LGBTQ Nerds

Live Long and Prosper My Nerdy Friends!!!

Keeping with the Star Trek Theme, Let’s take about George Takei and nerd culture in the LGBTQ community.

George Takei is an American actor who is best known for his role in Star Trek. George Takei officially came out in 2005 but announced that he had been in a committed relationship with his partner for 18 years. Now that Takei has come out, he has been a huge equal rights activist. I wanted to talk a little about nerd culture and I think George Takei is a very good mix of the two. He is best known for his role on Star Trek and he is looked up to by many.

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Takei was first cast in 1950, a time when asian and gay actors were not given very many roles, but it wasn’t until 1965 that he was cast into Star Trek as Lt. Sulu. This role threw him into the spotlight. After years on comic cons, Takei gained a prominent social media following. He now has eight million followers on facebook and spreads his LGBTQ activism. He is even more of an LGBTQ icon because of his age. Takei just turned 78 a few weeks ago. This coupled the struggle he faced with coming out, makes him an important part of the LGBTQ nerd community.

On Proposition 8 and the election of Barack Obama, Takei made a very powerful statement:

“Last night, I was filled with pride to be an American. It was an exhilarating night of celebration. Barack Obama’s victory was a miraculous moment in our history. It was a night of joy, yet, President-elect Obama reminded us of the long road, the steep road, that lies ahead for us as a nation. And indeed, as a Californian, I was profoundly mindful of the challenges ahead. The discriminatory Proposition 8 on the California ballot was winning. Our fight for marriage equality was going down to defeat. It was astounding to think that the hard won equality that made my recent marriage to Brad Altman would no longer be possible for others. The evening became bitter-sweet.”It is now Wednesday morning – the day after the election. The words from Barack Obama’s victory speech still resonates in my mind. What an amazing night it was – the culmination of a turbulent struggle against a disgraceful history of slavery, prejudice and racial conflict. The road ahead is long, the road will be steep, he said. Our struggles for equality for another minority, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender, will be no different. There will be setbacks, disappointments and sacrifices to be made. Barack Obama spoke of the “renewed promise” of America. It happened last night with the presidency. And equality and justice will happen for us as well. We will make it happen. Yes we can.–George Takei, November 5, 2008

 

As the social media fame continues, I hope Takei can keep being an inspiration to other LGBTQ community members who share his struggles. One of the concepts that we discussed in class is the correlation between the arts and queer individuals. Many members of our class talked about how they found something special in the art that they didn’t else where. I’m sure the experience is different for everyone, and I’m sure Takei has felt something similar.

Nerd culture, especially in the past, has been very male dominated. Movies like “Fan Boys” emphasis this domination and create a homophobic atmosphere by using words like “gay” and “queer” as derogatory terms. This is why, at least in my opinion, there have not been many openly queer nerd icons until recently. Jim Parsons, from the Big Bang Theory, Misha Collins, from Supernatural and Zachary Quinto, from the recent Star Trek, are other queer actors in the nerd realm. Hopefully more individuals can take lessons from Takei or and other queer actors and learn to be who they are.

#LoveisLove CondividiLove

If we take a look at at world map of same sex marriage, we can see how progressive western Europe has been. But there is one country on the map that has not had the same progression.

Since 1890 in Italy, for both males and females homosexuality has been legal, but same-sex couples and households are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. Although discrimination regarding sexual orientation in employment has been banned since 2003, no other anti-discrimination laws regarding sexual orientation have been enacted yet. This is largely due to the influence of the Catholic Church in Italy.  The church has been strict with its laws concerning homosexuality. Even though Pope Francis has made efforts to reform the church and make it more open, saying that the church should support gay families, he has encountered resistance from some traditionalists. With the issue of gay marriage being talked about all over the world, a new campaign has been launched in Italy to get the conversation started in their country. CondividiLove is an internet campaign on Facebook, Youtube, and website. The name translated into english means “share love” and that is the main goal of this campaign.

This video features couples, gay and straight, embracing and showing their love with their arms and shoulders creating a heart. The video was also turned into posters that made their way to tumblr.

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Tumblr has a pretty substantial LGBTQ+ community and so photos and campaigns like this tend to get many “notes”: similar to likes, shares and comments on facebook. Tumblr’s format allows for users to blog anonymously and customise their blogs to their tastes and I think this is why many people in the LGBTQ+ community has found refuge in it. The users of the site consider themselves proactive for the most part with many issues like gay marriage, gender equality and racial issues.

One of the issues that several tumblr users brought up was that all the couples featured were white. The popular of Italy is largely white and the campaign was for the citizens there. A user spoke on behalf of this issue:

Not everywhere is as mixed as North America. You go to places like Japan and it would be really weird to see a white person in their ad, it’s no different for places like Italy and Germany where people are mostly white. In North American we seem to have a decently even mix in a lot of areas so it’s a little off-putting when there’s only a certain race -generally all white people- depicted, where it’s completely normal and would appear really strange otherwise for other countries. Like you wouldn’t go to China and demand they show white people in their ads there, so why would you do the same for a country that has very few PoC compared to it’s population?

One Italian user was very upset about that someone brought up the race issue.

Seriously, I am Italian, and FUCK YOU. Our country has huge problems with homophobia, there isn’t even one single law to protect homosexuals. Most European countries have legalized marriage and adoption (or at least talked about it), but not Italy. The Catholic community does everything they can to block the law against homophobia. Last month, a 14 years-old killed himself because he was gay. You have no idea how much that kind of thing matters in Italy, all you can fucking do is whine about Tumblr about the fact that they are all white. Yes, in Italy the majority of the population is indeed white. Not the rest of the world is like fucking North America.

I think this users harsh reaction shows just how important campaigns like this are to the citizens of Italy. It brings issues like gay marriage into the spotlight so that conversations can be opened up. Hopefully the CondividiLove campaign will continue to grow and will aid in allowing for more gay rights in Italy.

 

“Gender” By Thiago Antonucci

Thiago Antonucci is a relatively unknown artist who recently became a powerful hit to those who tumbl (Tumblr blog users). A photo series on Behance.net was released called “Gender” by the artist. The series was then picked up by tumblr user irakalan. The cartoon picture of the user irakalan bears an uncanny resemblance to Thiago Antonucci. I suspect that the two could be the same person but Antonucci seems to be keeping a low profile. Maybe in an attempt to make his work more powerful by letting it take the center stage instead of him as an artist.

I dived into the depths of the internet (something I would not recommend) to find Antonucci but only surfaced with an old facebook and barely used twitter account. The tumblr account that I suspect could be Antonucci, is fairly filled with other art and beautiful things, but nothing biographical that would help me in my search. I came to the conclusion that I would have to let the art shine through and be the main topic of this post instead of the mysterious Antonucci.

Before I go on posting these beautiful and powerful works of art, I will warn you, there is nudity and in some cases could be a trigger for trans individuals who suffer from this bodily disconnect.

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In these photos, individuals are depicted naked and holding up photoed genital of another to their body. Some are shown as couples and others are shown as individuals who are struggling alone. Only one photo features an individual whose genitalia is not replaced. Instead, the person is holding up the face of another. These eight photos are not just beautiful but they also create a powerful thought process in the audience. it shows the feeling of disconnect that many trans individuals may feel. I myself find this feeling so hard to relate to because it is something that I have never struggled with but these photos give a visual representation of that feeling. Many of the authors that we have read and discussed have felt these feelings or discusses them in their work. I think it helps not only the class, but any audience member, to see this work and imagine the feelings that go along with it.

I chose this as my archival project because of the lack of information on Antonucci. I think this series is important and I would hate the lack of the artists face to make this series forgotten. I also think that it helps redefine gender as a nonbinary idea. What I really like is that not all the person’s genitals are covered. by allowing breasts and a penis to live on the same body, this series is gender fluid and tries its best to include all the genders in the spectrum.

As this archive is constructed, I believe that powerful and thought provoking posts will be added and a wonderful collection will be established.