FSU’s pride events

Oct. 11 was National Coming Out Day. In celebration of this event, Framingham State University hosted a Pride Week filled with events aimed at supporting the school’s LGBT+ community. These events were held with support from Pride Alliance. There was a wide range of events, from speeches about being an ally to an LGBT+ banquet featuring the Kinsey Scales, a queer positive a capella group, and various discussions about the LGBT+ community.

Hanky panky

By Tessa Jillson

Asst Arts & Features Editor

J. Raül Cornier, administrative assistant at Framingham State University, gave a presentation in the Ecumenical Center on Oct. 12 about the history and cultural impacts of the gay hanky code – a secret coding system that “advertises sexual orientation, sexual availability, and sexual fetishes.”

Cornier, who researched historic textiles and costumes as part of his graduate work at the University of Rhode Island, said the hanky code has progressed since it first emerged in the 19th century, evolving “from a covert system of sexual advertising to an overt expression of identity” and responding to certain cultural shifts, Cornier said.

The code was originally designed for queer white males who would wear red accessories to advertise their sexuality and availability. Now, the coding system has become more inclusive, allowing members from the LGBT+ community to get involved in “flagging” or “cruising,” along with individuals with kinks or sexual fetishes such as BDSM, animal role play, and racial fetishes.

The hanky code is predominantly practiced by wearing a bandana in the back pocket of one’s jeans. The color of the bandana, as well as where it is placed, identifies specific fetishes, sexualities, and behaviors – all of which are distinguished using decoder lists since there is a significant number of sexual fetish colors, Cornier said. It has even inspired fetish wear, including leather, latex, eco-friendly cuffs, chaps, and harnesses.

The code is still in continuous use today and is the “longest running queer satirical code,” Cornier said.

 

Pride Across Generations Banquet

By Gordon Rupert

Staff Writer

Framingham State University held its second annual Pride Across Generations Banquet on Oct. 11.

Each year, the banquet celebrates the LGBT+ community, and brings together speakers such as state Rep. Kate Hogan, and Grace Moreno, executive director at the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

The Kinsey Scales, Boston’s premier queer-focused a cappella group, performed at the event. Its primary mission is to give LGBT+ individuals a safe space to be around like-minded people and to give them a chance to express themselves and spread their message.

President of The Kinsey Scales, Eden Tanner, who is originally from Australia, and is currently conducting postdoctoral research at Harvard in bioengineering, said, “The Kinsey Scales is focused on creating a community through song. We try to host a diverse group of people, and importantly give queer people a place to sing without traditional expectations that their gender has acquired. Our goal is to create good music together and spend time in a community throughout Boston.”

 

The Gay Liberation Movement 

By Tessa Jillson

Asst Arts & Features Editor

In 1969, during an era of anti-war protests and revolutionary uprisings in America, the Gay Liberation movement was born. Now, almost a half-century later, the LGBT+ movement has become more accepted due to cultural changes, said activist, author and Harvard professor Michael Bronski in his talk, “Free Ourselves – Come out Everywhere: The Radical Visions of the Gay Liberation Movement,” on Oct. 30 in the Heineman Ecumenical Center.

Bronski spoke about the history of the LGBT+ community, which he said flourished after WWII.

The war scrambled how sex and gender were imagined. Men and women entered the armed forces and expectations changed, he said. People finally accepted that men, too, can be emotional, and woman can pursue men without being labeled prostitutes.

By the end of WWII, the homophile movement was founded. The organization demanded equal rights to people regardless of their sexual preferences or identities and also established terms within the community such as “homosexuality,” Bronski said. The movement also produced the creation of LGBT+ paperbacks and magazines during this time.

The movement was eventually replaced by the Gay Liberation Movement as gender roles changed and music influenced the way society saw new ways of living. Musicians such as David Bowie and bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones swayed the way the public perceived the LGBT+ community and normalized its image within America, Bronski said.

Although the culture was changing, further discrimination and oppression continued to happen, which ultimately led to the Stonewall Riots, he added. After the riots and the upsurge of new social movements around America, the Gay Liberation Movement began to take on theoretical backgrounds similar to other active movements, and not only fought for the rights of gay individuals, but also for women and racial minorities, “transforming the entire landscape” as we know it today, Bronski said.

 

Microaggressions 

By Tessa Jillson

Asst Arts & Features Editor

Nicole Rossi, associate professor of psychology, and Phoebe Lin, assistant professor of psychology, led a discussion addressing microaggressions and their effects within the LGBT+ community on Oct. 10.

Lin said psychologists and researchers define microaggressions as “incessant subtle forms of bias or prejudice” and are different from blatant discrimination.

Microaggressions can manifest in several ways. The most common offenses are verbal, such as inappropriate jokes or comments, Lin said. These comments are usually based on gender biases or assumptions about appearance and social identity, like, “You’re really smart for a girl” or, “You are so beautiful for a trans girl.”

The accumulation of these microaggressions can create long-term, harmful effects related to self-efficacy, self-esteem, and confidence, said Lin.

“Some researchers compare the effects of microaggressions to carbon monoxide. Sometimes, they are difficult to detect. They can be invisible and soundless, but they’re incredibly harmful to the point where they’re possibly lethal in some cases,” she said.

When addressing the issue, Rossi said researchers have found through peer testing, focus groups, and reports that when someone who receives a microaggression tries to confront the aggressor, a common response from the aggressor is to “brush it aside” or pass it off as a joke.

Rossi pointed out in this type of scenario, the aggressor is trying to invalidate their comment to stop any confrontation but are invalidating the person receiving the microaggression as a result.

Lin said, although there should be, “there isn’t an end-all solution as of right now.”

Rossi added if you find yourself victim to a microaggression, you should confront the aggressor, address the comment, and educate them on how their comment should not be taken as a “joke” and may negatively impact others over time.

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