and make sure that people know about it so they will come. i learned about networking. several of the people involved were in other organizations and we decided to get their members interested because they were involved with the same issues. the genesee valley gay alliance and the empty closet were both told about the exhibit. we also decided to advertise to the community. we put up fliers on main street. someone was appointed to talk to the local schools. i myself put up fliers and asked the art department secretary to sendout and email to all the art majors about the photo exhibit, knowing that all art majors need to attend such events on campus.

in addition to fliering and networking, i made a guestbook for the exhibit. i feel like this is a good way to communicate feelings of people that see the exhibit. i thnk it also will help us when we take the show down to evaluate the experience.

most directly, i helped to hang the show itself. we had to figure out how to space and hang 25 photos and three times that in writing. it was quite challenging to hang it so people could read everything and so it didnt look that cluttered. we were given equipement from the library (hangy poles and hangy slider things). i feel like we were successful in creating a readable yet interesting exhibit.

i feel very positive after helping hang this exhibit. i feel like it brought something diverse to this campus. the photos were real and the stories of the people were in their words right next to the photos. as a photographer, i feel like this is a great idea and would like to venture into this subject later in my art career. i like the subject. i think the images were very powerful and very real. i am hoping that a lot of people were able to see the exhibit. i feel like it was tucked away in the corner of the library, but i understand taht it was because of a lack of space. i think that it is a different perspective of family life that many students here do not often see, therefore should.

i think the hardest part of this experience for me was talking to people. in addition to the people hanging the exhibit itself, i had to talk people about putting up posters and sending out emails. im a very shy person so this was pretty difficult for me. also hanging up the exhibit itself, there were several gay people helping and it was interesting to see their reaction to the things taht the people in the photographs said. it was a good experience for me to be around such a diverse group of people actually hanging the exhibit.

this experience has been very fun and i enjoyed it and learned alot from it. reading the life stories has made me feel even more compassion to these families that are struggling with homophobia and stereotyping in our society. im proud that i had a part in bringing such an exhibit to this campus.

i think this service learning project was a really interesting part of this class. i never would have gotten hands on involved if it was necessary. i was able to work with people that ive never talked to before and bring a wonderful thing to this campus. i think that it is a good way to see what it is we are learning about in a real life setting.

4/18/05 Film: Brother Outsider Readings: the borning struggle and homophobia and the trajectory of...

i really enjoyed the film today on bayard rustin. i have not heard about his role in civil rights before this. he was an incredibaly interesting person. i think that because he was gay, it did in fact affect his role in the movement. rustin came off as being comfortable with his sexuality. the film opened with one of his ex boyfreinds talking about how rustin did not hide the fact he was gay. what was 'noble' about rustin is that he was always willing to step down from his role in particular events to protect the movement from any criticism because of his sexuality. there were times, like when he was working with King that he was asked to step down. but he was always more willing to protect the cause rather than let his own sexuality be harmed by it.

his movement from protest to politics i think was extremely important. as we saw, others believed he was just trying to work with the system and therefore buying into it, but i think that he believed the only real way to make change was to make come from with in. this was particularly an issue when the black panthers were created and tried to create change through violent force.

the civil rights movement was born from a grassroots movement involving peaceful protests and non violent action. it is a model for many other movements including the feminist movement and the gay rights movement. i think both of the articles demonstrated this. bernice johnson reagan said in the borning struggle piece that it changed the people that came into the movement. she said that she was able to find a place for herself, a voice. anyone can be a leader in these organizations. looking at other movements, we see such similarities. returning to the issue of the gay rights movement as being a parallel to the civil rights movement, we see examples of this with strategy. for example, when african amerians boycotted buses as a for of non violent protest, glbt people tried to get marriage licences from city hall in one film saw called tying the knot, this is a form of non violent action. there is also the paralleled use of parades and marches. one movement is learning from the other.

4/12/05 GLBT issues and Rights of Womyn

i found this lecture quite interesting. i took a class last semester on womyn in politics which ended up being a class more on feminism. we talked at great lengths about the different waves of feminism. i think this helped me a lot in understanding the different issues brought up in the readings. we read the 'homes of single women' by anthony. in the speech, she focused on other issues than just suffrage, particulary the point that the need to create a single home out of want and need is a universal desire and it is the only logical step to take if the womyn did not want to be "ruled". she also discusses this issues of marriage and why a womyn wouldnt want to marry in the first place, she wouldnt have legal status and not allowed to divorce. unfortunatly i think anthony's speech perpetuates the stereotype that if you dont want to be with a man, and you are on your own, then you are not sexually desirable. in the example where a womyns male friends come to visit her in her single household, they do not think of her sexually, but simply as equal. looking back at this with a twentieth century perspective, this is almost counter productive and gives birth to the fact that if you dont want to be with a man, then a female "becomes" more masculine. this speech more or less exemplifies that single, independent womyn during that time were not considered real womyn, but the minority.

smith rosenbergs essay 'discourses of sexuality and subjectivity' was interesting as well. this looks at the evolution of the womyns movement, particularly in the 1920s. in the 20s, there are more womyn cutting their hair and wearing shorter dresses, specifically the flappers. however despite this new look and attitude, it was primarily a heterosexual time, meaning that it was for the pleasure of the men. this, s-r, said created a conflict between the conservative and more liberal womyn and weakened the movement. womyn were trying to embrace sexuality, but some believed it was for the wrong reasons. on the other hand, this article also looks at the powerful, independent womyns role throughout the movement. s-r also believes that a womyn in this situation needs to be masculine. which in society during those times see as sick. one person, krafft, that she quotes said that these womyn were "sick", whereas another person, ellis, said that he understood what they were doing, yet thought it would cause an increase in homosexuality.

what bothers me about all of this articles is just that issue, that in the 19th and early 20th century, womyn would be stripped of their sexual identity, deemed a a sexual pervert and a man hater if she desired to be on her own. its just too broad of a generalization that its completely rediculous and unfair.

the articles on political lesbians and the radical lesbians were really shocking to me. the womyn identified womyn article sounded extremely militant to me. i think i remember hearing that it was written in the 1970s. this was a time when the second wave of feminism was really getting serious and most womyn believed that being a womyn meant separating yourself from the patriarchal society. it was a pretty strong essay, saying that any womyn that showed any male characteristics, including independence then she must be a lesbian, because she can not be both a womyn and empowered. this ties into the political lesbian issue, which i feel was described as a womyn that disagreed with the patriarchal society. looking at it from a third wave feminist stand point, i hate how ingnorant this way of thinking is. sexuality is something separate from political philosophy. there are situations where the two meet, however they should not necessarily be cause and effect issues.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

SLP meeting

today i met with the group im going to be working with for my SLP. we are putting up a photo exhibit called "love makes a family". this exhibit i think was actually shown in the film we saw called "its elementary". the exhibit was able to be brought to the school through funding by the vice presidents grant for diversity. the photos are of glbt people and their families.

at the meeting today, we decided to get together on sunday to hang the exhibit in milne on the main floor. this way people will be able to access the photos easily and be able to get close enough to read what each photo is about. i am helping to hang posters up on campus to get the word out on the exhibit. we are also reaching out to the community by asking local businesses to hang up the posters as well. someone is contacting the local schools to let them know of the exhibit.

i will be making a guest/comment book for the exhibit. this way we will be able to get comments from those that view the exhibit. we will be able to assess what this has done by bringing the show to geneseo.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

4/4/05 Film: Matthew Sheppard story on 20/20

i found the reporting of this event quite disturbing. i think the discussion and comments after the film similarly reflected how i felt about it. the reporter kept leading the people she was interviewing, the people she interviewed self admitted that they lied about the "facts" before, the contradictions were not questioned. it made absolutely no sense.

the story they were trying to push was that drugs were the cause of the matthew sheppard murder, not hate because he was gay. drugs are an external factor, not an internal, moral issue as is the case with it being a hate murder. if it were drugs, it would be easier for people to understand and confront. no one wants to think that such a horrible thing could exist as unmoral, unimaginable hate crimes.

i was a bit confused at the beginning of class when professor schnieder was talking. but when she put things in real life context, everything began to come together. it seems strange though to think that the ultimate goal of equality and peace would mean that all things different, everything that is not your view, needs to be destroyed. that everything exists on a group level and my individual opinion doesnt matter. for the group to survive and maintain all of its rights and beliefs, there can be no others.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

3/21 Film: Off the Straight and Narrow & Reading: Holy Fratrimony

the film was full of interesting information. it was easy to realize the progression of gay men and lesbians into the media. when homosexuality was just awakening to the public in the 1960s, it wasnt surprising that there were primarily documentaries and mental illness models. these were used of course to scare society into fearing homosexuality.

something i found interesting was the golden girls example. there was a one episode lesbian on. the lesbian however was older and resembled the other womym in the cast, however there were constant one liners to remind the viewers that, oh yes, she is a lesbian. this was the television of the 1980s, allowing homosexuality to be addressed, however making it clear that it was something we cant forget.

something i knew but was still surprising was brought up in an episode of oprah in the 1990s. kim brigal was on for winning a lawsuit, however was a victim of getting aids from her dentist. the media was willing to portray "innocent" victims of the aids epidemic as opposed to those that were homosexuals that were thought to be if not causing, then knowingly spreading the virus. this seems rediculous and illogical, yet people ate it up, just like the "breaking reliable information" media aired in the 1960s.

lastly, on the film, anothering that im still thinking about is the volkswagon commercial that the one womyn was talking about in terms of homosexuality comaflaging itself in the media. i have seen that commerical a bunch of times and i have never thought those two men in the car were gay. im not what the intention of the commerical was, but that is so interesting! that never would have occured to me. i think its neat that it is so open to interpretation and not just two blatantly gay males getting this really ugly green chair of the the garbage.

on to reading and discussion. i found myself getting pretty angry during the discussion. primarily, when the example was given of famous "out" stars. where rosie and ellen are easily thought of when it comes to gay stars, men are harder to think of. im not sure that i completely agree with the fact that it is because there is more stigma about men coming out. i know that there is more stigma in our society about males and homosexuality, however rosie and ellen aren't exactly the most acceptable womyn to come out as lesbians. they arent extremely feminine, which is easier to accept because it is less visible. rosie and ellen (when she first came out atleast) were both very active and vocal about their sexuality. additionally, i think that stars dont want there life to be public anyways. male actors and directors such as bd wong, anthony rapp and gus van sant are openly gay, however that is not what they are famous for.

the issue of the progress of homosexuality in the media was hard to agree with. i think the discussion was leaning towards the fact that although there is more homosexuality portrayed, it was unfairly portrayed still. either stereotypes are portrayed (queer eye for the straight guy) or homosexuals are beautiful and, basically, not real (the l-word). i think that people will have an issue with either of the extremes. i think the im portant issue with progress is the fact that the homosexual in television or film is not there to remind us they are different. there are more homosexual characters in the media and is becoming more acceptable. we have come far from the 1960s psychological films telling us being gay is a mental illness.

i found the reading interesting. the new male homosociality is more acceptable. males are more able to embrace their males friends and take their relationships almost in the direction that females were able to. romesburg brings up reality television examples such as queer eye for the straight guy, where homosexuality is secondary to the fact that these gay men are here to help this straight guy do something good with his life. this means they can pick out clothes and talk about hair styling and food making and its ok. this homosociality is therefore ok. in the movie dude wheres my car, the author discusses a scene where the two main stars make out. this is ok because they are friends and sex isnt an issue.

romesburg also brings up the issue that males costars are becoming more popular. i think this is a great example of homosociality in our societies because many of these relationships exist in realities as well. males are able to talk, joke, hug, trust eachother an d talk. these male bonding relationships on the big screen become good examples for males watching, leting them know that its ok.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

2/21/05 movie:trembling before G-d

trembling before g-d was a movie primarily about when your sexuality conflicts with your religion, specifically focusing on the jewish community of orthodox jews.

something that surprised/i didnt understand about this film was that if these people were so conflicted between there sexuality and there religion, why couldnt they just walk away from one. which i understand is completely ridiuclous and unfair. i am not a religious person, and if i was i would probably understand this problem more. its just their religion directly conflicted with their sexual practice (except for the case of one orthodox jew where he was able to read the torah and other religious reading differently). its something that almost angered me. especially in the case of the one man that traveled back to israel to meet with someone about his sexuality. he wanted to be told it was ok to go against what his religion said and this other man told him he couldnt tell him what he wanted to hear. i think that it is incrediably unfair that he had to chose one or the other, but i think he refused to make this choice and he just lived in pain trying to accept both.

the man named israel stopped practicing orthodox judaism because he was gay. this was his way of dealing with his conflicting religion and sexuality. i think this is what i mean by walking away from one. but im sure he was still a religious man. and it is unfair that he had to choose, but he was able to find love and he can still have religion, unfortunalty its not among the orthodox people.

it makes me really sad to think that people need to make such a decision.

service learning project (non)update and porn debate

im getting a bit nervous about my service learning project. i havent talked to heather from pride since i handed in my contract sheet. i am going to be working on the photography exhibit with them. the thing is, i dont think theres anything to do until the show gets here in march. im going to email heather...

last semester i took a womyn in politics class. pornography became a huge discussion in many classes. i actually was allowed to lead a discussion on whether or not feminist pornography could exist. i bring this up because a group im in, the progressive student coalition, is putting on a debate on this issue on tuesday, march 1st. im really excited about it because im debating on the pro(?) side.

2/14/05 movie: beautiful thing reading: reconceptualizing the gay teen

i just realized that i forgot to write out my response in here so im doing it now.

the movie beautiful thing was really interesting, though hard to understand sometimes with its british slang. it was your average coming of age story with the twist that its also about two teen boys falling in love.

i liked the way the characters related to each other. all three of the teenage characters came from a lower income, single parent setting. jamie came from the loving family, which was probably why he was able to come to grips with his sexuality with a bit more ease than his crush, steve (?). steve came from an abusive household, which made him quieter and a bit more apprehensive about coming to terms with his sexuality. it was fairly obvious that he would have a very negative, physical response if he came out to his brother and father. leah was the wild next door neighbor. her mother had no control over what she did. i believe her main purpose in the movie was to show that being a straight teenager coming of age was just as difficult as being gay like steve and jamie. so all three of the teenagers were coming from the same background, and finding out who they were. and it seem just as difficult for each one of them.

i really enjoyed sandras character, who was jamies mother. she was just like any other mother. im am not quite sure what happened with her relationship with tony, whether he needed to go back to his own socio-economic class or if she just needed to be a mother. i dont think it really matters though because she was able to make the decision to be alone and move to the better neighborhood, to the better job for her and her son. maybe jamies coming out was her own awakening in that she needs to take another look at the world and make some changes to better her own life.

the reading for this week was about a study of homosexual teens. i dont know how i feel about such articles because studies are so subjective, especially when is it on an issue you can see, like homosexuality. the section on labels really turned me off to this article. sw seemed really surprised that the young womyn he interviewed often refused to label themselves as lesbian or bisexual. he explanation for this was that it limited them in there sexual activity adn because they thought by rejecting this form of self identity they are protecting them selves from those that would disagree with those labels. both of these assumtions are correct, but this "anti-labeling" phenomenon isn't soley limited to those adolesents that are homosexual. i believe it is something common in our society today because we are realizing that labeling ourselves places us in categories that create stereotypes about us. i feel like i just went off on a tangent that doesnt make much of a case, i just realize how significant labels in our society are and how problematic they are.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"What's the big whoop?!" ~a 4th grader on homosexuality

it's elementary!

i really enjoyed this movie. i thought it was wonderful how the younger students were so open and ready to listen and understand the issues surrounding homosexuality in our society. it wasn't that surprising, however, to see that when they began talking to the eighth graders that prejudice was already present in these students. perhaps this is because they have been in the world longer and are able to take in more the ideas of their own friends and families.

i think it is a really good idea to bring in sexuality education into younger classrooms. as the movie showed, younger children are developing and so willing to embrace everybody. teaching tolerance at a young age will result in a more educated, tolerant mature adult. also, through out history, 0ther issues have been brought into classrooms meant to have a similar effect. black history month was one example of minority education celebrated at my school. women's suffrage history was also celebrated at my school. both of these examples show that tolerance is already being taught at young ages, why not add sexuality to this?

something that bothered me during discussion was the concept that if all gay people came "out of the closet" then the gay community would be better off. no doubt that if there were more vocally gay people, there would be a stronger force behind the struggle, however, this isn't necessary. the gay community that exists shouldn't be concerned with numbers, but educating the intolerant masses in our society. women and african americans gained rights without having every single women and african american behind the movement. i think that asking people to come out of the closet just to support a movement is wrong. "coming out" is about self identity and realization.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Ballot Measure 9 and Lecture 1/31

Ballot Measure 9 was a very thought provoking film. If the ballot passed in Oregon, it would have prohibited and revoked laws that practiced homosexuals from discrimination. That was only twelve years ago. Such a law would be taking basic civil rights away from people just because they are of a certain minority. This is democracy regressing. How could such a ballot be considered where a persons right would be unequal and unfair if it is passed? This is quite upsetting.

Several things from the film surprised me. First, the use of rhetoric by the Oregon's Citizens Alliance (OCA) in trying to gain support for ballot 9. This proved a significant tactic when average citizens that were interviewed reiterated the same words and phrases the OCA was campainging with. "Special rights" seemed to catch on quickly. One man continued to use the term "war" repeatedly. Sexual terms and descriptions were also thrown around in their "Yes on 9" campaign. People just so easily bought into everything the OCA was saying that I was dumbfounded. This happens so often though in many things, included politics in the last four years. People need to be educated so they can think for themselves.

The "special rights" aspect of the movie is what disturbed me the most. It makes no sense. How could equality ever be a special right? And this seemed to be the OCA's strongest argument. It made me quite angry.

I think the readings this week were really interesting. Rupp explored female relationships in the 2oth century, after there was a public lesbian identity. The women in the relationships she studied did not call themselves lesbians though. This is significant because they chose to not take part in the new lesbian subculture. Because they are not labeling themselves as lesbians, despite how we would label their relationship, they can not be categorized as such. I agree with Rupp's argument.

Smith-Rosenberg's article was about earlier female relationship (in 19th century). She talks more about the strong bonds that women develop. Women at that time were together until they became married. During that time they grew to love each other and sometimes those relationships developed further but it was based on love and friendship. She focused on the emotional bonds that women make and not on the physical. Rupp had an issue with this, saying that SR's research was "misused to deny the sexual aspects of relationships".

Why should we care whether or not prominent women in the past were lesbians or not? We shouldn't. Several people mentioned in lecture that it would be good for today's lesbian culture to have a strong ally from the past. However, if these women rejected the label themselves, then who are we to place it on them? Presently, our society is obsessed with labels. This makes for a very confining atmosphere that allows discrimination to exist more easily.