Monday, May 6, 2013

This is the last post.


This semester, I was able to create my own course content with my blog in Mining The University. My blog definitely showed off my personality and interests. Each week is filled with GORGEOUS selfies, kisses, and fashion. My visuals were much more than proof of attendance, but rather proof of glamour. I had a lot of fun taking visuals for documentation. Even my logo to my blog has my lipstick stain on it. I tried to make the feel of my blog consistent with my artwork and personality, which I do with anything school related. Even in high school I would get in trouble from my English teachers for kissing the bibliography of my papers with colored lipstick, or spraying my research papers with beautiful perfumes. POINT IS I’m fucking fabulous. Although I attended a small amount of the excavations I posted, there was a content thread that had surfaced throughout my blog posts this semester: Queer Issues. Altogether, nine of the lectures I went to had to do with gay/lesbian issues or struggles of minorities in today’s society. It all started in February when I went to a lecture as a celebration of Black LGBT History Month. Keith Boykin was a troubled child, but always had a dream of getting into politics. He talked about his journey and hardships of being a gay black male in the political office and how he became so successful, eventually working for presidents. After this came a discussion on Race, Gender, and Body Image in the media at the Women’s Resource Center. This hot topic really started a stir, especially with me in the room, because a lot of the people probably put the blame on myself, and other fashion photographers, for body image issues in America. I’m not shoving your finger down your throat, do NOT blame me. Anyway, the discussion took me by surprise and became extremely heated for me when I rebutted that body image is more than just people with an eating disorder. There are much more complex issues with body image, especially for transgendered folk. How can you tell someone to love their body when they feel they are born in the wrong one? This topic interests me because I try to change what society thinks is beautiful with my fashion and beauty photography. I don't exactly fit society's mold of a man and everything he needs to be. However, I am a man, and I like being a man. I don not want a sex change. Nonetheless, I do wear makeup and I do fashion. In the gay community, there are different categories of gays. Transexuals are individuals who have had the sex change. Transvestites are men who dress in women's clothing for sexual pleasure/fetish reasons. Drag queens are men who dress in women's clothes for performance purposes. I don't fit any of these categories. I'm a man who just likes to wear makeup and fashion. With my photography, I push the androgyny because I want to create a category for us men who like to dress this way just because that's how we want to dress/feel ourselves in. I know there are a lot of gays like me out there, and I know they are just as confused and don't know what to call themselves either. And if you don't have anyone to compare yourself to or call yourself to make your feel more "normal", that can lead to an identity crisis. I think this lecture, although it was more a heated debate, was the most relevant and logical to my current artwork and interests. After this week, I went to a lecture exploring Indigenous women's organizing. Even though I went on accident, again MOLLY KROHE I can kick you. I surprisingly found that it still interested me in a way, even though I didn’t expect it. I enjoy learning about other minorities as well...not just us LGBT folk. The thing I found most interesting about this lecture was the issue of Indigenous feminism. Any indian man who marries a white settler can move onto the reserve. In contrast, any indian woman who marries into a white settler must leave the reserve and move away with the settler. These three women try to rework what gender means in indigenous culture. This is about women, and there is nothing the men can do to operationalize it. The next lecture I went to involving my interest in queer issues was a Scandinavian Movie Night showing “Patrik 1.5”. This movie was a dramatic comedy where a gay couple thinks they’ve adopted a 1.5 year old child. When the child arrives, it quickly becomes apparent that someone misplaced the decimal point on the age of the adoption papers. Patrik was a 15 year old boy. If that wasn't enough to set them over the edge, the boy is extremely homophobic and not happy about being adopted by gay men. I'm really glad I came to this event. Goran and Sven have their troubles, but their troubles are not that different from those of a heterosexual couple if they were going through the same situation. I also related to the parts of the film where the couple felt shunned outsiders of their new community. I feel that way quite often in this shitpot of a world. Most importantly, I found Sven inspiring. He does get a bad wrap because he left his husband, but he delivers a message about the strength of love and the power individuals have to change. Later in the semester, I went to a gender women’s studies class that my friend is in called Lesbian and Queer Media Culture. This class, we were given two readings about gay life in America that were extremely interesting. One was "The Sixth Man" by Jess Stearn, the other "Gay New York" by George Chauncey. We discussed the readings and compared how gay life in the 20’s was much worse than now, and how society has come a long way. We aren’t finished yet, but have improved nonetheless. Next came a lecture I attended with Lucas Brooks, who educated us on all of the LGBT apps and dating websites to meet men. This event I didn’t find as interesting. Another I did love was the lecture where guest speaker Isis King from America’s Next Top Model came and visited the LGBT community here at the university. She talked to us about her journey going through life as a transgendered male and her struggle in the eyes of fame. The week after, I attended a lecture by David Yost, the original Blue Power Ranger. He spoke about his life and hardships of being a queer actor in the 80’s. For my final lecture, I went to a free kitchen lunch festival for the Sikh faith. They talked about their religion and stereotypes given to them after 9-11. As a minority faith, they are welcoming to all walks and beliefs of life.  As you can see, I went to TONS of lectures that coincided with my interests, personality, and lifestyle that have helped inspire new artwork for me. Other random lectures I went to consisted of gun violence, hypnotism, food and drink hazards, and other random interests, but queer issues were definitely my top choice. 
There was one lecture that did disappoint me, even more than the event about gay apps and dating sites. A brownbag lecture about social personality shocked me a bit and came off a little racist. Kisha Jones, a black woman, gave an entire lecture about a theory called Adverse Impact. Adverse Impact is the selection ratio of any race, gender, or sexuality of any minority group getting jobs in America. She didn't talk about anything but black vs. white hirings, and to me it seemed pretty ignorant. Her research and points were inaccurate and unfair to make any sort of hypothesis. She defended her research by stating that growing up, a black child develops a racialized schemata and bias of jobs Then, they age into race-based stereotypes from media and their surroundings in America. After this, they conclude their biases. I also thought that was a load of bullshit. We are all people, made up of the same DNA. We all need jobs, and we'll all get them if qualified. 
My creation of this course has allowed me to research myself and my interests more as a gay man. A lot of times I feel like the university doesn’t have many places for us to go, but this class has forced me to find them. I think I’ve made my mark on the campus with trying to educate the heterosexual community on gays. Whether it be from interviews in champaign magazines and newspapers, or just having a conversation with a frat boy in a bar, the heterosexual community in Champaign knows about me and what I stand for. Mining for events that are in correlation to my interests has educated me and has given me the opportunity to make more friends like myself. 
In conclusion, I found this class more educating than a lot of the other classes I’ve taken in the past four years here. Not only do you get to to learn, but you have the opportunity to pick and choose what you learn about which is the best way of learning in my opinion. Each week, I’d look at the title of every student’s blog post. If it sounded interesting to me, I’d read it. I looked forward to posts by other people each week. I’m going to miss updating this blog and reading the thoughts of others. I hope a lot of you continue to document your thoughts through writing and art. I know I will.

Love you. Mean It.


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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Sikh Student Association Presents: Langar On Campus

HELLOO!!! I'm sad to say this will be my last event I'm attending. I went to one of the earliest events I could on Wednesday so I can spend the rest of my week/weekend preparing for our BFA Photo Show. I better see you all there! 

Anyway, this week, I went to an event hosted by the Sikh Student Association. I was so excited once I saw all the people there and the huge white tent that said "Free Food".


I learned that about 25 million people around the world practice Sikhism, which is the fifth largest religion in the world. The religion originated in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. Sikhs believe that all humans have the opportunity to find God through truth, service, and loving devotion. Sikh gurus preach to improve life on earth and enable a closer relationship to God. It all started with ten gurus, then the religion expanded. Much like the bible, the Sikhs follow The Guru Granth Sahib which is a collection of stories offering direction on living life in a way that is closest to God. 
The Sikhs display commitment to their religion by wearing five articles of clothing that signify their faith and love for humanity. 
1: Kes-Uncut hair covered by men with a turban. Women usually wear a scarf.
2: Kanga-A small comb often hidden in your hair.
3: Kachera-Soldier shorts worn as undergarments.
4: Kirpan-A sword fastened to your body by a soldier strap.
5: Kara-A bracelet on the hand.

You can see some of these garments in the group shot I posted earlier, like the turban. 

So today, the Sikhs are celebrating Vaisakhi, which is a festival that pays respect to the origins of the Sikh faith. They celebrate this with a Lengar which means "Free Kitchen". When arriving, people cover their heads with scarves and turbans, take off their shoes, and enjoy their meal on the floor. 


Here on campus there were not as many turbans, obviously, because the tent was filled mostly with American students learning about their culture. 
The food was really good, and free! Oh, and look who I ran into!!!
Puja 4L


She's such a cute little miner isn't she?!

Anyway, the whole point of celebrating this festival on campus is to represent equality of gender, social class, ethnicity, etc through religion. God loves us all. Since 9-11 occurred, people stereotype all middle eastern people as "terrorists". As I was talking to one of the people running the festival, she informed me that there are still many hate crimes against her religion and ethnicity. A week ago, 5 men in Chicago were shot up and killed for wearing turbans. These things happen all the time, and this festival is a response to the stereotypes and hate crimes. The Sikhs want to spread awareness of God, Love, and equality and show interfaith acceptance. 

This was like the goodbye pizza parties we used to have in grade school on the last day of classes! So sad this class is over. It was a fucking fabulous semester!

And remember: If you don't love yourself...how in the hell are you gonna love anybody else can I get an Amen up in hurr?!

MWUAH! 

<3 G.B.




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Sunday, April 21, 2013

David Yost: The Blue Power Ranger

Hello Miners!!! This week I dragged my boyfriend with me to mine with me. Say hi!!!


This week, we went to a lecture about the life of David Yost who was the first original blue Power Ranger. This is him below. 


And this is the boy sitting in front of us with his but crack hanging out.


Anyway, David began by telling us about his childhood. He said he always knew he was gay ever since he was little. He had a crush on his neighbor when he was 3. Hi mother walked in on the two little boys playing doctor and feeling each other, and he felt ashamed of being gay. In 2nd grade, his friend Alan was very flamboyant.  At recess, Alan would run around with a cape pretending to be Wonder Woman and kiss boys on the cheek. Alan would get made fun of, and David joined in to hide who he was. In 5th grade, David was at a cookout when his neighbor walked out of his car in a purple shirt. His family all made fun of the man saying how he's a faggot for always wearing purple. He again joined in and mocked his neighbor to hide himself more and deny who he was. In the 80's, Rock Hudson was the first big celebrity to die of AIDS. In 8th grade, a student brought a National Enquirer to class with the story of the man dying of AIDS on the cover. The students all made fun of Rock Hudson saying that's what happens when you're gay. He was confused...would he die if he was gay? 

In high school, David was spit on, threatened, and had his car vandalized because the jocks all thought he seemed gay. He was afraid to go to school at one point. He chose to be silent and not fight back with violence, but rather hide who he was to protect himself. 

After high school, David went to a private college in Iowa. He woke up in bed on October 19th and told himself, "Wow, I'm really gay". He was done begging God to take the gay away from him. He accepted himself and began to date guys, but he couldn't express himself publicly in a private college. He felt a though he was always forced to silence himself. When he graduated, his boyfriend broke up with him and he drove to L.A. crying. He was heartbroken and told God, "I will never be gay again if you just make me a successful actor". He thought his prayers were answered because 3 months later, he landed the Power Rangers. He was filming TV Shows, Movies, and had fans all over the world.



Filming producers started realizing his mannerisms and assumed David was gay. He's hear people make comments and make fun of him every day on set. He went home one night at his whit's end and contemplated suicide. He didn't end up attempting it and decided to push forward through all the rumors. In the 90's he was jeprodisring the show because it wasn't socially acceptable to be gay. He felt a lot of pressure. His Co-star was asked by producers to out David's sexuality behind his back. There were no Human Resources at the time for David to vent to. He felt trapped. He made an oath to himself that next time he heard someone talking about his sexuality, he'd walk out in silence. He did this in the middle of filming one day when the producers murmured something. The production company threatened to sue him. David said "Okay", and never returned back to the show. He begged God to take the gay away again and did everything he could spiritually to pray the gay away. He went to psychics, spiritual healers, and eventually had a nervous breakdown and checked himself into a hospital. He was terrified when his mom was sitting across from him and he didn't even recognize her. His mind was gone. He spent 20 years hating himself and the world thought he was beyond help or an abomination. Laying in bed in the hospital, he felt the medication kicking in and pleaded to God one last time. "If you give me my mind back, I'll be gay". He lost everything going for him numerous times, but continued to accept himself. 

David comes to speak to us in hopes that no matter what you are in the LGBT community, you know you are okay and nothing needs to change. He hopes people learn from his torture that he put himself through and don't do the same to themselves. 

Every day people will try to silence you, but it's up to you to holler back at them. 

Until next time my little miners! 

MWUAH <3

-G

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Infusion Presents: Isis King

Hello! What's Miners yours!!!!! This week, my friend Taylor and I went to an event hosted by the LGBT center. Say hi to Taylor!!!


This week, Isis King came to talk to the LGBT community at the university. Isis is a fashion model and designer who competed in the eleventh cycle of Tyra Bank's reality show America's Next Top Model. She was the first transgender woman to compete on the show, one of the most visible transgender people on television, and the most talked about top model contestant ever. 


Before Isis, she was just King.


Isis had a surgery four years ago. Before then, she grew up in Washington D.C. 
In a predominately black area, facing stereotypes growing up was really hard. She always knew she was different. In an area like the one she lived in, she felt as though she couldn't fully explore who she thought she wanted to be. She LOVED to double dutch with the girls, but any chance her mom caught her doing so, she was punished. It wasn't allowed. Even in kindergarten, Isis had a boyfriend. The teacher would tell all of the students to have bathroom buddies. When it was her and her boyfriends turn, they would go to the bathroom stall and kiss. One day, another student walked in on them and told the principle. When Isis' mother picked her up that day, she was completely embarrassed and told her "We will never repeat this story to anybody". Isis says her mother blocked a lot of things out that she didn't want to see. She didn't want to see that her son was gay, but Isis was more than just a little gay boy. She always identified herself as a woman. Developing these thoughts so young, she did not have any intelligence on becoming transgendered. Her mother monitored her computer so she couldn't lookup any information online, and she was always on close watch. The only education she had we're Maury and Jerry Springer episodes of "That's A Man!" which put drag queens and transgendered folk in a bad light. 
She ended up confiding in her aunt because she couldn't go to her mother. In high school, her aunt would let her and her boyfriend stay by her house. Eventually, the aunt made Isis tell her mom. Isis wrote her mother a letter, reminding her of all the signs growing up that she feels transgendered, and that she has a boyfriend. After her mom read the letter, she got upset and wouldn't even let Isis babysit her baby brother alone anymore. Isis was very dependent on her mother, and now with her gone, she needed to grab support somewhere else to be stable. She moved in with her boyfriend, who became very controlling. He made her only wear baggy clothing and her hair would have to be braided. She thought he was only 7 years older than her, but a year later told her he was 14 years older. He entrapped her...all the house, car, and phone bills that they shared were all under her name. She felt stuck, and he became abusive. When she started to get beaten, she called her mom and told her. Her mom, aunt, and grandparents all came to her boyfriend's house when he wasn't home and packed all of her things up. She ran away from him and went to therapy. In therapy is where she realized "I want a sex change". She wanted to stop living for her mother, ex boyfriend, and society, and do what is right for herself. 
She moved to New York and hung out with a lot of drag queens. With them, she felt like she could dress the way she wanted to dress and felt like herself. She decided to start taking hormones to help start the transgender process. This took a lot of her money, and she became broke. Then, she went to an LGBT homeless shelter to survive while still taking hormones. The makers of America's Next Top Model scouted her from there because they were looking for homeless girls to pose in the background of a shoot. Doing this was where her first shine in the spotlight started. Isis was recognized by the producers and asked to compete in the next season of America's Next Top Model. She only made it through a couple of eliminations, but she has made a brand for herself. She is now focusing on fashion design and is wrapping up filming a movie in the Philippines. 


This is Isis today, a beautiful skeleton of a woman. She looks like she's going to fall over and die at any second...so skinny.

She paved the way for a lot of people trying out in future seasons of ANTM, including myself. Tyra Banks found my androgynous modeling on my Instagram and asked me to have a personal audition with her for next season of ANTM Guys VS. Girls. 



This just goes to show...EveryONE and EveryTHING is beautiful. No matter what you are, you can be a superstar. 
Even if you're a dog. 


Until Next Week!!!


MWAUH

<3 G.B.


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Friday, April 5, 2013

A Day With Lucas Brooks

Hello my pretty little miners! Today, my lipgloss is poppin', my lipgloss is cool. All the boys be jockin', they chase me after school!


I went to the LGBT Center on campus this week for an event by Miss Lucas. Lucas is a writer who performs his talent through skits. He is also a sex educator in NYC, and usually does a one man show. He runs a blog on his own as well, "Top To Bottom". Today he held a workshop on internet dating for gays. He didn't talk much about lesbians because there aren't as many options for lesbies...sorry gals! But we'll get to that later. 


Lucas is in the grey.

First, he gave tips on creating online profiles...this was a bit boring for me because it was kind of the average givens. Be completely honest with yourself, don't lie, focus on things you like about yourself...etc. He talked about faking confidence for those who are self-conscious. Also, have a face picture. In the gay scene, especially closet cases, there are a lot of floating headless torsos on the internet. It gets pretty creepy. He made a good point...would you talk to somebody in a bar if they came up to you with a hood over their entire face? No. NEXT!
Think positive, don't write about things you dislike in people. It's rude. Be careful with your "nakey" photos...you never know where they'll end up. My case, probably TMZ. When hooking up with someone, always tell a friend where your going in case you go missing. It's more safe to meet in public obviously. And of course, always have safe sex! Oh, and random fact, happy assault awareness month!

The next part of the workshop was more interesting to me. He informed us on all of the different dating sites and smart phone apps out there. I've heard about one or two of them, but never knew there was that many! There is OKCupid, which is gender polarizing. It has a mix of everyone, and is good to meet friends and for dates. Another is called "HowBoutWe"which is more corky and flirty. It asks you questionnaires and asks about what type of dates you want to go on. When people read these profiles, they say "Oh that date sounds fun! Let's do it!" And BAM! A spark. Grindr is one of the most FAMOUS gay smart phone apps so I wasn't surprised when he talked about it. From my personal experience, Grindr is nasty. It's strictly for homosexuals, which already isn't my nitch market seeing that mostly straight men are attracted to me. Also, most of it is full of the floating torsos I mentioned earlier like this.


Blendr is the straight equivalent to Grindr, and by the same makers. Tinder is a different app by a different maker that is for everyone, and is less of a dirty hooking up, but more for dates. This one allows you to like people you think are attractive, and in order for you to be able to converse with them, they have to like you back. Smart idea because it weeds out the creeps. One of the dating sites I found funny was Fetlife. This site is for kinky sex forums and meeting people into really strange fetishes. There must be something out there for everyone! 
Just be safe!
And don't yuck someone else's yum!

Until next week...
-Gino <3

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Winning Resumés And Cover Letters

Yo yo yiggity yo! Here's me, just Mining my own business! 


This week was a very stressful week for me. I've felt overwhelmed and unsure of my future. In order to grab the bull by the horns and make myself feel better, I went to the Career Center for a seminar on how to make a successful resumé and cover letter. My future is near, and I need to make sure I will be okay after college, let alone now while I'm still here. 


As you can see the crowd was huge. It was a ghost town. This seminar turned into a one on one date with me and Mr. Michael. He taught me hands on what I needed to know. (Get your mind out of the gutter).


He had a cute lil tush too. Made my day a little brighter. 
Michael is trained by the university's College Of Business to teach students how to talk in interviews and career fairs as well as how to dress for success. I'd love to teach HIM how to dress for success myself...some leather pants, a little eyeliner, and some pressed powder would benefit him. 

Today, the subject was resumés and cover letters. I'm glad I came to this...I learned a lot about the two that I didn't know about. 

For starters, the purpose of a resumé is to impress the employers and showcase writing skills. In this, you are documenting qualities and experiences to demonstrate your overall well-roundedness. Necessary components, obviously, are contact information and name at the top. Your name should stand out...make it sparkle baby. When filling out education, avoid high school education. As for work experience, include present job and leadership experiences you are currently involved in.  Optional parts of a resumé are a job objective, relevant coursework, professional organizations, and study abroad information. Optional components that are smiled upon by most companies are honors/rewards, certifications, and skills. Transferable skills for any general job, if you need filler, are communication skills, teamwork, and strong work ethics. 

Bullet points are the main points of a resumé. Use action words in them to make the sentences stand out and to ensure the verbs. Any bullet point is stronger if you quantify. For example, instead of just stating what you did on the job, describe how or why you did it, and what you benefited to the company. Something I learned that I didn't know was that a resumé should never include periods at the end of your sentences. 

Ex: -"Was a waiter and took orders."
 should look like...
-"Served hundreds of customers monthly and helped increase restaurant sales by 60%"

Companies love to see numbers and statistics. Always remember to stress your compliments, oversell instead of undersell, and appear aesthetically balanced. NEVER lie, don't talk about high school at all, do not include extraneous skills, avoid using the same action words, don't include current or expected salary, leave out your religion, race, or ethnicity, and never include for leaving a job.

After this, we moved on to cover letters. This is really your chance to showcase your writing abilities to the company. The main point of a cover letter is to expand upon the most important experiences on your resumé. Here, fell free to indicate interests, passions, and knowledge of the company. In the cover letter, you are more likely to get the recruiter's attention than in the resumé. Exemplify your fit for the position, include where and how you found the job opening, and most importantly include internal networking contacts if you have any. Never be blunt about requesting an interview.

When starting off the cover letter, use a colon in the header.

Ex: "Dear Miss Moss,"
should be...
"Dear Miss Moss:"

You include a colon because comas are for writing to people you know personally. ALWAYS thank the recruiters for their time and consideration. Address a direct name in the header of the cover letter if you know who will be reviewing your resumé. The last thing I learned that I wasn't aware of was the fact that you aren't supposed to include your references on the resumé. If you want to send in your references with your content, you include them on their own page.

Well, I better get to correcting before I start sending them out there.

See you next week!

MWUAH <3  

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Friday, March 22, 2013

GWS 325: Lesbian & Queer Media Culture

Hello my Pretty Little Miners!!! Today, I'm Bloody Mary.


I won't cry for you. I won't crucify the things you do.

This week, I went to a class with my good friend Taylor. She's a cool cat. Meow. Say hi!!!


Such a cutie. Anyway, she's been telling me to come with her to this class all semester because she thought I'd really find it interesting. It's a Gender Women's Studies course about Lesbian & Queer Media Culture. Meet the class.


I felt kind of weird taking pictures in this small room but OH WELL. I'm still fabulous.
This class, we were given two readings about gay life in America that were extremely interesting. One was "The Sixth Man" by Jess Stearn. I loved the cover of the book. 


Of course, we didn't read the whole book, just selected chapters from the teacher. This book was published in 1962, and was educating America on the fact that one in every six man is gay. This book created a huge paranoia in the United States during this time. The teacher explained that Stearn was trying to make a comment on McCarthyism with the title of this book. McCarthyism is a campaign against alleged communists in the U.S. government and other institutions carried out under senator Joseph McCarthy. The other reading we focused on was "Gay New York" by George Chauncey.  


The selected chapters we read from both books were about Gay Culture in America. In Stearn's book, she focuses on why Gym Culture is so gay. It shows bodies in a very homo-erotic manner. In this time, casual sexual encounters took place in all male gyms pretty frequently, and kept a secret all through the 20's-60's. The men didn't even care if the wife found out because in 1920, the men ran the household and "she'll stay with me because I'm the man". She collected all of her data from police reports and court records reported by women. Domestic fights would break out from these arguments, and women would call the police just to report the infidelity of their husbands with men at the gym. A lot of these women wouldn't have sex with their husbands anymore after they fond out, and this caused even more domestic abuse reports. Another example was when a gay man hit on a police officer that was off duty, not knowing he was a cop. The cop told the gay man to meet him at the same spot tomorrow. The police showed up with a whole squad and brutally beat up this man, not because he was having gay sex, but because he was expressing his sexuality. 

The other reading put gays in a pretty negative light. Chauncey asked around geographically to gym owners, lawyers, judges, and police about their opinions of the lifestyles of gay men. The book doesn't seem to be negative in the sense where it's mean or nasty, but rather not what you would have expected. Basically, the majority opinion from 1890-1940 was that gay men are responsible for interrupting the social order of America. Like Stearn, he also found proof through police records. America thought gays disrupted normativity, so they wanted to try and make their lives miserable by not hiring them, bashing them in the streets, etc. It got so serious to the point where if a man married to a woman was caught cheating with another man, he wasn't considered to be in the wrong but rather "gayed" by the homosexuals. It was always the gay's fault. 

Stearn made a point that really stuck with me. Gay men are already emasculated and considered "less of men" by most heterosexual men...even today. Some heterosexual men also believe that gay doesn't exist, but men sometimes just choose to partake in gay behavior. It's already queer to be a woman and looked down upon. Gays, in this sense, are two times looked down upon because "they are choosing to be a non man". I really like how she explained this thought, and it makes me want to read the rest of her book so I just might! 


Well, that's all my little miners.

See you next week!

MWUAH <3
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Patrik 1.5-Sweden, 2008 Movie Viewing

Hello, can you hardly wait for Spring Break? Hopefully you don't get yourselves into a wet t-shirt contest or anything. Today, my lips are pink. What color are yours? 


I went to an event at the Foreign Language Building on campus. It was Scandinavian night, and there was literally NOBODY there but myself and two other people. The plus side, they made us these cute Scandinavian sandwiches to snack on. 


As you can see, it was a small classroom with a small television. I'm guessing not a lot of people showed because many are already home for Spring Break. The crowd looked sad. Anyway, I chose this event because the movie sounded really interesting to me because it was about a gay couple who was trying to get a baby. I didn't know if it was a documentary or a fiction, but I was still interested nonetheless. 

It turns out it was a fictitious film, but it turned out really good! The only thing I didn't like about it was the small subtitles on the little television screen. My eyelashes were getting in the way of my reading. 


Movies with subtitles annoy me. Anyway, the film starts off by introducing the main characters, Sven and Goran. They are the gay couple wanting to adopt a baby. In preparation to do so, they begin to create a nursery together for their child in their new home. They leave the city life, which they both love, and relocate to a smaller, quiet village in the country. During the move, the local community isn't exactly the most welcoming to the gay couple. Some treat them with blatant hostility, while the rest of the villagers are content to simply shun them and pretend they aren't there. The couple was having a hard time with the move, and to add on to the stress, the adoption agency told them that an international baby was out of the question because no country thought that gay parents were fit parents. Another dream crushed for the two, but they nonetheless decide to adopt a local baby. They go through all of the paperwork with the agency, and agree to adopt Patrik, age 1.5. However, when the child arrives to the picket fence home, it quickly becomes apparent that someone misplaced the decimal point on the age of the adoption papers. Patrik is a 15 year old boy. If that wasn't enough to set them over the edge, the boy is extremely homophobic and not happy about being adopted by gay men. The child also has a criminal record. Assuming it's a mix-up, the couple returns to the office, but they have to wait until Tuesday to contact Social Services. Over the weekend, the house is very tense. The child accuses the gay men of wanting to molest him due to stereotypes he's heard, and Sven thinks the little boy will stab him in his sleep. Goran, in contrary, is more into the adoption than Sven is, and decides to befriend Patrik until Sven can find him a more suitable home. Goran and Patrik share a lot of personal feelings with eachother, and bond through gardening. Sven, still afraid of Patrik and his hostility, keeps a distance, which also creates a cold distance in his relationship with his husband. Patrik opens up old wounds for Sven, making him question his ideals of marraige, and revealing his long-buried feelings about his abandoned daughter from a previous heterosexual marraige, who is going through a goth phase of adolescene. Sven also has a past with violence and substance abuse, which is beginning to resurface due to his stress level. In the end, Sven chooses to leave Goran after he refuses to kick the boy out on the street. Now, Goran and Patrik are living together alone, and Goran grows to except the boy even though he still accuses him of being a sterotypical gay pedophile. Goran decides to take care of him until the agency finds a better suited home. Days later, the agency finally notifies Goran that they have found a family. Sven arrives back at the house before Patrik leaves and realizes that the child wasn't worth ending their marraige over. Patrik's new father picks him up shortly after Sven arrives and takes him. A few weeks later, Patrik arrives at the door of the gay couple and asks them to be his parents again. The three live together happily in the end.

This movie was extremely interesting to me. Aside from the subtitles, I'm really glad I came to this event. Goran and Sven have their troubles, but their troubles are not that different from those of a heterosexual couple if they were going through the same situation. I also related to the parts of the film where the couple felt shunned outsiders of their new community. I feel that way quite often in this shitpot of a world. Most importantly, I found Sven inspiring. He does get a bad wrap because he left his husband, but he delivers a message about the strength of love and the power individuals have to change.



I'll see you next week my loves!

MWUAH <3



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Friday, March 8, 2013

Gunning For Campus: Examining the Impacts of Gun Violence on College Universities.

Hi my cuties!!!!! Today, I'm little Red Riding Lips! Be a star today in my nebula.

When I showed up to the lecture, they had a huge buffet and a line of people waiting for their free lunch. This guy sitting in front of me ate like a barbarian. Snapping his gums all disgustingly. Ew!


Of course I didn't have any because I haven't eaten anything since 1997. Anyway, I went to a lecture in about gun violence which was lead by Dr. Nicole Anderson Cobb. She is a member of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (Photographed below).


She travels to different universities to educate students on gun violence to help increase a safer community. When she goes to elementary schools, she has the students draw their feelings about gun violence and features then in her office. 


She thinks it's important to talk about to students because it's an issue that endangers everyone. Not only that, but all of the people she is speaking to in the schools are the future philanthropists and innovators that will help spread the word and reduce gun violence. Already, over 30,000 people die a year due to gun violence, and it's predicted to increase because Illinois is changing it's laws. In the new laws, more people will be able to carry weapons in public places legally. What does that mean to our everyday safety? She fears what the future may hold. It will impact the way we move and react in our everyday lives. She wants to educate new students, transfers, and internationals on these new laws that they probably won't be aware of so we can all be safe. There were three categories of gun violence she focused on:
1) Mass Shootings-Public places with people held hostage and shot up for no reason.
2) House Parties-Altercations resulting in gun violence.
3) Community Crime Alerts.

A lot of people think Champaign is a safe bubble and don't know much about the dangers here. A surprising example, most people probably don't know that there were 44 police recordings involving guns this week in Urbana. None were shootings, but just gun possessions. One woman was charged for posing her baby with a gun in a photo and texting it to her friends. Also, there was a shooting here in a fraternity house that made news years ago. The victim was not killed, but severely injured. It's crazy to think that a night out where you are anticipating fun can lead to an innocent death. 

It is also argued that the government shouldn't focus on gun laws, but rather those of mental health. 

That's all for this week my pretty little miners!!! 


MWUAH <3 
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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kickin' It With Found Magazine

Hello there, I see you. This week, I kicked it with Found Magazine.


What is Found Magazine? It's a collection of notes, receipts, crumpled paper, or anything found, like below. 


You can view more of these on www.FoundMagazine.com
Davy Rothbart is the creator of Found Magazine (Pictured Below). He also wrote a book called "My Heart Is An Idiot", writes regularly for GQ, and his work also appears in the New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Believer. He has also directed four films, but his most accomplished work is this magazine.


How did the magazine start? Davy found a note on the windshield of his car one day. It said "Mario, I hate you, I don't know why your car is here if you're supposed to be at work. I really hate you. Page me later." He thought it was a shame that only the people finding these hilarious notes were able to witness this hilarity. He wanted to share it with the world, so he started a magazine. At first, he wanted it just to be a zine, but it people kept on buying it and he sold boxes full, and people kept on sending him stuff to put into the next issue. 

He then went on to read us some of his favorite things from the magazine like a note that said, "Can I give you a sensual massage? Then I will talk about Jesus". My favorite was the three mysterious faxes someone received in the middle of the night. They said "I just want Gigi back. You're a cruel, emotional, insane man. Do you do this to all your girlfriends? If you don't give Gigi back I'm going to call the police please I just want her back!" Then, the last fax said "Sorry, wrong fax number."
The magazine also collects funny receipts found. One of the ones I thought was funny showed the purchases "Gun, Gun, Ski Mask, Nerds". A burglar must have had a sweet tooth! 

Moving on, this is Davy's brother Peter Rothbart. 


Peter is an award winning songwriter and the front man for folk rock group "The Poem Adept". He makes music, songs, and poems based on all of these findings. He sang three of these original songs off of his solo albums for us. The first one was called " Bus Or Beer?" and was about a man debating whether he should go buy beer and miss the last bus home, or just go home. The second one was "Baddest Nissans In The Northwest". He saw a girl in a coffee shop and fell in love with her on the spot. Over a decade later, he wrote her a letter confessing his feelings. She never got the letter because the letter was sent in to Found Magazine. The last song he sang was a ridiculous song called "Booty Don't Stop" which was based off of an underground rap cassette they found on the floor. 

Alex and I were dancing in the back row. (Not really)
That music was NOT OKAY!


That's all for this week!!!

See you next week my beautiful little fuckers.

MWUAH <3


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Monday, February 25, 2013

Idle no more: Exploring indigenous women's organizing.

Hi miners! Whistle while you work! Do you like my new spiked gloves? I bet you're peanut butter and jealous of them.


So this week, I planned on going to an event posted on the excavations list titled "OkCupid, Match.com, and EHarmony: Exploring Online Dating." I went to the location posted at the correct time and date, and it wasn't a completely different lecture taking place. One I found extremely boring and uninteresting. I wasn't excited. I don't want to throw the student's name under the bus that posted the wrong information but MOLLY KROHE!!!!!!!! Haha.

So I was stuck in a lecture about Indigenous Women's Organizations. This is the guest panel. Jodi Byrd, Lani Teves, and Christine Delisle (from left to right).


Jodi is part of the Chickasaw Tribe in Oklahoma. She went to the University of Iowa for American Indian Studies where her research interests included Indigenous studies and governance. She also researched Indigenous and postcolonial literatures, cultural studies, film, and theory. She has a new book out that argues the necessity of moving beyond a colonial framework in talking about Indigenous features. Next, Lani is a native born and raised in Hawaii. She received a masters in American Studies there. Her dissertation, "We're All Hawaiians Now: Culture, Indigeneity, Performance, and Politics of Aloha" focuses on the ways in which the representational strategies of Hawaiian performers can gain political and federal recognition. Lastly, Christine was born and raised in Guam. She taught at schools in Guam before moving to teach in Michigan and Illinois. One of her main concerns about Guam today consist of the military buildup and protests there that effect her Chamorro Tribe.

This lecture mainly spoke about the common organization these indigenous women belong to called "Idle No More". This organization explores local efforts to organize in solidarity with undocumented people in the United States. It's a social networking movement that was started by Indigenous women that organized local issues. The group has had much success, including breaking a Canadian Bill protecting Indigenous places. This group was started through Facebook, teach-ins, and Twitter. Then, a hunger strike took place that got nationwide recognition. Many people learn about their organization through social media. Without the social media, they believe that they wouldn't get any recognition as natives. This movement has not yet hit Guam where Christine lives. Christine strongly believes in the colonialism theory: Other tribes bring in people, they bring native things, and the rest of the area becomes accustomed to them and the tribes grow. She wants to use this "contagious" approach to expand the indigenous cultures. "Idle No More" is such a powerful organization because it's non violent in its way of changing the world. 

In the history of organizing their culture, women were always in the forefront of saving indigenous lands and tribes. Lani spoke about how women in Hawaii have to stay strong and be the rock in their community especially when times get rough. One of the hardest times was when the government sent their tribe a "Sorry Letter" for overthrowing their Chief. At times like that, it was hard for the men to not get violent. she stated: "We have an apology letter to build our land and tribes on. What are we supposed to do with that?" The women get together with "Idle No More" in order to keep sanity and tranquility in their tribe. 

Indigenous feminism is an issue too. Any indian man who marries a white settler can move onto the reserve. In contrast, any indian woman who marries into a white settler must leave the reserve and move away with the settler. These three women try to rework what gender means in indigenous culture. This is about women, and there is nothing the men can do to operationalize it. 

The White environmental movements have become an enemy to Hawaii. There is an ongoing reliance on military and food costs due to the white movements. Christine thinks they don't need the white movements, and she wishes they didn't spend money on the U.S. goods that get shipped to them. They can get fish from the ocean and live off the land to lower living prices. With "Idle No More", the tribes need to come together to question the priorities of indigenous living. 

Well, I hope you find this all interesting, because I don't! 

And if you're wondering, this is what I would look like if I were the Chief of my tribe. 


See you next week!!!

Mwuah <3
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Social-Personality: Brown Bag Lecture

Hi my little miners! How are you doing cause I wanna know? I have no idea what a brown bag lecture is, but I went to one. For me, I brought a brown bag in case I needed to throw up in it because I was so hungover. I hid incognito in the back of the class. 


This is Kisha Jones. Her entire lecture was about a theory called Adverse Impact, which is the selection ratio of any race, gender, or sexuality of any minority group getting jobs in America. She didn't talk about anything but black vs. white hirings, and to me it seemed pretty ignorant. 


I wasn't the only one. This lecture turned into a huge debate. Especially between her and these wise guys on this side of the room. They thought her research and points were inaccurate and unfair to make any sort of hypothesis. They seemed to know more information and statistics than she did. They pretty much burned her at the stake.


There was a lot of shade, eye rolling, and huffing and puffing going on. But what did I learn. Well, the U.S. is trying attempting to reverse the Adverse Impact in order to create a more diverse workplace. They do this in two studies. One, the Predictor: Cognitive ability tests were set in place instead of face to face interviews. This gives the companies a chance to hire based on intellect and not appearance. Second, the Criterion: The companies take job performance solely into consideration while hiring. They would hire people as interns and promote them with a job if they were great at what they did. However,  Kisha believed that the Criterion theory actually creates a higher waving adverse impact. She believes in the Supply Side Perspective. In this, minority and majority applicants should be as similar as possible in knowledge when applying for jobs. This leads to targeted diversity recruiting, where companies seek out different races to work for them and decreases adverse impact. The wise guys listening in on the lecture did not like this idea, and thought it was completely over the top and stupid. 

She went on to something I thought finally made sense: Vocational Interests. Jobs should be chosen by the applicant based on what kind of personality you have taking into consideration your situations, contexts, behaviors, and interests. This is based on Holland's Theory of Personalities in the Work Environment. (Graph Below)

Interests start in childhood. Her studies showed that men are stronger in the realistic section, and women more in the social. Black and white people showed differences as well. Black people rated high in social, enterprising, and conventional sections. White people then increased in realistic, investigative, and artistic sections. This through the wise guys over the edge and the debate began. She defended her research by stating that growing up, a black child develops a racialized schemata and bias of jobs Then, they age into race-based stereotypes from media and their surroundings in America. After this, they conclude their biases. I also thought that was a load of bullshit. We are all people, made up of the same DNA. We all need jobs, and we'll all get them if qualified. The end.

Oh, and one for the road. Me last night before I was hungover and threw up in my brown paper bag lecture.  


Kisses! See you next week.

MWUAH <3


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Hot Topics: Race, Gender, and Body Image in the Media.

Hello! I hope your week has been Gone With The Wind Fabulous! Today I looked like a teenage Dirtbag Rock Star. 


Alex and I went to a lecture this week hosted by the campus' Women's Resource Center about Body Image and Race in media. I spy a few miners in the back row!


This was the speaking panel. Only one was a graduate, the rest students. 


From left to right, Dominique started a feminist organization on campus to help women. Her issues with body image started because she is a belly dancer, and she knows that a large percentage of the audience thinks she's not fit. She overcame it for the love of the dance. Rachel, similarly, began at a dance academy when she was 2 which influenced her hate on her body. She feels she can give advice to others about being body positive, but can't take it. It's hard not to be affected in such a culture of body negativity. Next up is Meadow. She is an art education major and finds an interest in helping students feel more comfortable and diverse. She was anorexic when she was younger. Last, Shantel finds an interest in how the body is the center of the internet, advertisements, and social media. She felt self conscious as a young girl as a half asian half latina woman because no celebrities looked like her. Similarly, Dominique felt left out as a child because there were no barbies with afros or natural african american hair. It made her not like her hair and feel ugly. 

Throughout a lot of this lecture, I felt like this:


This topic is in fact a political issue. The media tells us not to worry about the way we look. If we worry and hate our body, we're self conscious and weak. If we love ourselves and are happy, we are vain and self absorbed. Society has a way to make you feel bad no matter what circumstance your in. cosmetic surgeries are rapidly increasing year after year because nobody seems happy with themselves anymore. Eyelid surgeries in Asia and skin lightening surgeries in Africa are among the top. As the opposite, tanning beds and bronzers and makeup helps white american women look and want to appear darker. Everyone is trying to look less and less diverse wanting the opposite of what they are. 

Body image is more than just people with an eating disorder. There are much more complex issues with body image, especially for transgendered folk. How can you tell someone to love their body when they feel they are born in the wrong one? This topic interests me because I try to change what society thinks is beautiful with my fashion and beauty photography. I don't exactly fit society's mold of a man and everything he needs to be. However, I am a man, and I like being a man. I don not want a sex change. Nonetheless, I do wear makeup and I do fashion. In the gay community, there are different categories of gays. Transexuals are individuals who have had the sex change. Transvestites are men who dress in women's clothing for sexual pleasure/fetish reasons. Drag queens are men who dress in women's clothes for performance purposes. I don't fit any of these categories. I'm a man who just likes to wear makeup and fashion. With my photography, I push the androgyny because I want to create a category for us men who like to dress this way just because that's how we want to dress/feel ourselves in. I know there are a lot of gays like me out there, and I know they are just as confused and don't know what to call themselves either. And if you don't have anyone to compare yourself to or call yourself to make your feel more "normal", that can lead to an identity crisis. If nobody creates this category, then I will!



Is it a man? 
Is it a woman?
... Do you care? 


See you next week!

MWUAH <3



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