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Table of Contents
Dear Reader, Speaking as a twenty year old, the past year has been the most turbulent of my short life. Speaking as a queer woman, it has been exhausting, frustrating, and at times indicative of an endless downward spiral. Despite the vast expenditure of energy required to stay active and vigilant in a hostile administration, OutWrite has remained, and will continue to be, a platform for self-expression and empathetic conversation to combat this rising tide of hostility. Through creative non-fiction, short stories, personal and visual essays, poetry, original graphics, and long-term research, OutWrite’s 2016-17 staff members have cultivated a space to engage with American instability as well as their own positionality as LGBTQ students. Our 2017 issue is focused on brave and conscious explorations of personal and public identity, and the overall impetus to build a stronger sense of love, dialogue, and understanding within LGBTQ communities. While I recognize that this is a long-term goal not to be achieved with the publication of one magazine, we present here some critical conversations and artworks generated when LGBTQ students work together to further their understanding of disparate identities. Pride and Love are words often associated with the promotion of a single, commercialized LGBTQ “Identity,” but in this case, they are the best descriptors. I could not be prouder of the dedication, artistry, and collaboration that produced this issue. I am in love with what OutWrite stands for, and I hope that you will see the love in this publication, too.
— Shayna Maci Warner Editor-In-Chief
We’re Social! @outwritenewsmag facebook.com/outwritenewsmag twitter.com/outwritenewsmag outwritenewsmag.tumblr.com
(UN)LEARNING by Amy Wang I am a queer Chinese American woman. Saying this used to feel faulty because when I think about my own queer, Chinese, and American communities, I immediately think, separate, opposed, conflicted. The white, upper-middle-class, cis-heteronormative suburbs of my hometown uphold a definition of “American” that is impossible for me to fulfill because of my ethnicity and my queerness. My Chinese family believes that queerness is a sickness and a product of Western ideology that should be contained within Western communities. In other words, I can’t possibly be Chinese and queer. Critical as they have been to my development of a positive ethnic identity, my Chinese American friends maintain a culture of cis-heteronormativity that clashes with my queerness. My Chinese, American, and Chinese American communities define themselves by defining what they’re not: me. Growing up in Los Altos, I learned from my white peers to poke fun at my parents’ accents, my tan skin, and the homemade Chinese food my mom packed in my lunches. I would refuse to speak Mandarin to my parents on the phone if any friends were around. I was always the only Asian American person on my tennis and soccer teams, and people at track meets were surprised that “an Asian can sprint.” When I had boyfriends who were white, our friends became certain they must have an “Asian fetish.” I became so good at belittling my own ethnicity that it felt natural to be embarrassed and apologetic about it. All through high school, I felt obliged to mute my Chinese identity for the comfort of my white American friends, not realizing that they should never have pressured me to in the first place. My parents are deeply homophobic because of their upbringing. They denigrated any allusions to queerness we came across in media, in public, and even in our family. I was never
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graphic by Liana Kindler
allowed to meet one of my uncles. All I knew about him was that he was gay. That piece of him transcended everything else when my parents spoke of him. The only thing I heard my mom, grandma, aunts, and uncles say was that he had been “off” ever since he was little, and that going to school in the U.S. was a mistake that cost him his life. When my grandma told me that he had died by suicide, I sensed her relief more than anything else: “It’s a tragedy, but it’s better this way than to live a life of sickness.” I understood that the Chinese identity I felt innately connected to through my blood and upbringing would never recognize, understand, or accept my queerness. It wasn’t until college that I started developing my Chinese American ethnic identity beyond the separate Chinese and American identities I’d been assigned by family and friends. Prior to college, it did not make sense to combine these two identities because the people around me only paid attention to how one apparently disqualified me from rightfully inhabiting the other. I was Chinese, so I was not American; I was American, so I was not Chinese. But during my first quarter at UCLA, I joined a student organization in which almost everyone was Chinese American. Unintentionally, I made some of my best friends to this day. They’ve inspired and pushed me to reconcile and celebrate my ethnic identity by gifting me with their friendships and frequent boba runs. I’m truly thankful to have them in my life because they’ve taught me to appreciate and fight for my Chinese American identity. However, a culture of cis-heteronormativity pervades my Chinese American college community, often forcing me to relegate my queer identity to the periphery in order to fit in with my ethnic community. Immature, trite “jokes” such as, “That’s gay,” are normalized in this social scene. When none of my friends speak up against those comments, I feel that it becomes my responsibility to. In response, I’m reminded, “Be chill, it’s just a joke, dude.” I understand how heavily our culture stresses compliance with social norms, so I don’t hold any anger or blame toward my friends for staying silent. But
it is always sobering to be reminded that I have to prioritize my ethnic identity over my queer identity if I want to be a part of this Chinese American community. Over the past few months, I’ve spent more time in queer spaces – particularly those for/ of queer people of color. However new I am to this community, no one in it has ever made me conscious of that. Instead, I’ve felt safe and at ease in a way that I hadn’t thought possible before. The more time I spend around queer folks of color, the more I grow into my identity as a
More and more, I understand that shaming and silencing parts of my identity to appease others is unfair and futile.
06 | OutWrite, 2017
queer Chinese American woman. I’m unlearning all the damaging messages I internalized throughout my life and no longer letting my self-concept be dictated by externally ascribed values and stigmas. I’m learning to stop defining myself by my shame, self-consciousness, and weaknesses. I’m building myself up with the goal of one day saying, Yes, I love myself. My Chinese family, white American childhood friends, and Chinese American college friends have all been crucial in making me who I am today. I’ll always be thankful for the relationships and opportunities they have given me, and I intend to continue being a part of these communities. But the ways in which each of them has contested my membership in the others have made it difficult or impossible for me to be myself without affronting people I love and care for. I used to feel extremely guilty for wanting to pull away from them because I felt I was abandoning the people who have given me the most. More and more, I understand that shaming and silencing parts of my identity to appease others is unfair and futile. More than that, it won’t change the fact that as a queer Chinese American woman, I will never completely belong to those Chinese, Chinese American, and white American communities, even if they are where I come from. Accepting and being myself is the only, and the best, option for me. Verbalizing a genuine belief in my self-worth - that’s the hardest and most important thing I have ever done.
THE KNIGHT AND THE YELLOW ROSE by Sarah Jensen “Have you ever heard of a red rose?” The lady frowned and said, “I have, but they are extraordinarily rare – some think they do not exist.” “But they do? They aren’t a myth?” the knight said, full of hope. “I have not heard of one in many years.” At this, the knight slumped. Perhaps he shouldn’t have gotten his hopes up. He had an unwitting tendency to climb the stiff chilly peaks of hope, to let the freshness flow through him and bring him to life like water in a wilting flower. And still the peaks would crumble and let him fall, hard, to the bottom. It was a testament to either spirit or foolishness that he could still believe when the first notes of chance’s song began. “Why the sudden interest in a red rose?” “My love will dance with me at the ball if I can find a red rose. As proof that our love may bloom, that it may exist at all.” The lady nodded, and said, “When is the ball?” “In one week’s time.” “Meet me here, an hour before the ball. If I have found a red rose, I will give it to you then.” graphics by Liana Kindler
And so the knight returned to the palace, and the lady retired to her chambers. On her way indoors, she snipped a closed rosebud from a bush of white roses. Though most only knew her as a lady, she had experience in the alchemical arts. She had long ago been told how to alter the color of a rose, and although she did not believe in love – “Because of love,” her sister said, throwing herself into the sea which her husband had drowned in. “Because of love,” her brother said, sobbing after a woman turned down his proposal of marriage. “Because of love,” her mother said, staying by her father’s side no matter how often he beat her – although she did not believe in love, which seemed more like a harmful foolishness than anything, she was willing to help her friend in his silly-but-earnest pursuit. On the first night, she mixed a potion in her cauldron and slipped in the white rose. A red rose must be built out of music by moonlight; in the light of the moon, she took out her flute and played a light song about holding a lover’s hand, of being silly in love. She did this without really believing in love; “love” was just irrationality, in her mind. In the morning, the rose was 07
pale pink. The knight came back to her in the day. “Have you found the rose?” he asked her. “It has only been one night. Have patience.” Then the lady asked, “What do you love about your love?” The knight thought and said, “He moves with grace and governs with wisdom. His voice is kind, and his eyes sparkle when he laughs. And there is the factor which no one can explain, the glow that washes over the heart in his presence.” The foolishness of love, the lady thought. That night, the lady sat at her piano in silence. The song she played on the first night encompassed all she knew about love. She did not know what to play. She looked out her window. The moon shone down coldly, accusing her of incompetence. In the distance, she heard a nightingale in the trees across the garden. His song was complex, and constantly speeding up, then slowing; she realized he was singing of the difficulty of patience when one is in love. She tried a few notes on the piano. Gradually, her song gained complexity and tempo. The march rhythm requested a faster song; she pulled the pace back down, but immediately it began to accelerate again. She thought of the knight’s eagerness for the rose to be finished and let it grow wild, resolving the song at its conclusion. The piano music lingered in the room. The nightingale had stopped singing, and the rose had turned a brighter pink. In the next two nights, the nightingale returned to sing of love again. The lady listened and sang along through her musical instruments: first a wild melody on her violin, singing of the adventure of love, of the aliveness and heightened senses and vividness of the world in love; then a sleepy lullaby on her harp, of the sort of love felt from simply existing by another’s side, hearing their soft breaths, feeling 08 | OutWrite, 2017
their gentle lasting presence in such a way that brings about thoughts of forevers. The knight returned again the next day, in good spirits. “He allowed me to touch him yesterday,” he said happily. “Only on the shoulder, and out of the public eye, but every romance must begin somewhere.” “Are you sure you want to fall for a man?” the lady asked, sewing closed a hole in her alchemist’s apron. “You could have fallen in love with any lady in the country, and you chose a man?” The knight smiled sadly, for although the lady’s question was genuine and innocent, he had thought of this himself. “It does seem more convenient at first sight,” he agreed, “to fall for a lady. But I would not be happy with a lady, and if I am happy with a man, then I hope those I care about would be happy enough in my happiness to let it be this way.” The lady nodded, deep in thought. It was not that she wished he would love her – besides her skepticism of love, she had never loved a man. Instead, she was sad that her friend would face more challenges than most, more problems than he deserved. Although, she thought, if he is happy, then that must be good enough for me. Who am I to be sorry for his happiness? At night she played on the lute a troubled song. It was a song of falling in love against one’s will, of being unable to escape the pulling of the heart. Midway, the nightingale entered with a countermelody – worried still, but gentler, like the drizzling rain that comes after a storm. The lady heard a resignation, an acceptance of the heart and the song it wanted to sing. On the sixth night, the nightingale sang a slow song. Hearing this, the lady pulled out her cello and played a song of deep, true, steadfast love. Love with an unbreakable honesty, love which exists without jealousy and lasts far longer than death. She was beginning to believe in these things, the sides of love which she and the nightingale had sung of. By morning, the rose was pink – pink as the flush on a child’s face, pink as a sunset after the orange has faded out – too pink. Not nearly red enough. The lady worried, in part because she had not properly slept in nearly a week. The knight visited in the afternoon and saw graphics by Liana Kindler
this. “You shouldn’t hurt yourself for my sake,” he said, worried for her health. The lady waved him off. “You need to sleep,” the knight insisted. At first she refused, but eventually she agreed under the condition that he wake her when he left. But her sleeping face was so peaceful and relieved, the knight broke his promise.
a knock. At the door was the knight, standing there in his best formal wear, disheveled from the walk from the palace. Every part of him slumped like a wilted rose. “How was the dance?” asked the lady tentatively. The knight shook his head. “My love gave the rose to a lady,” he said. “They danced all night.” “Why did you stay so long?” “To make sure they were all right.” “Will you try and get him back?” He sighed. “No.” “Why not?” “He is happy with her in his arms. I would rather let him be happy – indeed, help him, if I may.” The edge of the sun slipped over the trees. For the first time in her life, the lady saw love. It was not foolishness or pain; it was not impatience, nor adventure, nor drowsy peace. These were all side effects of love, a pure, selfless thing which stood right in front of her. “Come inside and rest,” said the lady. The sad knight fell asleep on her divan. The lady sat on the windowsill and thought about the nightingale’s song. She was remembering pieces – there was an aspect of purity about them, a nature of understanding, under which worries are few. It was a requited love, as well as an innocent, unassuming one. What caught her attention was that the true, selfless nature of love was candid here. Strange, she thought. The nightingale’s song feels like myself and the knight. Could this be love? But we would not wish to marry one another. What sort of love is that? She looked down. Below her window, where she had drained the cauldron, a rosebush grew. No plants had grown there before. On the branches of the rose bush bloomed yellow roses more perfect than the red.
The moon climbed, nervously peering into the room where no music played. Night fell. The moon climbed, nervously peering into the room where no music played. The lady slept a restful, dreamless sleep. The rose lay at the bottom of the cauldron, its color unchanging. In the morning, the lady awoke slowly, but when she realized it was day, she jolted awake. The sun was low on the wrong side of the sky. From her door came a knock. “My lady, are you here?” came the knight’s voice. “It is almost time for the dance.” Horror bubbled in her stomach. Feeling nauseous, the lady hurried to her cauldron. She looked inside and froze, stunned. Inside lay a rich red rose – the color of rubies, cherries, a healthy heart. The leaves were a little torn, a few of the petals limp, but she held in her hands a rare, red rose. But she had not completed the procedure – how? The knight knocked again, impatient in his nervousness. The lady pulled out the red rose and ran to the door. She showed the rose to the knight, who embraced her in his ecstasy. As the knight left to go to the dance, the lady thought she remembered hearing music in her sleep. She listened to the distant memory; all she could make out was the song of a nightingale. When the moon ascended the night, the air was still. The lady emptied her cauldron out the window. In the distance, the nightingale sang again, of promises kept and broken; the lady hummed a little with him. At sunrise there was
CALCULATIONS by Anastacia Kellogg Here we go, counting the lines between the words and the syllables that fit together. Maybe if I can figure out this puzzle I’ll know what to do about you. There had to be some reason as well as rhyme to all those love sonnets I never liked. Measuring iambs isn’t my thing but it could be if it makes me sound smart to you. I’d like to put the words together in a way you’d like. You’ve got me up at 2am writing bad poetry. This won’t change anything about you or me or art. Here I go, trying.
THE SILENT STRUGGLE: DISPARITIES IN BISEXUAL HEALTH by John Solan It’s well known that we queer people have it a little tougher in life. However, through the fight for equality we’ve managed to make the environment much safer for queers than it used to be. Gays can finally marry, millions are being put into health care and support systems for struggling queers. And even if we can’t afford to fix all of our problems, we’re at least address-
graphics by Andrew Hall
ing everything that’s important now, right? Well… no, actually, we’re not. This article covers one of the largest little-known issues in the queer community, bi health disparity. Yes, you read that right, BI health disparity. The ones that have it “easy” since they can hide as straight. It may surprise you, but despite being the biggest population in LGBTQ+, the grass isn’t always greener when you play both sides. Let’s get down to the facts.
Now the question must be posed: why is this happening? Researchers and members of the community have long argued that bisexuality has been de-legitimized by negative stereotypes, such as “bisexuality doesn’t exist as a sexual orientation,” “bisexuals are sexually promiscuous,” and “bisexuals are confused.” Multiple studies have found that straight, gay, and lesbian individuals may all have negative attitudes toward bisexuality, indicating that bisexual people face double discrimination. This issue of bisexuals being ignored and tossed aside by society, also known as bi erasure, goes much deeper than you might think. Let’s take a look at government spending on LGBTQ issues from 1970 to 2010. $487,677,799 was spent overall, with 83% going towards groups that are supposed to represent the whole community. Groups for gay men received 7%, and lesbian groups received 6%. Even trans groups, who have had a much more difficult fight for equality, received 3%. Funding for Bi issues didn’t even break a million. Bi-specific groups received 0.2% in four decades. That’s $2108.90 a year. Some people spend that kind of money on coffee alone. WTF America. But wait, there’s more! Not a single federally-funded LGBTQ+ organization has a dedicated staffer to bi issues, nor do they
can and should help to defeat the stigma surrounding bisexuality. Come out! Only 28% of bisexuals say that all the important people in their life know they are bisexual, compared to 77% of gay men and 71% of lesbians. I know this is not an option for everyone, but there’s no doubt in my mind that there are at least a few people in that closeted 72% that are waiting for nothing more than a push. Consider your own well-being first, but if this sounds like you then now is just as good a time as any. If you’re already out, be visible! Visibility is our biggest problem and only solution. The only reason bi erasure is so formidable is because we’re enabling it by suffering in silence. If you’re bi and struggling, or even just bi, tell someone. Tell everyone! Be an ally! You don’t have to be affected by the problem to want to help. And it’s so easy! How hard is it to tell someone you support them? Just let your bi friends know you care. And if you’re really interested in getting involved, contact your nearest LGBTQ+ organization and let them know you want to work on specifically bi issues. Though doing these things may not directly impact the systems perpetuating stigmas, visibility and support for bi folks tackle the problem at its roots and create an environment of acceptance that many bi people would benefit from greatly. If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: Bisexuals make up the biggest portion of the LGBTQ+ community, but also have the highest rates of mental health issues, physical health issues, poverty, discrimination, and sexual assault/violence. On top of that, bi issues receive the least funding and attention from the government and LGBTQ+ programs alike. The hate and discrimination from both queers and non-queers that bi people are forced to deal with only contribute to bi erasure by pushing those people to not talk about their sexuality, which in turn allows ignorance to continue to flourish in society and make the lives of bisexual individuals more difficult. An endless cycle. The only way to break free is to fight for visibility. Even in these trying times, I firmly believe this problem can solved, because all we have to do is talk about it.
Visibility and support for bi folks tackle the problem at its roots and create an environment of acceptance. have any bi specific programs up and running. This brings into question just how little of the “shared” LGBTQ+ fund really went to bi issues. Thankfully this is not entirely a sob story; at least some work is getting done. History was made when a White House Roundtable on Bisexual Issues was held in September of 2013. The meeting was an opportunity for executive government officials to learn about many of the issues covered in this article. Since then, the Bisexual Resource Center has designated March as Bisexual Awareness Month, in hopes to both educate the population and raise visibility for the queer community’s silent majority. Although it’s great that this headway has been made, there’s still plenty more room for progress. So, here are some simple ways you 12 | OutWrite, 2017
Q by Skylar Kang All my life I have lived as Austin. A name given to me at birth by my parents. A name my mom selected because it started with an “A” and because it was a “boy’s” name. A name that I did not choose. When I asked her why she chose my name she said it was because Austin was a name that would be first on every alphabetical list. But why didn’t she name me Adam or Addison, or Aiden or Alexandria, or Anthony or Ashley instead? So many names go before Austin alphabetically; the possibilities are endless, but I ended up with Austin. In addition to Austin, I also have a Chinese name, _______, pronounced Jiang Sheng Yao. And a Korean name, _______, pronounced Kang Seung Yo. My dad who is Korean and my mom who is Chinese felt as though these names would make me more connected to the cultures I come from. But all it did was further force me into a box that confined my identity, since both these names have male undertones. Throughout my adolescence I have questioned my gender identity multiple times. I was born a male with XY chromosomes, so my mom never let me play with “girl” toys or wear “girl” clothes or do “girly” things. For many people, like my mother, “gender” and “sex” are interchangeable terms, but for me they are not. Sex: n. Term based on reproductive organs i.e. male/female/intersex Gender: n. Non-binary. A person’s innate, deeply felt psychological identification as a male, female, or another gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth. “Well what do you identify as?” someone might ask. I have no idea yet, but what I do know is this: Individuals form attachment to their names almost as soon as learning to speak. But this did not ring true for me. For eighteen years, I have only been called Austin and have associated and identified myself with that name - a name that stuck with me like a rusted nail that can’t be
graphic by Liana Kindler
pulled out. It’s a part of me, but perhaps I don’t want it to be. Perhaps it doesn’t have to be. The name Sky would provide me with the confidence I need; the solace needed to embrace the inner me and my true identity. The idea that someone could read out my name without assuming my gender is uplifting. The neutrality of the name further enhances my love for it. I imagine one day calling room service in hotels and being referred to in a way other than the typical “yes sir”. I can change the way I speak with the name Sky: feminine, masculine, neither, both - no one would be able to tell me how to speak or act. My possibilities are truly endless with the name Sky. Sky, a name that no one has ever called me before. Yet, I felt so intrinsically connected to it on a personal level. The concept of names, something seemingly so simple for a lot of people can cause non-binary and trans people a lot of emotional distress because it is often one of the tools used by society to identify people and their gender. Most people never think twice about their name, let alone think about changing it. Yet, I sit here aimlessly staring into the screen, with one hand nicely filed like the smoothest grains of soft sand and painted effortlessly with a pale pink, thinking of whether I truly identify with any name or gender at all. Maybe I don’t know and maybe I don’t have to decide now.
INSPIRE by Skylar Kang
“With this photo spread, I really wanted to explore different people’s experiences with photoshoots. When I first started modeling, I was super nervous and felt awkward in every pose, but it gave me a rush — a sense of adrenaline flowing through my veins. I’ve only done a few photoshoots, so going into this one, I vaguely knew which angles worked best for me, but I’m still an amateur. I had a lot to learn from Alyssa, the photographer, such as lighting and location scouting. In a way, modeling makes me feel empowered and I hope that it has a similar effect on others.”
photos by Alyssa Dorn
“I wanted this photoshoot to reflect the self-confidence and self-knowledge I’ve gained over the past year, and how much more comfortable I am because of it. It’s good to take a step back and appreciate yourself from an outside perspective!” – Anastacia Kellogg
“Going into this, I was pretty nervous about what Alyssa’s photos might capture about me. I look into the mirror everyday, but I still wonder how other people see me compared to what I’d hope they see or not see. However, Alyssa was so kind and respectful that I couldn’t help but feel safe under her lens, and her care reflected in the photos. I learned photos by Alyssa Dorn
a lot about myself, and I’m glad we did it.” – Jem
MY FIRST TIME IN DRAG by Andrew Hall The first time I did drag was the Friday before Halloween, 2016. For those who don’t know -- doing drag is a fucking nightmare. The time I spent in preparation was probably a greater amount of time than I’ve dedicated to any one event like... ever. I had all my supplies ready: makeup, costume, duct tape, heels, wig, corset, etc. I was ready to be drop dead gorgeous. The inspiration for my costume came from Violet Chachki. I love her sexy, timeless burlesque look because it feels like such a badass female caricature. I also wanted to cinch my waist to see how much I could look like Violet. If you watch Rupaul’s Drag Race, you know as well as I do that Violet practically invented cinching to the gawwwwds. The most memorable part of getting into drag was tucking. “Tucking” is, essentially, hiding your penis so that you can further create the
a couple of pictures, and then headed to the party together. Walking down the street gave me an eerie feeling; I didn’t expect people to stare so much— especially since it was Halloween— but we all know the reality of our heteronormative, gender-policing society!!! In all the excitement and support from my friends, I had forgotten that the world outside was not as safe as the inside of my friend’s apartment. Nonetheless, I tried not to be deterred by the stares as I made my way down the uneven sidewalk, although inside I was transitioning from feeling sexy and confident to nervous and scared. When we arrived at the party, my emotions hit me like a fucking wall. I suddenly realized that most of the people inside weren’t queer. Then I realized most of them weren’t even allies... and that most of them were drunk. Then
illusion of a woman. To be honest, I was quite shocked at how weird the process was. First, I had to lift my balls back up into my abdomen area, which was the strangest thing. It’s a matter of finding the open canal your balls descended from during puberty, and sticking them back up there. Then I had to pull my penis back between my buttcheeks and tape it all in place using duct tape. If you think tucking would hurt, you’re not wrong. Now that I had an illusion of a pussy (as it’s referred to in drag lingo), I was ready to put on my costume. I slipped into the thong, the tights, the garters, and I had a friend help me with the corset. My friends were proud of me, we took
I realized I didn’t feel safe. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked my best friend, John, in the eyes. “I can’t do it.” — I felt defeated and desperate. My friends were so proud of me and excited for the people at the party to see me — I felt like I was letting them down. John tried to talk me into staying, but I couldn’t shake the fear that something bad might happen. I was worried someone would say something that would break down the work I’d put in over the past few years in being confident about my body. After all, I was mostly naked.
graphics by Andrew Hall
John kept encouraging me, and half because I wanted to be strong for my friends, half because I didn’t know a way out of the situation, I followed him into the house where the party was happening. The first room we had to go through was a party for a different group of people, so I didn’t know any of them. As I made my way through the group of strangers, I could feel all their eyes on me. I glanced back nervously and accidentally made eye-contact with a guy who was trying to make his way past me. When I did, he quickly turned away. A group of guys looked me up and down. Some even
ized through this event that I really enjoy drag. However, I need to be a lot more conscientious of where I choose to participate, because it isn’t always safe. I am now painfully aware that our society is still a long way away from accepting non-heteronormative and non-binary expressions of gender. Being policed on my gender performance by people who stared and pointed at me, snickered, and made me feel unwelcome despite knowing nothing about me was something I had never experienced before. Moving on from this event, I feel all the more passionate about advocating for those in my community whose lives are troubled by these sorts of fears daily. Additionally, through this experience, I’ve learned to appreciate drag queens, gender queer individuals, two-spirited individuals, and all other types of gender nonconforming expressions all the more because of how much bravery it takes. As I continue to try to figure out how I want to express my gender, I’m constantly reminded of how strong, resilient, and badass my community of queers is. My community is one of the most important aspects of my life, and being a writer for this magazine is just one way of giving back to those who continue to inspire me by just being authentically, unapologetically true to themselves.
As I made my way through the group of strangers, I could feel all their eyes on me. snickered and pointed. I panicked. I found the closest wall and stood against it. I felt more vulnerable than I’d ever felt in my life. Here I was, half naked, cross-dressing, wearing makeup, and with my ass hanging out in front of a bunch of drunk college dudes and girls I didn’t know, being inspected and laughed at. I wanted nothing more than to just be a fly on the wall. I wanted the exact opposite of everything I had prepared for — looking sexy, making a statement, creating an illusion… Now I just wanted to be unnoticed. That’s what would have made me feel safe. I started tearing up. My breathing became shallow and I gasped for air. I couldn’t get enough, my corset was too tight. I had to leave. I had to go home. Luckily, I have extremely supportive friends, so with their encouragement, I was able to change my costume, return to the party, and spend time with people I cared about. My first time in drag was an experience I had never imagined. It was scary, a bit humiliating, and not empowering in the way I was hoping it to be. Nonetheless, I’m very grateful for all the lessons this event taught me. For one, it made me realize my privilege as a cis-person. As a cis-person, I’m very lucky I don’t have to face that fear to the same extent as others in my community, such as trans women, who sadly make up 72% of the victims of violent hate crimes against queer people. I also real20 | OutWrite, 2017
OTHER: THE UNHEARD VOICES OF QPOC ADOPTEES by Liana Kindler
You know what’s always stressed me out? Back in high school, when we had to take standardized tests, there’d always be a preface question about which race you identify as. They’d list the options — African American, Caucasian, Asian, Latino, etc — and while most kids bubbled in their answer in about half a second, I always hesitated, trying to decide which category I fell under. My mom is definitely Caucasian, born and raised in Palatine, Illinois, a small suburb outside of Chicago. My dad, the son of two Romanian immigrants who settled in Queens, New York, is also definitely Caucasian. But what about me? When I was nine months old, I was adopted from an orphanage in Sanshui, China and settled down in San Marino, California, a small town near the San Gabriel Valley. As the town with the ninth largest Asian population in the country, San Marino should be the perfect place for me to “reconnect with my roots,” but if anything, it pushed me further into confusion. This is not to say that I didn’t like growing up in a heavily Asian community — I loved being able to get literally any type of Asian food within a 15 minute drive from home, or going photo from Liana Kindler
to 99 Ranch Market, perusing the aisles of brightly packaged snacks and perfectly marbled meats for shabu shabu. It’s more that I felt uncomfortable; I identified with the Asian community purely based on appearance, but culturally? Not in a way that felt valid. Instead, I culturally identified as “Classically American,” whatever the fuck that means — another grey area I guess. Plus, I was raised in a traditionally Jewish household, bat-mitzvah and everything, so being the only Asian person at my temple put an even deeper wrench in my own cultural identification. A Jewish Sort-of-Asian-Sort-of-CaucasianAmerican girl. Potentially the only one on this goddamn earth. Yep. Definitely not on the STAR test bubble options. I settled with filling in the bubble next to Other. I suppose “other” is the most accurate depiction of my cultural and racial identity. However, labeling myself as “other” just made me feel lonely and unrelatable. I felt like an outsider looking in on various identities that were never truly mine, no matter how welcoming each community was toward me. Although I spent a lot of time in high school 21
searching for a place to belong, it wasn’t until college that I even thought about my place in the queer community. Up until halfway through my freshman year, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of being gay. Unlike many of my friends back in middle school and high school, who spent the days fawning over their crushes, I had never really placed a priority on romance. I blamed it on the fact that all the boys at my school were gross and uninteresting and that I didn’t want to waste my time on them when I could just wait for The One, who’d probably be found elsewhere. I thought I was just being Reasonable
was generally surrounded by privileged members of the upper-class who thrived on conformity and maintaining an “image of prestige.” In San Marino, I felt that I was better off repressing the areas of my life that didn’t match with what that society deemed as “normal” instead of expressing it, or even talking to others about it. Fortunately, coming to college and being exposed to so many different people with different perspectives and walks of life helped me realize how broad of a term “normal” is, and how it doesn’t require conforming to such rigid concepts, as I had faced in my hometown. Although I became aware of my queer identity during my freshman year, it wasn’t until sophomore year that I felt secure enough in my identity to start coming out. I remember being in Big Bear on a trip with a couple of my closest friends during Fall Quarter and finally pulling my friend (who quickly became my Lesbian Spirit Guide) aside and telling her that I was gay, to which she immediately responded with “welcome to the fambly” with a big smile. And that’s when I knew that this community, the queer community, was one that I’d be comfortable in — one in which I could truly identify. To some degree, I think that my entrance into the queer community, and with it, my exploration deeper into the concept of identity, helped me come to terms with my confusion about cultural and racial identity. Meeting people who identify as non-binary or on the gray-sexuality
I spent a lot of time in high school searching for a place to belong. and Mature For A Teenager, because in the grand scheme of the rest of my life, the chance I’d meet The One before even going off to college seemed highly unlikely. But when I came to UCLA, all the pieces, the hints that were SO STARKLY OBVIOUS that I had ignored, came to light. That high school best friend who I thought I was just reeeeaaaaalllly close with? Definitely in love. Definitely without a doubt so in love with her. Oops. Now THAT’S what those butterflies and warm fuzzy feelings my friends had been talking about were. Growing up in the San Marino bubble definitely distorted my view towards the world, as I
spectrum really helped me realize the true validity of an ambiguous identity, which is ultimately where I identify, racially and culturally. — With adoption, not everyone’s story is like mine — each adoptee has their own story. Even adoptees raised in families with multiple adopted siblings process their experience differently, because every little detail can cause big changes in perception. I was fortunate enough to talk to two other queer people of color (QPOC) adoptees about their individual experiences with adoption and the queer community. Zoe Dunne is a 4th-year student at Western Oregon University whom I’ve known longer than most other humans on this earth — even my own parents. Zoe and I were adopted from the same orphanage in Sanshui through an adoption agency that allowed our parents, along with about 20 other prospective parents, to experience the adoption process as a group. Whereas I grew up as an only-child, Zoe grew up in a fairly large family. At the time of her adoption, Zoe grew up with a Caucasian single mother and 4 siblings, all birth children of her mother, in Malibu. She notes on her own identity issues: “When I was young I went through an identity crisis because at least for me, I’ve always known I was adopted, but then [I’ve grown] up in this white culture and I lived in Malibu, so mainly everyone’s white, but I’m not white.” For Zoe, the main point when she started noticing the racial discrepancy between herself and her parents came when people started pointing it out. She said that people would even say things like “I’m so sorry,” in response to her explaining her adoption background. Zoe states, “You try not letting that stuff get to you, photos (left) from Liana Kindler photos (above) from Zoe Dunne
but it kind of does because I am really different.” The summer after high school, Zoe and her family, along with a therapist, took a trip back to China. There, she was asked which place she views as “home” — China or America. However, she was unable to come to a conclusive answer, despite thinking about it very deeply. She says that, “in a way, I don’t identify really as Chinese, other than feature-wise, and I’m not white either, so it was really confusing.” In a way, adoption and confusion come hand-in-hand. As adoptees, we are constantly faced with questions ranging from simple biological questions (eg: Am I deathly allergic to bees or were those hives just a coincidence?) to more complex questions regarding identity and “home,” to which we simply don’t have the answers. Zoe feels that her identity in the queer community was never a huge issue, as she didn’t face strong issues with either self-acceptance of her queer identity or public-acceptance when she came out. She’s grateful that in college she can surround herself with friends, both queer and non-queer, and that she can depend on them when struggling in certain areas of her life that she feels uncomfortable discussing with her family. As someone who identifies as pansexual, she enjoys support from both the queer and non-queer friends to validate her feelings across the spectrum. 23
In the end, what allows her to find peace is the realization that cultural and racial identity doesn’t need to be constrained within the divisions that society tries to organize everyone into. She states, “I was able to come to the conclusion that to me, I’m my own home. I don’t have to fit into any racial group or cultural group — it’s just me and that’s who I am.” — Jeremy Porr is a student at SFSU studying Journalism, with a minor in Race and Resistance. Jeremy’s adoption story is much different from that of mine and Zoe’s. Jeremy was adopted at 5 or 6 months by a Latino family and “seamlessly blended in” due to his similar complexion and “racially ambiguous features.” It wasn’t until college, where he started taking courses that made him think about race in culture in a more critical way, that he started questioning his own racial identity. Growing up, he always knew he was adopted, as his parents were very open about the process. However, in the past few years, he started posing deeper questions about the adoption, wondering what his race is according to his birth lineage. When an ancestry test based on his mitochondrial data didn’t provide the closure he needed, he turned to his adoption papers for further answers. He found out that he actually had three other siblings, and that his birth mother had expressed interest in keeping in contact with him, which he hadn’t known about before, leaving him with more questions than answers. At this point in his life, Jeremy’s attention is mainly dedicated to graduating from college, which I definitely relate to, but all the questions that come with his own background and lack of knowledge are still present on his mind. With regards to identity, Jeremy feels that being a QPOC adoptee “has stressed the importance of chosen family... I think 24 | OutWrite, 2017
the entire concept of family is queer, because yes, I have my parents who I love, but we’re not related by blood, and that doesn’t matter to me.” — Although everyone’s story and experiences are very different when it comes to adoption and queer identity, there is certainly a degree of intersectionality between the two communities. In the end, the QPOC community and adoptee community are both minorities who are very rarely represented in day-to-day life, and often if they are represented, their situations are romanticized. Adoptees are often seen as “tragic figures,” who spend their days brooding about never having known their “real parents” (can confirm: not what we do). QPOC, if even presented in media, are usually branded with one Ultimate Combo Stereotype that fetishizes both their race and their sexual identification. Growing up, I had a hard time coming to terms with my transracial adoption because I’d constantly be bombarded with questions about my background that I didn’t have the answers to, and on top of that, I didn’t really have figures to look up to who had shared that same experience as myself. I still can barely name any famous adopted people, let alone ones who are vocal about their experience as an adoptee. Zoe felt similarly about this experience, specifically dealing with adoption questions at a young age, stating, “No one else is adopted so we’re like NO ONE ELSE GETS IT! ...It was definitely a big insecurity of mine, and I went to therapy, but [I was] pretty young so it [was] confusing.” Jeremy also discussed the importance of bephotos (left) from Jeremy Porr photos (right) from Liana Kindler
ing vocal as an adoptee. “I think that’s another thing that gets lost. Birth parents have a much louder voice than the adoptees do within the adoptee community... but also adoption is a trauma for children to go through that we don’t have a choice in... It’s not a one-time event, it’s a lifelong process... and it’s important for our voices to be heard.” This need for awareness — this need for vocality — is so important in the QPOC community as well. Jeremy discussed the fact that he never really felt comfortable or welcomed by the LGBT community, because when he was coming out, the faces that represented them were mostly white, homonormative, and cis-gendered, which is not a community to which he related. “In terms of the mainstream LGBT movement, I think they’re still focused on things like marriage and adoption rights, and that’s great, but also what about homeless queer youth? What about trans women of color who are murdered at an insane rate?... Especially in this Trump era, I want to be more queer and more in people’s faces than ever before. If I want to wear eyeliner and tights and go out, that’s what I’m going to do. I have no interest in watering down my queer identity to become some homonormative clone to please straight people.” — As of now, I’m still a little unsure of my own racial and cultural identity — what’s changed is my own acceptance of that gray-area as a valid identity. I guess in the end, the biggest
thing standing in the way of this realization was myself. Growing up, I was so afraid of judgment and how others would perceive me that I searched for possibilities of which identities I could fall into instead of focusing on being myself, but here at UCLA I’ve never felt more comfortable being myself: a Jewish-ish Sort-ofAsian-Sort-of-Caucasian-American Queer Person of Color. However, I’m just one person and can’t speak for the rest of the world’s adoptees or QPOC.
“I have no interest in watering down my queer identity to become some homonormative clone to please straight people.” (Jeremy Porr) I live in sunny Southern California and attend a university full of other young, diverse liberals such as myself, so it’s no doubt that there are many, many others out there in different communities who do not have the privilege of feeling comfortable expressing themselves. At this current age under the Trump Presidency, it’s vital for people like myself to maintain an active voice for the communities that don’t have the luxury to do so. It’s our job to show the nation — to show the world — that we, these communities of “others,” whether we be racial minorities, queer people, adoptees, or all three, are here and demand to be respected for who we are.
IT’S JUST AN EXPRESSION Hi, my name is Shay. Sometimes I get excited to go shopping for clothes. It’s easier said than done, however, and I realize this again every time I walk into a store and am faced by a hard separation of “girls’ clothes” and “boys’ clothes.” Clothes don’t intrinsically have gender, yet they’re treated as if they do, organized and marketed in only two categories based on that value of gender. As a non-binary person, it’s distressing to have to choose between specific marketing towards girls and specific market-
by Shay Suban
bitrary points in space. There are genders that exist on the line segment between them, but there’s also an unlimited variety of genders that aren’t located on that one-dimensional line, but rather in the infinite 3D space around it. There are even genderfluid identities, where a person’s gender can vary over time or where they don’t identify as having a fixed gender; and agender, where a person doesn’t identify with any particular gender. The binary is deeply ingrained in our society and affects everyone’s experience of the world, including my own, even though I’m non-binary. Society is obsessed with getting people to fit into the binary, even trans/non-binary people, especially regarding gender expression and presentation. Gender expression does not dictate gender, but people seem to aggressively want trans people’s gender expression to match their idea of what their gender “should look like.” In my experience, this means I’ve been expected to have a gender expression “in-between” masculine and feminine or a combination of the two, to “match” my gender. Since I
Gender expression does not dictate gender. ing towards boys, neither of which I completely identify with, and be complicit in that. I just want the clothes. This is just one example of the gender binary at work, the organization of gender into two “opposite” categories of masculine and feminine, despite the fact that genders exist in a vast spectrum. Imagine femininity and masculinity as two ar26 | OutWrite, 2017
graphics by Shay Suban
was assigned female at birth, I’ve been expected to cut my hair short, supposedly to “balance out” or compensate for more “feminine” features such as my small frame and curves. This kind of expectation undermines the complexity of gender by only “extending” the binary to a sliding scale between feminine and masculine, still ignoring every gender outside of that. We also have to come to terms with the fact that two words aren’t enough to describe every gender, and that currently, every description of gender relies on the arbitrary ideas of masculinity and femininity. Even the identifier “non-binary” has to acknowledge and refer to the binary in its own name in order to describe itself. The idea that gender expression must match your gender also gives people the idea that if I don’t present androgynously, then my experience of gender isn’t valid; suddenly, I’m not allowed to explore either my femininity or masculinity, similarly to how boys are discouraged from exploring their femininity and girls are discouraged from exploring their masculinity. It’s especially difficult to explore my femininity since I was assigned female at birth. If I were to express myself with femininity, it almost feels invalidating. But I’m still just as trans non-binary while presenting femininely as I am while presenting masculinely. Gender expression doesn’t dictate gender, and vice versa. I can and should explore my gender expression at my own pace, but feeling like I’m being perceived and judged in certain ways every step of the way is incredibly stressful. — The gender binary is all around us, creating limitations and problems for everyone and affecting our everyday lives. And unfortunately, there aren’t simple solutions to any of these problems because the binary is so ingrained in our society, but there are still some things that we can do to consciously combat it.
Recognize that femininity and masculinity are arbitrary ideas and social constructs. Don’t perpetuate the idea that objects or activities are gendered. Makeup isn’t female, sports aren’t male, and clothes aren’t tied to any gender. Avoid marketing things in a way that is gender-specific or excludes trans/non-binary people. Also, support and encourage others who are exploring their interests. Avoid binary language such as “he or she,” “ladies and gentlemen,” or “‘both’ genders.” Don’t perpetuate “boys versus girls” culture using gender stereotypes, either. Personally take time to reevaluate society’s cisnormative, arbitrary ideas of “what a girl
Even the identifier “non-binary” has to acknowledge and refer to the binary in its own name in order to describe itself. looks like,” “what a boy looks like,” and so on, and how those ideas affect the way you think about gender. Realize that every person’s gender expression is valid, and support those who don’t conform to societal norms. Don’t assume people’s pronouns, and ask for someone’s pronouns as soon as you can. Until you know someone’s pronouns for sure, it may be safer to refer to them with gender neutral they/them pronouns, then begin using their correct pronouns as soon as you know them. When meeting new people, introduce yourself with your pronouns, then ask for the other person’s name and pronouns in return. Normalizing this exchange makes it easier for trans/ non-binary people to introduce their pronouns, and if everyone is doing it, it’ll be a little less tiring, less scary, and more safe. Recognize and speak out against instances in which trans/non-binary people are excluded. A gender binary-free society may be a long ways away, but we can do so much to introduce more inclusive norms and dismantle the gender binary starting now. My name is Shay, and my pronouns are they/ them/theirs. What are yours?
THE INEVITABLE OUTCOME OF UNDERREPRESENTATION by Anastacia Kellogg Ship, n. Short for romantic relationship. v. To endorse a romantic relationship. Shipping, n. The act of endorsing a romantic relationship, usually fictional, usually in a fan-created work. 2016 was a poor year, like most years, for queer representation in popular media. In their annual Where We Are on TV report, GLAAD tallied up only 4.8% of regular characters on television as LGBT, while their Studio Responsibility Index found only 17.5% of major studio films were LGBT-inclusive. Queer characters that do appear tend to die quickly, as did the 26 queer women on TV in the 2015-16 season according to the count by LGBT Fans Deserve Better. In fandom spaces, however, we have a different story. There is a decades-long tradition of audiences responding to their favorite media by writing stories set in those worlds or centering around those characters, placing them in romantic situations that would never happen in the source’s official canon. There are hundreds of thousands of these fanfictions, and the most popular couples, pairings, or — in the most fandom-friendly lingo — “ships” are, more often than not, same-gender. What drives audiences to increasingly favor these love stories that do not, officially, exist? The lack of diversity in all sorts of media has been countered with a relentless push for more inclusive movies, television, and literature. This has resulted in an audience that is increasingly critical of even their favorite franchises, an audience which holds standards and expectations that large-scale productions routinely fail to meet. The history of this push and pull for diversity representation is far longer than can be cov-
ered here, and the list of popular queer ships is even longer than that. I can only take a shallow sampling—a far too shallow, far too male-centric, sampling—to illustrate. — One of the most infamous non-attempts at queer representation in a major franchise was
What drives audiences to increasingly favor these love stories that do not, officially, exist?
28 | OutWrite, 2017
J.K. Rowling’s Word of God announcement that Albus Dumbledore was gay. It prompted a lot of negative responses, many of which were predictably homophobic, logic-bending “proofs” that she was somehow wrong about her own character. Much of the criticism however, came from LGBTQ fans of the series who were unhappy with the way it had been handled. The problem was one of visibility. Queer fans don’t need to know that queer relationships are happening somewhere off in the fictional world; we take that as a given. What we are invested in are the relationships whose stories are told and the characters who are navigating them. Whether the people involved are good or bad (and remember, Dumbledore and Grindelwald were both bad people), fans have the right to feel cheated when the portrayal of the relationship is never suggested to be anything more than a teenage friendship. So it’s little surprise that the most popular queer ships in the fandom are non-canon ones. We see pairings like Dean/Seamus or Remus/ Sirius: pure, loving relationships which are, most importantly, extrapolations of non-romantic relationships we actually witnessed on page and screen. —
graphic by Emily Dearborn, Liana Kindler
When The Force Awakens came out in 2015, followed by Rogue One a year later, the significance of the main casts was immediately obvious. Both are stories revolving around women and people of color, while the only new white male characters are the antagonists — a very welcome change to a franchise with a history of all-white leads and heaps of negative racial coding. The Force Awakens also contains among its protagonists two male characters whose interactions inspired countless online articles calling on Disney to make Finn and Poe Dameron a couple. The film is peppered with scenes
story — so devoted to fulfilling cookie-cutter heteronormative subplots that they find ways to push together characters with no history in the source material or no onscreen chemistry or development. The latter was especially ridiculous to audiences watching the tactless post-funeral kiss in Captain America: Civil War. Before that movie came out, a director described it as a “love story” between Steve and his brainwashed childhood friend Bucky — a brotherly, “no homo” kind of love story. Audiences are expected to watch narratives centered on the relationship between two people, grow invested in the emotions and history and interactions between them that are strong enough to drive the story, and yet assume that they are platonic because the characters are of the same gender. Meanwhile, if a man and a woman smile at each other in one scene of a film, audiences aren’t even shocked to see them kiss in the sequel. At this point it becomes simply insulting. — Being a fan of any major franchise requires compromise with all the problematic elements that franchises tend to have, best exemplified by the tendency toward the white able-bodied cishet male character with whom the audience is meant to universally identify. And audiences don’t have the choice to hold out for anything better than this; we could wait our whole lives before someone makes a movie with the kind of representation that we want to see. The result is that the work produced by fans — fanfiction, fanart, edited photosets, aesthetic boards, and so on — runs the range from purely celebratory to highly critical. Somewhere in the middle is celebration on our own terms: we all love Hermione Granger (who by the way is Black); we all love Steve Rogers (who by the way is bisexual). Shipping provides an outlet for the frustration that so many queer people feel at not seeing representations of themselves in the media that they love to consume. It is a way of combating the realization that, while fans may love creations, the creators don’t always love the fans back.
The work produced by fans — fanfiction, fanart, edited photosets, aesthetic boards, and so on — runs the range from purely celebratory to highly critical. that, had they happened between a man and a woman, would have been wholly accepted as foreshadowing of romance: one rescues the other, they support each other through an intense near-death experience, one names the other, one gives the other his jacket, one believes the other to be dead, and both waste no time in rushing into each other’s arms when finally reunited. Rogue One then gives us Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe, who bicker like an old married couple before one dies in the other’s arms. Here we see another frustration common to a queer person watching a franchise they love. It is the chagrin of seeing the creators come this close, yet never achieving the reflection of the kind of love that makes our own, real worlds worth fighting for. — Yet another Disney property with an even more play-it-safe approach to character diversity is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, itself a prime example of the way queer representation goes down as the visibility of the media goes up. The MCU’s first gay character was introduced in season 3 of Agents of Shield, but it wasn’t until Netflix’s Jessica Jones that we actually got to see characters navigating same-sex relationships. The movies are a totally different
30 | OutWrite, 2017
Activist: A person who works to bring about social or political change. Asexual: The orientation of a person who does not experience sexual attraction. Bisexual: The orientation of a person who experiences attraction to two or more genders. Cisgender: Denoting a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex. Heteronormative: Denoting a viewpoint or belief that expresses heterosexuality as a given, rather than one of many possibilities.
Intersectional: Term coined by KimberlĂŠ Wiliams Crenshaw (of UCLA), denoting the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Nervouswreck: An OutWrite editor combatting publishing deadlines and mid-terms at the same time. Non-Binary: Not composed of just two things. For example â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Gender non-binary is a label used for a person who identifies as neither solely male nor female.
Pansexual: The orientation of a person who does not consider gender identity as a determinant factor in sexual attraction. Queer: An originally pejorative term that is being reclaimed as an umbrella term for a non-heterosexual or non-cisgender identity. A debated term among the LGBTQ community. Transgender: Denoting a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.
OutWrite: UCLAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Coolest Newsmag, hands down. (Just kidding.)
OutWrite Newsmagazine is the University of California, Los Angeles’ Queer Newsmagazine, aiming to cover and validate experiences and issues of LGBTQ students at UCLA. Through eloquent student opinions and well-researched journalistic coverage, we strive to expose and reverse homophobia, engage in challenging, progressive thought, and mobilize the LGBTQ community against social injustices. We are always looking for writers, bloggers, editors, illustrators, photographers, designers, and advertising representatives to join our team. Help us in providing LGBTQ students with an honest and personal platform – with stories that reflect their own, as well as stories that broaden their horizons. As writer Carlos Fuentes said, “Writing is a struggle against silence.” To apply, or for more information, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org