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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week 10 Blog Post

After engaging with LBTQ history and art for the past 10 weeks I have gained a new and more nuanced understanding of the LGBTQ community, and their struggle against discrimination and their call for inclusion and respect within the larger society. In class, we have discussed many topics including the history of Los Angeles as on the forefronts and epicenters of the LGBTQ community/culture and their struggle for inclusion. Starting from the sexual practices of Native Americans, discussed in Gay L.A.,  to the liberation movements of the 60's and the 70's, and the devastation caused by the Aids epidemic in Los Angeles. We have discussed many artists, some who I never considered queer, such as Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and even Juan Gabriel the famous Mexican singer. In addition, this course has prompted me to visit the various museums and events that focus on the cultural production of the LGBTQ community. Just in this quarter alone I have visited the Petersen Automotive Museum which featured Keith Haring's work, visited the ONE archives at the USC libraries, and Lambda Literary Festival.
I learned many new things in this class and found a new appreciation for queer artists who use their art as a space to express, resist, and validate their own lives as members of the queer community, and as individuals making sense of the heteronormative world they inhabit which often invalidates and discriminates against them. One of the most interesting and resonating pieces of art that stuck out to me was the image of La Sirena and the Virgen De Guadalupe created by Professor Alma Lopez. I remember the professor presented this image to the class in the early weeks of winter quarter. The image really stuck with me ever since that first introduction, and luckily enough I encountered the image again upon my visit to the One Archives at USC. The image takes two iconic and powerful images from Mexican culture, the Virgen de Guadalupe which is an important and venerated icon within Catholicism and Mexico. According to religious text, she is the blessed Virgin Mary responsible for the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. She is a model of purity and beauty. The Sirena is another popular image in the card game known as Loteria. In this work, featured in Les Voz, Professor Lopez combines these two images into one, making both figures embrace each other in a loving, tender, and affectionate manner. The tenderness in the image refutes the traditional depiction of homosexuals and defiantly places them together expressing the beauty of love in its various forms, including homosexual relationships.
Another interesting thing I learned in class was the various social understandings of homosexual relationships throughout history. In class, Professor Lopez showed the class a video about this very subject. In the painting of a bath house, we see two men engaging in what we would nowadays consider homosexual behavior as one man hides his erect penis while the other playfully teases the other with his buttocks. The museum curator mentioned that in those days the gender of your sexual partner did not define your sexuality, but rather the gender you played while engaged in sexual activity defined your sexuality.
This class was incredbily interesting and opened up my mind to learning about other communities who struggle for inclusion within the general society.  

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