Category Archives: educational

I Have No Plans To Eat Anyone : On Being A Schizophrenic Monster

There’s always some kind of argument about what it means to be human. Empathy, for starters, makes you one. You’re empathetic and sympathetic to the plight of your fellow humans. That’s a human thing to do.

But this article won’t be about empathy.
Instead, it’s a speculation on humanity, a root cause, societal reactions, and as always, the love of the inhuman.

On a wide scale, mental illness isn’t treated well in media. Some get more positive light than others, but at the end of the day there’s one disorder that people talk about in hushed whispers, the one that supposedly breeds more killers and the one that’s arguably the most inhuman: Schizophrenia.

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Dark Corners: Finding Ourselves in Horror

GaymerX East panel/talk on queer horror presented by Lucian Clark of GenderTerror. Best listened to with headphones as some parts are quiet!

Presented at GaymerX East 2016.

The two articles referenced in the talk:

Monsters Of Our Own: Monster Symbolism in the Trans Community

SOMA: A Trans-Simon Experience

Patrons gets access to the transcript of the original writing of the panel! Go check out our Patreon.

An Abyssal Blind Date

genderterrorartfinalsmHi! I’m Morty, or smallmorty on tumblr . I’m your run-of-the-mill queer artist who loves to draw monsters, animals, and all kinds of gore.

Sexuality and self-expression fascinates me, especially when it’s mixed with elements of horror or fantasy. Drawing monsters and monstrous scenarios helps me cope with my frustrations and negative feelings about just about anything- even myself!

For this art, I wanted to explore the line between “scary monster” and “scary-looking, but not inherently dangerous”. There are a lot of animals (spiders, snakes, deep-sea fish, etc.) that are thought of as malicious and gross, despite the fact that they have complex, fascinating lives and behaviors.

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Queer Ghosts and Those Who Find Them: An Interview with Queer Ghost Hunters

When you think ghost hunting, the first names that come to mind are usually Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters. Zak Bagans, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. The majority of popular ghost hunting shows are male dominated, and rather pervasively straight. Men yelling at ghosts and never quite learning much about the ghosts and their lives.

In comes Queer Ghost Hunters and the Stonewall Columbus Queer Ghost Hunter; a group of people all across the LGBTQ spectrum with one goal in mind, to find queer ghosts and tell their stories. This group of ghost hunters in the focus of the Queer Ghost Hunters web series, set to broadcast on YouTube in mid-October. Stu Maddux is hard at work placing the finishing touches on the series, so I had the opportunity to talk to three members of the Queer Ghost Hunters team: Scott, Shane, and Kai. These people are only a small sample of the members on the Queer Ghost Hunters team.

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Monsters Of Our Own: Monster Symbolism in the Trans Community

“Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared
Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared” –David Bowie, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

 

Grotesque. Violent. Terrifying. Misunderstood. Sympathetic. These are some words people use to describe monsters, depending on who you are asking and what the monster is. People’s perception of monsters and their existence is ever changing. Monsters often take the shape of the times, evolving to show the current fears and terrors of the world they come to life in. Frankenstein’s monster is much different than the slashers of modern age. The werewolf from an American Werewolf in London may share similarities with the teenagers of Ginger Snaps, but their raison d’être is quite different.

Stephen T. Asma, in his book On Monsters, describes monsters as “extraordinary beings”.  Monsters encompass everything from phobias, to societal woes. They are both unimaginable and plausible. They encompass both the inhuman and human. Monsters are both literal and symbolic. The idea of a monster goes from one pole to the other, captivating and horrifying us. Society holds a very love-hate relationship with monsters and their attractive natures.

This duality of monsters, their appeal on a physical, psychological, cultural, and emotional level speaks to people. Monsters are seen across ages, across time, across the globe. However, the meaning of monsters for people are as varied as the monsters themselves. Even the same monster can mean different things to different people, all based on cultural and personal factors. For some people, monsters hold a deep connection to their very identity and how they see themselves and the world.

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Body Political

(Originally published on Gender Splendor in Fall 2013)

My body is a political weapon. I’m not talking about just the fact my body is a transgender one either. I am a walking political billboard, by my own choice. I use my body, especially how I dress my body, as a statement every time I go out into public. I am a visibly queer and transgender person. While I dress rather gender non-conforming (since I am a non-binary person who prefers feminine clothing, heels, and extreme colors), there is something much more eye catching than that.

I wear a hoodie, covered in buttons and patches ranging from simple trans pride flags to loud exclamations of gender terrorist, the gender binary is a form of hierarchy and oppression, and your silence will not save you. From the moment I walk out the door of my grandmother’s house, I am setting out on the table who and what I am. I am THAT queer person who introduces themselves as queer almost before they give you their name.

This simple article of clothing has become an important part of me. I love being visible. I find empowerment in it. I love knowing that the moment I walk into a place, I automatically get the label of queer (or some form of it). Every day is some form of social experiment depending on where I go and it seems to be a bigger success than my topless NYC Pride statement (where everyone just thought I was a hairy lesbian. More planning needed for next year). If people are not staring at me, I am probably at a friend’s house. Everywhere I go, people stare and look.

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Orlando: Not the First, Not the Last

To help the survivors and the families of the victims, please look here: https://www.oneorlando.org/ and https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund

On Sunday, June 12, 2016, 49 people were murdered. Another 53 were injured. The majority were LGBTQ Latinx people celebrating Latinx night at Pulse Nightclub. During Pride month. These people were targeted specifically, with the location having been scouted by the shooter. According to patrons, the shooter was also seen several times at the club and known for getting drunk and angry. He was also known for extreme racism and homophobia. This means the shooter knew that night there would be a large gathering of QPoC. This is not the first or the last time queer people (usually of color) have been targeted.

Before Orlando there was:

Compton Cafeteria Riots in San Francisco in August 1966.

Stonewall Police Raid in New York City on June 27-28, 1969.

The UpStairs Lounge Fire in New Orleans on June 24, 1973. 32 dead.

AIDS Crisis from the 1980s to 1990s. Thousands dead.

Otherside Lounge in Atlanta in February 1997.  5 injured.

Backstreet Café in Roanoke in September 2000. 1 dead. 7 injured.

Neighbors in Seattle on December 31, 2013. None injured.

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The Impact of School Environments on LGBTQ Youth

Abstract

The impact of negative school environments were examined on LGBTQ youth, focusing on the mental and academic areas. LGBTQ students who experienced higher rates of victimization experienced more frequent school and mental health problems. Students in supportive environments experienced less frequent school issues, especially if the school staff showed support and understanding. Studies show and support that negative school environments have long-lasting repercussions for LGBTQ students that influence later life choices such as higher education as well as reported self-esteem and depression.

The Impact of School Environments on LGBTQ Youth

In the United States, the majority of youth spend most of their time in the education system. In this environment students learn not only about math, social studies, and various other topics, but about how to interact with peer groups, form life-long social relationships, and learn about themselves, their identities, and their place in the world. While school is meant to be a mostly learning environment, the social aspects of the school experience cannot be ignored. Due to this social aspect of school, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) youth face special hardships due to their sexuality and gender that are not faced by their heterosexual and cisgender peers (Cahill & Cianciotto, 2012). These hardships are not caused by peers alone but also from faculty and staff as well which creates an even more negative environment for LGBTQ youth.

This victimization takes many forms from vocal, to verbal, to sexual. Students face anti-queer sentiments from simply hearing their sexuality used as an insult (“That’s so gay”) to having laws and lawsuits placed against their needs such as using the correct restrooms in the case of transgender students (Biegel, 2010; Kosciw, Greytak, Palmer, & Boesen, 2014). The harsher the responses and the source of the victimization have a direct connection with the response of the LGBTQ youth. The lack of support from faculty and staff in regards to peer issues leads to greater harm than students who face victimization but have the support of the school staff (Adelman & Woods, 2006).

These negative environments also lead to a decline in school attendance, lower GPA, mental health issues, and lack of goals for future education. The impact of the negative environment is harsh, taking its toll on not only on school based activities, but mental health as well. LGBTQ youth in unsupportive and negative school environments face lower self-esteem and higher rates of depression and even more suicidal ideations/thoughts that those whose environments are supportive of them (Adelman & Woods, 2006). This impact does not stop after the student leaves school but can leave lasting mental health issues that can lead to problems with substance abuse as well as problems with maintaining relationships later on in life (Grant, Mottet, Tanis, Harrison, & Herman, 2011).

The key is not only to tackle the negative environment but to make sure that the students also have a support structure as well. This includes clubs like Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), on the books anti-bullying policies, as well as training for faculty and staff in dealing with the specific needs of LGBTQ students (Cahill & Cianciotto, 2012). These support structures are crucial in taking the epidemic of problems faced by LGBTQ youth within the school system. Without these support structures, students have no way of creating an environment that is safe for them to grow, learn, and create lasting peer groups as well as positive self-esteem (Adelman & Woods, 2006; Biegel, 2010). Negative school environments lead to problems in school with attendance and GPA as well as mental health issues that last once the student leaves school. This paper will look over these negative school environments and these various impacts on LGBTQ students throughout their school careers.

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An Interview with Transgender Faith Leader Stephanie Mott

I first met Stephanie Mott in May, 2011. We were fighting for the Manhattan, Kansas commissioners to not repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance passed back in February that added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes. You read that right, only three months after passing the ordinance the new Manhattan commission was working on revoking the rights of queer Manhattan residents. The anti-discrimination ordinance had made Manhattan, Kansas the second place in Kansas to add not only sexual orientation but gender identity to protected classes of citizens with Lawrence, Kansas being the first. In three short months, we saw these rights being ripped from under us.

We heard arguments from both sides, watching as ministers and fellow residents saying the protection was unnecessary because they had never seen someone discriminated on these bases. These responses came after person after person recounted tales of discrimination based on their gender and their sexual orientation, one of those people being me and another being Stephanie Mott. I remember coming down from speaking, shaking like a leaf. I was red, scared, and nervous. Stephanie hugged me and told me I had done an amazing job and handed me the card for her organization, KSTEP (Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project).

This experience of being given rights and then watching them ripped out from under you and meeting Stephanie are experiences that have changed my life and have shaped many things in the years after. They are stories I recount often as the fight for basic protections continues across the United States and across the world. Stephanie, her kindness, and her story, and her dedication are something I look to frequently as something to strive towards.

What strikes me most about Stephanie is her unwavering faith. Stephanie is a Christian transsexual woman who frequently posts about her religion and its influence on her life. She even has a book titled God Doesn’t Have a Penis, and Other Writings by a Transsexual Christian Woman. She does not let those who question her identity and its intersection with her religion get in her way. This is most evident in her Trans Faith Tour she is currently doing across the country, talking about her experiences as a Christian trans woman.

I recently interviewed Stephanie about her Trans Faith Tour, KSTEP, and several other things.

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Gaming in Color: An Interview with Director and Producer Philip Jones

“Prepare to have your assumptions and comforts challenged a bit, and remember that queer people are a part of your human experience,” Philip told me when I asked them what they wanted their non-queer viewers of Gaming in Color to take from the film. Of course the film, which focuses on the experiences of queer gamers in video games, from developers to simple fans, is meant to be about educating others. Philip wanted there to be an easy to consume resource for those who may not be able to influence every gamer they meet to understand the issues queer gamers face.

“Your gaming tendencies will probably feel a bit poked at and criticized, maybe even deconstructed in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. But that’s often how queer people feel just getting past the hurdle of even turning on a game, assumptions are made and questions are asked and you’re never allowed to just exist in a culture that is hostile or at best neutral but aloof to you.” As Philip states here, gaming is not always perfect when it comes to dealing with queer characters, let alone dealing with queer people within gaming experiences. However, not everything is negative when it comes to the intersections of identity and gaming.

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