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

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Holy Homophobia

"Holy Homophobia" was definitely my favorite poster out of the various others that we saw. I think what I appreciated most from the poster was the simplicity of the art and the different ways this can be interpreted and understood. Just talking about it in class so many of the students saw this image and shared their ideas of what this meant, it wasn't like the others that were more straightforward with their message. This can be dissected from every direction without having too much going on. The dripping of the paint representative of how these issues will no longer be able to kept behind closed doors but rather are seeping through and unstoppable like a flood taking down a wall. I very much appreciated the placement of the hole in the center of his forehead. This is very symbolic of the closed mindedness of this man and also other conservatives in a sense giving an insight into what is inside these people brains and letting it be known that there is nothing but conformity instead of understanding or love. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Day of Silence, Anonymous

"Day of Silence", Anonymous. Digital Print 2009. Pasadena, CA.

One of the things that stuck out to me as I first took a look at this poster was the violent way in which the mouth appears to be ripped out of the image. It makes a powerful statement on the emotional, physical, and psychological harm that is experienced by many of the youth in schools. These children are forced to stay silent as a result of their queer identity. In a general sense, bullying in school -and with the advent of technology, cyberbullying- have led to increased suicide rates among children in their early and mid teens. In a study conducted by Yale University, it was found that children between the age of 10 and 14 are up to 9% likely to commit suicide when undergoing experiences with bullying. In a National School Climate Survey, it was found that 82% of students who identified as queer or transgender found themselves feeling unsafe at school and had at least one incidence of bullying as a result of their sexual orientation - 32% of which even missed school on various occasions to avoid these types of confrontations. Ultimately, what this poster is advertising is an understanding and general education of tolerance for people who identify as queer or trans. Teaching tolerance from early on in schools would likely have a great impact on various mental health issues we see in people of the LGBT community.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cristina Harton

Cristina was born in Tokyo, Japan but moved to Compton when she was a year old. She has lived in Compton, South Gate, and Gardena and currently resides in Gardena. Her art is influenced by LA street culture and she creates her pieces through the lens of a lesbian, biracial woman. She began getting into the arts through graffiti in middle school and continued to paint up until high school. After high school, Cristina began to venture out and started getting into different styles. She is skilled in digital art, acrylics, watercolor, and markers.

Blood Drive Poster

I was instantly draw to this poster because out of all the posters, this one seemed the most "official". It was meant to catch the attention of people who may be interested in donating blood and whether or not they were doing it out of self interest or out of the goodness of their hearts, the creator behind the poster knew it would spark a conversation. The fact that is is so subtly laced into the poster is what makes it most powerful because it is a reflection of how systematic homophobia as well as other forms of oppression subtly infiltrate resources meant to elevate society and do so in a way that convinces the consumer that it is just standard procedure.

Alex Donis


Alex Donis is an LA-based artist whose work depicts religion, race, sexuality, and politics. I chose Alex because his work goes outside of cultural and societal norms in depicting different aspects of life.

Poster Reflection

The phrase "He Kills Me" is sometimes used to refer to someone who makes another person or group laugh. In this instance, however, the phrase is used in its literal meaning of killing someone. The Reagan Administration was criticized for failing to address the AIDS epidemic that had been killing many people. In addition, the smirk that Reagan has in this photo evokes the idea that Reagan knew there was an AIDS epidemic, but consciously decided to ignore it, which resulted in the death of many people in the LGBT community. The image to the left of Reagan reminds me of an eye that is watching over everyone and the decisions they make. 

Kissing Doesn't Kill….

I think what first struck me about this is the paradox between this posters subtlety and its subsequent strength and influence. If you were to just glance at the poster walking by, you would have to do a double take for it to reach its maximum impact. The white background kind of provides a literal blank slate through which the figures stand out, almost as if they're in a state of equality with no outside prejudice or injustice. Looking closer at the figures themselves, what strikes me as interesting is the small distance between the last two couples. While the heterosexual couple seems fully comfortable, with no distance in between their faces, the lesbian and gay couples have a small space of separation in between them, signaling something that is distinguishing them or differentiating them from the heterosexual couple on the far left. Further, the artist is making the statement that not only should kissing be universally accepted for all peoples, it is further, harmless. Fury is arguing that corporate structures are profiting off of AIDS, and instead of progress being made, people are suffering because of widespread ignorance and selfishness. He's calling for acceptance and change. He is calling for that space between the last two couples to be removed.

PHWEET by Tsung Woo Han (1991)

Whistle so you can be heard! Let your community know you are in danger! PHWEET! PHWEET! PHWEET!!! Tsung Woo Han's poster, PHWEET, 1991, mission is to encourage many members of the LGBT community to blow their whistle, literally, making aware of their presence to the attacker, victim, or others within their community. To phweet was to address the witnessing of a hate violence or later domestic abuse. The whistle blown-up as larger than scale object presenting the importance of  awareness. Utilizing bright red and all-cap letters is typical an approach in getting a message across to victims or seers of hate violence. In reality, Tsung's poster promotes the blowing of whistles in dire situations, trying to prevent an escalation in abuse. I'm drawn to this poster not for its usage of simplistic imagery, but rather its symbolism to connote through the usage of noise or loud PHWEET.

Art World Token

The poster that I was interested in reflecting on is Top Ten Signs That You're An Art World Token by the Guerrilla Girls. Being an artist, often going to galleries and museum exhibitions, as well as working for a museum, I've thought about this a lot. The under representation of people of color, of women, and especially women of color in the art world is astonishing. Even as things are supposedly getting better today, the inequality remains. Not every museum or exhibition space does this, but there have been many times where I have seen a "special" women's section, or where it seems as if they are constantly highlighting the color or someone's skin, to attempt to gain points for the lack of acknowledgment in the past. What I appreciate about the Guerrilla girls is how they fight with facts, and make themselves and their ideas/arguments present through protest, and public postering. It's hard to argue against facts. This poster in particular has an added element of sarcasm to it, which makes it especially hard hitting. What is important in this poster is that these things they are pointing out are true, and everyone associated with the art world has either experienced them, or knows people who have.


I'd seen this poster multiple times before without context, often not giving it a second thought. It was three years ago that it was given meaning in my first LGBT class at UCLA with my introduction to the ACT UP organization. When the AIDS crisis first broke out, President Ronald Reagan refused to comment on the issue at hand. His silence led to the dissemination of misinformation, ignorance, and the deaths of thousands. Further, his lack of speech slowed down national efforts to begin testing and finding a cure for the new disease. This led to the slogan "SILENCE = DEATH". Doing some research, it seems the main question/cry for help behind this slogan was "Why aren't you doing something?", leading to the notion that inaction causes deaths.
The ACT UP poster draws some inspiration from World War II, where the Nazi regime required marginalized groups to wear triangles of different colors to identify people. Use of a pink triangle in the poster allows gay people to take back a symbol that was regularly used against them during a dark time in history and use it as a source of empowerment and social justice. This simple, yet powerful poster sends a clear message with a horrifying history. In addition, it empowers gay people to take action within their communities and to use their voices as a tool for justice.

I appreciated this poster at first sight. To me this poster is a depiction of affection, in loving embrace of the Virgin Mary. I am fond of the sight due to the fact that it depicts two "holy figures" kissing and holding each other with passion. Even though they are both male, their interaction appears to be tender and sincere. The opposite of what people during this era thought of homosexuals. They believed them to be promiscuous and most importantly, sinners. The fact that the image is made up of religious figures might have enraged many, but comforted others as well. For instance, when I came out to my mother she told me I was going to hell. Even though I have never really been religious, maybe showing her this poster might have made her rethink things. 

Other than showing a pure act of love the poster reads "Every 10th Jesus is a QUEER". First of all to me this means that homosexuality is not a rare "disease" that "affects" certain "promiscuous deviants"  in the world, it means that it is very common to be queer and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Also the fact that the word "QUEER" is capitalized makes me feel like there is a sense of certainty and exclusivity that we were tired of hiding. Love is pure no matter who it is shared by, if its there, its real and it should be left alone to thrive. 

A.L. Steiner

The artist I am interested in researching is A.L. Steiner. A.L. Steiner is an LA based multi-media artist mainly working in photography, installation, video, and performance. I've been interested in her work for a while now due to many aspects of her practice. A.L. Steiner's visual practice, which is mainly interested in queer and eco-feminist ideas, intersects with her activism in the art world. A.L. Steiner is a professor, a member of Chicks on Speed (a multidisciplinary art collective), and a co-founder of W.A.G.E (Working Artists and the Greater Economy). I am interested in learning more about how art and activism can intersect, and also how activist ideas can be held within a single artwork. A.L. Steiner is known for creating large-scale image installations of overlapping images, the content often being intimate portraits of friends and her community. A.L. was in the news recently because she directed Peaches' video for her new song "Rub". I found this video quite important due to its openness at representing trans bodies both in the nude, as well as sexually empowered. I found out about A.L. Steiner through a professor/artist called MPA who made a huge impact on me and the way I think about everything now. MPA and A.L. Steiner were the first women I've known personally to choose alternative names for themselves, ones that defy gender roles and cultural expectations. A.L. Steiner's work feels very empowering and helpful, and I want to keep on learning how that is being achieved in the work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Math Bass

The Artist I've chosen is Math Bass (b. 1981 Los Angeles). She is a contemporary artist living in Los Angeles. Utilizing painting, performance, sculpture, sound, and video her work creates compositions create ambiguous illusions within her installations. These forms fluctuate between animal and human traits to architectural structures, indicating movement within an enclosed space.

Deney Tuazon and Gregory Pacificar : The Malaya Project

For my artists, I chose the duo Deney Tuazon, photographer, and Gregory Pacificar, filmmaker. They came together to create The Malaya Project, a photography project that highlights the lives of diverse proud gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender and queer Filipino/as. Through their pictures and film, they are able to capture the everyday lives of individuals and create a narrative for LGBTQ Filipino/as.

LGBT Entrepreneur and Yogi.

Kissing Doesn't Kill: Greed And Indifference Do by Gran Fury, New York City 1989
Like many of these political art posters, this one speaks many volumes. My first initial reaction was: here are three couples kissing, but as I read deeper into the poster I noticed other telling details. Looking at the people alone, we see three couples: a heterosexual couple, a gay couple, and a lesbian couple ranging in other different characteristics such as age and race. In addition, the above text reads, "kissing doesn't kill: greed and indifference do." This comments on the fact that no matter what sexuality, gender, age, race, class, etc, this does not result directly to AIDS or the deaths from AIDs. Instead, it is the government and political inaction that kills. We also get this information and what they are directly referring to from the bottom text: "corporate greed, government inaction, and public indifference make aids a political crisis." 

What I find most interesting about this poster are the differences between each couple. From my interpretation, I see a heterosexual that is plainly kissing each other with no emotion. In contrast, the two queer couples are in the moment, full of passion and life. I feel like this can be interpreted many ways, but I think this can draw on the normality of heterosexual couples and how these two couples are challenging this norm. 

Ronald Regan "He Kills Me" by Donald Moffett 1987

I firs saw this poster laminated in repetition on a 20 ft wall in the "America is Hard to See" gallery at the Whitney Museum in NY, NY in the summer of 2015. My first reaction, to the half smile and title, was humor as if he is funny in some way. I thought maybe it was a comment showcase how laughable it was that he was the president. In reading the discription of Donald Moffett poster I gained more contexual understanding in the poster location in the AIDS epidemic. It is also interesting to relate this poster the the documetry film "And the Band Played On" where the burcracy of the CDC prologed any sense of devlopment ultimaly killed mass quanities of people. In parellel, in not acknowledging the AIDS epidemic Ronald Regan killed those affected by ignoring a population in a state of emergancy. The left hand of the poster resembles a target or a hypnotic tool, a target to isolate the affected groups or to hipnoties the general popuation into disbelief of the AIDS epidemic. Beyond contributing to becoming iconic, anybody have ideas as to the intention of he left hand graphic?

Stonewall Uprisings Reflection ( story sharing)

It really reminds me of the experience one of my best friends in China have had. Like most of the gay people in China, where gay marriage is still illegal, he was not allowed to come out and lead a regular life like a "normal" people,

But just at the end of last year, he wrote a long passage to come out and posted it on Weibo (Chinese version of Facebook).I still remember some of them, which really touched me:

"Nothing is worse than hiding your identity in front of the one you love/care. Nothing is worse than trying so hard to be comprehensively adequately good just to "earn" the love and respect from the society...I am a homosexual, I am proud of myself for all the life achievements I had done so far. And I am sure I will achieve more, as long as I do not give up. For the other people who under this threat, please do not be too harsh to your parents. It is not their fault to have this attitude. It is this society. And the society needs time to change. Bigotry only breeds more bigotry, prejudice only breeds more prejudice, hatred only breeds more hatred, and ignorance only breeds more ignorance. One day, I wish I could put my brick on the path to the equality for LGBT people in China." 

Just like you guys proud of all those brave people who have been fighting for the LGBT equality in the U.S in the past decades, I am so proud of him.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rafa Esparza

Rafa Esparza was born and raised in Pasadena, CA. His art practice started in painting. Then after entering East Los Angeles City College, he was exposed to interdisciplinary installation and performance art. In his time at UCLA he drew influence from Ron Athey a queer performance who became known for his 1990s "Self-Obliteration" series that used the body as the focus and the canvas for bringing forward issues relating illness and disability during the AIDS epidemic. Esparza involves his person in many of his works, the first that I witnesses was "The Flower Carriers" performed on May 29th 2014 in the UCLA Sculpture Garden. Esparza deals with themes of masuliniy and embodyment in a the context of Los Angeles, his Mexican herritage, and sexuality.

Juan Solis

The artist I have chosen is Juan Solis. He is a muralist and portrait artist.  His art surrounds and captures the beauty of women. One similarity between most of his artwork, are the warm colors he uses in them. Reds, yellows, and oranges create a relaxing ambiance when looking at galleries of his artwork. Butterflies, as seen in this image here, are also common in his work in addition to hearts and La Virgen de Guadalupe.

Wes Hempel

For my artist, I decided to choose Wes Hempel, an artist who was born right here in El Monte, CA. His art focuses on the relationship between homosexuality and spirituality; that is, he focuses on the balance between exercising one's freedom and gaining the acceptance of not only fellows of the same religion. His paintings are based on the inner conflict and reflect an attempt to find harmony between the two.

Stonewall Uprising

While watching the Stonewall Uprising, one of the things that stood out to me was the empowerment that the people had at the end of the documentary. They had gone through so much inequality and public mistreatment/shame that one would think they would have broken down. Instead, it fired up their fight for their lives and peace in their community. I was astonished to find out they had been experimented and medically treated on because their sexual preferences were seen as an illness. That was probably the worst part of this event, that the people were thought to be sick, when really, it was just who they were. This incorrect idea (that being gay was an illness) was the core of the mistreatment and inequality they received. In present time, there are still people that believe having a non heterosexual relationship or attraction is wrong. To continue to spread peace amongst humanity, it is crucial that people either accept others, or let them be. Because what do we gain, as a species, by bringing our people down instead of working together to become better.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Alfredo de Batuc

I choose Alfredo de Batuc because he is the first one I click on the whole list lol, but I still believe it's more a karma than an accident. That one second of looking into his paintings seems like the starry sky coming from straight ahead. I am in a world of only his paintings and me. 
Here is one of his remarkable paintings:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stonewall Uprising Reflection

As someone who has not done extensive research on gay rights movements, I commonly associate the recent gay rights movements as the first of its kind. To hear that people as early as the 1960s were successfully battling for the rights of the LGBT community is inspiring. While watching the documentary, one aspect that really stood out to me was the hatred the general population had for the LGBT community. It seemed that any person who did not conform to the traditional heterosexual white society was persecuted. The Civil Rights movement was gaining momentum during the 1960s, which was a progressive time for this country. However, those same rights of equality were not extended to the LGBT community as there were no prominent political figures who were taking a stance against gay persecution.

One part of the documentary that resonated with me the most was the scene where an authority figure in public education was giving a talk to middle schoolers telling them that being gay was against the law. He went on to say that if any child is having gay thoughts that they should immediately tell their superiors so that they can correct the mistake and that there is no hiding your gay feelings. Essentially, he was telling a group of 13 years olds that if you are gay then that is not okay and that you will get in trouble for it.

The events that took place at the Stonewall Inn truly transformed the landscape of the LGBT community moving forward. People of all races, religions, and cultures came together in an act of solidarity to show that they deserve to be a part of society like every other individual. Despite today's society having it racial and gay issues, I feel privileged to be a part of a nation that is so progressive and willing to take the necessary steps so that everyone's voice is heard.

Poster evaluation

I chose this poster because it resonated the most with me, being that the flaws of our history books are something that disgusts me most about our culture and education system. All too often, history is written from the standpoint of wealthy white men and that is apparent when reading any history book from kindergarten until senior year of high school (and even beyond). We were taught to believe Christopher Columbus was a hero and the importance of all similar powerful white men from then until now. Minorities roles in America, whether they are African American, women, or part of the LGBT community, are completely undermined and often ignored. This indoctrinates children at a young age that there is only one correct way to exist in society and that is to be heterosexual. Being straight, I never thought about this kind of stuff growing up and I'd love any feedback from an LGBT individual that grew up reading and being taught from these history books and realizing there wasn't anybody written in them that they could identify with. And it is so much more than just sexuality, it's the essence of the individual's core. I don't believe history books should identify each historical figure as either straight or gay or somewhere in between, but to undermine their sexuality is to ignore the core of who they are. I had no idea Walt Whitman was considered a prophet of gay liberation, nor was I very familiar with Eleanor Roosevelt's constant fight for civil rights and the loving relationships she had with other important women in history, such as Amelia Earhart and Lorena Hickok. Again, it goes much further than the fact that history ignores their sexuality, it has to do with trust, and giving accurate accounts of history rather than only mentioning the facts that appeal to the wealthy and conservative. To call Christopher Columbus a hero is an easy way to ignore the injustices done to the Native Americans and celebrate American history without feeing guilty. To call Walt Whitman one of history's most recognized and important poets but to ignore the poems and messages he gives to his audience about gay liberation is an easy way to assassinate his entire character while still reaping the benefits of his more conservative work. And to ignore the profound work in civil rights activism and loving relationships with women Eleanor Roosevelt had is an easy way to show America that no one other than your average, powerful man and quiet, obediant wife has a place in the House, and if the "others" somehow find a way into the House, they will ultimately be disregarded. When will the character assassinations stop?

Zackary Drucker

I chose trans artist Zackary Drucker because of the controversy of her artwork. She is a performance artist that challeges perceptions of gender and sexuality. I admire her photography and the message she sends to her viewers.

Artist: Robert Mapplethorpe

     Robert Mapplethorpe, born in the mid 1940's in New York, started his career in art from humble beginnings. Carefully crafting portraits of his friends, such as Patti Smith, with a basic polaroid camera; he eventually went on to become an influential photographer in both queer and mainstream communities. Most of his work is in black and white and consists of erotic portraits of black and white bodies, which would later stir controversy in the debate over public funding of the arts.
     Though Mapplethorpe died in the late eighties from HIV/AIDS complications, his work is still revered today through his foundation.

Stonewall Uprising

Gay Shock Therapy
Nazi Shock Experimentation

The comment I made in class about the connections between shock therapy of gay men in California, from the Stonewall documentary, and the Nazi Regime's shock experimentation are even clearer when images are compared. Yet the Nazi medical experiments and are infamous while some the same brutalization of gay men are not. The two images are indistinguishable without the captions. I also recently had a conversation about the "Rodney King Riots" and the way that history as a way of labeling civil unrest of a minority or particular group a riot. This connects to what was mentioned in class about Black Lives Matter and what was mentions in the documentary about the distinction of the historical name, the"Stonewall Riots" and its more real existence as the Stonewall uprising. I think Giselle Persak point out that the lack of organization that lead up to the Stonewall Riots is part of what makes it the moment in history it is and potentially what labels it a riot, but simultaneously it is import to highlight how the event drove people to seize the moment and become organized.

Stonewall Uprising

To think that at some point in history, my community was seen and treated like a group of "promiscuous animals" flushes me with a sea of emotions. I watched the film on my own and as soon as doctors were providing "diagnoses" I paused the film and thought about my privilege. Even though my mother rejected me and my sexuality, I had the ability to be myself without being completely "ruined" as many as the individuals in the film stated. I knew that society did not accept me entirely, but the hatred and homophobia was not as severe as it was in the past. Human beings were "treated" with ancient procedures like aversion therapy and lobotomies that would only violate basic human rights.

I was very angry and frustrated at all of the discrimination and violence that the queer community experienced, but my heart was touched every time the eyes of the witnesses' gleamed with joy. These beautiful people were ready to fight, they were tired of the injustices and just like they said in the film, there was not a riot, there was an uprising. I had heard about the incidents in Stonewall, but never in this way. Never will I forget that June 28th, 1970 was the day some of the bravest people in history proudly marched through the streets of New York City in order to be humanized. Just imagine carrying a sign in broad daylight that reads "gay and proud" in an extreme heteronormative society? I will forever be thankful to the wonderful souls that decided it was time to be accepted, it was time to stand up and fight because if that had never happened, I would not be able to identify as the person I do now and neither would the rest of the queer community.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Lecture 1: Stonewall Uprising GAY LA Part1

Perhaps the most amazing part of the Stonewall Uprising documentary that we watched in class was the sense of community that was established between the marginalized Queer people in New York. One of the most memorable quotes for me was from one of the men who had gone through the ordeal and mentioned that his father had told him (as I am likely paraphrasing) "'Bout time you all stood up for yourselves." In the spirit of their rebellion against the police, the queer community was able to band together because of their shared experiences. It's an absolutely amazing accomplishment. Until then, I didn't quite understand the basis of the Pride Celebrations that are held all over various cities in the US and other countries as well, so it was very interesting to finally gain some insight as to the significance of the parade.

When recalling the history of all the suffering that people went through because of their sexuality in the film(Atascadero), as mentioned by one of our classmates, one can identify correlations to the treatment of people in the Holocaust. Incidents of chemical waterboarding, humiliation, lobotomy, and even castration were documented during the facility's time in operation. What's more interesting as was pointed out in the book is that these events were not novel: they had been present since the beginning of missionary involvement in the lives of Native Americans with the humiliation of homosexuals despite the preordained acceptance of homosexuality in Native American tribes.

Frank Ocean

For my midterm paper and presentation, I would like to research Frank Ocean. His rise as a hip hop artist is incredible and then to come out as a gay black man in the hip hop industry, which is not known for a welcoming and being more homophobic sphere. For Frank Ocean to sing about his experiences in such a cruel industry makes him a trailblazer for other queer artists to create space and a sense of community. He is ever evolving and makes no apologies.

Stonewall Uprisings

As I mentioned in class, the unique moment of the film that struck me the most was when one of the interviewees mentioned that although Stonewall was a grungy bar, the reason it was so popular was because it was located within the few blocks that felt safe to the LGBT community. I sat back and imagined myself in New York, maybe standing on the corner of a busy intersection, and pictured myself only feeling safe (and even then, not truly safe) within the confines of a few blocks. I couldn't imagine having that feeling within the expansiveness that is New York City. 

I grew up very close to the Bay Area and remember my first time seeing a gay pride parade. I was maybe too young to be around guys wearing only a sparkly thong, but it introduced me to the beauty of love that takes place in so many shapes and forms. It was really interesting for me to see where the parades are today, and especially where they came from and the history and power attached to them. Someone in class mentioned when we were discussing what an uprising really meant, that there had to be a strong group of people who really felt united to one another in order for the uprising to be successful. This statement kind of struck me because when I think of riots or uprisings that I've learned about in history classes, I recall months of preparation and organization. Those dedicated to the cause worked endlessly to coordinate and rally people. The fascinating thing about Stonewall was that there was absolutely no organization leading up to it. There weren't people in meetings or anyone yelling out of a megaphone, there was just one instance that ignited the passions of a whole community of people.

Stonewall Uprisings Reflection

      Thinking back on last weeks class and film, I find myself trying not to dwell them too much. It provokes a visceral and emotional reaction, especially because the topics hit very close to my heart. It's difficult not to imagine being born just a few decades earlier and being persecuted simply for my sexual orientation and gender identity, which today seem such a natural and integral part of my being. To hear so called experts medicalize sexualities and vilify them in order to justify the brutality against LGBT people strikes home, especially knowing so many people in the world still clutch onto these toxic ideologies (Think Uganda's anti-homosexuality legislation just a few years back). I'm fortunate to be living in a time where our thinking towards the LGBT community is progressing to a more positive place. When I came out to my parents some six years ago, I wasn't in fear that they'd kick me out, or even disown me from the family, which looking back now is a blessing thanks to the work the gays and allies of Stonewall.
     On a more critical note, I'd like to point out the little credit that was given to the transgender community in the film. While they did touch on the women who were a part of the community, their involvement in Stonewall is not given justice. Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who later founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) played major roles in the uprisings and political organizations following Stonewall. While it's understandable that these women passed in the early 90's, I believe in giving  credit where credit is due. Further, because trans people have been so marginalized within and outside the LGBT community, I imagine they deserve even more credit.

Stonewall Uprising

Before watching the documentary in class, I had already had a brief intro on what the Stonewall Riots were about. I learned about it thanks to a very beautiful friend of mine who constantly reminds me of the importance of learning about LGBT history. Even though I have always known I was gay, I never thought too much about it because most people would never guess it. I have a considerable amount of straight passing privilege and perhaps that is why I have focused so much of my energy on other facets of my identity.

As I was listening to the testimonies of the people that were at the Stone Wall Riots, a rush of adrenaline pumped through my veins. These are the people who have made it that much safer for my not so straight passing partners, friends, and other LGBT brothers and sisters to walk the streets together. The courage that it took to stand up to not just the police but to society as a whole is moving. The passion that these activists hold in their hearts reminded me of why I participate in uprisings and why it is imperative to keep these histories alive. As Isaac Newtown said, we are standing on the shoulders of giants. In order to dismantle current bias discourses on not just the LA or New York LGBT cultures, we need to constantly acknowledge and honor others who have come before. 

Stonewall Uprising Doc

I learned through the Stonewall Uprising that there were so many negotiations that queer people had to navigate through just to exist and find a place to flourish. While being rejected and continually branded as "other", the desire for community, belonging, and family is the foundation for the fire and brute force for rights of the LGBTQ community. I was heartbroken by the lengths for which the government went to potentially "cure" these people, completely stripping them of their humanity. I was left wondering if their result left them satisfied? Was being a vegetable in a mental hospital unable to contribute, grow, learn, that much better? The sheer torture and the justification for this inhumane treatment had me questioning the decency of those in power. Although there was an element of humor to the PSAs that were shown throughout the documentary, mainly because we, as a society, have come so far and seeing the depiction of the creepy, mustachioed, older gentlemen with porno cards in his pocket, trolling the park in his station wagon attempting to lure young boys into temptation, is dramatic, comical, but completely feared and legitimate at that time. Another aspect of the documentary that stuck with me was the immense amount of shame that was placed on the unfortunate individual that had been arrested and consequently outed by the way of having their personal information plastered all over the local newspapers. The continual reminder of "you are not right and you are not welcome" rang throughout the entire first half of the film, but what really inspired me was the resiliency and the power that pushed back against what seemed a world of "no". The trailblazers, the often unsung heroes, the underdogs created, redefined, and stomped their way into a place of "yes". I loved seeing the fire in the eyes of the people that were there the night of the Stonewall Uprising and the pride and the satisfied smirks of revenge. The triumph lit up their faces, which for me in academia, the result of Stonewall is never the main focus, whereas the heartbreak receives all the focus, which rightfully so. However, I was inspired and pleased to see the positive and uplifting "end" to this uprising, which spurred and coupled with other uprisings that were born after and alongside.

Stonewall Uprising

            I’ve learned little about the Stonewall Uprising and the affects it had in bringing gay rights to national attention. It’s amazing to note that it has to reach a point pressure within a marginalized community to finally standup for themselves against what society sees “morally right.” There’s been previous civil uprisings for LGBT rights before Stonewall, one especially in Los Angeles. Gay and lesbian patrons of a downtown donut shop, around 1959, were sick of the constant negative harassment by Los Angeles Police Department, they threw coffee and donuts at them stating enough is enough. 
             In the American Experience documentary, Stonewall Uprising, we see the constant public, psychological, and bureaucratic torment of young men and women who identified as gay or lesbian. For most of these individuals, they lived a life of shame and secrecy, fearing for worst when entering the public sphere. But there were havens, such as the Stonewall Inn, that provide a safe zone for young gay and lesbian individuals to act as themselves.
  I’ve never been participant of any protest or pride parade in my life, but after watching the documentary, I felt this revolt helped secure a pathway of dialogue and security amongst individuals of the LGBT community and my closet friends and peer who identify as gay or lesbian. Although today, there are still some who believe in “preserving moral straightness.” I believe we as society have progressively moved further up the ladder in LGBT rights through policy changes and public awareness, there is more to done in fighting for acceptance for all. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stonewall Uprising

In the past, I've learned an extent to the Stonewall "Riots" and the gay rights movement. However, never before this was I able to watch this uprising and how it led up to those events. From what I remember reading, the riots were made to sound very disorganized and violent. Even in the news and media at the time, headlines framed the community with such negative connotation.  In contrast, in the documentary, we were able to see all the love and solidarity that came from the LGBTQ community.

The part in the documentary that struck me the most was the tormenting in clinics and brainwashing  in schools that was implemented. This part was difficult for me to watch without feeling so uncomfortable and disgusted by society. It amazes me to think that people saw this as a mental illness  and did all they could to prevent people from "becoming" this way. It makes me wonder how these children may have felt- discomfort, scared, alone, etc.

My favorite part of the documentary was seeing these individuals come together in one space that allowed them to be free to who they are without feeling judged or discriminated. Overall, being able to watch this documentary was very empowering. It makes me proud to be part of a community that is rooted from these leaders.

This documentary allowed me to see a new perspective. These events in our past have shaped today. Although there are  negative outcomes- having people that still have these beliefs, along with the oppression and discrimination that still exists. However,  I am hopeful because we, as a society, have progressed. Thanks to our leaders, they were able to create a foundation to our rights today.

I am thankful that I go to an institution where I am able to take these classes and meet other individuals, who's stories I can learn from. However, I still believe that there is more that can be done, such as more representation in the media or in our high school history classes.
During this past summer I was actually able to visit the Stonewall Inn. At that moment I felt honored to have been able to see it with my own eyes. I was able to imagine what it must have felt like to go there to meet other queer individuals like myself, or even to have been a part of the riots. Looking back now, after seeing the documentary, I feel a deeper appreciation having known more of the context of the uprising.

The picture on the left was taken during the day. The picture on the right was the night of the day that the supreme court legalized same-sex marriage.

Stonewall Uprising Response

        What most interested me in Stonewall Uprising were the creation of events that were able to bring people together, and to give them a space in which they not longer felt as alone. Multiple times throughout the film, people recounted that at this moment, they finally realized that they were not alone, that there were others like them, and that they were all coming out in the open. Together, at a breaking point, they were able to see that there were more people than they expected that were either like them, or that supported them, and were willing to risk everything to break down these absurd and hellish social constructions. The most meaningful part of the documentary for me was when they recounted that directly after the first night of protest, they refused to let it end the following day. They kept the protests going and going, and weren't going to let it fizzle out. There was an energy present that needed to be acted upon, and that was exactly what they did.
        Growing up, I've participated in a few demonstrations, but have also sometimes questioned how helpful they can be. I absolutely believe in protests and demonstrations, and hearing about the non-ending nature of the Stonewall protest made me feel hopeful (and regretful of my questioning of protests in the first place). In the film, they did admit to the use of violence, and that that was something that actually really aided in the protest, and of creating a sense of fear for the police. I have volunteered at Gay Pride parades and have experienced the power of people gathering together in peaceful protests, but never have in a way that exherted violence. It made me wonder what it would be like to be involved in a protest with the use of violence, where your liberty or safety is at stake - what does that feel like?
        There are many things that I believe should be protested against today, and a movement that is getting a lot of recognition in terms of protesting is the Black Lives Matter movement. Just the other day, protesters barricaded themselves and blocked traffic on the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland. These protests have been on my mind a lot within the past year, and watching this film reminded me that there is a lot of power in protests, and most importantly, that they must keep on going until something is changed. During certain moments when I was watching Stonewall Uprising, it was hard for me to imagine a time like this, but then I remembered that only recently gay marriage has been legal in the United States, and in many parts of the world it is still a crime to be homosexual. I feel proud to live within a society which now openly accepts gay and lesbian citizens, but there are still many problems to overcome, and many outcasted groups of people (whether it is due to sexual identity, race, economic groups, gender, or more) that are absurdly overlooked and not treated equally. There is still a lot of work to do, but I believe that we can get there.

Gay LA Part I & Stonewall Uprising

I found the reading and documentary this week to be completely eye opening. For one, I have never until now known anything about the history of gay rights (at least before the 2000's), gay movements, etc. Just like how some may argue white people have white privilege, maybe the same thing can be said about those who are straight. Straight privilege. Maybe the reason I wasn't aware of these huge events in LGBT history and the strict laws and opression the community used to face is simply due to the fact that I am straight living in what one may argue as a predominately straight society. And it is a huge disadvantage to the gay community for most of society to not even acknowledge the pain and suffering it took to get here today. History must be learned in order for it to not repeat itself, and I fear that a lot of those who openly oppose the LGBT community today is due to ignornance. Ignornace of the past, ignornance of things that they can't or are not willing to understand, and ignorance to the possibility that love can exist in all forms. (or often times, a low IQ and a lot of self-hate.)
What I found most interesting about the reading and the documentary was the fact that the LGBT community was more often than not portrayed as sexual deviants. I don't think any of us can imagine a modern day world where it's illegal to publicily hold hands with someone you love, dress the way that makes you feel comfortable, and make love to the person you loved or felt a mutual sexual attraction to. This was life back then for the LGBT community and of course with these kind of laws, and not to mention the societal stigma of mental illness and sinfulness, people are going to react and retaliate. There's a psychological concept  where when you label someone a certain way and bascially eliminate any posibility in that person's mind that they are anything other than what you label them as, they will naturally act according to that label. Since the LGBT community was constantly told they were mentally ill sexual deviants, why would they feel they need to prove this type of society otherwise? It was truly tragic to read how many people were unwiling to fight for their rights because they actually thought there was something wrong with them, they were afraid of being arrested or harrassed, or they were afraid of ridicule from their community, often leading to job loss.
It took a few great leaders to gather the LGBT community and remind them of their worth and lead some huge historic movements, like the Mattachine society and Sisters of Bilitis.
One day, I would like to see a world where major historic organizations like the ones above and events like the Black Cat and Stonewall uprisings are given the recognition they deserve and are common knowledge so that it doesn't take having to take an LGBT studies class in college to have to learn about them for the first time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hello y'all, I'm Marlene! Born and raised in San Diego, I'm a 4th year Gender Studies/Comm Studies double major minoring in Digital Humanities and Theater. Having had the opportunity to live in great cities like NYC and LA has really called to my artistic side and opened up a whole other realm of creative interest for me. I am especially interested in socio-political art as well as abstract and performance art. To me the way the people interpret art is what is most fascinating about the work. How some can feel an emotional connection while others may be offended by the same piece is what makes me have this great interest in art. As an actress and performer I deal with having to interpret artworks in script for often. I may take a work of art and perform it as a drama while another may perform it as a comedy. It is the subjectivity of art that is so amazing. This class also interested me because I would like to be a better ally to the LGBTQ community and have a deeper understanding of the issues that people from this community deal with.

Jackie Gaetos

Hi! My name is Jackie Gaetos and I'm from Salinas, California. I'm currently a fourth year Sociology major and I'm completely terrified and excited to graduate. On campus, you may have seen me checking out laptops or study room reservations for students in Powell or YRL. I'm also heavily involved with Samahang Pilipino, a cultural organization, as President, advocating for the Pilipinx/Pilipinx-American community. Besides that, things that make me happy include exploring, writing, eating, hiking, enjoying/creating art, and just chillin'. 

I'm really stoked to take this class 1. as a Queer individual, I always enjoy spaces like this that allow me to grow and learn more about my identity and 2. being able to do this through art and expression is beautiful and exciting. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Hello! My name is Julienne Fusello, and I am a Senior in the Art Department at UCLA. I grew up in San Francisco, and spent much of my younger years within LGBTQ communities through my parents' associations. I moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA, and plan on continuing on living and working here within the arts. In recent years, my practice and education has been greatly influenced by artists and writers such as Maggie Nelson, Hilton Als, MPA, A.L. Steiner, Math Pearl Bass, and many more. I was interested in taking this course because I want to continue my education on LGBTQ issues, history, and theory. Through my education in the art department, I have learned a lot about the topics presented in this class, but know that a lot has been left out as well, and I hope to better understand an entire picture. As an art student, I was additionally drawn to the ways in which we would be exploring these topics, particularly through visual arts projects, because that has been the way that I know best how to express myself, and it feels empowering to be in a class with this structure.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Timna Naim

Hello Hello! My name is Timna Naim. I am a 3rd year Dance Major with a minor in LGBT Studies and a Minor in Visual and Performing Arts Education. I am a movement, sculpture, performance, and food artist who identifies as an Israeli-American Genderqueer Gay Male (Name>Pronouns). I enjoy meeting people and learning about the different experiences of unique individuals. I am working on a study of identity/self-identification and how it informs and is influenced by intra/interpersonal relationships. The research is contextualised by the standing relationships I have with now four separate individuals, our meeting are informed by my own identity studies as well as a shared creative expressions in words, music, movement, or drawing. This is a project where I create abstract ceramic portrait works of some of the individuals that are heavily influenced by the research meetings and ask them to create relational works also based on our meetings. I am taking Queer Arts in Los Angeles this quarter because Queer performance art is current part of my own practice as an artist. I am interested in the focus that this class will have on Chicana/Chicano Artist and how that will inform the work we discuss. Looking forward to an interesting quarter!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ramirez, Saul

Hello, my name is Saul Ramirez. I am a 5th year Biology Major at UCLA. Originally, I am from Compton, CA but now live in the San Fernando Valley and have lived in the Midwest (Kansas) as well. I am currently enrolled in LGBTS and am excited to learn more about and gain an appreciation for the Queer Art in LA. I like to consider myself a very friendly person and am excited to work on the class project with everyone. My background as an artist is not particularly expansive - as I have only worked on my IB Certificate in Art in High School with scattered occasional projects- but I do have some experience with web design and image manipulation through the company I have been working for since I started my college career. In the future, I will be applying for Graduate Programs across the country and do research. Ultimately, my goal for this class is to gain an appreciation for the history behind the queer community through an art-based medium.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

About Me

My name is Jessica Valles, I am a third year at UCLA. I major in Chicana/o Studies and I hope to minor in LGBT. I am from Downtown Los Angeles. I am a very quiet person, but I want to change that. I hope to one day publish my own book, as i have been dreaming of since I was in middle school. The reason I am taking this course is to continue trying to find who I am and what my purpose is (as an artist), and have fun while I do that. I love art and I also love to draw. I have practiced in drawing using paper and pencil and my ipad. I have taken other Chicana art classes at UCLA, and was creatively involved in high school (choir, leadership, NHS volunteer). As I got older, I realized the many injustices I faced simply because I was a girl. This is a problem I am more aware of now into adulthood. One of my favorite things about Chicana art is that it fights against and brings up this problem. That is why I love taking these courses. Learning more about people and events that have taken place to fight for gender equality is empowering.

Patel, Ronak

Hi everyone! My name is Ronak Patel and I am junior at UCLA studying economics with a computing specialization. I am passionate about start-ups, technology, and long-term investing. After I graduate, I hope to become a product manager at a technology focused company where I can help build products that can have a real impact on people's lives. I enrolled in LGBT 183: Queer Arts in L.A. because I wanted to learn more about LGBT issues and how art can play a role in telling the story. I also saw that we will be using some front-end web technologies, which also further caught my attention to this course as I have built some websites in the past. In addition, some of the art forms that interest me the most are neo-gothic styles of architecture, which can be most readily seen in many parts of Europe. We, as a world, are moving towards a universal acceptance of all races, cultures, religions, and sexual orientations. It is only a matter of time before some of the backwards thinking countries will be turned around and have forward thinking leaders ready to build an all inclusive future. I think it is important for everyone to have an understanding of people from backgrounds, so that we can learn from them, instead of the difference causing a rift between different societal groups.

Martinez, Priscilia

Hi everyone! My name is Priscilia Sarahi and I am a 4th year transfer. I’m majoring in Gender Studies and minoring in Labor and Workplace Studies. I am passionate about politics, economy, the arts, and glitter; all of which directly relate to my identity as a Gay LA woman. I enrolled in the course because I could see the connection between the material, my interests, and myself. I am interested in experimenting with different forms of self-expression and learning how to take it back to my community. I have found liberation and healing through writing but I am interested in learning how to turn my written ideas into tangible subjects through visual art. I believe it is important to love, care, and respect yourself enough to take time out of each day and make sure you are ok. I feel I get to do this every time I do something creative which is why I attribute so much of my happiness and growth to the arts. I plan to become a criminal defense attorney and have had extensive experience in the system. In pursuing such a career, it is imperative to remain hopeful but passionate and critical. I hope that through this course, I will come out with a sharper mind, a lighter heart, and a gentler person. 

Lexi Bordeaux

Hi Guys! My name is Alexis Bordeaux, but I go by Lexi. I am a 4th year Gender Studies major here at UCLA. I also began working on campus as an Ask Peer Counselor this year. I am a transfer/ commuter student, so my experience here on campus has provided a unique and nontraditional perspective. I am from Irvine, CA originally and I am the oldest of four. I am half black and half Mexican and have never quite felt that I fit into either of those categories, so as a result ( and many, many, many years of practice) I have grounded my identity heavily into what feels right for my soul. Rather than torturing myself (for most of my adolescence growing up in a primarily white, conservative neighborhood) and trying to cram into someone else's expectation of me or black and white box, I created a space for myself where there are no boundaries, just glitter, tons and tons of gold glitter. Gender Studies has definitely aided in my process.  I come from a big family of do- it- yourselfers and love to create things. My dad is a Jimi Hendrix impersonator and my mom, on top of being a hairdresser, has her masters in psychology and a MFT intern. Both have always nurtured creativity within me and as well as my siblings through music, or really anything that can be used to express ourselves. A few of my ventures include: growing a sunflower over the summer and watching it continue to flourish in the fall and winter months despite many failed attempts prior, her name is Gladys and she is powerhouse. I also recently started a little greeting card project, very DIY, and very recent, but there is something to say about making something with your hands and finding confidence within that (good, bad, or just plain cray). I joined this class in hopes of being inspired and exposed to something that I am not familiar with and thriving within that space.

Atienzo, Alexandra

      Hello all! My name is Alexandra Atienzo, but I prefer to go by Alex or Allie. I am queer, gender fluid, and proud Chicanx (my pronouns are they/she). I just entered my senior year which has me a little nervous, but I'm excited to finally be wrapping up my time here as I've taken an untraditional route in my undergraduate career. I'm a Gender Studies major with a minor in LGBT studies, which makes for an interesting academic career. I feel very fortunate to be able to study what I'm passionate about at such a prestigious school, especially as a first generation American.
    While I've always had an interest in the arts, especially the paint medium, it's never something I've had time to invest in. However, my recent experiences in therapy have given me the push I've needed to finally explore painting as a cathartic exercise to express frustrations I experience as a queer disabled Chicanx that I am unable to verbalize. I have an extreme soft spot for abstract painting, which is the main form of painting I do in my spare time. This class is an opportunity for me to understand the impact of art not just within the queer community, but the LA community as well. I'm especially interested in graphic mediums of art as I feel they allow for an additional element/dimension of expression.

Persak, Giselle

Hello, my name is Giselle Persak. I am a fourth year and will be graduating in spring (yikes). I am a Communications Study Major, and picked up a Gender Studies Minor just this year. My last minute addition of a minor came as a bit of a shock to my family, who were also a bit surprised when I joined FEM magazine on campus last year. I come from a fairly conservative family, and went to a private, Christian high school for the entirety of my education pre-UCLA. Coming to college allowed me the first chance to really find myself and more importantly, my voice - one that was finally different from the one given to me by my Christian education. I am passionate about the empowerment and equality of women, and have also very much enjoyed learning about other topics of discussion within the LGBT community through my studies. I have always had a love for art, and that is what initially attracted me to this class. I have never worked with a camera artistically, but am thrilled at the idea of finding my own viewpoint through a new and unexplored outlet. I am excited to learn more about the queer art scene in Los Angeles and especially to learn about the voices that these artists convey through their work.