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Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF The Independent LGBTQA Magazine Fall 2012 / Issue #9

WEDNESDAYS by Matthew Bennett Jr. when I walk down the street, I am damned to eternal hell fires by a man with bright red posters and propaganda slandering my people. As I reach for a pamphlet and smile, I think back to clutching my dad’s hand as we walk the sunny sidewalks of Columbia, Missouri. “Faggots have a certain smell,” he says to me as a bald man with a large earring passes by. At five, I don’t really understand the remark, but I grasp onto Dad’s hand tightly like the fear he instills in me grips my heart, and my round brown eyes turn to gape at this seemingly normal yet terrifying man. I open the brochure, quickly discover I’m doomed, and as I reach to pitch the pamphlet, I think back to tossing pennies into a fountain in the town square with Mom, each release a wish for something more – all I want is for Spencer Adams to be in my second grade class. “Pennies are the best because they have special powers,” she smiles down at me. “You never know, your wish may just come true.” She takes my hand and we toss ours in together. Now, Wednesday afternoons, I toss pennies from the floor into the trashcan as I clean my room because I know I’ll be bringing home a man who will appreciate aesthetics. Wednesday nights I head to the bars, and I gulp my hard cider because of its sweet taste and because I’m too old now to care about fitting in. As I order another, I think back to sipping on a strawberry daiquiri during my 21st birthday dinner and Dad strictly telling me that real men only order certain drinks. I toss that aside, but what I don’t ignore is the “No way in hell I raised a fucking queer.” I decide to slip the barkeep a large tip because I think he’s charming. Walking home past two in the morning, my hand falls gently into Peter’s, and I stop to smell his Syracuse zoo t-shirt, getting lost in cigarette smoke and sweat and alcohol and everything that is supposed to be treacherous and forbidden. Dad will never understand how I spend my Wednesdays.

editorial Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Production Director Features Editor Arts & Entertainment Editor Politics Editor Sex & Health Editor Copy Editor

Katie Dupere Matty Bennett Shaun Janis Kassie Brabaw Chamelia Moore Meghin Delaney Samantha Crawford Mary Dickinson Jensen

creative Design Director Art Director Photo Director Contributing Writers

Contributing Designer Contributing Artists/Photographers

Erica Fisher Katherine Flores Martin Biando Daisy Gan, Raul Xavier Ramos, Danielle Stella, Nicky Zamoida, Julie Wilson, Bryan McKinney, Julissa Collado Maya Qian Maranda Morris, Natasha Andaz, Emily Rosa, Annie Flanagan, Carolyn Glavin, Shira Stoll, Chris McPherson, Rachel Barry, Jack McGowan, Cara Luddy

cover art Annie Flanagan special thanks The Disability Cultural Center The LGBT Resource Center Student Association Quartier Printing Harriet Brown Clare Merrick Sarah Foley fall 2012


letter from the editor


I hate the f-word. My dad has said it. My aunt has said it. My sister has said it. My roommate has said it. I know they know better, so I usually address the f-word in a nice way. But, what I really want to say: “Do not call her my fucking friend.” Ah, yes. The word “friend” to describe my girlfriend is a common slip-of-thetongue. Friend is a word that makes people bound in heteronormativity feel more comfortable about acknowledging the fact that you are playing tonsil hockey with someone other than the opposite sex. Meanwhile, it just makes you realize that they aren’t as accepting as you thought. If you have ever been in an out, queer relationship, you know the use: You run into a friend while having a nice stroll with your partner. Your friend is walking with someone you don’t know, so they decide to introduce you—in the most awkward way possible. “This is my friend, Katie. And this is her ... ermmm ... uhmmm ... friend.” The f-word is the worst. That whole situation is the worst. You try to get away as fast as possible, but with an introduction that awkward, things can only go downhill fast. Yes, the f-word sucks, but there are some minor awesome qualities to this otherwise shitty situation. 1)You get to internally (or externally) laugh at how awkward this conversation just got with your clambering friend’s introduction. 2) You get to watch the person being introduced to you and your partner get this really confused look on their face about why the person introducing you is turning the color of a fire truck. 3) You get to correct that person in your life who dropped the f-bomb in the most nonchalant way.


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C2 12 30 34 44

Wednesdays Why Can Atheists Marry? What Do Chickens and Gaga Have in Common Fuck It #SimplyCoco

sex & health 28 32 38


Illustration by Katherine Flores

“Well, it was nice running into you (insert friend name here) and nice meeting you (insert new friend name here). My partner and I are headed to get dinner. It’s our anniversary.” Even if it isn’t your anniversary, say it anyway. Then leave. Your new friend now knows that you and your partner are exchanging spit instead of friendship bracelets and I guarantee the friend who dropped the f-bomb will think twice before doing it again. Mission accomplished, commander. In this issue, we give you even more comebacks to file into your internal Rolodex for when you need to pump up the sass (page 10). We also give you info on the intersection of disability identities and queerness that is guaranteed to make you more aware of the world—just as you will now do to all the f-word lovin’ people in your life (page 20). And who doesn’t want some queer campus history that you can use to impress your friends at parties (page 6)? That’s right, we always have you covered. Curl up with this issue and enjoy all of the content between page 4 and 49. And introduce us to your partner. We promise we won’t put them in the friend-zone.

Queer or Straight: Distance is Distance True Life: I Lie When I Donate Blood Online Observations: M4M Ads

6 20

Where Queer Things Go to Die Queer and Disabled ?

arts & entertainment 4 8 10 26 40 46 48

The Completely Legit OutCrowd Social Media Report World Tour So, They Say You’re the Comeback Kid Up, Up, and...a Gay? Frank, I Am Your Creator App-venture Time Comic

politics 16 36 42

Battling the Bully Skirts Are Not A Sin Living With The Law

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Al Forbes

photo spreads 14 24

Vulnerability of Queer Young Adults A Little Slice of Heaven

The views expressed in The OutCrowd do not represent those of the entire staff of the publication, its sponsors, or of Syracuse University. The OutCrowd welcomes all submissions and suggestions but reserves the right to refuse materials at the discretion of its editors. All content of the publications is copyright 2012 by its creator and may not be reproduced without consent. fall 2012


socialmedia media social

social media


Tweet-gression of our magazine

Completely Legit

via our staff members and contributors

OutCrowd Social Media Report compiled by Katie Dupere The OutCrowd is just diving into the social media realm. Basically we are about as social media savvy as your grandma who got a Facebook to “keep up with the times.” With our new endeavor into cyberspace, we bring you The Completely Legit OutCrowd Social Media Report for Fall 2012. We promise this is super official.

A bit about the fine humans who “like” us on the Facebook machine








18-24 88.5%




Note: Because everyone is either male or female. Way to go, Facebook.

25-54 8.9%

Ageless? 1.6%

Note: We need to work on our older demographic. Also, target more stories toward people who are ageless.

Our most liked photo on Facebook A carved, Pokémon pumpkin Note: This has nothing to do with the magazine. But, it’s Pikachu, so that’s fine.


Want to see your tweet in The OutCrowd? Want to be one of our millions (erghmm ... 80) fans on Facebook? Welcome us into the social media sphere by hitting us up in cyberspace! @outcrowdmagsu The OutCrowd Magazine

Guaranteed to make your pages at least 20 percent cooler. fall 2012




Where Queer Things Go to Die Campus Archives Hold Remnants of SU’s by Bryan McKinney Queer History and Kassie Brabaw How many students can honestly answer the question of when the LGBT Resource Center opened? (August 2001 in the basement of the Health Center, for those of you who were curious.) Though many of us in the queer community make use of the the center as a place to hang out, have meetings, or simply watch TV on a comfy couch, very few know just how many resources the center actually provides. Along with endless videos, articles, and a knowledgeable and supportive staff, 750 Ostrom Ave. also houses an archive of queer history. You can find this archive tucked onto a shelf in the conference room of the center. Flipping through the binders you will find that October’s coming out programming used to be a week, not a whole month. You will also find Daily Orange articles, ranging from when the center opened to a piece about the counter protest where “corduroy skirts are sin” was coined.

This 2010 D.O. article (front) shows students participating in a counter protest—yep, that guy has been standing on Waverly for more than two years. A year earlier they might have attended the Big Gay Dance, which we have known and loved as the MasQueerAde Ball since Fall of 2010 (promotional flyer from 2007, center). Yet the Big Gay Dance was only one part of Coming Out Month, which we still gladly celebrate every October (programming calendar from 2008, back)

These binders hold our campus’ history for the past 11 years, but few know that it’s even recorded. For most of us, our personal history on this campus lasts for just the four years we are here, but how can we enact change that will have an impact long after we are gone if we don’t know the reality of our past - the reality that we did not experience ourselves? If you get a chance, take a walk over to 750 Ostrom Ave. and learn from where it is that we have come.

Here’s a sneak peak of what the archive has to offer:

While some students learned to hone their leadership skills at the Outspoken Student Leadership Conference (program guide from 2008, center), others took their talents to the stage for the Totally Fabulous Drag Show’s 2007 competition. (Flyer from 2007 finals, bottom).

In this D.O. article, you can judge how our campus has changed since the founding of the LGBT Resource Center in August of 2001. Read a former student’s account of being gay at SU before there was a support system in place and revel in the fact that we now have a strong queer community. Even though that guy still stands on Waverly.

Photos by Bryan McKinney


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Social Acceptance

June 2012: The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya reported that at least 10 men were victims of extortion schemes in which criminal gangs arranged dates using social media and dating websites. When gang members met these men, they photographed them and demanded money. May 2012: A man was stoned to death after he was caught having sex with a man, according to Identity Kenya, an LGBT news website.

WORLD TOUR by Shaun Janis Illustration by Rachel Barry

f you are a queer student considering spending a semester abroad in Kenya, Uganda or Tanzania, you may want to reconsider. These countries’ criminal punishments for “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” – an antiquated, legalistic way of saying oral or anal intercourse – vary: in Uganda, life in prison; in Tanzania, 30 years to life in prison; in Kenya, 14 years in prison. These countries also have harsh punishments for “gross indecency” between individuals, which includes physical contact and non-penetrative sexual acts like masturbation.

July 2012: Maurice Mjomba, an AIDS prevention activist, was murdered, according to Identity Kenya.

Warning: The use of some of the terms in the “International Queer Terms & Slang” piece may provoke negative responses if used incorrectly or in the wrong situation. Make sure you know what you’re saying.

He is Fèi Fèi. He is Hóu zi. He is Xióng.


Fèi Fèi: Baboon, Someone who likes “bears” Hóu zi: Monkey, Chinese equivalent to twink Xióng: Bear

She is a Okoge. He is Okama. Japan

Okoge: Literal meaning is crispy burnt rice stuck to the bottom of a pot; equivalent of a fag hag Okama: Literal meaning is rice pot; flamboyant gay man

She is Macha. Macha: The feminine term for strong, sometimes used to describe lesbians


Syracuse University directly manages students’ trips to eight destinations in seven relatively LGBTQ-friendly countries, including Italy, Spain, and France. Other institutions manage trips to these countries: St. Lawrence University administers the semester in Kenya, and the School for International Training administers semesters in Uganda and Tanzania. SU handles only the application, financial aid and tuition exchange.



Chi Chi: Slang for homosexual male.




June 2012: According to East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, police closed a workshop for LGBTQ activists hours into what was supposed to be a three-day event. “Workshop participants … were then effectively held hostage for over three hours while police attempted to identify and detain the participants,” a statement said.

He’s Chi Chi.


A look at Abroad’s worst destinations for queer students


by Daisy Gan



Terms & SLANG


In Uganda, 96 percent opposed accepting homosexuality. In Tanzania, 95 percent opposed acceptance. In Kenya, 96 percent opposed acceptance, according to Pew Research Center’s 2007 Global Attitudes Project. In the United States, 60 percent favored acceptance and 33 percent opposed it.

International Queer


paglaladlad ng kappa Literal meaning is “unfurling the cape.” Means coming out of the closet.

arts & entertainment

arts & entertainment

So, They Say You’re the Comeback Kid

Comebacks to combat the offensive by Julie Wilson Illustration by Katherine Flores


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Why Are Atheists Allowed to Get Married? Illustration by Natasha Andaz

by Danielle Stella

The religious debate surrounding marriage leaves some people out 12

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For a country based upon Christian principles, we have a hard time practicing what we preach. If “doing unto others as others would do unto you” used as much as other parts of the Bible, the world might be a bit more at ease. The sad reality, however, is only certain Christian principles are taken literally and others are interpreted past the point of recognition. The Bible is often used as the basis for debate on many controversial topics. The words within the Bible act as a type of silent punch to anyone who tries to refute them because, for some reason, the words from an old book are more important than that of an entire generation. One such controversial topic Christian principles dominate is the definition of marriage. Marriage is defined by 38 states as a union between a man and a woman. It seems silly certain states are hesitant to change their definition to include same-sex unions when marriage used to mean, “I’ll give you my daughter in exchange for some land.” When did the topic of marriage turn into such a religious debate? People often use the Bible as a means to oppose gay marriage, referring to Leviticus 18:22-23 that states, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as one lies with womenkind; it is an abomination.” Yet, if marriage is based in Christian theology, why are atheists legally allowed to marry even though they do not practice Christian principles? Why are queer people who do practice Christianity not able to have their marriage legally recognized in every state?

Churches can legally turn away couples from marriage for any “lifestyle choice” they do not find compatible with their beliefs church is willing to represent. Yet atheists can have their marriage recognized by their state and the nation whether or not the vows were said in front of a preacher, while gay couples are often denied any type of legal recognition for their commitments. It’s not quite logical that someone who not only disregards the Bible, but also disregards the idea of God doesn’t have the same limits to marriage as does someone who happens to love a person of the same gender. People who oppose gay marriage are so caught up in opposing gay marriage that the fight has lost its backbone. Regardless of the state definition, marriage means something different to anyone asked. Unless, of course, you ask any gray-haired caucasian man representing the Republican Party—they’ve all pretty much come to a consensus. Marriage isn’t just a union; it is a bounding of hearts, of mindsets, of feelings. It’s a commitment that doesn’t always involve religious compatibility or religion period. Regardless of personal religious beliefs, it’s still love. It’s still marriage. And committing to life with a person you’ve fallen in love with isn’t really up to religious debate.

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of Queer Young Adults As humans, we mature throughout the years based on our experiences, upbringing, and personal traits. The United States is an combination of identities; many of which are marginalized for being outside of the norm. No matter ethnicity sexual orientation, or gender, most of us have experienced some kind of discrimination based on who we are, leading to a feeling of vulnerability. This photo series focuses on queer young adults and the period where many experience vulnerability due to identity. While queer youth can acknowledge discrimination for what it is, queer young adults are at the point in their lives where they understand the impacts that discrimination against their community can have. This understanding can lead to the empowerment or deprecation of oneself. Because of the hot-button issue of human rights that is currently being debated by politicians and political activist groups, members of the queer community are especially vulnerable. This series is meant to express the empowerment, and disenfranchisement of the queer community through raw emotion and body language.

Martin Biando

the school day and home life as far as students’ ability to harass one another,” says Elizabethe Payne, the director of QuERI and a part-time professor at SU. “It is hard for schools to intervene in cyberbullying when the action was not usingpolitics school equipment or on school property.”


Illustration by Emily Rosa

y l l u b e h t g in l t t Ba by Meghin Delaney

Nationwide, LGBT allies reach out to end the cycle


ullying has been, and always will be, a problem for children and young adults. High schools and even universities — including our own — take steps to combat bullying and its many forms. For those who are a part of the out crowd, bullying can have serious consequences. One of the main issues is that “people start withdrawing in their social life and then ultimately from school because of it,” says Taylor Carr, a senior public relations major at Syracuse University. Carr was instrumental in having a cyberbullying clause added to the Student Code of Conduct. “Suicide, of course, is obviously the pinnacle.” In 2010, Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers University, committed suicide after his roommate posted a video of Clementi and a


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lover having sex in their dorm room. The case brought LGBT bullying issues to light and encouraged a push for change. But one doesn’t need to wander as far back as 2010 to find these examples. Dynasty Young, an openly gay high school student from Indiana, is suing his school district after he was expelled in the spring for bringing a stun gun to school. Bullies relentlessly teased Young about his sexual orientation. Even though he and his mother brought complaints before school officials, nothing changed and the incidents began to worsen. In an act of desperation, Young brought a stun gun to the school to protect himself. On April 16, he used the stun gun, pointing it in the air and firing to scare off six boys who surrounded

At Syracuse University, a policy addressing cy“If you asked people to berbullying was added to the Student Code of identify the one niche Conduct and went into effect at the that’s affected by beginning of this semester. While cyberbullying the most, the resolution was spurred by the the response is usually Rutgers, Student Clementi suicide at the LGBT community.” Association officials decided to - taylor carr look into the issue here at Syracuse University. “It started with research. You know just after talking to ten people, you find out how actually prevalent it is,” says Carr, former student life chair in the Student Association. When ing at at Univerfound highest of lying fell Greek munirelated ranked SA colwith Union, other organifor the lying tion.

him between classes, yelling and threatening to kill him. When police arrived, officers told Young if he changed the way he dressed, this would not be an issue. Young often wore his mother’s clothes to school, including purses, rings and bracelets. Young’s case is ongoing. The school later reduced the expulsion, with a condition that Young transfer to an alternative high school. He and his mother declined to do so. This fall, Young enrolled at a charter school. Schools are supposed to be safe, learning environments. But often times, for students who are different from their peers, they are not. Cyberbullying presents a special set of challenges for schools to deal with, too. “Cyberbullying eliminates the separation between the school day and home life as far as students’ ability to harass one another,” says Elizabethe Payne, the director of QuERI and a part-time professor at SU. “It is hard for schools to intervene in cyberbullying when the action was not using school equipment or on school property.” At Syracuse University, a policy addressing cyberbullying was added to the Student Code of Conduct and went into effect at the beginning of this semester. While the resolution was spurred by the Clementi suicide at Rutgers, Student

lookstatistics Syracuse sity, Carr that the number When looking at statistics at Syracuse University, Carr found that the highest number cyberbul of cyberbullying cases fell into the Greek life cases community. LGBT-related cases ranked second. SA collaborated with Pride Union, among other into the campus organizations, for the cyberbullying life comresolution. ty. LGBT“If you asked people to identify the one niche that’scases affected by cyberbullying the most, the response is second. usually the LGBT community,” Carr says. laborated Since the code went into effect, there have yet to Pride be any cases of cyberbullying brought forth, says among Pam Peter, the interim director of the Office of campus Judicial Affairs. zations, Even so, evidence shows that bullying continues cyberbul to be a problem nationwide. In Indianapolis, resoluAssociation officials decided to look into the issue here at Syracuse University. “It started with research. You know just after talking to ten people, you find out how actually prevalent it is,” says Carr, former student life chair in the Student Association.

Young and his mother refuse to drop their lawsuit, saying restitution wasn’t enough and won’t fix the problem. For them, significant change needs to happen in how bullying is handled at schools. asked

“If you people tify the one niche that’s affected by cyberbullying the most, the response is usually the LGBT community,” Carr says. fall 2012

Since the code went into effect, there have yet to be any cases of cyberbullying

to iden-







d e l b a

s i D

by Kassie Brabaw

Experiencing the intersection of queerness and disability


sign hangs on the door of 105 Hoople. After an introductory title that reads, “I am willing to talk about ... ,” the paper goes on to list numerous social identities. Among those listed are the words “disability” and “queer.” That sign is posted on the office door of Diane Wiener. She is the director of the newly instated Disability Cultural Center (DCC) at SU, which aims to create a culture of inclusion by celebrating one’s identity and appreciating difference. Speaking specifically to intersections of sexuality and disability, Wiener says that one of her goals as an educator is to help people find empowerment around all of their identities while still recognizing that it won’t always be easy. “I hope for people to feel good in their lives, not unrealistically thinking it’s perfect,” Wiener said. “Nothing’s perfect.” Part of that imperfection, Wiener notes, stems from people who do not consider disability and sexuality as related and intertwined. According to Wiener, it is common for people with a disability identity to be rendered asexual in the eyes of society, whether or not they identify themselves that way. Wiener explains that people who do not identify with a disability, both queer and straight, are often fascinated by the concept of disability sexuality. “There’s almost like an exoticization,” Wiener said. Ethan Lewis, a graduate student in the school of social work and a blogger for the DCC, has also noticed this phenomenon. “Seeing someone on the street in a wheelchair, you know nothing about their sex life,” Lewis said. “They could be the freakiest, kinkiest, person you’ll ever meet, but that’s not what society tells us. Society is like ‘oh, I don’t want to see that, I don’t want to hear about that,’ but it exists.” According to Lewis, people with disability identities


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are often not given information concerning any type of sexuality because no one wants to have the conversation with them. “There was no birds and the bees discussion,” Lewis said about a friend who utilized a wheelchair. “That’s desexualization.” Desexualization, Lewis has noticed, also poses health risk problems for disabled people who identify both within and without of the LGBT community. “I used to be an HIV educator, and I think about the fact that we didn’t have anyone to do American Sign Language, we didn’t have information in braille,” Lewis said, “and there’s two huge populations that are left out of the HIV information.” Wendy Harbour, a professor of inclusive education, has noticed a different kind of assumption. Though Harbour’s experience with intersections of disability and queer sexuality is personal rather than professional, she explained a term she read in a book by Robert McCruer, a professor at The George Washington University. The term “compulsory heterosexuality” applies to the phenomenon that disabled people sometimes experience in which they are automatically assumed to be straight. Harbour says she has experienced that, explaining that it creates different ways of coming out. “You’re coming out to queer people saying ‘surprise I have a disability,’” Harbour said. “And to straight people, you’re coming out saying ‘surprise I have a disability, and I’m also a lesbian’.” Harbour said that her queer identity and her disability identity have conflicted within many of the communities she has lived. Harbour spent her undergraduate years in Minnesota. “It was like this deaf nirvana,” Harbour said, “but I really struggled with coming out and people not believing me.” The opposite could be said about her graduate years in Boston.

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feature feature

“I really experienced almost no discrimination because I was a lesbian,” Harbour said. “It felt like they were really embracing that. But the deaf stuff, my god, it was like one struggle after another. There were so many problems with the system and getting interpreters and arguing for my rights, and it just felt like it was non-stop the whole time I lived there.”

For more information...

Location, according to Lewis, can also play an important role for trans people who have a disability identity. Hospitals are meant to be a safe place, a place to go for care and treatment. Lewis, however, has heard stories of times when hospitals were not safe spaces for trans people who have cognitive or emotional disabilities and are admitted as suicidal. Often times, he says, doctors do not understand trans bodies and their first step is to take away hormones.

Follow the center’s Tumblr page:

Lewis said medical professionals sometimes say things like, “‘Oh, we think this might be causing it,’ when really it is just this transphobia and nastiness coming out.” According to a Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality study in 2011, 25 percent of trans individuals report that they have been harassed or disrespected at a medical office. It is instances like these that show the similarities between the queer community and the disability cultural community.

Photos by Martin Biando

Lloyd Smith, a doctoral student at the University of Memphis, has taken notice of these similarities. As a bipolar gay male from the South, Smith said that his experience of coming out bipolar was comparable to his coming out gay. The feeling of having to hide, to not say it out loud, he said, was the same each time he came out.


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“Mental illness is so stigmatized that people don’t self-identify,” Smith said. “That’s a lot like the GLBT community.” Yet coming out is not the only similarity Harbour has noticed. According to Harbour, the body is

Take a look at these helpful links

Visit the Disability Cultural Center’s website:

Like the Disability Student Union on Facebook: DisabilityStudentUnion or stop by a union meeting on Mondays at 7 p.m. in the DCC, which is located at 805 South Crouse Ave. in the Hoople Building Or just knock on the door of 105 Hoople

one topic on which both queer communities and disability communities tend to focus. The response elicited from these conversations, she said, is also very much the same. “With both communities there’s this attitude of ‘I may do it differently from you, and that’s OK,’’ Harbour said. “Whatever it is, whether it’s thinking or learning or sex or gender or having kids or whatever it might be.” With so many similarities, Lewis sees the importance for disability culture communities and queer communities to make room for each other, to support each other, and to include members who experience both identities. “Disabled people have relationships, they have friendships, they love, they have sex, all the same ways that other people do,” Lewis said. “Everything from asexual identities, aromantic identities, being bi, being queer, being gay, lesbian, straight, it all exists. Nothing really changes that if you’re disabled.”

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A Little Slice of Heaven There are few relationships that we are lucky enough to spend most of our lives working on and trusting in. Ever since I picked up a camera, I have been compulsively documenting the forming of these relationships. When I take a step back, I realize that it is the longevity of these friendships that helps me to feel comfortable in my own skin. A Little Slice of Heaven focuses on the sexier side of things. It is a smaller portion of a larger body of work called Those Who Get You Through, a collection of personal quiet moments and wild happenings.

Annie Flanagan

photos by Taylor Baucom

Annie Flanagan is a graduate candidate in the Multimedia, Photography and Design program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in Syracuse, NY. She was born in Washington D.C., but now calls Vermont home. She enjoys blacksmithing, antiquity and quality craftsmenship.


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arts & entertainment

Up, Up and ... a Gay ? What it means to be a queer superhero in a super heteronormative world by Raul Xavier Ramos

Quick! Think of a superhero. Who comes to mind? Is it Iron Man, with his witty humor? Maybe Batman, Sir Vigilante himself? What do these superheroes have in common? Is it their awesome fighting skills? Their cool costumes? Well, yes. But did you notice that each of these superheroes is a straight, white man? We don’t question any of these identities, as they are the norm that all other identities are set against. So when identities that stray from this norm are present, like a female superhero, we automatically think of her woman-ness. The consumers and creators of superheroes cannot be fully blamed. As products of a racist, heteronormative, and patriarchal culture, how could they know any different?

sexualization in comics does not end with women; it extends to men. Think of their suits – what better way to show off male bodies than skintight costumes? Why would presumably straight men want to look at other men in skintight clothes?

Illustration by Jack McGowan Answer: homoeroticism. Did you notice the gay subtext between Magneto and Professor X in X-Men: First Class? Do you remember all the man-butt shots in The Avengers? Men were watching these films and they were enjoying them. To the straight male viewer, Magneto and Professor X just had an awesome bromance. And maybe they didn’t notice the butt-shots. But even if they didn’t notice it, queerness was there and it w visible.

promoting an “alternative lifestyle choice” and that, in short, Queer Superheroes would make their boys gay, too. Here’s a wake up call to OMM and other anti-queer organizations and people: Queer is here to stay. And so are Queer Superheroes.

The visibility of Queer Superheroes specifically, though, is fairly new.

The comic book realm has come a long way since Northstar. The comic “Runaways” includes lesbian Karolina Dean and her gender-fluid partner Xavin, who is also a person of color.

Comic creators have applied the culture of our world to the cultures and worlds of their superheroes. In internalizing socially constructed norms, it becomes difficult to navigate “nonnormative” identities although superheroes themselves are already “non-normative” in possessing abilities that regular humans don’t. Why, then, are the creators of comics so hesitant to include Queer Superheroes?

One Queer Superhero that’s seen some hate is X-Men member Northstar. His creator intended him to be gay from his creation in 1979, but was limited to implications of his sexuality due to then Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter’s ban on openly gay characters. Northstar was finally able to come out in 1992, making him one of the first openly gay characters in American comics.

Xavin first arrives to Karolina as male-bodied. To reflect Karolina’s sexual orientation, Xavin changes her physical appearance and becomes femalebodied. She explains to Karolina that to her race, alternating between gender and sex is no different than changing one’s hair color.

Hypersexualization of bodies exists in comics. Women are sexualized in everything they do, and in considering that comics predominantly target straight men, this sexualization makes sense. But

One Million Moms (OMM), a conservative Christian group, lashed out when the announcement was made that Northstar would be marrying his boyfriend in 2012’s “Astonishing X-Men” #51. Their argument was that Marvel was


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Although Xavin changes into a female body for Karolina, she changes into a male-bodied person when fighting. She feels her foe will be more intimidated fighting a male rather than a female. Koralina accurately points out this is sexist, showing that Runaways’s writers understand the oppressions and stereotypes caused by sexism in their world, and ultimately, in our world.

In Marvel’s “Avengers Academy”, Julie Power, aka Lightspeed, is bisexual. Her character experiences what many bisexual people go through: the societal expectation of “picking a side,” either gay or straight. Bisexual people get this criticism from both straight and queer communities. They are constantly bombarded with messages that bisexuality does not exist. In Lightspeed’s case, she does not like a person for their gender but rather likes them for who they are. In having a bi character, Marvel is able to voice a frequently marginalized community within a greater marginalized (queer) community. To have a “super” being that people can admire and aspire to be like who is also queer is absolutely empowering. People are fascinated with superheroes so much so that these comic book characters have come out of their medium to expand to others such as movies, television, novels and toys. Through these superheroes, we may project ourselves onto them, in effect living out their stories. Essentially, it is a way of escape; escaping into a world where being queer does not necessarily mean being disadvantaged and/or marginalized. A world where we’re the good guys. A world where we may be the hero that we’ve always wanted to be.

fall 2012


sex & health

sex & health

Queer or Straight: Distance is Distance Differences and similarities in queer and straight long distance relationships

by Samantha Crawford Illustrations by Emily Rosa

In the past year, I have been in both a long distance homosexual and heterosexual relationship. As my high school graduation approached, my boyfriend and I both knew we had a decision ahead of us. We were to be separated by the United States, he in California and me in New York. But we had faith in our relationship and accepted the challenge. Time passed and we lacked communication. As we got deeper and deeper into school, we drifted further and further apart, and eventually, our relationship ended. I found myself relieved as my heart had begun to latch onto another person. In March, an old love for a friend — a female friend — re-surfaced. At this point, I was openly bisexual and I knew I had feelings for her, only to find out that she had feelings for me as well. So we went with it and have been in a long distance relationship since — a move that hasn’t always been easy. Long distance relationships are common in the lives of college students. Existing relationships can be torn apart by distance, or they can be fought for despite distance. The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships reported more than 4 million couples who are in college are affected by distance each year. Of these 4 million relationships, 37 percent last less than three months. In contrast, only 21 percent of relationships that are not affected by distance last less than three months.


spring 2012

SU sophomore Chantal Felice has been in a long distance relationship with her boyfriend of five-and-a-half years while in college. Some of their hardest times are caused by the fact that they cannot talk to each other face-to-face to sort out conflicts.

have had first-hand experience with the struggles of being in a long distance, same-sex relationship.

“I worry most about him meeting people and not being open about it,” Felice said, “or him being preoccupied and not making time to talk to me, and about him not loving me the same if I change and evolve as a person.”

Brooks added, “Now everyone knows and while some people do not like it, it is how it is and we are three years strong.”

Tulane University sophomore Matt Uch recently came out at college and was in his first relationship. Over the summer vacation, the couple was long distance, which led to a break up in the middle of summer. “It was just too hard being at home and my family not knowing that I am gay,” he said. “We could not find a balance between us having time to talk as a couple with the time that we had to pretend to be friends and nothing more.” Stanford senior Gloria Huaman and her San Diego State girlfriend of three years Samantha Brooks

“Neither of our parents knew sophomore year, so visiting each other over breaks was impossible,” Huaman said.

While some like Huaman and Brooks have experienced compounded hardships with their relationships involving the same-sex, Felice believes that all long-distance relationship experience the same problems. “We all miss, we all fight, we all make up, and eventually, we all miss sex,” she said. Uch believes relationships are non-comparable, gay or straight. “I’ve never been with a girl,” he said. “I don’t think that I could compare my relationship to anyone else’s though.”

fall 2012




What Do Chickens and Black and gay stereotypes produce similar prejudice

“The wise Chelsea Handler once said “Fried chicken isn’t racist. It’s fucking delicious.” Handler was referring to a heated dispute on her late-night show, Chelsea Lately, over the association of black people and fried chicken. Throughout history, African Americans have acquired certain stereotypes that are forever perpetuated in pop culture. Whether it involved an innate craving for fried chicken or watermelon, an avoidance of swimming, or an episode of Maury involving baby mama drama, you name it and a black person has been labeled by it. After historic events such as the civil rights movement, black people’s assimilation into modern culture has been somewhat cursed with these stereotypes as stigmas. And just recently, I have witnessed that the queer community is facing a very similar issue. Although the struggles the African American population has gone through is in no way identical to the rights the queer community fights for, both communities fought and are still fighting for equality. But somehow along the way, both groups were hit with the double-edged sword of being accepted into modern day culture. In the 1980s and 90s more and more black people surfaced in the media. The country was finally growing accustomed to seeing


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someone of color on a magazine or their TV screen. African Americans were becoming a part of pop culture and making their way through the entertainment industry. And for anyone keeping up in today’s entertainment news, the same is happening in the queer community right now. More and more, celebrities are coming out of the closet and telling the world that they are out and proud. It may not be at lighting speeds, but the world is growing to accept queer people just as they were African Americans decades ago. But here’s where the double-edged sword comes into play. With high profile celebrities in support of the queer community, such as Lady Gaga, and shows like Glee, some members of the community have seen themselves synonymously linked to these

Gaga Have in Common? by Chris McPherson leaders in the queer community even if they may not be a fan of them. “Lady Gaga exploits gay people,” Frank Sweeney says. “She just uses the LGBT image for her own personal gain.” Frank Sweeney of Canastota, NY (30 miles east of Syracuse), has dealt with issues of stereotypical associations — except he had to cope with it on national television. Sweeney participated in Season 26 of MTV’s crowning jewel, “The Real World”. He traveled to San Diego to have his life taped and “to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” After living as heterosexual for most of his life, Sweeney experimented with someone of the same sex on his 21st birthday. Since then, he has pursued

relationships with both men and women. Sweeney was out and proud about his sexuality, but openly discussing his life on national television was an even bigger closet to come out of. Before the show, only his friends and family knew. “Now everyone in my town and professors in college know,” he said. Sweeney was not the only gay person in the house. Sam McGinnon, a lesbian from Virginia, also spent her summer in San Diego. Although both McGinnon and Sweeney bonded over their queer identities, they were not as close as many would have thought during their San Diego days. Editing portrayed the characters as the best of friends because of their similar sexual identities, forming a “magical gay bond.” This issue is similar to the race issues on “The Real World: Philadelphia” between stars Shavonda Bilingslea and Karamo Brown in 2004. While tensions grew between the two housemates, some were confused as to why the only two African American cast members weren’t the best of friends. “People think they know you because they see you on TV,” Sweeney says. Sweeney has also seen backlash from some people in the gay community. He says that many gay men write to him upset because they felt he didn’t represent the gay community to their liking. “I don’t have to be flaming to be gay,” he said. “Not every gay person is one of Lady Gaga’s little monsters, or Nicki Minaj’s Barbz.” start getting real.”

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Illustratio by Katherine Flores

sex & health


cheating on me and I didn’t know it, or if I was a promiscuous, heterosexual male that didn’t use protection, I could still donate,” Ben said. “The questions don’t reflect situations like that.”

I Lie When I Donate Blood by Matthew Bennett Jr.

When lying could potentially save a life, would you do it?


very few weeks, I see signs reading “Critical Need” around campus and, after years of being terrified of needles, I’ve finally decided to donate blood. I go to a blood drive to donate, and a friendly volunteer escorts me to sit down at a small computer in the corner of the room. Question after question about my personal life flashes on the screen. Feeling healthy and well today? Yes. Have you taken Aspirin in the past 48 hours? No. Have you had contact with someone who had a smallpox vaccine? I mean, I don’t typically go around asking people if they recently got vaccinated for smallpox, but I guess not. Male donors: have you had sexual contact with another male, even once? ... Well, this is awkward. Am I supposed to just get up and walk away? Or do I stay and lie? Many people are unaware of the controversy over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on allowing men who have sex with men (MSM) to donate blood. This controversy has been going on since 1985, the year the ban was put in place. While


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some believe it is strictly the American Red Cross enforcing this ban, it is actually the FDA’s policy. Not only are MSM not allowed to donate blood because of this ban, but neither are women who have sex with MSM. Though there are many different opinions and attitudes toward this ban in the queer community, some MSM have decided to lie about their sexual history in order to donate anyway. While Ben*, a paramedic from Oklahoma, hasn’t lied to donate in 10 years, being a part of the medical field has allowed him to see this issue in a different light. Ben has lied in the past because he knew he was saving lives. “It only takes 10 to 20 minutes to donate,” Ben said. “One whole unit of blood could save two to three lives, and it only hurts for 10 seconds.” If Ben were to answer the MSM question honestly at the beginning of the donation process, he would be put on a universal ban list for life. Ben feels as though the questions in the screening process are not worthwhile because of their limited scope. “If I was a heterosexual male and my wife was

The screening questions also don’t reflect MSM who are sexually cautious or proactive about checking their status. Cameron*, a nurse from Norman, Oklahoma, feels it is OK for him to lie because of his carefulness. “I’m very safe,” Cameron said. “I get tested every three months, and I use protection. I’m a universal donor, and there are people who need my blood.” Despite the FDA stating that this ban is rooted in solid research and that it will protect many people, some members of the LGBT community feel it has the opposite effect. Many states, like Oklahoma, test every blood sample for diseases or any other issues. Because of this fact, some LGBT community members wonder why there are so many questions and loopholes in allowing people to donate blood. For example, say 1,000 MSM want to donate blood, and 10% of them are HIV+. Many of these men may not know they are positive, perhaps because they can’t get a doctor, or they are uneducated on the matter. If all the blood samples are tested, then not only would men who may unknowingly be positive be able to learn their status, but the other 900 men would be able to donate blood and save lives. Cameron feels as though he is one of those men who can save lives and should be able to donate without having to lie. “Part of the reason I lie is because I don’t understand why one specific group is being singled out,” Cameron said. “Why don’t they just ask, ‘Have you had sex with someone who has HIV,’ or ‘Do you have HIV?’ Clearly, we need to educate.”

Photo by Chris McPherson

Education and more research is important for future changes or amendments to the FDA ban. Ben feels that lifting the ban is important, but members of the queer community must go about it in the right way. “All it takes is a bunch of fags to get together and make some change,” Ben said. “Go to congress with your facts right. Be professional. That’s what we have to do.” Ben echoes a sentiment of a widespread need for more education and information on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. If everyone is knowledgeable on the matter, then maybe the large gaps in HIV prevalence between high-risks groups and other populations will begin to close. “In my opinion, no one is at more risk than anyone else these days,” Ben said. “In today’s time, no one is safe from HIV.” *Names have been changed for anonymity

fall 2012




What it means to make a major change to your hair by Julissa Collado


have wanted to cut my hair since I was in high school but every time I mentioned it I was met with disgust and confusion. “Why would you want to look like a man?” my mom would yell. My eldest brother, a jarhead from the tender age of 18, said he would disown me, and five years later that’s exactly what he did. I have been through a rollercoaster of emotions and battles regarding my sexual orientation and gender

expression. So this year I said fuck it to my family and My hair! My hair? My hair. This, in its simplest form, is the progression of my femme to butch “transition.” I digress. So now I’m butch because I cut my hair? Negative. Better question (or better yet, the question of the century) is, why does cutting your fucking locks imply or impose such drastic change on one’s gender expression and then somehow end up changing your sex? When I was asked to do this story I said “Sure! Why not? I’ll walk down my queer timeline and let folks know my story.” First thing you should know or that you might notice is that I’m Latina. I was born into an extremely Catholic household and despite the fact that the head of my household was a single mother of four, we were still living in an extremely male chauvinistic home. Okay, I get that society works that way, but that shit bled through my apartment walls to the point where I was scrubbing it off the floors on my bare knees. Literally. Think Cinderella but with ugly mice. As the eldest daughter, this wasn’t just expected and enforced on me, but my mother imposed it on herself and my younger sister. Do you notice something here? We are all women! My two ablebodied and cisgender brothers never once appear in this “fairytale.” Go figure! And my hair comes into play here soon, I swear. The point is that women, especially Latinas, have not only the American patriarchy governing over them, but they also have their native country leading the damn campaign. Yes, I’m using political jargon here because honestly this is about politics.


The politics of bodies, the politics of privileged white male power and domination, the list goes on--but, this is neither the time nor place. For the visual readers let’s put this into perspective: picture Hercules with a ring on one side, telling me to walk a straight line and Zena, The Warrior Princess, with a sword on the other side, telling me I can only fight if I’m overtly sexual and feminine. What? Well, let’s get real. Herc has a ride to the Stepford Wives and Zena is more closeted than Hilary. Can I just say fuck it to both, cut my hair, rock make-up and still be a sexy Latina? I have wanted to cut my hair since I was in high school but every time I mentioned it I was met with disgust and confusion. “Why would you want to look like a man?” my mom would yell. My eldest brother, a jarhead from the tender age of 18, said he would disown me, and five years later that’s exactly what he did.

make me less of a woman or a proud Latina? No. I’m tired. You figure it out. The fact that my hair is short now should not transform my gender from femme to butch. I’m neither here nor there. People, have you not heard time and time again that sexual orientation, sexuality, gender, gender expression are all on this wonderful thing called a spectrum? I have accepted it and now I’m just waiting for the rest of them to catch up. I love the way I look now. Cutting my hair has honestly changed nothing about me. I still feel the same, I still dress the same and I still say really dumb shit. It’s just fucking hair and it’s just fucking me. My friends need to stop acting like I’m butch and my brother can talk to me when he is ready. I’m happy, and that’s all that matters. My hair does not define me, so I’m not letting anyone else do it for me.

I have been through a rollercoaster of emotions and battles regarding my sexual orientation and gender expression. So this year I said fuck it to my family and friends and did what I have always dreamt of doing. My long curly tresses that for so long had been the trademark of my feminine and Latina roots, had been cut off in a posh hair salon in Liverpool,NY. I now joyfully rocked a British fohawk. When I called my eldest brother to tell him the news, he called me a “skinny, geeky dyke” and hung up on me. My mother said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if you returned home with a penis” and left it at that. I had hit yet another bump in the road of acceptance and of course I was really hurt. But at this point, fuck it! After several years of trying to get my mother to accept my sexual orientation, now I have to get her to accept that cutting my hair doesn’t Photos by Martin Biando


fall 2012

fall 2012




Skirts are not a Sin Since corduroy incident on campus, political activism for LGBT community has risen

by Katie Dupere and Kassie Brabaw


he words “Corduroy Skirts Are A Sin” scrawled across a white sign was enough to propel a red-headed Syracuse student from walking the quad to get to class all the way to the blog of Perez Hilton and ABC News. Three years later, alumni Christopher Pesto still has a “Sassy Activist” tab on his website proudly displaying the picture alongside his acting repertoire. Since Pesto’s protest, student activism has been the thing to do when that guy who stands outside of Newhouse gets extra offensive — or when the Westboro Baptist Church threatens to come to town. After hearing the Westboro Baptist Church planned to come to campus to protest at a basketball game last season, senior Kat Smith decided to organize a counter demonstration. The Love-a-thon, which took place on December 2, 2012, was put together to “show a better side of life and this university” after the Bernie Fine sexual abuse scandal broke, she said. The scandal prompted the Westboro Baptist Church’s planned visit and made Kat Smith jump to action. “I felt that it was time to organize something to send a more positive message,” Smith said. Smith’s Love-a-thon group met at Hendricks Chapel and went down to the Dome to spread some needed love with other student demonstrators. Though the Westboro Baptist Church did not show up with signs equating the same-sex sexual abuse of children to all acts of


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same-sex sexuality, Kat saw the importance of still having a loving presence. “I feel like when you are dealing with a really hateful organization and really hateful people, the only way you can counter that in a positive way is to promote love and hope that that will take away from what they are putting out there,” she said. Senior and co-president of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (OSTEM) Joey DiStefano has also participated in counterprotests directed toward religious protestors on Waverly Avenue. He first got involved by running into some friends who were en-route to a protest. Before tagging along in that instance, DiStefano said he never considered himself an activist. But after holding up a sign that said “Even Jesus Loves This Guy,” DiStefano started to name himself as such. “Protests are something I belong to,” he said. Though he hasn’t seen many protests on campus, LGBT Resource Center director Chase Catalano said he sees the need for students to counteract protesters who spread hateful messages by expressing their discontent. “It’s about where students are at and what is happening for them,” he said. “You know, you’ve had a day with a series of micro-aggressions and you see one more instance of injustice and you decide you’ve hit your threshold for the day and you are going to respond.” This response can take many forms. When speaking about an aggressive sign that said “Fuck

Photos by Martin Biando

Syracuse University students counter protest the Westboro Baptist Church

This Guy” at a Waverly Ave protest last year, Catalano said that people respond with whatever inspires them in that moment. He said that sometimes it more articulate or political than others. “I don’t think there is a part of protesting that requires a certain decorum,” he said. No matter the tactic, protesting gets a message out. With queer people having a more noticeable presence in society than ever before, DiStefano believes that this is historically the best time grow up as an LGBT person and to give a voice marginalized sexuality and gender identities through activism. “Now is the time to start the conversation,” he said. “Now is the time to let people know that this is something to talk about.”

fall 2012


sex & health

sex & health

Online Observations: M4M Ads Illustration by Natasha Andaz

by The OutCrowd Staff

FWB/Hook Up - 22 (SU) 09.08.12, 6:08 p.m.

Hey, Looking to hook up NOW with something that could possibly lead to FWB situation for the semester. SU student here. 22 years old, 5’9”, 140 lbs, in shape, very discreet. Send stats in first email. This is rained a bit today and Cuse is playing in NYC right now. FWB: friends with benefits Stats: statistics (age, physical description, preferred position)

chill jock lookin to giv head - 30 (cuse) 10.09.12, 8:36 p.m.

sup dudes...chill 30 white masc jock, 6’4 tall, 260 solid stocky football defensive end build, buzzed cut with sum facial scruff and work out regularly. on the dl here but luv to suck cock. only interested in white dudes 18-35 yo gl. i would be down to suck n deep throat ur cock n swallow ur cum load or take it on my face whatever u want. near south campus so SU dudes i can suck u off on the regular on the dl. def hav to be discreet. hit me up with ur stats n pic n where ya at. On the DL: on the down-low GL: good looking

College Student looking - 19 (SU) 09.15.12, 2:24 a.m.

Craigslist helps “discreet” men seek other men and negotiate hookups


egotiating hookups can be hard for anyone. For men who have sex with men and do not identify as gay or are closeted, hooking up can prove to be an especially tricky experience. Finding willing and local partners has become easier through Craigslist, a site where people can advertise their desires for free. Syracuse area men, including Syracuse University students, who are secretive about their same-sex sexual behavior have begun flocking to the site to do just this. Personal ads for men who have sex with men often include lingo, similar phrasing, and information to coordinate hookups. Noticeably, physical descriptions are an important part of the beginning process for 38

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these hook ups. Ads include weight, height, race, age, and sometimes penis length. Almost all ads expressed the need to be “discreet” or on the down low to protect against the same-sex behavior of the seeking individual becoming public knowledge. Descriptions of current campus weather or events were also tropes, which can be seen as ways of distinguishing “real” inquiries from fake posts. These are some M4M (men-for-men) personal ads that men from the SU area posted this semester on Syracuse’s Craigslist page. Over 20 men who posted ads did not respond to emails from The OutCrowd requesting a face-to-face interview to discuss their Craigslist use.

College dude here wants to release stress after week of classes. Very new to this and has to be very very VERY discreet.Need to bust a LOAD Looking to try and get blown maybe more NSA maybe recip. I’m 5’8 165. Hopefully we can set it up soon. Can’t host. Send response with picture or I won’t respond. Hopefully around my age DDF and 420 friendly. Might try bottoming for the right guy. Please be close to SU I don’t have a car. Send pics or no response. Please be serious. NSA: no strings attached Recip: reciprocate DDF: drug and disease free 420 friendly: marijuana friendly

*Disclaimer: Use of these personal ads is to display how same-sex sexuality is negotiated online by men who are secretive of their samesex sexual behaviors. The OutCrowd is in no way endorsing the use of Craigslist for such a practice. We also are not aiming to endanger the identities of those who do use Craigslist for same-sex hookups.

fall 2012


arts & entertainment

arts & entertainment

Frank, I Am Your Creator Opinion: What it means for Frank Ocean to be on Tyler the Creator’s homophobic label by Katie Dupere

“In the last year or 3 I’ve screamed at my creator. Screamed at the clouds in the sky. For some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like manna somehow. 4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too.” That pronoun was enough to signal R&B singer Frank Ocean’s coming out. With his first album that dropped in July, countless nominations for music awards, and the announcement via his blog that he is bisexual, Ocean has been making headlines for both his personal life and his music. However, there is one troubling thing about his success: He works under the OFGKTA label.

When Frank Ocean came out, Tyler tweeted, “My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That N***a Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im (sic) A Toilet.” Yet even with that supporting (and odd) sentiment, Tyler still goes on stage and throws around homophobic slurs at every show. In response to a fan tweet, Tyler said he has long known about Frank Ocean’s sexuality, writing, “it was just funny cause i was getting bashed as a homophobe or whatever and i kept saying dude how am i one? i have gay friends like what the fuck leave me alone haha.” Here’s the thing: Someone needs to inform Tyler that having gay friends doesn’t

“I’m not homophobic. I just think ‘faggot’ hits and hurts people. It hits. And ‘gay’ just means you’re stupid.” Tyler the Creator

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All — wait, what? — or OFGKTA, is known for housing one of the most homophobic rappers of our day: Tyler, the Creator. Tyler’s lyrical misogyny and homophobia already have him across the threshold of no return. With lyrics like, “I’m not weird, you’re just a faggot,” Tyler shows he has no regard for equality or abiding by the basic social contract of not being a complete jerk to those who sway from heterosexual ways.

Illustration by Katherine Flores


spring 2012

According to New Musical Express (NME), a weekly music magazine, Tyler’s album “Goblin” uses the word “faggot” and its variants a total of 213 times, for those of you counting at home. Tyler chatted more with NME, saying, “I’m not homophobic. I just think ‘faggot’ hits and hurts people. It hits. And ‘gay’ just means you’re stupid. I don’t know, we don’t think about it, we’re just kids. We don’t think about that shit. But I don’t hate gay people. I don’t want anyone to think I’m homophobic.”

automatically give you a pass to use offensive language. By having to defend the fact that he isn’t homophobic, Tyler is missing one important point: the continuous need to defend yourself as not being homophobic probably means that you are being inexcusably homophobic. Let me break it down. Through supporting Frank Ocean, you support Odd Future, which in turn supports Tyler, the Creator’s ability to make an album that perpetuates homophobia and gender inequality. It’s a food chain which pumps up Tyler, the almighty creator of Odd Future. Bottom line: Even if you only think you are supporting the first out bisexual R&B artist in recent memory, you are also supporting the most homophobic artist in recent memory. Now, that is a “fuckin’ walking paradox” if I have ever heard one. So just think on that before you buy Frank Ocean’s album to bump on your way to the gay club. Somewhere lurking behind the soulful singer is his homophobic creator — no matter how much Tyler may deny the title.

spring 2012





etting a degree in a field you are passionate about is a goal for many college students. But for some, that degrees is in a field that sometimes works to oppress them.

and people were telling gay jokes.

OutLaw is a student organization for LGBT law students at SU College of Law to discuss what it means to be an out person in the field of law. According to President Matt McKeon, a second year law student, a typical OutLaw event would include watching a documentary or a listening to a speaker and then holding a discussion. This semester the group has plans for a speaker discussing same-sex couple adoption laws. They also plan to have speakers on subjects of corporate anti-LGBT advocacy. McKeon gave Chick-fil-A, which blew up during the summer, as an example.

Second year law student and member Karen Diep had a different experience. During the summer, Diep worked at a law firm in San Francisco. At one point, coworkers started noticing that the woman picking her up from work was not just a friend, but her girlfriend.

“Anywhere you’re going, you may run into people that are not as supportive,” Schutrum said.

“It was almost like they were coming out to me, like, ‘Oh, we love gay people,’” she said. “They made sure that I knew that they were accepting.”

“One of the main purposes of

the group is to demonstrate that sexual orientation is only one part of a person.” -Jon Schutrum

With the queer community and its issues becoming more outspoken and well known, having a group for members to discuss the issues in their lives as law students is essential.

Living with the Law Members of OutLaw discuss how sexuality affects working in the law firm environment by Nicky Zamoida Photo by Carolyn Glavin


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“One of the main purposes of the group is to demonstrate that sexual orientation is only one part of a person,” Jon Schutrum said, a second year law student and vice president of OutLaw. “You can pursue a professional life and it doesn’t have to limit you.” When it comes to a member of the LGBT community working in law, members agree hindrances like job placement due to sexuality depend on the field of law. “It always is a challenge, with any legal profession, that people are going to face discrimination,” Schutrum said, who worked at a law firm in Buffalo, New York this summer. He attended cocktail hour at one point

The group looks to provide a professional setting to emphasize that sexual orientation is only one part of a person. Andy Crooks, third year law student and member of OutLaw said, “It is about visibility and showing that we’re very diverse within us, demonstrating that to our community, to everybody else – we are diverse among us.” As an LGBT organization based in a law school, OutLaw is not alone. There are other similar groups at nearby schools as well, such as Cornell University. The group, which has a fluctuating membership of about 15 to 20 members, is also looking to meet with other organizations, inviting groups like Maxwell Pride to participate in events. “Our hope for the group is that by collaborating with different groups like the Family Law Society and the Business Law Society, McKeon said, that it will foster this general breaking down of the idea of ‘other’, of gay people”.

fall 2012


Coco’s debut album



1. Simply Coco 2. coco knows best 3. coco spice (feat. spice girls)

Kids attempt to interpret Counselor Matty as “Coco,” the international pop star/diva by Matthew Bennett Jr.

4. Go, Mothaf*cka (feat. wiz Khalifa) - explicit 5. coco’s back

“So basically ... I’m Coco and I’m an international popstar.”

6. taylor who?

I stared out into the crowded mess hall, hundreds of tiny faces staring back at me. My voice sounded most like that of a slurring, nasally sorority girl. The campers sat watching, looks of bewilderment and amusement dashed across their faces. Who or what was Coco?

The scenes that followed included my co-counselor, Greg, coming out as Taylor Lautner, declaring our five-day marriage was now “over.” I, of course, told him it wasn’t over until I said so, or until he sang “Simply Coco,” along with me for the kids. We did, and they loved it!

7. from head to toe (It’s coco)

Outside, a misty fog settled over the rustic red cabins and old green lodge of Lourdes Camp. Even in the gray light, Skaneateles Lake shimmered a cool blue, inviting in spite of the uncharacteristicly cold summer weather. That evening everyone at Lourdes was supposed to have a campout with s’mores and ghost stories and camp songs. Unfortunately, the thunder sounded and the rain poured, and we were forced into a counselor makeover/talent show situation.

The kids began chanting “Coco! Coco!” after we left the stage. Coco and friends ended up winning the contest, and was called back on stage to do an improvisational dance. Luckily, I’m fantastic at those.

12. we2bad betches

Now, I would normally be fine with this, but it’s extremely difficult to keep 10 and 11-year-old boys entertained and still for two hours. I had sixteen boys to look after, and I was upset we couldn’t do something they actually wanted to do. After feeling sorry for myself and wishing things could be different, I decided to make this a couple of hours that would be memorable and fun for my campers.

“Hey!” he shouted. “You’re Coco!”

Each cabin had to make over their counselor and pick a brand new identity for them. The boys picked out my ensemble: A mermaid outfit over a bright blue blouse, a fur shawl, green stockings, big sunglasses, and a ridiculously old and matted blonde wig. The boys had also decided I should be a washed-up pop star with a strange accent. I decided on the name Coco – it just flowed. “Many people think that I’m a one-hit wonder… but that’s just not true.” I said to the crowd. “I’ve had a lot of other hits. For example, you might recall my hit ‘Go-Go Coco,’ or my latest hit, ‘Coco’s Back.’” The kids laughed. “Also, my number one hit single, ‘Simply Coco,’ has been number one in Kazakhstan for three years now. So, there you go.”


fall 2012

The next morning, back in my typical clothes, I stumbled out of my cabin in early morning stupor. I noticed a brown-headed boy looking at me. His perplexed expression matched the tilt of his head.

“Well, hey there!” I smiled, as he ran over and gave me a big hug. He looked up at me with round brown eyes, and darted off back toward the swing sets. The day continued pretty much like this, with campers calling me Coco, asking me where my costume was, or if Coco would be making an appearance at the dance on Friday. I told them Coco had to go back to Kazakhstan to do a big benefit show. As I took campers out sailing throughout the day, our conversations on the boat consisted solely of Coco. I was asked, “What are some of her other songs?” and, “Does she have a country album?”

8. go-go coco 9. coco says “it’s a no no...” 10. the cocomotion 11. puff-tastic (feat. miley cyrus) - explicit Illustration by Katherine Flores

13. coco overflow

A Note From Coco:

14. #sobasically... bye

Dear Puffs,

bonus tracks

So basically … it’s a Coco Overflow up in here!!! All I can say is thank you! I love my Puffs so much – y’all keep me goin’. I couldn’t have made this album without your love and support. Special shout out to my Kazakhstani Puffs for keeping my hit single “Simply Coco”at #1 for 89 straight weeks! MWAH! Love ya. Plus I wanna give a shout out to The Spice Girls and Miley Cyrus for really turning my career around. I was gone for awhile ... but COCO’S BACK! Also, I want y’all to remember that haters gonna hate ... it’s a fact of life. You gotta turn that hate into something productive, make monay, then say LOOK AT ME! I’M MARRIED TO TAYLOR LAUTNER, BETCH! Holla!

(feat. cowboy troy) 16. loco por coco (crazy for coco) (feat. pitbull)

A Very Coco Christmas 1. Coco Ain’t A Ho-Ho-Ho 2. Hot Coco

Most interesting was a conservation I had with three 12-year-old girls. Apparently, one of their cabin mates had asked, “Do you think that counselor is gay?” in reference to me. The girls defended me, saying, “Who cares if he’s gay or not. He’s so awesome.”

15. coco’s gone country

3. Ride That Reindeer 4. A Very Coco Christmas 5. Stuff My Stocking, Santa

Can’t get enough Coco? Become a part of Coco’s fan army, the Puffs! Follow Coco on Twitter @cocosback. fall 2012


App-venture Time

Four cool apps to help queer your phone by Nicky Zamoida

LGBT History Project – Free (Lite Version) or $2.99 (Full Version) Essentially a history book on-the-go, the LGBT History Project app is overflowing with information on the fight for gay rights throughout history. Sorted into time periods such as the Roman Empire, early 1900s and up to a new millennium, app creator John Clevesy includes over 150 events, organizations and people apart of the LGBT movement. The app is very straightforward and a bit boring, but very informative for any one eager to learn about queer history. Whether you’re an LGBT history buff or looking to learn about a specific event, this app is well-researched and very informative. The lite version includes ads and a fifth of the articles in the full version, while the full version includes a forum for people to add stories of their own.


Illustrations by Maranda Morris

arts & entertainment

GayCities- Free The first thing one notices when downloading this queer-location finder is that they must create an account. The sign-up process is quick and easy, however, and once signed in, the user has an option to add their friends, leave reviews and check in to locations. GayCities has over 125 cities and towns to choose from, including Syracuse! If available, the user can pick from listings of bars, restaurants, hotels, shops, even bathhouses. The app’s listed locations do not necessarily revolve strictly around LGBT places, but does include many that do, such as gay nightclubs and bookstores. A warning, however, is that GayCities does seem to cater more towards the LGB part of the LGBT crowd. Besides the constant pop-up ad inevitable with any free app, users agree that GayCities is helpful for most members of the queer community looking for something to do. Edge - Free While the LGBT History Project deals with the past, Edge deals with the present with headline news, columnists, photo albums, directories, and even the weather for major cities ― all with a queer twist! The news section reports stories that are focused directly on the LGBT community, while other topics, such as health, arts, and biz offer a broader range of headlines. The columnist section has humorous editorials on whatever the columnists feel like sharing in that article. The Photos include albums from recent nationwide queer events. The directory section gives the user the ability to pick from one of twenty major cities and find food, nightlife, lodging and resource opportunities in that city, with many businesses listed under each category. The app also gives the user the option of creating an account to upload photos and business listings. Other users report problems with the app not updating, and Edge does not cater to smaller cities. However, this is a trade off for an app that still provides LGBT news headlines that one does not normally find in a common newspaper. A must download! TranSquat - $2.99 Finally, an app designed specifically for the T of the LGBT community! TranSquat is a location-based app that shows the user a map and list of the nearest gender-inclusive public restrooms. The app gives the user the ability to add a location with the name and address, if it is handicap accessible, and add any directions or comments about the restroom. It is run by the community at large, so locations are not confined to any city, state, or country. Instead, there are gender-inclusive bathrooms listed wherever other users have added them. This can work both ways, however – if no one has added a location, then the user might be out of luck in that location. This is the most common complaint among other users. The app is very basic, and the user can only view restrooms in their area. Unfortunately, this leaves no option to see if there are gender-inclusive restrooms in an area farther away. Simplistic, to-the-point, and helpful for those in need, TranSquat is a brilliant app.

fall 2012



This is me.

rowing up, I never felt like myself. I only dated cisgender men, but I knew there was more to my sexuality than that. I tried to play up femininity, but I was always uncomfortable. And I practiced monogamy, but I felt stuck in relationships where I lost my autonomy and individuality to an overarching feeling of couple-dom. I felt guilty and miserable that I wasn’t straight, gender conforming and monogamous. In October 2010, I discovered Pride Union, a community of queer folk who were proud of their identities and had intentional conversations about what that meant in this world. In February 2011, I discovered the poly community at Creating Change, people who are open to being in, and are currently in, relationships with more than two people with the consent of all involved. It took finding these communities to discover and accept myself as a queer, trans*, poly person. As an undergrad, I was very open about my identities and experiences. I frequently spoke about what it was like to live in a world of heteronormativity, gender binaries and monogamy. Because my life was centered around queer activism, I never hesitated to come out. When I started graduate school in August, although I stayed at SU, I felt shoved back into the closet. I worried about how supportive my classmates would be and feared that I would be outcast for the next two years. For the first two months of school, I became increasingly angry and frustrated. The courage needed to come out, to stand up for myself and others, diminished every day that I overheard conversations that were non-inclusive and oppressive.

I never used to see beauty in myself.

That all changed on October 12. At a workshop led by Kit Yan, after being inspired by his performance the night before, I let all of my frustrations out on paper. Through that experience, I realized that I couldn’t be silent any longer. The invisibility I felt in my new environments was taking a toll on my mental health.

Now. I see the beauty of loving myself.

Illustration by Cara Luddy

I came out again three days later. Shaking inside, I talked to two classmates about what it’s like for me to be queer, trans* and poly in my new graduate school world. The response I got was very positive, and I am ready to take the next steps to open up to my new world and get back to my activist roots.

Al Forbes I am queer, trans* and poly.

Photos by Shira Stoll

fall 2012


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The OutCrowd Fall 2012 Issue  

Syracuse's only student-run LGBT magazine, The OutCrowd's 9th Issue

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