Space: The Final Frontqueer - OutWrite Newsmagazine (Winter 2020)

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Copy Editors AngelaCamiJasperNatalieElliotFinanderM.MiceliS. Illustration,

Cover Art from the

AngelaKit Zheng





Editor in Chief Bédier-Cabot



Jade Lee CabotJudah Miceli, Cole Elliott Young VinnNatalieIkonomouFinanderChow,JudahEthanL.Stokes Elliott, Cami Miceli Ikonomou


Managing Editor King


Angela S. Alexis Winstanley MarthaLayout





and AngelaEulrikaKellyJadeKitChristopherNicholasMarthaPhotographyCabotGriffinIkonomouLeeVinesWuZheng

Graphics Chiefs

Gays in BackThere’sQueerQTBIPOCBoldlyReclaimingSpaceDehumanizationGoing(andBeingGay)SpacesPressureNoPlaceLikeHomeCoverArt

Outwrite is published and copyrighted by the ASUCLA Communications Board. All rights are reserved. Reprinting of any material in this publication without the written permission of the Communications Board is strictly prohibited. The ASUCLA Communications Board fully supports the University of California’s policy on non-discrimination. The student media reserve the right to reject or modify advertising whose content discriminates on the basis of ancestry, color, national origin, race, religion, disability, age, sex or sexual orientation. The ASUCLA Communications Board has a media grievance procedure for resolving complaints against any of its publications. For a copy of the complete procedure, contact the publications office at 118 Kerkhoff Hall.



Developmental Editors


Copy Chiefs Cabot Jade Lee CamiKit ChristopherMiceli Ikonomou



Jasper M. Miceli

Martha Bédier-Cabot, Editor in Chief those who seek to oppress us. In these pages, you will find discus sions of physical spaces and where to look for them, themes of outer space and alienation, and finding one’s own space in a crowd. We offer optimism in light of the continuous white, capitalist, cishet patriarchy that seeks to push us into the realm of non-human. If that translates into being superhuman, I’ll take it.

Hope you enjoy!

In this issue of OutWrite, we seek to address the ongoing dehumanization, alienation, and erasure that drives us to assimilate, code-switch, and hide integral parts of ourselves. Even within our community, trans folks and people of color are silenced and pushed to the side lines; people are challenged on their identities and confronted with questions measuring their queerness.

Coming to UCLA means something different for everyone. I was especially excited when coming to college because I knew that it could be an opportunity to meet like-minded queer individuals. Despite being ranked one of the most LGBTQ-friendly campuses in the U.S., I felt surprisingly isolated. Where were all my queer brothers and sisters? Until the institution can make more space for us, one is often responsible for seeking it out. OutWrite has become that safe-space for me-- a place that does not see queerness as a threat, but as a powerful identity and tool that must be put into practice.

letter from the editor

This edition of our publication takes our history of alienation and being “othered” and reclaims this phenomena so that we may effectively take away the power and meaning from


Table of Contents newsmagazine the University of California Angeles. opinion journalistic cov erage. mission is to and reverse homophobia in order to unite the queer community its allies the social injustices facing our community.

We aim to educate allies and validate the experiences of non-heteronormative identified individuals at UCLA and beyond through student




05 Alienation 07 Centering Yourself 10 Gays in Space 12 Embracing Alienation 16 Boldly Going (and Being Gay) 22 QTBIPOC Spaces: Coexisting Not Compromise 24 Queer Pressure 27 There’s No Place Like Home OUR MISSION: OutWrite NewsMagazine is the official queer




expose, deconstruct,


Written by: Judah Illustrated by: Angela Zheng Layout by: Cami Miceli

As queerness becomes normalized in this day and age, these spaces no longer feel like black holes. They begin to feel like separate planets, en tities that seem familiar with a thinly veiled wall of separation. When we land in cishet spaces, it is seen as a type of invasion. We are not them. They are not us. The erasure of queer history has lead to the idea that queerness is new, although we’ve been here the whole time. Yet, for some odd, homophobic reason we are seen as the other, the different ones, despite us coexisting with cishet people since the beginning of time.For many of us queer folk, we have to hide who we are. We blend into cishet spaces, silent amongst our cishet peers, afraid to even mention anything that could cause animosity towards us. Be fore we can be probed with questions, our anatomies are examined by cishets who believe that we don’t exist, or worse, believe that we are enemies. If cishets do find out about us, we are alienated and othered and used as a scapegoat for moral arguments regard ing queer folk. We are no longer viewed as human; we are something else. That’s why we tend to hide it through code-switching. In socio-linguistics, code-switching commonly refers to multilingual people using mixed



Sometimes it feels like I’ve crash-landed in a different environment when I enter my dorm after coming back from a queer organization meeting, whether it be OutWrite, QTPOC, or TransUp. My roommates are by no means bad people. In fact, I like them very much and consider them my friends. They’re super sweet. It’s just that I often feel alien ated. My attitudes, my mannerisms, they change because I’m no longer in a queer space with queer people, but in a cishet space with cishet people. It isn’t because my roommates are queerphobic, be cause they were pretty cool when I said I was pansex ual. But I allowed them a vision into only part of my identity, hiding the fact that I’m non-binary because it’s hard to gauge whether or not it’s still safe for me to say something about it. Once I am outside a queer space, I no longer feel accepted as being non-binary and have to hide this aspect of myself. Cishet spaces are an entirely different world, despite looking simi lar to LGBTQ+ spaces. Most spaces make cisgender heterosexuality the norm. Queerness is often seen as a threat to this norm, and there’s the ugly history of homophobia and transphobia to back this fact up. For the longest time, cishet spaces felt like black holes for queer peo ple. Queer people were forcefully sucked in as they

tried to navigate the vast galaxy that was life. Some times they were able to find their way out and other times they were stuck, forever disappeared into the void.

“Cishet spaces are an entirely differ ent world, despite looking similar to LGBTQ+ spaces.”


“We are no longer viewed as human, we are something else.”

Vinn, for instance, has to hide who he is and who his partners are because his parents don’t accept his queerness. He has to “pretend that it doesn’t hurt every time they use the wrong name and pronouns.”

We deserve the same respect and the same feeling of safety that cishets do everywhere. We have to mold ourselves to fit the ideals of cishet people because normalization efforts have only gone so far. We are welcome in cishet spaces only for as long as we adhere to their defini tions ofThat’sus.

The most common type of codeswitch for queer folk, especially folks that identify as trans, gender-nonconforming and/or nonbinary, is pronouns, whether it be for ourselves or our partners. I often switch pronouns and names in spaces because not many understand the concept of being non-binary. In cishet spaces, my tool of blending in is adapting my language to be more cis het-oriented, especially in a space that seems hostile and unsafe for someone like me. I’m not the only one that does this; there are plenty of queer people that do.In a small survey that I conducted, I asked how comfortable queer people felt in cishet spaces on a scale of one being the most uncomfortable and/ or welcome to five being the most comfortable and/ or welcome. The average answer was low (1-2), as those who took the survey felt generally awkward in cishet spaces. And for all the right reasons.

Similarly to Vinn, there’s Jasper. Jasper is often afraid of saying their pronouns in class, espe cially in their STEM courses, which are overwhelm ingly cishet. They feel unsafe letting people know their pronouns because they aren’t sure if people will react harshly to them.

up facets of their languages and mannerisms; code in this context refers to language and behaviors. Code-switching has been a defense mechanism for people of color, especially those that speak anoth er language besides English. It is a way of masking their otherness. The same thing can be ap plied to queer folks because we also have to switch up our languages and mannerisms to conform to cishet standards in order for many of us to blend in and avoid complete alienation in cishet spaces.

As Christopher puts it, we feel like we have to “walk on eggshells” around cishet people. Even those who anonymously took my survey said they

It gets emotionally taxing to have to hear the wrong pronouns for yourself or say the wrong pronouns for your partner because you fear homophobia, transphobia, etc. in all its forms-- it was one of the com mon answers I found when people discussed code-switching within cishet environments.

Code-switching shows us that we still need permission to enter cishet spaces even when they’re the default. If we speak up, we are seen as a disturbance. For example, Tif fany Moore, a trans woman, was misgen dered at a GameStop and stoof up against the cashier’s transphobia by speaking up against the employee’s misgendering. A clip of the incident went viral early last Janurary. News outlets interpreted her behavior as aggressive, and cishet people ran with the narra tive, ignoring the fact that she had been misgen dered multiple times in the video. She had every right to be angry, especially after she corrected the GameStop employee multiple times. Yet, she was seen as the aggressor. She was already seen as alien for being trans; vilifying her was just the next step in the horrid cycle of rampant transmi sogyny.

would often hide the genders of their partners and act differently in order to blend into cishet envi ronments.There are people out there that think homophobia and transphobia are dead.

why we cultivate spaces of our own-- whole planets and galaxies where we get to be us. The reason these safe spaces exist is to foster community and solidarity, and show that we are enti ties with our own feelings and thoughts. Our spaces give us the freedom to be ourselves, our real selves. We don’t need to hide who we are and who we’re with. We can breathe in these spaces and never have to walk on “eggshells.” In these spaces, we define ourselves. In these spaces, we don’t necessarily have to code-switch when it comes to our queerness. As much as these queer galaxies sound beautiful, unfortunately, the reality is that we are on the same planet as cishet people. We deserve to exist as humans because we’re people with dreams and aspirations, not things that should be poked at and probed for our differences.

Photography by: Eulrika Wu

“I love that UCLA is so student-driven,” said Andy Cofino, the current Director of the LGBT CRC. “What we do at the Center is really in response to what the students want.”

ety Living Learning Community. “Not only was it a great welcome in Week Zero, when I’d just moved across the country and didn’t know what I was doing here but just being in the Resource Center, surrounded by so many clubs, was a big thing.”

Centering Yourself

Written by: Cami Miceli and Cole Elliott


In fact, in keeping with student opin ion, the Center conducted a survey last year about adding a Q for Queer to its name. The majority of students who participated want ed to see the letter added, so the Center is currently going through a formal approval

Other students like Megan are able to use the Center as a hub to learn about and connect with various student-run organiza tions that cater to all sorts of interests. These groups come and go with the years as stu dents graduate, but folks are encouraged to create their own organizations and clubs for interests they don’t already see represented.

Layout by: Cami Miceli & Martha Cabot

Many UCLA students pass through Bruin Plaza on a daily basis as they make their way to class, but not all of them know about an amazing resource sitting just under their noses. The UCLA Lesbian Gay Bisex ual Transgender Campus Resource Center, or the LGBT CRC for short, is located in the Student Activites Center directly across from Ackerman. It is easy to find because it often has a giant rainbow pride flag right outside the door.The LGBT CRC supports over twenty LGBTQ+ campus groups, including Queer Fandom Fanatics, Transgender UCLA Pride (TransUP), and the Queer Trans Black Indig enous People of Color (QTBIPOC) Space. Groups such as Queer Fandom Fanatics are led by the Center’s staff members, but oth er groups such as TransUP are completely student-run spaces. Even OutWrite hosts its weekly meeting and quarterly release parties at the Center!“Alotof student organizations meet in the Center after hours,” agreed Kai Huang, one of the CRC’s Outreach Interns and an Executive Board Member for TransUP. “It’s a nice community space — very reliable — with a lot more flexibility for a social space than a classroom.”Thanks to its popularity among UCA’s student organizations, the Center is a great place for LGBTQ+ students to learn more about other campus resources. Flyers inside can lead students toward groups that inter est them, and annual events such as Cookies and Queers can help LGBTQ+ students meet one another.“Asafirst year, my queer experience really got kicked off at the famous Cookies and Queers event, run by the CRC,” noted Megan Kirschner, the current Resident Assis tant (RA) of the Gender, Sexuality, and Soci

“Not everyone is going to find a home in the Center, and that’s fine,” assured Cofino. “We’re in L.A., and there’s a lot of LGBTQ+ stuff happening all around campus.”

process.“We did consider that some people don’t like the word, but that won’t limit us [from expanding the name],” explained Cofi no. “Our center is representative of the stu dents that we serve, and many of them identi fy with the word queer.”

able in the Center, it’s completely normal for students to feel nervous entering the Center, especially for the first time. For those who are anxious about how to get started, Director Cofino suggests starting small and staying in your comfort zone. Look for programs that suit you, or topics that you’re interested in, whether that’s done in person or online. There are even two entrances to the Center for folks who don’t feel comfortable entering from Bruin Plaza, where the bright rainbow pride flag grabs people’s attention.

continued, “Students are will ing to share their stories to effect change, even though that isn’t always very easy. One student even attended a UC Regents meet ing. That should result in even more positive changes for transgender and non-binary students.”Despite all the amazing resources avail

True enough, LGBTQ+ folks can be found all across campus, in clubs and class es not specifically geared toward LGBTQ+ issues. Networking with fellow LGBTQ+ students in the Center and attending a cou ple of events is just one of many great ways to discover relevant organizations and meet new people.“Youknow


One of the Center’s main concerns is improving life for LGBTQ+ students. It does this not only by providing a safe space for students to hang out, but also by addressing some of the university’s large-scale systemic problems. For instance, a student-led effort supported by staff members such as Cofino recently succeeded in removing students’ legal names from the backs of their Bruin ID cards. (Students with a preferred name that differs from their legal name can exchange their current card for free until June 1st, 2020!)Cofino

we’re everywhere, we’re all over campus,” enthused Yen Dinh, a thirdyear Gender Studies major and LGBTQ Stud ies minor. “It’s just a matter of how visible we

want toVisitingbe.”

nized by the Center and sponsored by vari ous departments.) There is also a movement in the Center to launch a new volunteer program centered around advocacy-related issues.When asked about how the LGBT CRC figures into her job as an RA, Megan ex plained, “The Center has been a great place to direct people towards, especially fresh men who are unsure where to start.”

social space as well as volunteering at the Center for that community and professional development. But I know there are queer students who don’t directly get involved with queer student oragnizations or the Center, and that’s perfectly fine, so long as they’re feeling supported wherever they are on campus.”As the LGBT CRC approaches its twen ty-fifth year of serving the UCLA community, those of us in OutWrite encourage everyone to take a moment to acknowledge all the hard work and dedication people have put into this Center in order to make life a little kinder for LGBTQ+ folks. May everyone work together to serve the community even more in the years to come!


Queer Peers is a student-led organization that offers a peerto-peer mentorship program and hosts its drop-in hours at the Center. The student volunteers who make the program possible aren’t confidential advisors like profession al therapists, but they are great support for UCLA students.Students have a lot to look forward to at the LGBT CRC with its current program ming line-up. At the end of Winter Quarter, there will be a week-long series of programs focusing on racial justice to uplift LGBTQ+ folks of color. Then in the spring, there will be a drag show as well as Lavender Gradu ation. (Lavender Graduation is for anyone, regardless of their major, who discloses that they’re LGBTQ+ and wants to be formally recognized at graduation. The event is orga

the LGBT CRC isn’t always about a specific organization or discussion space. In fact, the Center is equipped with tables, couches, computers, and even a library where students can do their work, relax, and socialize as much or as little as they’d “Ilike.don’t think a lot of students realize you can just come in here, bring your lunch, and sit on the couch,” admitted Cofino. “You don’t need to do anything; you just need to be. We welcome you at the Center. We also want every place on campus to be home to LGBTQ+

Nonetheless, it can be difficult to know the best way to get involved with the LGBTQ+ community, even after visiting the Center. In response to being asked what advice they would give to incoming queer students looking for this sense of com munity, Kai said, “Find places where you feel affirmed in your identity and where you feel like you can grow as a person. For me, that looked like joining a few queer ingorganizations,studentsincludTransUP,forthat


the Center has var ious mental health resources, which can be useful for LGBTQ+ students who don’t calandCAPSaffordsellorsedthemselvesseereflectinmostcounorwhocan’tsessionsat(CounselingPsychologiServices).Forexample,

Whatever force of the universe up above brought us all together, it was a small blessing. Because while not all of us can proclaim our identities to the world, now, on this eight-minute voyage through space, we’ve each been given a flag we can wave with pride.

Written by: Grace Young Illustrations by : Kit

must be some kind of ironic symbolism in the fact that we ended up with flags in our hands. We, whose identities are so often visualized as banners of bright colors waving freely in the air. As strangers, we found each other on a football field under the hot June sun; as friends, we share in the delight of watching our flags spin in unison, cutting through the crisp October air.



Presenting their program Ad Astra...


To the stars.

Layout by: Jade Lee, Kit

A girl stands in the center of a circle. The whole band’s eyes are on her, rings within rings of marchers all in position to begin the show. Everything has been set up: xylophones and micro phones, wooden rifles and metal sabres. This is a state of calm, a rare snapshot of the moment just before the space odyssey begins, the intake of breath preceding atmospheric impact.

Her heart is beating inside her astronaut suit bumBUMbumBUMbumBUM because she’s never understood why they chose her to be the first face everyone sees and she doesn’t know

Fifty-something awkward teenagers, in red uni forms and wielding musical instruments. Kids transformed by music into a team of astronauts, flying through space. And we, with our lustrous flags, with our white bodysuits, our slicked-back hair. Ready for take-off.

And at once, we are all set into motion again. We strip our flags and disappear to the sideline. The moment of unabashed pride is but fleeting, a comet that soars by faster than the speed of sound. But the feeling it leaves inside our chests as we collapse, out of breath, is one that none of us will soon forget.

7. The thing about being surrounded by a marching band on a giant football field is that, if you’re one of the few people who aren’t using their mouths to make music, you can say things and they won’t be heard. For the color guard, that usually means counting: sets of eight to make sure all our flags and dance moves are coor dinated. But sometimes there’s room for a little more creativity.

if all her tosses will go well or if she’ll remember the changes to the choreography or if they’ll get a good score. She feels the incessant pump of blood through her veins bumBUMbumBUMbumBUM but instead of letting the rush in her ears drown everything out, she listens to it. And she lets it empower her. Because, as much as her heart is beating from nervous anticipation, it’s also beating from something much more powerful. Something that reinforces itself in her core as she looks at the circle of people that surround

But it doesn’t feel like a big display of activism, or a


In that moment, we declare to the entire planet who we are, and it’s just like shouting into a vac uum. The blare of the band provides us all with a safe place to test the waters of being out. And while their sound might conceal our words, it cer tainly doesn’t mean they might as well have never been said.

She loves them, every single one of them. The nerdy clarinet players and the brawny drummers and the badass guard girls (and boys). They make her strong. They lift her up, and the show begins. And in that moment, she truly feels like she is on top of the world.

Somebody tell me if there’s a name for a kind of love like that.

The end of the first part of the show is marked by a little three note punctuation: da, da, DA! And some where along the way—none of us know when—it has become a running joke within the guard to replace our counting with singing, “Gays in SPACE!” Within the mostly queer group, it is a moment of liberation. Our space to be who we are, and say what we want.

Performance is usually a deception. A disguise, a charade. But on this journey to the stars, we stand in front of a crowd of strangers, and we proclaim, without fear, ourselves.

The drum major’s hands are still, and time is frozen once again: our bodies graceful, powerful statues; our words ringing in our ears; our flags planted in the turf.


verbal protest of any sort. It’s just fun. And that may be the most important reason to do it: be cause it makes us smile.

Then he counts off, white gloves striking the air. Not with a 3-2-1-blast-off! but rather a 5-6-7-8.


Queer Awareness

Embracing Alienation

Christopher Ikonomou

experiences for LGBTQ+ people. Our mere existence in normative so ciety is perceived as an otherwordly threat. The following pieces represent those who embrace being deemed “non-human” and find unique strength, skill, and power in their queerness. unfortunately, common

Queer Opulence 13

Queer Intellect 14

Power 15


(And Being Gay)

Written by: Natalie Finander Illustrated by: Kelly Vines and Kit Layout by: Cami Miceli & Martha Cabot

Science fiction has long been a part of popular culture. From the first science fiction novel Frankenstein to cult classics like Forbidden Planet and The Fifth Element, the theoretical extensions of man’s scientific knowledge have fasci nated writers and fans for decades. One particular sci-fi franchise, however, stands out from the rest in popularity, volume, and longevity: Star Trek. Beginning in 1966 with the series now referred to as Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS), there have been a total of seven different television series, thirteen major films, and over 750 episodes set in the world of Gene Roddenberry’s utopian future. The most recent Star Trek series, Discovery, is still producing new episodes, so discounting the breaks between movies and series, Star Trek has been in the world of popular culture for 54 years and counting. Much has been written about Star Trek’s impact on society, but there is another, lesser known influence on today’s society that Star

Boldly Going

Trek is largely responsible for: the creation of the “slash fiction” genre. The genre grew from the strong community of TOS fans writing and sharing fanfiction, featuring Captain James T. Kirk and Commander Spock in a loving, homosexual relationship.InThe Original Series, the captain of the Enterprise is James “Jim” Kirk, played by William Shatner. Always by his side is second officer Commander Spock, a half human, half Vulcan scientist, portrayed be Leonard Nimoy. Other members of the crew include Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley), communica tions officer Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), helmsman Sulu (George Takei), chief engineer “Scotty” (James Doohan), and assistant helmsman Chekov (Walter Koenig). A typical episode involves the crew attempting to perform what should be a simple task, something going horribly wrong, and Kirk, Bones, and Spock having to remedy the

situation with the assistance of the other senior officers. Unable to rely on well-made costumes or well-constructed aliens, the show often fo cused on a thinly-veiled moral dilemma of the time period, viewed through the fictional eyes of these characters living in the 23rd century--more specifically, through the eyes of Spock and Kirk. Spock, being a Vulcan, always approaches issues from the most logical point of view, while Kirk sees the situation from an emotional angle: the two compare these viewpoints before proceeding forward with a plan. It is through these ideolog ical conversations and quips that the two grow a deep, profound friendship--and for other view ers, something more.

Spock says this to Kirk as Spock dies saving the Enterprise crew in the movie The Wrath of Khan, and again when Spock miraculously comes back to life at the end of the next movie, The Search for Spock. Leonard Nimoy even reprised his role as Spock in the 2009 reboot film Star Trek starring Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, and Nimoy repeated this line to Pine when he recognized him as this universe’s Kirk. Even ignoring the possible platonic interpretations of “friend,” the statement is profound in its implication of life long support and partnership, and significant in its repetition during emotional, heart-wrenching scenes. No matter what else you believe about the relationship between Kirk and Spock, this line proves that the connection between them is powerful and true.

There is another popular example in season one of TOS, though it’s more silly than

profound. In the episode “Shore Leave,” Kirk is shown on the bridge of the Enterprise frowning and adjusting his position in his seat. Spock, who had been discussing various ship’s concerns with Kirk and is standing behind him, asks, “Something wrong?” Kirk explains that there’s a kink in his back. A female crewmember, who had just brought some documents for Kirk to sign, begins to massage that part of his back, wordlessly. Kirk says, “That’s it, a little higher, please. Push. Push hard. Dig it in there, Mr. Spo--” interrupting himself when Spock walks in front of him, revealing that it was not his first officer who was massaging him. Kirk looks confused and not a little disappointed at this revelation, and he seems positively sullen when he tells the woman, “Thank you, yeoman, that’s sufficient.” There is also the nearly infamous episode “Amok Time” from Season Two, where it is revealed as Star Trek canon that every seven years, Vulcans go into a sex-crazed state called Pon Farr, and if the need for sexual interaction is not satisfied, they will die. This is what happens to Spock in the episode. After a compli cated plot of Spock introducing his previously unknown wife and then said wife demanding that Spock fight for the honor to marry her in the Vulcan tradition, Kirk and Spock end up wrestling to the death in the sands of Vulcan. Kirk is sweating, Spock tears Kirk’s shirt across the chest, Bones is cursing on the sidelines, and Spock is apparently extremely aroused the entire time. The episode is a feast of devoted love and horribly awkward dialogue, even including the first real, genuine smile to be seen from Spock: when he realizes that Kirk didn’t actually die from their desert death match. The ridiculous nature of the plot is rather common for TOS, but this particular wildness is a favorite for fans of Kirk/Spock because, in a sense, the two men had the Vulcan equivalent of wild sex in front of not only their friends and Spock’s wife, but the political leader of Vulcan herself. There are countless other moments in the series and mov


Though it is true that a first officer must be close with their captain and that mutual dependency is expected on a starship, Kirk and Spock take this partnership to such extreme levels of tenderness and concern that it is common for modern TOS fans to comment that there is no heterosexual explanation for their behavior. The most famous example of the bond between the two men is this quote from Spock to Kirk: “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”

course, it’s arguable that homoerotic subtext isn’t remarkable on its own. Scholars of all kinds have noticed gay-coded relationships in past works of media, some even going back centuries. But the influence of Kirk/Spock goes beyond an enticing reason for queer consumers to watch this old television show. The largely female fan base of TOS in the sixties and seven ties is responsible for creating the foundation of a lot of modern fandom culture, including the creation of the first major shared queer fanfiction--featuring Spock and Kirk--that started the genre of shared fanfiction as a whole. The Star Trek fan base initially communicated with fanzines, a popular form of cultural sharing among science fiction and fantasy fans before the advent of the internet. Beginning in the nineteen-forties, fanzines were typed on type


ies where the two men look at each other with such pure tenderness that is nearly impossible to believe that they are not wholly in love, but I must add my own favorite scene. At the end of season one in the episode “A Taste of Armaged don,” Kirk has somewhat miraculously saved the Enterprise crew and stopped a century-long war on the planet below. Spock asks him on the bridge how he knew his plan would work, and Kirk admits that he only had “a feeling” that it would succeed. Spock is surprised, being a Vulcan, but then says (as soft music plays in the background), “Captain, you almost make me believe in luck.” This is an impressive statement coming from the logical Spock. The camera then switches to Kirk, who is bathed in romantic lighting, with the most affectionate look in his eyes and the most tender smile, and he responds with this: “Why, Mr. Spock. You almost make me believe in miracles.” Spock looks confused at first, but ultimately pleased at this response, and the episode ends. All of these examples provide plenty of evidence and subtext for both sixties and modern day fans to come to the conclusion that Spock and Kirk are in love.Of

writers, constructed by hand, and copied on mimeograph machines. Even the fanart was a labor of love: only ink drawings would be seen on the mimeograph, and the only way to get a reference photo was to find a piece of the actual film used to make the show. The first Star Trek fanzine was called Spockanalia, edited by female fans Devra Langsam and Sherna Comerford, and ran for five issues from 1967 to 1970. The publication had much of what an internet fan base would produce today: fanfiction, fanart, and essays on the nuances of the Star Trek uni verse, such as explanations of Vulcan culture. Spockanalia was especially known for exploring the sexuality of Star Trek, including the Vulcan behavior of Pon Farr. Pon Farr, in fact, became one of the most popular discussion points for Star Trek fans--especially among women. The concept featured strongly in the story of the 1967 fanfiction “The Ring of Soshern,” the first published fanfiction to show Kirk and Spock in a sexual relationship. Those same fans who believed that Spock and Kirk were in love developed a shorthand for works or essays that included the idea: Kirk/Spock. This made it easier to imply a romantic relationship, espe cially when fanfiction was manually typed and personally delivered at conventions (which the Star Trek fandom also helped create). However, the use of the slash to indicate love spread far beyond the world of Star Trek. The first major fan base to adopt it from Star Trek was Starsky & Hutch--who used Starsky/Hutch to imply romantic or sexual feelings between the two main characters--and the symbol eventually grew to represent the entire genre known as slash fiction. Sometimes simply called “slash” in the modern vernacular, the genre generally involves two established characters from a piece of media (often explicitly or implicitly straight) falling in love and beginning a relationship. Though early slash was mostly two men discovering their sexuality for the first time, cur rent slash writing could include women loving

It’s exciting to note that Star Trek fanzines were not rejected by the creators and ac tors. Writer Gene Roddenberry notably referred to Spockanalia as “required reading” for his staff, and both cast members and writers would commonly contribute to the fanzine with inter views and letters. Spock’s actor Leonard Nimoy actually wrote the foreword of the first Spockanalia issue. Though Spockanalia didn’t actually contain any explicit Kirk/Spock content, Roddenberry and the cast were also generally aware of the theory and its popularity. In an interview for the 1979 biography Shatner: Where No Man, Roddenberry was asked what he thought of the idea that Kirk and Spock were in love. His response was considerate, if not explicitly affirming: “Yes, there’s certainly love overtones. Deep love. The only difference being, we nev er suggested in the series [that there was any] physical love between the two. But we certainly had the feeling that the affection was sufficient for that, if that were the particular style of the 23rd century.” This ambivalent statement and other, similar statements from Shatner and Ni moy were affirming enough to continue the fan support of Kirk/Spock into the modern day--al though, in truth, even an outright denial from Roddenberry wouldn’t have destroyed the belief completely.Unfortunately, it seems that queer Star Trek fans must often remain in the subtext, because in the 750 episodes and thirteen movies of the franchise, there is a pitifully small amount of canon queer representation. This fact is made more frustrating because the Fed eration is supposed to be a human utopia, and thus should include queer people. But, even

without the explicit queer content fans de sire, there are a few moments resembling true representation, and many more homoerotic interpretations of the many characters. Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), beginning in 1987, mildly explored gender expression in the episode “The Outcast.” First officer William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) falls in love with Soren (Melinda Culea), a member of an entirely an drogynous alien race. After developing feelings for Riker, Soren reveals to him that she actually identifies as female, which is considered un thinkable by her race. Soren is forced to expe rience “psychotectic treatments,” brainwashing her into forgetting her desire to be female--a clear reference to gay conversion therapy. This possibly powerful representation falls flat both because Riker doesn’t succeed in saving Soren from the treatment (implying that even in a society without a gender binary, cisnormativity is still firmly upheld), and that Soren is portrayed by a female actress in the first place. Frakes himself has said that he wishes that Soren had been played by a man, and that such a change would have made the moment more impact ful. Another disappointing moment was the promise of a gay character in “Blood and Fire,” an episode which never aired--despite Roddenberry’s pledge that there would be at least one canonical queer Starfleet officer. The episode was meant to parallel the AIDS epidemic, as the Enterprise-D encountered another Starfleet ship infected with a disease, and it became nec essary for the crew of the Enterprise to donate blood to save the lives of everyone aboard. Two of the men infected were Lieutenants Freeman and Eakins, who were in a romantic relationship with each other. “How long have you two been together?” asks a random crewmember of the Enterprise. “Since the Academy,” Eakins an swers, and that’s the end of it. Despite the fact that Freeman and Eakins only appeared in that one episode, and that the actual acknowledgement of queer love is nearly a throwaway line of


women, polyamory, and other fanfiction tropes.

It is still the prevailing practice of fanfiction writers and internet fandoms to use the slash to indicate romantic attraction, whether the couple is canonically in love or not, and it all began with the women who saw the love between Spock and Kirk.

fans of DS9 had noticed about his character: that Garak has an “inclusive sexuality.” He specifically noted that Garak had always been attracted to the character of Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig), a pairing that was already popular among fans and referred to as “Garashir.” However, this attraction never grew into anything more than that, and Robinson lamented that the writers were not able to support his character choice in the overall plot. And finally, there is the crown jewel of canon queer Star Trek representation: Lieutenant Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz), a happily married couple with a rich backstory in the newest Star Trek series Discovery. According to Cruz, the two of them “were moved by how seriously this relationship was being treated by the show, that it was being held up as an example of true love.” The love between Culber and Stamets is also not awkwardly overstated, or surrounding taboo social issues like the love between Jadzia and Lenara: they are no different from any other kind of relationship. They are an example of something that is becom ing slightly more common in recent media: a gay couple whose problems rarely ever revolve around their queerness, and both of their characterizations go beyond “The Gay One.” Unfortunately even this victory comes with a major flaw: Culber dies in the first season of the show. The “Bury Your Gays” trope is all-too familiar to the queer community, and though its prevalence in media is always painful, it feels like an extra twist of the knife for Star Trek to kill literally half of its canon ical gay characters--because there are only two. Culber was actually miraculously resurrected in a surprise episode of season two, but he and Stamets are having an awkward time being a couple again after Culber was dead for so long. Perhaps the Discovery writers will repair their relationship, or even introduce more queer characters, but until then, Star Trek fans are left to ponder these small instances of true representation, as well as the festival of homoerotic subtext. As is the case with so many aspects of

In addition to TNG, there are mild overtures to queerness in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9), beginning in 1993. Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell), an officer aboard the space station Deep Space Nine, is a trill: a kind of alien composed of a host body (Jadzia) and a 700-year-old symbiote (Dax). Dax the sym biote had been implanted in both male and female trill, and Jadzia has no issue discussing her previous lifetimes as a man, or her attraction to women--pushing the boundaries on the previously conservative Star Trek sexuality. This is most dramatically evidenced in the Season Three episode “Rejoined,” where she is reunited with a wife of Dax’s previous male hosts: Le nara Khan (Susanna Thompson). Though it is illegal for Lenara and Jadzia to rekindle feelings from previous hosts, they are unable to resist their mutual attraction, and kiss--the first queer kiss in all of Star Trek, and the fifth lesbian kiss to be shown on television. However, Lenara doesn’t stay on the station, and she is never seen again on the show. Jadzia is also never seen kissing another woman. Then there was the Season Seven episode “The Emperor’s New Cloak” which showed two female villains kiss each other (the eighth lesbian kiss on television), but their relationship is never explored afterwards, and it seems like yet another example of queer ness equalling villainy. The last and possibly most subtle struggle with queerness in DS9 was in the character Elim Garak played by Andrew Robinson: a Cardassian tailor and ex-spy for the Obsidian Order. Robinson confirmed in an interview with Amazon in 2012 something that

dialogue, the matter-of-fact tone given by both Eakins and the curious officer was refreshing in a time period of over-dramatic queer re veals. Or it would have been, if the episode was shown. And, if there had been any hope that Roddenberry would continue trying to fulfill his promise, he died only two months after the episode was supposed to air, leaving the less responsive Rick Berman in charge of the series.


Even if the writers for the many iterations of Star Trek won’t give the queer community the representation they deserve, there is nothing stopping us from imagining Kirk and Spock kissing each other tenderly on the bridge of the Enterprise, and any other characters we choose sharing the affection that so many fans see. Maybe being gay can’t save the world, but being gay did save this particular galaxy. To paraphrase Captain Kirk, we will “boldly be gay, where no gay has gone before.”

popular culture, there isn’t enough diversity in Roddenberry’s idealistic Federation to represent the boundless variety of the human race--let alone the countless other alien races that are a part of the Star Trek universe. But, where the writers fail to include the queer, disabled, neurodivergent, and other different variations of people that should exist in their world, the creativity and resourceful ness of Star Trek fans can and will prevail. Rich communities connected throughout the internet share queer interpretations of any and all characters of the series and movies, theories of how true diversity would function in the Federation of Planets, and just generally gush about their mutual love for this cheesy, profound, seemingly everlasting space opera. And, if it weren’t for those avid


Kirk/Spock fans of the sixties and the genres they helped to form, Star Trek likely wouldn’t have lasted into the modern day, and the prevalence of fan sites, fanfiction, and fan conventions might have never come about.


At the end of the corridor on the leftside of Kerckhoff Hall, there is a door decorat ed with vibrant stickers and helpful flyers. To a normal bystander, it’s nothing eye-catching. It’s just another room in this building filled with rooms. The room behind the door may seem like nothing special either. It’s small, a few pieces of furniture set up in a lobby-esque way. The room is modest. This is the QTPOC CUSP (Queer Trans People of Color Cultivat ing Unity, Solidarity, and Pride) Lounge - a safe space for queer trans people of colorthat meet every Thursday night to eat, make crafts, relax, listen to music and talk about

It’s often hard to find spaces on campus that cater to people of color, let alone trans and queer people of color. There seems to be a lack of spaces that connect race, gender, and sexu ality. As of now, there are three closed spaces curated specifically for QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous People of Color) on campus. One includes the QTPOC lounge mentioned above, created near the end of the previous school year. The other two (the QT POC Mycelium Healing Circle and the QT POC Space in the LGBTQ+ Campus Resource Center) were created in Fall 2019. All three of these spaces are relatively new, small, and unknown.Being

queer is one thing - it’s an expe



Written by: Vinn Chow and Judah Illustrated by: Kit Layout by: Martha Cabot and Cami Miceli

anything and everything.

rience shared by many people, regardless of race or gender. Combining that experience with being a person of color can often leave us estranged to both our culture and queerness. We feel pressured to choose a struggle because queerness has been associated with whiteness, despite QTBIPOC existing since the begin ning of time. It’s the struggle between two halves of a whole identity, threatening to tear us apart.In many queer spaces on campus, it is often hard to discuss the racism that plagues the LGBTQIA+ community. In many POC spaces, it’s often hard to discuss homopho bia and transphobia that run rampant in our cultures. These things should be intersection al. Intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, and it basically means your iden tities and oppression connect. For some odd reason, there seems to be a wall separating the two.

And if you really want your space to cater to QTBIPOC needs, then you need to address the racism within the community. Speak out, listen to queer and trans people of color. Uplift our voices, don’t speak over us. Establish that queerness is not synonymous with whiteness. When a QTBIPOC says that something is racist, then it’s racist. Get your self educated on the issues that QTBIPOC face. Get acquainted with the ways queerness presents itself in our cultures.

The intersectionality of being queer and a person of color is an experience that is unique and beautiful but often drowned out by homophobia, transphobia, and racism. We need QTBIPOC spaces because they are where we don’t have to worry about intoler ance from either of our communities. The truth of the matter is that QTBIPOC need our own spaces to exist, without compromising core parts of our identity.

their “preferences.” White gays are often the only form of representation on TV as opposed to QTBIPOC representation. Many of these issues are swept under the rug and ignored in favor of barebones diversity. The erasure of the QTBIPOC experi ence is the sole reason why we need QTBI POC spaces. QTBIPOC spaces allow us to be heard and seen, a place where we don’t need to pick a struggle. We are allowed to be queer and POC. We don’t need to sacrifice a part of ourselves to be accepted. Our culture and queerness can coexist within these spaces, as they are both essential, intertwined parts of our identity.Noteveryone has a privilege to find spaces like this. Like mentioned earlier, there are only three spaces dedicated to QTBIPOC, which are small and relatively unknown to the general public because they were established so recently. We should really be advocating for more spaces and support groups for QTBI POC that cater to our needs.

Spaces have made their efforts to be more intersectional. For instance, the inclu sion of brown and black on the pride flag was an effort towards inclusivity. It brought atten tion to the fact that people of color can iden tify as queer and have every right to be a part of queer spaces. There was opposition against the addition of these colors; many denied that there was a problem with racism within the community. Rather, they felt that the original flag was something that shouldn’t have been changed because each color meant something to the community, however, it was this type of discourse that seemed to alienate people of color from a community they made strides for.


Often, we encounter colorblind senti ments in these spaces. Colorblindness is just racism disguised as a positive. QTBIPOC are forced to assimilate to ideas of white queer ness in many LGBTQIA+ spaces. We are often the victims of racism in the dating scene. We are either fetishized or people too often state

Written by: Ethan L. Stokes Illustration by: Nick Griffin Layout by: Martha Cabot

for the first time, I started to notice new questions, prodding and picking at very different itches in the back of my mind: Why didn’t you know about this sooner if it’s really true? How do you know this isn’t just a phase? Are you really queer? I couldn’t find a good answer to any of them. I was probably too scared to even think about it. The idea that I had to “prove” my iden tity somehow didn’t just make me feel insecure, helpless, and small; it made me angry. A slow-burn ing hatred was directed at the image of rainbow flags, drag queens, and every image I associated with the queer community. I wasn’t into that style, at the time I just wanted to be a guy, not “gay” or a “queer person.” It didn’t seem like there was a place for me in this community. I wasn’t poor, I had a great relationship with my family, and I didn’t have any real “gay stories” or queer experiences to

a loving family, a great support network, and the best friends I could ask for, it’s difficult to explain how dark things can get for me sometimes. For a while it was hard to explain it to myself, since it didn’t seem like I had a good excuse to feel the way I did. There are a lot of questions I’d catch myself asking, like ”why are you so worried if your family accepts you for who you are?” or “how can you feel so isolated when you’re not alone?” and the real kickers like “are you going to get up tomorrow morning?” I had anxiety and depression for a while before I started really exploring my identity, so I was pretty familiar with questions like these flooding in from time to time. After I came out to my parents

CW: Transphobia, gender dysphoria, body dysmorphia, discussion of exclusion, alienation, anxiety and de pressionWith

Queer Pressure

With time, I realized that the community I’d felt such resentment towards wasn’t as exclu sive or homogenous as I originally thought. Talking to people allowed me to alter my perspective on trans issues, other sexual and romantic minorities, the struggles of people of color within the queer community-- all things I would never have learned about had I kept myself from exploring this vast and diverse community. I discovered new things about myself and ended up in a very happy place. While I’m much more comfortable with the queer community now that I understand what it actually is, I still hear those questions about whether or not it’s a phase or how I know that I really am who I am. Strangely enough, I hear them primarily from other members of the queer community, not nec essarily word for word, but more or less prying at the same area: are you really queer?

The concept behind the model minority is simple: instead of forcibly demanding rights and recognition, disadvantaged groups should stay in school, study harder, work harder, and out-com pete the dominant group with sheer academic and professional ability. This philosophy is something I hear echoed by my mom quite often whenever we talk about my experiences as a non-binary person, since her frame of reference as a third generation “Sansei” Japanese American was greatly influenced by this concept. Before she was born, her parents were sent to internment camps, where they were effectively subjected to forced patriotism. Many of their fellow internees were converted to Christianity from Buddhism, taught with American curricula, and all of them were provided a copy of the Japanese American Creed, a document which stated:

This sentiment of “defending one’s identi ty” spread most widely over the past few years, particularly within the trans community as they gained more mainstream attention. In response to the demands of a heteronormative society having a midlife crisis, many narratives have been created in an attempt to legitimize not only trans people, but also the queer community at large. Some of these descriptions of general experiences, however, are less a comprehensive understanding of queerness so much as “woke” disguises for bigotry. Gen der-critical feminists, cis people who believe femi nism is somehow harmed by trans people existing, transmedicalists, folks who think you need to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria and be medically transitioning to be considered “truly trans,” and

25 share. I came out on my college applications when my mom noticed I put “bisexual” as my orientation and that was it. “I don’t even have a good coming out story,” I thought to myself whenever I’d hear about the drama involved in gay friends’ experi ences; there weren’t any secret conversations, no fights than ended with everyone in tears, my “sto ry” had so little substance I was surprised I even remembered it. I felt alone, left to my own devices with struggles I thought no one else shared...

“Although some individuals may discriminate against me, I shall never become bitter or lose faith… I shall do all in my power to discourage such practices, but I shall do it in the American way--above board, in the open, through courts of law, by education, by proving myself to be worthy of equal treatment and consideration.”

This mindset worked for many people and ultimately led to a lot of would-be victims to great success beyond anything they would have achieved had they “become bitter or lost faith.” While this works to an extent and the core message clearly appeals to some, I just don’t buy it. For some of us, especially those of us within the queer commu nity, working harder isn’t an option, courts of law won’t protect us, and in most parts of the world we’ll never be able to prove ourselves “worthy of equal treatment and consideration.” We can’t

other toxic people have tried to silence marginal ized groups within our community in a distorted attempt to make queerness more “acceptable” by the standards of heteronormative society. This happens within many marginalized groups as they attempt to reinvent themselves as “model minori ties.”


present a framework to transphobes to prove that we are what we identify as, no matter how solid the rea soning or how much Facts and Logic™ you stuff into it. Sometimes the status quo can’t be appealed to, and all we end up doing is hurting each other by setting standards for who’s valid and who’s just a “trender.” To hear queer people I know and care about say “I guess you might be trans after all” or “it’s okay to just be a cis man” is shocking and hurtful. I usually can’t respond to those statements directly because I’m worried about the conversation I’ll have to have to justify why I am who I am. It’s already hard enough to have that conversation with myself if I’m faced with my body dysmorphia or thinking about how some people still call me “sir.” I’m still completely unsure how to approach that conversation with other people, folks who I’m certain have struggled every day with the standards and expectations imposed upon them by a society that doesn’t understand them. It’s hard for me to comprehend how people who seek out queer spaces to escape dichotomies, obligations, and generalizations can spread similar exclusionary attitudes on other peo ple running from the same thing.

I don’t want to see this community become like the restrictive world so many queer folks are trying to escape, with its ideal image of the “model queer” enforced by exclusion, harassment, and coercion. I want queerness to be something for everyone, a way for people to find themselves and grow comfortable in their own skin. I want the image of queerness to be more diverse and inclusive to people in the position I was in when I first came out. I want a lot of things that I think are possible but incredibly difficult. We have to help each other be better than the people who tell us to stay in the closet and “grow out of it.” The queer community can’t sit still whenever our oppressors tell us to in the hopes that they’ll stop discriminating against us because, breaking news, they don’t actually care. I say to you, fellow Ls, Gs, Bees, and Tees, be as queer as humanly possible, never sacrifice an ounce of yourself to people who don’t accept you for who you are. Queerness isn’t a competition, we don’t need anyone keeping score.

There’s No Place Like Home

LGBTQ+ students may also worry about using communal restrooms if they choose to live in the dorms. The typical dormitory has two communal restrooms, one for women and one for men. This can be a stressful arrangement for those who don’t feel comfortable using either gen dered restrooms. Luckily, there are sever

Written by: Cami Miceli and Cole Elliott Illustrated by: Angela Zheng and Christopher Ikonomou Layout by: Cami Miceli

clusive housing by expressing interest while filling out the online application, making gender an irrelevant part of the pairing process. This can be especially useful for students (specifically trans and non-binary folks) who do not feel com fortable rooming with people who share their gender on official files. In previous years, students were only allowed to be in gender-inclusive housing on one specific floor, dedicated to the LGBTQ+ commu nity. Now, students are able to access gender-inclusive housing no matter where they live in the dorms.


Finding a place to live while attend ing college can be stressful for anyone, but LGBTQ+ students face unique chal lenges. Living in dorms often involves randomized roommates, who may not be accepting of queer identities, while stu dents living off campus tend to search for roommates by specifying a binary gender. (Think of Facebook posts emphasizing that someone is looking for “one female” or “two males” to share an apartment.) Fortunately, despite these obstacles, UCLA has many resources available for LGBTQ+ students looking for housing, from gender-inclusivity on the Hill to an LGBTQ+ Living Learning Community. The majority of students living on the Hill are not part of gender-inclusive housing. In fact, the default is to pair students with roommates based on their similar living styles and gender. How ever, students may opt into gender-in

al gender-neutral bathrooms located on the Hill. Some buildings, like De Neve, have them in their lobbies, while others integrate them into the residential floors. Not all require passcodes, but some need specific keycode access. This means that students must go out of their way and get explicit permission to use these re strooms.Before 2020, students had to speak with their Resident Director (RD) in order to gain access to a single gender-neutral bathroom on their floor or in their build ing. Now, students are still required to reach out to their RD, but when they get access, it is to all gender-neutral bath rooms on the Hill. This is a step forward because it allows students to use their preferred bathroom no matter where they are on the Hill. However, it is still not ideal, because it requires sharing deeply personal information with an unfamiliar person. On top of that, a separate key card is needed to get into the bathrooms; it’s not possible to just use a bruincard like it is for the floor’s communal binary restrooms.“The card feels so othering,” said Judah Castillo, a first-year pre-psycholo gy student, who is not in gender-neutral housing this year but who hopes to take advantage of it in the future. “It’s like an extra stamp that’s not necessary for binary bathrooms. In a way, it feels like you have to ‘prove’ you’re non-binary and ‘out’ yourself by asking for the card.”

There are several possible solutions to this problem. Some people would sug gest that everyone have access to gen der-neutral bathrooms. However, others would argue that due to the limited num ber of gender-neutral restrooms on the Hill, access should be limited to the trans and non-binary students that need them. In a better world, getting access would be


a quick and simple process that could be performed over the front desk or online via the Housing Application, where stu dents don’t feel as self-conscious asking for the help they need. Hopefully, this process will improve in the future. Also on the Housing Application is the option to select one of ten Living Learning Communities (LLCs), a great option for LGBTQ+ students living on the Hill. An LLC is a section of the dormitories dedicated to a specific identity or interest. For example, UCLA offers an Afrikan Dias pora LLC, a Global Health LLC, a Transfer Experience LLC, and a Gender, Sexuality, and Society LLC (commonly referred to as the GSS Floor). This last LLC is dedicated to folks in the LGBTQ+ community, and it emphasizes the importance of creating friendships and accepting other people’s identities.Megan Kirschner, the current Resi dent Assistant (RA) of the GSS Floor, re called why she was first drawn to the LLC. “Last year, I lived on a non-LGBTQ+ floor,” she explained. “I felt that, as floor events went on and I made friends, I was known as ‘that queer girl’ — not necessarily in a negative light, but it definitely felt like a singling out Conversely,factor.” living on the GSS Floor greattyLGBTQ+oftencommunity,membersnotedwillLGBTQ+guaranteespracticallythatstudentsbesurroundbypeoplewhoonlyacceptoftheirbutarepartofthecommunithemselves.Anotherthingabout

be stared at or scowled at.” Of course, there are fears involved in en tering LGBTQ+ spaces for the first time. Nicole, for instance, was nervous about saying the wrong thing and being rejected because she didn’t know enough about the LGBTQ+ community. But after spend ing a couple of years on the LLC, she can now tell other students with confidence that such fears are not worth stressing over.

“As long as you come in with an open mind and a willingness to learn, you’re going to be okay!” she assured. “We all come to any situation with varying amounts of knowledge, and this is a space that is designed for you to learn. If you make a mistake, it’s okay: Try not to beat yourself up too much over it. So as long as you make a genuine, concerted effort to change or learn about people, you’ll be fine.”

this LLC is that its loca tion allows for everyone on the floor to have a communalabouttheeliminatingcompletelybathroom,privateanxietybinary

restrooms. Of course, this poses its own problems, as plaza rooms like those on the GSS Floor are among the priciest spots on the Hill.

“The [application] process was kind of stressful,” said Nicole, who has lived on the LLC for the past two years. “I applied for the GSS Floor in secret, so I had to think of a way to justify the expense. . . Ap plying for sophomore-year housing, I had to consider if this was something I could do again. But living here has been great! I’ve definitely learned a lot!”

For students like Nicole, the GSS Floor is a way to meet people and get more involved in queer life and queer culture (in some cases, students may even make lasting friendships and meet their significant others!). Many LGBTQ+ col lege students have little to no experience being openly queer at school, and so college serves as a test-run, where folks can try out different names and new ways of being.“Alot of us are carrying trauma and biases from the small towns we’ve grown up in, and we’re so programmed not to hold hands in public,” said Megan. “But [at UCLA], it’s okay to be with your partner and not be afraid and to talk about your experience and wear queer pins and but tons on your backpack and not expect to

In order to help LGBTQ+ students feel comfortable and safe in the dorms, it is important to spread the word and better publicize these resources. As for the GSS Floor, there is already so much interest that not everyone who applies makes it in. However, anyone interested in the LLC is welcome to join floor events and group chats, which are two great ways to make friends and learn about queer happenings all over campus. If enough people express interest, then maybe UCLA will even ex pand the GSS in years to come, along with broader gender-inclusive housing options!


Overall, UCLA offers a host of re sources for LGBTQ+ students, some of which extend into housing on the Hill. Yet not many students know that gen der-inclusive housing in an option in the first place or that there are gender-neu tral bathrooms scattered across the Hill.


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