What is homonormativity? Simply is saying you’re not like other gay men, for example dismissing Asian men in the club because, while you respect Asian men, you’re “just not attracted” to them. Or thinking differently about someone you love social media, but you see they use a wheelchair. Homonormativity is gay men dominating queer television representation and white cis men playing transgender women. Or how a nation organized for gay marriage, but not for transgender lives. Homonormativity is a privileging set of hierarchies, social norms, and expectations that cause the oppressed to oppress one another.
It is everywhere. Permeating just about every fiber of queer life, ruining the community from inside out and top to bottom. It has become a set of rules used to decide which people in the queer community are the best. It dictates that men should be muscular and masculine, and women should be slender and feminine. To mimicking heterosexual by getting married, attend church, live in a suburban neighborhood or adopt children. These aspirations are not necessarily bad or negative, but they can determine traits and lifestyle choices such as who we interact with, who we help or support.
It has made gay marriage priority number one, as transgender people still cannot use a bathroom safely, viciously abused by the prison system and fired for being who they are. Homonormativity, in essence, wants to control how we feel about ourselves and others as it tries to attempt to morph the queer community into a heterosexual community.
Outside of elite, intellectual text homonormativity is not well known to the community and only because it takes a while to understand and often difficult to most people. This is a big deal!
When you find people who are trying to express the oppression they are feeling but can’t, you understand that the information is somehow inaccessible and has left an entire generation of queer people who don’t understand that shaming and disliking people who are feminine is wrong. As a gay man, I am somewhat feminine and I understand how cruel, ageist, racist and downright narcissistic gay men can be. I had to learn to navigate through the trauma and oppression which in turn allowed me to advocate for myself.
It’s important that we need homonormativity to lose power over us because it tears communities apart, wrecks lives and even kills. Homonormativity can explain why masculine gay men are often left alone, tolerated at worst and accepted at best, by society, while feminine gay men are still frequently attacked by aggressive mobs on the daily. It explains legislation against the transgender community based on accusations and stereotypes about them, and use the bathroom as the main issue for making them use the bathroom of their sex at birth.
The change in the community has to start within to be conscious about how we conduct ourselves in public and how we talk, both physically and online. Recognize our own privileges and adjust accordingly. It’s about letting queer people be queer people and just stop creating molds in a world that want us to be less like us.
It’s really just about understanding there is no right way to be gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. Once we name homonormativity, understand its effects it loses control over us.
Written By: Patrick S. – Personal Opinion
I remember the first time I attended Pride I was in the honeymoon phase and it was like heaven to me. For the first time in my life, I was free to be myself and without judgment. I believed that Pride would connect me to other gay men and I could finally find a group of friends, friends I so desperately wanted. Let’s be honest what young, single man wouldn’t want to attend their first Pride?
But let’s be real about Pride, after a few alcohol-induced traumas, homonormative influences, and a few too many disappointed Pride’s, you have one person who is really done with the entire experience. There was a point that I attended as many as I could, too finally not attending any at all.
Now understand this didn’t happen overnight and to be honest, I can’t identify one particular thing that broke the “camel’s back” – truth be told it was several things over time that honestly took some time to settle in. I’m not trying to separate myself from the community, and I’ve never thought of myself as being better than anyone else because I don’t think defining ourselves by typical stereotypes or societal expectations is the smart thing to do. But there is no mistaking that Pride events have become commercialized and have to some extent lost its true meaning.
Most Pride Festivals have become about the party lifestyle and thrust upon us by businesses looking to cash in on our love of community. Take New Orleans Pride, I remember a time when it was held at Washington Park (on Elysian Fields Ave.). The community could come together and enjoy great food and music, hang with friends and just relax. But now it appears that just having a Pride Parade is what we are forced to endure, or you can go to several overhyped and overpriced events that have no true meaning. Where is the sense of community? The traditions of camaraderie and fellowship?
Another example is alcohol, for example, you can’t walk a block without hearing about drink specials, and for those who don’t drink Pride can be an awful experience. Absolut is a prime example of a company that capitalizes on Pride. Like many liquor companies they want to ensure that your Pride is the best experience of your life, and according to them what better way to celebrate than getting drunk on overpriced and watered down drinks. Pride has become so obsessed with and focused on doing absolutely everything in excess. Since New Orleans Pride has changed its planning format it doesn’t even pretend to reflect on the community as a whole, nor do they address or organize event addressing current issues that affect the LGBT community.
No instead, like most Pride events around the country, everything is corporate sponsored all in an attempt to commodify the rainbow Pride flag. And why? They want to make a quick buck without ever giving back or spreading a message. Nope, it’s all just a surface level “be proud of who you are” message. For example Nike’s “BETRUE 2016” campaign.
Nike created a campaign that sold Pride merchandise without giving back to the community. They never mentioned if any of the profits were going to go back to the community, instead, it appears they just lined their pockets. Nike just used Pride to make money and to drum up business and never committed to helping advance activism, but they’re not the only ones. One of New Orleans Pride’s biggest sponsors is Walgreens, however, when I tried to inquire about what social programs they support directly in the community I was directed to their Walgreens Charitable Donations page.
So where is all this money going? If it’s going back to the community, it’s not being prominently displayed. When all is said and done corporate American has figured out a way to formulate Pride. It’s really easy for them, they just slap on a rainbow on its products, and presto you have a genuine way to show how proud you are as a company, and people will buy it. And New Orleans Pride along with other Pride organizations have done little to nothing on a national level to combat this.
In my opinion, New Orleans Pride is missing out on the opportunity to bring the LGBT community together in a way that is both meaningful and productive, a way to make life better for many in the community. Instead, Pride festivals appear to be white, fit, masculine men, but Pride organizers will swear it’s all-inclusive, embracing all shapes, colors, sizes, but do you really see that? Then why would black LGBT members of the community have to form their own pride in New Orleans?
The main reason I stopped going is that I’m physically and mentally disassociated from Pride; that is often advertised as “Gay Pride.” Which feels incredibly outdated and exclusive to me. The gay community appears to take center stage and the rest of the community are forced to follow behind, almost in the shadows and take whatever scraps they are given from those with perceived power.
Don’t get me wrong this isn’t true for every Pride, but speaking from someone from New Orleans, the gay community always takes center stage. I don’t want this to be a condemnation of all things Pride. I never claimed to be perfect, so the problem could certainly be with me. But I would love to see organizers of these events engage with all members of the community and remember all the sacrifices that others who have made before us so that we could celebrate their achievements.
As long as Pride itself remains the same, or we change our attitudes and perspective about who we are as a community it will remain the same. We will come together for one day and attempt to celebrate Pride, pretend we are one community, and we are all inclusive when in fact by the next day we will be right where we started.
The following article is the opinion of the author and does not reflect the opinion of Squirrel News, it's employee's or advertisers.
The legal battle between an adult film company and a luxury property owner has now taken a turn. The owner of the beach-side rental property in Aquinnah, Massachusetts Leah Bassett filed a lawsuit in March against Monica Jensen of Mile High Media. The suit claims that the production company used her property to shoot several gay adult scenes without her permission.
The lawsuit alleges that the production team used “nearly every room of her home for their porn production purposes” including “her bedrooms, her living room and family room sofas, her stairway, atop her dining room table, her bathrooms, her basement, atop her laundry room appliances.” Also they “deliberately used her linens and bedspreads, including the decorative bedroom pillows hand-sewn/designed specifically by Ms. Bassett, for their condom-less ejaculatory porn scenes.”
But what is most usual Mile High Media has been accused of a “history of predatory practices,” in reference to scenes that depict plots of a pedophile nature, she referenced two films Schoolboy Fantasies 2 and His Son’s Best Friend Volume 1 as examples. These two films were made inside her house.
John Taylor, Bassett’s lawyer explained to the Vineyard Times in March that the company relocated from California to Massachusetts to take advantage of the interest in the charges against priests in the Catholic church and the rape and murder of Jeffrey Curley in 1997, Taylor also stated that this action added to the “emotionally disturbing and objectionable nature of some of the predatory-themed ‘fantasy’ porn films.” However, this might be a stretch.
Therefore, Jensen has filed a counter-suit, within the suit she claims defamation and that the remarks made by John Taylor about the films being pedophilic in nature which led to an “international news smear campaign” against both herself and her company. “There exists absolutely no basis or justification for associating Mile High or Jensen with the instances of sexual abuses in the Catholic Church or the attempted sexual assault and murder of 10-year Jeffrey Curley,” Jansen’s suit reads. The suit continues: “Rather, these defamatory remarks which have absolutely no relevance to the claims in this action, are evidence of Attorney Taylor and Plaintiff’s clear intent to inflame and prejudice the public against the defendants.”
Jensen is asking the court to issue an injunction claiming “it is very likely that more false statements will be made by both the Plaintiff and Attorney Taylor in the upcoming months of litigation.”
Bassett on the other hand still claims she is an emotional wreck and states she has suffered severe emotional distress. She has had to seek professional help to deal with the “emotional and psychological traumatizing effects.”
Written By: Nick R. – Personal Opinion
“Coming out” has different meanings to many people, and for some not coming out at all is their preference. I am one of those people, and I don’t have an issue with not coming out. The only people who know about my homosexuality are my parents, some family and really close friends (let’s not forget the men I’ve hook-up with).
I choose to live in the “closet” for personal reasons and no I’m not ashamed of being gay. Not in the least. I’ve decided that I prefer not coming out to the public, and to be honest it’s my business.
I came out to my parents when I was 24 and about to move to New Orleans. While my parents took the news ok, it would take my dad several years to accept my sexuality. Growing up in a small conservative town did shape my perspective on life and one’s sexuality. I wouldn’t have my first sexual encounter with a man until I at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, I was 19. I had no idea what to do, so my first experience was a disaster and I really didn’t want to repeat the experience.
You could say I was self-taught about gay sex, through several awkward sexual moments I began to learn how to suck cock, eat ass (being clean), 69, and sexual positions for fucking, yes I’m a top. I quickly learned that most gay men in New Orleans are shellfish when it comes to sex, and most have no imagination.
At 27 I learned that the gay community in New Orleans (applied to other cities as well) is a cluster-fuck of vain, judgmental, arrogant, narcissistic men. No matter where you went you could hear the talking, shaming, tearing people apart, and the drugs; to me the exclusion of young men because they didn’t fit this perceived mold of what it means to be a gay man was the most shameful. It was at this point I decided to go back into “the closet.” I’ve never really had “preferences” when it comes to sexual partners, just be honest and upfront with what you want and my only requirement is being clean (your ass and body).
I’m 34 now and still in the closet!
I have no regrets about the choice I’ve made. Some would say it’s about me being embarrassed about who I am. So, let me clear this misconception up; I know who I am as a person, and being gay doesn’t define me as a person. I really don’t have a problem not telling anyone I’m gay, I just don’t feel the need to scream it from the rooftops.
Some would say I’m missing out on the experience of being around people who are like myself. From my perspective, I’m not missing a thing. I have an active sex life with no complaints and who cares when fucking if you’re in the closet? Is that a question you ask when hooking up a guy? I don’t recall seeing “I’m out” on hook-up (social) apps. I’ve never asked someone if they are out and don’t intend to start now, to be honest, it’s none of my business and it shouldn’t be yours as well.
Men of all ages have different reasons for not coming out, and who gives anyone the right to force or shame someone for not coming out? Do we really accept everyone for who they are or just those that conform to those perceived standards? I’ve seen men destroyed by other gays simply for being different or trying to be themselves. Whether or not you are out doesn’t define e as a man nor does it diminish my masculinity
Until the gay culture learns to truly accept everyone as they are we are nothing more than a hypocritical, petty community just waiting to destroy or judge someone.
The following article is a personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Squirrel News, it's employee's or any third-party.
Xu Jingsen also known as ASam has become China’s first openly gay athlete and he will be the first-ever Gay Games Ambassador from China. Jingsen came out on his Weibo page. His message was translated by the Federation of Gay Games and OutSports passed it on. Xu Jingsen wrote:
“I am ASam. I will attend the global Gay Games in Paris, France, in August this year and serve as an ambassador.
Life is human, the ultimate measure of our inner courage. Yes, I am gay. We have the right to choose love and to be loved. Sex, age and skin color are not shackles. We are all the same, living in the sun.
Today, I am brave to be my most true self, and I see it as the greatest gift I have ever given. If my bravery brings comfort to those who feel lonely, and encourages them to support equality, then everything I do will be more meaningful.”
Weibo is the Facebook of China and in recent years has been condemned for banning LGBTQ-related content, but after the protest, it rescinded that policy
While homosexuality is legal in China there are few to no protections for LGBT citizens, and studies show that only 5% of Chinese LGBT people are out.
Although the Gay Games doesn’t have a surfing event, Jingsen will compete in swimming and basketball. We wish Jingsen all the best and can’t wait to see how he does at the Paris games and the 2022 Gay Games, which will be held in Hong Kong.
A Belgian neurologist in a new study has found that the brain activity in transgender people is similar to that of cisgender people, more of their gender than their assigned sex at birth. Julie Bakker the led research at the University of Liege which included more than 160 MRI scans of transgender people who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria; the study involved children and teenagers. The study also included measuring brain microstructures using diffusion tensor imaging.
The scans were then compared to individuals of comparable age who were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The study did find that transgender boys’ brain activity resembled cisgender boys’ and girls’ resembled cisgender girls’. It is believed that the technique could be used to assist transgender children at an earlier age.
“Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD, as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender,” said Bakker. Furthermore, she stated: “We will then be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously.”
The results of the study were presented at the European Society of Endocrinology’s yearly meeting and appear to be in line with previous neurological studies that showed transgender adults appear to have similar brain structures to cisgender people of their gender.
The grim facts about bullying and the long-term effects on our children.
60% of middle school students say that they have been bullied, while 16% of staff believes that students are bullied.
160,000 students stay home from school every day due to bullying. (NEA)
30% of students who reported they had been bullied said they had at times brought weapons to school.
A bully is 6 times more likely to be incarcerated by the age of 24.
A bully is 5 times more likely to have a serious criminal record when he grows up.
2/3 of students who are targets become bullies.
20% of all children say they have been bullied.
20% of high school students say they have seriously considered suicide within the last 12 months.
25% of students say that teachers intervened in bullying incidents while 71% of teachers say they intervened.
The average child has watched 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school.
In schools where there are anti-bullying programs, bullying is reduced by 50%.
Bullying was a factor in 2/3 of the 37 school shootings reviewed by the US Secret Service.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety Health (NIOSH) (Sauter, et al.,1990), there is a loss of employment amounting to $19 billion and a drop-in productivity of $3 billion due to workplace bullying.
Law enforcement costs related to bullying are enormous. Since 1999, the Office on Violence against Women (OVW) has spent $98 million in assistance to address campus sexual violence.
United States Dept. of Health and Human Services. Office of Statistic and Reporting. Risks & Effects of Bullying in the United States and the Education System. 2017.
I remember the first time I saw Connie Hung it was at the New Orleans Pride annual Mr. & Ms. New Orleans Pride competition. To be honest, I’d never heard of her, nor had I ever seen her perform, but it was a performance I couldn’t forget.
Connie is a native of Southeast Louisiana and grew up in Avondale. For her growing up would prove to be difficult and challenging since she comes from a traditional Vietnamese family. If you know anything about Asian families you understand the high expectations they place on their children. Ms. Hung knew she was gay since the 8th grade and had a crush on a boy in her class, however, wouldn’t tell her parents out of fear of disappointing them. “My relationship with my parents was strained, I would see them, but they would speak to me,” she stated.
I would be 9 years before her parents would finally accept her life, “I had to give them space, and respect that space.” Furthermore, “I felt that I was a failure and that I had disappointed them,” she says. It wasn’t until she was in the hospital for a serious illness that Connie told her parents about doing drag, and for some reason, it didn’t seem important to them, but maybe the health of their son was more important.
Ms. Hung has been doing drag for 7 years now and the one impression I get is that she is a perfectionist and will never settle for anything less than perfection. She freely opens up about performing, and the insecurities she has. It’s this drive to perfection that has, in my opinion, made her very popular and enjoyable to watch. For example, at the Pride pageant, she performed Disney’s Mulan and it really was impressive. Her ability to reach an audience is perfection, it’s no wonder she won (all the performers were exceptional).
It was the Pride event that Connie emerged to the forefront of having a platform. Anti-bullying is something she thinks is important, “I was heavy in high school, picked on because I was gay and this made me angry,” she says. She remembers the pain it caused her and wants young individuals to stand up for themselves, be strong and proud of who they are. “I want to surround myself with people who are positive and supportive not negative,” and “I’m willing to help anyone that asks, and help them achieve their goals.” If you ask her about drag she admits that if you’re going to do drag do your best, and be good at it.
Regardless how you feel about drag, you have to admire the hard work it takes to completely change and put yourself out there. Connie Hung makes her mark by being herself, true to her aesthetics as a performer. I’ll end this with her own words “I’m an open book, what you see is that you get, there’s nothing shocking to tell you.”
If you haven’t heard of Aaron Schlossberg here’s your chance. The Trump-loving, racist lawyer from New York was caught on tape just melting down and all because two people spoke Spanish in his presence at a Manhattan eatery.
The video that has gone viral this week shows Schlossberg threating to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and have people “kicked out of my country” then telling a restaurant employee that “it’s America” and that the “staff should be speaking English.”
Schlossberg who is public enemy #1 has been reported to the disciplinary committee (New York Bar), kicked out of his office space and to top it all off there is now a fundraising campaign to send a mariachi band outside of his building, and lastly, his Yelp page has been overrun with negative reviews.
But it’s the memes that are hilarious, just check out the Aaron Schlossberg memes. ENJOY!
Officers Thomas Murphy and Andrew Huber have been accused of creating a hostile work environment in which five officers and one employee from Mountainside, New Jersey and claiming years of abuse from two officers while the department did nothing to intercede or stop it. The claim there has been a “hostile work environment” that to some sound a lot like bullying.
One of the accusation state that the officers would hit their colleagues in the head with a dildo they nicknamed “Big Blue.” One of the plaintiff’s name Stinner who was assigned to the Detective Bureau was subjected to “Big Blue” almost every day. “Huber would wave around Big Blue, throw it within the Detective Bureau, and throw it at people walking past the Detective Bureau,” Stinner stated.
The complaint alleges that Huber put “Big Blue” in the face of a male dispatcher then hit him over the head. Murphy would laugh then comment, ‘Get him,’ ‘What’s it smell like,’ and ‘I hope it doesn’t smell like what I think it smells like.’”
It appears the two didn’t stop there, according to the complaint “Murphy had a practice of taking his flashlight and ramming it into the anus area of other male officers.” Furthermore, “On one occasion, Murphy hit Plaintiff Urban with the flashlight so hard that it hurt for Urban to sit down,”
Within the department “braining” would become known as another form of harassment. “This is a reference to Huber taking his testicles out of his pants and placing his testicles on someone’s food, drink or person,” the complaint reads. “Either Huber or Murphy would take a picture of [the other] ‘braining’ an item without the target officer’s knowledge.”
Huber had a habit of hiding in the bathroom hoping to surprise another male officer who would try to use the same toilet. And Murphy would swing a bag of donuts near male genitals, taunting the male dispatcher and simulate masturbating as stated in the complaint.
Since then both Murphy and Huber have been placed on an administrative leave of absence, and only after higher-ups learned of the lawsuit.
The borough has placed on its website the following statement:
“In light of these new allegations and in the interests of avoiding the occasion for friction and discord in the Police Department the Governing Body has determined to place Officers Murphy and Huber on an Administrative Leave of Absence. Such action is not in any way designed to lend any credence to any of the allegations made in the Complaint. The Borough will continue the process of conducting a thorough investigation of all the allegations in the Complaint.”
We’ll have wait and see what happens next!
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