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CONTENTS

8-9

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FEATURE

“Gaydar: The Expression and Interpretation of Sexual Identity” | VANESSA WEST

5

11

DEFINING OURSELVES Searching For Identity in a Pile of Letters | JUSTIN SEDOR

6

12 -13

REDEFINING OURSELVES An Open Letter to All Mai Bad Betches: | AUSTIN ROSE

7

14 15 16

SOCIAL NETWORKING The Facebook Generation and the Virtual Closet | KATIE SCHOWENGERDT

2

Why the Gay Agenda Isn’t Progressive Enough: Intersectionality and Queer Political Expression | MARCUS MCRAE

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT The Straight Girl’s Guide to Sleeping With Chicks: Too Much Smut, Not Enough Substance | BRANDI CRAIG Groins, Groans and Group Sex: Family Guy’s Gay Jokes for Straight Laughs | SERGIO ARGUELLO

EXPRE$$ION (Pink) Money Is Power | SERGIO ARGUELLO

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POLITICAL EXPRESSION

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CREATIVE WRITING Out of Earshot | BRANDI CRAIG

HOROSCOPES STENCIL

Summer ‘11


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www.outwritenewsmag.org outwrite@media.ucla.edu

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ED I TOR - IN - CH IE F VANESSA WEST M A N AG I N G E DI TO R JUSTIN SEDOR D E S IG N CATHERINE ESGUERRA STAF F W R I TE R S SERGIO ARGUELLO BRANDI CRAIG MARCUS MCRAE AUSTIN ROSE KATIE SCHOWENGERDT JUSTIN SEDOR PH OTOG R A P H E R S KENDALL CHASE JUSTIN SEDOR

>HU[[VILWHY[VM[OPZ-()<36<:5,::& CALLING ALL SUPER SAVVY DESIGNERS: JOIN THE OUTWRITE STAFF!

A RT ISTS MADISON CARANAY CATHERINE ESGUERRA

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M EDI A D I R ECTOR ARVLI WARD

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Summer â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;11

S PECI A L T H A N KS TO : CAMPUS PROGRESS

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LAVENDER GRAD UCLAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s LGBT Community presents: a celebration of your achievements! + Sat. 6/11/11 + Korn Convocation Hall in the UCLA Anderson School of Management

COME GE T YOUR CERTIFICA TE AND RAINBOW TASSEL!

+ Nominate yourself or your fellow students online for: - Student Leadership Awards - the Lambda Scholarship award

Register to walk/participate by June 9 at:

http://lgbt.ucla.edu

Summer â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;11


?

DEFINING OURSELVES

Searching for an Identity in a Pile of Letters JUSTIN SEDOR MANAGING EDITOR

L

G

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A Illustration by: Catherine Esguerra

A

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fundamentally different from them and thus, logically, deserving of a different set of rights and position in American society. To me, LGBT is the most problematic way of describing who, and what, I am. It’s too long, too disjointed, and too technical, and too fussy, and too easy to fuck up--it gives straight people an excuse to dismiss my community and its needs as beyond their comprehension. My own father, who knows I am gay, and who I consult from time to time about my boyfriend problems, has no idea what this term means. It encourages ignorance; it sounds like a code. Is this the way we want the world to see us? As a bunch of misfits under an awkward acronym? Although I used to have an even bigger problem with the word queer--even saying it used to make me feel weird, I’ll admit--I have come to see its merits. It’s all-encompassing, it’s simple, it’s fresh, it’s less apologetic, it’s less cautious, and it is, at the end of the day, an empowering idea to think that we have been able to take a word that used to be hurtful and make it something to be proud of. Still, “queer” is a word that carries a negative ring to this day in some circles, especially among the older generation, the one that’s still making the rules and setting the standards in America. It’s also too politically charged for some in our community, too radical for those who don’t see themselves as activists, too un-cool for Tigerheat. While it’s a nice idea, “queer” simply hasn’t been embraced widely enough to be an effective label for our community at large; it just isn’t ready for primetime, not on Logo, and certainly not in the State of the Union. Is this all just semantics? A recent study from UCLA’s Williams Institute found that around 3.5% of American adults refer to themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, but that around 8.2% of Americans have same-sex

B

When you came out, did you know who you were? When I came out in high school, I went through what I think a lot of us do--I didn’t know what I was. I mean, I knew that I was a boy who liked boys, and that I was making a conscious decision not to hide this fact. But I didn’t know what to call what I was, how I fit in with this community with which I had just recently become acquainted. Was I gay? Yeah. Did that mean I was part of the “LGBT Community?” I supposed it did, assuming that “G” stood for what I thought it did. But what about those other letters that I saw on all those pamphlets and heard in my GSA meetings? So there’s at least one “Q” in there, as well? And maybe an “I,” and a few “A”s, too? Upon my arrival at UCLA, I was pitched another identity curveball. I kept hearing all these cool, confident, activist-y gay people describe themselves as “queer” (remember that Q?). Was that what I was? Wait a second...what did you just call me? Isn’t that an insult? Was that really the word that I wanted to use to describe myself? The more I heard all of these different terms, under various different circumstances, the more I thought about what each of them really meant. I played with them on my tongue, trying to figure out which one seemed less like an apology, least like I was trying to label myself as inferior. Because, to me, that’s how I felt--like I was being branded, by my community and by myself, if not as less than, then definitely as different from...and, by extension, as not equal to. I was extremely conscious, as I still am today, of the image that I was presenting to the straight world, from which I felt more cut off than ever; I didn’t feel like any of these self-assigned labels sent a message that would be read positively by straight America. I’ve learned a lot since then, but even now, as Managing Editor of “UCLA’s Queer and Ally Newsmagazine,” I’m conflicted about these words. They still ring negative to me, no matter how many empowering ways people try to use them. It must be acknowledged here that both “LGBT” and “queer” emerged as attempts to establish the usage of a word, any word, to describe our community, that wasn’t derogatory or apologetic, that conveyed at least a minimum level of respect. “LGBT,” at the time, was a better option than “homosexual,” a term that carried (and carries to this day) ugly, clinical connotations, as if confirming what some believe to be a biological defect common to all of us. “LGBT” was designed to be a fair, equalizing tag for our community, at a time when lesbians and gays and bisexuals and transgender individuals were competing to get their agendas advanced and their voices heard. A lot of groups have big problems with this term. Some transgender individuals resent being lumped in with gays and lesbians, terms which traditionally refer to sexual attraction; they feel that the “LGBT agenda” often has little to do with the issues they face on a daily basis relating to gender identity. On the other side of the coin, some members of the gay and lesbian community have pushed to separate themselves from groups represented by the ever lengthening chain of capital letters. Thus LGBT... seems to be breeding disunity, which would be a serious hindrance to achieving the political goals of our community. Moreover, some argue that “LGBT” carries a connotation of extreme political correctness, one that I would go further to say is harmful to society’s perception of us. We are LGBTQ Americans, according to our President and his speechwriters--this is the way that politicians talk about us and our issues, and it enables them to keep us at arms’ length, to content themselves with the notion that we are

encounters. It’s not much of a stretch to conclude that there is still a stigma attached to calling oneself gay. But I would argue that if we had a better way of communicating with the rest of the country about ourselves and our issues, one free of confusion and connotation, being gay in America wouldn’t be quite so daunting to quite so many. We aren’t the only ones with this identity problem. Other minority communities, particularly the AfricanAmerican community, have struggled with labels for decades, with many people ambivalent about the word “black,” unsure of its political correctness or its offensiveness. As a population in the midst of a civil rights battle, it is important for us to learn from the experience of these other oppressed groups, to learn how to better position ourselves to be taken seriously by our society. In my opinion, our success will depend on how united we are, both in terms of rhetoric and goals; a strong, self-assigned label could go a long way towards forging a stronger collective identity, if only we could settle on one that worked. So what do we do? Should we pick a new word? Various options have been tossed around in the past few years, ranging from the really cheesy (the “rainbow” community?!) to the completely ridiculous (FABGLITTER) to the self-defeating (MSGI, or Minority Sexual and Gender Identities, sounds like bad Chinese while also managing to connote a certain negativity with being gay). None of these options are any better than what we’ve got. But what have we got? A bunch of letters and a word that sounds too “activist-y,” that people are embarrassed to say. But the situation won’t change unless we change it, and all of these words take their meaning from the way we use them. At least “queer” is catchy, it’s easy to understand, and holds a certain amount of power. We were able to flip it from epithet to empowering; maybe it’s time we changed it from extremist to just descriptive, extremely effective in its simplicity. But whatever label we choose, we have to stand behind it, support it, use it with our friends, families, people we meet. A wise man once told me that we need to teach people how we want to be treated. In order to demand the respect we deserve, we need to figure out how to articulate clearly and decisively who we are. Until then, our jumbles of cacophonous letters and idealistic re-appropriations will continue to give America an excuse to ignore what they can’t understand.

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Summer ‘11

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REDEFINING OURSELVES

An Open Letter to All Mai Bad Betches: Why

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7KH/DYHQGHU*UDGXDWLRQLV$SSURDFKLQJ Grads: Come celebrate your achievements with the UCLA LGBT community at this amazing event.

nt Stude ip rsh Leade s! Award

Friends & Family: come support your loved ones! W hen: Saturday, June 11th 12:30 PM W here: Korn Convocation Hall, Anderson School of Management

Lunch will be served: Plus cookies & a rainbow cake ! Guest Speake rs Chaz Bo : n o Catheri ne Opie

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Summer â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;11

11


A&E

The Straight Girl’s Guide to Sleeping With Chicks: Too Much Smut, Not Enough Substance

BRANDI CRAIG STAFF WRITER Jen Sincero’s The Straight Girl’s Guide to Sleeping with Chicks probably has one of the best how-to book titles I’ve ever come across. Its to-thepoint, funny, and a tad more eloquent than Lesbian Sex for Dummies. The guide begins with a long list of reasons for gals to engage in same-sex relations and pretty much gives the reader a play-by-play on how to pick up ladies and what to do once you get them in the sack. There are chapters dedicated to fun positions, masturbation techniques, toys, threesome etiquette, and all of the other necessaries for a proper, sexy party. Still, all that glitters isn’t gold, and some of these chapters could have been titled “Lesbian Clichés” “Bad Sex Advice,” and “Stereotyping.” But before this becomes the Debbie Downer of book reviews let’s look at why this guide isn’t going back to Border’s. Sincero has the tone of your cool aunt who sneaks you booze at the family reunion and takes you to your first concert. Sometimes her sense of humor embarrasses the crap out of you, but when you need someone to drive you to Rite Aid to get Plan B, you are ever grateful. Her book is full of the good advice that comes from the best of all teachers--experience. Her wisdom covers various topics, but the best of her tips are on the various sex acts two (or sometimes three) women can perform together; when it comes to intercourse techniques Sincero is thorough and (helpfully) graphic. She includes things you can do lying down, standing up--even some incorporating yoga moves. She doesn’t bring up anything she isn’t prepared to explain in full detail. And just in case you don’t understand what is being said, there are photos of dolls arranged the various positions for you visual learners out there. She also describes how to use your body parts creatively. Sure, this book is supposedly geared toward straight girls, but anyone who wants to have good sex with a woman will find something. One extremely useful part of this book is the full chapter dedicated to masturbation. Female self-pleasuring is not as widely discussed as male masturbation, so this part of the book should be greatly appreciated. In writing

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this book she polled a lot of women to understand how they get the job done themselves and included their feedback. A few anecdotes showed some major creativity in the solo flight department. The chapter on sex toys is also very extensive. She provides examples and various positions on how to use dildos, strap-ons, vibrators, anal beads, and bondage equipment. Extra helpful are the descriptions of the pros and cons of different sex toy materials, i.e. silicone vs. rubber, glass vs. plastic. And for those who are really lost, there is a resource guide in the back of the book with lists of websites and sex shops in major cities. Despite its usefulness to non-heterosexual women, this book was ultimately written for curious straight girls. At times Sincero describes sex between women as though it were some fun thing to try, akin to trying an exotic dish at a new restaurant. Sincero delves into her own lesbian forays (which gets a little boring), and uses them to illustrate how it improved her sex life, and made her more confident with men. Sincero also offers up lesbian sex as a way to play with gender roles, because in heterosexual intercourse the man is by default more masculine because he has a dick. This view demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of gender and sexuality. Masculine and feminine are social constructs--not an essential quality of one’s biological sex. This might seem like a trivial point, but considering that Sincero is giving out sex advice, she should have a better understanding of sexuality and gender. This ignorance contradicts her seemingly enlightened discussion of the Kinsey scale and the non-fixed nature of sexuality. However this dismissal of conventional orientation labels could be her effort at distancing herself from a marginalized oppressed community—she obviously doesn’t want to call herself by that “L” word. In one chapter Sincero describes a relationship she had with a woman, her torment of questioning her sexuality; she ultimately breaks up with the girl, realizing she could only fall for a man. Is Sincero just trying to have her cake and eat it too? Ultimately, the most unfortunate aspect of this book is Sincero’s lack of good dating advice. If a straight girl is curious, she shouldn’t look to this book to help her pick up a chick, but rather for advice on what to do when she gets one. Her suggestion that you walk around the gay part of town with a Curve Magazine under your arm is ridiculous. It’s not like lesbians are puppies that you can lure into your house with a Scooby snack. She also serves up major diss by claiming that lesbian mags don’t usually feature hot women, warning straight girls not to get turned off. This little tidbit was one of the more ignorant things she said, especially when it is contrasted with her criticism of the fake lesbos in male-oriented pornography. It makes you wonder: what exactly does a lesbian look like to Jen Sincero? Perhaps she should have included another little doll picture in a flannel or a k.d. lang shirt with a mullet. Or maybe she’s thinking more a long the lines of the L Word crew with their designer suits and chic Shane cuts. Either way Sincero thinks in stereotypes and it gets exhausting and annoying. Overall, this book was entertaining, and I will not deny that Sincero knows a lot about sex. The next time I’m worried about getting boring in the sack, I’ll reach for this book. That being said, as soon as I’m finished mastering the yoga headstand thing that will most likely land me or my partner in a back brace, I’m throwing this one back under the bed. Sincero should’ve stuck with what she knew and left the tough stuff--sexuality, gender, same-sex relationships--to the people that know what they’re talking about, because she is not one of them.

Summer ‘11


A&E

Groins, Groans, and Group Sex:

Family Guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

SERGIO ARGUELLO STAFF WRITER

Gay Jokes [title]

for Straight Laughs

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CREATIVE WRITING

RXWRIHDUVKRW BRANDI CRAIG STAFF WRITER The nostalgic smell of the full ashtray in the glaring heat of the afternoon was more than I could bear. I do not know why I agreed to meet these people here. I have so little time to myself now, I try to remain out of company, but Stella begged. She pleaded, they all wanted to meet me, they read my story and it was great. I knew she was lying. Nobody thinks my stories are great, they think they are uncomfortable. They only want to meet me to get an explanation, why I write what I write. I will inevitably tell them it is because of people like them. I know all of this in advance, but I can not say no to Stella, though she often says no to me. Finally they arrive, before they see me, they are yammering away amongst themselves. As soon as my presence is discovered they go quiet and I feel like I’m in the sixth grade. Stella introduces her friend, and they sit. I’m the only one who uses the ashtray, careful not to blow smoke in their direction, a habit left over from my mother. Close to each one’s breast is a name tag with the school name, and something like media something blah blah blah underneath. The stranger’s name is Becca, she’s one of the editors of the college literary journal, and she wants to publish the story Stella gave them. She absolutely loves my work. They were so happy that Stella brought it to them. This is a special issue focusing on queer authors and they have been looking for more female perspectives. They want a bio from each writer and …..At this point I had to interrupt her. “Do all of your issues have a theme?” “No, we don’t usually compile the work thematically, but we wanted..” “To give the illusion of diversity, I understand” “ Our journal is committed to publishing the best work and….” “And when I submitted this story six months ago for publication in the last issue, I got no response; but now that you need some queers for page filler you’ve dug me out from the discard pile.” “We receive a great deal of submissions each year and our process is very selective; I’m sorry we didn’t respond to you, we don’t communicate with everyone.” “I know you don’t and that is why I don’t want to communicate with you, I don’t want my story in your journal. You don’t have my consent and you certainly aren’t getting my life story.” “ I understand why you are offended, but I really hope you reconsider. Maybe Stella can talk you into it.” With that remark her eyes flashed on Stella in a way that revealed she knew everything. She knew the story was about Stella, she was confident that my unrequited love could convince me. Once she could have, but not anymore, at least not today. After Becca was safely out of earshot, Stella turned on me. “You obviously had no intention of hearing that girl out, why would you waste our time and make me look like an idiot?” “I should ask you the same question. A gay issue? What the fuck, Stella?” “I thought getting published would be good for you, you’ve been so depressed and you hate everything and I can’t stand it anymore.” “You can’t stand it? Is this about you? Don’t answer; I know it is. You want to be able to say, ‘oh look, that story was about me. I fucked that girl over and it screwed her up so much she wrote a story about it’? I know you’re a pillow princess but this is an entirely new level of narcissism.” “Listen, stop punishing me because I don’t love you. I wanted to, I wanted to be with you, but I’m not a lesbian Brie, I’m sorry, I tried.” “Oh okay, thanks for trying to make me feel better, I suppose getting me in this stupid fucking magazine was supposed to make up for breaking my heart--thanks for the effort sweetie. Did you convince them to do the whole gay theme too, or did that dim bulb go off in Becca’s head instead?” “You are such a bitch.” “Yeah, I know.” “And by the way, Becca plays for your team. She wanted to do a gay issue because she is tired of seeing good work get put on the back burner, including her own.” “Well maybe she should have stepped out of the closet and explained that herself. I have to go, I have work to do, and substances in need of abuse.” As I walked away I heard Stella call out to me, “I hope you find something that makes you happy.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her I already did, but it made me miserable.

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HOROSCOPES

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STENCIL

DIRECTIONS: 1. Cut out. 2. Start the conversation.

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Summer ‘11


Summer 2011: Communication and Expression