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MINARET PRIDE ISSUE

Gay Chic? Girls Accessorize with Token Gay Best Friends

Virtual Love LGBTQ in Video Games

ADOPTING BRODY A Same-Sex Couple’s Journey to a Family


MINARET

ISSUE 80.12 | PRIDE EDITION | NOVEMBER 2013 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF MANAGING EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR FACULTY ADVISER

Jessica Keesee Mia Glatter Natalie Hicks John Capouya

NEWS AND FEATURES Lauren Richey Katherine Lavacca ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT Justine Parks Jordan Walsh OPINION Annabella Palopoli Paola Crespo Richard J. Whitaker SPORTS Jordan Llanes Griffin Guinta PHOTOGRAPHY Casey Budd ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS Shivani Kanji| Brandon Caples SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR Vanessa Righeimer COPY EDITING Zoe Fowler

WRITERS

GRAPHIC DESIGN Donny Murray Wendy French

Khadijah Khan Chandler Callahan Jesse Long Shanice Carter Jake Koniszewski Jacki Guenther Jackie Braje Terry Preston Caitlin Malone Marcus Mitchell Richard Duh

PHOTOGRAPHERS Nick Behriger

MODELS

Paul Teresi Dylan Cassidy

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Wear Your Pride It’s the social issue of our generation, an issue that calls into question the inalienable rights granted to us by our forefathers. It’s an issue that looks at who we love. Well, more like their gender. And our gender. And if they’re the same, or if they’re different. It’s gay rights and it’s everywhere. It’s on our TV shows and in our music. It’s talked about in our morning papers and on the nightly news. It’s our neighbor down the street or the classmate that sits next to us. LGBTQ rights and those who associate themselves as LGBTQ are talked about now more than ever. It’s become easier to leave the closet and to love freely in this day and age, but in our country and around the world, our leaders and citizens are debating the legality of this very issue. For that reason, The Minaret has put together an issue dedicated to pride. Whether you’re straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, bi, asexual, pansexual or just still questioning, be proud of who you are. Love who you want to love. Our generation has an opportunity to make an impact. Gay rights are the civil rights of our time, and we are the key to marriage equality.

We bring you the Pride Issue.

A s PHOTO BY CASEY BUDD

We’ve explored LGBTQ rights and culture in the UT community and Tampa area through features on LGBTQ culture in our video games and sports teams. We’ve defined all sexualities, let LGBTQ students and faculty members tell their stories, and questioned the oh-so popular token gay friend. We offer a Christian perspective on acceptance without hatred, a story on the trials of gay adoption and a look at gay nightlife hotspots in Ybor.

JESSICA KEESEE

JESSICA KEESEE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

PAGE 4 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM

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defining sexuality By Jesse Long

Homosexual

Pansexual Heterosexual

A person who is sexually attracted to someone of his or her own gender, Often referred to as lesbian or gay.

Transgender

A person who identifies with a physical sex opposite of their biological sex. One often decides to undergo a medical treatment to change their biological sex. As a result, his or her sex will finally align with their gender identity.

The sexual attraction between members of the opposite sexes commonly referred to as straight.

Polysexual The sexual attraction to more than one gender. However, it is different from bisexuality because that implies that there are only two binary sexes. Polysexuality refers to the belief in more than two.

Definitions taken from amplifyyourvoice.org

The sexual attraction towards people regardless of gender. People of this sexuality are often referred to as gender blind, due to the fact that they believe gender is unimportant.

Bisexual

Someone who experiences a sexual attraction to both the opposite sex and the same sex.

Asexual

A person who does not experience sexual attraction or sexual interest toward others. Also known as nonsexuality. THE MINARET | PAGE 5


ADOPTING BRODY By Jessica Keesee

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“Your sister is gay,” my mom said. We were sitting at my kitchen table. I was in middle school. I didn’t fully understand the meaning, the gravity of what she said. The only definition of gay I knew was “happy.” “Okay,” I said. And I never gave it much thought after that. My sister is gay. I accepted it immediately. I never had an urge to judge, to question. I didn’t know that being gay meant a denial of some rights we all so easily take for granted. I didn’t know people were taking their lives because they were gay, or that they were tortured, harassed, bullied and even killed. I didn’t know who you liked mattered to people so much. After she came out, my half-sister Melissa Keesee would eventually meet the love of her life, Rebecca “Becky” Vann. They would decide to start a family, adopt their son Brody, now three years old, and eventually they would marry in Washington D.C. Although their love story parallels the ideal romances we grow up dreaming about and seeing in the movies, the process was far from ideal. Today in the U.S. and the world, same-sex marriage and adoption is still a battleground of discussion. In a country where all are supposedly granted equal rights under the Constitution, not all are really equal. Each state has its own laws governing gay adoption, and they can get pretty complicated. A 1977 Florida statute prohibited same-sex adoption, but in 2010, an appellate court ruling changed that, allowing my sister-in-law Becky to adopt my nephew Brody. But that ruling didn’t fix everything because today, Brody still only has one parent. Legally, at least. --Melissa, 39, didn’t come out until she was 25, right after she got out of the Marine Corps. She had been married to a guy before; I was the flower girl at the wedding. It was the ‘90s, and she had this giant satin dress with a beaded bodice and sleeves and she wore apple-red lipstick. It’s funny looking back on those photos knowing my sister now who’s more comfortable in her football jersey and cleats (she used to play women’s football for the Women’s Football Alliance team Orlando Anarchy) than she’d ever be in a ball gown wedding dress. There was no one in her high school who was gay, and it was never talked about in her family. Like other women like her, she was concerned and nervous to come out to her parents, but those feelings quickly dissipated. Her mom and our dad were “extremely accepting. Extremely,” Melissa said. “Which, there was a relief, but there was also a little bit of surprise, ‘cause you just don’t know how they’re going to react. Nowadays, it’s just so much different than even 15 years ago. I mean people are openly out. Hell, in the military now and allowed to be. Fifteen years ago I would have been court-martialed if I would have came out.” Becky, 40, knew a lot sooner than Melissa and came out after graduating high school. THE MINARET | PAGE 7


The two would eventually meet in October 2006 at the local mall they both worked at. Melissa was the director of security, and Becky was a manager for a cell phone company. Melissa would walk around, talking to tenants at the various stores and kiosks. “I’d go up to her to talk, and I’d talk to her employees... She was the only one that wouldn’t talk to me,” Melissa said, Becky laughing next to her. The two of them are sitting on a comfy, taupe couch in their living room, in their charming Lakeland home. They’re both in men’s jeans, V-necks and matching flip flops. Becky has a new hairdo, a short and spiky pixie cut. A cherry-tree-shaped lamp glows warmly behind them, a gift Melissa gave to Becky along with their marriage license. They married on Feb. 6, 2012 in Washington D.C., five years in to their relationship. The lamp represents the cherry trees that grow in Washington D.C. --Becky has known forever that she wanted to be a parent. Melissa, on the other hand, hasn’t. “I didn’t,” Melissa laughs. “[Becky’s] the only person I’ve ever wanted to have kids with.” Becky tried to get pregnant herself for close to a year through artificial insemination. The couple had been together for about three or four years at that point. They tried getting pregnant eight or nine times, driving out to Tampa to visit fertility specialists. Becky’s eggs were fresh, but nothing was taking. After their third attempt, they took a break. “It was the hardest month ever,” Becky said. “Just waiting and hoping then it not happening.” It was all timing. Everything was “medically great” with Becky, according to the fertility specialist. It just wasn’t the right time. The last time they tried, before they even knew if it had worked, Becky’s cousin came to the couple and told them she was pregnant. She knew she couldn’t keep the baby, that she couldn’t raise him, and asked if they’d be willing to. They said yes. It was a nine month process from the day Brody was born. They named him, filled out his birth certificate and brought him home that day, but he still wasn’t legally their child. Florida Statute 63.042(3) stated, “No person eligible to adopt under this statute [the Florida Adoption Act] may adopt if that person is homosexual.” Melissa and Becky still went through the process, a long process which includes a home study and post-placement report. In the home study, a worker from the adoption agency visits the home of the applicant trying to adopt; in this case, it was just Becky going through with the adoption. The worker does background checks, inspects the home and checks for a criminal history before approving the adoption. These visits occurred once a month and sometimes unannounced. Because of the Florida statute, Becky instead asked for long-term care because she knew the court would deny her

adoption. They didn’t want to risk that and have the court try to place Brody with someone else. “The judge didn’t like that,” Becky said. “He said, ‘No. this child needs to be adopted.’” Because Brody was about a month old at the time the couple first went to court, the judge was insistent on finding him a permanent home. He asked if Becky was willing to adopt. Melissa was in the back of the courtroom thinking, “Just say yes.” And Becky did. Had she said “no,” she wouldn’t have looked committed to care for Brody. But by saying “yes,” she knew her and Melissa would have to work through a lot. They were up against a law that said because of their sexuality, they couldn’t adopt their son. Despite that, they were willing to try whatever they could. “We came home after just choosing to say ‘yes, I want him regardless of what we have to go through and the risks,’” Becky said. “And they could have said no.” That same day, on Sept. 22, 2010, Becky and Melissa received a text from a family member urging them to turn on the news. Governor Charlie Crist was announcing an appellate court decision out of the Third District Court of Appeals in Miami that had overturned the statute, finding it unconstitutional to deny somebody the right to adopt solely based on their sexuality. The case involved a man, Frank Martin Gill, who was the foster parent to two children. Gill was openly gay, and under Florida law at the time, homosexuals could serve as foster parents but could not adopt. In fact, Florida was the only remaining state to have an explicit, outright ban on gays and lesbians adopting. In 2007, Gill petitioned the court to adopt the children, after the natural parents’ parental rights were terminated. He asked the court to find the statute banning gays and lesbians from adopting unconstitutional as it “violates his rights to equal protection, privacy, and due process.” Gill was granted the adoption, but the state of Florida appealed. The decision was upheld in the appellate court, and the statute was out. From that point on, any single gay or lesbian could adopt a child in the state of Florida. But couples? Well, the appellate decision was based on a single gay man’s adoption, not a couple’s. Robert Webster is an attorney at Jeanne T. Tate law firm in Tampa, a firm that focuses on adoption. Webster, a University of Tampa alum who graduated in 2005, handles same-sex adoptions at the firm. “If you are a single, gay or lesbian and you want to adopt in Florida, you can absolutely do that now with no problem,” Webster said. “The question now becomes, after you adopt, can your partner then adopt, and we call those second-parent adoptions.” A big question, indeed. “Because the court could only go as far as the facts allowed

“It has nothing to do with your sexuality. ... There’s plenty of people that just don’t care enough about their kids or don’t make them a priority. It has nothing to do with who you’re having sex with.” -Melissa

PAGE 8 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM


it to go... that even if they wanted to say same-sex couples could adopt, they were only presented with the facts of the case which was a gay, single man adopting,” Webster said. According to Webster, various counties in Florida have approved several second-parent or joint adoptions since the 2010 decision, like Miami Dade County and Hillsborough. But other more conservative counties are denying second-parent adoptions. Becky was granted the adoption on May 17, 2011, but she and Melissa were fearful to disrupt the process and try for a joint adoption. They didn’t want to lose Brody. They also knew that if they married in another state, even though Florida does not recognize same-sex marriages, their chances would still be better. So they married in February 2012, and six months ago my sister applied for a second-parent adoption. None had been approved in Polk County where they resided before. The judge denied it. --They may have been denied once, but Melissa isn’t done trying for a second-parent adoption. She’ll try again through either Tampa or Orlando rather than Polk County, but she’ll have to do the home study all over again. If Florida recognized same-sex marriage, then the process would be much easier. Melissa would be recognized as a relative of Becky’s rather than “a legal stranger,” as Webster

put it. In that case, she wouldn’t need a home study, which is costly and time consuming, and everything could be done in one proceeding. “It has nothing to do with your sexuality,” Melissa said. “If you’re a decent human being and you care, I mean how many people have you seen whether they’re single parents, whether it’s a mom and a dad, whatever, there’s plenty of people that just don’t care enough about their kids or don’t make them a priority. It has nothing to do with who you’re having sex with.” --“It’s life-changing,” Becky said on becoming a parent. “He’s perfect for us.” And Brody is a normal three-year-old, running around with his shirt off, talking up a storm, playing with the toy cars and Superman action figures that litter his room, a monkey and jungle theme full of bright greens and blues. He’s pretty smart for his age too, but I’m impartial as his aunt. The three of them are in the backyard. Becky is putting a shark-styled helmet on Brody’s head. He’s pouting. “You’re messing up my hair,” he says, referring to his platinum do. Becky laughs. Brody gets on his tricycle and rides around as Becky and Melissa stand over him, arm and arm, staring down at their son with two matching smiles on their faces. He’s a normal kid, really; he happens to have two moms.

THE MINARET | PAGE 9


“Out” in the community Jake Racaniello Junior Sociology Major Identifies as: Asexual The Minaret: Was it difficult to come out as being asexual? “Honestly, it was really relieving. Before, I had always thought there was something wrong with me personally. I thought it was maybe low testosterone or something physically or medically wrong, or something was broken, which didn’t lead to a great mental state for me. So finding out there was a community for it, and it wasn’t just me, and I wasn’t broken was really phenomenal.”

M: Was the community you were in when you came out accepting of you? “Which one coming out? You come out to so many people so many different times in your life, and you’re constantly coming out because you’re always assumed to be straight. Every place you go you have to come out or not come out depending on what the situation is like. It’s not just one coming out story, it’s a process, it’s multiple stories.”

By Chandler Callahan

Audrey Colombe (On the right)

Doctor of English Identifies as: Prefers No Labels

M: Was the community you were in when you came out accepting of you? “I was living in New York, and when I was there I was sort of doing the ‘Bi’ thing. I had girlfriends and I had boyfriends. I never made any big announcement. I’ve really always hated the labels. I made a conscious decision towards my partner, and I had made that conscious decision with men before that. I had two potentially ‘longer-thanthey-should-have-been’ relationships with men. And then I met my current partner and we’ve been together almost 20 years. I still to this day have reservations about the expectations that labels serve. But I have to say that part of what attracted me to being a ‘lesbian’ was that I was on the edge. I was outside. I’ve always been fine with not getting married. It’s never been important to me, and I think that’s because of my family. I have six what I would call “parental units.” I never experienced the firm definitions of the nuclear family; we were always outside the box. So I was never looking to get married. In my experience, you do what you’re doing because you find value in it yourself, not because of what others call it.”

M: What advice do you have for people struggling with accepting their own and others’ sexuality?

PAGE 6 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM PAGE 10 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM

“Find a safe place, find a happy place. A place where you can be yourself. Always have that, because part of your life will be committed to ‘missionary’ work and you need to be able to also get away from that pressure. You need to have a comfortable, safe place to recharge, a place where you aren’t defending yourself. And try not to assume offense. Taking easy offense is as useless as being offensive.”


Gary Luter (On the right)

Doctor of Speech, Theatre, and Dance & Director of Honors Program

Identifies as: Homosexual M: How do you deal with the negativity and those opposed to same-sex marriage/lifestyle? “I attempt to educate them. Visibility is very important. We have to be out and open. It is a problem the gay community has always faced. For the most part, our minority status is invisible, so we must become visible in being LGBTQ. It is necessary if there’s ever going to be progress. It’s because we can hide our minority status if we choose to, that the ‘closet’ exists. There would be no ‘closet’ if we were visible. And there can be no progress with the ‘closet’ door closed.”

M: What advice do you have to people struggling with accepting their own and others’ sexuality? “I tell students: if you think coming out, especially to your parents, is in anyway going to be harmful to you, they’re going to no longer support you in getting a higher education at The University of Tampa, you’ll no longer be welcomed at home, then don’t come out to them. You’ll soon be an adult, and you’ll be independent, and you can give whatever shape you want to your life. I know it’s difficult for the students because they get here and college is a unique experience, a time of selfdiscovery, especially for sexual minority youth. They were uncomfortable in high school and uncomfortable in their parents’ home. It’s surprising how many of them grew up in small towns where there were no support services for LGBTQ youth. Then they get here, a relatively good-sized city, for the most part a gay-friendly place, and they want to come into their own personhood. My thinking, just from talking to LGBTQ students, is that the majority of them are not out to their parents. But on campus they’re out, and they’re active, and they want to be advocates for full civil liberties for gay and lesbian Americans, but they can’t proclaim that kind of advocacy at home because it puts them too much at risk. It’s one of the things that I think GLTSBA does for UT students --it gives them an outlet to discuss these kinds of issues with other students who are in the same predicament.”

Merci’ Ovard

Sophomore Environmental Science Major Identifies as: Lesbian

M: What age were you when you came out? “Some people come out as one big step, and for others it takes time to come out. It comes in stages. There’s a point when you have to admit it to yourself, and I think when I admitted it to myself I was about 15. I always kind of knew, but that was when I accepted myself. I came out to my parents when I was 18, and ever since then I’ve been out of the closet.”

M: Do you have any pet peeves regarding people’s attitudes toward same-sex couples? “I feel like lesbians have a lot of stereotypes that just drive me nuts. The crude questions like, ‘how do you know if you’ve never been with a guy?’ That question is just not okay. I think the worst one is when people ask ‘how do lesbians have sex?’ Of all the questions, that’s just the one I dislike the most. I feel like you need to be really close and comfortable with someone to ask that. And people that are just rude about it. I’m not gay because it didn’t work with guys, it didn’t work with guys because I’m gay.”

THE MINARET | PAGE 11


Take A Walk Through

GayBOR

By Katherine Lavacca and Lauren Richey

GAYBOR central

Carrie West and his partner Mark first opened a store called the Suncoast Resort in St. Petersburg selling books, DVDs and CDs. They have opened a second store in Ybor, and their whole lineup is now clothing. They now offer swimwear, shorts and a lot of great shirts, and they carry the top names in underwear. According to West, Ybor was a really popular place for gays until the community kicked them out in 1993. When asked if the LGBTQ rights movement that has been spreading across the country has changed the community’s support, West replied, “No, I don’t think it’s changed because of that. We made the community change. Either help us, join us, or get out of our f***ing way. We still walk into places that tell us ‘we don’t want to be a part of your f*gg*t organization.’ Well, okay, then don’t ask us for any help.”

Hamburger Mary’s

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Michael Wilson has worked as the general manager at Mary’s since its opening four years ago in December 2009. “90 percent of our business is straight. We consider ourselves a neutral zone for everybody. Mary’s caters to the gay community, but it is not thrown in your face,” Wilson said. According to Wilson, the first Mary’s opened in San Francisco in 1972 by a group of people. The last surviving owner today is Bob Charles. Mary was a character created by the original owners in 1992. There was no ‘Mary’ to begin with. It was just a diner in San Francisco that drag queens frequented. It’s a term in the gay community to address others like ‘Come on Mary’ or ‘Mary, please.’ The owner decorated it out of a thrift store and now all stores reflect that same type of look. It has catered to celebrities such as Alexis Mateo and Alisa Summers, both contestants in Ru Paul’s Drag Race.


Bradley’s on 7th Bradley’s on 7th was the brain child of the owner Bradley Nelson, which he created on March 4, 2011. According to Nelson, Bradley’s was the first bar in Ybor to have a happy hour. It also has an amateur strip contest once a week with $200 in cash and prizes, and there are drag shows every Friday and Saturday. Bradley’s MC Joey Brooks is a Tampa native and has been working as an employee since he was 17 years old. Nelson said that Brooks has traveled the world from Rio to London to Amsterdam and many other major cities performing at high-end clubs and events. Today, Brooks headlines at Bradley’s as the show director and MC. Bradley’s on 7th is open 365 days a year. Happy Hour is every day from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. with 2-for-1 deals.

GBAR AND hONEYpOT HoneyPot According to the Ybor Clubs website, HoneyPot features a huge wooden dance floor with circuit DJs, singers, TV reality star appearances, unbelievable shows by The Steam Girls and all-male revenue shows. Also enjoy their multi-million dollar 3-story venue.

GBar

is gay owned and operated. It has a full video bar and a big dance room complete with all-intelligent lighting and a laser show along with a great stage for concerts. According to the Ybor Clubs website, they are open five nights a week with various drink specials and events for each night. They are located at 1401 E. 7th Ave. THE MINARET | PAGE 137 THE MINARET | PAGE


Gay Marriage Across the U.S. By Khadijah Khan

california

Nikki Palmer

Legend

“I strongly believe that gays should have the right to marry. After the repeal of Proposition 8. I am proud to say that I am from California where people are judged for the content of their character, not by their sexual orientation.�

States that recognize gay marriage States that do not recognize gay marriage


Lillian Cousins Maine Aaron Betancourt

“A lot of people in Maine are older people who have retired. They’re more conservative and have an old-fashioned way of thinking. I think it’s important for the government to let them

know the facts about gay marriage.”

New York

“I know that in New York we passed the gay marriage law, and gay and lesbian couples are allowed to adopt. I know what the general law is about and the general information about how it affects those involved.”

New Jersey

“I feel like I am well informed about gay and lesbian rights because I live in New Jersey, and it’s a very prominent issue there. I feel that all of the states do a great job making sure their citizens are aware.”

Rachel Christ

Florida “I feel like people should not be shown hatred because of who they love. Everyone should be given the same equality and rights despite race, religion or who they want to marry.”

Heather Muse

THE MINARET | PAGE 15


BOOKS

By Shanice Carter “I don’t really consider myself to be a lesbian or bisexual for that matter. I’m typically only sexually attracted to guys… but there was just something different about Rachel.” USF students Jane and Rachel, who have each asked that their names be changed, have been dating for almost three years. Rachel, 19, is a lesbian--but Jane, 20, considers herself to be straight. “I don’t find the female body to be ‘sexy,’” said Jane as she sat close to Rachel on the living room sofa of her Brandon apartment. She has dark brown eyes, long brunette hair streaked with blonde and a strong yet feminine athletic build. She wore skinny jeans and a tight-fitting white blouse. “Girls don’t really turn me on, you know? I can just look at a hot guy and there’s instant attraction, but that’s never happened to me with any female. But then Rachel came along.” The couple met three years ago at Bloomingdale High School during their flag football tryouts, but up until recently, Jane had been keeping their relationship a secret. “No one knew about us. My parents were unaware for the longest time. My brother. I didn’t even tell my friends,” Jane said. “Rumors started going around about me being a lesbian my senior year in high school… I’d always tell my friends they weren’t true. They never even questioned me when I started hanging out with Rachel more often. Maybe because we were teammates.” “I dress like a guy so everyone knows I’m definitely a lesbian,” Rachel said with a smile. She wore her long blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, loose fitting Levi 501s, sneakers and a sports T-shirt. “I’m sure people started speculating at a point. Even though we were teammates, me and Jane spent a lot of time together.” Rachel was fine with Jane keeping their relationship a secret for the first year, but after some time, being introduced as a “friend” began to annoy her. She asked that Jane finally reveal the truth about their romance. “I started with my friends,” Jane said. “I called my oldest friend and told her to meet me at the mall. We met up and I sat her down and told her that I was dating a girl… and I had been dating this girl since before we graduated high school. Her only question to me was ‘So, you’re lesbian or bi, right?’ ‘No,’ was my response. ‘I’m just in love with Rachel. I’m straight.’” Is there a title for people in same-sex relationships who do not consider themselves to be gay, lesbian or bisexual? University PAGE 16 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM

of Tampa’s sociology of sexualities professor Jason Sumerau doesn’t think so. “People in same-sex relationships that don’t identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual tend to fall between our current sexual categories,” Sumerau said. “In an examination of AfricanAmerican lesbian women in NYC, for example, Dr. Mignon Moore found women who identified as the following: in the life, hetero-identified lesbians, women loving woman, same-gender-loving and sexually fluid women. In all such cases, women engaged in same-sex partnerships without necessarily identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual.” There are many possible reasons for people not wanting to identify with a certain sexual orientation even though they may partake in same-sex activities. “Generally, the most common reasons someone will engage in same-sex activity without identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual rely heavily upon their perceptions of sexual minorities and the discrimination, stigma and fear our society directs at non-heterosexuals,” Sumerau said. “At other times, people simply wish to avoid the negative treatment people deal with daily when they live openly gay, lesbian and/or bisexual lives, and one way to avoid this is to attempt to avoid the label.” “Now, my parents always say: ‘When Jane was normal,’ ‘I miss the old Jane’ or ‘We should have let her out of the house more,’ and so on…” Jane said. “My friends have said that I’m in denial or that I’m trying to lessen the anger that my family may have towards me, but stating that I am straight but in love with a girl has not spared me any backlash from my family. I’m not in denial. I’m not a lesbian, and I’m not bisexual.” There are many people in the same situation as Jane, and, according to Sumerau, many situations like this are not unusual and are actually quite common. “The practice you describe is not new, historically speaking, but it has gained more attention in recent years (academically and in the media) in much the same way lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual and asexual practices and experiences have gotten more notice,” Sumerau said. Jane, however, does not consider herself to fit into any of these labels. “If I knew what to label myself as, I would,” Jane said. “But, for now, I consider myself to be straight but in a same-sex relationship. Love shouldn’t need a label anyway.”


GAY CHIC? Girls Accessorize with Token Gay Best Friends By Vanessa Righeimer

THE MINARET | PAGE 17


As soon as Tom walked into my friend’s party, all of my girlfriends dropped what they were doing to fawn over him and greet him at the door. He was the only guy at the New Year’s party that followed the black and white, semiformal dress code. His gorgeous smile seamlessly complimented his skinny tie and fitted dress pants. I watched as my friends fought over him for a welcoming embrace. No, this wasn’t the guy that all the girls wished to kiss when the clock struck 12 and the ball dropped. This desired relationship was a lot more permanent and committed than that. This sharply dressed, handsome young man served as the token gay best friend that many of my friends aspired to have. As my friends chattered with the host about how they wished they had a gay best friend like Tom, I found myself agreeing with them. I mean, how could you not? A gay best friend can be the perfect guy friend because you never have to worry about what you say around them or if you’re leading them on. And for the most part, you don’t have to worry about them getting jealous of who you’re dating. But lately, this fetish has me thinking about how gay males actually feel about this role that straight girls often put them in. Television shows like Sex And The City and Will and Grace glamorized the straight female and gay male relationship almost to a point that it seems some girls long for a gay best friend only to serve as a sparkly accessory to have when shopping. Do girls seek out these males simply because they’re gay, or are they genuinely drawn to their personality despite their sexuality? By choosing a friend because they are gay, you are placing them in a stereotype that Hollywood has created. But having a gay friend does not automatically mean you will constantly have a shopping buddy or someone to go to a Lady Gaga concert with. Being gay doesn’t necessarily mean you have those qualities or interests. Any successful friendship comes down to how compatible your personalities are, not by a label given to you by your sexuality, race or gender. Thomas Dearnley-Davison is a British freelance writer who specializes in blogs relating to television shows and movies. However, after British supermarket Tesco began selling inflatable “gay best friend” dolls packaged in a rainbow patterned box, Davison decided to compose an editorial for the online magazine, XoJane , about how women view gay men as accessories. Dearnley-Davison, an openly gay 26-yearold, commented on how even his closest female friends place him in a certain gay stereotype in which he often cannot match up to. “I’m not here exclusively to take you shopping and gab about the new Rihanna video, because friendships

aren’t about ticking off lists or expectations and stereotypes,” Dearnley-Davison said. “Friendships are based on mutual love, respect and understanding.” However, he did acknowledge all the good that has come out of straight female and gay male friendships, mainly because it provided the gay community with their first and probably strongest gay-straight alliance. He believes that as a LGBTQ presence continues to grow in the media, more diverse gay characters will be introduced, and perhaps this stereotypical fantasy that straight females have of gay men will start to change. Stephanie Gilbert, a junior at UT majoring in government and world affairs, considers her gay friend Harrison from back home to be one of her closest friends. She described her relationship with Harrison like many of us would describe any of our best friends. “We speak every day,” Gilbert said. “We’re always there for each other, and I would do anything for him.” Gilbert went on to describe what they do together when she’s back at home. “We’ll often get dinner, go out to drinks, go shopping and hang out with our other friends,” Gilbert said. “I would say the only difference between what I do with Harrison and my straight friends is go shopping. There isn’t really anything else that I would do with Harrison, that I can’t do with my straight friends.” As she described her friend with such fondness, it was clear that their relationship was genuine and not built on the superficial aesthetics that may prompt some females to pursue a friendship with a gay guy. Gilbert did note that she often hears girls objectify gay guys as token friends. “I hear comments like, ‘I wish I had a gay friend’ all the time,” Gilbert said. “I think it comes from girls thinking that all gay men are going to be extremely feminine, which most are not. Television and media have created an ideal image of the perfect gay best friend, and I think that that feeds into women and girls wanting this type of relationship.” Dylan Cassidy, a senior marketing major at UT, had mixed emotions on the matter. Cassidy, who has been out as a gay male for almost 10 years, noted that most of his closest friends were, in fact, female. But this did not mean he wanted to fall into the stereotype the media has shaped for him. “A lot of times when I meet girls, the second they find out I’m gay their face lights up and often times exclaim, ‘Oh my god, I’ve always wanted a gay BFF!’” Cassidy said. “I also hear, ‘Oh my god, can you be my shopping buddy?!’ I am automatically turned off if this is the first thing I hear from a girl.” Cassidy continued to explain his frustration of being gay and getting thrown into the gay stereotype.

choosing a friend “Bybecause they are gay, you are placing them in a stereotype that Hollywood has created.

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“I am Dylan, and I have my own individual characteristics, and I sometimes hesitate to identify myself in the gay community because a lot of assumptions come with it,” Cassidy said. “I refuse to be the ‘token gay best friend,’ although sometimes I am placed in this role, and it is beyond my control.” Cassidy brings up a great point. All humans want to be viewed as individuals and not clumped into some predetermined category. Does a black person want to be known as your token black friend? Probably not. When people introduce themselves, they first tell you their names. They don’t say, “Hi, I’m black!” or “Hi, I’m a privileged white heterosexual male!” We don’t do this because we know that there is so much more to us than a stereotype. Cassidy continued to point out a more valid reason as to why he believed gay guys made such good friends for girls. “A lot of us have struggled before with identifying ourselves and finally making the decision to come out of the closet,” Cassidy said. “Because of this, we are naturally empathetic due

to the pressure of figuring out our true selves.” For this reason alone, I can understand why females may value a friendship with someone who is gay, but this is usually a quality a true friend will hone in on during the time of their friendship, not initially slapped along with the label of a shopping buddy. The quality of empathy is something any person could value in a friend, so it should not limit this friendship to be a strictly female/gay male relationship. Showing support for the LGBTQ community and forming a gay/straight alliance can be extremely beneficial. This November, Illinois became the latest U.S. state to pass a gay marriage law. Many of the people sitting in the courtroom that day most likely had a gay friend or family member that prompted them to help vote on such an important bill. However, when you stereotype a gay guy to meet the needs of your Sex And The City fantasy “bestie,” you are limiting the diversity among the LGBTQ community and actually strengthening the stereotypes many bigots have already placed on them. Any friendship should be genuine and not seen as the latest trend.


SEX On sTage LOSING YOUR VIRGINITY FOR THE SAKE OF ART By Terry Preston

Everyone who has had sex has a story about how they lost their virginity. Usually being an important moment, it is rare that one forgets their first time. Oftentimes losing one’s virginity is essentially a quick shot in the dark lasting a few short pumps and a few minutes of silence after completion. This private encounter is later recounted to close friends over drinks and college sleepovers. Nineteen-year-old art student Clayton Pettet’s experience with virginity will be more unique: he plans to lose his virginity on stage. According to The Daily Star, Pettett, a student at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London, plans to have gay sex for the first time--in front of an audience of 50 to 100 people on Jan. 25, 2014. In this art showcase titled “Art School Stole My Virginity,” Pettett and an anonymous partner will have sex until completion. I hope this audience is ready for a long show. Sex, especially gay sex, is difficult for the first time—and Pettett is going to discover this in front of a captive audience. It does not just happen. It does not “go in” easily, and it is not a smooth experience. Pettett has just invited a group of strangers to witness the most awkward encounter of his life. Speaking from personal experience, I fear that Pettett’s audience will suffer through the seemingly endless moments of “are you okay?,” “go slower,” “stop! wait!,” “ouch” and “is it over yet?” Hopefully the theater sells refreshments so the audience can stock up on soda and popcorn because it’s going to be a long show. When informed about Pettett’s plans for his art showcase, some UT students were shocked. “Really, world? Really?” asked Djenee Dunn, a senior advertising major. “I still think that virginity is something that’s sacred that you shouldn’t want other people to see. I don’t think he’s going to go through with it. There’s no way.” Pettett views his project as an examination of the societal view of virginity. “Basically it’s like I’m losing the stigma around virginity,” Pettett told The Daily Star. “I want the audience to see if anything has PAGE 20| THEMINARETONLINE.COM

changed between me and my partner. Since culturally we do hold quite a lot of value to the idea of virginity I have decided to use mine and the loss of it to create a piece that I think will stimulate interesting debate and questions regarding the subject.” But what is the stigma around virginity? Have Millennials kept the idea of virginity sacred? Junior advertising major Caitlin Olewinski considers herself to be old-fashioned. “I feel like most people don’t care too much about their virginities, but it’s still something that matters to me,” Olewinski said. “I want my first time to be special. I wouldn’t throw it away.” For our generation, it seems like virginity is now viewed as something that one sets out to lose rather than save for the right person. It is treated almost as a contagious plague, leaving those holding onto their virginities as social outcasts. However, women are expected to hold either the innocence of a virgin or have the sexual experience of a call girl. It is not as common for women to be scolded for partaking in premarital sex, though slut shaming (the belittling of women based upon their perceived promiscuity) remains a reality. According to The Daily Star, Pettett views virginity as a term used only to determine the premarital value of a woman. In his performance, Pettett aims to destroy the current concept of virginity and its “heteronormative” definition. As a result, he seeks to explore whether or not there is a moment of loss for men, as there supposedly is for women, when losing their virginity. Following this moment, men are expected to have sex again–– and again, and again, and again–– and their behavior is encouraged. Slut shaming is a rare occasion for men. Rather, their sexual promiscuity is praised. Sophomore allied health major Mike Santacroce recognizes the double standard. “I think that on a personal level losing your virginity as a guy is a big deal because it’s like ‘I finally lost it,’ but in terms of society everyone just seems to think ‘oh, you didn’t lose it already?’”


Santacroce said. “It’s definitely a double standard, because when a girl loses her virginity she’s judged while guys are praised for it.” It is expected in this society that men should be “experienced” and give themselves to as many women as possible, while women are to give themselves to only one man. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that this simply does not add up. Though unfair, men are encouraged to act fast and loose, and women are told to stay tight. Because the loss of male virginity is commonly a rat race rather than a prolonged event, it is not unlikely that the event itself would be viewed as insignificant. The dirty details are spared. Instead, it only matters that the man is no longer a virgin without any regard to the partner, circumstance or other details. For men, an emotional attachment to their virginity is relatively uncommon compared to women. Their goals lie only in losing their virginity, intentionally removing themselves from the force responsible for their shame and finding themselves on the other side of the social circle. This is why Pettett views the loss of male virginity as an “undetectable moment in time.” Pettet explained to The Daily Star that men experience no physical change, and therefore any evidence of virginity simply is not real. In Pettett’s case, there is a lot more that he needs to worry about than a single moment of change. Although there is no breaking of the hymen in gay sex, there are a multitude of complications associated with gay sex. There is a lack of natural lubrication, and the human body must adapt to the act. The first time is always the worst—and that’s the time that Pettet has selected to share with a cluster of strangers. The purpose of “Art School Stole My Virginity” furthers to ask the overarching question: Does virginity actually exist? Sure, there is proof in women that at one point the hymen is broken—but the hymen doesn’t have to be broken during sex. If a woman breaks her hymen from, say, masturbating before ever having sex, she has not lost her virginity by society’s definition. There remains no physical evidence of her so-called “innocence” but as never having had intercourse, she can be defined as nothing other than a virgin. Rather, she is viewed instead as “impure.” She has experienced sexuality but never at the hands of another individual, so she is then the modern man’s ideal woman. Either way, she is the same individual, and the presence (or lack thereof) of her virginity does not change who she is as a person. After the loss of Pettet’s idea of virginity, the performance will end with a question and answer session with the audience to discuss whether or not there have been any changes in himself, his relationship or the perception of his life altogether. The panel is designed to allow a group of strangers to realize, together, that virginity is only an idea. Pettet must have a high tolerance for shame. After losing my virginity, I don’t think I would have been able to immediately answer questions to strangers—especially not if I knew that they had all seen every detail of that encounter and then some, such as my facial expressions. Rather, I’d have to ask the audience questions so I could improve my game for the next time around. In all seriousness, though, there is no way I could face an audience after that. I would much sooner run off of the stage and hide. Overall, I think that Pettet is making a mistake. The subject of virginity could much more easily be discussed to find resolution rather than having to share such a personal moment in a public setting, which will then travel throughout national news headlines, the Internet and its countless blogs until he has lost any sense of privacy. This is a project that might seem like a good idea at first, but when all is said and done, Pettet is probably going to regret it. THE MINARET | PAGE 21


Growing

up

in a religious home meant being taught from day one that marriage is solely supposed to be between a man and a woman. I basically grew up with this idea that anything different was wrong. To most, it probably sounds like I didn’t have much of a choice and that my position on gay marriage was forced on me. Maybe at first it was, but as I grew old enough to understand what the LGBTQ lifestyle was about and why my religion was so against it, I was able to make my own decision. Mark 10:6-9 says, “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Because of that verse and my religious beliefs, I choose not to support the LGBTQ lifestyle and do not think they should have the right to legally get married or adopt children. However, this does not mean that I think it is okay to be disrespectful toward anyone that participates in the LGBTQ lifestyle or anyone that chooses to support it. It just means that I believe the lifestyle they have chosen to be wrong, but that doesn’t make them a horrible person in my eyes. God gave every one of us a free will PAGE 22 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM

Can We Co-Exist? A Christian’s View on Homosexuality: Acceptance Without Hate

By Caitlin Malone


?

so that we could choose to live our lives the way we wanted. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way.” Being a part of the LGBTQ lifestyle is a conscious choice; God didn’t create us one way or the other but decided to give us the power to choose. And I have chosen to disagree with their lifestyle, but in a peaceful way. I don’t think it’s right to cause harm to others by harassing them or saying hateful things. Although, there have been some religious groups that have expressed their disagreement with the LGBTQ lifestyle in hateful ways. The most well-known example of this would be the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. This church is specifically known for its extreme ideology, especially when it comes to gay people. They hold frequent protests led by their pastor Fred Phelps against this issue. According to their website, they hold up signs that say things like “God hates f*gs,” “f*gs are nature freaks” and “no special laws for f*gs.” On their website, they describe their protests as “peaceful sidewalk demonstrations.” There is nothing peaceful about holding up signs and yelling hateful things. This group is also known for protesting at funerals of dead soldiers for fighting for a country that condones homosexuality. An article on vice.com reports that the WBC even threatened to picket at the wake of the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in order “to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.” The WBC is a perfect example of a religious denomination that chooses to express their disapproval of the LGBTQ lifestyle in extreme ways. Their ideologies are so extreme that they have even alienated some of their own family members from the church. About a year ago, two of Phelps’ granddaughters decided to leave the church. “I’m at a complete loss,” said Megan Phelps-Roper in an article on npr.org. “But I do know that I want to do good, to have empathy. Even though we intended to do good [with the picketing], we hurt a lot of people.” She is right. Her church has hurt many with their reckless disregard for people’s feelings, and the fact that these girls were forced to abandon their family rather than participate in their hateful protests is very disturbing. Unfortunately, some think that all Christians are like the WBC. An article on vice.com refers to the WBC as “that group of extremist Christians who are famous for vile hate speech.” Yes, they are considered to be Christians, but it is important to note that not all Christians want to spread hate as the WBC does. Some Christians share the belief that the LGBTQ lifestyle is wrong, but most don’t believe that just because someone is gay that God has abandoned them or doesn’t love them. Because the Bible was written such a long time ago, there is no sure way of determining what everything in it means, which leads to many different interpretations of the Bible. I happen to interpret it very literally, which is why I don’t support the LGBTQ lifestyle. As a result of all these different interpretations of the Bible, some Christians believe that it is okay to support the LGBTQ lifestyle. “I am for gay marriage,”

straight, we “are“Gayall orhuman beings with feelings, and we all deserve to be respected even though we share different opinions on this issue.”

said UT junior and criminology major Jordyn Queipo. “Love is love, and everyone should have the freedom to love who they want whether it’s a female or male.” Queipo attended a private school where gay marriage was not supported. Queipo thinks that Christians who use the Bible to scrutinize gay marriage are taking the text too literally. “The Bible is meant as a guide, but not as something to throw in other people’s faces when they don’t follow everything it says exactly,” Queipo said. Today more and more religious denominations are becoming accepting of the LGBTQ lifestyle. An article on huffingtonpost.com reported that some smaller Christian denominations have even started to perform gay marriages over the past couple of years. Being a Christian has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. It goes so much deeper than that. Just because you are a part of the LGBTQ lifestyle doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be a Christian. Christianity has to do with believing that Jesus died on the cross, and that He is willing to forgive us when we do sin. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his love for us in this that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” I believe that God is accepting of everyone no matter what kind of person they are or what they have done in their life. He has this sort of unconditional love for us. Gay people experience a lot of negativity on a daily basis from the day they choose to be a part of this lifestyle. Even though I don’t agree with the way they choose to live their lives, I would never want to hurt anyone by saying or doing hateful things. Gay or straight, we are all human beings with feelings, and we all deserve to be respected even though we share different opinions on this issue. Just because your viewpoint is different than someone else’s doesn’t make it okay for you to tear them down and judge them for how they choose to live their life.


Virtual Love: LGBTQ In Video Games By Jake Koniszewki

In the latter half of the 20th century, the U.S. saw the emergence of two movements: the Gay Rights movement and the growing popularity of video games. As gay rights continued to gain ground and video games remained popular, it was inevitable that the two would eventually intersect, creating a variety of LGBTQ characters. LGBTQ video game characters existed as early as the 1980s. According to PCGamer.com, “Infocom offered a gay bloke in the sci-fi Circuit’s Edge (1990), and half of a lesbian couple in Moonmist (1986).” While those two games are the first instances of gay and lesbian characters, neither of them were playable. According to the article, the world had to wait for the bisexual Curtis Craig of 1996’s Phantasmagoria 2 for a playable LGBTQ character. Birdo from the Super Mario series of video games is often singled out as the first transgender video game character. Birdo first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 2. The manual describes the character (called Ostro at the time) as one who “thinks he is a girl and spits eggs from his mouth. He’d rather be called ‘Bridetta.’” While never renamed “Birdetta,” Birdo’s gender has been heavily discussed. According to Wired.com, “Either Nintendo retconned Birdo’s gender crisis out of existence by turning him into a her, or, if you’re following Reitz’s interpretation, Birdo had a sex change operation. Either way, Birdo’s referred to as a ‘her’ in modern games like Mario Tennis.” According to game designer Jennifer Reitz, in Mario Tennis, “there is no mention of Birdo as a male … Instead, Birdo is uniformly referred to as female, as a ‘she.’” Reitz also discussed Birdo’s acceptance among the characters in the game: “A picture in the Mario Tennis manual shows Birdo and Yoshi, Mario’s very favorite dinosaur pal, together apparently as a romantic couple!” However, lack of transgender acceptance in the U.S. has been blamed for trying to bury the question about PAGE 24 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM

Birdo’s gender. The Escapist wrote an article about Japan’s openness about sexual identity in contrast to the U.S. The article titled “Too Gay for U.S.A.” discusses the bow Birdo wears on her head. According to the article, “It seems like a harmless distinction, but this simple act of cross-dressing was soon erased from the history books. In all subsequent Mario releases, Birdo is referred to as a female, completely ignoring his gender-confused roots.” Despite the controversy surrounding Birdo’s gender, Birdo would pave the way for more transgender characters in future video games. In 1989, a year after the release of Super Mario Bros. 2, Final Fight was released and included the character Poison. Poison’s transgender status came about because of Capcom’s hesitance about having a male character beat up a female. According to The Escapist, “Capcom instead claimed that Poison (and her palette swap Roxy) were both hiding a secret underneath their tight leather miniskirts. Both characters were, in fact, “newhalfs”; a Japanese colloquialism for transgender people who were, at the time, famous in the country’s club scene.” Poison would appear in future games including 2012’s Street Fighter X Tekken. “I’m very happy to have fans continue to discuss that [Poison’s transgender status], but once again we’re not going to give an official answer,” said Yoshinori Ono, the game’s producer, in an interview. “We’re happy to leave that open and up to individual fans.” Even if Ono and Capcom refuse to speak on the matter, there have been too many hints to ignore. According to gamespot.com, “Initial win screens for characters that defeated Poison earlier in development of Street Fighter X Tekken showed them saying things like, ‘Your looks can be deceiving! I should be careful not to fall into your trap,’ and ‘You’re not very ladylike at all. I felt like I was fighting against a guy.’” Going into the 1990s, more popular game franchises


began to develop that included LGBTQ characters. The Fallout series claimed the title of the first game to include same-sex marriage. According to a 2012 article by rockpapershotgun.com, “As of this writing, California, the state Fallout 2 takes place in, still hasn’t legalized gay marriage. But it was an option in a game made in 1998, amazingly. In 2012, most games still don’t include gay romance options, much less gay marriage.” Other games, such as Mass Effect, The Sims 3, Skyrim and more, allow gay marriage. According to ign.com, “If you’re a gay character in Mass Effect, The Sims or Skyrim, nobody really cares. You don’t face discrimination from other characters or find yourself forced to justify your identity and choices to those around you.” In BioWare’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003), there is a female Jedi named Juhani who is believed to be a lesbian. According to an article by GayGamer.net, “If you choose to kill her [Juhani], a female Jedi at the temple will lambaste you for murdering her beloved one — stating that she and Juhani spent many nights under the stars together.” While all of the Persona games include homosexual characters, Kanji from Persona 4 (2008) is perhaps the most discussed. The characters in Persona 4 face off against hidden parts of themselves. According The Escapist, “In Kanji’s alternate world, his other self appears as a nearnude ‘gay’ sounding version of himself who inhabits a men’s bathhouse, strongly suggesting the character houses homosexual desires.” The article quotes an interview with Yu Namba, the project leader for Persona 4, saying, “What matters is that Kanji’s other self cries out, ‘Accept me for who I am!’ I think it’s a powerful message which many, if not all of us can relate to.” A recent game I played that features a homosexual character is The Last of Us (2013), which is set in a new future after a deadly infection spreads throughout the

U.S. While not the main character, Bill is introduced in the first half of the game as a paranoid survivor living outside of Boston, in a town full of traps he set to keep the military and infected away. After travelling through town for a little bit, you find the body of Frank, w h o Bill calls his “partner.” Ellie, a teenage girl travelling with Joel, the main character, manages to swipe a gay porn magazine from Bill as well, which also suggests Bill is gay. Sam Einhorn of GayGamer.net approved of Bill’s portrayal, saying, “It’s not a big reveal, nobody turned it into a bullet point on the press release, and the character isn’t treated any differently by the narrative just because he’s gay.” Members of the University of Tampa community approve of having more LGBTQ characters in video games. “I think having LGBTQ characters in video games allows people to realize that the LGBTQ population is big and exists in all facets of life,” said Devin Phinazee, a junior graphic design major and member of GLTSBA. “It also normalizes the idea of LGBTQ people.” The number of LGBTQ characters in video games has been growing and is still on the rise. “With the recent increase in LGBTQ characters, I only see it rising in the future as society becomes more okay with the idea of LGBTQ people,” Phinazee said. With games like The Last of Us and Mass Effect portraying homosexual characters and relationships in an honest and unbiased light, it seems as if LGBTQ will soon become an accepted and completely normal part of gaming as we know it. THE MINARET | PAGE 25


Playing the Part

By Jackie Braje

LGBTQ Portrayals Grow on Screen

Too often have I witnessed the portrayal of gay characters in movies and TV shows fall tragically into two stereotypes: the flamboyant fairy and the sick corrupted narcissist. The LGBTQ community has been strongly and repeatedly misrepresented by the media ever since the character Peter Panama came frolicking out of the closet in the 1972 sitcom The Corner Bar. However, a wave of straight actors playing LGBTQ characters has rolled in to the TV and cinema scene, which may potentially encourage both a stronger overall acceptance of the LGBTQ community and a stronger rebuttal against heteronormativity. Shows like Modern Family, Glee and Will and Grace all share common ground: they dodge the cringeinducing stereotypes and render homosexual characters as––drumroll, please––normal human beings. Eric Stonestreet is perhaps the first name that comes to mind when considering this topic. Since the premiere of Modern Family exploded into pop culture in September 2009, audiences have slowly yet surely been taking to the idea of gay parenting with more open-mindedness. Cameron and Mitchell, played by Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, are two dads with an adopted daughter. While the show’s overall aim is simply to make viewers laugh, it’s hard not to admire the portrayal of this power couple. They parent their child just as any other couple would, proving that PAGE 26 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM

parenting doesn’t have to involve a mother and a father. “I definitely look forward to the day where this is not a revolutionary couple,” said Ferguson in an interview with The Paley Center. But what I find most impressive about this interesting dynamic is that Stonestreet, an openly heterosexual male, doesn’t seem to find an issue in playing the role of a normal, openly homosexual person. This does a tremendous justice for pop culture. Perhaps audiences will learn tolerance and acceptance at the sight of a burly-looking man presenting such a character in a nonthreatening, down-to-earth fashion. Glee is another pop culture phenomenon. With all glitter, pompoms and cheesy pop song covers aside, it actually follows some pretty pressing social issues, like the different facets of relationships and sexuality. Darren Criss, an American actor and singer-songwriter, is most famously known for his positive portrayal of the openly homosexual character Blaine Anderson on Glee. Also being heterosexual outside the world of Gleeks, Criss exudes his character’s personality as a normal, respectful high school student. Blaine has defended his loved one in times of bullying and ridicule, engaged in a heavily controversial kiss and even introduced the topic of gay marriage into the show by proposing to his love interest. However, when questioned about his own sexuality in numerous


interviews, Criss has made the point that it simply shouldn’t matter. And to be honest, I find it odd that actors who play straight characters are rarely ever asked about their sexuality. We’ve been conditioned to believe that heterosexuality is to be expected, and anything that deviates from that norm is something to be investigated. Sadly, this ideal is still considered “progressive” in our modern age, an age of heteronormativity. Tracing back, images of old John Waters films from the ’60s come crusading into my mind when I think of the unstable relationship between the LGBTQ community and mass media. Divine, the leading character and drag queen of Waters’ films, made a painfully obvious mockery of drag queen culture. Films like Pink Flamingoes and Female Trouble aimed high on the shock factor scale and showed Divine tampering with topics like rape, murder, incest and so on. It’s as though audiences are more comfortable when LGBTQ characters are depicted as slightly less than human. We cope with the terrifying notion of someone actually being different from us by branding them with labels. Fruity, frilly, frightening, flamboyant… Suddenly, we’ve morphed a human being into a cartoon character. A large sect of humanity has been minimized into a vague and disadvantaged sketch. But, to be fair, the depiction of LGBTQ characters has transcended profusely since the Waters era. Gay images are gradually finding a place in the world of entertainment. I remember watching Milk for the first time. I remember how strongly and justly Sean Penn portrayed Harvey Milk. I remember feeling awfully proud of the fact that a heterosexual actor could so flawlessly and shamelessly fill the shoes of Milk, despite any controversy the movie may have ignited. Even now, people still find themselves fidgeting in their seats and awkwardly clearing their throats at the sight of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal kissing in their cowboy chaps. And let us not forget that steam-provoking scene between Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman in Black Swan, the one that made audiences stir in every direction in their movie theater seats. But the point of the matter is this: a huge part of an actor’s job is to make him or herself comfortable in situations that are otherwise entirely unfamiliar to them. Perhaps these straight actors and LGBTQ members share the same sense of vulnerability. The actors must learn how to fill shoes that don’t necessarily fit them, and the LGBTQ community must learn how to live freely in a prejudiced society. While actors and actresses run the “risk” of having people believe that they may be actually be gay in real life, they, for the most part, remain indifferent to that ridiculous fear. Who knows, maybe this will lead audiences to think, “Well, maybe it’s not such a weird thing after all.” While I don’t fully agree with the mindset we have of heralding straight actors who play LGBTQ characters for their herculean bravery, I think society may be poking at a potential revolution. Think of it this way: a person is not defined by their sexuality. An actor is not defined by the role they play. And when an actor plays a role that doesn’t fit their sexuality, perhaps that actor is also highlighting the fact that humans are humans, regardless of who they decide to sleep with.

LGBTQ by Network By Claire Farrow

According to this year’s Network Responsibility Index (NRI), which evaluated shows aired from June 1, 2012 through May 31, 2013, there was a record number of LGBTQ characters portrayed on television. In this report, several networks were evaluated and assigned a percentage grade based on the number of primetime programming hours the network broadcast that included LGBTQ characters and images.

50% 42% 33% 31% 29% 28% 28% 27% 26% 20% 14% THE MINARET | PAGE 27


Living in Harmony: Musical Advocates for Equality By Jacki Guenther

T

he fight for LGBTQ Equal Rights has created a large division amongst our society for years. Today, that division is continuing to grow smaller as more and more people have begun to support the once-suppressed community. The music community in particular has made huge strides forward in the fight for equality. Musicians all across the board: gay, straight, black, white, skinny, fat... they have all begun to come together and join in the cause. Within the last year, the music community has made PAGE 28 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM

a noticeable change in its efforts to help the fight for LGBTQ equal rights. A large amount of that supportive community will be a surprise to most. The indie-pop trio, Fun., is prominent among this pro-LGBTQ community. Although the band consists of three straight men, they are men who strongly advocate for LGBTQ rights and have outwardly voiced their opinions numerous times. Lead guitarist, Jack Antonoff, took it upon himself to write an extensive passage expressing his passion for LGBTQ rights in a blog for the Huffpost Gay Voices

in February 2012. “Being part of a band of three, straight men, we felt there was an inherent power in the fact that we aren’t gay, and yet we still care and we have a voice— there’s a responsibility in that,” Antonoff said in an interview with The Washington Post. It was just last year that Fun.,during their meteoric rise to success, made their hopes of establishing their own not-forprofit marriage equality organization publicly known. As of October 2012, that organization became a reality. With the help of Antonoff’s sister, Fun. was able to create the Ally Coalition,


an organization that will “raise awareness and funds to aid in the fight for LGBT equality,” according to Diffuser.fm. The Ally Coalition plans to raise awareness about the everyday struggles that the LGBTQ community has to go through, create LGBTQ education programs across the U.S., and emphasize ally support through the use of social media. It has become apparent to most that social media has attained much control over our society, and Fun. wants to take advantage of it. The trio has recently teamed up with Revel and Riot in order to further their support for the

cause, designing t-shirts that feature the text “It’s all Fun. and gay ‘til someone loses their rights. LGBTQ Equality Now.” The T-shirt is currently being sold for $15, with all proceeds being donated to Revel and Riot for promotion of LGBTQ equality. In a recent YouTube video, Fun. said, “Our shows are a place for everyone.” I think that this musical trio has definitely made that statement clear. Another musician who is also straight but perhaps even more opinionated than Fun. is the rapper Macklemore. Macklemore and his producer, Ryan Lewis, have been allies of the LGBTQ community for years, and continue to condemn anti-gay language often used in today’s rap culture. In the summer of 2012, Macklemore released a single called “Same Love” featuring Mary Lambert; the lyrics strongly promote gay marriage. According to The New York Times, “Same Love” was composed in March 2012 after the rapper had read an article about a bullied gay teen who committed suicide. The single made quite the impact on fans and was able to peak at number eleven on the Billboard charts this year. He even earned himself a Moonman Award at the 2013 MTV Video Awards for “Best Video With a Social Message.” As he was accepting his award, Macklemore told the audience, “Gay rights are human rights, there is no separation.” As the relative of two gay uncles and a gay godfather, it is no surprise to see Macklemore supporting this worthy cause in a highly successful manner. He and his producer have recently teamed up with the You Can Play campaign, working to eliminate homophobia in sports, music and entertainment. “Don’t let being gay hold you back, and if you’re straight, do not hold others back…” said Macklemore in a YouTube video supporting the campaign. This past July, Macklemore appeared on stage at the Osheaga Music Festival held in Montreal, Canada. Before beginning to perform his LGBTQ anthem “Same Love” he gave a speech about the ideals of equality and love. He commended Canada for being more advanced in terms of equality than the rest of

the world, for leading the way on this journey. But, he said, “Until all of us, our whole world evolves, we are still enslaved by our prejudice and our own fears. No religion… no government… no person can tell you who you love in your heart. I believe in equality.” He then proceeded to an introduce Tegan & Sara who would later sing “Same Love.” In an interview afterwards, the sisters could not help but laugh as they discussed the importance of artistic freedom and being Macklemore’s “two little gay friends.” Tegan and Sara Quin are identical twins, both openly gay, who formed their own Canadian band about 14 years ago. Back then, it was more about singers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, who would steal the spotlight with their young sexuality. But today, Tegan & Sara have established themselves well in the music industry. Throughout their musical career, the two women have been asked numerous questions pertaining to the being gay. In an interview with Metroweekly, Sara discussed her own experience with admitting her secret. As soon as she graduated from high school, “All of a sudden it was important to me to define that and use that language. And so I was the first one (of the sisters) to start saying, ‘I’m gay. I’m dating a woman.’” For over twelve years, these two women have set an example in the music industry of honesty, pride, and activism. Following Fun.’s example, Tegan & Sara have also released their own t-shirt design supporting Revel and Riot’s cause for equality. The design pictures both the girls’ faces and faces of numerous animals, with a statement that says, “Gay behavior is found in over 1500 species. LGBTQ Equality Now.” Ever since her rise to fame back in 2008, Lady Gaga has graced us with not only her lively spirit but also with her strong support for LGBTQ Equality. She is known for unpredictable fashion as well as her stance on sexuality. Gaga has been openly bisexual since the beginning of her rise to fame, and has been fiercely active in the fight for LGBTQ equality. Back in 2009, the artist spoke vehemently at the National THE MINARET | PAGE 29


The music community has vastly increased ITS Numbers of those fighting for LGBTQ equality, and it’s time for the rest of the world to follow suit. Equality March in Washington, D.C., calling it “the single most important event” of her career. With her own Gay Rights anthem “Born This Way,” Gaga has done everything in her power to drill the word equality into the minds of her fans. Trevor Project, the leading national organization that provides help in the prevention of suicide and crisis relating to LGBTQ, presented Gaga with the Trevor Hero

Award: an honor for her wonderful LGBTQ advocacy work. She has also launched, along with her Mother, the Born This Way Foundation in order to promote “Youth empowerment and equality by addressing issues like selfconfidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring, and career development.” Along with Fun., Lady Gaga plans to utilize social media as one of the key means of creating positive change.

It’s admirable to see the amount of support from both sides of the sexual spectrum that the LGBTQ community is now receiving today. Fun. and Macklemore are not the only straight-star alliances actively speaking for a community that has been suppressed for too long; other supporters include: Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Snoop Lion, A$AP Rockey, Carrie Underwood, Cyndi Lauper and Miley Cyrus, who even went as far as to get the word “equals” tattooed on her middle finger in support of same-sex marriage. The music community has vastly increased their numbers of those fighting for LGBTQ equality, and it’s time for the rest of the world to follow suit.


WE’RE ONE TEAM, BRO

Why pro athletes need to accept gay teammates

BY JORDAN LLANES

Our generation’s biggest fight is happening right now. And I’m not talking about the war in the Middle East or the economic crisis that is currently going on in our country. I’m talking about the fight for gay rights. Our nation is strongly divided on this issue, and the sentiments are now carrying over into the sports world. Athletes are pitching in their two cents, and although they are also split on the issue, the side against having gay teammates in the locker room is being heard strongest. Over the past year, notable athletes such as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter and San Francisco 49ERS cornerback Chris Culliver have said inflammatory comments about potentially having a gay teammate. Each of these remarks has contributed to an overall negative view of gay rights in the sports world.

Culliver’s comments before this year’s Super Bowl were easily the most offensive. His tirade against having a potentially gay teammate drew the ire of most of the NFL, most notably its senior officials and the 49ERS organization. “I don’t do the gay guys, man. I don't do that. No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah… can't be… in the locker room man. Nah,” Culliver said to shock jock Artie Lange on the Super Bowl’s Media Day. Culliver later issued a retraction, and the 49ERS organization issued a statement in support of the LGBTQ community in San Francisco. But the damage was already done. Meanwhile, Hunter’s statements, although warranted, THE MINARET | PAGE 31


would have been better left unsaid. “For me, as a Christian… I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right,” Hunter told the Los Angeles Times earlier this year. “It will be difficult and uncomfortable.” Peterson’s comments were along the same line. But the fact of the matter remains: a lot of athletes, whether they are Christian or not, would have a hard time accepting a possible gay teammate. Why is that? Is it some sort of masculinity concept to not like teammates that are of a different sexual orientation than their own? Because, if so, then that is a totally wrong and outdated point of view in today’s society. This issue has taken its strongest roots in the NFL. Players such as Falcons defensive back Asante Samuel and Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace have come against potential homosexual teammates in the locker room. Samuel and Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons believe a player should just leave his sexuality at home. “Straight people are not announcing they’re straight, so why does everybody have to announce their sexuality or whatever? You know, what they prefer,” Samuel said in an interview with Fox Sports Radio. “I have nothing but respect for the people whoever decisions they make and whatever, but, you know, you don’t have to show it and flaunt it like that. You know what I’m saying, we have kids out here too.” Wallace, however, took a more blunt approach on Twitter just a few weeks after signing a huge contract

with Miami. “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH…”, said Wallace on the social media site shortly after NBA center Jason Collins became the first active professional athlete in America to announce that he was gay. All of these negative points of view have really hurt the future of other athletes coming out, and it’s a sad sight to see. Collins should be celebrated. Instead, not a single team has signed him, even though he still has quite a bit to offer a team that needs a backup big man. However, there is hope for the future. Sixty-two active NFL players have come out as supportive of potential gay athletes in the NFL. These players include Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson and Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. “I hope if someone’s thinking about [coming out], that if they do come out as gay and it makes them happy and it makes their life easier, then I think they should do it,” Luck told CNN. “My first reaction is really good for him. It’s the 21st century, and I know I would have absolutely no problem with it. I hope no one would treat him any differently than any straight player, no special treatment — he’s just another guy.” Suggs made another incredibly strong set of comments to outsports.com. “We don’t care. Our biggest thing in the locker room is to just have fun and stay loose. We don’t really care too

“if someone’s thinking about [coming out] ... and it makes them happy and it makes their life easier, then I think they should do it.” -Andrew Luck, Colts QB


HOW PRO ATHLETES FEEL ABOUT GAY Teammates “GAY? OKAY!”

TERELL SUGGS

ANDREW LUCK

“NAH, MAN.”

TORII HUNTER

CHRIS CULLIVER “I don’t do the gay guys man, I don’t do that. No, we don’t got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up out of here if they do.”

RAVENS LINEBACKER

COLTS QUARTERBACK

TIGERS OUTFIELDER

“We don’t care. Our biggest thing in the locker room is to just have fun and stay loose. We don’t really care too much about that. We’re a football team.”

“It’s the 21st century, and I know I would have absolutely no problem with it. I hope no one would treat [a gay teammate] any differently.”

“For me, as a Christian, I’m uncomfortable [with gay teammates] because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right.”

much about that. We’re a football team. I said it yesterday; everybody deserves a certain amount of privacy. Who cares? Whatever a person’s choice is, it’s their choice. On this team, with so many different personalities, we just accept people for who they are and we don’t really care too much about a player’s sexuality,” Suggs said. “To each their own. You know who you are, and we accept you for it.” Athletes coming out as gay or lesbian in the other lesser known sports have had an easier time than Collins. The LA Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s Megan Rapinoe and Brittney Griner, the No.1 overall draft pick by the Phoenix Mercury in the

49ERS CB

2013 WNBA Draft, have all come out as gay or lesbian with little fanfare or fuss. So why is it so hard for athletes such as Hunter and Wallace to accept a potentially gay teammate? We have reached the time where these athletes need to follow the example of those who are willing to accept teammates who like the same gender, or just shut up. These men and women are supposed to be role models. But right now, the majority of them aren’t acting like it. And that’s just unacceptable. Grow up. Be open to alternative lifestyles. Then maybe the landscape for athletes who want to come out and express their true sexual nature will be much more accepting.


THE

BLURRED

DO TRANSSEXUAL ATHLETES HAVE AN UNFAIR Advantage IN SPORTS? BY MARCUS MITCHELLSPORTS

Renée Richards is a rather typical woman who was born in upscale New York City in 1934 from a surgeon father and psychiatric mother, according to simonandschuster.com. She grew up with her very affluent Jewish family and took a liking to tennis. She went on to attend Yale and became the captain of the tennis team in 1954. Afterward, she married and subsequently had a son. She picked tennis back up and excelled in the above 35-and-over national championship in 1972. She would later go on to compete in multiple U.S. Opens and had moderate success in doubles. Richards is now a retired eye surgeon and has lived a life that many women would most likely aspire to live. But her name is forever plagued by an asterisk. Richards was born as a male. Richards underwent sex reassignment surgery and successfully transitioned into a female in 1975. She did not receive national attention until she attempted to participate in the Women’s U.S. Open in 1976, the year immediately following her transition. The Women’s U.S. Open banned Richards from

PAGE 34 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM

competing in the tournament unless she submitted to chromosomal testing. Richards sued the U.S. Tennis Association and won the suit, allowing her to participate in U.S. Open tournaments without testing from then on. She became an icon for transsexual athletes and paved the way for transgender athletes when she took the courts in 1977, despite criticism from announcers, spectators and opposing players. “I made the fateful decision to go and fight the legal battle to be able to play as a woman and stay in the public eye and become this symbol,” Richards said in an article published on the site “Equality Forum.” Transgenders and transsexuals are often the forgotten sexuality in the recent upswing of LGBTQ rights and movements. Gay and lesbian athletes who have come out of the closet have gained national acclaim and are often praised by the media for their brave and courageous outspokenness. But transsexual athletes have not received such praise when coming out and standing up for themselves. Transsexual athletes are often subject to


gender testing and forced surgeries in order to compete in sporting events. They typically face claims of having unfair advantages and face criticism on all fronts. Richards was the first notable transsexual athlete, but had she not won her suit against the U.S. Tennis Association, she would have faded away and been forgotten. The defense of the USTA was an unprecedented women-bornwomen policy. The aptly named policy stated that only women who were biologically born as women would be allowed to enter the Women’s U.S. Open. Richards’ challenge was that she defined herself as a woman regardless of her biology and chromosomes. This is the conflict that arises between transsexual athletes and sports organizations. The USTA may not have thought of Richards as a woman, but she certainly saw herself as a woman. The USTA ultimately lost the suit and had to allow transsexual athletes to compete. Other sports organizations did not institute similar changes in policy, preferring to take changes when necessary. That time has been going on for decades for the International Olympic Committee as they have faced transsexual athletes looking to compete in the prestigious games. The IOC had successfully denied transsexual athletes from competing until tensions came to a boiling point in 2004. They created the Stockholm Consensus to give ruling standing to follow. The Stockholm Consensus demanded that transsexual athletes must have sex reassignment surgery, legal recognition of their gender and at least two years of hormonal testing. This became a breakthrough for transsexual athletes as the Football Association of England accommodated similar policies. Soon the LPGA was welcoming Lana Lawless, a 57-year-old male-to-woman transsexual, into competitions after a lawsuit. Lawless first ventured into fighting the LPGA when she won the Long Driving Competition in her local areas as an amateur, defeating skilled golfers half her age. This begs the question of whether or not transsexual athletes have an advantage in sports against women-born-women and menborn-men. Many doctors state that transsexuals have the same muscle mass growth rate and hormones as those who haven’t underwent sex

reassignment surgery. But other experts in the medical field claim that the skeletal structure never changes and that, despite the change in growth, the muscle mass gathered while being a man carries over after the surgery. According to Dr. John Gerber of fightmedicine.net, “Genetic males tend to have higher amounts of lean muscle mass, less fat, and more dense bones than their genetic female counterparts.” It is also worth noting that woman-to-man athletes aren’t common. This is most likely caused by the crackdown in performance enhancing drugs, and man-to-woman transsexuals must be given testosterone in order to compete, which contradicts the crackdown in the same drugs for their competitors. The debate of fairness of transsexual athletes has seen attention with the emergence of Fallon Fox. Fox is a man-to-woman transsexual who has recently been fighting in Mixed Martial Arts. MMA involves hand-to-hand combat and is already criticized publicly for its violence as competitors can beat each other senseless until one submits. Fox has already fought with females and started 5-0 in her bouts with all five wins coming in the first round. However, the criticism has come from outside sources such as the media and presidents of the MMA. Fox’s opponents have voluntarily fought her, but some fighters have already expressed concern that Fox does not belong. UFC star Miesha Tate stated, “I wouldn’t feel comfortable getting in with someone who is a woman but developed as a man. I wouldn’t feel safe.” Opposition of Fox boils their argument to that point: the safety of fighters. If a fighter doesn’t feel safe, should the reason behind this fear be removed to ensure the safety of other players? That’s the question that MMA must answer. But for the time being, Fox is fighting women and criticism to make her own stake in the sports world. With too little knowledge about the medical difference between transsexual athletes and non-transsexual athletes and too little precedence for future policy, transsexual athletes are finding their genders blurred by sports. Whether this blur in gender identification is benign and equal or discriminatory has yet to be seen but the stage is set.

THE MINARET | PAGE 35


MUSIC

IT’S

EVERYONE’S

GAME

HOW ROBBIE ROGERS AND MANY OTHER SOCCER STARS ARE BRINGING THEIR TRUE SELVES TO THE GAME THEY LOVE

by Richard Duh As with all sports in the world, athletes are known for their rugged looks, strict exercise and nutrition regimen and above all, the determination to win. These are all common and widely accepted characteristics of athletes, but being gay is not usually associated with an athlete. The situation is no different when it comes to soccer, with few players out as gay. The first soccer player to have come out gay was Justin Fashanu in 1990. Fashanu played as a striker for numerous teams across the world from Europe to Australia to North America. He most notably played for Norwich City and Notts County (both in England). His career started in 1978 playing for Norwich City while making a name for himself as regular scorer in the English Premier League. He even won goal of the season in 1980 with a goal against Liverpool. When he moved to Nottingham Forest, his career started going downhill amid rumors of him visiting gay clubs which unsettled the coach at the time, Brian Clough. He then went on to play for a few teams in North America before returning to England. During this time, he could never quite rediscover his

PAGE 36 | THEMINARETONLINE.COM

form at Norwich City due to suspicions of him being gay hampering his confidence as a goal scorer. When he moved to Manchester City in 1989, it seemed as if he had lost all his talent and was just going through the motions before finally coming out as being gay in 1990. The response after he came out as gay was extremely critical with some former soccer players saying that “being gay has no place in a team sport.” His brother John actually disowned him due to his fury at Justin’s revelation. After his announcement, he was the target of fervent crowd abuse from opposition fans whenever he would go for away matches. His own teammates would even negatively joke around with him about his sexual orientation. It was clear that Fashanu was not getting much support for his announcement, and he continued to switch teams in an effort to be accepted by his teammates and coaches to little avail. Fashanu’s career was going down the drain and eventually he was involved in an unsavory incident in March 1998. At the time, Fashanu was playing in Maryland and a story came out that a seventeen-year old male


claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Fashanu. As a warrant was about to be issued, Fashanu fled back to England where a few months later he committed suicide. He left behind a note where he denied the charges of sexual assault and stated that the sex was consensual between him and the seventeen-year-old. He also wrote that he assumed he was going to be found guilty and didn’t want to go through the trial to cause further embarrassment to his family. Fashanu died at the age of 37. Why did he have to suffer all these years? Why was he forced to throw away his soccer career because he was gay? You can look at Fashanu’s plight in two ways. Perhaps, the soccer world and sport in general was not used to having to deal with someone who was gay. Furthermore, think of his teammates, would they really be comfortable changing clothes and using the showers in the stadiums with someone who is homosexual? Fashanu, undoubtedly had talent as a soccer player as he showed in his earlier years playing for Norwich City, if he had gotten support for his sexual orientation who knows where he could have ended up. Fortunately, the situation regarding homosexuality in soccer is starting to look a bit more optimistic. In February of this year, another soccer player came out as gay. American soccer player Robbie Rodgers (who had actually retired from professional soccer after a season with Leeds United) decided to make his sexuality publicly known. He posted a blog on his website where he explained his sexual orientation. He stated that he recognizes that being gay and Christian often don’t go together but he doesn’t worry about that mentioning that his parents raised him “to be an individual and stand out for what he believes in.” The reason he retired, at the tender age of 25, was because he thought that if he had continued playing while he was gay he would get a barrage of criticisms from fans, players, and connoisseurs of soccer. Instead, he was supported by everyone around him and eventually came out of retirement to play for the LA Galaxy. To this day, he plays as a winger and his flourishing with the LA-based team. He is recognized as a role model and a pioneer for homosexuality in soccer. He is widely admired and is constantly invited to talk shows. Perhaps the time for acceptance and celebration of homosexual athletes in professional soccer has come.

THE MINARET | PAGE 37


C REDITS COVER Photo by Casey Budd Edited by Jessica Keesee and Donny Murray EDITORIAL | Page 4 Photo by Casey Budd DEFINITIONS | PAGES 5-8 Graphics by Katherine Lavacca and Lauren Richey GAY ADOPTION| PAGE 6-9 Photos by Jessica Keesee PROFILES | PAGES 10-11 Photos courtesy of Audrey Colombe, Gary Luter, Jake Racaniello and Merci’ Dvard TAKE A WALK | PAGES 12-13 Photos by Casey Budd ACROSS THE U.S. | PAGE 14-15 Graphic by Wendy French Photos courtesy of Rachel Christ, Heather Muse, Nikki Palmer, Aaron Betancourt and Lillian Cousins LOVE UNLABELED | PAGE 16 ryanmcginnisphoto/Flickr GAY CHIC | PAGES 17-19 Photos by Casey Budd and

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Nick Behriger SEX ON STAGE | PAGES 20-21 Photo by Casey Budd VIRTUAL LOVE | PAGE 24-25 Birdo/Facebook, Persona 4/Facebook, Poison - Final Fight & Street Fighter/ Facebook, sarahhhh93/Flickr, The Last of Us/Facebook PLAYING THE PART | PAGE 26-27 Glee/Facebook, Jedi Knight Juhani/Facebook LIVING IN HARMONY | PAGE 28-30 Fun./Facebook, Lady Gaga/ Facebook, Tegan and Sara/ Facebook ONE TEAM | PAGE 31-33 PennstateNews/Flickr, KeithAllison/Flickr, GamecockAnthem/Flickr, Mutrock/Flickr, Jwiv/Flickr EVERYONE’S GAME | PAGE 36-37 Wikimedia creative commons SPECIAL THANKS GLTSBA, James Dunkin.


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Minaret Magazine Pride Issue