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OUT W R I T E

WINTER 2009

UCLA’S QUEER NEWSMAGAZINE

WHERE

DO WE GO

FROM HERE?

Winter 09

OUT W R I T E


CONTENTS FEATURE 8-9

Prosition 8: Where Do We Go From Here? “...now is not the time to despair; it is the time to look at how far our community has come.”

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...14

Tegan and Sara: Concert Review Milk: Movie Review

CAMPUS....................5 Queer Campus History Timeline Living Here, Queer: the Queer Experience in the Dorms “The extent of Ryan’s tolerance would surprise me even more when he and his girlfriend accidentally walked in on me and a gay... during a very initimate moment.”

Out! on the Field: the Queer Athlete Experience Queer Eye for the Frat Gay: Interview

PROFILE....................10 Artistic Activism: Queer Athletes Photographer, Jeff Sheng “In 2003, nothing had been done about queer sports issues... When I started, everyone thought I was crazy.”

OPINION....................11

The Proposition 8 Protests: Reaching Beyond Our OWN P.O.V.

CREATIVE WRITING...12 There Is No Pain in the Mirror An Open Letter to My Future Significant Other Plummet

COMING OUT STORY..13 Shocking, humorous, and inspiring stories of queer bruins

PROP 8 PROTEST AT SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL. PHOTO CREDIT VICKY MIRAMONTES

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FUN...........................16

How to Hit on Your (Possibly) Lesbian T.A. Queer Horoscopes

Winter 09


Letter from the Editor I kept this part for last. I wanted to make sure that it was really happening. I keep comparing this moment to that first moment when I called Alexis, the one spearheading the project at the time, and said, “Would you like a co-editor?” At that point, OutWrite hadn’t printed for two years. You cannot imagine how hard each and every person on this staff and I have struggled since that moment to realize this vision, to guarantee that the UCLA Queer community has this voice. So here it is, our hearts and souls on 11x13 paper. And this is just the beginning.

*Queer is an umbrella term for all identities

News Updates

outside of heteronormative society: gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, intersex, asexual, pansexual, fluid, etc. Proposition 8 Appeal

SAY WHAT?!

This is UCLA’s queer students’ (and allies!) resource and outlet, so feel free to submit articles, creative writing, coming out stories, artwork, etc. to outwritebruins@gmail.com or join our staff! Applications are available at apply. studentmedia.ucla.edu/recruiting/outwrite/ “I wanna grow into something none of us have ever seen before And gender is just one of the ways We’re boxed in and labeled before we’re ever able To speak who we believe we are Or who we dream we’ll become”

-Andrea Gibson The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for the appeal to Proposition 8 on “Traditional marriage is polygamist, Thursday, March 5, 2009. The May 15 court case on arranged, and mono-racial.” –A No same sex marriage last year came to the conclusion on Proposition 8 Protest Sign that the right to marry is “so integral to an individual’s liberty and personal autonomy that they may not be eliminated or abrogated by the legislature “I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our or by the electorate through the statutory initiative gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve process.” to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.” The Battle for Civil Unions in Hawaii –Barack Obama According to The Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaii, the state with the first U.S. court ruling in favor of same“Assimilation is killing us. We are falling sex marriage in 1993, is currently fighting for civil unions. into a trap. Some of us adopt an apologetic A measure legalizing civil unions passed the State House stance, stating ‘that’s just the way I am’ of Representatives and deadlocked 3-3 in a state Senate committee. Over 1,400 people signed up to speak before the (read: ‘I’d be straight if I could.’)” Senate Judiciary Committee. Fifteen hours of testimony took -Q.U.A.S.H. in the article “Assimilation Is Killing place before the committee voted on Wednesday February Us: Fight for a Queer United Front” 25, 2009 at 3 a.m. Attempts will now be made to move the vote from the committee to the entire Senate. “My sexual orientation? Horizontal, usually.” -A bumper sticker The Possible Expansion of UCLA Health Coverage to cover transgender individuals

The Undergraduate Student Association Council at UCLA voted on the possibility of expanding health coverage to cover hormone treatment and sex-reassignment surgery for transgender individuals on Monday, March 2nd. Results are pending.

OutWrite www.outwritenewsmag.org outwrite@media.ucla.edu Ed i to r- i n - C h i ef Vanessa West Wr i te rs Tory Adkisson L. Andy Hernandez Marcus McRae Kela Mori Krystal Rincon Karli Santos Leslie Shim D e s i g n C h i ef L. Andy Hernandez P h oto Ed i to r Justin Sedor P h oto g ra p h e rs Karli Santos Artist Jessica Liu C o py Ed i to r Armen Ter-Barsegyan C o n t r i b u to rs Alexis Cabrera Rhiza Dizon Jason Luu Elizabeth Rojas

Rev. Fred Phelps Banned From Entering the UK

According to BBC, prior to the ban, Rev. Fred Phelps intended to protest “The Laramie Project,” a play on the Matthew Shepard murder a Queen Mary’s College. A Border Agency Spokesperson commented on the decision to ban him, saying that Phelps has “engaged in unacceptable behavior by inciting hatred against a number of communities.” In 2003, Fred Phelps failed to gain city permits in Cheyenne and Casper city to build a monument with Matthew Shepard’s picture, stating: “MATTHEW SHEPARD, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God’s Warning: ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.’

M e d i a D i re c tor Arvli Ward M e d i a Ad v i so r Amy Emmert

OutWrite is UCLA’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual, pansexual, fluid, and ally newsmagazine. OutWrite, formerly called TenPercent, was established in 1979 and was the first LGBT collegiate newsmagazine in the nation. OutWrite is the Queer community’s voice at UCLA. OutWrite aims to cover the Queer experience on a college campus with depth by providing LGBTIQ students with something to relate to - stories that reflect their own, as well as stories of diversity that broaden horizons. As writer Carlos Fuentes said, “Writing is a struggle against silence.”

S p e c i a l t h a n ks to: The UCLA Queer Alliance Maria Renteria of La Gente Maria Lu of Pacific Ties Lorence Milliken The Starbucks Double Shot Expresso Priscilla Brinshot Dongyi Wu

The UCLA Communications Board has a media grievance procedure for resolving grievances against any of its media. For a copy of the complete procedure, contact UCLA Student Media at 310. 825. 2787.

Copyright 2008 ASUCLA Communications Board

Winter 09

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CAMPUS

1950-EVELYN HOOKER: UCLA FACULTY AT THIS TIME WAS ON OF THE FIRST TO DELVE INTO RESEARCH ABOUT THE BEHAVIORS AND PSYCHOLOGY OF HOMOSEXUALITY

1969-GAY LIBERATION FRONT 1973- THE DECLASSIFICATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY AS A MENTAL DISORDER UNDER THE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION.

Staff Writer

1990- CHANCELLOR’S ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON LESBIAN AND GAY ISSUES IS CREATED 1991- PROPOSAL IS SUBMITTED TO CREATE AN LGB STUDENT RESOURCE CENTER BY CURT SHEPARD. 1993- “SEXUAL PREFERENCE” IS INCLUDED IN THE UC SYSTEM’S ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY.

1974-FIRST GAY AWARENESS WEEK IS ORGANIZED ON CAMPUS 1976- LGB STUDIES COURSE FIRST OFFERED AT UCLA IS TAUGHT BY PROFESSOR PETER THORSLEV. UCLA CHANCELLOR CHARLES E. YOUNG ISSUES AN ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER WHICH

QUEER CAMPUS HISTORY TIMELINE by: L. Andy Hernandez

PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF SEXUAL

ORIENTATION IN EVERY DEPARTMENT.

1979- TEN PERCENT, UCLA’S GAY NEWSMAGAZINE, PUBLISHES, MAKING IT ONE OF L.A.’S FIRST GAY COLLEGE PUBLICATIONS IN PRINT. GRADUATE STUDENTS JOHN RAMIREZ AND STUART TIMMONS ORGANIZE A GAY FILM FESTIVAL (CURRENTLY KNOWN AS OUTFEST) ON CAMPUS. 1989- UCLA LESBIAN AND GAY FACULTY AND STAFF NETWORK WAS CREATED LAMBDA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION IS CREATED

1995- LGB STUDENT RESOURCE CENTER, DIRECTED BY DOCTORATE STUDENT CHARLES OUTCALT, OPENS IN HAINES HALL. 1997- LGB RESOURCE CENTER MOVES FROM HAINES HALL TO KINSEY HALL. DR. RONNI SANLO BECOMES DIRECTOR OF LGBT CENTER DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS SUCH AS HEALTH INSURANCE ARE INCLUDED. 1998- UCLA’S FIRST LAVENDER GRADUATION, FOUNDED BY DR. RONNI SANLO, TAKES PLACE.

2007- UCLA FACULTY AND

2003- LGBT RESOURCE CENTER MOVES IN TO THE STUDENT ACTIVITIES CENTER. “GENDER EXPRESSION” IS INCLUDED IN THE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY FOR FACULTY AND STAFF.

STAFF INSURANCE INCLUDES SEX-REASSIGNMENT SURGERY.

2008- UCLA LGBT RESOURCE CENTER LIBRARY BECOMES AN OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES LIBRARY.

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Winter 09


Living Here, Queer:

The Queer Experience in the Dorms by: Marcus McRae Staff Writer Roommate assignments. When many of us in the LGBT community think of living with roommates at college for the first time, our primary concern is not whether we will get a roommate that snores or how late they stay up on weeknights, but how our roommate will react to our sexual orientation or gender identity. I know that for me, personally, the most nerve-wrecking part of preparing for college was not choosing classes or trying to balance my finances, but receiving housing assignments. “You’re not really going to tell them…you know…are you?” my mother asked me, a

month before roommate assignments went out. Usually, I would have said ‘yes’ without thinking twice, if only to spite her for never actually acknowledging that I’m gay, but for one of the first times in my life since I came out in high school, I began to wonder if coming out to my roommates would be worth the possible trouble. When we actually received our housing assignments, I suddenly found myself on the phone with my roommate Colin and with less time to decide whether or not I would come out than I had imagined. I decided I would just have a “normal” conversation with my new roommate, butching up my act by lowering my voice and otherwise ‘defabulizing’ my speech. I thought the conversation went well - until he wanted to add me on Facebook. I gave him my last name so he could find me, but after that, my attention weaved frantically in and out of our conversation – I was more concerned with whether or not I should change the ‘interested in’ section of my profile before he saw it than with the swimming and volleyball he had done over the summer. Suddenly, I stopped and thought of all of the difficulties that coming out had brought me in the past, but how I always did it anyway. I was still worried what would happen, but I decided that staying in the closet hadn’t been an option for me before – even with my Christian fundamentalist family’s reaction to me coming out and actual threats - and I wouldn’t make it one with my roommates. “I think it’s nervewrecking for everyone,” Colin interrupted my thoughts, talking about how glad he finally was to be able to talk with one of his roommates. I laughed to myself – he really had no idea how nerve-wrecking this was for me. When I did bring up my sexual orientation in the course of our conversation, though, Colin thanked me for my honesty and said that he admired my strength. I felt a relief beyond words that my

living environment in the dorms appeared that it would be much better than at home. But then Colin interrupted my thoughts again. “So have you talked to Ryan yet?” My heart skipped a beat as I realized I might have declared victory too early – I still had another roommate to come out to. And while I hadn’t formed any preconceptions about Colin in the short time between roommate assignments came out, and Ryan called me, I recognized Ryan’s area code as my own and immediately imagined him to be a conservative, south Orange County brat just like the people I went to high school with. Surely enough, Ryan was a republican, and it so happened that he had just got back from a luxurious vacation in Hawai’i. I decided to be more discreet about coming out – rather than bringing the issue up in conversation, I simply left it on my Facebook profile to see. There were other things on Facebook that I saw, though, that concerned me. While my two roommates seemed to have become the best of friends, the conversations that I had with them seemed to be more focused on what I was bringing home and if I would split the cost and use of our room’s microfridge. I feared that I would be the third roommate and I couldn’t find a reason why. Was it normal that one person would be the odd roommate out? Was it because I’m black? My religion? My sexuality? Soon enough, move-in day came and passed and left nothing for me to doubt. Colin seemed not to mind having a gay roommate at all, and we even came to discuss my past relationships, the so-called gay lifestyle, racism within the gay community, issues related to coming out and how being gay affected my faith. Ryan’s silence during these conversations concerned me. His girlfriend Kelly soon told me that he was not the only person uncomfortable with having a gay roommate. She said his mother wanted him to get a roommate assignment that would create a ‘safer environment’. I was furious. Why were ‘gay’ and ‘sexually voracious beyond selfcontrol’ linked in this woman’s mind? What did she know about me and my values to begin with? And why did she not even offered me the dignity of an introduction before deciding that I was dangerous to her son? Homophobia is so often irrational that the only way to respond is in humor. “Kelly,” I told her with a wink, “Tell Ryan’s mom not to assume I’m into white guys next time.

Winter 09

CAMPUS

Thankfully, Ryan was more willing to get to know me than his mother was. And as I began to get to know him and to stop worrying about whether or not my sexuality was an issue to him, the tension dissipated. By the time elections came around, I was both overjoyed and relieved to notice that Ryan had pinned a ‘No on Prop 8’ poster to the wall over his desk to match the ones that Colin and I had already put up in our own personal spaces. The extent of Ryan’s tolerance would surprise me even more when he and his girlfriend accidentally walked in on me and a guy I was dating in a very intimate moment. Instead of being disgusted, Ryan told me that night that he hoped he wasn’t interrupting anything special. From then on, the only awkwardness that existed between my roommates and I was the small fact that they knew a little more about gay sex than they might have bargained for. My experience with my roommates has allowed me to draw conclusions about larger, more significant issues. Many in our community have had less to deal with than the ideal circumstances, be it at home, at places of worship or in the workplace. Living ‘out’ in the dorms and speaking openly about our experiences provides us with a unique situation to challenge homophobia on our campus and to have our say in how our generation views homosexuality. It is my hope that sharing our experiences will make our roommates, less likely to reject a gay son or daughter, but rather to support them and be aware of the unique issues that face them. Our roommates will not only be parents to the next generation, but they will be our peers and coworkers, and we now have the opportunity to do our best to ensure that the workplace and other social spheres continue to become safer environments for the people of the LGBT community. In retrospect, I do not regret coming out to Colin and Ryan. I started our relationship on the right foot with honesty; this earned both of their respect and something I felt I had to do to pursue a real friendship with my roommates. The first quarter of my first year at UCLA was a time of great learning for me – not only in the lecture halls, but in the dorms as well.

CARTOON BY JESSICA LIU

OUT W R I T E

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CAMPUS

This is my second year playing club sports at UCLA. I am not a terrific athlete, but staying athletic is and has always been an important part of my persona. Two weeks into this year’s season, I heard a couple of teammates talking about the amount of lesbians on a fellow club team. Apparently, one of my teammates had roomed with a handful of girls on the other team, and all of them were gay. Instead of hearing about how normal lesbians were to live with, I heard about all the

play truth or dare. Because of the nature of the game, it got pretty racy, pretty quickly. Although most, if not all of the girls, knew that I was gay, they asked me about my orientation anyway. I came out and thought it was no biggie. I was wrong. After that night, I was all but kicked off of the team. Few people wanted to talk to me anymore; many wanted to change in a different room. It was absolutely ridiculous, yet absolutely real, and I wondered how queer athletes around the

it, but this is not always the case. Many athletes are concerned with judgment from within the team and from the public. It is especially difficult being queer while playing a team sport rather than an individual one. I know this from first hand accounts. Anyone who has played on a team can tell you that a successful one is dependent on each member’s ability to trust and rely on one other. It is difficult to be part of a

OUT ON THE FIELD:

THE QUEER ATHLETE’S EXPERIENCE

negative, stereotypical aspects. They had sex all the time. They acted like men. They disregarded other’s personal space. Needless to say, I decided this would not be the ideal time to come out to my team. After that night, I could not help but wonder if there would ever be an ideal time. I had a terrible experience coming out in high school, and I was terrified that history could repeat itself in college. I was anxious to know how queer athletes on our National Collegiate Association of Athletes teams manage to divulge their orientations, or whether they do at all. Curious and confounded, I reflected and did some research. In high school I played on the varsity level. I had grown up playing with most of the girls on the team. I cannot say that I knew each of them intimately or had a special bond with all of them, but we all got along. I considered them all friends, at least an extended form. I was pretty comfortable with my sexuality back then. Most people in my school knew about my girlfriend and me, and, for the most part, no one really cared. One day, during a ‘team bonding’ sleepover, the girls decided to

world could deal with such rejection. In April of 2005, the UCLA Daily Bruin did a series of pieces related to gay athletes. In the articles that included interviews, almost all the athletes chose to stay anonymous. One article in particular, titled “Locked in Silence,” was extremely detailed in actual athletes fears and embedded with many quotes from anonymous interviewees. Only five days later an opinion piece written by a foreign born student, Smita Saxina, was published. Titled “Athlete or not, don’t stay in the closet,” the author presented her opinion that she “[was] not surprised that there [were] gay athletes, but [was] surprised that there [were] closet gays.” The idea of being afraid of your sexuality in a country as open as the U.S. was challenging to her. Had she known the experiences of some people in the community, or understood the concerns presented in the proceeding article, she might have seen how taboo it still is to be gay on a sports team. Granted, there are very brave athletes who have been able to sport their sexuality like a cause and not get badgered for

is tough enough, and getting them all can be nearly impossible. And when you have worked as hard as NCAA athletes have to hold their position on a team, you need a whole lot to reassurance to risk losing that status. My circumstances are nowhere near that of NCAA athletes. My career decisions are not dependant on my sport. And my team’s acceptance or denial

by: Krystal Rincon Staff Writer

team that might not accept a part of who you are. Even in an atmosphere where homosexuality is said to be more accepted than ever, gay athletes have a right to be concerned. Less than three years ago, Penn State’s noted and long time head coach, Rene Portland, stepped down from her position because of a ‘no-lesbianism’ policy. On November 12, 2008, a radio talk show slurred homophobic jokes regarding the Gay Games possible appearance in Boston. And nobody can date when or with what frequency offensive comments or jokes are passed around in locker rooms. Homophobia is still alive and pervasive in America, especially in the realm of sports. So even though coming out might not lead to death anymore, it can lead to a serious alteration of life choices. The fact is that it does take a tremendous amount of bravery to be openly gay on a sports team. A very strong sense of self, an undoubted confidence in your teammates, and an openly secure environment create the best coming out experience. But, depending on circumstances, getting just one of these elements

will not make or break my future. So really I should come out. And I will eventually, when I feel like it. But that is my decision. Just like it is the decision of the individual NCAA athlete. Just like it’s the decision of anyone who chooses to come out in any situation. But people need to feel comfortable with themselves and their environment to come out, and working on that is the real challenge. Two things went wrong the day I heard my teammate’s roommate story. First was the reaction my teammates gave to living with lesbians and their opinions of us from that experience. Second was my inability to stand up for myself, and an entire group of people like me, to prove their conclusions wrong. Queer athletes have a chance to cause some real havoc in the straight community by coming out and proving some conclusions wrong. And though it might be daunting, and I understand the reasons not to, now is time the ideal time to muster up the strength to show our presence.

HAVE A COMING OUT STORY OR CREATIVE PIECE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE? SUBMIT

OUTWRITE! OUTWRITEBRUINS@GMAIL.COM

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Winter 09

IT TO


INTERVIEW WITH RAIF DERRAZI OF ZETA BETA TAU Are you out? Yes, to everybody.

Q U E E R

Do your parents know you’re in a fraternity? My mother was skeptical. She’s very conservative Christian especially when it comes to drinking and sex. Do you think you fit the typical frat boy profile? If it means…well, I’ve been told that I’m sociable; I like to party and have a great time. I can play at that the superficial level. But in the end when it comes down to it, I’m really an introvert and an intellectual.

Do you live in the house? Yes, partly because I get busy otherwise, and it forces me to interact with the brothers. I also wanted to just experience it. I mean, it’s good to wake up in the morning and see 45 of my good friends. Why did you pick this house? How was the rush process? When I first came to Zeta Beta Tau, I felt more of an openness. Though, I didn’t know if they were open to guys that were gay. They also were diverse and could hold a good conversation. I didn’t have any friends that were rushing, so I was just out here introducing myself… Rush process was basically getting to know them and them getting to know me. I got a tour of the house which gave me one-on-one time with a brother and feel things out. What made you want to join a fraternity in the first place? I wanted to get out of the musical theater bubble. Also it was for personal growth… and having the validation of a huge group of guys was important to me to reaffirm my masculinity and that I fit in like everybody else. I see. What did they say or do that made it appealing? …at ZBT, I could engage them in different topics… Music, dancing – things they probably weren’t very familiar with but could talk about. Did the brothers know you were gay from the beginning… ? Oh, during rush I was scared shitless to communicate that. Do your brothers know now? Everybody knows… Someone already knew in the house. Last fall was my first quarter here at UCLA and you know those, “God hates fags” guys were on Bruinwalk and so I went up to them and took off my shirt and started mocking them with humor, waving a gay flag… Someone from the house saw and recognized me. I didn’t know that my sexuality came up at a meeting after rush, someone said “he’s gay.” And whether “we want to give him a bid?”. They said, “yeah, he’s a cool guy.” Someone told me that afterwards. Then at that point I said, “Oh my God, now I have to figure out what I’m going to do.” Someone who was a friend of someone else in the house, came up to me and said, “They know.” My stomach dropped… then they said, “And they don’t care.” Instantly, I felt a rush and I had so much respect for them. Starts laughing Sorority girls are the best, they’re so funny… They’ll come up to me and want to be best friends when they find out. Some of them will say, “Oh I heard about you! You’re Raif?” Oh yeah? Do the brothers ever use that to get girls? Nods The brothers will want me to be their wing man… And they’ll come to me for help about girls and fashion, clothing advice.

EYE FOR THE

F R A T GUY

CAMPUS

Shakes head I never had to do anything that was demeaning… They make you do things that bond you as a class. It’s usually something physically strenuous, nothing too absurd.

Do you think your presence has influenced your brothers to be more open-minded? Yeah, I think it does. Guys were going around the house wearing, No On Prop 8 on their shirt... I think that subconsciously they’ve taken note of things they wouldn’t have before. Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong there? Never, they’ve gone out of the way to make sure that I don’t. Now I’m part of the house… and the new guys, you know they’re fresh out of the high school where there’s a lot of homophobia. And boom! There’s a gay guy in the house and there was some awkwardness at first. Has anyone in your fraternity ever said anything homophobic? How did that make you feel? And did you do anything about it? All the time, but it’s never meant to slight gay people. Laughs* Well… Sometimes it is…But I mean equal time is given to every minority group to be made fun of. Blacks, Jews, small penises... Smile* When you go to parties, do you ever feel like you wished there were more queers to hang out with? Do you feel comfortable? Sure… I’m totally comfortable. The girls more than make up for it, they love to dance, spend time with me and talk to me… The guys check up on me to see if I’m obviously having a good time. I don’t see those parties a time to prowl. It’s just to have good times with friends. Have you ever wanted to do something that wasn’t exactly heterosexual but was afraid of being discriminated against/or looked at differently? I think… It’s more self-imposed internalized homophobia...afraid of acting too gay... Not that I would never get reprimanded for it. A lot of stress comes from gays themselves. I’ve brought guys over to the house. I have a brother who lives right below me and I had sex right above him. The next day he told me, “At first I was scared and then, eh… I got used to it.” We both laugh Oh really? Yeah, and now they egg me on, haha. Have you ever had feelings for a brother? Attracted to your brother? Romantic? Sexual tension? Towards the beginning, I did- there was the physical attraction. But it became more like of a familiar relationship, and it faded. If there was anything you could change about the Greek system or your house, what would it be? A lot of the frats have unnecessary rivalry. There’s that competition for new pledges, but sometimes there are the pointless violent outbursts and going over to other houses to start- I don’t know what. I feel like if the frats banded together, we could do so much with the IFC, but since we are separated by house, it’s hard for us to get anything done… And get our voices heard.

Are you very close to your brothers? Yeah, they care so much to not offend me… But I mean, I can take it. They’ll say you know, that’s so gay, and then look at me and say, “No offense Raif.” Smiles

Do you feel a sense of brotherhood from the fraternity? Once there was a four-way raid, which are two frats and two sororities, and I was on the bus on the way home, dancing around and being annoying… One of the brothers in the other frat said that guy looks gay… Or something and the other brothers heard but I had no idea. The next day some brothers approached me and said they wanted to pound his ass… I was surprised… I didn’t know but if I did, I would have just taunted him. I’m just like that. I would never get angry because it would be counterproductive; being angry, that would give them what they want.

DERRAZI DRESSED TO IMPRESS AT A 20’S-THEMED SOIRÉE AT ZBT

by: Leslie Shim Staff Writer

How was this particular frat during Hell Week?

Winter 09

OUT W R I T E

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PROP 8 Where Do We Go From Here?

PROTEST AT LA’S MORMON TEMPLE, NOVEMBER 5TH, 2008 PHOTO CREDIT SAM LUSTADO

BY MARCUS MC RAE

STAFF WRITER We all feared it would happen – and it did. On Nov. 4th, 2008, California Proposition 8 passed with 52.3 percent of the vote, amending California’s state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. If you were anything like me on the 4th, you spent the first half of the night in jubilation, and the second half in shock and outrage. At a moment where we hoped voters across the state would join us in our battle against oppression, Californians approved this blatantly discriminatory proposition. From the hardworking students across the state that came together canvassing against proposition 8, to the over 16,000 samesex couples that wed from May to November, proposition 8 continues to be an issue that weighs heavy on the minds and hearts of members of the gay community from all walks of life. Nevertheless, now is not the time to despair, it is the time to look at how far our community has come. In the past few months, we UCLA students have seen people, LGBT and straight alike, come together to fight inequality. We have spent our time talking to undecided voters by phone banking, we have participated in rallies, we have raised large sums of money spread the message in any way possible about what proposition 8 truly was – a discriminatory measure that only gained traction through the use of sneaky tactics, lies and ignorance. And our work has not been in vain. From the very outset of gay liberation, one of the most remarkable characteristics of our community is resilience. Whether as individuals or as a whole, whether in coming out or in campaigning for a political cause, resilience is a trait that characterizes LGBT people the world over. And there can be no doubt that our ongoing battle to restore the right of same-sex couples to marry in California will provide us with yet another chance to demonstrate the resilient fabric of the gay community. The issues raised by Proposition 8 are not new to California. In 2000, Californians voted to approve Proposition 22, a proposition which prohibited the state of California from recognizing same-sex marriages. It passed with an 11 percent margin. Proposition 8, which had identical wording to Proposition 22, only won by a 2 percent margin. While the

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passing of Proposition 8 was a victory for opponents of same-sex marriage, the results weren’t anything near the landslide victory they were hoping for. Their ‘victory’ is sure to be a short-lived one, bound to be subject to another vote from Californians, which are increasingly supportive of samesex marriage. Alternatively, it could be overturned in the courts, just as Proposition 22 was only 8 years ago. The day after voters approved Proposition 8, a number of lawsuits were brought to the California Supreme Court challenging its legality. These lawsuits state that the process through which Proposition 8 was passed makes it invalid. They argue that the proposition fundamentally alters the Constitution and should therefore be considered as a revision, not an amendment. Revisions, unlike amendments, require the California Legislature to approve the measure, not only a 51% majority. Another key argument is that the people of California do not have the authority to deny any group of people a right enshrined in California’s Declaration of Rights – one of these includes equal access to marriage. Oral arguments will be heard March 5th; Attorney General Jerry Brown has urged the court to repeal Proposition 8. In the meantime, Proposition 8 has left the marriages of thousands of Californians in a state of limbo, and even more wondering when, if at all, they will be able to marry. And as members of our community took to the streets and courts in protest, the question on everyone’s mind seemed to be “What’s next, and how long will this take?” Months later, this question still resonates loudly, and the answer s are as important as ever. One of the most important things we can do is to learn from the successes and failures of the No on 8 Campaign. In order to examine the issue, the Williams Institute and the Center of American Progress held a panel presentation delivered by lawyers, professors and community leaders entitled Election 2008: A New Administration, the LGBT Vote and Proposition 8 at the UCLA School of Law. While speaking in this forum about his own experiences working with the No on 8 campaign, the executive director of Equality California said that the Yes on

8 Campaign was well-funded from the not sufficient outreach of the No on 8 campaign into communities of color 3) beginning and they were quickly able to No on 8 ads excluded same-sex couples frame same-sex marriage as an affront and their families, 4) The official No to the very institution of marriage on 8 field plan lacked visibility and and of the wellbeing of California’s ignored potential volunteers, and that children. Persuading Californians that 5) The campaign also ignored our something they care so much about LGBT community and supporters in the – their families – is not threatened by same-sex marriage was a monumental Central Valley. Similar large scale reports task for the No on 8 campaign, and identify members of the clergy as the simply could not be accomplished most powerful messengers for samethrough 30 second infomercials or sex marriage rights and argue that scripted calls from phone bankers. In the same forum, Kors acknowledged the No on 8 Campaign underutilized that “changing hearts and minds takes gay-friendly clergy members. The longer than three months, but once campaign also failed to outreach to communities of color in California, we get people, they stay with us.” He evidenced by exit polls which indicate stressed the importance of redoubling that 70% of African-Americans voted in efforts in public education about samefavor of Proposition 8. Responding to sex marriage, citing the example of Santa Barbara County where Equality the backlash from the gay community that the African-Americans felt after California launched special programs Proposition 8, Occidental College to inform the voting population about professor and founder of the Queer Proposition 8. These programs met with great success – Santa Barbara County was Resources directory responded that “we didn’t all get together in the churches the only county in Southern California the Sunday before and decide to vote with a ‘no’ majority on Proposition 8. Kors also encouraged the audience to yes on 8”. “know who we need to move to get that The protests which followed the 2 percent” necessary to defeat a future vote on Proposition 8 bear a testimony ban, and this is certainly something that to the power that our activism can bring. we can take a personal responsibility In the weeks that followed the election, to do with our family, friends, fellow it is estimated that over a million churchgoers and others. Proposition 8, people, many of whom do not identify while an upset for our community, has as LGBT, came together in solidarity to energized us in unprecedented ways. It protest the proposition. From the heart has awakened a spirit of activism and of San Diego’s Hillcrest District, where leadership in many, the largest thus revitalizing the p r o t e s t civil rights struggle took place, TATE RECOGNITION OF SAME SEX of gays and lesbians to the steps MARRIAGE DOES NOT GIVE COUPLES of the State in California. Patrick Guerriero, executive Capital in THE RIGHT TO SPONSOR A SPOUSE director of Gill Action, Sacramento, an LGBT advocacy FOR IMMIGRATION THE RIGHT TO FILE and from the organization, sweltering additionally praised of TAXES TOGETHER ONLY NATIONALLY heat the LGBT community downtown Los for its “tremendous RECOGNIZED MARRIAGES CAN DO Angeles to capacity” to fund the biting THESE THINGS campaigns. cold of Nevertheless, cities as the No on 8 campaign was in many far as Montréal, Canada, a ways ineffective. A report by Marriage million people told the world that the Equality USA, evaluating what needs to fight for same-sex marriage is far from be done in future campaigns, contends being over. Rather, it reinforced what that 1) Clergy leaders, identified as a comparison of Proposition 22 and 8 the most effective messengers for show – gay liberation is only increasing marriage equality, were underutilized in its fervor and strength. in the No on 8 campaign, 2) There was During a protest of Proposition

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8 that I attended at Saddleback Church our community. Additionally, with in Orange County, I noticed a teen HIV/AIDS being an epidemic which who was observing the protest, but has ravaged the LGBT community, did not join it. He identified himself the public health of our community only by the name Alex and gave me an remains an issue of capital importance. explanation I was not ready to hear. While heterosexuals are given clear “This doesn’t feel like my struggle right avenues to approach teachers, doctors now. My parents have kicked me out and other trusted figures from a young a few times and I don’t even know if age, sexual education for those who I’ll be able to go to college,” he told me. Alex went on to describe AME SEX MARRIAGE OFTEN HELD AS that the various instances of discrimination, many of which THE CENTER PIECE OF THE MODERN came from his own family, that he GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT IS FAR FROM had faced in only 17 years of life. His experience is a living testimony THE MOST PRESSING ISSUE THAT CON to the often less-than-pictureperfect experiences that many in FRONTS OUR COMMUNITY our community have endured. As we move forward from the identify as disappointing results of Proposition 8, LGBT is sadly lacking. There should it is crucial that we expand the so-called ‘gay agenda’ to include these issues, as be no stigma or obstacles attached to well, not just the right to marry. One protecting our health, and that of our sexual partners. of the most significant of these issues is Futhermore, the acknowledged the one Alex was concerned about – the homelessness of LGBT youth. A 2007 failures of the No on 8 Campaign demonstrate that the gay community is report by the National Gay and Lesbian one that is still strongly divided on racial Taskforce found that of the estimated lines. As a gay African-American, it was 1.6 million homeless youth in the United frustrating to see so many other black States, 42 percent of these identify as LGBT. Even in the largest American people come out in opposition of samesex marriage. But what troubled me the cities, such as Los Angeles, there are few agencies to deal specifically with most is that this 70% figure of those in the issue of homelessness of LGBT the African-American community who youth and the unique issues which are opposed to same-sex marriage are the family, yes, even the parents, of confront them. Equally important, young gay men and women. Why are all statistically, more LGBT youth are involved with prostitution and drug and of these things not a more significant alcohol abuse, than their heterosexual part of the initiatives that exist in our counterparts. They also contract community? In fact, when do we hear about these issues at all? Same-sex more sexually transmitted diseases, marriage, often held as the centerpiece including HIV. With LGBT youth many of the modern gay rights movement, is times more likely to commit suicide far from the more pressing issue that than their heterosexual counterparts, confronts our community. Yet these suicide prevention is another issue issues are rarely a part of the dialogue which is far too often overlooked in

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in circles which advocate for equal rights for LGBT Americans. The dialogue of what needs to be accomplished by the LGBT community must include all who belong to it, not a select part of the community which is in a position to marry; this needs to start from the moment when they identify as LGBT. Also, we have to realize that even the repeal of Proposition 8 is limited in what it can accomplish. State recognition of same-sex marriage does not give couples the right to sponsor a spouse for immigration if they come from another country, the right to file taxes together, and a host of other federal rights – only nationally recognized marriages can do these things. Hope for national improvement can be found in our community’s ally, President Barack Obama. Tobias Wolff, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, who worked extensively with Obama on his campaign was also present at the UCLA law school presentation. He commended the president for “ma[king] LGBT issues a part of his message, even to sceptical and hostile audiences.” Winnie Stachelberg, another panelist and Senior Vice President for External Affairs at American Progress expressed a deep confidence that we would see ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repealed during the Obama administration and that there would be increased hate crime legislation that would require the FBI to collect statistics about hate crimes perpetrated against LGBT Americans. She and many of the other panellists were also hopeful that we would see federally-recognized civil unions and the enactment of ENDA, or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Stachelberg went on to say that increased healthcare benefits and tax

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE ACROSS THE NATION

reform for same-sex couples would be a priority of the president. Republican panellist Patrick Sammon maintained the scepticism of many gay Americans, particularly after Obama chose Rick Warren, an evangelical who vehemently supported Proposition 8 and compared same-sex relationships to bestiality, to deliver his invocation. Sammon stated “we demand more than nice words.” Proposition 8 has inalterably changed the face of queer activism, advocacy and politics for the better. In this sense, the passage of the proposition is only a temporary setback, not a permanent failure. Civil rights struggles are rarely gained through a single vote by the people, and our own movement is no exception. We can see clearly, though, that the LGBT civil rights movement is advancing forward at an ever quickening pace. Now is a time of evaluation – evaluation of the campaigns that we engage in, especially the No on 8 campaign, evaluation of what responsibilities we have in our movement as individuals and evaluation of what the most significant issues that affect our community truly are. In the face of a significant disappointment, we must recognize that incredible progress has been made in the rights that gay Americans have. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision on Proposition 8 and regardless of whether or not President Barack Obama’s promises of change will extend to our community, we, the LGBT community of California know exactly where we need to go from here.

KEY SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LEGAL CIVIL UNIONS DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS WITH MOST STATE-LEVEL SPOUSAL RIGHTS DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS WITH SOME STATE-LEVEL SPOUSAL RIGHTS FOREIGN SAME-SEX MARRIAGES RECOGNIZED SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PROHIBITED BY STATUTE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PROHIBITED BY STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

COUNTRIES WITH SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: NETHERLANDS (2001), BELGIUM (2003), SPAIN (2005), CANADA (2005), SOUTH AFRICA (2006), NORWAY (2009) ISRAEL AND FRANCE RECOGNIZE FOREIGN SAME-SEX MARRIAGES.

MAP CREDIT NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES Winter 09

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PROFILE

Artistic Activism:

Queer Athletes Photographer, Jeff Sheng by: Krystal Rincon Staff Writer Jeff Sheng, a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and creator of ‘Fearless’ photo project, uses his art to affect the lives of queer athletes across the nation. Sheng grew up in Thousand Oaks, Calif. with a conservative middle class upbringing. He started playing tennis at around age six and continued playing into his high school career. This is when he first discovered the conflicts with being gay in a ‘macho sports scenario.’ “It was difficult to even think about being open at that age,” explains Sheng, “Tennis is a very macho sport -- as silly as that sounds.” Due to these complications, Sheng made the decision not to play tennis for Harvard. The burdens of coming out to roommates, classmates and teammates JEFF SHENG seemed too overwhelming for a first year. But that decision did not stop him

Director of Counseling at Drew School, was the one who discovered Sheng through a local newspaper. “I first learned about Jeff and Fearless from a local news story about a public school that hosted. I thought what a really impactful project for a high school,” explained Herzenberg. Sheng presented at Drew School on January 29th, where students and faculty were engaged by Sheng’s passion and generosity. “I thought the exhibit would be positive for all these members of our community as well as the rest of student body,” said Herzenberg. “I think the goal was to bring awareness and visibility to diversity that can often be feared but also over looked.” Also included in this tour was the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network headquarters in Bristol, Conn. In 2008, Sheng was asked to deliver a talk to the employees of ESPN about gay issues in sports. “It was the first time that ESPN has actively done something [regarding gay issues] for their employees,” explained Sheng. “I told them they have the power to put stories out there to impact

JAMAL, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE

STEF, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

from meeting other queer athletes. His first college boyfriend played for the Harvard Water Polo team and chose to be very discreet about his sexuality. “I had the freedom to come out more because I wasn’t on a sports team,” said Sheng. “He couldn’t take me to parties or be open about us. He had to worry about his teammates.” Though the relationship did not develop much more, Sheng’s interest in social change did. He decided that he wanted to do something that would make a difference. At some point, he contemplated the thought of being a civil lawyer, but instead took a turn to photography. “There is something very special about the medium. Photographs say something that no other medium could.” In 2003, he started his photo campaign titled “Fearless, ” a project dedicated to capturing “out” student athletes across the nation who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. “In 2003, nothing had been done about queer sports issues.,” said Sheng. “When I started, everyone thought I was crazy.” As crazy it sounded, Sheng has continued his project with much success. By 2006, high school and college campuses donned Sheng’s “Fearless” athletes on the walls of their gymnasiums and student centers as part of the “Fearless Campus Tour.” One of the most recent high school’s that agreed to host Sheng and his work was Drew School in San Francisco. Dr. Jon Herzenberg,

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people.” And Sheng knows starting an impact. For a project that he thought would only get a few responses, he has now photographed over 70 student athletes from high school and college sports teams across the nation. He plans on getting to 100 before self-publishing a book about the project. “It’s a project about individual courage. It’s about putting something out there that makes people feel better about themselves, and makes everyone look beautiful,” describes Sheng. But “Fearless” is not the only project Sheng plans to use to exhibit these qualities. He wants to work on a number of campaigns including a “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” project and a series of calendars benefitting various programs and groups. Among those is a gay Mormon project used as a fundraiser for whatever ballot initiative is found in 2010 regarding same-sex marriage. “Some of these are silly, fun projects, but others are not.” says Sheng, someone who attended seven rallies in two weeks after the passage of proposition 8. Though these projects have yet to emerge, that they will be a success. By focusing on smaller populations of the gay community, Sheng inspires people from all niches to be proud of their differences in a world that is strongly dominated by the majority. “This world is very tilted to one group,” said Sheng. “’Fearless’ is a different project because of the person that I am and the diversity that I have seen and experienced.”

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Transgender Inclusion at UCLA By Alexis Cabrera and Vanessa West Contributer and Editor in Chief What makes a campus safe and comfortable for transgender individuals? And how well does UCLA work towards that? According to an article about strategies to improve trans inclusiveness on campus by Brett Genny Beemyn, the main points to examine are: * The university’s non-discrimination policy * Insurance coverage for transgender services * Trans-inclusive housing options * Gender neutral restrooms * Trans-inclusiveness in gender specific groups (such as Greek life, athletics, etc.) * Trans-specific programs and events * Having transgender information and resources available * Widely publicizing trans-inclusive policies Though UCLA is a fairly safe and open-minded campus for the LGBT community, there are still many steps the university has yet to take to create a more comfortable environment for transgender students. For one, UCLA provides plenty of transgender information and resources at the LGBT Resource Center. The Center is easily accessible, located near the center of the campus at the Student Activities

Center. For transgender programs the Center offers a weekly social and discussion group, open to students and LA locals (Tuesdays at 7 p.m.). Also, the Queer Alliance has two events: Transgender Day of Remembrance and Transgiving. At Transgender Day of Remembrance (November) volunteers read the stories of victims of transgender hate crimes and the group has a candlelit vigil. Transgiving (December) features art, music, performances, and literature by transgender, genderqueer, and intersex artists. UCLA provides 18 gender-neutral restrooms on-campus (see www.lgbt.ucla. edu/bathrooms.html for locations). However, there are none in buildings at the center of campus such as Ackerman, Kerckhoff, and the Wooden Center. There are also none in any of the dormitories. Also, usually, the buildings that offer gender-neutral restrooms only offer one single restroom. According to Ronni Sanlo, creating more unisex bathrooms would “...only take a change of the sign on the door... The concept of gender neutral bathrooms is not scary. It’s just like home.” While the university includes “sex” and “sexual orientation” in its anti-discrimination policy, it states nothing about gender identity or expression. This raises major safety issues for trangendered students because if they are discriminated against concerning entrance to the university, grades, the workplace, a student group, etc., they would have no legal protection. How is one supposed to feel welcome at a place when they are not even included in the anti-discrimination policy? Note that the lack of “gender expression” in the policy also affects any individual who doesn’t follow accepted gender norms

CAMPUS

(androgynous, butch, flamboyent, etc.) According to James Llamas, the assignment representative for UCLA Housing Services, a student is assigned to a room according to the sex on their identification. If a male-to-female transgender student wishes to room with a female student, they must update their gender with the registrar’s office. According to Cathy Lindstrom, the associate registrar at UCLA’s Registrar Office, a student only needs to go to the windows in Murphy Hall and update their gender. If they are concerned about privacy, they are able to ask for a supervisor to have it done. What is slightly more complicated is changing their name. A student must provide legal documentation and submit an official name change. In this aspect, UCLA is great for transgender comfort- it is easy to have the registered sex. The university’s healthcare policy is not transgender inclusive. It does not provide direct coverage for transgender needs such as hormones or gender confirmation surgeries. Concerning gender specific programs, such as Greek life and athletics, UCLA does not have transgender-inclusive policies. Considering that the research for UCLA’s basic transgender policies, especially for housing, healthcare, athletics, and Greek life involved contact with each specific department, the transgender inclusive policies do not seem widely publicized or easily available on campus. All in all, UCLA has made efforts to make the campus safe and comfortable for its transgender students in some ways, but still has some steps it can take for improvement.

LGBT CAMPUS ORGS WEEKLY CALENDAR Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

LGBT Movie Night

Queer Alliance

Fluid

La Familia

BlaQue

Student Coalition La Joteria 6pm-7pm for Marriage Equality

6pm–8pm @ LGBT Campus Resource Center (Student Activities Center B36)

BlaQue

Weekly Study Groups 7-10pm

6pm-7pm

7pm-8pm

Cornerstone

8pm–9pm @ University Catholic Center 3rd Floor Library

BLAQUE=AFRIAN AMERICAN QUEER ORG CORNERSTONE=CATHOLIC LGBT ORG FLUID=BI, PANSEXUAL, FLUID ORG LA FAMILIA=LATINO/A QUEER ORG LA JOTERIA=RAZA LGBT ORG PAN-ASIAN QUEERS=API QUEER ORG QUEER ALLIANCE=ORG FOR QUEER IDENTIFIED

6pm-7pm

6pm-7pm

6pm-7pm

QueerXGirl 7pm-8pm

QUEERXGIRL=ORG FOR FEMALE IDENTIFIED QUEER PEOPLE AND ALLIES

STUDENT COALITION FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY= ORG FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN CALLIFORNIA MISHPACHA= QUEER JEWISH ORGANIZATION DELTA LAMBDA PHI= FRAT FOR GAY, BISEXUAL AND PROGRESSIVE MEN

AND ALLIES

Winter 09

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CREATIVE WRITING There is No Pain in the Mirror by: Jason Luu contributor She shuddered as she felt a sudden breeze gently blowing through the bedroom. Carefully climbing off the bed, she lept down and walked over to the window. She found it was closed, however. Perplexed, she returned, climbing up to her spot on the bed, sitting while hugging her knees close, rocking back and forth. It was still a little cold, so she began rubbing her arms and massaging her torso. As she slid one of her hands past her waist, stroking her ribs, it stung. Her eyes shut, and her teeth tensed in response. She paused. Then she lifted her shirt to examine the bruises, each a few inches wide, the size of a clenched fist or a heart. Her eyes shimmered slightly as she gazed at the purplish marks. Suddenly she heard a rapping at the bedroom door. Then it opened. A young man her age entered, flashing a golden smile. He slid to the bed, sitting alongside her. He turned to her as her face was looking downward. He placed a kiss on her forehead as he wrapped her into his arms. “I missed you these past three days,” he paused. “Why are you troubled?” When she still didn’t respond, he added, “The fish smells great.” He kissed her again atop her brow, and he left to the bathroom, snatching his hanging bathtowel along the way. When the water was running, she turned her head up. She rubbed her eyes, then realized how cold it was again. She began holding herself once more. There was no stinging anymore though. She got off the bed to take off her nightgown before changing. As she slipped out of it, she was looking at her flawless, unmarked, naked torso in the mirror.

AN OPEN LETTER TO MY FUTURE SIGNIFICANT OTHER Dear Future Love of My Life,

BY: RHIZA DIZON

November 15, 2008

I got out of bed even though I didn’t want to today. I sat in classic Los Angeles traffic and paid far too much for parking. I walked in July heat on this November afternoon. I was one of thousands in a sea of signs and saints, experiencing emotions of sadness and hope, anger and passion. I was part of history today. I did this for you. I did this for us. Perhaps we haven’t met yet. Perhaps we already have. At 20, I know I don’t have all the life experience and wisdom I know myself capable of. But I promise to keep growing and evolving. I know I’ve made more mistakes than I’ve anticipated, but I promise to keep learning and trying. I won’t always be right (even though I’ll think I am), and I won’t always be wrong, but I’ll promise to listen if you promise that I’ll be heard. I promise to surrender my pride if you promise to do the same. I promise to always try. I promise to be the best version of myself for you. I promise I’ll learn how to cook more than scrambled eggs and cereal. I promise I won’t fill our house with decor that doesn’t match. I promise to let you pick the movie if you promise not to pick a bad one. I promise I won’t spend money on expensive shoes if you promise to take yours off at the door. I promise to laugh at all of your jokes. I promise to make the bed and coffee in the morning if you promise to kiss me before you go. Obviously I have much more to do, and far more to become. Obviously I’m not ready to get married anytime soon. But one day I will be, and I promise to never stop fighting for the right to love you if you promise to never stop believing in us. I promise I will marry you one day, if you promise to say yes.

Plummet

Once you’ve reached rock bottom, it can’t get any worse, right? by: anonymous I think as I stare down at my own rock bottom, more than two miles of nothing but air contributor between me and the ground. The air is thin and harsh up here. It tries to push me away from the edge, but I stand my ground. You’d think it’d be hard to fade out of a moment like this, but suddenly I’m back there again.

“I don’t remember being happy.” She says. I sit on the ledge of the sidewalk while she stands, looking down at me. “I only remember how I felt during the bad times. I only remember the pain and anger.” I stare down at the concrete. When we were together, our fights would escalate to points beyond repair. It was like, no matter what I said, she always wanted to one up me. Win the fight, destroy the bond. We would reach such dark places. But at the end, I don’t see any point in dwelling on the bad. It’s the good memories of her I had held onto. I take a deep breath. For a moment, I consider turning back.

CUT TO: dinner at our favorite restaurant at the corner of Lindbrook and Westwood CUT TO: sneaking away to buy her a daisy, and having to duck behind the flower stand keep it a surprise CUT TO: singing “Pachuca Sunrise” aloud, windows down, as we drove along Pacific Coast Highway, parallel the waves CUT TO: holding her close as she cried on an endless night CUT TO: her asking me to dance atop a parking structure on a starry night Fade back in. She continues. “I regret our relationship.” Two years, 3 months ripped from me. I find myself tearing up. She is looking past me to the distance, disinterested in my reaction.

Second thoughts dissipate. I look out at the perfect sky blue before me... but reach as I may I’ll never reach the source. I wonder if hitting the ground will feel like a release.

“Why would you say that at this point? What’s the use?” I plead for her to stop. “I don’t think I ever loved you.”

Jumping seems like too much effort, I step off the edge. Everything rises away. The air is sharp, piercing as I am thrust through it.

“After all we’ve been through, why treat someone you’ve been so close to like this?” “I just... I don’t think I care.” She says and starts to head the other direction.

The fall accelerates. Or is the wind just rushing up? The ground grows nearer, buildings below taller, screaming at me to come back to earth.

“I would never do this to you.” “That’s the difference between you and me.” And then she’s gone. Have you ever felt real heartbreak? ...the point where the emotional pain gets so bad your heart flutters, the pain becomes physical. I hadn’t before this moment. Inside my chest, my core feels like it’s about to give out. The person I’ve been closest to in my entire life just said the cruelest things anyone has ever said to me. Doesn’t anything mean something in the end? Doesn’t any aspect of all our time and efforts last? I look down in disbelief, every fragment of the bond ripped from me completely.

I don’t know how many times I’ve replayed that scene. It’s not that my life is so bad. I just never really knew what’s supposed to keep me happy. Seems like every moment where motion stops, I’d find emptiness. At this rate of acceleration though, I’ll never feel empty. The great thing about free falling is you’re so focused on the seemingly endless plummeting, you can’t feel anything else. I’ve reached that point again where I have a choice and I already know what it’s going to be. I pull the parachute. The heart is a muscle.

Love Always, Rhiza

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OUT

Coming Out Story by: Elizabeth Rojas Contributor It all started with a date. A miserable, disgusting, nauseating date. With a boy. I always assumed I was straight. As a child I had crushes on boys and celebrity men. I thought that all straight girls also had crushes on girls so I was content knowing that boys were in my future. What I wasn’t prepared for was the shock of realizing how intense my feelings for the same sex were. I had just arrived to my new apartment and he had helped me move in. He seemed like a nice enough guy and I thought it was time for me to experience my first date. There wasn’t anything specifically wrong with that evening but the entire date seemed so typical. He picked me up, we went to see a movie, and then we had pizza. The whole ritual gave me stomach cramps and I ended the date as fast as I could. At first I just thought that it was one of many bad dates I would encounter and that’s partly what it was. The trouble came when I started having intense fantasies about women. Ironically the first moment the possibility of bisexuality occurred to me when I was watching Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy, a film about a gay man’s quest for love and acceptance in New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1970s. One of the characters was a bisexual man named Ed. At some point in the film he leaves Fierstein’s character for a woman named Laurel. I always found Laurel pretty but now I felt a little jolt in my stomach that was usually reserved for men. Then I started feeling that little jolt for other

women I saw. My feelings strengthened and I began to wonder if I was a lesbian or bisexual and how that could be possible if I had such intense feelings for men for much of my life. Then I began to worry. How would my family and friends react? How would society treat me? Was I in any physical danger? All these questions and worries aggravated a serious case of depression. I was completely isolated in my new apartment and I wanted so much to talk to someone, anyone who would understand my plight, but I was terrified of what others (straight and queer) would think of me. So instead I suffered in silence. There were many days when I couldn’t leave my bed and I frequently thought of suicide. I remember one night when I came home from a long day when I walked in my door and I collapsed on the floor crying for hours while mimicking the motions of wrist cutting. This went on for a good four months or so. Eventually my grades began to slip and I panicked because I didn’t want any physical evidence of my pain. I immediately went to a therapist on campus and finally had someone who’d listen. It was in therapy where I learned to accept my current feelings as valid and stop trying to label myself as lesbian, straight or bisexual. I also learned that it was normal to go through periods of time where I was more attracted to men then later switch to women and back again then sometimes both at the same time. After weeks of therapy I finally ventured into the queer community. At first I attended a couple of workshops then decided I wanted to help organize the activities for the

Day of Silence. The people who I met were out and proud and very welcoming as they helped me become more comfortable with myself. I started talking to my mom about the things I was doing for the Day of Silence. Fortunately I always knew she was queer friendly but I still worried about how she’d react to her only daughter being queer. After having a depressing spring break I felt that my anger and sullen attitude towards my mom needed an explanation. I know that I didn’t have to explain myself to my mom yet but I also knew that she worried about me and I did know she’d accept me sooner or later. I told her of my questions about my sexual orientation and I found that my mom was the most supportive person I had. I think that telling my mom lifted the biggest weight from my shoulders, which gave me the courage to be completely comfortable with myself. During the Day of Silence I realized I was now part of this community and eventually I’d find a word for myself: Fluid. I am an ebb and flow of attractions to men, women, transgender, intersex, and genderqueer people as well as other people who don’t identify or don’t have a word yet, like I didn’t.

The Prop 8 Protests: Reaching Beyond Our Own P.O.V. I’ve seen a lot of good come from the No on Prop 8 protests, but I want to urge everyone to be careful when considering our next steps. I think the protest in Westwood on Nov. 5th was a positive step. Seeing 10,000 people on your side, speaking on behalf of your rights, would give anyone hope. However, at the protest in front of the Mormon Temple, I read this: “Outside the Los Angeles temple Thursday, dozens of protesters screamed “Bigots” and “Shame on You” at half a dozen men in button-down shirts and ties who looked out at the demonstration from behind the temple’s closed gates.” -Los Angeles Times Another photograph above the article shows a man with a sign that says “Shame on Mormons.” It is one thing to fight for equality and protest against an unfair law, but it is another to entirely target a religious group, and yell harsh words at them outside of their religious sanctuary. Of course, not every

protester yelled “Bigot” or had a sign discriminating against Mormons, but I still think there’s a problem when you’re targeting a temple. The photograph that made the cover of the LA Times had a sign reading, “When do I get to vote on your marriage?” What’s so great about this sign is that it asks the reader to consider the other side’s point of view. And that’s what I’m asking of you now... because I’ve seen a lot of unfair vilifying of the opposite side. For one, is every Mormon for Prop 8? Their church is for it, but that does not mean every single member is. Making an assumption like that where we blindly attach a quality to an entire group is stereotyping. And, even if a majority of Mormons are for Prop 8, is every person that voted for Prop 8 a bigot? No. Maybe they believe in equal rights for gay people but do not see the word “marriage” as important; Maybe they believe that marriage

Winter 09

is a religious thing... I’ve heard arguments that religious marriage and state marriage should just be separated completely, that both straight and gay unions outside of a religion should be renamed something else; Maybe they don’t believe in the separation of church and state; Maybe they just haven’t been given the right information. If one is surrounded by proponents of prop 8, they may’ve just never been exposed to or considered arguments of the other side; Or yes, maybe they do want to discriminate against gay people; The point is we have no way of knowing. Of course, no one has the right to restrict the way we define our relationships and commitments, but most of the above beliefs do not have evil intentions towards LGBT people. It is not fair to associate all those in favor of Prop 8 with bigotry. It is important that while we fight for our rights, we don’t participate in the same kind of discrimination we are trying to end.

OUT W R I T E

by: Vanessa West Editor-in-chief Also, a church or a temple is considered sacred to those of that religion. It is their equivalent of a safe space. Imagine protesters outside of the Queer Student Center. I don’t think any of us have to think twice to find that unacceptable. Furthermore, protesting at a church isn’t going to win anyone in the middle or opposing side over. Seeing part of the LGBT community angrily yell “shame on Mormons” isn’t going to make Mormons feel bad about prop 8. It makes them feel victimized. It makes it easier for the Mormon church and other yes on 8 organizations, if they choose to, vilify us to their members. Yes, we are angry. But we can’t just target that anger at anyone who won’t agree with us. We need to consider more positive ways to protest Prop 8.

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by: Karli Santos Staff Reporter

As I walked into the Henry Fonda Theatre on a crisp Sunday night, there was a clear and quick change of atmosphere. The contrast of the comfortable room with the cold autumn night air was the first thought that ran through my head. The second was the terrible attempt of the mob-like crowd to form a line in front of the Tegan and Sara merchandise booth. Every fan was eager to have an item that displayed their unwavering devotion for the twins and their music. The theatre was small and dimly lit, which only added to the intimacy. Any place you stood pretty much guaranteed you a good view. It was hard not to notice the majestic architecture and detailed designs along the walls and the ceiling of the room. It almost felt as if we were to be amongst royalty. As the crowd grew, there was an increased chatter of anxiety that rippled through the room. As bodies began to squeeze up against each other just to steal a few inches closer to the stage, personal space became an insignificant issue. It smelled like a mix of body odor and fruity perfume. The crowd mostly consisted of young women of the hipster/indie scene. These twins had a very attractive crowd to play for. The audience roared in approval as the curtains began to rise. Girl In A Coma, first in opening for Tegan and Sara, did an excellent job. Their sound was very much like The Smiths, which makes sense considering they named themselves after a The Smiths song called, “Girlfriend in a Coma”. City And Colour, who only consists of one man named Dallas Green, formerly of Alexisonfire, performed an incredible acoustic set. His calm melodies paired with his soothing but powerful voice added to his exceptional performance. After the opening acts, the lights dimmed to almost complete darkness. The anticipation culminated and the shouting from the audience became more frequent. Excitement fluttered through the venue and reached its zenith the second the two

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PHOTO CREDIT KARLI SANTOS

REVIEW : TEGAN AND SARA

women stepped onto the stage and into the light. The crowd roared with elation as they picked up their instruments and began playing “The Con.” Spotlights and changing background colors lit up the stage. When performing the song “Nineteen” the streams of flashing light were like surges of energy complimenting each measure of their songs. The patterns of light changed with every break from verse to chorus. The lights flashed chaotically as they entered the chorus, adding momentum to the already captivating song. After they finished blowing everyone away with a few songs, they further entertained us with the witty playful banter they are known for. At one point, they told a story from when they were 5 years old at a sleepover. One of the other children asked if they knew who Jesus was. When they answered that they didn’t, the little girl proceeded to say, “Well you better take him into your heart or you will burn in the river of hell forever!” The crowd laughed hysterically at this. The dynamic of their relationship is infectious and quite hilarious. They played on their love-hate sibling rivalry and exchanged insults and jokes about the other. The playful attitude caused the venue to become very relaxed and ready for the rest of the show. They went on to play a mix of their new and old songs, such as “Living Room,” “Knife Going In,” and “Superstar.” They captivated every person in the audience, including myself. The pair left the stage abruptly after their seemingly last song, but everyone knew there would be more. The crowd screamed “encore” and eagerly awaited their return. After a few moments the beloved women returned to perform a set with Matt Sharp,

formerly of Weezer, and Tegan performed with City and Colour. After some more of their usual silly banter and a final song, they exited for good, but not without having encouraged the audience to vote and, more specifically, to vote no on Proposition 8. Though the two do not want their music to only appeal to the lesbian community, it is no secret that they are indeed lesbian. They encouraged all to vote since they, being Canadian, could not vote here themselves. This, I felt, was very admirable of them. Tegan and Sara did not disappoint anyone. This show was by far the greatest I have ever experienced. The two really knew how to work their audience and gave an exemplary performance. One could not help but be in a trance. Like a holistic sensation, the energy ceaselessly flowed through my body and through the entire theatre. Taking a look around only strengthened my faith in the effect of the musicians because everyone else had the same awestruck look on their face. The best thing about it is that you know that they do it because they love it. Also, they never gave the impression that they bathed in their stardom. They were always so laid back, just as if they were one of us standing in the crowd, ready for an awesome

OUT W R I T E

Winter 09

show. This is why I love them and I believe this is why their musical careers will continue to bloom at an unstoppable rate. On Sunday, October 19, Tegan and Sara performed their very last show of their North American tour. The Canadianborn identical twins ended their 4 consecutive days of astounding performance here in Los Angeles at the Henry Fonda Theatre’s Music Box. This dynamic duo went from a garage band competition to being signed by Sire Records and now touring the world for the extremely successful album, The Con, which debuted #34 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The two have toured with many big name artists, inluding Neil Young, Rufus Wainwright, The Killers, Weezer and Death Cab For Cutie. Their increasing popularity does not look like it is coming to a stand still anytime soon, and with this last show at the Fonda, I can definitely see why.


ARTS& ENTERTAINMENT REVIEW :

MILK

by: Tory Adkisson Staff Writer

Winter 09

OUT W R I T E

Hunting, yet the political and social implications of the film separate it from such fare. Van Sant eschews more pretentious directorial flourishes and instead adopts a crisp visual style full of color but not in a way that overpowers the misen-scene. Van Sant recreates a San Francisco that feels vibrant and looks very much like an antecedent to the liberal bastion of today. Van Sant’s use of archival footage is also a key element that gives the film a greater sense of authenticity. Rather than cast a perfectly nice actress in the role, Van Sant resurrects clips of the beastly Anita Bryant, one of the best boogeyman-type characters in recent film. With all of her self-aggrandizing and rancor, Bryant

CARTOON BY JESSICA LIU

Gay Americans live in challenging times. This is not news so much as it is the sad and honest fact of our lives. Even with the ascendancy of Barack Obama, who has a page on his white house website detailing his views and objectives regarding LGBT civil rights, our own beloved, progressive-minded Californians were able to vote decisively for the much maligned Proposition 8, which effectively eliminated the rights of thousands of same-sex couples to get married. We queers are clearly not as popular as we thought. Despite this, and similar nationwide legal setbacks, though, it is important to understand and appreciate how far we’ve come in our short, impactful history as a community and as a mobilized political force. Nowhere is this history better realized than in Gus Van Sant’s fantastic biopic, the simply and almost mysteriously titled Milk. The film chronicles the life and times of Harvey Milk, the selfproclaimed “Mayor of Castro Street” who turned a small camera shop into the headquarters for gay political uprising, played with incredible, vivacious charisma and a lack of characteristic ego by Sean Penn. The film follows Milk’s transformation from a quiet gay everyman into the voice of a loud, proud generation, bypassing the typical fair normally seen in films depicting gay characters. We don’t see Harvey’s outing; we don’t meet him in his difficult, awkward adolescence. The audience first meets Harvey years before his death, already a middle-aged man, already past his so-called prime, but still capable, and still eager to shake things up. The heart and soul of the film is Sean Penn’s portrayal of Milk, which avoids the selfconsciousness that some straight actors exhibit when playing against their orientation. Certainly not an erotic performance by any stretch of the imagination, Penn nevertheless engages his love interests, Jack Lira (Deigo Luna) and Scott Smith (James Franco), with an earthy frankness and authenticity, giving me the impression that Mr. Penn is more than just secure in his own skin. Beyond the sexuality, Penn does an incredible job embodying Milk the man, and by portraying him candidly—as a human being with significant flaws despite his idealism and empathy—Penn avoids exonerating him of his personal errors, and it is that wholeness to the characterization of Milk that makes the film, and the performance, so believable and satisfying. Also doing much more than just pulling his weight is the sublime Josh Brolin, playing the film’s ostensible villain, Dan White. A composite opposite to Harvey, White (the color of Milk— darkly ironic) is Irish Catholic, a recent father, and has a strong, unwavering jaw that seems

to get stiffer in response to the loquacious lips of Mr. Milk. Dan is held down by the conventions that he has grown up, clearly has issues regarding his commitment to his family, and Harvey goes so far as to allege Mr. White may be, as he says, “one of us.” How many of us have been through that? (How many of us have ended up being right!) Brolin’s performance is far more understated than Penn’s, and it lacks the flourishes that Milk’s colorful personality affords Penn, but Brolin still manages to put nuance in his version of White, particularly evinced in a scene towards the end of the film in which White sadly and drunkenly castigates Harvey at his own birthday party for not backing him up in a vote regarding where to place a new mental hospital (it ends up in White’s district as a result). The rest of the ensemble does a good job, including such notables as UCLA alumnus James Franco as Harvey’s first lover, the stoic yet happy-go-lucky Scott Smith, and Diego Luna as Harvey’s second, and heartbreakingly unbalanced, lover, Jack Lira. Another notable addition to the cast is Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones, who adds a refreshing touch of sass and rebellious levity, playing a character that starts off as something of a stereotypical caustic rent boy but through his association with Harvey, ends up enlightened and becomes an agent of social change himself. The bulk of the film is dedicated to showing the gradual political clout that Milk and his associates amass, first by claiming the Castro as his home base (he judiciously, and somewhat flippantly, bestows the mantle of “Mayor of Castro Street” onto himself) and runs for a series of city supervisor elections that fail, but fail in smaller and smaller margins until, finally, he gets elected and the world holds its breath. As Harvey himself says, “a homosexual with power—that’s scary.” But the world did not end in 1977 when Milk was elected. He served 11 months as city supervisor until his life ended— tragically—when Dan White assassinated him and San Francisco mayor George Moscone (Victor Garber) on November 27, 1978 (I was born nine years and two days later, yet I only learned of Harvey Milk this year). While these political moves may be hard to capture in the abstract, Dustin Lance Black (a UCLA alumnus no less!) has written a superb and well researched original script, and the dialogue here transforms the political into the personal, and presciently draws comparisons of Milk’s struggle (and victory) against Proposition 6 and our own ill-fated battle with Proposition 8. Gus Van Sant, the man behind the camera calling the shots, is not shy about exploring characters that might be considered outsiders. As a gay man from Portland, Ore., who came of age around the same time as Harvey’s rise to prominence, it is not hard to see way the direction, in addition to the acting and writing, feels so authentic and uniquely personal. Known for more surreal and experimental films (Drugstore Cowboy, Elephant, My Own Private Idaho, Mala Noche, Paranoid Park), Milk has more in common, from a stylistic standpoint, to Van Sant’s more mainstream films, such as Goodwill

illustrates the kind of openly hateful, nonscolded by the HRC or GLAAD Media, kind of opposition we used to face, collectively, as a people. These types are still out there, but Van Sant’s bald-faced portrayal of a bigot in her element illustrates the lunacy of such people more effectively than any caricature could ever hope to achieve. Biopics are a dime a dozen. They are, at their worst, predictable, “inspirational” and too willing to praise their subjects and honor them as sacrificial martyrs. At their best, they are Milk: unflinching portrayals that are sometimes flattering and sometimes not, capable of commenting on the social and political issues of the time the film is set and the here and now, and capable of really touching hearts and minds. Milk is an astounding film that anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, or otherwise MUST see, as must anyone who knows and love people like us.

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Queer Horoscopes

FUN

Aries (March 21 - April 20): Your impulsive nature will steer you towards retail therapy to celebrate the end of the midterm for your Human Aggression: Causes, Myths, and Management class. When another shopper makes a move on your bargain vest, try not to go for the throat. And be careful not to throw a fit when the cashier has trouble ringing up your purchase. Count to 5 and breathe. Remember what your coach taught you. Taurus (April 21 - May 21): Throw off that cautious nature! You’ve been eyeing that androgynous person in the front row of your LGBT is Not a Sandwich class, and, despite still being uncertain of the person’s actual sex, your affection will be returned! Gemini (May 22 - June 21): You’re considering infidelity. We’re supportive.

How to Hit on Your (Possibly) Lesbian T.A THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR/ LESBIAN GIVEAWAYS: • flannel shirt • combat boots • vests • short hair • softball • bitter against men • vegan • Subaru/ Jeep/ truck • owns more turkey basters than necessary .Do’s and Don’ts: 1. 2. 3.

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

DO: Attempt to establish and maintain eye contact with her whenever she is speaking. Nod pensively – as if enlightened and deeply moved. DON’T: Keep on nodding pensively once she’s finished speaking. DO: Prepare ways to bring gay/lesbian subjects logically into the class discussion. For example: “I was reading the assigned chapter, and it reminded me of this Tegan and Sara song” or “Really though, I think the book is trying to say that, deep down, Gatsby wanted to be with Tom, not Daisy.” DO: Lightly touch her on the arm as you speak to her. DO: Wear a rainbow button and ask if she likes it. DO: Ask where she lives and invite her to Pan-Asian Queers (This one’s been tested and successful). DON’T: Visit her during office hours, ask idiotic questions, and stare mindlessly at her body. Ask intelligent questions. The staring part is fine. DO: “Accidentally” leave this copy of OutWrite, back page facing up, on your desk at the end of class. DON’T: Scream “Nice Ass” every time she turns to write on the chalkboard. Do it every other time. Otherwise just whistle and hoot loudly. Slapping the desk is optional. DO: Use section to discuss your personal dating problems, such as telling a long, graphic story and then asking the class, “So do you guys think she likes me?” DO: Pretend you spotted her at a gay club (be vague, don’t name a specific one) last Friday. Maybe you’ll luck out. DO: Follow her into the restroom whenever she goes in and then begin sobbing hysterically. When she comforts you, tell her, “You’re so special.” DO: Write a term paper for her titled “Why I think my T.A. is a closeted lesbian and 10 things I’d really love to do to her”. DO: Show her your favorite pair of handcuffs. Tell her you prefer top bunk. WHEN IN DOUBT: Just show up and smile.

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Cancer (June 22 - July 22): Your clingy nature has you still pining for a stranger in your Learning from Our Mistakes: Catastrophic Failure of Structures through Ages class that expressed disinterest in you months ago. Poor crab, move on. Leo (July 23 -August 21): You think very highly of yourself. Luckily, the people who don’t know this think highly of you too. Try meeting someone new today. The people around you are tired of you. Virgo (August 22 - September 23): If you could stop cleaning long enough to look around, you’d find there’s someone who’s taken notice of your wicked cool hair. Libra (September 24 - October 23): Your bisexual tendencies will lead you to a place of heavy indecision today: should you flirt with the cute blonde in your Biblical History: The Study of Polygamy class or hit on the mysterious dark haired boy you keep coincidentally running into in Kerckhoff? Maybe there’s a reason you can’t choose. Maybe you need a little bit of everything to truly feel balanced. Scorpio (October 24 - November 22): You are strong willed. You go after what you want. You’ve been chasing down that special person for weeks now. And by chasing, we mean chasing... out of the market on Tuesday, through an alleyway Thursday, into a police station Friday. Stay strong with your devotion. I’m sure they’ll revoke the restraining order sooner or later. Sagittarius (November 23 - December 22): Your desire to expand into everything undoubtedly makes you pansexual and unable to be monogamous… or bigamous…. or trigamous…. Lucky for you it’s a big world: Just date people from different social circles, and they’ll never know. Capricorn (December 23 - January 20): The guy who stole your boyfriend in high school now sits in front of you in your Psychological Disorders class, and you’re still butthurt about it. Don’t underestimate the healing powers of revenge. Aquarius (January 21 - February 19): You’re back and forth on whether to break up. The best way to evaluate the relationship is to graph your significant other’s ratio of hotness to craziness. Remember hotness still has to win by a 10% margin for staying in it to be worth it. Pisces (February 20- March 20): You have a regret and you’re punishing yourself for it. Fair enough, your wounds are insignificant, but try to keep the crossfire away from the people around you.

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Winter 09


Winter 2009: Where Do We Go From Here?