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Davis

Davis, California

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Guest opinion: Justin Louie Lock

Greetings Aggie Editorial Staff & Ms. Tiffany Lew,

As a leader of the student organization Asian & Pacific-Islander Queers (APIQ) at UC Davis, I would like to message you to express how offended we are by your article in the opinion section.

Everything you have stated in your article is extremely offensive to so many groups of people including those in the queer community. You can preface your column with the fact that you have gay friends and that you watch “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” but that does not right the heteronormative and heterosexist messages you promote.

Spreading this standard only further promotes what we in the queer community try so hard to deconstruct: heteronormativity, gender norms, gender stereotypes, the gender binary and sexual/identity labels.

First of all, you speak for the queer community saying that we are set on our sexuality and that there is no room for confusion. The lines are not clear-cut and you assume this so readily. Do you also speak for those in the bisexual, transgendered and intersex community? If so, you are utterly mistaken. And you offend these communities who definitely do not fit in your gender binary filled with gender norms for both men and a womyn alike.

You go as far as to call those who do not fit within your gender norm as people who seem to possess some type of epidemic. This only reminds me of the times when being gay/homosexual was considered a mental disorder with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Labeling this as an epidemic only shows that you are promoting some type of disgust or even a phobia toward metrosexuality and those who do not follow your gender norms.

Men and womyn have every right to act however they please. By reinforcing the heteronormative division of what is male and what is female, you are perpetuating the very ideals that create so much queerphobia in today’s society.

In telling men that they have thrown away their manhood, you should think about what right or what privilege you have to decide this, and to say this. You are abusing your privilege, and in turn, offending so many of us in the Queer and API community here at UC Davis.

If you do not like “girly” men, then do not associate with them. Associate yourself with the masculine men you prefer, but do not ridicule communities of people for the way they are. Your freedom of speech is silencing so many communities. In writing this article, you have silenced the voices of many people, and you chastise people over some heterosexist standard that you may believe.

If you have ever attended one of the many workshops on campus, then maybe you would be more cautious of the things you say. Workshops like Safe Zone training through the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, educational workshops through the Women’s Resources and Research Center and things like the masculinity/femininity panel (which is being held this week) are all valuable events that you should consider attending if this is the way you feel about heteronormative values.

Your final comments about lesbian feminists in the 1920s, and stating how this trend of “girly men” should disappear, has to be the most horrific paragraph in your entire article. Saying that you have gay friends in no way allows you to say something so utterly heterosexist and homophobic. To justify the line by saying they had a social cause in no way sugarcoats your stance. It is clear that you equivocate “girly men” to the lesbian movement. By writing that you did not realize that, you have offended many members of the lesbian community as well. Intentionally or not, you say you wished them gone along with these so-called “girly men.”

Seeing yet another controversial Aggie column that obviously will offend campus communities upsets us dearly. We hope that articles like this will be screened in the future. We also hope that by responding to these types of horrendous articles, that we are in fact doing our work as a queer organization on campus. We struggle to gain visibility and acceptance. By promoting material like this, our efforts go meaningless if this is what the university newspaper feels is appropriate for our student body to read.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for that additional comment Justin; I think it was more helpful in clearing up some important questions/issues not explicitly addressed in the published piece. I believe that work towards social justice for everyone, including individuals who have heterosexist beliefs about how people should perform their genders, is a large part of queer activism. Promotion of a diverse education and some attempt at a civil/respectful conversation about these tough issues is also really important.
    I have to admit that I’m almost happy that something like this was published in the Aggie so that a more vocal/visible conversation about it could be started. I hear these kinds of comments, such as those made by Lew, weekly, if not daily, in casual conversation and I often do not know how to respond, what to do, how to tell people in a way that is at the same time polite and phrased so that I will be taken seriously, that their comments are making me uncomfortable… It’s a daily challenge.

  2. Before you comment about silencing communities, you should learn what that actually means first. It does not mean that you prevent them from speaking it means that you rob them of a voice. With each word that is spoken in light of privilege, you rob away the voices of communities and you silence them. We did have a town-hall meeting tonight, and I was present. Were you? Even Aggie columnists have agreed that her work was indeed oppressive and offensive to many people which is why it was retracted. Second, the statement was not misconstrued, you cannot justify yourself by telling people you have gay friends; that does not permit you to make generalizations, assumptions, and misguided presumptions about the “gay” community based of your affiliations. Homophobia is but of one of the issues presented in her article. Aside from the undertones of eugenics and genocide, you need to see that she can be as gay-friendly as she likes, but that does not justify the Asian men and effeminate men that she chooses to ridicule so readily. I have written an opinion piece in response to Tiffany’s article. Am I attacking her? No. Am I attacking her ideas, notions, assumptions, isms, generalizations, oppressive tones, etc? Yes. You have no idea how big the queer community is at UC Davis. We and our allies from the various student centers all stand for social justice and you may think that we are trying to serve some queer agenda, but that is incorrect. Instead we are trying to make the campus as well as society a more open space in which people of ALL types can freely live to be however they please without having to face criticism for various characteristics that make them a person. The simplest notion presented in Lew’s article is that it reinforces the gender binary of male/female, along with that it reinforces the gender norms as well as the gender stereotypes that come with those assumed gender identities. From that we move towards sexism, racism, heterosexism, heteronormativity, transphobia, biphobia, homophobia, xenophobia, and a myriad of other isms/phobias. She herself may not be prejudice, but what she wrote in her article was. Again, the tone that comes from the article is one of eugenics and/or genocide; implying that this “girly men” phenomena be equivocated to a pandemic that must be wiped away from society. It was offensive to many people of many communities at UC Davis. Not only was it offensive to APIQ; it was also offensive to members of GASC, the WRRC, SRRC, CCC, and the LGBTRC. My lone voice, to you, may be miniscule. But I am speaking for a small body of people. And it is my response that got published, so I take accountability for whatever views I have displayed. Do I speak for the entire queer community? No.

  3. I disagree with the following statement: “Your freedom of speech is silencing so many communities. In writing this article, you have silenced the voices of many people, and you chastise people over some heterosexist standard that you may believe.”

    I don’t see your article as evidence of silencing the queer community. Furthermore, today, the LGBT on-campus organization held a town-meeting to oppose this article. This is clear and ample evidence that the LGTB is not being “silenced.”

    On the other hand, I think the meeting and your response is evidence of individuals or groups of people attempting to silence freedom of speech of people who do not accept a particular world-view or belief of another.

    Secondly, I want to respond to your comment as stated, “Saying that you have gay friends in no way allows you to say something so utterly heterosexist and homophobic. To justify the line by saying they had a social cause in no way sugarcoats your stance.”

    I think that statement is really unfair because it is misconstrued. Tiffany, clearly, states that she is not homophobic and is at peace with homosexuals. She also, clearly, takes her stance on wanting masculinity back and not “girly men.”

    Lastly, are you not simply promoting your own agendas by taking a stance against what Tiffany had written about? Are you not doing the same thing she did in writing an article to express her stance on a specific topic? Please correct me if I misread the following: “Spreading this standard only further promotes what we in the queer community try so hard to deconstruct: heteronormativity, gender norms, gender stereotypes, the gender binary and ual/identity labels.”

    It seems to me that by standing against your efforts to “deconstruct” certain things you or others oppose, this poor college student is being unfairly judged as being “prejudiced, a r, and an oppressor.”

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