CultureFest 2012

Showalter Fountain by Ben Smith at Flickr (Click-Through for Original)

IU Auditorium and Showalter Fountain. Photo is CC-licensed, created by Ben Smith at Flickr

Hi, Blooming Viewers!

We know it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from us, and we’re really sorry about that.  We’ve missed our readers and our work, and plan on coming back in full color for the start of the fall semester.

For now, we’re breaking our hiatus just to let you know that CultureFest is coming up again soon!  If you’re an IU student, or a staff or faculty member, you’ll want to check it out.

CultureFest is an event designed to bring students a sampling of the many cultures that come together at Indiana University.  This year’s CultureFest will commence with a presentation in the IU Auditorium at 4:30 pm on Thursday, August 16th.

Following the presentation (which you must attend to get food vouchers), there will be an outdoor celebration in the plaza around Showalter Fountain until 7:30, followed by an after-party in the IU Art Museum.  The celebration will feature booths sponsored by various campus offices and student organizations.  Offerings will include a sampling of international cuisine, henna tattoos, and music from around the world on the outdoor stage.

As always, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Support Services (GLBTSSS) will be offering rainbow sherbet and LGBT trivia. Stop by to cool off, show off your LGBT smarts, and compete to win tokens for free bagels, courtesy of Bloomington Bagel Company!

Blooming Views on Vacation – Fourth of July

OK, y’all, we have a sad announcement to make. Blooming Views will be on a  hiatus for one week, starting Monday. One of our editors recently experienced a personal loss, and we also know that many of you will be too busy with holiday festivities to read a blog (no matter how awesome it may be). We will continue posting LGBT news and thoughts on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Thanks for understanding and continued support!

Vigil and Speak-Out Today, June 30

There will be a speak-out and vigil for Texas couple Mary Chapa and Mollie Olgin at 6:00 pm at the Bloomington Courthouse Square today.  The event is being sponsored by Blooming OUT Radio.

Both teens were shot in the head while at a park in Portland, Texas.  One survived, and the other was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.  June 23rd was the date of Chicago Pride, and many other notable LGBT Pride Festivals, making the timing of this crime tragically ironic.  Blooming Views strongly encourages our readers to attend if they are able.

Friday Round-Up, June 29

Teen Lesbian Couple Shot

A lesbian couple was found shot in a park in Portland, Texas on Saturday, June 25th.  One of the girls was already dying of her injuries, the other was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.  Both girls suffered gunshot wounds to the head.  Local Police Chief Randy Wright told the Corpus Christi Caller that no motive had yet been established for the murder.

National HIV Testing Day

National HIV Testing Day was Wednesday, June 27th, but that’s no reason not to get yourself tested anyway!  Positive Link provides free, confidential HIV testing, and also offers free counseling services in case you need to discuss your results with someone.

Oreos:  Now with 100% More Rainbow!

Queereo

Rainbow Pride Oreo

Earlier this week, Kraft Foods made a stir by posting a picture of an Oreo cookie with rainbow filling to their official Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Naturally, this sparked a backlash which culminated in a boycott of cookies and gaiety.  An unnamed Kraft Foods representative quoted on the Huffington Post said that Kraft has a “proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness,” and, “We feel that the Oreo ad is a fun reflection of our values.”

Life as an Ally

For the moment I am the only straight staffer here at Blooming Views. It isn’t something to which I dedicate much thought because I honestly don’t care about my friends’ bedroom preferences. I love my LGBT associates… but allow me to explain the occasionally awkward life an ally may lead.

For starters, my best friend is a lesbian. We spend a great deal of time together, and we don’t care who knows it, delighting in lewd tweeting and too many shared profile pictures. People frequently get the wrong idea, which I expect, and I used to correct people… until she got a closeted girlfriend. These days I spend my time online intentionally creating the impression that she and I are in a relationship. That’s right – I’m a beard. A silky-smooth beard.

Once upon a time I agreed to work in the LGBT tent for an on-campus event. Seems like a perfectly harmless do-gooder endeavor, right? Suddenly there was a big rainbow banner. And then there were passers-by. And WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY LOOKIN’ AT?! Where in God’s name did we put those “Straight Not Narrow” buttons?!  I also worked with GenderF**k, and while I was semi-masked on that occasion, I was nevertheless visibly patrolling the aisles – and there were cameras. Please, merciful heavens, never let me end up as a front-page photo with a headline while I’m at a rally.

Furthermore, I am from an all-white, straight Christian community. If you’re missing any one of those three traits back home, you move. Several counties away. Quickly. I never even knew anyone who was openly gay until I came to Bloomington. My own father does not know that this blog exists, much less that I’m an editor. The LGBT community horrifies him, and since I don’t exactly call home about my Saturday night escapades, he would immediately call my sexuality into question. I can’t talk about my friends, I can’t tell him about the events I attend, and he will never see this column.

I regret nothing about my involvement with BloomingViews, I am proud to call people like Rick, Jain and Cat my friends – one would be hard-pressed to find three more hilarious, intelligent, kind-hearted individuals. And while I am sometimes uncomfortable with the remarks that come my way, I will never back down from my position as an ally.

 

 

Friday-Round Up, June 22

Dharun Ravi Released

Dharun Ravi, convicted of bias intimidation for the harassment leading to the suicide of his roommate, Tyler Clementi, has just been released from jail.  Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years on probation,  $11,000 in fines, 300 hours of community service, and mandatory counseling.  He was released 10 days early — five days early for good behavior, and five for working during his incarceration.

GOProud for Romney

GOProud, a gay Republican lobbying group, has officially announced their support for Mitt Romney in a press release.  The press release quotes GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia as saying, “Not only does Obama not understand how the free markets work — he is openly hostile to free market capitalism.”  LaSalvia further accuses Pres. Obama of “jealousy and envy” in place of “hope and change,” and says that his “divisive attacks appeal to the absolute worst in Americans.”  The press release goes on to concede that GOProud does not “agree with Governor Romney on every single issue,” especially his support for a federal marriage amendment.

The majority of the press release does not, in fact, have much to say about Romney.  They just want everyone to know they can’t stand his opponent.

Google Pride

Google has a special Easter Egg for Pride Month.  Go ahead and try it.  Search for any LGBT-related search term, and watch the search bar.

The editor who discovered this naturally spent the next 5 minutes trying increasingly more esoteric and obscure LGBT keywords to see if they triggered the display.  Happily, “Stonewall” does.  Google knows their gaiety!

Comic Store Celebrates X-Men Wedding with Real Men Wedding

These gay geeks have just set a new standard in both gaiety and geekiness:  they got married in a comic book store on June 20th, during the release party for Marvel’s gay wedding issue of the Astonishing X-Men.  Excelsior!

Trans Pride March in San Francisco

On Sunday, June 24th in San Francisco, there will be a Trans Pride March as part of the Pride Month festivities.  Color us impressed!  A rainbowy shade of impressed.

Indianapolis Police Apprehend Suspect in East Side Bloomington Shooting

This story is not queer-related, but we feel it’s of local importance.  Working together across county lines, the Bloomington and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Departments have apprehended the man responsible for a shooting on the east side of Bloomington earlier this week.  On Tuesday, a man with a shotgun injured two in a shooting at a pool in the College Mall Apartments.  On Wednesday, the suspect was apprehended in Indianapolis.

Trans People & Solitary Confinement

The New York Times has an editorial concerning the practice of solitary confinement, which is currently undergoing review by a Senate judiciary subcommittee who met earlier this week to discuss the problem.  As the Times notes, this is the first time Congress has acknowledged that solitary confinement may be a problem, although studies have long noted that isolation and confinement cause great suffering, usually resulting in mental illness.

The National Center for Transgender Equality also testified at the subcommittee’s hearings, explaining in their testimony that, because transgender prisoners are some of the most vulnerable in terms of sexual assault, they are generally placed in solitary confinement as a protective measure.  Effectively, this means that non-violent offenders can be placed in solitary confinement, where they’re likely to develop mental illness as a result of suffering and deprivation, just because they are transgender.

Feel-Better Kitten

Kitten with rainbow toy

Kitten with rainbow toy by RahelSharon on Flickr

This week’s Friday Round-Up is kind of a serious downer.  Especially that last story.  We thought it might be wise to include this picture of a kitten nomming on a rainbow, just for the sake of Blooming Views Readers’ emotional well-being.

Okay, really it’s for our own sake, but we thought y’all might appreciate it, too.

New Help Available for IU LGBT Students

TO THE LGBT STUDENTS OF INDIANA UNIVERSITY:

Depressed? Struggling with your sexuality? Facing homophobia or discrimination? GLBT Student Support Services may be able to help. New counseling intern Brandon Muncy is eager to start working with students who may be facing such issues.

Muncy is presently earning an MA in Counseling, and will be continuing on to a doctoral program in either cross-cultural psychology or human sexuality. According to him, “The primary benefit of starting counseling in the summer is that for many people, this is the least stressful time to work on personal issues. If they begin seeing me during the summer, we will have a full year to work together. Sometimes clients start when the counseling intern only has a short time left, and then have to complete an entirely new intake with the new counselor, essentially forcing them to start all over.” There is no limit to the number of sessions a student may schedule, and unlike the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offered by the health center, counseling services at GLBTSSS are entirely free.

Interested students can contact Brandon Muncy by email at glbtcoun@indiana.edu or call (812) 855-0916 to schedule an appointment. The GLBT Student Support Services office is located at 705 E. Seventh St., Bloomington, IN 47408.

Lego Pride Parade at the GLBTSSS

Jenni French, Lego Pride Parade

Display and photo courtesy of Jenni French

If you haven’t been by the IU GLBT Student Support Services (GLBTSSS) office lately, you’re missing a local pride parade — in miniature.

IU Grad Student Jenni French constructed the Lego Pride Parade, and contacted GLBTSSS Office Coordinator Doug Bauder to see if they might like to display the creation.  The answer, of course, was yes.

French made the display with her girlfriend, Monica Ham, in three stages.  The first was the mass production of the numerous rainbow accessories, such as the pylons, which are somewhat reminiscent of the rainbow pillars lining North Halsted in Chicago.  Next came the floats, and finally the people.

“I took apart all the people I already owned and separated them into piles of parts,” French says.  “Then we were able to create, say, a softball-playing lipstick-wearing person if we needed one.”

The parade, replete with floats and marchers, even features little signs.  One offers a “Str8 Apology” to those hurt by the church.  Another advertises for local gay bar and drag venue Uncle Elizabeth‘s.

French promises that there will be more Lego LGBT Pride events throughout the year, possibly including a set of closets for National Coming Out Day (October 11).

Stop by the GLBTSSS any time this month to see the Lego Pride Parade, and check back for further displays of tiny, interlocking pieces of LGBT Pride!

The Importance of Queer Heroes

A Marvelous Marriage

Wednesday, June 20th, is the release date for the first ever gay wedding in a comic book.  Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men, #51, will feature the wedding of superhero Northstar to his partner, Kyle.

Why should we care, in a post Will and Grace world? Continue reading

Help Wanted: Writers

Hey, Blooming Views Readers!

Since you’re here, you’re probably a fan of the site.  One of the biggest challenges we face here is getting content generated as fast as we’d like.  We’re always looking for a few good men, women, et al. to help us out.

If you’ve got a queer view, can write, and are in the Bloomington area, we’d love to hear from you.  Feel free to send us an email at Blooming Views at Gmail dot com.  Please include a short writing sample, some information about yourself, and be sure to email us from the account you’d want associated with the blog (on our end, not necessarily public).  Don’t have a writing sample handy?  Write up a 500-800 word piece on “coming out”.

We need writers for any and all of our 5 major categories, and would very much like to see YOU in print.