Tag Archives: LGBT

A Queer Life

Gay people have been making more and more strides over the years. The LGBT community has been increasing awareness over the years and has made more progress towards general acceptance. A few years ago, they even got to the point where gay marriage became legal in every state, a landmark occasion that showed years of hard work and support can pay off. Since then, talk of discrimination against people in the LBGT community has dropped significantly; that is to say, many seem to think that gay marriage was the end of it all. Except, it is not over; it just gets swept under the rug more often than not.

Many people still have to deal with the discrimination, and dangers, that come with being queer. Even the word queer in and of itself can cause issues. It was originally used by people of the LBGT community to describe themselves, but over time it became a term of discrimination and hate. But the LBGT community decide to reclaim that word and many are using it to describe themselves, particularly some of the lesser known sexualities and gender identities like pansexual, bisexual, and asexual. That does not stop people from using it as a hateful term, nor does it mean that everyone in the LBGT community likes that as a label. Whatever the case, it is still representative of the conflict that the LGBT community has to face.

In August, a man in Florida was killed for defending his gay friend. Juan Cruz was at a restaurant with friends when another man at the restaurant became enraged over the fact that one of Cruz’s friends was exchanging numbers with another man. He began yelling hateful speech at the group and threatened to kill all of them several times throughout the night. Once both groups left, this man pulled out a handgun and began to fire at Cruz’s friends. Cruz himself got shot and died at the scene. This was only a few months ago. There are still people out there that are ready, willing, and capable of killing LGBT people just because they are not straight. But no one likes to talk about that. Or about any discrimination, for that matter. Too often, events like this get swept under the rug, and it seems more than strange that no one talks about it and that life just goes on. There is more work that needs to be done, and people cannot act like the fight is over just because some progress has been made.

More Than Just Gay Clubs

Most people are aware of the popularity of gay clubs, and how they seem to be the go-to spots for any interaction between LGBTQA+ people. It has almost reached the point of becoming a stereotype; clubs are just where all of the gays hang out. In a sense that is true, but from that stems a bigger issue. There are no casual locations for LGBT people in that community to hang out. The only places that cater to them are bars or clubs, both of which exclude younger members of the community and are often inherently sexual. It is not an appropriate place to really make friends or for people under the age of 18 to become more involved with the community. With clubs, it is hard for LGBT people to connect with those who are going through similar life experiences as they are.

The simplest solution to this is to create spaces for members of the LGBTQA+ community that are more casual and not a part of the bar/club scene. Though it is a bit of a cliché, coffee shops aimed towards LGBT people would be a good starting point. It provides a calm and casual place for people from the community to meet up and hang out. Younger members of the community could also be involved without fear of predatory behavior or overt sexual tones being an issue.

People in the LGBTQA+ community often feel the need to hide or avoid talking about their identity. They can feel isolated from the people around them and the community they belong to. Locations that cater to LBGT people can provide a sense of belonging and ease the burden of having to watch how you act and what you say around people you do not know. They often have to guard their actions and words around strangers for fear of discrimination, but in locations that are more casual and designed for LGBTQA+, they can relax and they do not need to hold their breath in anxiety.

 

Photo from nicophoto.com

A Movie for the Others

The movie “Love, Simon” was recently released, and it has brought up some controversy, as gay movies tend to do. Many articles have already been written asking if “the gays really need this movie”. The answer is yes, obviously, but why is it so important?

Part of it is that the movie manages to both normalize being gay and address the subject of coming out. Gay people are often treated like they are the “others”, the weird ones that always stick because they are gay. If you see them in movies, you always know they are gay; the audience is made almost painfully aware. Gay people are made to be the butt of the joke, the comic relief, or a just stuck in a movie for the sake of scoring points. This does not always happen, but far more often than not, this is the case. But in the case of “Love, Simon”, we get a heartfelt coming-of-age teen romance story. They address that the subject is awkward, that it can be difficult and life changing, but you never feel alienated from main character and story.

Gay people were not treated like the “others” in this movie. You see a character’s journey through dealing with everything it takes to come out. In a way they explain why it is so important to come out, and that people do it on their own terms.

“Love, Simon” also has a very nice, very happy ending. Much more often than not the gay character in media gets killed off or has a miserable ending. They become a tragic character who lives are ruined, and it can seem like they are being punished for being gay, because it always happens to the gay character. This movies gives a very happy and hopeful ending instead. It is refreshing and uplifting in a world with so much darkness in it.

LGBT in Television

One of the ways most people relax is sitting down to a good show after a long day. Now, with Hollywood becoming more involved in the fight for LGBT+ rights, there are more LGBT+ characters than ever before. However, according to a new GLAAD study, LGBT+ people are still misrepresented (1) in most shows.

In their annual report, they found that there are no transgender characters on primetime TV.  Also, the report said only 2% of shows on cable represent these people. There was also a finding that demonstrated the lack of racial diversity in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters in these shows (1).

It is a wonderful thing that shows are now including LGBT+ characters at rates we’ve never seen before, but these people need to be represented well. There are even cartoons, like Steven Universe, that show LGBT+ people in a great way. But yet, some shows seem to stick to the stereotypes of LGBT+ people.

gay tv characters
“Now, with Hollywood becoming more involved in the fight for LGBT+ rights, there are more LGBT+ characters than ever before.” Photo from: www.pride.com

While some shows do hold on to wildly negative views of LGBT+ people, there are shows like Orange is the New Black and Transparent that bring great representation to this community. Transparent is on its fourth season of production, and with the way Jill Soloway is presenting her characters, it’s bound to have more. It is said that Soloway has an authentic way of representing her character’s relationships with sexuality, spirituality, gender identity and mental health, making the show “one of the best television shows ever written” (2).

Not all shows that have a gay or lesbian character approach it the wrong way. Glee came out as one of the first shows that openly dealt with LGBT+ people being bullied, self-doubt, and families that did not approve of the character’s sexuality. So, using Glee as an example, I think that while yes, some shows don’t know how to represent the LGBT+ community, there are a majority of shows trying to improve the way the community is represented.

1 – http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/representation-lgbt-characters-tv-needed-study-article-1.2413435

2 – http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/11/02/8-of-the-best-lgbt-shows-on-television-today/

LGBT community deserves inalienable rights, too

“All mankind, being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.”- John Locke

The man quoted above was an English philosopher, who believed that all humans were born with natural rights, and that those rights can never be taken away. Today, we live in a world where these rights are being taken away, or treated as if they were never here at all. A huge national argument going on is the human rights of those who are a part of the LGBT community. It does not matter if “you were raised to believe a certain way, or if that isn’t what God intended.” Those people have to have equal rights to any other human. When I say their rights, I do not just mean their right to be married.

That's the story of America. Graphic from Tumblr
That’s the story of America. Graphic from Tumblr

Members of the LGBT community are being abused and violated of their constitutional rights. A few examples are the denial of employment, housing, or health care, loss of custody of children, execution by the state, and many more.

While some people may not morally agree with the lifestyle of the LGBT community, is it necessary to go to such extreme measures just to exclude them? People say they will go to hell, but is it our duty as human beings to dictate the lives of other people? What if gay men and women are in the military fighting for rights to live in this country? Would we still want them to be in hell? Would we still not respect them?

It wouldn’t matter because we probably wouldn’t know at all. In America, we are all about freedom, so when people finally get that freedom, we want it to be taken away? Is it about the freedom, or the moral views? Or is it more about what makes us feel comfortable? We don’t see people arguing about America being a free country as long as everyone is comfortable with the topic.

This is not because God wants it but because it will ease people back into that comfort. I am not saying that you must support this cause in any way, but I believe we need to be more educated of exactly all that is going on. Human rights should be everyone’s rights, no matter who we are.

The Alabaman Inquisition

Recently, there has been some immensely confusing rhetoric coming from the conservative right concerning LGBT rights. Over the past few weeks, perhaps the most high profile story to develop concerning the divisiveness concerning homosexual marriage rights comes out of Alabama. Amid the refusal of the Supreme Court to grant a temporary stay in the debate, the Chief Justice of Alabama, Roy Moore effectively instructed other judges in the state of Alabama to refuse to grant marriage licenses to LGBT couples. His recommendation/demand is in spite of the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States refuted previous Alabaman law concerning the definition of marriage as  one man and one woman: “Moore’s actions come despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to stay the federal ruling, effectively allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state for the first time on Monday” (Diamond 5).

This is a particularly confusing argument for several reasons. The most obvious reason is because in this wonderful land called America, federal law trumps state law. Regardless of what Moore and his conservative compatriots may think, the law of the land is clear on this very issue. Put simply, as stated in the Supremacy Clause in Article 6, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution,

“[t]his Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding,”

Marriage equality arrived in Alaska. Graphic from Washington Blade
Marriage equality arrived in Alaska. Graphic from Washington Blade

As stated by the Constitution, which is the legal framework for the entire judicial, legal, and governmental system we all belong to, the federal government always takes precedence over the whims of the state. Hilariously enough, in American history, similar debates about strong state governments have been raised before. Before America has the strong federal government it now enjoys, the founders first tried the Articles of Confederation, which was a government with a weak federal presence but a strong state presence. Keep in mind, this policy had been tried when we had only 13 states, and it failed back in the late 1700’s. Now, with 50 states, the idea that a weak federal government could sustain such a global and economic powerhouse like the U.S. is utterly preposterous. The federal government needs to be large to support the commons, such as public schools and interstate highways. Much like desegregation, Moore wants to frame LGBT rights as a “federal intrusion into state sovereignty” when in reality, the Constitution gives the federal government that very power. If the state government is pushing an ideologically driven agenda of hate and discrimination, it is the job of the federal government to step in and assert its dominance.

The other main problem with Moore’s argument is that he defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Frankly, the notion that marriage is legally defined as anything is facetious at best, and uninformed at worst. For all of their bluster, the Constitution of The United States of America makes no mention of marriage or the definition of it at all. Constitutionally speaking, marriage is left undefined. However, according to Amendment XIV, ratified in 1868, “[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any persons of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Madison 26). Make no mistake, people like Judge Moore are “personally opposed to gay marriage and steadfastly against legalizing gay marriage, [Moore is] insisting that Alabama recognizes the ‘divine’ nature of the definition of marriage.” When the remaining 13 states choose to defer on this issue, and when states and figureheads for clandestine, discriminatory factions like Chief Justice Moore decide to litigate issues like these, they invite the Supreme Court to read the Constitution as it’s meant to be read, as a document written by people, not as a holy book written by a deity. The Constitution, the Bible, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Qur’an, along with every other sacred text, are mutually exclusive. Effectively, they’re ensuring their own defeat.

According to most religions, Christianity included,  marriage is an act between one woman and one man. Conversely, it’s just as simple to get legally married in a courthouse as it is a place of worship. Marriage is a legal covenant between two people as defined by our society. When two people get married, they may do it in a church, but when they get a divorce, they go to a judge. Marriage is a legal affair that started as religious ritual. As it has evolved along with our society, the constraints of it have changed. At one time, divorce was antithetical to Christian thought. Christians allowed (after much debate) an evolution on that thought of what defines marriage, much in the same way the (so called) definition of marriage will continue to evolve.

Only 13 states still ban gay marriage; 37 states in the Union have sided with rationality and the Constitution that no person (regardless of sexuality) should be discriminated against. There will come a point when those holdout states (it’s no surprise that 8 of those 13 states are in the South) realize that by fighting this battle, they have essentially lost. Much like the equal rights marches of the 1960’s, LBGT rights is the great civil right issue of our day; when historians write about the inevitable victories of LGBT activists, people like Chief Justice Roy Moore and his kind will realize that they were on the wrong side of this issue.

I, for one, will relish that day.

If you’re uncomfortable with this article, I’m uncomfortable with you

I’ve been looking at a lot of popular online magazines to see what makes them so popular. One of the publications I’ve been keeping up with was Upworthy. It’s a left-leaning, self-described “social media with a mission: to make stuff as viral as a video of some idiot surfing off of his roof.” It sounds like a noble mission statement, but Upworthy takes it a step too far. Continue reading If you’re uncomfortable with this article, I’m uncomfortable with you

February Outrage-O-Meter: Defense cuts and anti-gay bills, oh my!

With all of the unrest in Ukraine and Venezuela, a lot of the less partisan news organizations turned their eyes offshore, leaving MSNBC and Fox News to fight over scraps at the bottom of the barrel. For the sake of this timeline, I’m sticking strictly to outrageous events here on the homefront — which makes for a very quiet February on the national scale. Continue reading February Outrage-O-Meter: Defense cuts and anti-gay bills, oh my!

Gay, successful, brave and he has a tight end: Michael Sam’s truth

I recently received a text from my father. He was asking for my opinion on a recent controversy involving a gay football player who was being considered as a top pick for the NFL draft. I was completely uneducated on the topic, so I began to research. Continue reading Gay, successful, brave and he has a tight end: Michael Sam’s truth

Highlanders Anonymous: Romance! Also gay bars!

I’m a gay guy who has a boyfriend on campus. We’ve only been together for a few months. I feel like he doesn’t really care about me, but he does things that he can use to show he does. He just doesn’t say anything, or try nearly as hard as I do in our relationship. Am I being crazy?

Well, that depends. Continue reading Highlanders Anonymous: Romance! Also gay bars!

Highlanders Anonymous: Romance, threesomes and ambiguity!

Question: “There’s a girl that I like that just got out of a long relationship and doesn’t want to see anyone at the moment. What should I do in order to win her heart or at least make her give me a chance?”

Answer: It depends on why she’s telling you that, whether you’ve asked her out or not and whether or not it looks like she’s trying to friend zone you.

Continue reading Highlanders Anonymous: Romance, threesomes and ambiguity!

Turns out pasta is pretty bigoted too

Remember when Chick-Fil-A took center stage as a homophobic, bigoted mega-corporation, and Facebook decided to boycott for two weeks? I’ll admit, I was a part of this boycott because it felt moral to stand on the right side of history. Forgive me for bailing out of the boycott so quickly; it’s very hard to boycott a food chain when there are so few dining options on campus.

Continue reading Turns out pasta is pretty bigoted too

The LGBT double standard

The following is a conversation I recently had with a friend of mine.

“What do you think about guys kissing?” I asked.

“That’s f–king nasty. I don’t want to see that s–t,” he replied.

“What about two women?”

“Now we’re talking. That’s fine, it’s different,” he said.

I’m sure you’ve heard things like this several times. Someone voicing the opinion that gay women are fine, while gay men are not. I do not have a problem with many opinions. Although I am gay, if you do not

A image standing for "equality" took over Facebook not long ago. Image from abc News.
A image standing for “equality” took over Facebook not long ago for supporters of gay rights. Image from abc News.

believe homosexuality is right or moral, I’m completely fine with your view and respect your right to have it.

However, you have to pick one side.

Continue reading The LGBT double standard

From our perspective: Republicans embrace the rainbow

As the Supreme Court of the United States prepares to pass judgment on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act as well as the infamous Prop. 8, proponents of marriage equality have gained an unexpected ally.

More than 100 prominent Republicans have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court advocating for same-sex couples to have the same marriage rights as straight couples. Among the Republicans signing on are Beth Myers (Mitt Romney’s senior adviser in 2012), Charles Bass (a former Congressman from New Hampshire) and Douglas Holtz-Eakin (an economist who advised John McCain during his 2008 presidential campaign). Continue reading From our perspective: Republicans embrace the rainbow

Our country’s gradual steps to overall equality

On July 20, 2012, the lesbian couple Brittney Leon and Terri-Ann Simonelli, legally-declared domestic partners, were at the mercy of Nevada’s Spring Valley Hospital. After Leon was rushed in due to pregnancy complications, Simonelli attempted to follow her partner into the patient’s room, but an admissions officer denied her access until she secured power of attorney. The hospital had no qualms with accepting Leon’s health insurance, however, a benefit of Simonelli’s job. The couple ended up losing their baby. Continue reading Our country’s gradual steps to overall equality

From our perspective: Flamboyant and free

To those hermits who don’t follow the local or national news, Radford University has been the host of a damning incident involving jackasses messing with one of our own.

Jordyn Addison, 21, is a junior at RU. Last semester when Addison drove home for spring break, his car was vandalized with of homophobic slurs. These slurs read “fag” and “die.” As the semester progressed, Addison’s car was attacked again, but this time on our campus! The second time his car was vandalized, his tires were slit. On the third, his windshield was smashed in. Again, this was on our own campus, and we at Whim are appalled. Continue reading From our perspective: Flamboyant and free