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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dan's Workshop (Extra Credit)

Working in Dan's speed-course is exhilarating, to be sure, but it's also frightening. Revealing parts of yourself in order to produce entertainment is not something I'm very familiar with, as my works usually include fiction, and I've only discussed my queerness in abstract terms when I write. Now, however, I'm being forced (by myself and by the nature of this monologue workshop) to bring my identity to the table. It's terrifying!

I do appreciate the openness that others embrace, and the small, welcoming atmosphere of the workshop. If I had to share my story, before it was fully formed, in front of more than 5 or 6 people, I'm not sure I could have done it. We're still in the process of formulating the structure of our stories, but the free-write exercises that Prof. Guerrero had us try have really opened me up to the idea of economy of the word, and writing as though you're speaking. I do love the idea of using performance as an inextricable link to a queer identity, and I just hope that my monologue will come along to a point that I'll feel comfortable reading it out loud.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dan Guerrero + The Queer Zone of Comfort

The Dan Guerrero piece by Urquijo-Ruiz was very interesting because it was beautiful to read about the solidarity and community building amongst Queer Chicana/o artists like Guerrero, Moraga, and Anzaldua. It seems the recurring conversation is one about how we can individually merge and navigate through our different identity intersections because the Chicana/o cultures we come from are still very tight-knit and family-oriented, and yet they maintain their hetero-patriarchal stands so aggressively at times that those ties are torn in a demand for the us to choose either family that doesn't accept us or being true to ourselves and creating a new family that respects and accepts us.

I identify as transgender and can relate to Guerrero's sense of discomfort in trying to create a queer zone of comfort while including my family. Like Dan's dad did, my parents have verbally accepted certain aspects of my queerness, but their process of decolonizing their minds and my process of deconstructing my internalized homophobia can seem overwhelmingly extensive at times. I am super grateful that my family is trying, though. I can also relate to Dan having to leave his home and home-town in order to grow comfortable in his identity. I don't know how long it would have taken for me to explore my sexual and even question my gender identity had I remained in my parents' house.

It was refreshing to be reading about Dan's coming-out story because it was his way of passing on the feeling of solidarity that he experienced seeing Zoot Suit and knowing his voice mattered and was beneficial for folxs to hear. I loved seeing that through the telling of our stories, by giving voice to our struggle, we create solidarity and community because those in our audience can relate and know the struggle is a cross that we all bear juntos.

Dan Guerrero at QScholars

After attending Dan Guerrero's presentation yesterday at the 2nd Annual LGBT Studies Undergraduate Research Symposium, I was truly impressed with Dan Guerrero's work and how the atmosphere he provides in making everyone feel that they are in a safe space. This is from his way of speaking and the presentation felt almost like a discussion where many people were asking questions and felt as if everyone was speaking to a long time friend.

Learning about Guerrero's unique history especially of his father with the farm workers movement with Cesar Chavez and his own work with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta  was wonderful to hear. I am a fan of Cesar Chavez and knowing how many lives he helped and the people he connected to is incredible. What surprised me the most is his dad's music in the Pachuco play. It is no wonder Guerrero is as incredibly talented and devoted to his work as was his father in creating the music for the Pachuco play. Additionally, his copyright of the word Gaytino when he was creating that play and the hard work he put into and of course was still finalizing is work is amazing.

The questions I would ask him would be would he ever recreate the music his father produced if asked to for the reenactment of a modern version of the Pachuco film (play)?

Guerrero's Gaytino!

     Since I was unable to attend que Q-Symposium and missed Dan Guerrero's presentation, I am going to be writing on the article by Urquijo-Ruiz' "Beyond the Comfort Zone."  What creates a 'comfort zone,' really?  The article provokes some serious thoughts about being Latino/a and queer.  First of all, we have the smaller spectrum of society:  our families.  I think that Urquijo-Ruiz, while quoting Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, is able to bring the aspect of Machismo in the household, not to mention the abandonment and the feeling of "disowning" an offspring due to his/her sexual identity.  Hence, the self-accepted queer needs to find and build strong relationships that would enable him/her to feel part of a group that will welcome them.

     Secondly, we have society at large that, even though nowadays occurs less than it did in the 1960's, displayed great discontent about a taboo-ish subject that made people feel uncomfortable.  Coming out of the Great Depression Era thirty years earlier, when Latinos where displaced and repatriated as the single cause of financial decay in the country, Latinos had to fight a double fight:  Being Latino/a or Chicano/a and queer.  Not only did these people had to flee the familiarity of their surroundings after acceptance, they had to fight for acceptance in the larger portion of society.  My question for Dan Guerrero would be:  What is one single incident during your performances in the past that you have seen changed into something positive today?

¡Gaytino! Reflection

Although I was unfortunately unable to attend Dan's presentation at the QScholars Symposium, Urquijo-Ruiz's article, Beyond the Comfort Zone:  Dan Guerrero's ¡Gaytino!, was an incredibly fun, inspiring chapter to read and helped me to better understand what a queer performance is all about!  This is entirely new to me, as I have never before heard of Dan Guerrero or of his performance, ¡Gaytino!.  I enjoyed reading the part when Dan, after moving to New York, had a brief, heterosexual, experimental relationship and realized being with a woman was definitely not for him.   Sharing such a "normative" encounter with the audience and "queering" it, meaning the heteronormativity, is a brilliant idea.  Most likely, not all the members of his audiences identify as queer so I think that incorporating a "straight experience" and playing on it to make it queer and relatable to the rest of the audience is wonderful.  It was interesting to read how Dan describes having to be alert all the time, so much that it comes as second nature.  I am unable to relate to this feeling, as I am in the majority of the heterosexual population, but reading his experience allows me to better understand the powerful emotions and deep experiences which many people must endure throughout society and life.  When Dan is extremely conscious of homophobia and fears being judged, having had lived in discomfort, silence, and isolation back at home, he ventures to Fire Island.  Here, he feels accepted. Everything finally changes and he feels more at ease, at home.  He feels he can better accept his queerness. but now he must address and confront his ethnic identity.   Another fascinating part to read was how Dan's close friend, Charles, decided to change his name back to Carlos, after becoming a well-known artist.  It's beautiful to see someone feel completely comfortable in their skin, at ease with their true identity.  This is a major aspect of Urquijo-Ruiz's definition of stepping further into the queer zone of comfort.  I wonder how different his life, as well as the performance, would have been if social class was mentioned in the play.  One of my questions for Dan would be how his experience differed from from his friends financially.  He was given the opportunity to create a whole new life on the other side of the country, and many people are not given that freedom.  I wonder how his emotional and social life would have been if he stayed with his family in Los Angeles.  It was terrific to see that after making a closely-knit, always expanding familia circle with the Zoot Suit and Chicano cast, Dan was able to receive acceptance and embrace his ethnicity rather than feeling isolated and disassociated from working in the white show business theater world.  Finally, his "Ah-Ha!" moment arrives when he realizes he wants to be a bigger part of the change. Another essential part of the performance, which I strongly agree with Urquijo-Ruiz, is the discussion about HIV/AIDS.  So many people lost friends, family members, partners, coworkers, and loved ones-all from this horrendous illness.  Something which has claimed the lives of countless members of society, especially people of color, is an unavoidable topic and very necessary component in a queer performance.  I am aware that HIV/AIDS was not widely discussed or studied back in the 80s and 90s, but I was surprised to read that HIV/AIDS was only publicly spoken about/acknowledged through productions like ¡Gaytino!. Because ¡Gaytino! was first performed back in 2004, which was not too long ago, so it is surprising to me that this is still so new to the community.  I appreciate how Dan accomplishes his performance even more by turning the audience into community activists, by educating them and making it so that everyone, queer or not, is able to relate to his experience as a whole.  I'd like to know how lesbian Latinas relate to his piece too.

Dan Guerrero

Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I was not able to make it Dan Guerrero’s presentation. However, I do look forward to meeting him tomorrow and listening to what he has to say about his experience with his work and his identity.

Although I do not identify as Chicana/o or Latina/o, as a queer womxn of color I can definitely relate to the topics discussed in the reading. Throughout most of the reading, I kept reflecting on the Pilipino American queer experience. I especially identified with the idea of needing to connect to home. In the reading they talked about “expanding her/his familial ties with other who embrace all aspects of her/his identity.” In my experience, many of the Pilipinos I know feel disconnected from their family when their identities are ostracized, leaving ourselves to find family outside our bloodline.

Dan Guerrero

Lazzari, Chad GAYTINO! (insert that other upside down exclamation mark)

Greetings from New York City!

I am sitting in a coffee house on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and it is a fascinating perspective from which to consider Dan Guerrero's story of queer subjectivity, not to mention the histories we are  looking at in class.

I, also, regret not being on campus for such an exciting week, but I was able to attend the Q-Scholars brunch on Monday and spent a good amount of time with Dan; you are all in for a real treat, he is an exciting and energetic storyteller. Wow!

The piece, Beyond the Comfort Zone, was a fantastic read by my estimation, at least insomuch as it examined Dan's work. While I felt the author was a bit obsessed with their newly coined concept of the queer zone of comfort, I have to admit the term is useful in understanding the subjective growth of identity through assimilation. The idea of queer migration; that we, in the face of oppressive heteronormative and hegemonic environments, often need to get away in order to find ourselves, but then feel the need to "come home," practically or spiritually, in order to complete a fuller acceptance and ownership of who we are, is a fascinating story to me from both psychological and sociological perspectives. All that to say: Dan's story, while not a new one from the broader perspective of queer identity narratives, is an important one for the proximal perspective it brings to queer Chicano identity and to Angelino identity, acknowledging Dan's So-Cal roots and the Hispanic heritage we all share in this city. I loved reading it.

I also want to acknowledge the important contribution Dan has made in bringing us an identity tale from pre-stonewall and through the AIDS era. Ours is, by all accounts, a brand new culture. It has emerged from the shadows of oppression only very recently and at lightening speed. It seems to me that the speed of that emergence, not to mention the history-destroying qualities wrought from losing a critical generation to AIDS, threatens to leave us without reliable roots from which to grow. Knowing, hearing, and experiencing queer history from the words of those who lived it is important to an honest assessment of who we are as a people and a culture and not a reliance on a made-up history that serves only politics. I was grateful to experience some of  Dan's contribution.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

QScholar Post

One thing is absolutely clear about Dan Guerrero: he is a performer. Even while sitting in the audience and listening to the presentations of the undergraduate QScholars, he participated in a way that indicated his enthusiasm for the spotlight and love for interpersonal interactions. Of course, his enthusiasm, and incredible, somewhat explosive energy lent interest to his keynote presentation, and it was also an impressive factor in his Q&A session after, but it teased me. I now need to see him in action and performance!

I don't agree with everything Dan said -- I think it's incredibly brave, in a world where it's so easy for people to beat an individual for speaking their mind, for said individual to plough ahead and speak whatever controversial ideas they have. I also was a little shell-shocked by his comment about shooting oneself -- though I know it was said in jest, I was surprised, especially since he is well-acquainted with the queer community, and the unfortunate linkage of LGBT teens and suicide. That out of the way, I would love to listen to him speak for hours, especially about combining different facets of his identity to create a unified, whole activist and performer. 

Dan Guerrero: Beyond the Comfort Zone

As it is 4th week, otherwise known as the start of midterms season, I was unfortunately unable to make the Undergraduate Queer Symposium and therefore did not see Dan speak. :c

I did however read the summary of "Gaytino!" and had nothing but upmost respect and appreciation for his performance. Although I am not a Queer Chicana, I can relate to the work in terms of the intersectionality of both cultural and queer identity. We are born into our cultural identities and are conditioned to understand that this state that we are in is naturally a part of us, but our queer identity is something that we have to find on our own.

The journey of intersecting our cultural and queer identity is  something very personal for any queer person of color and is what separates us from both the heteronormative and white populations. These are coming of age stories respective to each QPOC that can be found in any age or era. I believe that Guerrero's performance does not solely rely on those who are Chicana/ Chicano but is a relatable story to any QPOC despite age.

Overall, considering the intersectionality of culture and queerness, how can other  queer people of color from different cultural communities show solidarity if they do not identify as Chicana/ Chicano? Although they may relate to the overall theme of the work.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stonewall Uprising Reflection

As the first scenes began to roll and having viewed this documentary in a previous LGBT class two years ago, my initial reaction was:  "Ok, been there, done that."  I was considerably wrong.  Watching this documentary again allowed me to (re)see many things that I had either forgotten or fallen asleep to during the first time.  For instance, I never realized that the Stonewall was owned by the mafia and how they, the mafia, were so oddly connected to and involved with the LGBT community.  They supported/funded and provided a safeguard yet gouged them on quality drinks and prices.  One thing that I can never forget is the truck yard.  I could never imagine having absolutely no place to go and forced to be "romantic" with someone inside of a pitch black, vomitous smelling, confined meat-packing semi-truck.   And even there police are roaming, looking for "illicit acts."  Being rejected from hotels, restaurants, bars, parks, most all public places, and even possibly your own home.  I simply cannot imagine.  This was only 46 years ago.  Look at how far we've come.  At the same time, we have not come far enough, at all.  Obama finally signed the law banning job discrimination last year but California is still the only state (in ten years!) to have passed an equal-benefits law.  And this still does not protect trans workers.  Also, conversion therapy was recently banned.  When some of the interviewees spoke of conversion therapy in the documentary, I was thinking, "wow! What kind of prehistoric, middle-aged pseudoscience torturing is this?"  This took me by surprise because I thought it was banned years ago!  Clearly, we have a lot more work to do.  Another thing that caught my eye was how, when the riot broke out and the police chase ensued, everyone took advantage of New York City's grid-line streets and made circles around the cops.  That made me giggle.  One other thing that I never took into consideration before was that one of the interviewees was a former police officer, active and fighting to hold back the rioters.  This makes me question if whether or not his views, and others, had changed since the interviews were conducted to when he was a police officer.  This also makes me question what kinds of changes have occurred within the community because, as to my knowledge, there has not been something so paramount in the LGBT community, or any community in the US for that matter, to occur and have a gigantic riot or documentary be created about it.  Maybe it's our always expanding tech-world that has made society to debate over social media and the internet rather than marching through the streets.

So many crucial events and people have been erased, or attempted to, from the LGBT community history.  This is why protests, fighting (amicably), interviewing, recording, speeches, demonstrating, writing, filming, and sharing with the entire community is so critical in keeping the fight for LGBT rights alive, afloat with, and equal to basic human rights for all.  I think everyone, meaning all students-plus five of their friends, should share this documentary.  So many people have never even heard of Stonewall, except for it once being a crusty, dingy, hole-in-the-wall bar/inn.  In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary and look forward to everything else to come. :)  This was great inspiration for choosing images for the class' masterpiece.

Stonewall Uprising Documentary

I was never aware or informed about the Stonewall Riots in history books or any other class other than this one. I want to know why is this not included in history books especially since it occurred in the United States. I also found the stonewall riots documentary extremely shocking because I was never aware that homosexuality was considered an illness. Nor that they used shock therapy while showing them pornos as a method of "treatment" for homosexuals to force them to become heterosexual. That is completely unethical and dehumanizing not to mention the drugs they were given while in psychiatric care that made them feel as if they were drowning in water.

Furthermore, young students in grade school being told that they could not be homosexuals and if they identified as such, then they would be caught and live a life of hell for the rest of their lives just for being homosexual. There was false fears placed into the communities regarding homosexuality such as that they were responsible for child molestations and were discriminated against. It is quite devastating and difficult to watch the documentary in that people were being beaten simply for their sexuality and reminded much of the film Selma where African Americans were beaten simply because of the color of their skin and their quest to the Civil Rights freedom they deserved.

Stonewall thoughts

The film was interesting because it highlighted the complexity and intricacies involved in the growth of a social justice movement. I thought it was important that we got to hear the pleas for dignity and respect from the queers of the time. It was shocking to hear the conditions folxs had to deal with and live under to experience community or love. Especially unnerving was hearing about the get togethers of the meat trucks where folxs would meet.
This film demonstrates to me that these civil rights movements sprout from a much deeper pain and discontent with their social condition than any K-12 school textbook would ever tell.

It is a problem to me that these truths are kept from us because the more we know about each other's experience and struggle, the greater the support network. This happens because social issues are not isolated and if there is dialogue around them, then folxs will relate and there can be solidarity!


I really loved this video clip. I had always heard of Stonewall, but up until now, had never learned about it--or the people involved in depth. What stunned me throughout is how young all the interviewers. I understand completely that it was not that long ago, but just seeing this people my grandma's age talk about the riots, the friends they lost and saw locked up....made it all way more intense. But I really appreciated the candid testimony and am glad that they got so many points of view and that they really seemed to cover the event with lot of detail. Plus it was just really touching to hear these people's stories and to hear them retell how they experienced and saw the event within the context of their own lives. It was very powerful.

Another thing that I found interesting was that the mafia got involved within the queer scene? Like I literally had never heard of that. But to hear that the mafia got involved with setting up gay bars as a way to capitalize on persecution/provide money-making services shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did, because after all, the mafia did get involved with a lot of "criminal" activity, whether or not we consider it criminal today.

Stonewall Uprising - Reflection

Like the way I appreciate this class in general, I appreciated the Stonewall Uprising film for revealing to me an essential part of history that I didn't know about. Thought I knew that the conditions of acceptance for the LGBT community were different in the past, I was unaware of the any of the details of those discussions. It's hard for me to imagine trying to live in a society where particular sexualities and gender expressions were essentially illegal. The documentary helps me feel thankful for the work that has been done in the the past to bring us to the conditions that we have now. There's definitely more work that needs to be done to transform society into a place where communities are no longer discriminated against. For now though, it's important for us to reflect on our history and what our communities have contributed in the past in order to take steps forward.

Warner, Shayna, Stonewall

The Stonewall Documentary was sort of a shattering of what I had previously thought. I'd always been aware of the name Stonewall, as it had been referred to in my high school's GSA at least once a year around May or June. However, I never envisioned the gay rights movement to have begun in a violent, riotous manner. Nor did I have any idea of the Mafia's forced involvement, as the LGBT community had no one and no where else to turn. I found that both amusing and sad, as such an association never would have occurred to me, and the Mafia's violent, seedy nature belies the desperation the LGBT community was in at that time.

Something else that shocked me was the documentary's exploration of how homosexuality had been previously "treated." Though I know conversion therapy still exists, we are now much more aware of the moral and mental dangers to it, and many psychiatrists, instead of marking homosexuality as a disease, have condemned conversion therapy. That homosexuality was deemed a criminal offense, and California itself locked up homosexual "deviants," is also so contrary to my vision of California today as a liberal, left-wing state. I'm glad I saw this film, though, because too often I feel as though i ignore the history and activists who made it possible for me to be out without fear of harassment or criminalization.

Thoughts on Stonewall

As I watched the Stonewall Uprising documentary last Friday I realized how little I know about LGBTQ history. I ran home and did a quick google search and then another and another... This took me back to a time when I had just returned to college and I had enrolled in my first Chicana/o Studies class. With my return to college, my ideas about being a Mexican Latino were challenged by the history I was relearning in the classroom. This moment of reeducation lead to the development of my consciousness as a Chicano. Inadvertently, after a brief intro to LGBTQ History last Friday I thought to myself, "Could most of my ideas about being gay also be wrong?" and "What else is omitted from the historicizing of the LGBTQ community?" I have listened some of my classmates vocalize their queer identity, and although is not something I currently identify with, it is something I will keep in mind as the quarter progresses.
The Black Cat protest in Silver Lake in February 1967 

Despite my brief existential dilemma, I also felt a sense of pride brewing over me from the testimonials by the individuals who were present at the pride parade in New York. This new visibility was "building a community...", recalled one participant. And then I thought, Why was there was no mention of the precursor to Stonewall at the Black Cat in Los Angeles in December 31, 1966 and the ensued protest of early 1967? Where are the Black Cat protesters? I personally feel a responsibility to shift the metanarrative in the historicizing of Stonewall and Black Cat, I feel a responsibility to continue building a community without borders thats bridge the LGBTQ community's efforts for social equity and political visibility.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Stonewall Uprising: Review

My thoughts on the Stonewall Uprising documentary are both critical and empathetic. While watching the  documentary, I could not help but feel annoyed about the representation of individuals presented in the film Throughout the documentary, I could not help but to notice that the each and every person in the  film was white. Considering that it was New York, a viewer would think that New York would be diverse but what the film presents is a very one sided argument which from the perception of "the white gay male." If the Stonewall was particular about race and did not allow people of color into the bar, I believe that should have been mentioned. In relation to representation, Only three women were rarely present in the film. These women were also white. Was the Stonewall also resisting women into the space as well?

What I appreciated about the documentary was the tension that built up before presenting the even of the riot. I liked how the film was able to go into detail about the lives of LGBTQ people and how the homonormative lifestyle affected these lives. I did not know that the Stonewall was funded by the mob and how the mob benefitted from the disparities of the LGBTQ community. In relation to this, I questioned if the mob would be considered as allies or if they were exploiting the community? Overall, the  the film was well made however, representation of the entire spectrum of the community would have been greatly appreciated.

Stone Wall - Reflection

After watching the "Stone Wall" I have realized how lucky I am as a queer member in today's society. The fact that the riot was so Impactful, and freeing to the newer generations is amazing. Though the fight for he human right for the LGBT community came to surface off of tiered people whom used to have to play the closet game out of home on social life makes it even more stressful. Being gay wasn't only unacceptable but illegal to the point that people would have to behave not themselves in their local gay bars. To me the struggle and battle were worth it. It might sound like I'm just reflecting only as a beneficiary of the accomplishments, but in al reality I feel like honoring the event and those whom fought for my today rights and not carrying the burden they did makes me grateful and appreciative of the event, becaue I get to thank them for their efforts and accomplished goals, rather than struggle like they did. (This is based on the feelings developed added watching the Stone Wall documentary for like the sixth time)

"Psychic Evolution" - Stonewall Uprising

The documentary film Stonewall Uprising is an exemplary visual representation of the beginnings of the Gay and Lesbian Liberation Movements. The Stonewall Riots are discussed in the film as the events that stand between the construction and destruction of the “closet.” The film shows the efforts made by the government to police gender and sexuality in the 1950’s and 60s; television media, the public education system and other various modes of propaganda used to diminish an entire population of individuals. The lives of many people were destroyed through police entrapments, undercover raids, and physical/emotional trauma.

The film also expresses how the systems of oppression aid in the corruption of society. One example was how the Stonewall Inn was running under the mafia, who would smuggle alcohol to facilitate the needs of the patrons, and then pay off police whenever there was a raid. This is true today when we look at the oppression of the undocumented or the policing of black and brown bodies aligning with the prison industrial complex.

One point in the film that struck me was when someone mentioned the term “psychic evolution.” It made me think of the way we see LGBT identities and the appropriation of the word/identity Queer. Not long ago, this was not a name anyone would want to be called, however today we embrace it for its fluidity. The “psychic evolution” also helps understand the way we see gender identities such as the current trans/trans* movements and how these were not conceivable ideas prior to Stonewall or the First Christopher Street Pride march. I don’t say this to simplify or complicate LGBTQ identities but to understand the importance of this event at Stonewall to the trajectory of our current movements.
On the documentary about the Stonewall Uprising

     The Stonewall uprising took place at the Greenwich Village of New York City. Stonewall was a gay bar in Greenwich Village. When the uprising took place, recognition of gay rights became more widely recognized. This uprising was a result of the suppression and bias enacted against queer men and women. The 1960's was a difficult time to be queer. Social norms at this time were strict, and most people were expected to conform to a heteronormative model. Queers were suppressed in order to fit these societal norms. The public was warned of homosexuals in PSA commercials by depicting them as stereotypes, sexual deviants and predators. Homosexuality at this time was regarded as a disease. Also, a postive affirmation of one's sexual identity has yet to exist, so there was no concept of "coming out". 

     Eventually, the force that suppress became too much to tolerate. Police arrested Stonewall. And the result was that the people, who at first hid their opinions and their identity, having sex in obscure places to hide from the discrimination and silently tolerating their opressors, rebelled against the police. What I found fascinating was that queers who saw themselves as sort of like down trodden bohemians stood up not only against the police, but also against societal norms. And even though society told them that they were deviants and ill, they still found the courage and affirmation to protest in a non-violent way. 

Lazzari, Chad / Stonewall

I found myself far more captivated by the Stonewall Uprising documentary than I thought I would be.  I guess I sort of felt like I knew that story so well. I lived in New York... I've heard it told so many times. To see it all laid out sequentially,  however, was fascinating. The diagrams depicting how people used the city streets to keep wrapping around on the police every time they tried to use clearance tactics were fascinating. They will stick with me the next time I walk by the site of the former Stonewall Bar for sure (In a few weeks, btw... I'll say HI for y'all!).

Most significantly to me, however, was the story of what happened the 2nd night. I've never heard that talked about and to me, this is why Stonewall is so important. Uprisings and demonstrations had happened before, as we have heard about. When queer people realized they had taken the night - beaten the police -  and they "discovered a power they never knew they had,"  and then showed up the very next night ready for business (in more ways than one), then there really was no turning back. Furthermore, the film really connected the uprising to the birth of the movement in a way that I haven't quite gotten before. I can imagine how empowering it must have been, after years of being beaten down, to see other communities rising up to support them in the cause, not to mention the incredible courage it must have taken to show up and march in that very first parade. Extraordinary... I'm so glad we watched!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stonewall Uprising -Gay Pride

     One of the things I found fascinating in Stonewall Uprising was that the first gay pride happened in New York.  I knew there was a lot of Queer history in Greenwich Village, but I never thought it would be so rich and informative as I have witnessed in the documentary.  One of the things that for me evoked feelings of disgust was the fact that, as most of us have read in other classes, discrimination has existed in this community; however, the PSA that aired during that time is sickening.  Why pretend to make homosexuality seem like a pathologic aspect just for being with someone of the same sex?

     Being gay is not lethal, transmitted, or inherited.  Being gay is like being Latino, White, Asian, or whatever nationality we are.  Being gay is simply a trade that defines us deeply and it is innate.  Understanding why NYC would host the first Gay Pride in 1970 is important because, contrarily to recent events even within the Queer community, gay prides and festivals seem like a massive party place when it is supposed to be a place of acceptance, tolerance among ourselves and others, and peaceful unity.  Even though, Stonewall Uprising was quite the contrary, the documentary shows some violence, but it was not targeted to inflict pain on anyone, but rather to make a point that the harassment of same-sex lifestyle needed to stop.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I am Saúl

How to Take A Proper Selfie
My name's Saúl and I am a first generation Mexican American from Los Angeles. I grew up in Lennox, and in those streets I was introduced to Chicano art and history. My walk home from school always took me down the main block where all storefronts, even liquor stores and alleyways, had murals painted with industrial paints and in bold colors that seemed to almost attack your eyeballs. And yet, these walls served to protect and inform my community. Therefore in examining the correlation between community, family, and art my interest in Chicana/o Studies, as my major, closely ties to an education that is relevant to my personal experiences. Most recently, I declared Art History as a second major, hence my interest in this course.

I remember being eighteen when I first saw John Waters' Pink Flamingos starring Divine, and I could not believe how absolutely fabulous Divine was. Also, I was not certain if Divine was man or woman, and as uncomfortable as that made me, it truly did not matter because it felt good to be watching him on screen. I became obsessed with Divine, and as his most notorious on-screen character would say "I am the filthiest person alive, that's who I am!" I too, would embrace this idea because this was exactly what being gay felt to me at that time. Divine's attack on drag was smart and in-yer-face glamorous, and I love him for that.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hi there!  My name is Paige Oldham and I'm a fourth year Gender Studies major.  Only recently, I decided to add on an LGBT minor, as I took a couple of LGBT classes in the past and fell in love.  Even though Gender Studies overlaps with and includes much discussion regarding queer identities, I consider myself to be fairly new (read:  somewhat naiive) to LGBT studies. This class sparked my interest because, not only did I need my Fridays to end on a happy, fun note, but I love art!  I grew up in Redding, CA and attended a k-8 Charter arts school where students were required to take four different artsy classes every day.  My family is a huge supporter of the arts, as it is incredibly therapeutic and useful in self-exploration.  So as soon as I noticed this course was available, I immediately enrolled.  It's the best of both worlds: earning class credit while exploring the awesomeness that making art has to offer!  Especially for the Queer community in Los Angeles.

After doing some research, I discovered an ongoing event that caught my eye.  The GMCLA, Gay Men's Chorus Los Angeles, is a volunteer performing arts organization created in 1979 in West Hollywood by a small group of 99 gay men, now a very large group, that travels around the world singing classical to modern songs.  They have even recorded 14 CDs!  The GMCLA raises money for LGBT and HIV while raising awareness about the importance of equality and nondiscrimination.  My aunt and uncle have been to their Christmas/New Years show quite a number of times and rave about it.

My mama and me :)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Warner, Shayna

Hello, my name is Shayna Maci Warner, and I'm a first year World Arts and Cultures major and prospective Film/TV minor. My interest in this course stems from my own bisexuality and interest in queer film and literature, as well as a desire to further accurate representation of the queer community. I'm currently involved with OutWrite Newsmagazine, the LGBT magazine on campus, and would love to be more active in the queer community here, especially as it relates to film and literature.

One figure who I find both fascinating and integral to the LGBT community is Angela Davis. She's an incredible orator, civil and gay rights activist, and was at one time number 3 on the CIA's Most Wanted list for her radical feminist stances and association with the Communist party and Black Panther movement. She's also a huge part of Los Angeles' history, as she was a professor at UCLA in the '70s, and was constantly under fire for having an unorthodox, profane lecturing style and disseminating views that were non-conformist and radical. She still fights for both black and gay liberation today.
(that's me)

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Ibale, MJ

Hello, My name is Mariejo but you can call me MJ. I am a fourth year art history major with an interest in antiquities. I am currently applying to the VAPAE minor and I hope to as I am following a career path to museum education. 
            I am interested in the course because I, myself identify as a queer femme and have always took favor to themes of gender and sexuality in my art history course that I have taken so far. Unfortunately however, these topics are very brief. I recall taking a modern and contemporary African Art class and there was an artist that I ultimately admired. Her name was Zanele Muholi who tool photographs of the LGBTQ community in South Africa- this was very taboo and dangerous. Overall, I am taking this course to expand the study of queer art amongst different cultural communities and their impact on the term queer itself.
            What I believe to be an important mark in the Los Angeles queer community is UCLA Pride Admit Weekend. Pride Admit Weekend is the first LGBTQ admit weekend for incoming college students in the nation. It is important to note this as a mark in queer history because welcoming LGBTQ students in college campuses is vital to queer student retention and encourages students to lead successful careers beyond university. It also encourages universities to take initiatives in queer issues as they are able to recognize the faces of queer students and how much an impact the actions of the university affects queer students.

This is muh face. c: