Nov. 30, 2005 - Vol. 2 - Issue 2
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Magazine of Mizzou
Features Remembrance and Awareness Week Recap pages 5-6
Campus Climate Proves Chilly pages 7-8 Gay American Smokeout page 4
Out at School, Closeted at Home page 9 The Power of Hate Language page 10
Lavendar League page 3
New diversity magazine hits stands tomorrow page 2
editor’s LETTER. .
Dear Readers, In the process of compiling this issue of shOUT, I couldn’t help but reﬂect on the good and the bad things that have been happening on our campus lately. I never thought hate crimes could occur on our campus. I know many people hesitate to classify the assault on Daniel Maddox, a visiting student, as a hate crime. Even though Maddox did not identify himself as gay, he was called a faggot and a pretty boy and was assaulted. To me and many others on this campus, that is hateful. The good thing that did come out of this awful event was the Remembrance and Awareness Week, designed to remember those who have been victims of hate crimes and educate those who believe hate crimes do not and cannot exist on our campus. The people willing to stand up against hate represent the light at the end of the tunnel. They are guiding us toward a more peaceful and more accepting reality. Another great thing that is happening on campus is the inception of Verge’N, a diversity magazine scheduled to come out tomorrow. The creators of Verge’N are working hard to promote diversity and equality on campus, and we commend that. We thank those who are helping others see the light. Julia Luscher Editor-in-Chief
shOUT Staﬀ Julia Luscher - Editor-in-Chief/Writer/Designer Paul Lampe - Editor-in-Chief/Writer Megan Lee - Writer Kevin Hallgren - Writer Joanne Albertsen - Writer Strube - Writer Eric Arevalo - Writer
neWS. Diversity Magazine Hits Stands Tomorrrow By Megan Lee For some students, boredom is an immediate call to pick up the closest video-game controller or to get to the nearest computer with an Internet connection. That’s not the case for MU juniors Terrence Chappell, Shantell Jamison and Taryn Williams. “Terrence and Taryn were at lunch, dissatisﬁed with merely going back and forth between classes and wanting to add some excitement to life. They thought of creating an umbrella magazine that had something for everyone,” Jamison says. They took the idea to Jamison who jumped on board and encouraged them to make it a reality. And so MU’s ﬁrst diversity magazine was born. Although the publication was originally being called SWIRL, the name has been changed to Verge’N “because we’re on the verge of something new,” Chappell says. The magazine intends to encourage and recognize diversity around campus and in the community. Aside from covering issues that bring light to MU’s diverse population, the creators of Verge’N hope that people will also become more aware of diversity in their own lives. “The goal is to strengthen and encourage interactions to unify the campus in a way that hasn’t been done before,” Jamison says. By pointing out all the differences between people, Verge’N creators hope the magazine will show the ways in which people are similar. The ﬁrst issue, which will be available on Dec. 1, features a cover story called “How Do You Like Your Sex?: A Look At Sexual Intimacy”. The article will show both the differences and the similarities among four sexualities. It will spotlight one heterosexual male, one heterosexual female, one gay male and one lesbian. “The thing that we’re trying to show is that sexuality plays a role in everyone’s lives,” Chappell says. To accompany the story, there are plans to host a ﬁreplace panel dis-
cussion sometime in the future to promote sexual awareness. The creators of Verge’N hope that it will be much more than just a publication.They have plans for a spring fashion show next semester that will highlight all bodies instead of holding to a modeltype idea of what people look like. Events such as these will bring people together that might not normally socialize with each other. “We’re going to have lots of interactive events to encourage our purpose,” Jamison says. Verge’N is by students and for students. “If you want to get involved or if you have something to say or a concern or an idea, talk to us. Come to our events. We want to know what students want,” Chappell says. The creators hope that all student organizations will start to get involved with Verge’N. A diversity magazine like this is the ﬁrst of its kind, and everyone involved is ecstatic that the ﬁrst issue is just around the corner. “This is something different, fresh, new. This hasn’t been done before,” Jamison says, to which Chappell adds, “This is so much more than we expected. We’re very excited about this.” To reach the founders of Verge’N with ideas or questions, please e-mail Terrence Chappell at email@example.com, Shantell Jamison at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Taryn Williams at email@example.com.
neWS. By Joanne Albertsen
r a d n e v a
Is the Lavendar League another LGBT advocacy group on campus? Yes and no. It is an organization for LGBT students and allies, but it is unique and essential to the network of advocacy groups on campus. The league is a sort of student council to coordinate the efforts of all of the LGBT groups on campus. Everyone who is concerned about sexism, heterosexism and promoting diversity can get involved in addressing these issues in some way. People can work to educate their peers through the OUTreach Peer Education program, talk about their ideas with other concerned students and faculty during insideOUT discussions, express their feelings and experiences during Queer Monologues, work to prevent sexual violence with the Peer Rape Educators or just hang out on the comfy couch in the relaxed setting of the LGBT Resource Center. If you are looking for friends in an accepting social atmosphere, Triangle Coalition is the place to go; if political activism is more your style, Mizzou Students for Gay and Lesbian Equality (MSGLE) will provide you with a good way to help fashion and participate in the dialogue on cam-
e u g a e L
pus. And just look at all the LGBT-friendly groups on Facebook. The potential downside of the proliferation of these groups on campus is that overall organization, coordination and communication can become a little difﬁcult between all these dedicated people and busy groups. In order to facilitate communication and organize all these associations into a cohesive network, LGBT Resource Center employee Mandi Kenuam has started the Lavender League as an umbrella organization. It is geared toward providing a central hub and sharing of ideas among these diverse groups. Creator Mandi Kenuam is planning to use the Lavendar League to coordinate programs for Gay Pride Month in April. Since this is the ﬁrst year for the Lavender League, it is hard to say where exactly it will go in terms of programming and networking with other LGBTA organizations. To ﬁnd out more about the Lavender League, you can visit its website at http://www.missouri.edu/~lgbt/lavender. html. The ﬁrst meeting of the Lavender League will take place next semester, and you can check the website for future meeting times.
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Gay American Smokeout
By Megan Lee
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 46 million US adults smoke. This number constitutes about 23.5 percent of the general adult population. A 1999 Harris Interactive Study showed that 36 percent of the LGBT adult population smokes. These numbers are evident of increasingly disparate rates of tobacco use between LGBT individuals and heterosexuals. Every year, smokers across the country take part in the Great American Smokeout. Since 1977, the American Cancer Society has sponsored the event that challenges people to smoke less or quit smoking for the day on the third Thursday of November. The event challenges and encourages people to stop using tobacco products by providing support and raising awareness of the eﬀects of tobacco use and the ways to quit smoking. Among a barrage of issues the LGBT community must deal with, increasing concern is being given to the rates of tobacco use among LGBT individuals. Issues of tobacco use are particularly salient to the LGBT community because of the higher rates of smoking within the LGBT community as well as the subtle and overt advertising that is targeted speciﬁcally to an LGBT audience. Tobacco industry giants like Phillip Morris target advertising to the LGBT community, sponsor LGBT community events and fund outreach eﬀorts. However, very little funding is directed towards smoking prevention in the LGBT community, and there is virtually no research focused speciﬁcally on prevention and smoking cessation for LGBT individuals. In response to the higher rates of tobac-
co use among LGBT individuals and advertising targeted at the LGBT community, the San Francisco Billy DeFrank Lesbian and Gay Community Center started the Gay American Smokeout in 1994. The Gay American Smokeout coincides with the Great American Smokeout’s timing and mission but is designed to reach the LGBT community. LGBT community centers across the country participate in the Gay American Smokeout each year by asking LGBT organizations not to accept tobacco advertisements in their publications, raising awareness of the devastating health eﬀects of tobacco use, and by providing resources and support to those people who want to quit. At a recent brown bag event regarding tobacco use and the LGBT community, MU health educator Dean Andersen proposed a challenge. “If the entire LGBT community took the money they would spend on cigarettes for one day and instead gave that money to an LGBT rights organization, can you imagine? That organization would have more money than they’d ever seen.” This year’s Great American Smokeout was celebrated on Nov. 17. Encourage your friends and family to smoke less or quit smoking for one day, and challenge them to quit smoking for good. For more information about the Gay American Smokeout, visit www.gaysmokeout.net. For more resources about quitting or how to support someone who is trying to quit, please contact the LGBT Resource Center in 216 Brady Commons or call (573) 884-7750.
Remembrance Rem embrance and Awareness Week Week. In light of Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20) and the brutal attack on Daniel Maddox outside the MU Kappa Alpha Order fraternity house during Coming Out Week (Oct. 15) in which Maddox claims the words “faggot” and “pretty boy” were used toward him, the LGBT Resource Center planned a full week of remembrance called Remembrance and Awareness Week: Taking a Stand Against Violence and Hate Based on Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation. These are the events that transpired.
Tragedy, defined as a disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life, is exactly the classification that The Brandon Teena Story takes on. It portrays throughout the many forms of evidence the vicious and unprovoked attacks on three individuals in 1993 rural Nebraska. This film spawned thought and emotions in viewers on Monday of Remembrance and Awareness Week. Viewers saw the travesty that occurred simply because someone hid their true gender when they believed it should be different. The movie shows that the people shouldn’t have blamed Brandon for hiding who and what he was born but rather society for its lack of compassion that made him want to hide his past.
Kimberly Peirce produced Boys Don’t Cry to show the nation the twisted coverage of the Brandon Teena event that the rural area was putting out. This film showed the true horror of what hate can do to people. In this case the ultimate price was paid with the rape and brutal murder of Brandon Teena, just a small-town boy wanting to express his true gender identity. This film should tell people that difference is something to be cherished and remembered, not broken and discarded.
Remembrance Rem embrance and Awareness Week. As part of Remembrance and Awareness Week, insideOUT met on Wednesday to discuss the intersections of trans and homo hate. With over 25 participants, the group was large enough to overflow the LGBT Resource Center and relocate to a conference room down the hall. A general topic discussed at the forum was the acceptance of transgender individuals in local society as well as their acceptance within the LGBT community, both in the past and present. Concerns were expressed about an often lack of acceptance and understanding of transgender individuals by lesbians, gays and bisexuals, caused by a lack of information about trans issues within the community. It was also noted that the gender spectrum on campus was much more diverse and welcoming than many people had experienced before they came to Columbia. The Remembrance and Awareness Week Vigil was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 10. Organizers of the event included Jon Doerflinger and Joel Schultz. Mandi Spence helped with advertising. There were approximately 10 individuals who participated in the vigil that was held at Speakers Circle. Patrick Buckalew read a 12-page list of names of transgender individuals who had been victims of violence because of their gender expression. “The events of Kappa Alpha are what sparked an interest in the Remembrance and Awareness Week” Schultz says. Schultz says that the vigil was met with mixed feelings, but it was “intended to bring a voice to a silent community.” By Paul Lampe
By Kevin Hallgren
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Campus Climate Proves Chilly
By Julia Luscher
A campus climate study performed by MU researchers from 2001 to 2005 shows that LGBT individuals do not feel entirely comfortable on campus. Students and staff discussed the results of this study at the LGBT Resource Center as part of the Remembrance and Awareness Week put on by the resource center. Many felt that the attack on non-MU student Daniel Maddox near the Kappa Alpha house last month in which he as called a “faggot” and a “pretty boy” by his attackers, as reported in The Maneater and The Columbia Missourian, disrupted the campus climate for LGBT individuals even more. “It was a huge reminder,” Megan Young says about the attack. “It was a reminder of what is really out there and what exists. It’s a reminder of our everyday existence on campus and in this world.” Although Maddox was identified as straight, the use of hateful language accompanying physical violence has made many students feel uncomfortable. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re gay or straight,” Daniel Vogt says. “The word faggot was used as a justification to beat him up, and that’s not ok.” The campus climate study showed derogatory remarks as the most common form of LGBT harassment on campus. While some participants of the discus-
sion had not experienced direct harassment, all felt that indirect forms of harassment and discrimination could be seen on campus. Complaints ranged from heterosexism in the classroom to funny looks or snide comments to a lack of support from the administration. “There wasn’t that connection in their heads that the use of faggot would affect us,” Young says of the administration’s take on the Maddox assault. Vogt says he thinks the administration was surprised by the strong reaction of the LGBT community to the assault of Maddox since he was identified as straight. “The use of language that dehumanizes members of our community based on sexual orientation leads to a campus environment that is less emotionally and physically safe for all students,” a statement from Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Kathy Scroggs says. “The casual use of such language can be just as harmful as acts of intentional violence.” Many at the discussion felt that hateful language was not a new phenomenon and should be addressed by students, staff, faculty and the administration as such. “We’re always very reactive instead of proactive,” Sean Clouse says. “”We only have these conversations when something bad happens. Certainly we need to be reactive, but we need to send a message that this
neWS neW neWS. S. will never be tolerated.” Participants of the campus climate study identified a variety of ways the university could respond to the issues of LGBT harassment and discrimination. Participants said: “Continue efforts to reduce harassment and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals on campus. Increase funding to Safe Space program as one way to promote greater understanding of and sensitivity toward LGBTQ people and issues.
Enforce the nondiscrimination policy when harassment on the basis of sexual orientation is reported. Offer domestic partner benefits to employees in same sex relationships. Expand partner hiring practices to include recruitment efforts to hire faculty, staff, and administrators. Include gender identity and expression as part of the nondiscrimination policy.”
MU Campus Climate Study Statistics 37.5% of LGB individuals, 25% of transgender in the sample reported experiences of harassment on campus. There was extensive agreement among participants from different groups that visible racial-ethnic groups, non-native English speakers, and LGBT individuals were the least accepted groups on campus. 21% of the LGBT survey participants indicated that they had been harassed due to their sexual orientation/gender identity; Derogatory remarks were the most common forms of LGBT harassment (85%), but other types of harassment included verbal threats (40%), graffiti (38%) and pressure to conceal one’s sexual orientation/gender identity (36%), Participants who reported being victims of LGBT harassment had significantly higher fears for physical safety, expectations that LGBT individuals would be harassed on campus, needs to conceal one’s sexual orientation/gender identity, and negative perceptions of campus responsiveness to harassment and discrimination. Heterosexuals were relatively evenly split among the three climate perception categories but LGB/uncertain individuals were 2 to 4 times more likely to perceive the climate as homophobic versus neutral or non-homophobic.
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Out at School, Closeted at Home
It’s that time of year again. The department stores have snowﬂakes painted on their windows, The Chipmunks are squeaking out Christmas tunes, and for the college crowd a trip back home is right around the corner. For several weeks there are no classes, the bookstore closes early everyday and campus is so deserted that new-fallen snow isn’t disturbed by human feet for days at a time. This mass exodus from the city of Columbia can be a very strange experience, especially for the ﬁrst-year students. Many of them will be returning to their pre-college lives. Suddenly, pizza is no longer acceptable for every meal, there are curfews and authority ﬁgures are constantly trying to give orders. There are grandfathers yelling about elbows on the table, aunts critiquing the new clothing styles and dads sternly suggesting many, many loads of laundry. For the LGBT community there can be an even bigger adjustment to make. There are some students who have come out in the college environment, but have yet to come out at home. It’s no shock that being closeted is a stressful experience. There are constant lies, questions and fears that at any moment someone will ﬁgure it out. Imagine going off to college, ﬁnally being able to be honest, free and true and then returning to the closet. It is often a forced and unwelcome transition. Junior Kevin Hallgren, an electrical engineering major who volunteers in the LGBT Resource Center, went through the delicate balance of being out at school, but closeted at home. Some of the obstacles he came up against were not being able to tell stories about his friends or activities because they dealt with LGBT issues. He faced questions and suggestions about him dating women. Jason Bradshaw, a senior secondary education major who also volunteers at the LGBT Resource Center, says he had similar issues with his family. “My parents badger me about ﬁnding a woman and marriage,” he says. Hallgren says one of the best things he did to prepare himself was simply to plan for the situations he might not have been in for a while. He tried to prepare appropriate stories for his family and ended up being very ambiguous when telling them, along with being quieter in general. Another piece of advice he offered was to have trusted people he was out to at home that he could talk to. Also, before he went home, he talked to his friends at school to prepare and get support. Talking and preparing with friends, especially friends who had been through similar experiences, really helped. In the end, there is good and bad with everything, including going home for the holidays and making transitions from one aspect of life to another. Holidays may be extra stressful for the LGBT community, but communicating with trusted friends always helps. For those people who can’t wait to be back with their LGBT family, classes begin again on Jan. 17.
opiNION. opiNION. By Eric Arevalo
s i h T s i n m u l Co y a so G
The night before I wrote this column, I got a call on my cell from my little sister’s number. When I answered, instead of hearing Bee’s angelic, Bootheel-accented voice, it was a disgruntled dude on the other end of the line. Puzzled, I asked who he was. “This is someone who is calling you a fucking faggot,” he replied. Though the sudden uneasy feeling that overcame me, I once again asked with whom I was speaking. “Do you wanna ﬁght about it, faggot?” was all the caller said before he hung up. Overwhelming feelings of confusion, vulnerability and fear struck me immediately. How could I feel safe going home again if this call made me feel unsafe from 300 miles away? Bee would never have tolerated this sort of behavior or its underlying attitudes if she were around. I called home to see what was going on and if she was okay. It turned out she had left her phone at a friend’s house where the aforementioned loser got hold of it. Lucky for me he called, though, as he made it easier for me to write this column on the power of language. “Faggot” is an extreme example of how language can create a hostile environment. A seemingly milder and far too common occurrence is the usage of the adjective, “gay,” pejoratively. If someone dislikes their job, for example, they might say, “My job is so gay.” The usage of “gay,” in this sense could be replaced with any number of negative words (depending upon the style one is going for, of course): the simply chic “bad” or “terrible;” the eloquent “unsatisfactory” or “unsavory;” the more creative “wretched” or “nefarious;” or timeless classics such as “lousy” or “rotten.” The bottom line is that the usage of “gay” in this way communicates to people that if something is gay it is somehow not good. When people hijack “gay,” they are not necessarily meaning to demean those of us who are gay. The fact is they are sometimes simply unaware of the implications of their doings. Maybe they do it because everyone else is doing it, or maybe they do it because no one has questioned them. The next time you hear someone say something is gay, ask them what they mean. “You said your job is gay. Does that mean you are paid to sleep with people of the same sex? Or do you work for the Human Rights Campaign?” Even when someone is trying to cause harm with their language, sometimes there is an interesting story behind it. The case of my mystery caller exempliﬁes this. When I later talked to my sister about the debacle, she explained to me that she just had a discussion with the guy earlier that day about his mother. He complained that he was embarrassed of her. His mother, a lesbian, left his dad and moved in with his female gym teacher. Now that, my dear friends, really is so gay.
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sponsored by the LGBT Resource Center 216 Brady Commons 884-7750 http://www.missouri.edu/~lgbt e-mail comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Remembrance and Awareness Week Recap Campus Climate Proves Chilly pages 7-8 Nov. 30, 2005 - Vol. 2 - Issue 2 The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Tra...