Corsair Volume XCIX, Issue 13
The Santa Monica College Newspaper Informing Since 1929
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
In acknowledgment of June as LGBT Pride Month, the Corsair explores the topic of sexual identity.
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
Wednesday May 26, 2010 Santa Monica College
Judy Shepard Speaks Out Kelley Fraser L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center Harvey Milk Day Long Beach Pride
3, 4, 5, & 6
SMC Class: Sex Philosophy Bar Fly LGBT Clubs on Campus “Man Up” Program
7 & 8
“That’s so gay” Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
L.A. Rebellion Rugby Club SMC Weekly Fitness Gay Athletes in the Spotlight
Spring 2010 Staff
Jessica Thomas Guiliana Dakdouk Indah Datau Antoine Themistocleous Rebecca Slawter Dan Bluemel Brandon Quin Ingrid Rosales Carly Gillis Teresa Raschilla Debbie Vasquez
Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Photo Editor Photo Editor News Editor Opinion Editor Sports Editor Calendar Editor Lifestyle Editor Online Editor Arts Canvas Editor
Staff Alessandra Catanese, Alfredo Luna, Alica Forneret, Althea Anderson, Anthony Pantoja, Astrid le Noine, Brian White, Bryn Woznicki, Christian Nussey, Daniel Ross, Danyale Kotur, David Carranza, David Dolmage, Emil Norlen, Eric Tipton, Farhan Ali, Jennifer Martinez, Jeremy Biglow, John Stapleton IV, Jorge Valdovinos, Jung Shim, Kevin Duron, Linda Konde, Lyndsay Smith, Marley St. John, Michael Mendoza, Michael Zielinski, Monique Michaels, Nicole Ritter, Sal Guerra, Sammy Soliman, Sean Carpenter, Sean Mazzapica, Tannaz Lavian, Tara Murphy, Tené Anderson, Terrence Timmins, Tieg Slattery, Tracy Navarro
10 & 11
Advertising Consultant Deirdre Weaver email@example.com
Graphic Design Jhosef A. Hern
Computer Consultant Agnius Griskevicius
Faculty Advisors Saul Rubin and Gerard Burkhart
Letters to the editor are encouraged. They should be no longer than 250 words and must be signed by the writer. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamburger Mary’s The Normal Heart
Business and Editorial Offices Letters to the Editor 1900 Pico Blvd., LS 172 Santa Monica, CA 90405 Phone: (310) 434-4340
The sun rises on the Cal State Fullerton campus.
Jake Coronel Contributer
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Wednesday May 26, 2010
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center reaches SMC students By John Stapleton IV Staff Writer Levi Chapin sits comfortably at a small table in the middle of a crowded coffee shop amid a throng of buzzing Hollywood socialites (emphasis on “comfortably”). He is openly recounting his personal history with so much expressive enthusiasm that you would never guess that Chapin’s childhood was filled with alcoholism and drug abuse; or that he’s currently homeless; or that he’s gay. “I’m facing my demons, and it’s a bitch,” he says. “It doesn’t come up when you’re bouncing around, but when you’re on your own, when you slow down, that’s when you have to deal with these things. The Center lets me know that it’s normal, and that it’s okay.” Chapin has had many struggles in his life, but living alone in Los Angeles proved especially difficult. He concedes that his life could have turned out a lot worse, if it hadn’t been for the empowerment he received from the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, one of the largest and most comprehensive LGBT care facilities in the world. The Center’s base of operations is a repurposed four-story federal building in Hollywood, which now accommodates the majority of services and programs offered by the organization’s enormous scope. Besides offering STD testing clinics, emergency shelters and support programs across Los Angeles, this extensive organization also offers legal services, career counseling, group therapy, transitional housing, accredited GED courses,
drug and alcohol rehabilitation and recreational venues that are available to any of society’s disillusioned, discriminated or destitute. Its pharmacy alone fills over 300 prescriptions per day, providing what Development Director Nellie Sims calls a “continuum of care: from the beginning to the end.” But the medical support provided to patients is only one aspect of the multifaceted care the Center offers. According to Sims, “A lot of [AIDS patients] are denied insurance, or are underinsured – we fill that gap. We also provide legal advice to victims of hate crimes, discrimination, domestic violence – all the issues that the LGBT community faces—including gay immigration rights.” The Center estimates that its five L.A.-area branches provide health care and community outreach services to over 25,000 individuals every month, and with an annual budget nearing $50 million, most of these programs are provided at little or no cost to its patients. Patients like Chapin. Sipping a soda, Chapin reclines into the back of his chair, crossing his legs. Poised and seemingly oblivious to the bustle of coffeecraving patrons, he continues elaborating on the more difficult parts of his life story, including the day he ran away from home. The East Coast native arrived in LA with few resources to begin with, and those quickly proved unreliable. “The Center for me is a blessing,” Chapin says. “I wouldn’t be here without it. I wouldn’t be in L.A., I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do
Monique Michaels Corsair Levi Chapin, a Santa Monica College student, lives at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian center in Los Angeles.
it on my own. It’s a goal to get out of the program, to get on my own feet. It allows me to set that goal for myself without having to rely on someone else. It’s like I have a safety net.” Chapin’s net includes the Center’s 30-person, 18-month transitional housing program for gay youths, a program that he is sure saved him from living on the streets. He describes the arrangement, which requires that applicants maintain a job or school enrollment, and adhere to a strict policy of drug and alcohol abstinence. “There are meals, there’s therapy, group meetings – they’ll help you
with whatever you’re going through, pretty much. Things that caused us to be homeless, like un-accepting families and finding a safe place.” The program has given him the encouragement he needs to reestablish financial security and a foundation from which he can pursue his academic goals here at Santa Monica College. “It’s a struggle…but there’s hope,” he confides. “Education, for me, is my way out of it, my escape, my opportunity.” According to Chapin, the comfort with which he effortlessly and unapologetically flaunts his public persona in the face of discrimination
isn’t just flamboyant – it’s fearless. He says the Center has enabled him so thoroughly, and in so many ways, that he truly believes he has the power to do all the things he plans to do. “People know I’m gay before I tell them I’m gay. It’s in my walk, it’s in my talk, it’s in my facial expressions – it’s who I am. I don’t think society really accepts it yet. They tolerate it, but they don’t accept it... That’s something [the Center] helps me to do: to accept myself, and love myself. I have this level of personal self. Never before could I stand up in front of my classroom in a woman’s jacket, and shine.”
Kelley Fraser recently named Captain of Sheriff’s Department in West Hollywood By Alica Forneret Staff Writer
Brian White Corsair Captain Kelley Fraser is the new West Hollywood branch Sheriff Captain, and first openly lesbian sheriff officer to hold such a rank.
Surrounded by bobblehead dolls of her favorite Angels baseball team players, framed pictures of her smiling friends, and a toy yoyo atop her desk, Sheriff Captain Kelley Fraser has decorated her office to reflect her interests. Amidst her trinkets is a small rainbow flag that represents yet another aspect of her life: being a lesbian. Fraser replaced Buddy Goldman as captain of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department in early April. Since the beginning of her career she has made a point to balance her professional and personal life, which includes her partner of 12 years and their 15-year-old son. “I don’t want to get lost in being a lesbian,” she said. “I’ve been that. I am that. I have a job as a captain, and that’s what’s important.” Fraser attended Cal Poly Pomona
uncertain of which career she would pursue. After shifting from her original aspirations of being an architect or professional athlete she casually responded to an deputy ad in the classifieds. “I was a college student and I had no clue what I was going to do,” she said. “I looked in the want ads on a Sunday afternoon and it had a big article and 1-800-BE-A-DEPUTY, so I called up and here I am.” Fraser’s involvement with law enforcement followed her graduation from the Sheriff’s Academy. Even after accumulating 24 years of experience, she still considers this accomplishment the defining moment in her career. “The minute I graduated from the Academy and was given the opportunity to do this as a profession...that moment, that defining day, for me marked the best thing I could have ever done in my life,” she said. City Manager Paul Arevalo
and Sheriff Lee Baca were looking for someone who met strict department standards, regardless of the candidate’s sexual orientation. “The city of West Hollywood community has a standard that their chief of police, their unit commander, their captain, does everything they can to ensure the public safety to the highest level,” said Fraser. “That’s their sole expectation.” After an extensive evaluation conducted by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Fraser was deemed the appropriate candidate for the position. Fraser found her appointment to captain to be a smooth transition. “The community has opened its arms up,” she said. “They just want me to protect the city. That’s it. All they see right now is me being the chief of police for them, and ‘Oh by the way, she happens to be a lesbian.’”
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
Wednesday May 26, 2010
Harvey Milk Day supporters bring awareness
Photos by Marley St. John Corsair Top: Academy Award winning screenwriter for the movie “Milk,” Dustin Lance Black speaks at the event honoring Harvey Milk on what would have been his eightieth birthday.
Left: Raymond and Byron Moya, who live in Los Angeles with their twin daughters and newborn baby, participate in the door-to-door dialogue for gay issues on Harvey Milk Day.
By Carly Gillis Lifestyle Editor “My name is Harvey Milk, and I am a gay man. What can I do for your community?” Milk, known for his activism for gay rights, would carry this message door-todoor in nearby neighborhoods throughout the 1970s to the Excelsior District in San Francisco, a traditionally conservative district. On May 22, in commemoration of California’s Harvey Milk day, a crowd of volunteers followed his lead. At the East Los Angeles Service Center, advocacy organization Equality California (EQCA) celebrated the first annual Harvey Milk Day by coordinating a canvas of the predominantly Latino East Los Angeles area. Before the 52 volunteers surveyed the nearby neighborhoods measuring support for the legalization of gay marriage, a rally was held featuring prominent supporters of LGBT rights, including screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award last year for the movie Milk (2008), starring Sean Penn. Black delivered an emotional address to the crowd, hoping to encourage volunteers by speaking of the importance of awareness of gay history. Inspiring the audience to action, Black specifically addressed educators, pushing for more visibility of gay leaders in school curriculum. “You’re a second-class citizen, that’s what you learn growing up in school,” he said. “The real work begins, because now we have to build that curriculum. We have to teach about the LGBT leaders and founders that can inspire children to excel.”
Last year, Black used his film as a means of promoting Harvey Milk Day. Milk was an activist and politician who championed gay rights during the 1970s before his assassination on November 27, 1978. Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco authored the bill and, after being vetoed previously in 2008, was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on October 11, 2009. “That’s the kind of political flip-flopping I like,” said Black. It is the only state holiday in the country designated to honor the life of a gay man. EQCA regularly hosts canvases around Los Angeles County and throughout California. During these volunteer-led events, organizers lead groups door-todoor, using voter registration records to guide them to areas with high percentages of opposed voters. “We’ve had conversations with 85,000 Californians last year,” said Marc Solomon, Marriage Director of EQCA. “We focus on people who are not with us, engaging them and moving people one person at a time.” He previously worked in Massachusetts, campaigning for gay marriage. He was compelled to bring his efforts to California in April of 2009. Solomon maintains that his efforts have brought about quantifiable change. Using an independent social psychology marketing firm, EQCA tracks citizens who have been approached and surveys their feelings, and they have affirmed that there has been a five percent increase in support of gay marriage in the past year. The number had previously remained stagnant at 45 percent since 2004. EQCA works with a variety of pro-gay activist groups, including the Latino
Equality Alliance (LEA), an advocacy organization dedicated to promoting at the event. LEA representatives assisted in the preliminary training session, educating volunteers on etiquette and what to expect from door-to-door canvassing. Jacky Guerrero volunteered at EQCA before joining LEA. “When I volunteered, I was afraid of the reception,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if people were going to get angry. But I was really surprised at the amount of respect I encountered.” She now volunteers with LEA in educating EQCA canvassers on the facets of Latino culture. The Latino community is regarded as one of the least accepting of LGBT rights. “It’s not that the community is conservative or close-minded,” said Alfredo Lee of LEA. “It is just not in our culture to talk about these things—and not just about gay issues, he said. “We want to start the dialogue.” Even so, both Lee and Solomon maintain that once informed, the Latino community is open to change. “Latinos move more than any group on the issue of gay marriage,” said Solomon. Other speakers included Assembly Members Hector De La Torre and City Councilmember Jose Huizar, both expressing their support of Harvey Milk’s message. “You all are the Harvey Milks of today,” said Mike Ai, Los Angeles Field Manager for EQCA, in concluding the event. “Remember that when you go out door to door.” More information on future scheduled canvases can be found on EQCA’s Web site, www.eqca.org.
Wednesday May 26, 2010
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
‘Sheparding’ students towards tolerance By Debby Vasquez Arts Canvas Editor and Jessica Thomas Editor-in-Chief On October 12, 1998, 21-year-old Matthew Shepard was murdered; beaten, tied to a fence post and left for dead in the small town of Laramie, Wyoming. His mother, Judy Shepard, believes that her son was targeted because he was gay. She now travels the country speaking out against hate crimes and encouraging unity and tolerance. On Monday, May 17, Shepard spoke candidly about Matthew at SMC’s Broad Stage, describing the subsequent hate crime legislation that she helped pass in response to his death. The event was presented in partnership with Santa Monica College, Santa Monica Malibu School District and Santa Monica Bay Area Human Relations Council. As for why Shepard, a self-proclaimed introvert and shy person, keeps vigilant about telling Matthew’s story, she said, “It’s not a gay thing, it’s a hate thing. If I gave up, Matthew would be disappointed.” The talk was part of a lecture series called, “Community Conversations: Exploring Issues of Civic Responsibilities.” It was presented by The Allstate Foundation and Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization dedicated to eliminating
Courtesy of Elizabeth Bartolini
Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, who was brutally murdered in a hate crime in 1998, speaks out about her hardships. prejudice. Matthew told his mom he was gay when he was 18, but she said she knew from the time he was eight years old. “Dolly Parton was his favorite Halloween costume,” said Shepard, smiling as she added, “He was quite good at it by the third year.” Her only question to Matthew when he came out to her was, “Why did it take you so long to tell me?”
Prop 8 trial borders on conclusion Judge Vaughn Walker will allow for closing arguments for the case that has brought Prop 8 and California to national recognition. By Tara Murphy Staff Writer After months of being on hiatus the Proposition 8 trial, known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is set to wrap up on June 16, when Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker will hear closing arguments. Walker said he wanted the extra time to review all the evidence before hearing lawyers give their final statements. Prop 8 was passed in the November 2008 election and immediately banned the right of gay couples to marry. Two gay couples, backed by numerous supporters, took the case to trial claiming it violated the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. According to the Los Angeles Times, the case “charges that Proposition 8 violates federal due process and equal protection guarantees, issues that were not raised before the California Supreme Court.” Joey Zhang, a sophomore business major at SMC, is an opponent of the proposition and would like to see changes in the definition of marriage to allow equal rights for all. She believes that it is “OK for girls, guys, bisexuals, and transgenders” to marry. The definition of marriage, according
to the California Constitution, has been changing and challenged for over a decade now. The debate over whether gay couples should have a right to marry reached an all-time high in the 2008 election when Prop 8 was passed. After Prop 8 passed, protesters rallied around the state in staggering numbers, garnering national attention and demanding equal rights. Historically, California law has vacillated between the allowance and restriction of gay marriage. It began to heat up in 2000 when Proposition 22 was passed. This law not only prohibited same-sex marriage, but also denied recognition of same-sex marriages contracted in other states. In May 2008, Prop 22 was struck down by the California Supreme Court for being contrary to the state constitution. This breakthrough allowed for same sex-marriages. From May to November 2008, same sex couples were legally married. In response to this ruling, Californians approved Prop 8, and marriages were immediately banned. With closing statements to be heard next month, it is not yet known what the outcome of this trial will be.
Shepard was accepting of her son’s sexuality but recognizes that the small town where he grew up may not have seen him the same way. Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, both 21 at the time, were charged in the attack and both received two life sentences. “Maybe they thought that the world wouldn’t miss another faggot,” said Shepard.
Shepard established The Matthew Shepard Foundation and serves on the board of directors. She speaks at conferences and schools about homosexuality and the need to accept differences in others. With her activism, she has brought Matthew’s story to Congress, fighting to pass a hate crime prevention act in her son’s name. In a triumphant conclusion, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law on October 28, 2009 by President Barack Obama. An audience member asked Shepard if she has seen a shift in tolerance toward the gay community since Matthew’s death. “It’s been like night and day,” she said. “I [used to] see fear in students’ and parents’ faces because they thought that something would happen to them like it happened to Matthew, but now I see activism, the activism for equal rights.” Shepard concluded with advice given to her by her grandmother. “God gave us two ears but only one mouth for a reason.” Shepard stressed how important it is to keep an open mind and be a patient and unprejudiced listener for people struggling because they are different. “If you know someone who you think is gay and they haven’t told you, then you might want to question why,” she said.
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
Wednesday May 26, 2010
Photos by Monique Michaels Corsair Peace for Pride supporters march together in the 2010 Gay Pride Parade in Long Beach.
Proud to be at Long Beach for Pride weekend “There’s a new brand of gay that’s coming out... It’s inclusive.”
Annie Parkhurst, AMP
Members of the Mpower OC club ride on a float in support of the Gay Pride Parade in Long Beach. Mpower OC is Orange County’s premier men’s social group for gay and bisexual men. Peace necklaces were handed out to the crowd by The Intercal House, a crisis center and shelter for victims of domestic violence at the Long Beach Gay Pride Parade on May 16.
By Alica Forneret Staff Writer It is not a typical Sunday afternoon in Long Beach when you find shirtless, shaven, oiled up men in their underpants wheeling wagons full of condoms down Ocean Avenue. But one weekend a year, the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival gives onlookers that and so much more. The gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and ally (LGBTQQIA) community came together at the Long Beach Grand Prix Racing Grounds in downtown Long Beach on May 15 and 16. Two days of blasting music, non-stop drinking, dirty dancing and informative tabling by a wide variety of organizations. Free merchandise, celebrity sightings and art exhibits offered diverse diversions to the partying and good times. Of the organizations in attendance were the usual suspects, such as the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, AIDS Research Alliance, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Accompanying these expected, but appreciated, groups were other organizations usually on the outskirts of typical gay activist groups. Found nestled between the tents of groups like the Human Rights Campaign and Condom Revolution were LGBTQQIA-inclusive religious organizations such as Temple Israel,
law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, and even a group of out-andproud Republicans. Although Pride organizers have invited groups from all walks of gay life to be a part of the event for 27 years, they only recently developed a specific area of the festival for the transgender and queer community. One group that was instrumental in putting together a portion of the “Trans Awareness” section of Pride was AMP. AMP is an organization that hosts concerts, art shows, and community events in safe spaces for the do-ityourself queer community to showcase their talents. AMP Executive Director Annie Parkhurst and AMP Program Director Sylvia Rodemeyer think that their attendance at Pride was necessary to provide an outlet for those whose interests are often overlooked at lesbian and gay events. “It’s all main stream gay stuff out there,” said Parkhurst. “Amp is about the subculture, the artists, the bands that want to get out there and do stuff away from the typical feather boa, West Hollywood kind of stuff. That doesn’t speak to everybody. That doesn’t speak to me.” The Log Cabin Republicans are a group of gay and lesbian equal rights advocates that not only play for the other team but also are on the opposite side of the fence politically than many in the LGBTQQIA population.
Representing this small group were gay rights activists and married couple Kevin Norte, a California Supreme Court Research Attorney, and Don Norte, a West Hollywood Department of Transportation and Public Works employee. They find that regardless of how inclusive the general LGBTQQI community demands outsiders to be of their practices, many forget that within the rainbow there is a wide spectrum of beliefs that may not always be liberal. “We all talk about the rainbow flag, but the people who are at the end of the rainbow flag have the same right as the people in the center of the rainbow flag,” said Kevin Norte. Regardless of what faction members of the LGBTQQI community people may identify with, the festival opened its gates to a wide range of people interested in simply celebrating gay rights, lifestyles and the acceptance of diversity within the gay community. Pride’s attendees and volunteers broke many stereotypes and misconceptions about who makes up the gay community. “I think there’s a real change that’s happening in the gay community,” said Parkhurst. “The older, whiter, richer people are phasing out and I think there’s a new brand of gay that’s coming out, and that’s queer. It’s inclusive. And it’s about street people, and gay people, and bi people, and colors and genders of all sorts.”
07 LIFESTYLE Another meaning of ‘Sex Ed:’ Stramel’s philosophy class Wednesday May 26, 2010
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
Antoine Themistocleous Corsair
SMC Professor James Stramel teaches the philosophy of sex and love at SMC.
By Tieg Slattery Staff Writer
In preparing college students to enter into society, it is increasingly important that colleges offer courses rich in tolerance and
cultural diversity. Classes with a heavy focus on LGBT issues are rare in community colleges. SMC, however, offers a class that truly is breaking down barriers. Professor James Stramel has been teaching about LGBT awareness and issues since 1994. His class, Philosophy 5 “Contemporary Moral Conflicts: Sex and Sexuality,” creates a safe environment for students to confront contentious social issues about sexuality and sexual morality. The class is Stramel’s baby. He originally created the curriculum for a class at the Institute of Gay and Lesbian Education (IGLE) in Los Angeles, and then adapted the course content to meet SMC’s transfer credit requirements. “We just focused on a subset,” he said. “Instead of doing the usual range of issues like abortion, capital punishment, and animal rights, we just focus on sexual morality and GLBT issues. We created this special topics class and we were able to do that without going through the curriculum review process for a new course.” Although the title makes no mention of it, the class is offered with a heavy emphasis on homosexuality and gender study. The semester begins with an overview of the philosophical history of sex and sexuality, moral theories and sexual ethics. Once the students gain a basic understanding of the related theories, the class delves into the sexier issues. Lectures and discussions cover the morality of homosexuality, same-
By John Stapleton IV Staff Writer Summer is here, people. There will be agonizingly long days where you’ll watch every second tick by at work, yearning for your shift to end so you can get out of the office, saddle up at a nice bar, and make the entire afternoon your personal happy hour. There will also be times when all you can think about is staying up all night, grinding against sweaty strangers to deafening music and bathing yourself in multicolored strobe lights. It’s why you have a job in the first place, after all. For the best of both worlds, Barfly highly recommends The Abbey. As central to West Hollywood as your libido is to your youth, The Abbey’s truly multifaceted social experience holds the title for “Best Gay Bar in the World” according to MTV’s LOGO. I don’t exactly know what qualifies any kind of bar to be the best in the world, but I wouldn’t doubt for a second that The Abbey has whatever you’re looking for, whenever you’re trying to find it. The wrought iron, Victorian gates open at 8 a.m., offering a giant, wide-open patio with clay-tiled floors and candle-lit exposed brick walls to provide a Spanishstyle sanctuary from your obligations. Replete with concrete Renaissance statues and immaculately trimmed bushes,
sex marriage, the ethics of disclosure and gays in the military, amongst other controversial and socially relevant issues often relegated to the fringes of academia. Stramel’s philosophy class runs in the fall and spring and is almost always in high demand. “It always starts out basically full,” he said. “I have good retention, but there is a bit of a tendency for the straight men to drop out. That’s always the hardest audience to keep.” Of these students, Stramel says the straight demographic is the most important element in moving the LGBT debate forward. “For me, the most important audience is the twothirds of the class that are straight,” he said. “That’s where I can be most effective, by winning friends in the straight community. We can’t win on our own.” While Stramel admits SMC is near the forefront of acceptance and tolerance, he says that prejudice does still permeate beneath the surface. “It doesn’t mean there are not people on the campus that don’t have more conservative and traditional, even anti-gay views,” he said. “That does exist.” One summer in the late 1990s, that anti-gay sentiment became all too evident. Stramel was teaching an entirely unrelated class at SMC when he was confronted by blatant discrimination. “I hadn’t come out in the class, but apparently one of the male students in the class figured out I was gay,” he said. “I started to receive a series of anonymous letters saying all kinds of things about how homosexuality
was a perversion and an abomination in the Bible and that they hoped someone would find a medicine to cure me.” He addressed the issue in class and followed up with the police, but little could be done. One subsequent letter followed but nothing more came of the incident. With that rare exception, Stramel says that he has always felt supported and accepted during his time at SMC. “SMC is on or near the cutting edge of things,” he said. “It has always been a gayfriendly campus. I have always felt welcome. We have always had a non-discrimination program that includes sexual orientation…I feel very supported.” Philosophy 5 is by far his most rewarding class. He says students leave the class equipped with the tools to affect change on a social level and directly impact on the world around them. “I hope that my students are enlightened,” he said. “I hope they will leave the class better armed with an arsenal of logical and argumentative skills so that they can address the moral issues and engage in the public debate, and make a little contribution towards this cause. Little by little it’s moving us further and making some progress.” Philosophy 5 is an all-too-rare breed of class, allowing open discourse of a socially taboo topic in a safe environment. In essence the class creates the building blocks of an accepting and equal society. It is a step in the right direction, not only for the LGBT community, but for all of humanity.
the quest for the Westside’s best watering hole the courtyard provides a number of dining experiences; from sunny tables to secluded booths, breezy cabanas to plush VIP lounges. The Abbey complements the venue’s tastefulness with the menu’s tastiness, offering a range of gourmet appetizers and entrees, all of which are available for takeout. On one side of the sun-soaked veranda, the main bar serves up masterful drinks, which are priced within reason, surprising considering the amount of effort and alcohol that goes into them. Be especially sure to take advantage of the 4-7 p.m. happy hour, when the best (if not the first) watermelon mojito you’ve ever had will only cost you five bucks. But The Abbey is unapologetically more cabaret than cantina. In fact, if you’re at The Abbey for the food, you’re only getting the amuse-bouche. This wellestablished mecca of manliness turns into a completely different animal at night, when across from the lavish patio bar, over the peaceful courtyard, the dance floor lights ignite and rhythmic, booming music blasts through the breezeways, turning this classy delicatessen into a carnival of decadence. Like moths to a flame, WeHo’s variedsexual socialites congregate at The Abbey after dark, squeezing into its open forums and filling them almost immediately with slick designer clothes and thick, choking clouds of fragrance. The dance floor
evolves into a gyrating crowd, pulsating against each other. The stages are adorned with beefcakes glazed with baby oil and wearing little more than armbands. As the night goes on, the patio becomes the most diverse menagerie of identities ever assembled into a single location – the Noah’s Ark of human ethnicity, sexuality, personality, gender, age and alcohol tolerance, all crammed into The Abbey’s
tight vicinity. Summer is certainly here, and there will be days where all you’ll be eager for is a social experience where people with this much diversity can simply be themselves and have some drinks. And since a bar’s value is intrinsically proportional to how many of its patrons come together, The Abbey might just be the best bar in the world.
Monique Michaels Corsair
Shannon Hunt, bartends at The Abby, a famous gay and lesbian bar in West Hollywood, Calif., established in 1991.
LIFESTYLE SMC clubs join together to promote equality through diversity
Wednesday May 26, 2010
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
By Alessandra Catanese Staff Writer
GSA, F.I.E.R.C.E., and P.R.I.D.E. are three different clubs at SMC with one thing in common: LGBT support. Though many may stereotype them as strictly “Gay Clubs,” all three clubs hold separate identities and roles in the SMC campus community. The Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club was the first LGBT club to form at SMC, but was inactive during the spring semester of 2009, allowing P.R.I.D.E. (People Representing Individuality & Diversity through Empowerment) to form in its place. After conflicts arose between members in P.R.I.D.E., F.I.E.R.C.E. (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community/Culture Empowerment Club) was formed. Last semester GSA was brought back to life, regrouping another LGBT Club to attend Club Row. It is their second semester back and GSA feels that the atmosphere on campus is slightly more tolerant toward gender and sexuality issues than it was before, but still has a hint of ignorance. “There are a lot more people who are accepting of us, but we do come across people who call us names,” says club president Efrain Santiago. “I used to pass by three people near the locker room who would say mean things, but I just ignored it.” P.R.I.D.E. Club agrees. President Jesse Quintanilla is proud of his sexuality, and defiantly wears stiletto boots and NYC lipgloss. “I hear people yell things all the time like, ‘Oh my God, is he wearing heels?” he said. He feels people choose to be ignorant of the struggles LGBTs face daily, and unceasingly stereotype gay people in a black and white sense. “I don’t want to conform myself to one thing,” he said. “If I wear pink, why does it have to affect my masculinity?”
Other than addressing gender issues, all Quintanilla explained that he had always three clubs offer outreach programs that wanted to create a club that allowed LGBT’s specifically help students who are looking to socialize, but still focused on everyone’s for encouragement. individuality and stayed away from GSA offers access to many different stereotyping. All social events P.R.I.D.E. community support groups, like the Trevor coordinates involve the participation of Projects, a suicide prevention workshop and other allied clubs. For example, Quintanilla hotline for those who identify as LGBT. One reports that for Pride Week last week on Trevor Projects’ the main campus, exercise involves about 18 clubs making a list of the were involved. 10 most loved and “Yes we are important people different, but we in their lives, are individuals and then slowly that can still relate choosing whom to to everyone,” he eliminate one by said. one. P.R.I.D.E. also “It was really works with ALAS hard because it (Association of made you think Latin-American about all the things Students), the club you’re giving up that Quintanilla if you commit credits for getting suicide,” said him interested Alberto Prado, the in student club’s historian. organizations. All three clubs F.I.E.R.C.E. also participated in is commonly the AIDS/HIV and mistaken as an STD presentations LGBT club, but to inform Jennifer Martinez Corsair according to its members of the president Jorge risk of spreading Jesse Quintanilla, President of SMC’s P.R.I.D.E. club V a l d o v i n o s , these diseases and dresses in drag during Pride Week at SMC. The event it is actually a how to use certain was also coordinated by the GSA Club and F.I.E.R.C.E. in a “diversity club.” safety measures, collaborative effort to promote LGBT awareness. Valdovinos says like condoms. that F.I.E.R.C.E. P.R.I.D.E. President Quintanilla decided actually has more heterosexual members to take the former club president Michael than homosexual ones. Baumwohl’s social movement and direct it “Our purpose is to give each individual toward political change this semester. a sense of diversity, but to be accepting of “Pride isn’t initially a gay club,” he said. “Its difference, whether it is color, size, or sexual purpose is to ultimately unite everyone and preference,” he said. raise social consciousness and awareness of Although this is their first semester the issues all around us, not just gay issues.” as a club at SMC, the club has about 85
members, and about 25 currently active members. F.I.E.R.C.E. also has two committees: a Gender Committee and an Ethnic Committee. The Gender Committee’s purpose is to “help the cause,” according to Valdovinos, such as helping homosexual members accept themselves as well as questioning people who aren’t accepting. At one club meeting, the Gender Committee discussed the topic of AIDS/HIV and STDs. Lopez says that the Ethnic Committee deals with issues apart from LGBT. For example, when the Arizona Immigration issues came out, the Ethnic Committee hosted discussion topics with the club members. “The committee really played its part on that issue,” said Lopez. There is a longstanding history within the club as well. Club President Valdovinos and Vice-President Philipe Lopez have been friends since they were 17 years old. “Jorge and I became friends in high school because we knew we were both gay, so we both had a friend there to support each other,” said Lopez. “With the people we were hanging out with and the places we would all go, it was just obvious we were both gay.” Santiago has known he was gay since he was a little kid, but didn’t come out until he was a junior in high school. “I was who people wanted me to be until I was a junior, then I came out about my sexuality and now I’m who I want to be,” he said. Although his mother and father have a difficult time accepting his sexuality, Santiago finds comfort in his friends and club members who support him. He decided to become the GSA President this semester after last semester’s president failed to be active enough. “I thought, ‘I want to do this, and hopefully I can make a change,’” he said. “I really want to make an impact on someone’s life. Even just helping people is a start.”
and final session, students implement what they have learned by conducting outreach and educating others. The ultimate goal is to create public opinion leaders. These POLs teach the latest prevention techniques to their friends and family, raising awareness and reducing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and diseases. In the past, Martinez has taken POLs to events like the P.R.I.D.E. Festival in Long Beach and the LGBT Film Festival to conduct their outreach, keeping the program fun and interesting while spreading the word. “Man Up” is the Westside Family Health Center’s portion of a project that is already tried and true: Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions, or DEBI. The DEBI website touts that a personalized, behavioral intervention that is close to home is much more effective. According to their website, the DEBI project is designed to bring “sciencebased, community, group, and individual-
for completing the program, Martinez also brings in items to raffle as perks for other participants. During the first session of “Man Up”, 22 participants signed up for the program and nine completed it. And although less than half finished, Martinez says that it is promising to have nine more educators spreading knowledge of sexual health. Martinez has received positive responses from the SMC students he’s worked with thus far. “It gives them a sense of belonging to the bigger picture,” says Martinez. “Instead of being students who wander in and out and don’t make connections, it gives them something to be a part of.” George Carnero, a member of the SMC P.R.I.D.E. club and a theater major, completed the latest cycle of the “Man Up” session. He particularly felt that the “challenge exercises,” where participants of the program approach people and talk about STDs, was an interesting and helpful experience. “It teaches you to play it safe, to have confidence when in an uncomfortable situation with the person you are having sex with,” he said. “I recommend students to go through this program. It’s not only for gay people, but for everyone.”
‘Man Up’ Program initiates the conversation for safe sex By Bryn Woznicki Staff Writer Everybody’s doing it (and you know what “it” is). Although plenty of SMC students are sexually active, many may not know how easily S-E-X can turn into S-T-D. Eli Martinez of the “Man Up” program is looking to change this issue one student at a time. Martinez trains students on the ins and outs of STDs and prevention, while clearing up myths and misconceptions. Martinez has completed two cycles of “Man Up” with the P.R.I.D.E. and GSA clubs on campus, and completes his third training cycle with the F.I.E.R.C.E. club this week. “It’s an ongoing learning process,” says Martinez. “The educational process is three sessions, but is also left open for follow ups and revisits.” Martinez says that any past participants may return at any time to participate, and even when a cycle is not in session, he’ll check in with them on their journey. Session one is getting to know the program’s ultimate goal, what Martinez calls “HIV 101.” Session two explains STD myths and misconceptions in language that students can relate to. In the third
level HIV prevention interventions to community-based service providers and state and local health departments.” “They’re going to listen to [me] before they listen to a billboard on Sunset,” says Martinez, speaking of student preferences. This is why POLs are so vital to this program. Often outgoing individuals with a desire to help others, POLs share information they’ve learned with their friends and family, document these conversations and submit this documentation as part of the criteria for completing the program. Eli Martinez Martinez says that the “Man Up” program is directed toward men who identify themselves as gay, because they have been found to be the highest risk population. But Martinez says that now interest in the program has come from all corners of the LGBT community. “We open it up so everyone can learn from it,” says Martinez. Although men who have sex with men are the only “Man Up” participants who receive incentives
“Instead of being students who wander in and out and don’t make connections, it gives them something to be a part of.”
Wednesday May 26, 2010
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
LGBT activists say: ‘That’s so gay’ is so very passé By Jeremy Biglow Staff Writer “He’s such a Queer!” “That’s so gay.” These are sayings that have become too familiar within our contemporary dialect. More people are using and hearing negative language about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in a derogatory way or to simply imply something is disagreeable. With all of the LGBT pejoratives being said too casually, people should understand the potential consequences of the words chosen. These belittling words, while not intended to offend others, are offensive to someone that indentifies with the LGBT community. When offensive words such as “queer,” “gay,” “fag,” “dyke,” and “fruit” are used as a dysphemism for “lame,” it tends to become a habit that is often hard to drop. A Santa Monica College student who wished to remain anonymous found this name-calling benign. “I don’t think it is that big of a deal,” she said. “I have gay friends and I always say, ‘That’s so gay’ or jokingly call them queers. If it’s meant as a joke, then there should be no harm.” Today, these derogatory terms are more likely used with high school students than adults, even though adults are just as guilty of it. In high school, when young people are developing their identity, students are using terms like “fag” and “dyke” to identify each other when the other does something un-cool. According to “Think Before You Speak,” a website dedicated to raising awareness
about such derogatory terms, nine out of 10 LGBT students report being harassed at school in the last year. Over one-third of LGBT students have been physically assaulted at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. These offensive terms for homosexuals have long been used as insults. However, the definitions of these terms have become confusing recently with the constant attempt to popularize such terms like “queer,” “fruit” and “fag.” Gay rights advocates are trying to teach others that it is hurtful to use the word “gay” as an all-purpose term for something unlikable. With Public Service Announcements and the “Think before you speak” campaign, advocates are doing everything within their power to change the attitudes of people that use those terms negatively. According the Associated Press, Berkeley High was the site of such a campaign too. A school club passed out buttons to the student body that read, “That’s so gay” which was crossed out to get their fellow classmates to stop using the phrase. Even though gay activists and openly gay celebrities, such as comedienne Wanda Sykes, are doing what they can to stop the general public from using the slang “That’s so gay” it is almost as though people are ignoring the plea. Nancy Iglesias, an openly gay SMC student, expressed that even though she is homosexual she has become so accustomed to hearing others use these terms jokingly that it no longer offends her. “I know it’s not a personal attack, but it is bothersome that it is so engrained in our
culture these days,” she said. Since people are using homophobic terms as dysphemisms, it can hinder a person who is fighting an inner battle with their sexuality. A lot of people have a preconceived notion that you have an option to be gay. They often do not know the struggle it is to come to terms with
one’s sexuality. Create a more tolerable environment by dropping terminology like “That’s so gay,” and cease to belittle others by calling them “queer” or “fruits.” People should graduate from a primitive lexicon and educate themselves to use language that does not offend and has no negativity attached to it.
Gates has urged Congress to hold off on repealing the policy until the results of the recently commissioned survey could be studied. Gay-rights advocates claim that this is merely an attempt to stymie the repeal. Gates, however, flatly denies the accusation.
Now here is where it becomes complicated. While the theory behind DADT seems rightly ludicrous, perhaps in practice the policy, which is far from perfect, may still be the best available option. Created to prevent discrimination and
that DADT is discriminatory and unjust. But therein is the flaw in this argument… Public outcry is just that, public. The civilian world is a far stretch from that which the military system exists within. In the civilian world personal expression and individuality is heralded and embraced. In the military world, however, it is firmly unwanted, counterproductive, and a threat to the foundation which the entire system is built upon. Furthermore, according to a 2006 Zogby International poll, only 26 percent of enlisted service members support openly gay men and women serving in the military. It is the members of the armed services themselves who will solely bear the burden of adapting to any change in policy. It is critical that it is their voice being heard, rather than the collective voices of the civilian population and politicians who have never donned a uniform or stepped foot on a battlefield. That said, if the service men and women who are directly impacted by DADT desire the policy be repealed, then indeed it should be. However, if public opinion and political pressure are the only driving force behind such a movement, then DADT should remain in place. Our soldiers are spread thin enough as is. Creating policy that contradicts their wishes in order to appease the civilian population will only create dissention and negatively impact morale. And our brave service men and women deserve better than that.
Jhosef Hern Corsair
Leave the military, not civilians, to decide on gay policy By Tieg Slattery Staff Writer Since its inception in 1993, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has seemed unfair and backwards. Now in the current era of an enlightened and open-minded administration, Democratic Party pressure has Congress teetering on the edge of repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT). Initially touted as a victory for the LGBT community, DADT has more recently earned the ire of gay-rights advocates and raised the eyebrows of liberal-minded civilians with its utter ridiculousness. The recent increase in pressure from the White House, to repeal DADT, has now led the Pentagon into a quandary. You see, before instituting this type of sweeping personnel policy change, the Pentagon contends that it is necessary to compile massive amounts of information in order to limit the impact of such change on its existing service members. Here’s the problem, under DADT military brass and service members can neither ask the necessary questions, nor give the pertinent answers. In an attempt to fill the informational void left by 17 years of DADT, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently hired a private contractor to conduct an anonymous survey of 350,000 members of the armed forces on how to “limit the impact” of a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.
Jhosef Hern Corsair
In a May 6 letter to Carl Levin, the Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, Gates wrote: “The question is not whether the military prepares to make this change but how we…best prepare for it.” Unfortunately up until this point very little has been done to prepare for it.
to allow for equal opportunity, LGBT advocates originally celebrated DADT as a victory for gay rights. However, somehow over the years DADT went from being a gay-rights victory to an LGBT injustice. Recent public outcry has led to increased pressure to repeal the policy on the grounds
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
S P O RT S
Wednesday May 26, 2010
LA Rebellion: Blurring sexuality lines one tackle at a time
Daniel Ross Corsair Team president Bil Yoelin and head coach Will Tabor look on as Keegan Hornbeck, an interim coach at LA Rebellion Rugby Club, gives orders during training at Eagle Rock Recreational Center, Eagle Vista Dr., Calif.
By Daniel Ross Staff Writer Dusk is settling over Eagle Rock recreational center, baseball practice is all but over and the last antagonistic screams of an elementary school team’s answer to Yogi Berra are finally melting away into the night. Now it’s time for a real sport, played by some real men. The players of the Los Angeles Rebellion Rugby Club file onto the floodlit green. They’re pensive, a little apprehensive even; they’ve got a major international rugby tournament coming up and the season so far hasn’t gone quite as well as previous ones – the pressure’s on and the strain is showing. But one thing they shouldn’t have to worry about is being on the receiving end of any flak for fielding a team over half of whom are openly gay – but if someone does start something, then god help that person. “The other day, an opposing team player muttered something under his breath about a new rule being “the new gay rules,’” said Bil Yoelin, Rebellion’s president and a gay rugger. “So Ananais [Chairaz, a Rebellion player] walked up to him, took his number and during the course of the match laid him out – but he did it as part of the game, so it was cool.” Not to say comments of that ilk are common. During his eight years with the gay-friendly club, LA Rebellion head coach
Will Tabor says that he can remember only three instances of homophobia while with their league, the Southern California Rugby Football Union (SCRFU), “All the other clubs have been really accepting of us,” said Tabor, “it’s a league that has primarily straight players, we just happen to have quite a few gay players…but once that whistles blows all prejudices are forgotten.” LA Rebellion is a relatively new club.
in division three of the SCRFU, despite a couple of good years previously that saw them move up from division four. On the back of a season marred by injures, and with the Bingham cup – the world’s biggest non-pro gay rugby tournament – lurking just around the corner, they’ve called in reinforcements from the local Pasadena rugby club. “I’m the interim head-coach,” said Michael Bryant, a physician who, alongside
“All the other clubs have been really accepting of us...it’s a league that has primarily straight players, we just happen to have quite a few gay players, but once that whistles blows all prejudices are forgotten.”
Will Tabor, LA Rebellion head coach
Founded around the turn of the millennium by a former porn actor – no need for the jokes, they’ve already heard them – it has quickly found its footing. And part of this is due to the support shown by the local gay community, with bars such as The Eagle in Silverlake and Vermont in Los Feliz providing them with venues for fundraisers. Nevertheless, as a team still in its nascent stages of life, they have found it hard gathering momentum to push up through the ranks and are currently languishing
Hornbeck, has been drafted in from Pasadena. “I’m just here to see them through the [Bingham] Cup. With over 16 years of experience as a player before becoming a coach, Bryant has seen the way in which the sport has evolved over the years in its attitude towards people who are gay. He sees Rebellion as the perfect example of how this evolution has been for the better. “It’s less unusual than you think,” said Byrant, referring to the amount of gay rugby players who are active and participating,
“There’s a real desire nowadays to do away with any kind of prejudicial thinking…all you’ve got to do is look at the number of premier [rugby] players who are coming out of the closet.” “I’d say that about 50 percent of our players are gay, 40 percent are straight and about 10 percent are confused,” said Tabor, singling out the better looking of the straight players for inclusion in the “confused” box. Not that there is any division amongst the team by orientation; the players are united in their love of the game. “There’s a real fraternity feel in the club,” said Chairaz, a straight rugger in his third year with the club. “What’s interesting is that it’s the straight players who seem to get most of the comments from other clubs.” First and foremost, the LA Rebellion is a rugby club with hopes and dreams just like any other, and with every loss comes a strong sense of disappointment, cutting and deep. However, what they have managed to build in such a short space of time is something that transcends the typical notion of a sporting team: they have created a paragon that holds a mirror, albeit mud crusted, up to prejudice and hate, but in a manner that is neither condescending or confrontational - just equal. For more information, contact the LA Rebellion Rugby Club at www.larebellion. org.
Wednesday May 26, 2010
11 S P O RT S Gay athletes in an unknown league Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
The glare of the spotlight keeps gay athletes in the shadows. By Farhan Ali Staff Writer
Michael Zielinski Corsair SMC’s Alexandra Cohen running along the bluffs of the Palisades in preparation for an upcoming marathon.
SMC Weekly Fitness: Alex Cohen By Michael Mendoza Staff Writer Self-determination can allow a person to reach far beyond his or her own limitations. For SMC third-year student Alexandra Cohen, self-determination and hard work go hand-in-hand as she prepares for what could be a momentous day in her life. Cohen will be preparing for an upcoming marathon this October and she is looking forward to the challenge. “I’m just going to go with the flow and see if I can run to my expectations,” said Cohen. Previously a sprinter for her high school track team, Cohen is an experienced runner, but facing the element of endurance will be a new challenge placed in her path. “In high school I did four years of sprinting, so I’m totally unaware of long distance running,” said Cohen. “I have to just expect anything.” To prepare for the upcoming fall marathon, Cohen plans to train for both
the mental and physical aspect of the endurance-based run. “I prepare by doing a lot of running,” said Cohen. “The cardio is a crucial factor. The race is a lot of miles. I just have to get my lungs ready.” On top of strong conditioning, long distance running also requires muscle and the strength to endure an extensive amount of miles. “I do weightlifting to build strength in my arms and legs,” she said. “Building your cardio and muscle endurance helps you run through the lactic acid build-up and fight through the burning sensation.” For mental preparation, Cohen turns to yoga. “Practicing yoga helps me work on my concentration,” she said. “It also relaxes me and keeps my mind centered, while building my flexibility and muscle endurance at the same time.” With this amount of determination, nothing can stop Cohen’s momentum.
The country appears to be divided on whether or not people should utter the words “gay” and “sports” in the same sentence. Because of the taboo nature of the subject, it is difficult to fully determine the extent of homosexuality within the sports world. Bill Konigsberg, a writer for ESPN who is openly gay, published an article in which he claimed it was very difficult for a gay athlete to come out of the closet. “So why are we still here at step one, with nary a gay male athlete to look up to? I can answer that one: It’s scary. It’s scary to step out on a ledge where no one has been before.” And he has a point; it is incredibly difficult just to admit one’s homosexuality in the community, let alone while the media’s spotlight is fixated directly on one’s personal decisions. How many of us would have ever expected four-time Gold Medalist Greg Louganis to come out in 1994? Who could have expected David Slattery, former General Manager of the Washington Redskins in the 1970’s, to admit he’s gay in 1993? For these athletes, coming out can be one of the difficult decisions to make because of the possible effect it has on family, friends and fans. If an NBA superstar came out, how would that affect his fan base? Although many wouldn’t mind because of his oncourt performances, there might be an altered attitude towards him for the rest of his career. Basketball is a contact sport; and it’s that form of interaction that could be driving the majority of casual fans away from idea of homosexuality in athletics. Sports Illustrated reported that 65 percent of Americans felt more accepting of gay
athletes competing in non-contact sports such as golf or tennis and less accepting of gay athletes that compete in contact sports. In a Sports Illustrated survey of 979 random individuals this year, 62 percent of Americans believed that there is little coverage of gays in sports because America itself is not ready for that type of social buzz. America is incredibly divided on the issue. Forty-four percent of Americans believe it is a sin to engage in homosexual behavior, whereas 46 percent believe otherwise. America calls itself a free country with liberty for all, but by creating an environment that admonishes people for coming out, America has stripped people of the right to lead normal lives and subsequently earn money in a career field such as sports. “I’m an honest man. I do not lie about it, yet ironically by not saying anything I sometimes feel dishonest,” said Konigsberg. “Basically, my choice is either to correct people, or simply say nothing. I’ve done the latter. Until now.” Not everybody has the courage to admit who he or she is to the world without fear of retribution or alienation, and those who aren’t comfortable coming out should not be faulted. The blame should be placed on America for creating an environment of homophobia. America speaks out against the abuse of human rights, but often keeps quiet on crimes committed against the homosexual community, forcing them to live a lie. Sports athletes should have no fear, just as Konigsberg had no fear when he declared that he was gay. America: Go into the locker room and talk it over, shake it off and move on. Fans need to see progress and a successful game plan is currently being shut out.
CALENDAR A night of burlesque and costumes at Hamburger Mary’s 12
Corsair Newspaper Santa Monica College
By Tannaz Lavian Staff Writer Do you enjoy serenades tempered with the catty, witty, and outlandish lyrical stylings of dazzling drag queens? Have a hankering to be called ‘Sugar’ while chomping on a hamburger of epic proportions? Ever thought your Sunday night would simply be better if it were infused with the risqué performances of burlesque dancers under a disco ball? If you arrive early to Hamburger Mary’s Bar and Grille in West Hollywood on Sunday night you can have all of the above, and even play a little bingo. “Follies Burgere’s,” produced by Jeffrey Bolman, is a free two-hour weekly show that starts at 9 p.m and is hosted by Detox Icunt. She states, “Just like the detox center, I’m open 24/7.” The experience is one part stand-up comedy mixed with shots of singing, female burlesque dancers, and heavily garnished with falselashes to make a tasty and unforgettably strong theatrical concoction. Calpernia Addams, a curvaceous mainstay of the drag queen community, takes the stage in a brown faux-fur coat, a short blonde wig, and jeweled bra and panties. She proclaims, “All right girls, I’m looking to get laid tonight.” One after another, performers take the spotlit red-carpeted stage. Delilah DeMilo (her stage name), is a student of Santa Monica College’s Cosmetology program and a burlesque dancer of five years. She is all-woman by birth, and stunning as well. DeMilo showcases Snow White’s naughty side and literally takes a bite out of the apple of sin, while provocatively performing for the audience.
Wednesday May 26, 2010
As expected for a Sunday, there isn’t a huge crowd of patrons. However, those in attendance are eclectic and lively. Patrons keep it classy by tipping the performers with dollar bills placed into the entertainers’ creative ensembles. Every day of the week offers something different to restaurant goers, from “Monday Movie Night” to Karaoke Thursday nights. So even though Jacy McRae and his girlfriend Yasmin Santis have been to Hamburger Mary’s before, they have never seen anything quite like this. “It’s a questionable morality thing, I would definitely come again,” McRae said. “It’s sex in a martini glass,” Santis quipped. Deborah Longcraine, dressed in drag, came to California from England with a group organized by Jodie Lynn, owner of The Boudoir London, a dressing service for cross-dressing men. Longcraine stated, “The costumes are very professional and everyone was gorgeous. You can tell a lot of work went into it.” Eddie Delgar, one of the performers, unlike some of the other entertainers, has no interest in being a woman. He sees his work as being akin to Japanese Kabuki theater, a classic art of dramatic performance that has a strong emphasis on make-up. Delgar stated, “We are the abomination of drag.” At Hamburger Mary’s, bingo cards litter the ground, the lines for the bathrooms get long, the french fries could stand to be a lot more crispy, and if you’re not a gay man, the waiters may not be so attentive. But in the red-light sexy, atmosphere where plastic fish-netted legs are displayed as art, and with screens playing music videos by drag queens’ favorite triumvirate: Cher, Madonna, and Britney Spears well, Sugar, it’s hard not to have a good time.
Tannaz Lavian Corsair
Delilah DeMilo, a burlesque dancer, enchants the crowd as Snow White during “Follies Burgere’s” at Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood.
“The Normal Heart” continues to beat strongly after 25 years By John Stapleton IV Staff Writer Phoebe from the hit TV show “Friends” and Dr. McNamara from the equally popular “Nip/Tuck” were arguing about the lack of AIDS awareness when she called him a big mouth. “Is that a symptom?” he asked. “No,” she said, “It’s a cure.” To commemorate the 25th anniversary of “The Normal Heart,” Westwood’s Geffen Playhouse hosted a script reading for a onenight-only charity event, directed by original cast member Joel Grey. The reading was packed with contemporary celebrities like “Friends’” Lisa Kudrow and “Nip/Tuck” star Dylan Walsh. The rest of the cast included “The Closer’s” Jon Tenney, Clark Gregg from the blockbuster film “Iron Man 2,” and David Eigenberg of “Sex and the City” fame, to name a few. But the casts’ altruism far outweighed its celebrity: Each of the actors had cleared their schedules to be a big mouth for AIDS. It wasn’t until June 5, 1981, after over 100 people had already died from the virus, that the Centers for Disease Control finally declared an epidemic, and they did so only because the victims of this mysterious virus were no longer exclusively homosexuals, immigrants, or junkies. Anyone was now susceptible to this outbreak, and so it was finally given the non-discriminatory name Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Despite all of this, the epidemic went largely ignored by the media.
In 1985, outraged by the media’s negligence, and claiming the AIDS epidemic was “intentionally allowed to happen,” Larry Kramer wrote the play “The Normal Heart.” The play was written and debuted while this crisis was still gripping gay communities from New York to Miami to LA. The plot was not a hypothetical scenario, but a tragic transcription of the people and events that were permanently affected when closeted homosexuals refused to publicize the media’s discrimination, and when the media refused to publicize the gay community’s disease. “By our silence, we have helped murder each other,” said Kramer. Case in point: In 1982, a “Tylenol scare” took seven lives, garnering 54 New York Times articles in just three months. But over the 19 months following the Center for Disease Control’s announcement of an immune deficiency epidemic, The Times only published seven articles about the AIDS crisis. Over 1,000 Americans had perished by then. While it was a cold reading with no sets, no costumes and no rehearsals, performed by actors on an empty stage, the spirit of the show’s message more than compensated for the underwhelming performance. Actors like Eigenberg acknowledged that it was the message, not the performance, that was paramount. “If you listen to it, it works itself. I was in New York in ’84 and ’85 – and friends were dying,” said Eigenberg. “It’s not, it wasn’t, and it’s still not completely resolved.”