Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Celluloid Closet

First of all, I am glad to have finally seen this film. So many of my previous LGBTQ courses have recommended that we watch it but I was never able to find it online. After watching the film I realize why it was so highly recommended. This documentary film revealed a great amount of information pertaining to the queer contributions in Hollywood cinema. The film featured a variety of screenwriters, actors, actresses, directors, and the like to discuss the misrepresentation and lack thereof of LGBTQ people in films. Of course, there were different opinions; some were furious at the misrepresentation while others preferred that over no representation. Queer people were misrepresented as overt cliches or villains. Misrepresentation of any group of people/community create misconceptions of them which leads to further discrimination and marginalization. Whether queer people were portrayed as direct threats (villains/antagonists) or cliches, the effects were negative. Then, it was decided that queer people and lifestyles would not be portrayed in films. There was a list of topics that were absolutely not allowed which alluded to queers and queer lifestyles. However, the film expresses that trying to erase the LGBTQ community from Hollywood was like trying to erase them from real life. The actors and actresses were forced to be "in the closet" in films just as they were in real life. Eventually, these rules of forbidden content were overturned.

The Celluloid Closet, Turner, Emma

The Celluloid Closet (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 1995)

The fundamental question raised by Epstein and Friedman’s documentary picture is: is it better to have a negative representation than no representation? Watching the film alongside Faderman and Timmons’s GAY L.A. formed an interesting narrative between onscreen queer representation in Hollywood and the changing politics of Los Angeles. The 1930s rise of working women align with the onscreen positive androgyny of Marlene Dietrich, as GAY L.A. outlines “girls who chose the rigorous course of training for a career in the early decades of the twentieth century…rejected the time-honoured prescription that had been laid out for women’s lives” (p. 48). The changing attitudes to women socially is embodied by Dietrich, who’s appearance dressed in a suit satisfied both male and female voyeurism and became a symbol of female strength. Contrastingly the shift in brutality, from the 1936 attack of Billy Haines through to the early 1950s LAPD violence in catching cruising gay men, aligned with the onscreen shift from the comical male ‘sissy’ to the homosexual male victimisers in films such as Hitchcock’s Rope (1948).

Considering this film in tandem with the history, and considering Hollywood as catering for the white, male, heterosexual spectator, there is logic to the pattern, the queer character as the comic, then as the villain, as the victim and ultimately as the victimiser; and always as the character that died. Although this changed with the 1970 release of The Boys in the Band, the normalisation of the word “faggot” and the use of stock portrayal remained a problem. The issues of spectatorship and representation begged to answer the question of whether negative representation is better than no representation. On the one hand if there was no representation then an entire demographic would be overlooked. Onscreen association would be diminished and in this hypothetical reality the queer spectator would have less of a sense of an existing queer community. The experience may be profoundly isolating. On the other hand the repercussions of these negative portrayals, in dominant cinema grouping together the queer experiencing and presenting it in a certain light as a binary of ‘other’ for the heterosexual spectator, are still felt today. Even within the queer community, there is a negative sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’, whilst the reality is that these categories of opposition exist only as a social phenomenon and not as a natural fact. The negative representation in cinema, which continues although contemporarily in conjunction with the varied representation ignited by New Queer Cinema, hinders integration of sexuality. The question is, is the gaining of an onscreen association worth the xenophobia caused by the categories asserted in negative representation?

Emma Turner, Week 2

Lara Avelino, Karen

Hi everyone! My name is Karen Lara Avelino and I am currently a fourth year double majoring in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies with a minor in LGBTQ studies.  The gender pronouns I prefer are She, Her, and Hers.  After attending the first day of lecture my interest in this course grew, because I will be challenging myself in a digital art project. I was originally interested in learning about queer art history and theories that are often not discussed in any of my other courses, but I am glad I will utilize concepts learned into a queer project of mine. In addition, I am very excited in hearing the perspectives from you all, my classmates, and the amazing work Professor Lopez has done.  Thank you in advance for sharing your personal narratives and I look forward to sharing a safe space with you all.

            This week readings in Gay L.A. by Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons brought up a lot of mixed feelings in regards to the gay community. I was frustrated to learn that police officers would raid spaces that members of the gay community would frequent, plus some of these officers known as the Hollywood Rejects would deceive them, too. Another interesting literature piece was written by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo in the fifteenth century that described a mystical land, California, solely made up of women. Men were used only to procreate; if baby boys were born they would be killed; only baby girls were kept (10). I agreed with the authors that these histories must be told and not forgotten. They serve as a form of resistance from the gay community.

Allan, Jonathan


My name is Jonathan Allan. I'm a third-year transfer student studying English. I'm originally from Portland, Oregon, but I've lived in California for a little over two years now. My pronouns are he/him.

I'm interested in creative writing and art of all sorts, especially in the L.A. area. Screenwriting is my main interest, so the history of L.A. is very interesting to me. It'll be fascinating to get a queer perspective on the city and the industry, as we've seen with the Hollywood chapters in the book so far, and I can't wait to learn more.

I really like the book. It's a great display of the intersections of the queer movement with race, class, and gender, and it manages this while also sharing compelling and unbelievable stories. One that comes to mind is the descriptions of some of the sting operations the LAPD (or actors related to) used to persecute the queer population, including the story of stamping gay men's penises as evidence they tried to engage in homosexual acts.

Valencia, Luis

Hi everyone, my name is Luis Valencia, and I am a 4th-year transfer student Art major. My preferred pronouns are he/him. I primarily work with oil paint but also dabble in photography, sculpture, drawing, and ceramics. I really like to explore different types of mediums and try to find ways to translate my overarching theme through them. I am excited about this class since I am queer and love learning about queer history, culture, theory, etc. I think it is incredibly important to learn about our past and carry the knowledge to our future.

Unfortunately, I have received all but the Gay LA book, so I have yet to read it. I'm looking forward to reading it, however, since I keep hearing so many good things about it.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Torres, Suzanne

I enjoyed reading this book so much I couldn't put it down! My mind just took off and I was mind blown! I had no idea how special California is for the queer community and it makes me feel like I belong here. "The Indians had given those who were different an honorable place in their communities" (page 10), was the most thought provoking quote I read. It gave me mixed feelings... At first, I was happy to remember how intelligent and peaceful the Indians were and how I wish I could have enjoyed living with them during the good times (before the whites came to slaughter them). Then, it made me sad because their differences were not honorable to the white people. Instead, their differences were what got them murdered.  

I realize that lines of differences are not easily crossed. The way a society is constructed manipulates the good differences from the bad differences. The worst part is that the good and bad labels have extra super-duper gorilla glue attaching them onto each difference a society decides to stereotype. For example, somewhere, somehow, somebody said that homosexuality was a sin and everyone believed it so it became stitched it into the foundation of that society. Another example, somewhere, somehow, somebody said that masterbation was a sin and everyone believed it so it became stitched into the foundation of that society too. Yet, the society fails to see that homosexuals and persons who masterbate are like the Indians–intelligent and peaceful beings who should be honored in their communities! LOL 

Hallock, Sarah

Hello! My name is Sarah. I have lived in California my whole life and grew up in Simi Valley in Ventura County. I now live in Sherman Oaks with my partner of four years and have so far loved living closer to the city. I love food! Sushi probably being my favorite. I also love roller skating and was playing roller derby up until I started attending UCLA. I also identify as a lesbian woman and use she/her pronouns.

I am a recent transfer to UCLA, and this is my second quarter. I am a junior/third year student. I transferred to UCLA to get my B.A. in Anthropology, and have also joined the LGBTQ minor program. After getting my B.A. I have plans to apply to grad school and eventually want to get my PhD in Anthropology and do work and research that focuses on sexuality and gender. My possible career goals include non-profit work with LGBTQ youth, museum curation, and/or collegiate teaching. I am looking forward to taking this class with all of you and learning more about Los Angeles' rich queer history!

Iong, Holly

Hello everyone, I am a first-year transfer student from De Anza College (in Bay Area). My major is political science. My pronouns are she/ her(s). I am an international student from Macau. This is my first class about the LGBTQ community, and I am so exited to learn more about it. In Asia, we seldom discuss about sexual orientation openly; however, if you are not heterosexual, you may be considered as "unusual" (mainly by the older, traditional generation, not too much for the younger generation). Therefore, there are not a lot of artists preform as a queer, and queer arts are not popular in Southeast Asia.
In addition, the combination of queer and art work is really interesting to me because it is a different kind of performance of self and social issues. By knowing more about history of queer art, I can understand more about its development, awareness and trend. Besides, after the first class, I found out that contemporary queer art has different and diverse manifestations, such as painting, digital performance, singing, acting etc., and its style can be so modern and cool.

P.S. Since I am new to the LGBTQ community, please let me know and correct me if I say something inappropriate or hurtful to you. I am still learning, so share more information with me and help me to correct my mistakes.

P.P.S. I cut my hair shorter last weekend after watching the video filmed by Professor Lopez.


My name is Suzanne but my friends call me Shorty and my family calls me Suzy. I am a 3rd year transfer student and this is my 2nd quarter at UCLA. I am a pre psychology major and I chose psychology as my major because I like to fully understand why things are the way they are. My dream is to open and run my own orphanage that is well funded. My orphanage will be on a farm with chickens and cows. My reason for running an orphanage is to make a difference in the lives of children that need one. I am a well-rounded artist that likes to create anything from paintings to ceramic to performing. I use my art as a way to express myself when I can not put it into words. I was born a queer person so I am trying to be more involved with my being. I have always been interested in LGBTQ art specifically because it is not as well known or popularized in the mainstream media, when it should be. Finally, I call myself a human being with neutral gender and I do my best to stay away from labels, but I do not mind her or she pronouns to make it easy.
Here is a picture of me, enjoy.


Hello All!

My name is Carly York. I am a second year Global Studies major and am currently working on a Environmental Systems and Society minor as well as a minor in Public Affairs. I am currently involved in the International Affairs Student Association, John Quincy Adams Society, the Native Garden project with SELVA, and Chi Alpha Delta. I'm from Sacramento originally and had lived there since I was one and until college. When choosing a college, I found LA's size and diversity as one of its main selling points and wanted to experience living far away from home. Within the next year or so I also hope to study abroad in Europe, particularly with the Global Studies department. This course is one I have been excited about because I find it an interesting opportunity to learn more about the LGBTQ experience and some really cool art. I grew up with lesbian mothers and my sister has recently came out so I take this as a personal opportunity to grow my understanding and meet people within the LGBTQ community. I identify as she/her/hers and look forward to talking with everyone and seeing all the amazing projects everyone comes up with!

In Part 1 of Gay LA, I think I found it most interesting in regard to the changes of the 1960s within the gay community and rather the diverse views even within one group. Helen Sandoz's identification of the need to associate the L.A. Daughters "with the larger homophile movement, insisting that the fate of the lesbian was inextricable like to that of the gay man" is interesting because it differed with many lesbians at the time. The Daughters and The Ladder who were working towards aligning themselves with the feminist movement ultimately provide a different opinion and point of view on what exactly should be happening and what the goal was for the collective. This division even within one lesbian organization reflects somewhat of a chaotic existence of the homosexual liberation groups of the 1960s but also is a tribute to the growing basis in which numbers provide for a diversification of ideology. 

Hello humans, my name is Karla Rivas and I identify as a bisexual native Mexican who absolutely loves art in every shape and size. I am a transfer Sociocultural Anthropology major, who highly enjoys food as you can tell from my picture. I am super excited to be taking this course because I have actually never taken a course on LGBTQ+ studies before, let alone a course that focuses on art made by queer artists! When I was younger I used to always think that I would become an artist myself because I had an enormous passion for drawing, and although as an actual adult I have decided to take a different route in terms of my career, expressing myself through different art forms is still always at the back of my head. I every now then paint portraits of random imaginary faces combined with a little touch of objects found in nature. I hope to obtain knowledge about LA artists and how they express their identities through art.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Beltran, Brandon

Salutations everyone, my name is Brandon Beltran. My preferred pronouns are him/ he. I am a sociology major. I was born and raised in Montebello, CA. I am looking forward to working with Photoshop, which is a medium I have yet to try and learn. Last quarter I took an art censorship class and was fascinated with the artists we looked at. I am eager to learn more about queer artists, especially the history behind LA which was embedded by different demographics and narratives.

While reading the book Gay L.A. one quote that stood out to me was “Los Angeles [was] a city of heretics,… a city of refugees from [the rest of] America. [Their] was partly dreamed and partly real.”(1) Right from the start the story caught my attention with the Stonewall Inn. In a world dominated by cisgender white males, queer folk are often ostracized. It feels nice having a safe place where queer individuals are able to express themselves and live without fear, like Cooper’s Doughnuts, which offered refuge. However, one night two officers entered Cooper’s and harassed the people inside. Since then it was evident queer individuals were not welcomed, and to this day have been fighting for equality.

Leshay, Audrey

My name is Audrey, I am a 3rd year art major, and my preferred pronouns are she/her(s).  I have been practicing art as long as I can remember and have thus been exposed to many art history classes; however, they only cover a tiny fraction of material because the required lessons in high school and college are limited to mostly white, cis male art.  There has always been an endless supply of work  from POC, women, and queer groups, especially in my home of Los Angeles, and I feel it is necessary to listen to and learn from as many voices as possible.
Outside of UCLA, I am an art teacher at a studio in Los Feliz.  Working with children, many of who go on to become artists, is important to me because teachers make incredible impacts on the way students approach the world, and then make work about it. I would like to diversify my references to my students so that they will have a better understanding of art history as they continue on with their practice.
GAY L.A. is all about untold stories.  I was drawn to the tale of Queen Califia and the naming of California because it proves that as much as people try to ignore queer history, it is undeniably embedded in and inseparable from all history.  I also loved the imagery provided of All Fool's Night, the Los Angeles festival. As most of my paintings are wild/surreal visions of contemporary LA, it is always fun to compare the work to the city's history, and apply that history to future work.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Castillo, Evelyn

Hello all, my name is Evelyn Castillo. I go by Evelyn and my preferred pronouns are she/her(s). I am a fourth year majoring in Chicana/o Studies and minoring in LGBTQ Studies. I think my chosen areas of study make it pretty clear why I'm interested in the course. However, I will gladly elaborate. I love art because of it's different forms and different uses. People make art in a variety of mediums to convey a variety of messages. To me, art is an open-ended question. A question for others and for the artist themselves.

Besides art, I am also interested in all things queer and Chicanx. I identify as a pansexual Chicana. Frankly, I'm not quite comfortable with the term pansexual because I just recently began to consider myself as such. I used to label myself as bisexual until I realized that that term discredits my attraction to non-binary folk. This isn't to say that I discredit the term "bisexual" in and of itself. I just don't think it suits me since it refers to the attraction of only two genders. I am comfortable with the term Chicana because I am proud to be a woman and of Mexican descent. Both my parents were born in Mexico and I was born in Santa Ana, CA.

I am from San Diego and I think it's better than LA. However, I still love LA because it's where I can be my true self. Coming to UCLA allowed me engage on the quest of "finding myself". In my earlier Chicana/o courses, there was a creative project component in which I realized I had the liberty to express both my racial and sexuality identities. Prior to this, these worlds were completely segregated within me. Now, art encourages me to integrate these worlds. Hence, my interest in this course.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Grote, Amy

Hi everyone,

My name is Amy and I am a transfer student majoring in English. I was born and raised in California but I spent fifteen years in New York City, and ten of those years I was working in the music industry. As a non-traditional student, I am a wife, mother, and most of the time the oldest student in class. But as awkward as I feel sometimes in a sea of twenty-somethings, I love learning from -- and forming friendships with -- my younger classmates.
My interest in English surrounds mostly Modernist fiction, nineteenth century literature, and Chicana/o literature. I also love to focus on feminist readings and interpretations of all assigned materials.  I am very excited for this course because it will allow me to learn about the perspectives and talents of artists whose work is not only local but also part of the queer community.

One thing I was fascinated by in Part I of Gay L.A. was the idea of how the law shapes public discourse regarding homosexuality. Considering that homosexuality was once punishable by law, Faderman and Timmons point out that court cases involving gay men often became tabloid fodder for the public. While many queer men and women were probably terrified of ever being detained for their sexual orientation, many people enjoyed the “salacious bits” that were reported in the media about gay men on trial, namely a man named Herbert Lowe  (34). This man’s sexuality -- a private and personal affair -- was suddenly up for debate, discussion, and ridicule by the public. Although the law has changed, this situation still raises important questions: how is gossip about queer lives affecting homophobia?, and why do we as the public feel entitled to know intimate details about one's sex life?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Turner, Emma (Em)

I’m Em, an English major and film minor from King’s College London now leaping onto the UCLA bandwagon for the next two quarters. Queer discourse first caught my eye when I read theorists Judith Butler and Eve Sedgwick last year, and I became aware of the issue of performative gender and sexuality both within our binary society and within my own identities. I took an interest in queer expression as a method of protest against dominant discourse and in disproving these binaries, categories and assumptions promoted in mainstream art and media. Queer works such as Dunye’s ‘The Watermelon Woman’, Rees’s ‘Pariah’ and Alan Hollinghurst’s ‘The Line of Beauty’, for example, all act in tandem with feminist and queer thought to represent the non-monolithic reality of queer subjectivities. My focus thus far has primarily been on film and literature, and at my home university LGTB studies is a very limited field available to students, so this opportunity to explore a deeper variety of queer arts in close consideration with queer topics and issues is profoundly important. Furthermore as academics I believe we are at the forefront of queer discussion, as these topics have only relatively recently been introduced to study, therefore I think it is critical to consider the history and progression of queer art to understand how current queer art is still acting as a voice of and a representation for queer lives.