This is the Winter 2018 course discussion blog for and by UCLA students enrolled in LGBTQ Studies 183: Queer Arts in LA.
This course includes a creative component. When this course was first offered during the Fall 2012 quarter, the students researched queer artists who have a significant connection to Los Angeles. Then created a collaborative website.
For my portrait, I am illustrating the misplaced and uncomfortable feeling of being raised within a mixed race family and not quite fitting into either side. I often felt too black for my Mexican American side of my family and not black enough for my African American side. Which I was reminded of my failure to “act black” very often throughout my childhood. I chose to use a portrait image of myself that I look at and feel confident and beautiful in. This says to me that I am allowing myself to stand on my own two feet despite the crippling feeling of rejection and hoping to pass for the sake of my fragile feelings. I chose to invert one half of my image to further the alien feeling and also incorporate some of the struggle to even accept myself. I used the two sides of my families to illustrate the army of those who have loved me and supported me, but as loved as I was, I often felt out of place and if I was not conforming to their expectations of my behavior, dress, speech or mannerisms, I was lying to myself and and lying to them as well. I have never felt that my loyalties have lied with one group more than the other, rather, I preferred to float by peacefully. I distorted and made my background image black and white to create an almost uncomfortable tension in comparison to the image in the forefront. All eyes on me and for the right reasons.