Thursday, February 23, 2012


Immigrating LGBTQ Space
Juan Lomeli

The intersectionality of oppression is coherent. Because of this many people seek out freedom and liberation from such oppression. To many, the achievement of this liberation is seen as a journey whether physical, spiritual, or psychological. The point of any journey is to travel from one area to a certain destination creating the idea of regions, zones, and, more importantly, space.  However, just like any journey, not all destinations and spaces are physical and as such are susceptible to creative molding of people while still having the supportive characteristics of a physical space. Because of this people are able to create space though websites and video blogs, such as LatinoScholarAMO, to advocate the liberation of the immigrant, the LGBTQ, and all other intersecting oppressed Latino communities.
The tale of Mexican immigration and its liberation movements is one filled with journeys. Countless stories can be told of one’s hardships in the immigration process and people gather in larger numbers in many different places to find support through such hardships. This support can be found in physical terms, such as public and private spaces, but it can also be found in boundary publics like the LatinoScholarAMO YouTube channel. In short, boundary publics are (Gray, 2007) not “… tangible buildings or specific streets…” but rather (Gray,)’… strategies for space-making and constitutive processes for the queering of identify”. The LatinoScholarAMO channel constructswith boundary publics as it creates a metaphysical space somewhere in the Internet to promote the human rights of immigrants. It also allows those on the channel to confidently present their sexual and gender orientation to bring to light the intersectionality of the Latino community and every characteristic of oppression that the community undergoes.
But why do so many in the Mexican community, of whichever sexual orientation, decide to immigrate to the United States in the first place? The answer to that question has a lot to do with the idea of difference in space. As stated by Moraga “A new generation of future Chicanos arrives everyday with every Mexican immigrant. Some may find their American Dream…”(1993). This dream is created with the promise of modernity and tolerance through the importance that “…imagery of immigration and social mobility is to the greater symbolization of citizenship in the United States…’ (Gray, 2007). This social mobility is what those immigrating yearn for as they leave their old country and  ‘rural’ spaces. Mexico is seen as the rural space as many of its “cultural integrity”(Moraga, 1993) and traditions are found in “oppressive male-conceived idealizations” (Moraga, 1993). As rural is seen as ‘quiet (and isolated) premodern (traditional) moments frozen in time by local defiance of change” (Gray, 2007) it is no wonder why so many are so desperate to leave ‘rural’ Mexico for a ‘modern’ and ‘urban’ United States.
The idea of space is used as a vehicle by the immigration movement to express their thoughts and ideals in a safe and confident manner. LatinoScholarAMO is able to use the boundary place it created to advocate the human rights of those immigrating and all of the intersections within the Latino community. No matter what reasons one chooses to emigrate from their country they must not forget the importance of understanding why we choose to immigrate and what it is that is influencing that decision.

Mary L.Gray. 11/2/2012. From Wesbites to Wal-mart: youth, Identity Work, and the Queering of Boundary Publics in Small town, USA. Retrieved form: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40644068

Cherrie Moraga. “queer Aztlan: reformation of Chicano Tribe” from The Last Generation South End Press, 1993.
LatinoScholarAMO’s Channel[Alex Aldana]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQhIp1FVXb8&context=C35ed07dADOEgsToPDskJ_0eeWi1UHjEUX_CHYub6W

Freedom of Viewing: Asian Film Festivals

          Films are indicative of everyday life and tend to depict different circumstances that people experience. In Asian culture, films are becoming a crucial aspect in the LGBTQ community. These movies eventually make way to larger film festivals that are devoted to LGBTQ media. Such film festivals are nationwide and overseas, which include the San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF), Beijing Queer Film Festival, and Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (HKLGFF). In this blog post, I analyze the factors that are incorporated into running an Asian and LGBTQ-based film festival and evaluate the type of LGBTQ films that win admiration among audiences and voters. Government restriction, cultural taboo, and lack of queer films are issues that complicate the coordination of Asian film festivals.

         Films play a significant role in culture and media construction as a guide to how people should think about and react to situations. Film festivals further promote these movies to a larger crowd, even trying to outreach to the heteronormative audience. However, in the article “The challenges of running an Asian lgbt film festival,” the Hong Kong reporter Tony Ed Lo explains why Asian LGBTQ film festivals are difficult to run. Because of government disapproval and sometimes harassment, the organizers cannot promote their LGBTQ film festivals through mainstream media. The festival organizers in Asia have to find ways to pitch the event out to the population and often times can only do so through Twitter or their websites.The events themselves tend to be low-key and are often at venues that do not attract thousands of people in attempt to avoid government intervention. In Theo Van Der Meer's article “Gay Bashing: A Rite of Passage?,” he notes that “with the increased visibility of homosexuals in the last decades, homosexuality has become less and less something only concerning homosexuals themselves” (p 66). This is also true in the management of Asian LGBTQ film festivals because of government control, required euphemisms, and even death threats targeted at festival organizers. Euphemisms that are employed, for instance, include the actual names of the festivals. In Beijing, the LGBTQ film festival used to be called the “Tongzhi Film Festival.” Tongzhi stands for “comrade,” but is understood as a term for homosexual partners. Today, the name of this festival is called “Beijing Queer Film Festival” because the Chinese are unfamiliar with the term “queer.” Clearly, euphemisms are used due to a cultural taboo still present in Chinese society.

         Movies have the power to motivate, sadden, or calm and overall evoke deep emotions within the audience. Especially in the LGBTQ community, films provide a sense of belonging through the portrayal of real-life experiences. As a result of minimal Asian LGBTQ movies, these film festivals face the problem of even having movies to show, which contribute to the hardship of coordinating a film festival in the first place. Also, Asian LGBTQ viewers embrace existing LGBTQ films due to the scarcity of them. At the most recent SDAFF, three LGBTQ movies won awards. One of which was “In the Family,” directed by Patrick Wang. “In the Family” is about an Asian man's struggle to win custody over his partner's son after his partner dies. His partner was a Caucasian male who comes from a traditional Southern family. In a YouTube video titled “SDAFF 12 – In The Family Q&A Recap,” viewers in the audience were interviewed after seeing the film, and they were touched by the storyline. Based on the audience's reactions, it is apparent that real struggles of LGBTQ individuals portrayed in films seem to capture the audience's attention and genuine emotional responses. Another film that won an award was “The Lulu Sessions” directed by S. Casper Wong; the plot is about a cancer patient who spends her last days with her female lover. These heartfelt films not only include everyday battles, they incorporate the specific issues that LGBTQ individuals face.

         In Barbara Smith's “Homophobia: Why Bring It Up?,” she points out that “there are numerous reasons for otherwise sensitive people's reluctance to confront homophobia in themselves and others … people are generally threatened about issues of sexuality and … the mere existence of homosexuals calls their sexuality/heterosexuality into question.” LGBTQ films and film festivals, in particular for the Asian community, provide a sense of reassurance and a haven for LGBTQ people. They experience acceptance instead of homophobia and can be more outspoken about their sexualities. In a way, Asian LGBTQ audiences have a personal connection to LGBTQ films more so than the ordinary action movies or heterosexual romantic dramas. They have the opportunity to voice their opinions in the media that represent them, such as these film festivals. The existence of film festivals is a huge step in tackling homophobia, and it paves the way for more LGBTQ films to develop in not only the Asian community but in other ethnic communities as well.

By Judy Phung

Works Cited


Link to YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy1C9t7nrhU

Lo, Tony Ed. “The challenges of running an Asian lgbt film festival.” Fridae, Empowering Gay Asia. 6 Dec 2012. Web, 22 Feb 2012. http://www.fridae.asia/newsfeatures/2011/12/06/11362.the-challenges-of-running-an- asian-lgbt-film-festival

Meer, Theo Van Der. “Gay Bashing – A Rite of Passage?” In Culture, Health, and Sexuality, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 153-165.

Smith, Barbara. “Homophobia, Why Bring It Up?” From The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. Ed Henry Ablelove et. al. New York & London: Routledge, 1993.

AIDS in the Gay Community- Jessica Fernandez


AIDS in the Gay Community
One of the biggest controversies around homosexuality is HIV/AIDS, when it was first seen in the United States there was a wide spread belief that it only affected homosexuals, particularly homosexual men. Although it is fully recognized that the HIV virus can be caused by heterosexual sex, still to this date most cases of HIV in the United States come from homosexual or bisexual men and it is more prominent among racial minorities. In this blog I will analyze how AIDS has affected gay men, in particular minorities like Filipinos, Latinos, and people living on the down low (although they are not a racial minority they still constitute a minority).
            In the article Searching for Community Filipino Gay Men in New York City by Martin F. Manalansan IV the author takes a look at AIDS in the Filipino community. AIDS is coined as Tita Aida or Auntie/Aunt Aida among Filipinos and it is a common phenomenon among the Filipino Gay Community. However what is interesting is that it has provided a coalition among the Filipino community here in the United States. The article states, "AIDS has created a common experience from which gay Filipinos in New York build and create new discourses and practices" (Manalasan, 278). This is a big step because it shows the Filipino community working together to raise awareness about this fatal disease. Efforts like drag parties and symposiums about AIDS in New York have created awareness among the community. These collective efforts signify unity among the Filipino gay community, people infected with HIV are sometimes looked down upon but these negative connotations towards people with AIDS are changing. (Manalasan)
            The Latino community has responded in a similar way, in the press release Innovative Social Strategies to Promote Healthy Behaviors Among Latino Gay Men, it talks about the annual Mr. Latino event that is created in New York City to raise awareness about AIDS among the Latino gay community. The article states that the purpose of such event is to "inform Latino gay and bisexual men about HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, in a fun and accessible way that always meets the diverse needs of its members" (lationaids.org). This event consists of 14 contestants representing 12 Latin America countries. The contestants are out and proud, and are engaging and what would normally be thought of as feminine behavior. This shows how Latinos are not only becoming more tolerant but also more accepting; they are teaching awareness about AIDS in way that does not compromise these men’s sexuality .However I did notice that both communities, the Filipinos and Latinos, reside in New York. This raises an important question, would Latinos and Filipinos in other areas, perhaps in more conservative communities, be as supportive? New York is known to be a queer friendly city which makes it easier to create events like Mr.Latino. However this does not dismiss the fact that rural communities also need to teach their youth about the consequences of unprotected sex (latino.org).
            AIDS is also common among the people living on the down low, that is men who consider themselves to be heterosexual but have sex with other men. The reason why these people are susceptible to AIDS is because these men are usually in a relationship with a woman and they do not think they are at risk to contract sexually transmitted diseases so they do not use protection. Furthermore AIDS is stereotyped as the disease that affects "gay men", these men identify as straight and perhaps do not think that they are at risk for the disease. Unlike the communities mentioned above, people living on the down low usually are not told about the risks of having unprotected sex, the main reason is because their identity is invisible to many. (Bradshaw, Letukas).
            AIDS can affect anyone, whether you are straight, a person of color, rich, or poor. Many people think that it cannot happen to them and this is a terrible misconception. Communities are working together to raise awareness about this fatal disease that knows no boundaries. So whether you are Latino, Filipino, or living on the down low it’s important to always take precautions.

                                                             Bibliography
Bradshaw John, Letukas Lynn “The Low Down on the Down Low: origins, Risks and   Identifications” IN Health Sociology Review Vol. 19, Issue4 December 2010.
"Latino Commission on AIDS." Innovative Social Strategies to Promote Healthy Behaviors Among Latino Gay Men Celebrates Its Third Annual “Mr. Latinos D” Contest On October 15th. Web. 23 Feb.2012.
<http://latinoaids.org/printerfriendly/news.php?id=260>.
Manalasan IV F Martin “Searching for Community: Filipino Gay Men from New York Ciry”. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Routledge Chapman Hall, 1993.

Pretty Little... Lesbians?

Every so often, a television show goes on air that defies all social norms. The next show to present this shock value is ABC Family’s hit show Pretty Little Liars. With over three million viewers worldwide, this cult phenomenon’s outstanding audience allows it to be an influential show. An interesting aspect of Pretty Little Liars is that it introduces the issue of lesbianism in our modern society. The show follows one of the main characters named Emily Fields, played by Shay Mitchell, and her struggles with being an Asian-American lesbian who has to deal with coming out, getting acceptance, and being in an interracial relationship. In aiming to connect it with the articles by Barbara Smith and Paula Gunn Allen, I analyzed that Pretty Little Liars goes against all preconceived notions of homosexuality in the media and displays how we as a society are becoming more accepting of homosexuality and different races than ever before.

Pretty Little Liars is about Emily and her four best friends, who deal with the murder of their friend Alison. These girls are on a mission to find Alison’s murderer while being tormented by “A,” an unknown character that constantly invades their privacy by sending harassing text messages and hacking their internet accounts. While this is the bigger picture, a smaller aspect of the show is how Emily deals with her sexuality. Emily is portrayed as being “manlier” than the other female characters by being the sporty competitive swimmer with a low maintenance appearance. Although the portrayal of lesbians in the media is to be masculine, Emily’s character is not exaggerated to be a “butch” type of lesbian. She still acts like a girl, wears make-up, and assimilates well with her heterosexual peers. In doing so, Pretty Little Liars aims to promote the acceptance of homosexuality instead of highlighting its distinction from heterosexuality.

Emily’s coming out process was not as big of a deal as it would have been in other television shows. The show displays Emily’s underlying attraction to females from the very beginning, and brings it to light when she meets Maya, her neighbor. Once Emily realizes her attraction to Maya, she decides to come out to her family and friends, most of who accepts her whole-heartedly. According to Allen’s article “Lesbians in American Indian Cultures,” the modern lesbian is seen as different from other citizens of society. This is not the case with Emily, who is shown to be as normal as possible despite her sexuality. Pretty Little Liars goes against normal views and tries to pass off homosexuality as something that is commonplace.

Not only does Pretty Little Liars try to normalize homosexuality, it also presents the intersectionality of race and sexuality. While everyone accepted Emily, it took a bit of convincing for her parents to fully accept their daughter’s newfound sexuality. Emily’s Asian descent forces her to deal with her culture’s strict view on homosexuality. Asian cultures strongly believe in heteronormativity and creating future generations in their families, which is not an option for homosexuals. Emily struggles to convince her hesitant parents to accept her, especially her mother, who refuses to believe her daughter is a lesbian because she expected grandchildren in the future. Eventually, Emily’s parents cared more about her well-being and accepted her new sexuality.

Going with the intersections of race and sexuality, Pretty Little Liars also goes one step further and creates an interracial lesbian couple. Emily is Asian American, while Maya is African American. In Smith’s article “Homophobia, Why Bring It Up?,” it is mentioned that homosexuality is considered a “white” problem with which the majority of other races do not associate. Again, Pretty Little Liars goes against this view and integrates an interracial relationship along with homosexuality, which influences viewers to be accepting of both.

In conclusion, Pretty Little Liars goes against society’s views by creating a show that portrays homosexuality as something that is normal. By integrating race and sexuality into a show that deems it as customary while breaking all preconceived notions of lesbians and their position in our modern society, it is apparent that the media and our society is slowly becoming more accepting of homosexuality and its intersection with race. The articles by Smith and Allen both convey the view that lesbians of ethnicities other than Caucasian are essentially invisible in society, and Pretty Little Liars goes against these claims. I believe this show portrays where our society is gradually heading: seamlessly assimilating homosexuals and straying from our heteronormative views.


Works Cited

Allen, Paula Gunn. “Lesbians in American Indian Cultures” from The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Beacon Press, 1992.

King, Marlene. Pretty Little Liars. ABC Family. Television.

Smith, Barbara. “Homophobia, Why Bring It Up?” from The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. ed Henry Ablelove et al New York & London: Routeledge, 1993.

The Hypersexuality and Male Fantasy of Female Homosexual Behavior


The LGBTQ community is a vast community that consists of much diverse sexuality, races, personalities, genders and identities. There is an intricate dichotomy on both the perceptions of outside the community, and even inside the community. One might think that homosexuality amongst men and women are viewed in the same light. In actuality, it is not. There are still inequalities that lie between LGBTQ men and women in perceptions, acceptance, etc… As an example of the difference of society’s attitudes towards homosexuality, I will be focusing on the music video of the song ‘Make It Nasty’ by the artist Tyga, to illustrate how in mass societal view, women engaging in homosexual behavior is hypersexualized and looked upon as more socially acceptable for the sole pleasure and fantasies of men in a manner that is degrading and socially stratified (I must warn everyone that this music video is a little explicit in sexual content, so it is up to your discretion to watch or not).
If you watched the video, you would basically see the rapper (Tyga) rapping with maybe 2 or 3 at the most other men with him, in a mansion full of women (and a random rabbit?). All you see these women doing are dancing very provocatively almost to the point of full on nudity (which is sadly expected in a majority of hip-hop/rap music videos). But the interesting part about this video is that it shows these women engaging in homosexual behavior with one another. These women are kissing, fondling and licking each other’s breast, humping each other as if acting out sexual intercourse with one another, etc… while a couple men watch them in excitement and Tyga rapping ‘Make it nasty, make it nasty, tongue down her throat while the other bitch gaggin’”.
A major issue when it comes to the LGBTQ community is acceptance, equal rights, discrimination, etc… We live in a homophobic society that rejects the idea of same sex desire and love, whether that is based on religion, the area one has grown up in, race, class, etc… But is there a difference between homosexuality in women and men? YES! When you really think about it, imagine if a female rap artist made a video called ‘Make It Nasty’ with virtually all of the same lyrics. But imagine that instead of a mansion full of women engaging in homosexual behavior, it was a mansion full of men doing that. How appealing would this be to mass media? Most likely not as appealing as the original video. “Women were, at most, allowed to serve as modern-day “Adelitas”, performing the “three f’s” as a Chicana colleague call them: “feeding, fighting, and fucking.” as said in “Queer Aztlan: the Re-formation of Chicano Tribe” by Ricardo Bracho (pg.314_. This doesn’t just apply to Chicanas, but women in general. This stems to the stratification of women in society. Since women are not considered equal to men in almost all aspects, women are in turn subordinate to men, and in a way subservient to men. They are seen as only useful for home needs and sexual needs; objects for men to manipulate, play with, and fulfill their fantasies. But this calls to question; is it really homosexuality between women that men fantasize about? Or is it bisexuality/homosexual behavior that men hypersexualize? Because if it really was women only attracted to women, it wouldn’t be much of a fantasy because of the lack of realistic quality of these men having a chance with these women.
            So what does this say about gay men? Why isn’t the sexuality of gay men appealing or seen as sexually enticing? “This stigmatization places the modern gay man at the bottom of the dominant sexual hierarchy…”the object choice of the homosexual emarginates him from male power, except insofar as he can serve as a negative example and…is positioned outside the operational rules of normative (hetero)sexuality” as stated in the article “Chicano Men” by Tomas Almaguer (pg.538). It seems as if the gender roles for men that predisposes for them to be ‘masculine’ and dominant are more strict for men than it is for women. Homosexuality seems to take away a man’s status as a ‘man’ because of the social construction of what a man should ideally be like. Therefore they are not as respectable, and looked down upon more at times that women are. The LGBTQ community regarding females and males face their own struggles and stigmatizations and barriers that are still held up by society today.
Link to video: http://youtu.be/koUkTRHxKI4 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

'I Kissed A Girl' ... so what happens now?


As I have stated before identifying as a member of the LGBT community comes with struggles in one’s life. Our country, however happens to be quiet, diverse and open-minded to a certain extent, which makes it ironic that such hardship, would take place. Therefore, I strongly believe that one’s traditional value can influence a member of the LGBT community not to “come out”. In this blog post, I will analyze an episode of the well known show Glee called “I Kissed A Girl” by utilizing Theo Van Der Meer, John Bradshaw and Lynn Letukas’s ideas and statements about sexuality to demonstrate how being a Latina and identifying as a lesbian (in Santana’s case) is hard.
            The overall point of the episode “I Kissed a Girl” is that there is a rumor that Santana likes girls. In the previous episode there was a commercial created by Sue Silvester’s (the cheerleading couch) political opponent. Finn Hudson, a member of the Glee club, was overheard when he stated that the reason Santana was so edgy was because she kept that fact that she was lesbian all bottled up inside, since she’s in the “closet” and can not be with Britney. This commercial creates a scandal throughout the conservative society. Such that a white guy named Josh goes up to Santana and tells her that “He’s just the right man to straighten her out” (I Kissed A Girl episode, 2011). Josh’s actions falls right along with a youth that Theo Van Der Meer interviews and states that “We are good and they are bad” (Meer 161), the ‘we’ implying normal people and ‘they’ implying LGBT members.  Josh is not the only person who would have probably said something so extreme in a society that is made up with people who identify as conservatives. Often conservatives are less open-minded society, where they do not believe in nothing that is “abnormal”. Therefore, if there was a possibility that Santana was a lesbian, Josh probably being a conservative felt that it was in his hands to change her and make her “normal”. Furthermore, this demonstrates that even though Santana is still supposedly in the closest, she still has to deal with Josh’s ignorance.
            Later along the plot line Santana decides to tell her parents that she was a lesbian. She tells her classmates that they accepted her sexual orientation, however when telling her Abuela (Grandmother) it was not the same story. Her Abuela was shocked and kicked Santana out of her house. The Abuela clearly tells Santana that “everyone has secrets” (I Kissed A Girl episode, 2011), which implies exactly what Barnshaw and Letukas’s article mentions that “if you’re living on the down low… you’re lying to your wife… [and] to every dude you are sleeping with…” (Barnshaw and Letukas, 478). The fact the Abuela mentions this to Santana shows how her grandma being a first generation immigrant has different values. The grandmas grew up with Latina traditions, not just American values, which is why she comes out to be less open-minded. Therefore, what the Abuela is implying is that it is not the fact that Santana is lesbian that she does not approve of, it is the fact that she is being open about her orientation. Santana’s grandmother is upset at the fact that Santana did not keep her sexual preference a secret. Thus, the Grandma would have preferred Santana to stay on the down low and pretend she was “normal”.      
Being a lesbian in society that is conservative is hard; however it is even harder when your racial background is even more traditional. As shown, Santana overall feared the reaction her fellow classmates and family and as result tried to hide the fact she was attracted to her own gender. Her fears soon became realistic though when rumors surfaced and the type of feedback she wished to avoid began happening from her peers. To her own surprise though she was able to realize they overall accepted her path which is not the case for every person going this route and with her new found confidence was able to confront her family. Due to her racial back though, the rejection she wanted to stay clear of was now back to haunt her, thus making Santana believe it would have been better to stay in the “closet”.

Bibliography
Bradshaw. John and Lynn Letukas. “The low down on the down low: Origins, Risks and
Identifications” IN Health Sociology Review Vol 19:4 Dec. 2001. pp 478-490
Meer Der Van. Theo. “Bashing a Rite of Passage?” in Culture, Health and
Sexuality. Vol 5:2 pp 153-165
Fox Broadcasting Company. “Glee: I Kissed A Girl”. Nov. 2011. Web.
<http://www/fox.com/glee/>

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Asian Perception of LGBTQ

        While the LGBTQ community in America is quite diverse, different ethnicities in this community follow American conventions. In Martin Weber's Huffington Post article “Move over, Confucius!” from January 2012, he describes the LGBTQ roles that are common in China and analyzes how the Chinese culture specifically affects individuals who identify as LGBTQ. Using John D'Emilio's article about homosexuality in American society and Martin F. Manalasan IV's description of LGBTQ society in an Asian-American perspective, I analyze the differences of the race aspect of LGBTQ culture in China compared to that of America's and briefly compare historical factors that impact both LGBTQ societies.

       Weber (2012) begins with an anecdote of his personal love affair during his trip to China and discusses the discrepancy between American and Chinese LGBTQ norms. In Chinese culture, a gay man did not have the choice of living with a same-sex partner and “that his life would follow traditional Asian values, and that there was no question of living with a man.” For the Chinese, this is considered to be the way of life. Being gay is one's freedom of choice and expression; however, a man in Chinese culture has the responsibility to have children and a family- essentially embodying heterosexuality. Similarly to initial American contempt and disapproval of homosexuality, Chinese culture as a whole generally does not promote or even support homosexuality and the like. In his article, Emilio states, “rather than liberation, Americans who thought about homosexuality at all, including many gay men and women themselves, would have preferred elimination.” Today, American society has been increasingly more accepting of people who identify with the LGBTQ community, whereas before homosexuality was considered a form of disease. In China, homosexuality was also considered a disease but have become tolerant of LGBTQ individuals. According to Weber's (2012) column, gay men and women in China often have “broken links with their families.” This traumatic experience for those who do identify as homosexual usually leads them to living double lives, in which they engage in heterosexual practices of having a family with children yet also satisfy their desires that correspond with their true sexuality.

        Weber (2012) also mentions the idea of Confuscianism and the way it affects the lives of LGBTQ individuals who live in China. In American society, there are a variety of religions among our diverse culture, many of which don't support homosexuality as well. Anyone has the option to refuse a religion in America and entwine his or her own beliefs in his or her lives. However, Confuscianism in China has long played a huge role in the way Chinese society is structured. If the norm is considered to be heterosexuality among millions of people, then the so-called “odd ones out” in the LGBTQ community will face much criticism in a country such as China. Confuscianism itself strongly disapproves of homosexuality because the idea of offspring is greatly encouraged and is undoubtedly expected. In Martin F. Manalasan IV's article, he points out that “Asian American gay men['s] identity [is] regarded as a static given and ethnic identity [is constructed] as a polar opposite of gay identity.” Clearly, ethnic identity and gay identity can't be polar opposites since many Asian-Americans do incorporate their sexualities into both American and Asian cultures. Weber (2012) explains that in Confuscianism, “being gay is not considered an immoral choice but a refusal to participate in society.” This participation in society means extending generations by having children. In addition, many individuals can decide to ignore their homosexuality in order to “save face” and retain some pride in Chinese society.

        Based on the historical contexts and differences in American and Chinese cultures, it is clear that the level of acceptance of Asian LGBTQ individuals is affected by society's conventions. A person who identifies as LGBTQ may experience drastic differences in the way he or she is treated in America and in China. The Chinese race and the Chinese-American race anticipate distinctive social behaviors from its citizens within the LGBTQ community; more specifically, the Chinese are expected to participate in heterosexual reproduction, whereas Chinese-Americans can more freely express their love for a same-sex partner and never even have to consider the idea of children. Society is what we create, and we have the same power to change the way we believe.


By Judy Phung


Works Cited


John D’Emilo. “Homosexuality and American Society: An Overview” from Sexual

       Politics, Sexual, Communities in the United States 1940-1970. Chicago, Ill:

       University of Chicago Press, 1983.


Martin F. Manalasan IV. “Searching for Community: Filipino Gay Men from New York

       City”. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Routledge Chapman Hall,

       1993.


Weber, Marten. "Move Over, Confucius!" 30 January 2012. Web, 8 Feb 2012. 


       http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marten-weber/move-over- confucius_b_1240939.html

The Double Closet


Like many ethnic activist movements the Mexican liberation movement began sometime around the 1960’s. The LGBTQ resistance finds many of its roots in these ethnic liberation campaigns. Through their social rejection as a minority the Mexican community has had many ordeals in dealing with liberation and equality movements. However, because of their social stigmatization, the Mexican community is able to create a sense of solidarity that empowers them in their activism towards LGBTQ liberation and equalization.
            The Long-Chavez article describes the oppression that the Mexican community has to bear. The multiple suicide attempts of 22 year old Yanelli Hernandez are used to quickly brings to light the suffering created by the immigration enforcement situation.  However, the article also begins to define the many other oppressive problems faced by this community. Through Alex Aldana the author is able to reveal the identity crisis that a lot of youth have to perceiver on top of the documentation predicament. This credits Smith’s idea of how all oppressions are interlocked. Alex’s ‘double closet’ exposes the link between homophobic-created depression and that of being undocumented. This homophobia is simply another outlet that allows the further stigmatization of the Mexican community.
            The intertwining of these depressions brings forth much resentment from Alex’s family as it does with other families in the LGBTQ community. But where does this resentment come from?  It derives from the “…allegiance to patriarchal gender relations and to a system of sexual meanings that directly militate against the emergence of this alternative basis of self- identity”(Almaguer, 1991, p.545) that Chicano families require.  A possible reason for this requirements existence is that the existence of one’s homosexuality bringing the sexuality of others into question (Smith, 1993). A common way to prove ones heterosexuality is to “…put down lesbians and gay men at every turn” (Smith, 1993, p.1130). This can be seen in the Mexican community through the creation of negative terms such as “maric√≥n” and “puto” that tether gay men to the effeminate and negatively passive identity that resides in the Mexican community (Almaguer, 1991). The creation of distain towards the Mexican community through the opposition of immigration movement can led to further internal degradation of the Mexican people themselves.
However, though there is much resentment in attitudes towards the Mexican immigration and LGBTQ oppression, the article presents a possibility for hope. “Fortunately, there is an increasing body of work available…that provides an integrated approach to the intersection of a multiplicity of identities and issues” states Smith (1993). This work is represented in the support of those like Yanelli and Alex through supportive posters, sit-ins, and acknowledgments towards activist organizations like the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition. The article does brutally describe the effects of all forms of oppression associated with the Mexican community but it also describes the admirable productivity created in the support that they have for each other.
Because of the activism of this undocumented youth the correlation between immigration injustice and the injustice of LGBTQ community is undeniable. As the Mexican community steps away from the masculine/passive roles in homosexuality and the greater LGBTQ community they will be able to break through the depressive wall created by those roles and continue that positive virtue towards the concern of immigration. 

Bibliography:
Tomas, Alamaguer "chicano Men: A Cartography of Homosexual; Identity and Behavior" in Social Perspectives in Gay and Lesbian Studies ed. Peter M Nardi and Beth Schneider, 1998
Barbara SMith "Homophobia: Why Bring it Up?' from The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. ed Henry Ablelove et al New York& London: Routledge, 1993.
Andrea Long-Chavez (2012, February 3) Undocumented Young Activists Talk About Depression And Suicide. Huffington Post.
Retrieved from:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/02/undocumented-activists-dream-act_n_1251152.html


Latino Gay Men- Jessica Fernandez



Heterosexuality has been seen as the norm and dominant view regarding human sexual behavior in most societies conversely homosexuality has been as the sexual minority. In an effort to reach social tolerance and acceptance, the LGBTQ community has challenged hetero-sexist views usually through nonconforming methods. In the middle of this coalition we often think of the LGBTQ community as one common force, however it is important to consider other minorities within the LGBTQ community. Barbara Smith's article "Homophobia: Why Bring It Up?" brings up a valid point when she refers to the misconception that “gay” refers to a white homosexual men, "[ignoring] that some of us are  women and people of color and working class, and poor and disabled, and old. "  These minorities that Smith mentions often get overshadowed by the broad concept of homosexuality. For this reason I would like to focus my blog post on the sexual minority of Latino homosexual men and argue how catholic religion and Latino culture have created a unique identity among Latino homosexual men. In addition I will analyze how the Latino community is becoming more accepting than previous generations.
    Religion plays a big factor in the beliefs and opinions of its worshipers. In previous generations Catholic religion has often instilled beliefs that homosexuality is immoral creating homophobic point of views among its believers. In the news article "Much has changed for gay and lesbian Catholics in L.A." it is stated that the Pope Venedict XVI wrote in a letter to bishops, “[that Catholicism] is an "objective disorder, and a person engaging in homosexual behavior acts immorally.” This belief often led homosexual Catholics to feel as if they were doing something wrong and sinful if they engaged in homosexual behavior. In addition these religious views made it harder for a Latino man to “come out” to his family. However things have been changing, the news piece also brings up a more promising point of view as it explains how catholic religion is becoming more accepting towards homosexuality. Catholic churches are learning to view homosexuality as an intrinsic part of gays and lesbians rather than seeing it as a sin.
Another fundamental part of Latino identity is patriarchy and gender roles. Latino gender roles expect males to engage in masculine behavior whereas women are supposed to follow feminine roles. A shift in the workplace in America and European countries paved the way for a change in traditional gender roles in both men and women. With the rise of industrialization people were allowed to leave the family-based economy and focus more on their sexual identity.(Almaguer) Latinos on the other hand experienced much less of this change in economy. When comparing the differences among white gay men and Latino or other colored gay men it is also crucial to consider the racial differences. White gay men are in a better situation than other homosexuals because they have a racial advantage, one can see how this has been advantageous since the first homosexual alliances to be formed were prominently of white gay men. Colored people are in a much more compromising situation facing both racial discrimination and homophobia. (Almaguer)
Religion, culture, and traditions encompass what it means to be both Latino and homosexual. The homosexual experience is different for every race, social class, and culture since all these components intertwine to form unique identities.

Bibliography

Almaguer, Tomas “Chicano Men: A Cartography of Homosexual; Identity and Behavior” in      
             Social Perspectives in Gay and Lesbian Studies ed. Peter M Nardi and Beth Schneider,1998.
Landsberg, Mitchell. "Much Has Changed for Gay and Lesbian Catholics in L.A." Featured Articles From The Los Angeles Times. 23 Oct. 2011. Web. 09 Feb. 2012. <http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/23/local/la-me-gay-catholics-20111024>.
Smith, Barbara “Homophobia: Why Bring It Up?” from The Lesbian and Gay and Studies                Reader. Ed Henry Ablelove et al New York& London: Routlesdge,1993.

Ethnicity vs. Sexuality in the Asian American Community



          LGBTQ issues in the Asian American community are not necessarily a taboo, yet they are not often discussed. There are mixed opinions about their sexuality among the individuals of the Asian American LGBTQ community. Lisa Wong’s article “Being Gay Asian American” explores the issue of whether young Asian Americans put their ethnicity of a much higher importance than their sexuality. By performing this study, which was published in the Journal of LGBT Youth by Boston University Medical Center, Wong is able to show us the feelings Asian Americans have towards their sexuality and how they struggle with deciding whether which part of their identity will be dominant. In this blog post, the results of this study will be analyzed with the help of the articles written by John D’Emelio and Martin F. Manalasan IV. Ethnicity plays a very vital role in the lives of these youths, yet this study shows that ethnic or sexual identity takes no precedence over another.
          The article by Wong starts off by stating that the study was performed on Asian Americans attending Boston University that consider themselves attracted to the same sex and are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-seven. This group of young people is an interesting case to base a study on because Wong notes, “The conflict of choosing one identity over the other is attributed to a unique set of challenges that the survey group’s western Caucasian peers do not face.” These challenges include being excluded from families that recently immigrated to the United States and are not aware or accepting of non-heteronormative sexualities, as well as receiving stigmatization from the larger Asian community. For many Asian cultures, homosexuality is seen as deviant behavior and is a cause for dishonor and shame. In order to avoid these things, Asian American youths mask their identities in order to be acceptable to their families and the larger Asian community.
          However, it is pointed out that these differences in eastern and western cultures influence how Asian American youths live their daily lives. This news article also gathers the opinions of various professors across the country. According to Dr. Connie So, Senior Lecturer of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington, sex is a very private topic in Asian communities therefore many Asian Americans do not consider it a part of their identity. Western culture associates their sexuality as something that defines who they are, yet Asian cultures simply accept it as a part of them and keep it private. Chong-suk Han, an Assistant Professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, mentions that “The Western stereotype of being gay is to ‘come out’ and wear a big sign that says ‘I’m gay’.” The article by John D’Emilio supports this claim. He wrote that ever since medical professionals theorized homosexuality as a clinical entity, it was less of an aberration and became a quality that defined a person’s identity. With this being said, young Asian Americans are private about their sexuality and do not encounter many hardships and oppressions. They do not necessarily hide their sexuality because of their ethnicity and the repercussions that come with coming out, but instead keep that aspect of their lives private because sexuality is not that big of a deal in eastern cultures compared to cultures from the west.
          Wong’s article also states that Asian American families are more accepting of homosexuality nowadays. This claim is also supported by the article “Searching for Community: Filipino Gay Men from New York City.” In this article, Martin F. Manalasan IV argues that Filipino immigrants consider Philippine society to be tolerant of homosexuality. In these modern times, Asian American families are more concerned about the education of their young and whether they will be financially stable for their own future families. Whether or not their children are heterosexual, the fact that they are set for life will be enough to make Asian American parents content. Again, neither ethnicity nor sexuality is being placed as a dominant aspect of the lives of these young individuals. Guaranteeing stability for their future is more important to them at this point in their lives.
          In conclusion, young Asian Americans do not put their ethnicity of higher importance over their sexuality. Although a vital part, ethnicity does not control how they live their lives. Unlike Western cultures, they do not let their sexuality define who they are as well. Through the analysis of Wong’s news article, as well as supplemental articles by D’Emilio and Manalasan, it can be said that there are many other pressing issues in the lives of young homosexual Asian Americans rather than their sexuality. Above everything, financial stability and health is a higher priority to these individuals. Their ethnicity and sexuality is a part of them, yet they do not let it define them.




Works Cited
John D’Emilo “Homosexuality and American Society: An Overview” from Sexual
          Politics, Sexual, Communities in the United States 1940-1970. Chicago, Ill:
          University of Chicago Press, 1983.
Martin F. Manalasan IV “Searching for Community: Filipino Gay Men from New York
City”. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Routledge Chapman Hall,
1993.
Wong, Lisa. "Being Gay Asian American." The International Examiner. Web. 6 Feb.
          2012. <http://www.examiner.org/news/features/gay-asian-american/>.

The 'Double-Whammy'


            LGBTQ community issues in this day and age are increasingly gaining higher levels of importance and attention. From people’s views and perspectives, attitudes, activism, and even constitutional laws (Prop 8 has been deemed unconstitutional YAY!!). We as a society have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time (although of course we are not where we should ideally be at because we still have a long ways to go). But it seems as if there is a demographic being overlooked in the LGBTQ community; ethnic minorities. I will be focusing on the African American ethnic LGBTQ minorities, centering on Special issues arise for Black LGBT, an article written by Eric Mayes.
            This article provides statistical analysis on the issues of the black homosexual minority, touching on what the underlying issues are that cause these disparities. Black homosexual couples make significantly less median income than homosexual white couples (over $20,000 more). Black lesbians have it even worse, making less than their black heterosexual counterparts. But the interesting fact that Mayes puts to the forefront is that black lesbians poverty rates come up to 21.1 percent while white lesbians experience only 4.3 percent. Black gay males experience 14.4 percent poverty rates. Black homosexual raising children are more likely to live in poverty.  Black transgender people also suffer significantly, experiencing 28 percent of unemployment, and while 1 in 5 white transgender Americans are denied a home/apartment based on discrimination, it doubles for black transgender Americans.
            What do these numbers say about being African American and identify with LGBTQ? They are clearly at a higher disadvantage than the Caucasian homosexual demographic. One of the reasons are obviously pretty clear; being black is already a disadvantage dating way back in time, and is still very prevalent in society today. Discrimination against African Americans can be quite crippling, and that also goes for the LGBTQ community. So not only are they a racial minority, they are also a sexual minority, which is like a ‘double-whammy’. And especially for black homosexual women; that’s a ‘triple-whammy’ because of prevalence of a ‘male-dominated’ society that undermines women.
            “Gay means gay white men with large discretionary income, period. Perceiving gay people in this way allows one to ignore that some of us are women and people of color and working class and poor and disabled and old.” as stated by Barbara Smith in her article Homophobia: Why Bring It Up (pg.101)? This is a central issue that many overlook. Partially because many people don’t truly understand the issues within the black community, therefore they may relate on sexuality bases, but cannot relate/understand issues that race plays into this dichotomy. Another issue that is also overlooked is the lack of support WITHIN the black community. A majority of black heterosexuals don’t approve/support the gay community. This has to do with many factors including how they were raised, the influence of the black Christian church ideals which condemns homosexuality as sinful, the lack of education on this issue, etc… So not only do they not have understanding and the right support from their sexual minority community, but they don’t really receive it from their racial minority.
            “A majority of informants, mostly immigrants, felt that Philippine society was relatively tolerant of homosexuality.” according to the research of Martin F. Manalansan in Searching for Community; Filipino Gay Men in New York City (pg.276). This raises the question of is their more or less discrimination and disadvantage within the wide umbrella of people of color? Are some races more accepting and supportive than others? This solidifies the point made above of the lack of support in the black community. But the factors that contribute to that are deeply embedded in the attitudes and perspectives of the black community and when it comes to figuring out how to reverse this is still up to debate.
             There is not a definite answer as to why black LGBTQ face a significantly higher amount of discrimination and struggle because there are many factors that contribute to it. Minorities in general all have their different sets of issues and struggles, and to deem them as unimportant and something that can be ‘dealt with later’ being overlooked is the wrong approach. It is just as important, and should be just as focused and supported as any other issue.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A minority plus a minority equals what?


Brenda Santamaria

Identifying as a LGBTQ is hard; especially within a culture and community that does not accept it. Ignorance is common among communities who are not open-minded about issues that neither their culture nor religion agrees with. In Giselle Ramirez’s recent YouTube video, she speaks out and expresses her hardships of growing up being a Hispanic lesbian (Cuentama, 2011).  Throughout this blog post, I will conduct an analysis of Giselle’s video using John D’Emilio and Nan Stein’s ideas about sexuality to prove that Mexican/ American women are not only marginalized  for their status as a minority but because their Religion does not accept their sexual orientation.
Harassment among LGBTQ communities is very common, which makes it hard for LGBTQ people to be completely open about their sexuality. Giselle knew from an early age that she was attracted towards girls, and decided to be open about her preference. As a result, however she suffered from bullying and physical violence. Ramirez states how “she was physically assaulted by two girls in a school bus” (An Honest Conversation video, 2011). Yet, the school did not intervene nor defended Giselle; instead they suspended her, even though she did not instigate the fight. Nan Stein argues, that schools have forgotten that students should “go to school that is gender-safe, and free from gender-based harassment and violence” (Stain, 31). School is not meant for students to bullied, it is meant to be a healthy learning environment where teenagers can properly form their young minds while discovering themselves.  
Furthermore while battling with societal issues; Giselle was not even presented with any sort of family support. This has to do with that fact that her parents could not think past the religion barrier. Her own father reminded her that, since she was not discrete about being a lesbian, she automatically put herself out there. John D’Emilio agrees with this statement when he mentions that homosexuality creates, “a pervasive hostility, expressed through religion” (D’Emilio, 22). The fact that her family comes from a Catholic background was enough for them to not support their daughter. Giselle also includes how “she was in fear she was going to go to hell for being a lesbian” (An Honest Conversation Video, 2011). Therefore, the heavy Catholic background of a Chicana influenced Giselle’s father opinion, even though, ironically “her parents were not the type of religious people that go to church every weekend” (An Honest Conversation Video, 2011). In short, her parents may not have been very religious, however they did not approve of their daughter’s sexual orientation based on strong beliefs that God had intended for humans to be straight.
People cannot change their sexual preference, but we can at least strive to change one's awareness of how marginalizing it would be for Mexican/ American women who are already a minority, to be further marginalized for belonging to the LGBTQ community. As shown in the context, Giselle has gone through various forms of violence and abuse due to her homosexuality. From peers attacking her physically, to family attacking her mentally, Giselle has confronted the constraints inherent with her ethnicity and her religion. Tolerance does exist within the world, though not completely. Therefore, people like Giselle will continue to experience hardships due to the ignorance of other people’s fears and strong religious beliefs.

Bibliography:

D’Emilio, John. “Homosexuality and American Society: An Overview” from Sexual
Politics, Sexual, Communities in the United States 1940-1970. Chicago, Ill:
University of Chicago Press, 1983. pp 9-22

Stien, Nan. Bullying, Harassment and Violence among students in Radical Teacher, No.
80 “Teaching Beyond Tolerance” Winter 2007. pp 30-35