“HA! The Web Series” and Religion

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 16.17.58HA! the web series is a satire that centers on a young man, Roger, who enters homosexual anonymous (HA) at his local church to overcome his homosexual urges. Throughout the web series, the idea that through Christian faith and threats of a lifetime of sin, a person’s homosexuality can be cured. Although the series is purely satirical, it highlights the absurdity of Christian gay-to-straight reform groups as the name of group is commonly referred to among members as HA (a sign of amusement).

HA is just like all the other anonymous reform groups, but instead this group has a 14 step program for complete recovery. In the meetings, each member goes around and shares their stories of homosexual urges and actions. The group then prays for that person in hope that through God and faith, they will be cured. If Christian faith is not enough to cure the members, then the threat of a lifetime of sin will scare the members to be straight. This plot line sheds light on the ongoing issue of organized religion punishing and pushing away its homosexual members. Many homosexual people feel they cannot truly be themselves and love the people they love because their religion does not condone it and actually punishes it. The rigid beliefs in the Christian faith are made clear through Roger’s mom as she made the comment in episode 2 “We are not flexible. We are Christian.” She also constantly reminds Roger of the lifetime of sin he will be faced if decides to act on his urges. For a religion that prides itself on love and peace, it still excludes and persecutes its members and Roger’s mom is an example of that.
Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 16.16.43Although the web series was made in 2009, it is still relevant today. Most organized religions still do not accept homosexuality or “gay marriage.” The Catholic Church has made some progress in the more recent years with its announcement of accepting homosexual members, but it still does not recognize homosexual marriage. It still believes in the archaic notion that marriage is for a man and a woman. Some of the more accepting religions will still judge and punish its members because they may accept the concept homosexuality, they do not accept the actions involved with it. Organized religions’ complete or partial rejection of homosexuality, impacts queer society as it secludes many people and makes the process of coming out and acceptance harder because of the fear of rejection and persecution.

Don’t Hug Me .I’m Scared

DHMIS 3Directed by Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling, Don’t Hug Me .I’m Scared is a short film series where the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. Making its YouTube debut in 2011, several years elapsed between the release of the first video and its sequels due to lack of funding. Stylized in the vein of contemporary children’s programming, the show employs the mediums of puppetry, animation, costume, and song. There are three primary characters but we never learn their official names: two are puppets – one a green bird and the other a yellow muppet-like fellow – and the third a human-sized individual costumed entirely in red with a mop-like face. For sake of clarity, I will refer to these characters as “Robin”, “Manny”, and “Harry” respectively. (These are the names the YouTube community appears to have agreed upon.)

loveEach show is centered on a particular theme (creativity, time, love, computers, and health, so far) and text magically emerges midair to introduce new concepts. These videos are not your standard educational programming, however. Innocuous at first, things quickly take a turn for the worst as the inanimate objects/animals that began talking to offer seemingly useful advice turn despot, their guidance becoming flawed and insidious.

RedBesides stating that the series aims to “teach the puppets the most important subjects of life” and to “save them from ignorance” in their crowd funding videos, its creators have offered little information in the way of clarification. As such, the YouTube community has taken the matter into its own hands. Broadly speaking, most fans of Don’t Hug Me .I’m Scared appear to be of the mindset that the show is meant to be a commentary on the dangers of children’s television, calling attention to the indoctrinating and proselytizing qualities of those programs. They don’t stop there, however. Determined viewers re-watch the videos over and again, seeking out “Easter eggs” that shed more light on the relationship between these characters and the context in which the events that transpire occur. Serious theorizing takes place in the comment section as viewers attempt to find logic in the chaos.

While I tend to agree with the notion that the series operates as a critique to children’s programming (and have attempted to posit a narrower explanation for the general proceedings), I think much of its value lies in its brazen inexplicability. Queering the normative, it turns everything we take to be true on its head by taking that truth to the absolute extreme. For approximately five minutes, this show barges into your quiet and comfortable life and just a quickly ends, leaving you reeling. Offering no explicit alternatives, its power lies in its ability to disrupt via the irrational. So it is perhaps pointless to even try to impose lucidity on it.

dinnerIt was only after viewing John Water’s Pink Flamingos that I came to think of Don’t Hug Me as relevant to this course. Like Water’s film, the series is rather dark in humor, capitalizing on the crude and warped. One might even say it’s campy, for it regales with its “embrace [of] the low, the bawdy, and the common”. Death and decay feature in some form in each video, fresh organs nonchalantly make appearances and are sometimes just as coolly consumed, and there is always blood. It is evident, as well, that the series appeals to only a certain range of people, for while the first video averaged 302,169 likes, a notable number of people – 20,154 – disliked it just as much. Could it be they were experiencing disgust?

As Berlant and Wportraiterner suggest, kinship and the notion of the couple are sites that queer culture can invert. In this series, there is no indication as to what binds Robin, Manny, and Harry besides perhaps friendship. They appear to live together (this supposition might be thrown into conflict with the emergence of episode five, however, as the kitchen is not the same as episode one) but are by no means a nuclear family as they vary in species and all present as male (this is only presumed on the basis of voice register).

When it comes to relationships episode three is by far the most notable, focusing on the concept of love. Upset by Robin’s killing of a butterfly, Manny takes off into the forest and soon finds himself greeted by yet another butterfly offering to share the gospel of love with him. Flying over a rainbow, Manny comes to the land of love where he learns that “everyone has a special one”. Monogamous and heterosexual, this love is “perfect” and “pure”, “protected with a ring”, and has “always been” this way. It is then revealed, however, that for Manny to experience this love, he has to pledge himself to Malcolm, the king of love, a giant head who must be fed gravel to be kept content. As the fellow love-goers share, it is also requisite that Manny changes his name, permits his brain to be scoured of certain thoughts, and forgets “about anything [he] ever knew”. Indeed, as this video suggests, there is ample evidence that heteronormativity is in fact a cult.malcolm2

Don’t Hug Me .I’m Scared: the surest and shortest path to WTF.

Check out the YouTube channel here

Jack’d

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Apps like Grinder and Jack’d are gay apps that allow hookups to be easier. I will be focusing on the app called Jack’d throughout my post. I hope to show the connection between the increase in STI rates and how these apps aid in that increase. According to a news report by CNN syphilis grew by 79%, HIV infections grew by 33%, and gonorrhea also has increased by 30%. Rhode Island Department of Health has put the blame on these types of apps.

JAck’d is a app that allows you to connect with other gay guys for hookups. The app also allows individuals to make friends and build connections. Jack’d shows you how far or close you are to each other as well. With this app you also have to create a profile where people can read about you and see pictures.Rhode Islands Department of Health has also said that gay men dating through these apps are at higher risk for chlamydia and gonorrhea. A quote by Whitney Engeran saying that “Mobile dating apps are rapidly altering the sexual landscape by making casual sex as easily available as ordering a pizza.” I believe that with sex being so easily accessible it makes it easier to contract a STI. Even though the profiles are created to allow people to learn about their interest, not all users are honest. This causes people to trust people on these apps and have unprotected sex and contract these STI’s.jackdAppIcon-2x

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1281189

http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/26/technology/rhode-island-tinder-stds/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3252570/Tinder-Grindr-dating-apps-increase-risk-chlamydia-gonorrhea-making-casual-sex-available-ordering-pizza.html

Sex Lives of Cult Television Characters

In the essay, The sex lives of cult television characters, by Sara Gwenllian Jones, Sara focuses on the work of slash (male/male or female/female) fanfiction writers. Sara is a teacher of television and digital media at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. She also wrote a book called Cult Television, where she and other scholars examine show that are categorized as cult television to find defining characteristic to place them in this sub culture.

41WMNKJP2ZL._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_ (Book cover for Cult Television by Sara Gwenllian Jones)

This essay exemplifies the fact that cult television is a great basis of slash fanfiction.   The fact that in cult television literally anything can happen and be an acceptable outcome, spurs on fanfiction writers to the erotic relationships that are portrayed in most slash stories. The main writers of slash fanfiction are females, whom, aim to change normative gender constraints for males, to more emotional and sensual emotions that are generally found in romantic novels. With this shift to a more romantic/emotional man, this dictates a change in the masculinity and sexuality of men.

As stated by Marie-Laure Ryan in this essay in respect to fanfiction,

“Every act of reading constructs the text and actualizes its world in a different way”.

So in cult television, when an author writes a story, they open doors to allow for different worlds to be seen for that specific show. This then allows the characters to be portrayed in a different light, more specifically, to have slash relationships as a norm.

In this essay it makes a clear statement that with fanfiction, especially fanfiction of cult television, it allows the author to explore whatever they feel like. Whether it be objectively real or fake, right or wrong, true experiences or something they want to explore, what was once thought as myth and many other things, these are all acceptable things to see in fanfiction. This allows both the fans, who read the fanfiction, and the stories authors themselves to explore whatever desires they might have while still being connected to a character they already have a strong connection to.

In Audre Lorde’s, Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as a Power, she talks about how women use the erotic as a source of power for their unexpressed or unrecognized feelings.  In her essay she states,

“The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves”.

This relates perfectly to what these writers do when they write their stories.  Both writers and readers alike, search within their-self to what their desires are that they have yet to try out for whatever reason, and put their slash characters through it so people are able to experience it.  This then enables the writes and readers to know what they like and do not like specifically through characters in the cult television shows that they watch.

Mass Effect: Sexuality in Video Games

Many would not see the video game industry, which is widely viewed as a masculine market due to its focus on violence and heroism, as a battleground for sexual equality. However, game franchises such as the Mass Effect series have helped stir a dialogue over the freedom of player choice and what that means for the representation of sexuality and gender in this medium. Role-playing games like Mass Effect are modeled around the ability for the game’s player to choose their own path. Players can create their own character, pick their own clothing and interact with other non-player characters in whatever way they choose. Set in a galactic future, Mass Effect and its sequels have pushed this boundary to a point where players can develop romantic and sexual relationships with characters of any sexual orientation and even non-human characters.

The first Mass Effect game allowed for male or female characters to engage sexually with characters of the opposite gender. Both genders also had the option to develop a relationship with a ‘mono-gender’ alien character with feminine features. The uproar the first game created was less about this ‘lesbian’ sex scene, however, and focused more on the fact that ‘pornography’ was being marketed to children. This was despite the fact that the game was given a Mature rating and that the two-minute sex scene (in a 30+ hour game) shows little more flesh than an edgier prime time network drama, which children have much easier access to.

The second game in the franchise was more of the same, with a little more availability of lesbian options, but still no representation of gay relationships. It wasn’t until the third game that players were finally able to be truly gay or lesbian, and choose their own partner freely.

Ignoring the obvious controversy this created in the straight community, it is more interesting to look at how the player community reacted. Concerns from fans were not cultural or personal objections against homosexuality, but fears that the realism of the narrative would be lost if characters that seemed clearly heterosexual in past games were suddenly switching teams. Wanting to get it right, the writers of the romance scenes felt challenged to write homosexual characters who did not fall victim to the tropes of queer literature, in which the characters’ struggle with their sexual identity was the most important aspect of their personality. Rather than have it be shouted from the rooftops, they worked on creating real, complex characters.

There was also fear from male players that they would not be able to interact with male characters platonically without getting ‘ninja-romanced’ into homosexual interactions. In real life people can make their intentions clearer, but the game does not allow you to use body language to convey interest or disinterest, meaning characters of both genders might try and engage you in ways you don’t expect. Some players suggested it would be better to state your orientation as part of the character creation process, with options for gay, straight, bi, undisclosed and asexual. Someone even asked for polyamorous.

As it turns out, Bioware, the company responsible for the Mass Effect franchise, had planned the homosexual option from the release of the first game, but the backlash was too great. This didn’t stop consumers from modding the content back into the game, however. Throughout this process, in fact, Bioware has seen that players of all backgrounds prefer a wider availability of player choice, which to the gaming community allows for greater realism.

What is most interesting to me is how little debate there has been over the inclusion of inter-species romance and sexuality. I would expect this to be a point of controversy for the conservative side of the market, but it has gone by largely unnoticed. It astonishes me that people can get upset about the inclusion of homosexuality; an act some consider to be ‘inhuman’, when sexual engagement with something that is literally non-human is not even a point of debate. It is also an important victory that people were unconcerned with the inclusion of a ‘mono-gender’ character, regardless of her clearly feminine features. Hopefully this is a positive sign for the future of sexuality, though I am sure if our race does ever make contact with an extraterrestrial species there will be a controversy when man and our new neighbors inevitably begin seeking more than platonic interactions with each other. Still, the makers of Mass Effect have proven that maybe sometimes, deep in the emptiness of space, sexuality can indeed exist in a vacuum.

The Try Guys Open Eyes

From Left to Right: Ned, Zach, Keith, Eugene

The Try Guys is a group of four guys that tries things most men have never considered or would never consider trying. Buzzfeed conceptualized The Try Guys in September of 2014 when Buzzfeed released “Guys Try On Ladies’ Underwear For The First Time // Try Guys.” Since then, The Try Guys have exploded on the internet gaining increasing popularity among Buzzfeed’s avid YouTube viewers. The group consists of a fairly standard circle of four guys: Eugene—the cool, talented, and pretty one; Ned—the cute, silly, and fatherly figure; Keith—the kooky, awkward, intellectual; and Zach—the nerdy, weird, omega of the wolf pack. Together, these four have experienced anything from trying drag to nude sushi modeling to pseudo-childbirth to BDSM, all while allowing the YouTube audience to vicariously experience such activities accompanied by the guys personal insight.

This group is an important addition to this archive not only because of their willingness to cover taboo topics publicly for anyone to see (such as drag, nude male modeling, and male stripping), but because of who the four guys are. Aside from the civil rights oriented Eugene (who happens to be the only non-white member of the group), the group consists of fairly normative, presumably straight, white guys. This makes the group have so much influential potential; the group reaches out to a demographic of people who are arguably a conservative and judgmental group of people—straight, white guys—and allows them to see that a lot of “gay” things to do may not be stupid, weird, or “gay,” but actually very interesting, fun, and even liberating. Additionally, it also gives out the message that, “if they did it, and they’re cool and normal, then I guess it isn’t weird.” More importantly, Buzzfeed also has other audiences of many different demographics that these videos are viewed by both in the U.S. and around the world; to these audiences, this can send out the message that not all straight, white guys are the stereotypical, closed-minded person that many think. All of this added together just creates a recipe destined for positive influences.

We can see The Try Guys’s influence to multiple demographics (including worldwide audiences) in this clip from a video posted November 21, 2015 (from 2:30-2:37).

In two specific videos, “The Try Guys Try Drag For The First Time” and “The Try Guys Try ‘Fifty Shades’ Style BDSM,” The Try Guys cover topics directly related to this class. In these videos, The Try Guys explore the topics by performing them personally; this allows the guys to ask the very common questions anyone unfamiliar with the topics has and also bust any myths or misconceptions about the topics.

As we experienced in the Gender Performativity unit, specifically RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag performance is not some crazy act by men to get into the pants of other men, nor is it strictly for the purpose of “being a woman.” Instead, we saw that drag is like a theater performance; the actors do it for their personal desires—whether it be to enact a persona, entertain an audience, or to be a queen for a day, etc.—and the audience watches for entertainment, for a unique experience performed with skill creativity, and heart. The Try Guys give us all of this and more; we get to see their personal journey of a day in drag along with how their closest family and friends felt about the experience. Throughout their journey we find that the experience was one of hesitation at first, but ended with a finish of satisfaction and liberation. We see this best when Zach says, “there’s a fear of compromising your masculinity, but who cares.”

The Try Guys and their endeavors continue in another video where we get to watch and learn about BDSM with a professional, The Try Guys, and few female Buzzfeed coworkers. We start off with the Buzzfeed employee’s personal misconceptions about BDSM followed by an explanation by the knowledgeable Buzzfeed workers. This parallels Pat Califia’s explanation of BDSM; Califia shares what many think of BDSM followed by her explanation of why these misconceptions are not accurate representation of what BDSM actually is. Just like for Califia, Buzzfeed and The Try Guys are trying to dismantle the taboo of BDSM and show its true inner workings, specifically that BDSM is not crazy and violent sexual assault, but rather a consensual role playing coupled with a power dynamic and strong physical sensations. Together, I think the video and Califia’s work exemplify that, as Califia explains, BDSM is a fantasy where participants are enhancing sexual experience, not impeding it.

Because of such progressive work reaching out to a vast and varying audience, I believe The Try Guys are just one step in the right direction to help thwart misconceptions of taboo topics in our world. Much of their content is enlightening and entertaining; I highly recommend that, if you haven’t already, check out the rest of their videos. They have done plenty to bring a little perspective to their audience, and it looks like they have just scratched the surface.

The L Word (2004-2009)

The L Word is a TV series that follows the lives and loves of a small solid group of lesbian, bisexuals, straight, and transgender people living in Los Angeles. They live with their family and friends that either support them or despise them. The TV series was released in 2004. I will be analyzing the show as one, but I also chose to focus on how gender roles play a big part within the lesbian relationship between Bette Porter and Tina Kennard.

 

bette and tinaJenny

The setting of this TV series takes place in the west side of Hollywood. In the beginning of this TV series the main focus was the lesbian relationship between Bette Porter and Tina Kennard and their heterosexual neighbor Tim Haspel and his sexually curious girlfriend Jenny Schecter, who had just moved in with him. As well as their friends and families around them. In the very first episode Tim Haspel’s girlfriend moves in with him. Jenny comes off as a sweet heterosexual female who is confused when she realizes her new neighbors are a very open lesbian couple by the name of Bette and Tina. Throughout the Jenny’s bisexuality leads her to realizing that men were not for her once she came across Bette and Tina’s hot lesbian friend Marina Ferrer who basically turns Jenny out and helps her realize that she is attractive to women.

Bette and Tina are the most dominant lesbian couple in the series. They were together seven years and counting the time they took apart. Bette was the director of an art museum who portrayed as the domme (masculine lesbian) in the relationship and Tina was unemployed in the beginning who portrayed as the femme (feminine lesbian). Their relationship connects with gender roles stereotype in today’s society, which is set on allocating masculine and feminine roles to partners in every couple whether it involves a gay, straight, or lesbian couple, their relationship endured the same bittersweet obstacles as heterosexual couples. These obstacles included starting a family, infidelity, break, forgiving, and marriage.

 

Archive of Our Own

Archive of Our Own, or AO3 as it is know by its users, is a website that allows fans from all cultures, places, and fandoms post their creative works for all users to enjoy. This website is fan-created and run by a non-profit organization called Organization for Transformative Works, where they work to legitimize all fan works over many media.

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(symbol associated with AO3 from their website)

AO3 is a safe space for all writes and readers alike to share their works and enjoy outside the world or normative culture. This space allows everyone on it to express and explore feelings and situations they may never experience in the real world. This website contains fan fiction, or fics, that mainly consist of male/male or female/female pairings participating in any and all alternate universes, AUs, and any sex act truly imaginable. AO3 houses fics from all TV shows, movies, bands, anime, book, celebrities, ect with all the writers writing to their specific fandom. The writers on this site play out stories of fictional characters that have their own storyline, and change it by making them do whatever the author wants them to in order to explore things that cannot happen in the real world for that person. The amazing part of this website is that the only way one knows about it, is if you are involved in a fandom and like to read fics based on your favorite characters in that specific fandom; it is every fans little secret.

The website has a tagging system, that helps organize and give warning to anything that is to come in all the fics on the website. Thus making it easier to find, or steer clear of, a specific topic that is happening in a fic. This tagging system helped me find two fics to look at more closely.

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(Tagging system found on AO3 to organize and heed warring as to what is to come in the fic)

The first work is called Misbehaving For Days by secondstar for the Teen Wolf fandom. The biggest pairing of characters in this fandom is that of Derek Hale and Stiles Stilinski and this fic is set in the AU that contains werewolves.

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(Left: Actor Dylan O’Brian who plays Stiles Stilinski on Teen wolf)

(Right: Actor Tyler Hoechlin who pays Derek Hale on Teen wolf)

This fic also contains heavy aspects of BDSM, which was the main reason for including it. This story follows the show Teen Wolf, only slightly because the same characters that are involved in the show are present and there are still werewolves, other then that the fic is different.

As Sigmund Freud stated in his work Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, that a perversion are sexual activities that extend past the anatomical sense. Thus meaning that the only sexual activity that is a true sex act involves only the body parts that are made specifically for copulation. So in essence, the fact that two men are having intercourse falls under the category of a perversion based by Freud.

Another example of a perversion based on Freud’d definition is in the second chapter of this fic, where Stiles fucks Derek’s mouth until it lead to his orgasm. This would not count as a sexual activity, because even though one character comes to a climax, a mouth, which falls outside the category of a sex act, brought it about.

In the sequel of this fic called, Already on My Knees by secondstar, there are heavier aspects of BDSM found as compared to its previous fic. There is a scene in the third chapter of this fic, were Derek beats the shit out of Stiles’s ass and thighs because he needed some time where he did not have to think at all. The pain that Stiles felt during that was not a bad kind of pain, it was a pleasurable pain that he got off on. Thus making it clearly apparent that Stiles falls under the category of a masochist. In Freud’s work, he considers this to be the most common and significant perversion found in our world.  There are may other examples throughout these two stories that are great examples to compare against Freud and his work, but these are just a few.

 

(Disclaimer **** All rights reserved to the writer of the fic used and I do not own any rights the characters used in the fic or TV show)

Sexuality In Video Games

Straight males are the target audience of most video games. Many FPS (First person Shooter) games do not allow the player to express their sexuality because the game is more focused on the ssimstory line and content.

By contrast, some gen
res of game are very accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online), RPG (Role-Playing Games) and Life Simulation games are much more expressive of an individual’s sexuality. Often times in the beginning of the game, the player can choose what gender they want and even design their character’s hair color and style, outfit, height, etc. One of the most expressive game’s people can play is SIMS. In this Life Simulation Game, the player quite literally can do whatever they want. The games do not follow a strict story line and allow characters to live in their own virtual reality. Characters can build relationships with whoever they choose and even have a house and family. This game certainly stands out from most games and even other games in its genre.

SIMS 4 is the newest SIMS available for the computer and other modern gaming consoles. Following its lead, more and more games have included character customization where individuals can choose characters of specific genders and ethnicity. For Xbox and PS4, the new game Fallout 4, coming out later this year, will allow the main character to choose their gender and create a romantic interest with anyone, regardless of gender. Fallout 4 is also a first person shooter, which normally do not represent the LGBTQ+ community like other genres. Similarly, Fire Emblem Fates, an upcoming Tactician Role Playing game will also allow the main character to be bisexual. In previous Fire Emblem games, there have always been minor characters that express their sexuality. In the most recent Fire Emblem game, Awakening, characters could build relationships with other characters. However, they could only marry characters of the opposite gender. While these two games have received a lot of backlash for allowing same-sex marriage, the change may ultimately attract a wider audience of gamers.

The expression of sexuality has always been present in video games, dating back to the 1980’s. Birdo, a villain in Super Mario Bros 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988 was confirmed to be Nintendo’s first transgender character. Most representation of the LGBTQ+ community are normally seen in minor characters and rarely the individual playing. About 90% of games listed on “LGBT characters in video games” on Wikipedia are RPGs. These minor characters that are expressive of their sexuality are sometimes characters the player might not even encounter. Often times, the sexuality of characters is implied through subtle dialog or locations. Some games, however, feature married same-sex couples and use the relationships as major plot devices. As the presence of the LGBTQ+ community expands in video games, characters of different sexualities may be more thoroughly incorporated into games of every genre.

Love Is Not A Choice: China’s LGBT Awareness Campaign

LoveIsNotAChoice-SocialMedia-600px-Bedroom 1 LoveIsNotAChoice-SocialMedia-600px-Bathroom LoveIsNotAChoice-SocialMedia-600px-Living

Since the year 1997, China had associated homosexuality with “Hooliganism,” a term used to describe a disruptive or unlawful behavior. Until 2001, China believed that homosexuality was considered to be a mental disorder.  The Chinese government decided on a “Don’t support, don’t ban, don’t promote” type of policy.  Due to the government’s lack of response on homosexuality, many Chinese homosexuals feel enticed to participate in cooperative marriages which means a gay man will marry a lesbian women.  Also, many straight women end up marrying gay men because they fear other people’s opinions which is referred to as “tongqi.”  The Chinese have somewhat changed their opinions about how they view the LGBT community thanks to the attention the United States has been getting on the government’s support on gay marriage, although they still have a long way to go.  Also, the use of social media has helped calm down the negative thoughts of China due to many campaigns and interactions on these social media sights that show more support and have more people speaking on behalf of being part of the LGBT community. This is where China’s LGBT awareness campaign comes into play.

The campaign, “Love Is Not A Choice” was a collection of ads that showed same-sex couples in the comfort of their own home with the words: “Love is not a choice. We did not choose to be homosexual. We just are. Happily, the world is big enough for all of us.” This campaign also incorporated some ads showing a heterosexual couple with the words: “ We did not choose to be heterosexual.”  This campaign was posted all over social media for Valentine’s Day weekend.  Each ad shows some sort of interaction among the couple whether it is a man fixing his partners tie, a same-sex couple holding hands, or a same-sex couple leaning on each other and smiling.  The message these ads are trying to get across is they are living a happy life with their partner.  They are normal people who deserve to live a good, happy life without being frowned upon by others. 

This campaign was a very positive campaign in support of the LGBT community which greatly differs from Epstein’s views on homosexuality.  At an early age, Epstein was introduced to homosexuals in a pedophilic way.  He kept these views that homosexuals were sick people with twisted minds.  He mentions feelings of anger and thinking differently about homosexuals.  He has this idea that homosexuality is on the rise and may make the world one very dark place full of pain. Epstein is still not sure whether he thinks homosexuals are truly attracted to the same sex or simple running away from the opposite sex with the possibility of having a traditional lifestyle with them.  He believes that homosexuals are different from the rest of the world. He says nothing would sadden him more than if any one of his sons became homosexual.  Epstein fails to recognize that love is not a choice.  He fails to respect other differences.  He fails to see these homosexuals as human beings that deserve to live a happy life the way they want to live it.

http://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/08/tiptoeing-out-of-the-closet-the-history-and-future-of-lgbt-rights-in-china/278869/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/14/china-lgbt-rights_n_6681220.html

http://www.advocate.com/world/2015/02/15/valentines-day-ad-campaign-encourages-chinese-lgbts-come-out

http://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/08/tiptoeing-out-of-the-closet-the-history-and-future-of-lgbt-rights-in-china/278869/