Tag Archives: LGBTQ

Name the Violence, End the Silence

Dear Editor,

I would like to address a piece that appeared in the April 10th issue of the University of San Francisco Foghorn. The article to which I am referring is “It Could Happen To You” featured in the News section. Though the segment was aimed at creating more awareness of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) on our campus, the reaction from many readers was negative due to the way the article presented SAAM.

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Staff Editorial

When Satire Creates Discourse, We Want in on the Conversation

This past week, the Foghorn released a special edition on April 1 with the hopes of highlighting issues in recent news through satire. The main intention of producing this issue was to publish an engaging collection of stories for the student body. A handful of articles in a few of our sections mocked homophobic laws and institutions, as well as USF’s administration’s obvious need to brandish a flag celebrating our diverse population on campus.

While we have received a lot of positive feedback and appreciation from students, professors and advisors, we recognize that not everyone was comfortable with how these issues were covered. We recognize that everyone’s feelings are valid, and understand that we upset students with our satire. Seeing as we are a paper meant to be a voice for the students at this university, this is of very serious concern to us. We apologize to those that were hurt by our content.

As a result, we hope that this response and commentary will lead to a productive, informative discourse. It is our desire to organize an open, mediated forum hosted by and for students, advisors and professors in order to create a mature and professional conversation around these issues.

We do want to clarify that no article was written with ill will or malice. As evidenced by our issues throughout this past academic year, we have always been supporters of the LGBTQ community and the diverse student body at USF, covering many topics and events.

Simply to clear any misconceptions in regards to the aims of our articles, the following are what we intend with our satire:

Our front page article, “Ukrainian Army Begins to Recruit LGBTQ Community as the Secret Weapon Against Russia”, and our page 6 article, “Chick-fil-A Comes to Campus”, were satirical pieces ridiculing oppressive institutions — the likes of Russia’s parliament and fast food company, Chick-fil-A. The butt of our jokes was not the LGBTQ community, but in fact, the anti-gay stances taken by both Russia and Chick-fil-A. Russia has been the target of much criticism due to its recent legislation banning the use of vocabulary in reference to the LGBTQ community and much more. In turn, our Chick-fil-A article meant to humorously relay how we had no doubt that our San Franciscan values would eventually rub off on Chick-fil-A if they ever set up camp in our cafeteria. The reappearance of the queer community in the issue was not purposeful, but merely coincidental.

Our page 3 article, “Student Pets Now Allowed in Dorms” was mocking USF’s administration and its obsessive need to “meet diversity quotas” and “increase numbers” rather than actually serve the needs of the enrolled students they boast of admitting. It is easy to admit a student, but as the educational demonstration, USF Without Their Quota, put on by MEChA de USF on March 27 stated as their mission: students of color are more than statistics and numbers; they deserve academic and financial resources that will ultimately serve their continuing success on campus.

Lastly, our page 8 article, “Dons to Switch Name to “Pink Fairy Armadillos” was a light-hearted attempt to challenge the branded masculinity of the USF athletics department. The pink fairy armadillo is a real animal, and can be found in the grasslands and plains of central Argentina.  “Pink Fairy Armadillo” is its real, scientific name. We did not make it up; we thought it was  a potentially adorable mascot. By choosing a small, obscure animal that would typically never be associated with sports, it acts as a symbol for the overemphasis on toughness and competition in sports, especially in USF’s conference where other teams have mascots like Bulldogs, Tigers and Lions.

Again, we would like to reiterate that the mission of our paper is to create and foster positive, intelligent discourse. We look forward to meeting both our supportive and our concerned readership soon, once we organize the logistics of our open forum. Of course, we welcome the submission of any letters and editorials to the Opinion section for publication. Our section editor’s email is listed below in the submission policy box.

It’s Transgender Awareness Week. Want to learn more?

The Gender and Sexuality Center Offers Students Resources and Information

transawarenessThe International Transgender Day of Remembrance is held on Nov 20 to commemorate those who have been killed due to anti-transgender prejudice. To honor this day, interns of The Gender & Sexuality Center (GSC) organize a Transgender Awareness Week, which takes place November 11-17.

Transgender Awareness Week is a chance for individuals and organizations around the world to help raise awareness of transgender and gender non-conforming people and the issues that they face.

In light of a recent attack on a gender non-conforming high school student in Oakland, Professor Barker-Plummer responded: “[We] need more education about gender fluidity and more sanctions for gender based hate behavior before it reaches the level of physical violence. Everyone should be safe to be in the world wearing any clothing we like.”

The (GSC), in conjunction with The Intercultural Center, is a place for students to explore issues regarding identity, social justice, and equality.

It’s also a place for students to hang out in a caring  and supportive environment in the multipurpose room in UC 412. Students can reserve the room for meetings, do their homework, and say hello to the Gender & Sexuality staff and interns.

GSC is located on UC 4th floor, and has a number of on and off campus, as well as, online resources for any students looking to learn more about various issues regarding gender and sexuality.

GSC hosts programs and events open to all “who wish to strive towards magis” — a Latin word that means “better” — as stated on the Center’s website.

The center also hosts weekly tablings to get students informed and aware of relevant issues.

Want to learn about the proper use of gender pronouns, and how to be trans-inclusive?

 

You can visit the Gender  & Sexuality table today in the caf on UC 2nd floor at 11am-12pm to learn more about gender binaries and the spaces between. 

 

“This helps expand what gender can mean,” said Alejandro Covarrubias, assistant director of Cultural Centers.

“It’s narrow, the way we think about ourselves as men and women. There’s a beauty in the trans community and in what they are exploring.”

 

To learn more about available resources and future events, check out GSC online, at: http://www.usfca.edu/gsc

You can also contact GSC at  (415) 422-4431 or by email, at: gsc@usfca.edu.

 

Response to President Privett’s “Pride” Statement to Faculty

As adjunct faculty in the School of Education, I am writing to express my strong disagreement with the views expressed by President Privett in a message sent to the faculty on June 28.  In that message, President Privett explained his rationale for taking down a “Pride” ad from the University’s Facebook and Instagram feeds.  President Privett continues that due to the timing of the ad—the same week when the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court—the ad might be misconstrued as the University’s unqualified support for the Court’s decision.  He also adds that his decision stemmed , in his words,  from his “own sensitivity to those who sincerely oppose same-sex marriage and are neither bigoted nor anti-gay.”

I submit that the University’s taking down of the “Pride” ad can, in fact, be construed as the University’s aligning with the position held by those who support same-sex marriage.  I further question the notion of whether one can be in favor of denying gay couples their right to marry and at the same time not be anti-gay.  The University of San Francisco has a tradition of scholarship and community work that strive for social justice.  Support for justice for some groups of people but not others, in my opinion, runs counter to that tradition.

If we are to continue our work “towards a more humane and just world for all,” as President Privett writes, then we need to walk the walk consistently, even at times when passions on various issues run high.  Finally, respectfully acknowledging those with whom we disagree, which is a point President Privett also raises in defense of his decision, should not entail silencing ourselves or withdrawing our sincere position on any given issue.  A “Pride” ad shows pride in our LGBTQ community.  I do not believe it shows an attitude of disrespect toward those who hold opposing views.

Ilze B. Duarte is an Adjunct Professor in the International and Multicultural Education Department School of Education

The LGBT Community Shares Their Coming Out Stories

National Coming Out Day was on Thursday October 12th, a national holiday celebrated throughout the world honoring the difficult process of coming out of the closet. USF’s Queer Alliance, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer) community, and WORD club came together for an open mic night where students shared poems, songs, and stories. The event has been going on for a couple of years now and the audience finds it comforting to hear different stories for each performer who provides a different experience and support for the community.
Nick Large, President of Alliance Club, helped define the word “Queer”. He said, “One may take the word from a political standpoint or in an umbrella sense. Queer is an encompassing term. Queer simply means not heterosexual.”
The LGBTQ community reclaimed the word Queer as a derogatory insult. Events like these aim to change the perceptions of the gay community. Instead of making coming out a process one of fear and ridicule, it is now becoming one of pride and confidence.
Large said that the event is a “great outlet to share stories and express our uniquely queer feelings”.
Vice President Shea Hazarian said, “when you hear different experiences you feel solitary. At open mic nights like this you hear a total range of experiences, some struggling to come out to their family and others to their friends, sometimes even to themselves. Hearing different people put themselves out there gave me the courage to come out more myself.”
The San Francisco gay community takes this holiday to the heart. Nick Large said, “San Francisco is an affirming and validating city. It helps one come out especially when your in Union square and you see two men openly, comfortably holding hands. This city gives one a sense of unity”.
Kat Nelsonn said, “it is very important for queer people to have a place for positive expression. I love having a community that supports queers artistically, emotionally, and socially.”
Through art, poetry, and a welcoming community LGBTQ’s came together to show each other support and comfort and as develop a stronger bond between the queer community on campus.

*Written by Deputy Scene Editor Paulina Galoostian; Sean Riordan is the Scene Editor

Letter: Hull-Nye’s “Marriage” is Off The Mark

I would like to address an article written by one of my friends and classmates, Dylan Hull-Nye. While Dylan and I have our disagreements, Dylan is and has been a very kind-hearted individual. However, I’m not entirely convinced his article on marriage reflects a genuine understanding of what marriage is.

Marriage has always been variously applied to individuals of different faiths, cultures and economic backgrounds and its origins are up for debate even amongst Christians. Dylan cites a passage from Genesis to further his point that God institutes marriage (Genesis 2:23-24). He does not mention the discrepancies within Genesis that suggest that man and woman may have been created simultaneously (Genesis 1:27). Instead, Dylan asserts that marriage is only possible between couples who are capable of creating children, and that this would exclude same-sex couples. Finally, he concludes that it was God’s intention to create the union of marriage exclusively for Man and Woman.

The debate over what constitutes marriage, especially at a Jesuit university, comes down to what approach a person uses when reading scripture. I lean more towards a historical-critical approach. My impression is that Dylan chooses to read these passages at his own discretion. This type of approach is can be detrimental when applying it to real world situations. For example, by Dylan’s interpretation, an infertile couple could arguably meet God’s disapproval, and Christians can refuse to recognize such a couple as married. I think Dylan and I would both agree this is not the case.

If my sacred scripture class has taught me anything, it is that moral disapproval of certain types of marriages through the use of biblical passages can incite prejudice and discrimination. For example, in 1975 Bob Jones University implemented a policy prohibiting its students from interracial dating, marriage or being a part of a group that advocates for such causes. The justification behind this was based on a biblical interpretation of Genesis, specifically God’s intention to separate man into three races based on Noah’s descendants, Ham, Shem and Japheth (where, for example, the sons of Ham included “Orientals and Negroes”). The Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, found enough reason to disapprove of BJU’s policies and uphold the IRS’s removal of its tax-exempt status.

What is marriage? It would certainly depend on any given society. For ours we put an emphasis on love, but for others a dowry system or arranged marriages are perfectly acceptable. These historical and cultural differences are proof that marriage has different meaning to different people. To my friend Dylan, I would just remind him that gay students are no different than us heterosexual students, and perhaps that is why some Christians “unquestioningly accept” those within the LGBTQ community. I am proud to attend a university that accepts people of all faiths, orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and political ideologies because I know acceptance is something difficult to come by in a judgmental world.