Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is a young adult novel released in April 2010. The novel surrounds two main characters, both with the same name, Will Grayson. The novel is different from many other novels we see today because it has two alternating points of view, both written by different authors.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson was the first ever LGBT novel to make The New York Times children’s best seller list.

Will Grayson , written by John Green, narrates the odd numbered chapters. All of his chapters are written in proper grammar and punctuation. However, will grayson, written by David Levithan, narrates the even numbered chapters. His words are all lowercase with no proper punctuation.

Will Grayson , who goes to a high school in Chicago, Illinois, tries to live his life without being noticed. His best friend is named Tiny Cooper, a very large homosexual boy. Will Grayson  is the only straight member of the Gay-Straight Alliance at his school. He lusts after a girl named Jane Turner who goes to his school.

will grayson, a homosexual high school boy from Naperville, Illinois, crushes on a boy named Isaac who he only knows from the internet. They communicate secretly through instant messaging online.

When will grayson  tries to set up a meeting with his online love, Isaac, the two boys accidentally meet at a porn shop and their lives intertwine.  Isaac turns out to be completely made up by one of will garyson’s female friends from school, Maura. Maura has always had a thing for will grayson, but he obviously never liked her in the same way. Acting as Isaac allowed her to get closer to him.

This was John Green and David Levithan’s first time writing a book with homosexual protagonists. A lot of readers questioned why the two authors decided to take this route.

On johngreenbooks.com, Green answers questions about the novel. Some of the more relevant and important ones to this course include:

“Q.  What was it like for you to write about gay characters and gay issues?
A. I didn’t think much about it, to be honest.”

This response really caught my attention, and it began to make me question whether John Green and David Levithan really knew what they were talking about at all when they wrote this book. Neither of them are homosexuals themselves, and probably do not have much experience with homosexual teenagers. Saying “I didn’t think much about it,” leaves me pretty disappointed in John Green as an author. He is one of my favorites, and I thought he would have gone beyond that.

It’s offensive and sad that he didn’t think much about it because there are so many teens out there today that do have very real issues that they deal with, and Green and Levithan didn’t even bother to do any kind of research.

“Q. Will Grayson seemed to have asexual qualities. Why wasn’t he?
A. He’s physically attracted to Jane from the very beginning of the book—or at least he drawn to describing her physicality more observantly than any of the other characters.
I certainly wouldn’t think it’s “too much” to have an asexual protagonist in one of my novels. I just wanted sexual love to be one of the kinds of love—but only one—that was celebrated in the book.
Thematically, I suppose this was important to me because I think both David and I wanted to normalize gay sexual encounters by equalizing them with straight sexual encounters.
But mostly I just saw Will’s reluctance to seek romantic entanglements as reflective not as asexuality but by his wrongheaded belief that pain is something avoidable/to be avoided.”

That, thankfully, is one thing they did accomplish in this novel. Although Will Grayson is completely straight, and to some, kind of asexual, he loves Tiny and doesn’t care that he is gay.

Merle Miller, author of “What It Means To Be a Homosexual,” states, “Nobody says, or at least I have never heard anyone say, ‘Some of my best friends are homosexual.’ People do say- I say- ‘fag’ and ‘queer’ without hesitation- and these words, no matter who is uttering them, are put- down words, in intent every bit as vicious as ‘kike’ or ‘nigger”” (1).

Will Grayson hangs around with Tiny and regards him as one of his best friends. He helps him through all of his troubles as he would any straight person. Words like ‘fag’ and ‘queer’ are not used throughout this novel. Tiny is also very proud to be gay, and he doesn’t hide it from anyone, as some homosexuals may.

Green even claims that having the two boys meet at a porn shop is an attempt to normalize heterosexual and homosexual engagement:

“Q. Why did the Will Graysons meet in a porn shop?
A. I guess I kind of wanted to force David’s hand here, because I really wanted to write a story that celebrated all different kinds of love, that talked about love between friends and between kids and parents, and that wasn’t just another love story in which the only kind of love was romantic.
And it seemed to me that part of our weird obsession with romantic love is a weird attraction/repulsion to our sexuality, which is inevitably going to be at play any time you write about young homosexual men and women, because there is still so much prejudice against them. (I knew I wanted to write about a friendship between a straight male and a gay male.)
So I thought it would be interesting and resonant to have these two guys have this aggressively unsexual and unromantic encounter in a place (a porn store) we associate so closely with sexuality.” 

When I personally think of a porn shop, I do very closely associate it with sexuality and even kinkiness. Having these two boys, both who do not have a lot of experience with sex in general, meet here, is kind of comedic.

Although the title is based off of the Will Graysons, Tiny Cooper becomes a very large part of the story, literally. Throughout the book, he is writing an autobiographical musical that surrounds his many past boyfriends. After both Graysons meet, will grayson gets in a relationship with Tiny. However, he ends it too soon due to his depression and lack of trust in others.

will grayson and Tiny Cooper reflect different types of stereotypes that society holds about homosexual men.

will grayson  is the goth, depressed, and angry gay teen who wants nothing to do with anyone. In the first line of his first chapter, he quotes, “i am constantly torn between killing myself and killing everyone around me” (Green and Levithan 22).  (Yes, it’s all lowercase. It makes me cringe, trust me.) Great first impression, right?

He’s rude to his mother, and he’s rude to pretty much everyone else around him, even people who he calls friends. The only person he truly adores is his online love, Isaac, who turns out to be completely fake.

He represents the whole ‘teen angst’ thing pretty well, rocking the whole goth look and acting like no one could possibly ever understand him. He hides the fact he is gay to everyone.

His chapters are written completely in lower case and with no proper punctuation besides periods between sentences. While it drove me crazy reading it, I don’t think it was done solely to help readers distinguish between the two boys.

Constantly throughout the novel, will talks about how he is not good enough and has nothing special about him. Writing in all lower case with no punctuation may very well be a reflection of these feelings. will feels like he is a lower case person who is not worthy of upper case letters, which usually start a sentence and indicate important words like nouns. Readers pay attention to upper case letters when reading. will feels that he isn’t worthy of anyone’s attention, hence why everything he says is written in lowercase.

Tiny, though also homosexual, is the complete opposite.

Tiny is loud and proud about who he is. He is flamboyant and very into musical theater, which is stereotypical of many gay men.

Green even addresses this on his website:

“Q. Tiny seemed to be almost a caricature of a stereotypical gay person. Did you do this on purpose?
A. I wanted Tiny to be entirely agnostic toward the stereotypes. I liked the idea that he really, deep down didn’t care if it happened to be “gay” to like musical theater. He just likes musical theater.
After all, he also doesn’t care that it’s “straight” to play football, and he’s the best player on his school’s football team. He just likes football…”

Though Green claims Tiny is “agnostic” towards the stereotypes, he still completely portrays and perpetuates them.

However, he does play football, which is not very typical of a gay man.

Lastly, when I originally read this novel, I was very hesitant to do so. I read all of John Green’s novels before this one, and I wasn’t too sure if I liked the idea of an unknown author taking up half of the book.

However, afterwards, I was so glad that I decided to give this book a chance. It’s now one of my favorites. In fiction today, especially YA, we rarely see books written with more than one author. Readers, including myself, worry that the novel won’t flow, and the characters won’t be able to fully develop or create a connection with the reader.

However, none of this was a problem in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Both authors have extremely powerful and distinct voices, but they mixed well together. I was able to easily tell which boy I was reading about, and I also cared about them both equally even though they each had to share narration time.

Overall, this novel is unique for its time. It aims to normalize interaction between heterosexual and homosexual people, but at the same time, it perpetuates stereotypes of homosexual men.

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/

The Kids Are All Right, But How Are The Adults?

“The Kids Are All Right” is a 2010 film directed by Lisa Cholodenko, starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo. It tells the story of married, lesbian couple Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore). They each gave birth to a child from the same anonymous sperm donor. The youngest, fifteen year old Laser (Josh Hutcherson), is interested in finding their sperm donor, and pressures his older sister, Joni (Mia Wasikowska), who recently turned eighteen, into doing it for him. They find their donor father Paul (Ruffalo), a laid-back guy who runs his own farm and restaurant. The kids are interested in continuing to see him, and he starts to get more involved with the whole family’s lives. He ends up asking Jules to help landscape his backyard, and while she’s working for him, they have an affair. One night, when the family is over at Paul’s house for dinner, Nic finds out about the affair after finding some of Jules’s hair on a brush and in the shower. After confronting and getting a confession from Jules, tensions are high at home. Paul believes he has fallen in love with Jules, and suggests her marriage with Nic is already falling apart, she should just take the kids and move in with him, but she declines. Paul turns up at the house the night before Joni is to leave for college, and Nic angrily confronts him and turns him away. After this, Jules apologizes for her actions and begs for forgiveness from her family. The next morning, they all drive Joni to college, without Paul. Nic and Jules affectionately hug Joni goodbye together. On the ride back, Laser says they’re too old to break up, and the film ends with Nic and Jules smiling and holding hands.

The film is an excellent representation of a normal, same-sex couple. It portrays a family going through difficult times. One child about to leave for college, another in the troublesome teenage years, and a struggling, long-term marriage. The major problem has little to do with the fact that Nic and Jules are a lesbian couple, other than that Paul is their sperm donor. Though sperm donation isn’t simply unique to lesbians. Straight couples and even single women can and do get sperm donors. Jules cheats on Nic with Paul, not because she’s “becoming straight” like Nic questions, but because Jules desires support for her landscaping work, and Paul is offering that while Nic is extremely critical. The tension on their marriage is from them being together for so long, like many straight marriages. The problems they have with their kids, such as Joni about to leave for college and Laser hanging out with the wrong crowd, are similar to the same problems straight parents have. All the struggles they face have very little to do with their sexual orientation, showing that same-sex marriages go through the same matters as straight marriages.

One major critique is that the film follows the idea of the straight mind. Nic is clearly supposed to be the “man” of the relationship, and Jules the “woman.” Nic has a very masculine poise, is the breadwinner of the family, turns to work and wine when she feels lonely, and even has an ambiguously male name. At one point, Paul even refers to her as “my brother from another mother.” Jules is the more feminine character, trying to start her own business at home, and dresses more feminine with longer hair. Instead of adopting children, they both decide to go through pregnancy and childbirth, similar to what straight couples tend to desire. They experience little to no discrimination for their sexual orientation, and while ideal in a perfect world, doesn’t accurately represent what real lesbian couples experience.

Any possibility of sexual spectrum is removed and bisexual erasure is promoted in the scene where Nic confronts Jules about the affair. She asks Jules “are you straight now?” as if sexuality is something that can be turned on and off with no gray area.

Overall, the film is great representation of an average, lesbian marriage. It’s a normality that needs to be promoted more often in the movie industry. Though nowhere near suitable to represent all same-sex marriages, it’s headed in the right direction.

Timeless love — Love is Strange

Love is strange. It is strange because it can make two totally unrelated people become the most important one in each other’s life. It is strange because people can be bonded together no matter their sex, and no matter their age. The reason why I chose to write about this movie is that it is about a very unique kind of homosexual relationship.

‘Plain but touching’ is what I will use to describe this movie. It does not have a climax, nor a dramatic twist in the story line. Love is Strange directed by Ira Sachs is about two old gay couple, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), who have been together for 39 years and just got married. After they get married, George get fired by the christian school which he has been teaching for many years. The couple cannot afford their apartment in Manhattan anymore so they have to rely on their family and friends for support.

love-is-strange

The first scene of the movie filmed the two old man’s feet side by side on the bed. We can see their rough skin and saggy belly exposing to each other without any discomfort. Everything seems to move so smoothly as they shower, change, and get ready for their big day. The many little details in their life show how they have accepted each other’s flaws. Their relationship is just like any other couples, except that they do not have the particular ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ that straight couple have. Halderstam’s article about female masculinity discussed about the heronic masculinity and the alternative masculinities, but I am wondering after watching this movie, does a relationship must have a “muscular” and “feminine” side? In Ben and George’s relationship, we really cannot tell who is more muscular who is not. Society give people these classifications which I found really useless sometime because many people just can not be included in these classifications. Many people believe that there must be a more ‘man’ or ‘girly’ side in a relationship but Ben and George disproved this view. 

The movie also touches upon the society’s view toward homosexual. During Ben and George’s wedding, everyone is blessing the couple. However, the scene turns to George being fired. It shows the contrast between acceptance and resistance. In the scene when Joey (Eliot’s son)’s friend is posing for Ben’s painting, Joey said, ‘This is so gay!’ and then apologized to Ben. This reflects that people still use ‘gay’ as a negative word, although the society seems to accept gay marriage. Also, when Eliot and his wife Kate realized that their son was hanging out with his friend everyday, they start to worry about their son being homosexual. Kate talked about how Ben and George influenced her during their wedding ceremony, but when it comes to her son, she is still resists this sexual orientation. However, this make us wonder how Ben and George strive through all those years together and finally being able to get married.

The scene I loved the most is when they are walking in an alley after having their little drink in a bar. The two old man walk side by side but not holding hands. It seems like they are the only ones in the busy Manhattan. George walk Ben to the subway and gaze fixedly at Ben as he walk down the stair and until he disappear. The director always uses long shots to give the audience a lot of space to wonder, and to think deeply.

The death of Ben also went very smoothly without any tears shown. Joey brings Ben’s unfinished painting to George. I think it may symbolizes that their love is still not finished.

 

I am Jazz

TLC (Tender Love Care) formally known as “The Learning Channel” is owned by the Discovery Communications and has been televised since 1972. From the year 2001 and now, It has been focused on showing educational and learning content to its viewers. Lately, the network admits, “we began to primarily focus towards reality series involving lifestyles, family life, and personal stories.” Approximately 95 million American households have TLC broadcasted  on their cable TV’s in the study occurred in February 2015. On July 15, 2015 the first episode of ” I am Jazz” aired.

I chose this TV show because It represents Jazz as the normal teenage girl facing the common obstacles, yet she has announced she was transgender since she was two years old. She takes the ideal girl image and challenges the norm, which puts pressure on the values, and creates a different outlook on the word “identity”. She fails at being a biological man, but exceeds more in being an inspiring educating realistic woman. She has done more as a 14 year old girl than the average girl her age. In fact her show has sparked interest and inspiration across the globe, to which she receives fan letters and emails everyday expressing their gratitude towards her. But she has faced numerous of obstacles in order to make herself and everyone who loves her, happy.

  1. Girls travel soccer:According to the United States Youth Soccer Association, there are two types of team genders. Jazz is allowed to practice with the girls teams but not play in games. Jeanette and Greg Jennings fought with the board at the matter, the board replied, “she will hurt somebody.” Her parents argued with the stereotypical reply, ” She plays like a girl.” Jazz and her parents fought long and hard on this pressing issue, but sadly denied because of her gender.
  2. Female Restroom: In her middle school Jazz continued to use the nurses office until she was fed up with it. Her and her mother gathered up legalized records stating her female gender, and brought them to the administration at her school. When Jazz received approval, she knew it was another important challenge she over came in order to be seen as a woman.
  3. Teachers: Every year on the first day of school Jazz had to be the first one in her classes to be able to speak to her teachers about her “GID”. She would need to explain her reasons why it was important to be referred to as a “her” and by the name she went by everyday.

Jazz was one of the youngest known cases in America to be documented as being in transition at two years old. Even though her obstacles are far from over, she uses her negative and positive experiences to encourage her supporters to do whats right for yourself, and shows what can be done in schools and sports to make that happen. For six years Jeanette has been speaking at Universities in South Florida to educate graduates and medical students about the LGBTQ scale and specifically gender dysphoric.

Transgender Symbol

Jazz’s achievements consist of:

  1. Being the leader of the trans kids movement.
  2. Jennings founded Purple Rainbow Tails, a company in which she fashions rubber mermaid tails to raise money for transgender children.
  3. She was also named one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014” by time,
  4. Recognized as the youngest person ever featured on Out​s “Out 100” and Advocates “40 Under 40” lists
  5. Became a spokes model for Clean and Clear’s “See The Real Me” digital campaign and shared “the trials of growing up transgender.”
  6. Wrote the novel “I am Jazz” in 2013.

Below is a an interview with news broadcaster Katie Couric that sums up her book “I am Jazz” and a little more about her coming out to the public.

 

The History of Pride Flags

The very first gay pride flag made its first appearance in 1978. The original flag had eight colors. Today’s gay pride flag has only six colors. Each of the colors represent a different aspect of life. The first gay pride flag was created by Gilbert Baker. He is an artist from San Francisco. Among the gay pride flag there is other pride flags that represent different pride groups. Some of these other pride flags are Leather Pride, Bear Pride, Bisexual Pride, Lesbian Pride, Transgender Pride, Asexual Pride, and Feather Pride. These are only a few of the other pride there is many more. The other main one that I want to focus on is the Bear Pride flag, because this was the next pride flag that was created. Craig Byrnes was the designer of the Bear Pride flag. He came up with the official design in 1995 as the bear pride community was growing. Each color represents all the different types of real bears all around the world.

                        

(the flag on the left is the original 8 color flag and the flag in the middle is the present 6 color flag and the flag on the right is the ear pride flag)

Gay pride and bear pride along with leather pride are the top three pride groups that usually attend pride fests. In class we watched a short clip from “Where the Bears Are”. This is an internet show about the Bear pride community. It is a comedy mystery web series which won the 2012 “Best Gay Web Series”. It has become a big hit ever since it made its debut in 2012 with over 10 million hits. This show represents basically one group of gay men who are very hairy and have a larger masculine body structure. These men also usually have facial hair as well as chest hair. The Bear pride community has many different slang terms to describe what type of bear every man is that’s in the community. Another short web clip we watched in class was “Easy Abby”. This is a web series based on a lesbian who has a lot of girlfriends that she doesn’t remember when she runs into them after not seeing them for a little while after they broke up. Both web series are based on gay people weather they are men or women. Before other pride groups were formed and came up with their own pride flags they all would have originally used the rainbow gay pride flag to support their sexuality. But now each gay group has their own pride flag. there is a pride flag for transgender people, lesbians, straight, asexual, and many more different groups.

       

I chose to do my history archive on the history of the most common gay pride flags because not many people realize that there is more than just the original rainbow (gay) pride flag. Along with the gay pride flag being one of the most popular pride flags, the bear pride flag is also one of the three most popular pride flags as well. Bear pride has been growing more popular since 1995 when the official design of their flag was debuted to the community. No matter how many different gay pride flags there is the original gay pride flag (the rainbow flag) will never fade away because it is what has formed our community and shaped the future for other pride flags to come to gay groups that do not have a special flag of their own. We all share the original pride flag, but like to stand out with our own pride flag that represents who we truly are.

PrideFlags

 

Renée Vivien 19th Century Poet

Renée Vivien was born in 1877 in England and shortly after moved to Paris where she and her sister attended school. When Renée was nine her father died and she was forced to move back to England until 1898 when she became of age and could return to Paris on her own. Renée published her first two books under a masculine pseudonym in 1901 and 1902 then published her third book, Evocations, under her own name in 1903. In all her writing Renée wrote unabashedly about being a lesbian. Many of her poems where about Natalie Barney a wealthy American who she had an on again off again relationship with. Another significant relationship was with Baroness Hélène de Zuylen de Nyevelt, whom Renée spent several years with until she got back together with Natalie Barney. Renée wrote many poems and stories over her lifetime, most revolving around her romances with other women and others featuring tragic heroines fighting against nature and oppressive men. Because of the homoerotic nature of her work it was unsellable in England and the United States and as such none of her poetry was translated in to English until the 1970s. To read more about Renée Vivien click here.

Roses Rising

My brunette with the golden eyes, your ivory body, your amber
Has left bright reflections in the room
Above the garden.

The clear midnight sky, under my closed lids,
Still shines….I am drunk from so many roses
Redder than wine.

Leaving their garden, the roses have followed me….
I drink their brief breath, I breathe their life.
All of them are here.

It’s a miracle….The stars have risen,
Hastily, across the wide windows
Where the melted gold pours.

Now, among the roses and the stars,
You, here in my room, loosening your robe,
And your nakedness glistens

Your unspeakable gaze rests on my eyes….
Without stars and without flowers, I dream the impossible
In the cold night.

Renée writes Roses Rising using nature and flower to represent the beauty of women. She starts out describing a particular women and then moves in to describing roses. Which I think represent all the women she has been with. She describes being drunk from many roses and how the roses follow her. She states, “I drink their brief breath, I breathe their life.” The rose is a common symbol for love, and in this poem Renée uses them to symbolize her past lovers, which is why she drinks their breath and breathes their life. All of her past lovers are in the garden of roses and that’s the miracle. The next few lines come back to the original girl and their interactions. The last line speaks to how Renée would feel without all her roses.
The Touch

The trees have kept some lingering sun in their branches,
Veiled like a woman, evoking another time,
The twilight passes, weeping. My fingers climb,
Trembling, provocative, the line of your haunches.

My ingenious fingers wait when they have found
The petal flesh beneath the robe they part.
How curious, complex, the touch, this subtle art–
As the dream of fragrance, the miracle of sound.

I follow slowly the graceful contours of your hips,
The curves of your shoulders, your neck, your upappeased breasts.
In your white voluptuousness my desire rests,
Swooning, refusing itself the kisses of your lips.

The Touch is a poem by Renée that is full of homoerotic text. The poem starts out with a tree and how it looks like a vailed women. Like her other poem Roses Rising the poem brings in nature to her description of an intimate relationship. Renée moves in to describing sex with her lover using the common symbol of petals to describe female anatomy. In the last part she describes the rest of her lover’s body.

Renée Vivien uses nature to help her describe the beauty of the female form much like Whitmen did to describe the beauty of the every human body. Vivien also compares to Whitmen in her use of the pronoun you to describe her lovers. Yes in Vivien’s poems she is unabashed about her lover’s sex and often puts in description indicators to show that she is talking about a women and not a man. She is also openly homosexual unlike Whitmen whose sexuality is still debated. In addition Vivien predates Whitmen and her poems are written in an even earlier style then what was popular in her time.

Read more of Renée Vivien here.

Born This Way

Lady Gaga is an eccentric, well-known pop artist whose career has never had a dull moment. She is known for her wild antics such as wearing a meat dress to arriving at an awards show in an egg, which she stayed in for seventy-two hours before coming out to be reborn on stage. Since the beginning of her career in 2008 Lady Gaga has won five Grammy Awards and thirteen MTV music awards for her hit songs like ‘Just Dance,’ ‘Poker Face,’ ‘Born This Way,’ and ‘Bad Romance.’ In addition to her music, Lady Gaga pours her heart and soul into supporting the LGBTQ community and fighting for their equality. When she is not on tour or writing songs, she is speaking at pride events, conferences, and being there for her fans which she calls her “Monsters.” For example, she spoke at the National Equality March Rally, the Gay Pride Rally in New York City, in Maine to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and many more across the United States.

Gaga has been and advocate and an icon for the LGBTQ community throughout her entire career, and she continues to use her fame and influence to fight for equality for all of the queer culture. Many of her songs like ‘Poker Face,’ ‘Born This Way,’ and ‘Hair’ refer to her sexuality and many of the struggles the LGBTQ community can relate to. The most controversial of these songs would be ‘Born This Way,’ because a lot of Gaga haters and anti-LGBTQ people were outraged by the lyrics. These naysayers believe that sexual orientation is a choice, which goes against the message the lyrics ‘Born this way’ stand for. Some people take issue with this song due to the reference to loving God, and they do not believe God approves of queer culture and therefore criticize her for putting them together. However, they do not speak for all religions, there are some religious communities that do not condemn queer culture. Although there were many objections to this song, Gaga also gained a lot of fans because the lyrics made a connection with people, and helped them realize it is okay to be different and to love yourself for who you are, because you were “born this way.”

“‘Born This Way’ is about being yourself, loving who you are, and being proud” – Lady Gaga

Some people argue that Lady Gaga is not truly queer, that instead it is an act she puts on to gain popularity and profit and therefore they do not think she should be an LGBTQ icon or advocate. However, Lady Gaga has come out identifying as a bisexual time and time again over the years. It is true she has only dated men, but she says she has always been attracted to females as well and has had many sexual relationships with women. Queer is an umbrella term for many different sexualities like gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and many more. Lady Gaga is queer, and she supports all of the queer community. She is not discriminating against straight people, her point is that not everyone is the same. There are straight people and queer people and everyone deserves love and acceptance. She advocates for queer equality which relates to the conversation in class about gender neutral bathrooms. They are similar in theory as both concepts make provisions to include not exclude. For example, in our discussion about bathrooms, we talked about how it is not about removing separate sex bathrooms, it is about adding a third option for gender neutral people so that everyone’s needs are met.

“Lady Gaga Is Queer. Always Has Been, Always Will Be” – Queer Voices

Another Lady Gaga song that supports my argument that she is a good LGBTQ icon, is ‘Heavy Metal Lover.’ This song is about one of her past relationships where they shared an interest in leather and BDSM. Throughout the song there are sounds of whips slapping, and lyrics like “Whip me slap me, punk funk, New York clubbers, bump drunk.” This type of sexual behavior directly relates to the film “Cruising” because they both have scenes in the leather bars in New York City where gay men in leather explored their sexuality. Also, BDSM is an aspect of queer or abnormal sexuality, which connects to Gayle Rubin’s theory of sex hierarchy with the “Charmed Circle.” Rubin used this circle to describe good, normal, natural, and blessed sexualities in the inner circle known as the “Charmed Circle.” The outer circle describes the bad, abnormal, unnatural, and dammed sexualities known as the “Outer Limits.” Lady Gaga advocates for the outer limits and for acceptance of different sexual expressions.

“There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are” – Lady Gaga

Mentioning the New York gay leather bars exemplifies her knowledge of LGBTQ history showing she has done her research and is part of the queer community. ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ is also another source of evidence that Lady Gaga is bisexual because her lyrics are gender neutral, meaning she does not show a preference for one sex over the other. In addition to demonstrating her knowledge about LGBTQ history, Lady Gaga reiterates her strong passion for the LGBTQ community by using “Baby we were born this way” in the song ‘Heavy Metal Lover.’ This use of repetition of ‘born this way’ once again emphasizes and proves Lady Gaga is a good LGBTQ icon, and ‘Born This Way’ was not a fluke or a publicity stunt.

“No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive” – Lady Gaga

As many of our classmates can vouch for, it can be very challenging living as queer in a world where not everyone accepts you. During a time of confusion, loneliness, and self-hate, I believe having the support of a pop star like Lady Gaga can only be seen as a positive, and in fact can be the light at the end of the tunnel for many that are struggling. At the end of the day, we need more people who accept us like Lady Gaga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spectrum of Sexuality – #WhereDoYouFall

“Everyone loves someone regardless of their gender,
so why would you think there’s some agenda?
Everyone loves a man and woman somewhere,
so why would you think there’s nothing there?
Where do you fall on the spectrum of sexuality?”

Ryan Amador is an openly gay singer/songwriter based in Brooklyn. Amador produces songs that express his relationship experiences as a gay man. He also uses his music to address his listeners in an attempt to inspire them to evaluate how they feel and, in turn, express themselves. Amador calls his most recent album, titled “4s,” a “short reflection on nature’s influence over human behavior, be it in regard to love, sex, and Mother Nature herself”.

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Amador’s song “Spectrum” asks listeners the question: Where do you fall on the spectrum of sexuality? The artist’s message of sexual equality stands strong throughout the entire song, however, a deeper idea is buried within the song as well. Amador notes that the title of the song relates to the fact that he believes sexual diversity exists on a scale with a wide array of sexual options for people to make. He connects this scale to a spectrum with a diverse selection of colors on a color wheel.

“My hope is that when people watch this video, they too can celebrate in our planet’s natural complexity, feel some love for their individual self and see we are all just loving each other on the same big white bed.”

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Uncovering and analyzing one’s sexuality through their feelings and emotions is a complex process for anyone, and Amador’s song highlights why; defining sexuality is far from choosing a black or white label. It takes time, experiences, and sincere introspection.

“Spectrum” also successfully relays the notion that acquiring love is what we should aspire to, regardless of whatever dogma might surround that love. Identifying yourself on the sexual spectrum should not be hindered by the opinions or beliefs of others.

“What in nature moves linearly?
Planets and seasons move circularly
What in nature is really black and white?
Flowers and twilight share every shade of light”

In the “Spectrum” music video, numerous couples of several different sexualities and race are featured laying together on a bed, visibly blissful and intimate with each other. Their laughing, playful interactions exude pure love while Amador urges listeners to choose their love. The smiles on every person’s face in the video affirm Amador’s principles.

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While Amador’s lyrics serve as more of a public service message for those struggling with recognizing their sexual status, his music definitely encourages people to be open and straightforward about how they feel towards who they love. Sexuality is experimented by almost every single person, as it should be, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to express those erotic feelings on a platform that goes beyond complete privacy. The film Cruising exhibits gay men being open about and comfortable with going to a public forum to express their sexuality, with no judgments being passed or qualms about the acts of sexuality being performed; sex and love are accepted as attributes wanted by all. Amador’s music undoubtedly promotes deference for expression of love in any and all forms.

“There’s more than two ways you can reach a climax,
and on the spectrum of your sexuality,
let’s find respect for individuality.”

Intimate LGBT Couple vs Spontaneous Gay Sex

There is no difference between two women being in love, two men being in love and a man and woman being in love. It is all love. Every couple has their flaws, fights, break ups, make ups, and struggles. LGBT couples are just two ordinary people in love. Some studies say that gay sex is more spontaneous than sex between one man and one woman. Humans were meant to be hunters and gathers. Everyone should be happy and be able to love who they love and have sex with their partner no matter what other people say.

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This is a Russian lesbian couple that was followed by a documentary photographer for almost four years. But in Russia their relationship is being seen as perversion. In 2013 in Russia it was illegal to hold gay pride events and same-sex relationships were not as equal as straight relationships were. LGBT couples should not have to be treated this way, they are people just like everyone else is. Straight sex is publicized why can’t LGBT sex. Lesbians and gays are just as intimate as straight people are.An intimate evening together. Both Lyudmila and Natasha have no financial stability - they move at least twice a year, often living out of boxes for weeks.

Sex can be extremely important to a relationship. According to a study done in Australia, spontaneous is an important part of sexual chemistry. Don’t be afraid to affirm to your partner that they are sexy or beautiful. This will increase the intimacy and bond between you and your partner. Most men have inherited a trait for hunting. They can use this trait to find their partners that play hard to get. Gay men like to play hard to get when it comes to sex. They let the tension build between them which then causes the urge to hunt or pounce on your partner. This then leads to either spontaneous oral sex or penetration. Gay men also attract their partner by wearing sexy clothing or underwear while doing things around the house like cooking or cleaning. This will cause a sexual attraction and more than likely lead to sex. Trying different things can be a good change with sex every once in a while. Having sex in new places can be surprising yet exciting. Sex is not only meant for one man and one woman couples but it is also meant for two men or two women couples too.

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In conclusion every couple who is willing to have sex together no matter if its two men, two women, or one man and one woman should be allowed to no matter what its their lives and their choices. I would also say that gay love and straight love are the same kind of love. Every body should have their choice of who they want to be in love with and who they want to have sex with. Lesbian couples and gays couples can have very intimate relationships. Intimacy can lead to a spontaneous sexual chemistry. All couples are the same we are all people nobody is perfect we all have our own flaws, we fight, we love, we break up, we kiss and make up. Love is love and sex is sex.It’s not gay love and gay sex it” just love and sex there is no difference we are all humans no matter who we love or who we have sex with.

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