G A M K E E W W O B RAIN
why rainbow week?
the sexuality of fear
itâ€™s ok to be yourself
are professional athletes that hide their sexuality victims or cowards?
the first day
lgbt movies, series and books
[by Sunniva Berg, on behalf of GAS]
[by MarĂa Teresa Julianello]
[by Ana Flecha Marco]
[by Jace Latore]
[by Alberto Carrillo Casas]
rainbow glossary [by James Bui]
Every year we welcome 100 new students to the RCN family in Flekke. Some students will inevitably have some stereotypes about the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) community. Some will be true, others false. Rainbow week is one week which we have every year at RCN in which we celebrate differences and tackle these stereotypes; both confirming and refuting them. It will be a week filled with rewarding discussions and important information focusing on the LGBT community. We will be having a panel of LGB students and staff, who will be ready to answer any of the questions you might have. We will have discussions about LGBT stereotypes and issues. We will also screen movies. This little publication compiles a few reflections on rainbow related topics. Enjoy! Sunniva Berg, on behalf of GAS
An interesting phenomena I’ve observed is the mixed reactions and double standards in regards to rainbows. Here at RCN, the rare sunlight through air suspended water droplets projecting a colorful spectrum is often appreciated for the accompanying sunlight and met with cameras and facebook posts. Now, with the mention of rainbows and sexuality comes the connotation of an eccentric and sex-crazed fashionistas. The spectrum of sexuality is often clouded by intolerance and misinformation, and thus Rainbow Week has an important role to play. A couple of days and events to address and emphasize questions, comments, and concerns is needed, as you’ll hopefully come to find. James Bui [USA] Rainbow Week is important to let your true colours shine through, because they are beautiful like a rainbow. Isabella Tuveri [Italy] We should have Rainbow Week because it is a perfect opportunity to destroy prejudices by seeing the world from another point of view and trying to understand it. Ailin Fernández Romani [Argentina] 6
Rainbow Week is important because of common misconceptions and stereotypes that people often have; we need education in order to make this place —and later the world— a happier place for all people. Sunniva Berg [The Faroe Islands]
Rainbow Week is a great way to raise awareness of LGBT rights through discussing quite complex topics in a relaxed and happy atmosphere. Hanna Åkelund [Åland] In my opinion, Rainbow Week is important because it’s the time when knowledge of each other brings us closer, through a deeper understanding of our inner selves. Anonymous Rainbow Week helps students know more about homosexuality which in many cultures is considered a taboo. It serves as an awareness promoting week that enhances understanding and empathy. To live equally and to love regardless of your background and sexual orientation are basic human rights and I believe Rainbow Week would promote that. Vi Châu Hà [Vietnam] Rainbow Week is important, in order to celebrate the fact that one has the possibility of being open about his/her sexuality, whether homo-, bi- or heterosexual. Maja Svanberg [Sweden] Rainbow Week is important because it raises awareness about diverse sexual minorities and celebrates the courage to be different. Emíls Sietiņš [Latvia] Rainbow Week is there because many of us don’t know that there are different sexualities or understand issues related to this. Veerle Verhey [The Netherlands] 7
SEXUALITY OF FEAR
by María Teresa Julianello
The mainstream image of gay people is a farce that only feeds the pervading hostility of the times. In July during Gay Pride Parades the media show gaily (pun intended) floats gaudily decorated in the profusion of the rainbow colors, laden with semi clad jocks that sing and dance to the rhythms of YMCA, I Will Survive and other anthems. Crowds of well wishers clap and wave purple balloons and there are many cafés, conferences, discussion groups and speakers on gay issues of all types. Not to speak of the parties…
In Rio de Janeiro transvestites proudly show off their silicones and feathers in wild carnival mood, while in Vancouver the Police Dept has a branch that uses a patrol car manned by the gay members of the force to join the march. In heavily Catholic Dublin I’ve seen family members accompanying their gay beloved brothers and sisters, often pushing prams. In all the parades there are many straight supporters of equal rights indicating that society has become more tolerant and open. Several countries, 9
including Argentina’s capital only, now accept gay marriage. So things are finally alright or getting there? Far from that. Come, get into the closet called daily life. Gay people live in permanent fear and the first one they experience is the fear of themselves. When they are young —sometimes in primary school— and they notice their attraction for kids of their same sex, feelings of horror and disgust permeate their tender hearts. At an age when psychologists indicate the differentiation of sexual attraction occurs, gay children are horrified of their urges and begin a lifelong —sometimes— career in repression and self hate. Children hide their tendencies because they have been trained to think that sexual roles are fixed. They are terrified of being different and don’t know what to do or where to turn. Parents who pride themselves in
having open relationships in which anything can be discussed, never for a moment would assume that their children can be blossoming into homosexual pre teens. If they knew, they’d be horrified and this, in turn, makes children feel failures and even monsters.
“COME, GET INTO THE CLOSET CALLED DAILY LIFE” This is when they have to get themselves into the closet to look what society deems normal and wholesome to those whom they love and to others whom they need to live with. If school is difficult for straight children, the pain gay children feel for fear of not being accepted and/or discovered is enormously taxing. Children become dissemblers and liars in their games and in what they say: they take up sports they hate to look masculine or dress themselves in colors that
are traditionally girlie which they might abhor. They spend hours crying because they don’t understand themselves and live in perennial fear of discovery. They are surrounded by friends and companions who use a vocabulary that can denote them at any moment; like the Jews have endured in the course of history, there are expressions and epithets that are traditionally used and have never been sanctioned out of the language. For example, the word maricón in Spanish can be used in any football game if you failed to pass the ball correctly or score a goal; the word trola is used for women who demand to have their rights acknowledged and it is regularly used for the Mothers of May Square who have been asking for years to learn the whereabouts of their missing children and grandchildren. As gays were systematically destroyed in Argentine concentration camps in 10
the 70’s and early 80’s during the latest dictatorship, the term trolo is used even today as a term of derision on any occasion.
“THERE ARE EXPRESSIONS THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN SANCTIONED OUT OF THE LANGUAGE” As teenagers, gay kids go into the dark zone of not showing their love and attraction and lying even deeper. At a time when nearly everyone is making out, having sex and falling into the throngs of their first passionate love affair, gay teens in many parts of the world retire further into the closet. Unable to show love, they put up a repressive and traumatic front of non caring, afraid of even holding hands or touching the arm of anybody of the same sex for fear of being discovered or even labeled as a prospective fag. They
refrain from the usual horseplay and rough togetherness of locker rooms and dread the moment when their voices might break and the gang start laughing and calling them names. They hope their parents will still not notice and if an understanding mother or older sister start looking at them differently, they become paranoid and therefore gruff: discovery cannot be risked because even if the female component of the family might acquiesce, the disgust and fury of the father would be impossible to bear. When university and working life come, the behaviors of fear are so entrenched that gay people are long lost into the recesses of a never ending closet: they are insecure, have low self esteem and even if they are great at their jobs, they have no encouragement to start an open sexual life for fear of exposure and being made redundant.
The mechanisms of firing are so perverse in our society that office streamlining can masquerade for anything to get unwanted employees out. As adults, gay people are in many countries non existent citizens who have to pay taxes and abide by a law system that does not contemplate their needs and rights. They cannot marry, became parents and inherit their partners’ property. They cannot check into hotels with their partners and ask for a double bed like straight people do. They cannot enjoy the sunshine in parks in a romantic mood as straight couples do.
“THEY DREAD THE MOMENT WHEN THE GANG START CALLING THEM NAMES” There are jobs they can’t apply to because they know they won’t be 11
taken on —they are made to feel that they are not good for business, because though owners may be ok about it clients may complain. I have seen colleagues fired from schools at home because they were gay under the excuse of over staffing.
“AS ADULTS, GAY PEOPLE ARE IN MANY COUNTRIES NON EXISTENT CITIZENS” Gay people get vilified, insulted, laughed at, ridiculized in the press and the media. They have difficulty finding jobs if they are overtly effeminate and if they do, they are the subject of butts and sneers from their colleagues. Since they are unable to live full sexual lives they are forced into the underground of degrading sex and if discovered, they are taken to court as common criminals. In
other words, not only do they live in their private closet, but their whole environment of daily living is one unnerving, giant cell of repression and dissembling.
â€œGAY PEOPLE GET VILIFIED, INSULTED, LAUGHED AT, RIDICULIZED IN THE PRESS AND THE MEDIAâ€? It is inconceivable that modern democratic societies still force their fellow beings to live most of their lives in the closet of inadequacy and fear, and even more when individual citizens claim for the enjoyment of loving, developing, worshipping and working as they see fit while systematically denying that right to others they presume to judge. Societies who deny gay people their rights also live in their own closet of ignorance, incivility and mistrust causing pain to many in the name of pseudo decency. 12
OK TO BE YOURSELF by Ana Flecha Marco
Sorry for the cheesy title. Now let me elaborate on it being all when-Iwas-your-age. When I was your age, there was a very popular brand in the north-west of Spain (and there only) called PHO. It disappeared some years ago, and by disappear I mean I cannot even find pictures on the internet to show them to you now. The thing is they had a slogan with different variations: “it’s ok to be an alien”, “it’s ok to have braces”, “it’s ok to be short”, “it’s ok to be round”. (Yes. Round.) They made the craziest
patent leather bags and the craziest clothes. And all the stores smelled like a candy shop. But the point is, whether we liked it or not, all kids in my generation remember that brand. And whether we liked it or not —and even if they used the word round— whoever came up with those slogans had a point and it was a positive one. We humans are average sized animals, with average sized brains and tiny little minds. We tend to put everything —and everyone— into random categories, 14
or just label them with whatever most obvious feature they might show. And that’s how we start calling people names from the very first day of school. And that’s how we start seeing ourselves from other people’s points of view. And we look quite blurry from there.
“HUMANS ARE AVERAGE SIZED ANIMALS, WITH AVERAGE SIZED BRAINS AND TINY LITTLE MINDS” There are many different things that define you as who you are and, unfortunately or not, you don’t get to choose most of them; nobody asked you when and where you wanted to be born, you couldn’t choose the colour of your skin, you are not responsible for your height or the tone of your voice. Similarly, and though many people think you do, you can-
appearance; they still do, but at least they know it’s wrong. The way you live your life, as long as it doesn’t affect others, is a private matter.
not choose who you fall in love with. Sexuality is complex, and that’s part of what makes it fascinating. When we talk about sexuality we are not just referring to sex, but to the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses, and the desire to engage in sexual activities with other people —or the lack thereof. Sexuality is a pretty important part of human experience. And the way you live your sexuality (everybody has one, even if you are not sexually active), together with your sexual identity, is also a significant part of who you are; however, it doesn’t have to be more important or more defining than any other aspect of your life. Sexuality has a lot to do with growth, confidence and self-discovery. And that process is different for everybody. Believe it or not, there are still lots of things you still don’t know about yourself, no matter how old you are. Some are already hiding somewhere in
Homosexuality is not the norm, but it is normal. There were times when left-handed people were associated with the devil. Lefties were forced to use their right hand. Some gay people are still forced to “be” straight. it’s ok to be an alien
you, waiting for you to discover them when the time comes; others will just pop up as you walk through life, but they are all part of who you are and why you are YOU and not just any random person.
“SEXUALITY IS COMPLEX AND FASCINATING” At this point in time, most people seem to understand that it is not ok to judge people based on their physical 15
“HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT THE NORM, BUT IT IS NORMAL” We cannot —and should not— change other people’s minds, but we have the power to make a change in the way other people see the world. For some people the world is still flat, and everything has to fall into distinct categories. But the world is round, and we are all a bit alien. And it is ok.
ATHLETES THAT HIDE THEIR SEXUALITY VICTIMS OR COWARDS? by Jace Latore
In the West, in many areas of society, it is normal to be open about your sexual orientation. This, however, is not true in the sporting world. Living in the 21st century, with our modern laws and moral attitudes, you would expect to be able to play professional sport without having to hide part of who you are. The stigma in sport is a strong one. Men who play sport should be virile and it seems that to be heterosexual is almost a necessity to be capable of competing in sport.
This barrier for people in sport is high. There is progress in lowering it, but only recently has it been even possible for professional athletes to feel that they can be open. Twenty-two years ago, a football player by the name of Justin Fashanu openly came out as gay. His decision affected his life in such a negative way that, since then, there has not been another openly gay professional footballer (and there are currently 5,000 professional footballers) in Britain. In more 17
recent years, a few former professional athletes have come out of the closet. The biggest sign of progress is that in the past 3 years, there have been some high-profile professional athletes who have decided to take the step of making their sexual orientation public: Wales international Rugby player Gareth Thomas being the first, in December 2009. Since then, six more active professional athletes have come out: cricketer Steven Davies, volleyball player Michael Dos Santos, Boxer Orlando Cruz
and footballers Anton HysĂŠn and David Testo. The overriding sense you get from hearing these men speak is that they feel they have the support of their team and the people around them. All say that they want to make it easier for young people whose sexual orientation is different from the perceived norm to be comfortable in being open. They also share the opinion that they received a mostly positive response from the public and from social media community. From the reaction they have received it should be time for the flood gates to open, and there should be no need for such secrecy. However, the barriers stopping people being open in professional sport still feel too high. What barriers do they have to consider? How fans in stadium will treat them for being who they are? Will professional organisations discriminate against them? Will they receive less chance of being sponsored by big
corporations? Do they fear mockery in their private life for being something that outside the sport profession is so normal? In the end, are barriers created in the mind higher than they actually are in reality? Is it the responsibility of these professional athletes who hide away part of themselves to step forward and be true to who they are? The past few years have shown that when one person steps forward, it is easier for the next one to follow. The athletes who hide make it a bigger deal by hiding, as if there were something to be ashamed of. If you are in a position where you can be seen as a role model, it is your responsibility to lead the way. I do believe that in the case of football, the atmosphere in the stadiums is something that needs to be changed. What is by some called harmless banter is actually very offensive chanting. The problem is that it can be easily justi18
fied as a victimless crime when itâ€™s not specifically being directed. If there are professional athletes who are open, and then they are chanted at, serious action can then be taken. As it is now, the problem is too easy to ignore. The situation is complicated, for it appears that not enough people are willing to step forward. Whose responsibility is it to make sure that young people who grow up playing sport are able to be open and unafraid of their sexual orientation? I feel that we have gone far in a short period of time, to the point where we live in a society that can quite easily accept people for who they are. I think that there would only be a tiny number of people who would cause a problem. In society, there will always be people who will not accept anyone for being different in some way. Prejudice is very hard to completely extinguish; therefore I believe people should not be scared of a
minority who will always exist. It is wrong to expect someone who is not heterosexual to open their lives up just so the general public can be given a chance to accept something that should not even need to be thought of as needing acceptance. In end it will be as it so often is in life. There will be a few brave individuals who are willing to step forward for the good of many while the rest stand back and benefit from their sacrifice and risk. I cannot think less of someone for not wanting to step forward, but it is such a shame that humanity must always make a few go forward alone, when the burden and risk would be greatly diminished by all stepping forward together.
by Alberto Carrillo Casas
It happened after the overwhelming mixture of white sheets and falsely cold morning. Just after performing —with her eyes almost closed— all the steps of her morning choreography. When going to look at the mirror- the one that really knew all the hidden capabilities of her smile- she noticed that in the reflection, there was nothing above the neck of her precious turquoise shirt. If it had been possible, the semi-fogged and curvilinear mirror would have witnessed one of those faces of stupor so astonishing that no artist could recreate. Nothing changed when she put her hands on her face. She realized that she was, but could not be seen. Past all the usual stages (denial, panic, negotiation... and all she invented), she finally realized that there was only one way to make sure that she had really become transparent. By relying on the doorknob, she mused. Catherine was seduced by the madness. So after opening the door, taking off her shoes still in the lobby, feeling the chill of the morning on her bare ankles and dropping her jacket on the floor, she took her last breath as a “semi-visible” being. The zipper of her skirt, her socks, her shirt and the rest of the textile pieces she was wearing fully surrendered. And of course, she understood. That day would be the first day in which she walked absolutely free; the day she would stop thinking carefully about the right things, the ethically acceptable, the expected of her. No one would look at her. Although she always felt that no one had ever seen her. With a more mechanical than practical movement, she pushed her red hair behind her ear. The last dew drop hosted in the leak upstairs fell, slid down her bare chest, swam her fruitful and clear belly and left behind the power of life, the climax of the soul. The ultimate goal of the essence. At that moment, for the first time in 29 years, fear disappeared. It was all she: woman, animal, beast and individual. 21
MOVIES & SERIES
THE NEW NORMAL [James Bui]
From the creator of Glee (Ryan Murphy) comes a new series on NBC called The New Normal detailing the life and events of a gay couple who want to have a baby. All in all, the series provides an interesting and lighthearted look into a sitcom situation of a same-sex parent family. The main characters Bryan and David are two liberal Californians who get a surrogate mother for their child who comes from a conservatively displaced background in Ohio. Recommended for a quick laugh and a new take on the typical sitcom format. 22
MOVIES Milk The times of Harvey Milk Paris is Burning Shelter (2007) Go Fish Ma Vie En Rosa Beautiful Things The Celluloid Closet The Rocky Horror Picture Show Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom C.R.A.Z.Y But I’m a Cheerleader Pink Flamingos I Love You Phillip Morris Saving Face Trick Shortbus Were the World Mine Mambo Italiano My Beautiful Laundrette The Birdcage Farewell my Queen The Bubble Holiday Heart Latter Days Big Eden Get Your Stuff
Loving Anabelle Kyss Mig Christopher and His Kind Aimée and Jaguar Tomboy Pariah Prayers for Bobby The Curiosity of Chance Imagine Me and You Undertow (Contracorriente) It’s in the Water Country Teacher Flawless Loggerheads In & Out Vegas in Space Call Me Troy Longtime Compannion A Single Man Urbania Patrik 1,5 Finger Smith Fire Fried Green Tomatoes Fucking Åmål Bad Education Save Me 23
RAINBOW GLOSSARY by James Bui
Ally: In its verb form, ally means to unite or form a connection between. In the gender community, allies are all those wonderful folks who have attempted to educate themselves about gender issues, who work to reduce transphobia in themselves, families, and communities, and who try their best to support transpeople in the political, social and cultural arenas. Bisexual: A person who is attracted to both genders (a person does not have to have a relationship to be bisexual!) Closeted or In the Closet: Hiding one’s sexual orientation. Coming Out: The process by which lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals recognize, acknowledge, accept, and typically appreciate their sexual identities. Dyke: a barrier constructed to control or confine water; also: slang, sometimes offensive (depending on who’s using it) word for lesbian Faggot: a bundle (of sticks or wrought iron); also: slang, generally offensive word for gay. Faggot (i.e. sticks) were used during witch-burning times in Europe, when many independent women, herbalists, healers, “heretics” and sexual “non-conformists” were condemned as “witches”. GLBT (also LGBT or LGTB): An acronym, which stands for “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender.” Other versions may add “Q” for Queer or Questioning, “I” for Intersex, and “A” for Allied. Some may prefer to list the acronym as TBLG to place transpeople in a position of importance and to rectify the way trans has historically been omitted, devalued or excluded. Out, or “out of the closet”: To be openly LGBTIQ. Outing: When someone discloses information about another’s sexual orientation or gender identity without their knowledge and/or consent. Sexuality: An imprecise word which is often used in tandem with other social categories, as in: race, gender and sexuality. Sexuality is a broad term which refers to a cluster of behaviors, practices and identities in the social world. 25