Poetry by Jason Soto

I appreciate the way

This world turned her back on you too

Sucked the air out of each lung w/o asking

Left you for dead, queer, immigrant child

I never really ran away from my pain

It just got caught somewhere in my esophagus

Lost beneath the cords of survival

We’ve known each other for years

Died and came back twice

Just to appreciate the way you look up at the moon

And hold me like down like gravity

You’ve set me on fire

Infinity; Seeing love in dark places

*

So much pain between siblings

For mistakes of our parents

B/c of things they could not shield us from

Absent birthdays

Broken promises

Tired working class souls

The irreconcilability of it all

We cannot be afraid to salt each other’s wounds

Always shared the same nakedness outside the womb

The same scars and traumas too

This was always ”tough love”

For brighter days and fatter paychecks

Always mourning, always grateful

Always Full; Immigrant Parents

*

Inside of me there is a desert

Broken in half by man

In it, an oasis grows

Cactus bear fruit

The snake and eagle spirits battle

For my love

For my survival

It is here for you too

If you can look past the rotting plants

There is a spring you can drink from

My love you can indulge

But the second you drink without permission

Beware for the puma will bare its teeth

And taste your flesh in compensation

Drink me, Dare you

Final Project Artist Statement by student Daniela Nunez

I created these images because I, like Sandra Cisneros, Luz Calvo, and Alma Lopez wanted images that represent the “real” Latina. The one major image Latinas have growing up is the Virgen de Guadalupe. While she is a loved role model, she represents an extreme, something that seems unrealistic for many girls and women to strive for.

The first image is of my mom and nana. I wanted to depict them because they are the strongest women I know. They are my role models, and if I could do half as much in my lifetime as they have, I will be well off. This photograph is very simple, because they live very simply.

The second image is of my roommate Maria. She is one of my role models as well. She moved here from Ecuador when she was in elementary school. She is draping the Ecuadorian flag to represent her home country, and has a San Francisco hat for her second home.

Eurovision is a yearly competition that has each participating nation nominate a song to be performed on live television by one of its artists. These performances are then voted on and a winner is chosen. This year’s controversial winner was drag character and Austrian singer Conchita Wurst aka Thomas Neuwirth who presents himself as very feminine and well made-up except for that he also sports a full beard. It is interesting to note that the name “Conchita Wurst” probably non-coincidentally, can be interpreted as meaning: small vagina penis, from the Spanish slang- concha and the German, Wurst- meaning sausage or penis. I would like to relate this video to the class readings History of Sexuality by Michelle Foucault and Tacit Subjects by Carlos Decena. In particular, I think that Neuwirth’s decision to perform as his drag character on the international stage clearly lines up with Foucault’s repressive hypothesis, i.e. I don’t believe Foucault would have advocated such an open expression (on the world stage) of this non-normative sexuality. Even though doing so might be liberating for Neuwirth, the decision will come with the extra policing and social backlash we’ve spoken about in detail in class. I believe that through his ensemble Neuwirth is expressing his sexuality and is perhaps saying that to some extent he believes he is both male and female, that he finds aspects of both appeal to him. He presents a queer body that is neither strictly male, nor female, but rather both. As you can see in the video, the performance, despite winning the competition, has earned far more thumbs down on Youtube than thumbs up. Additionally, the comments section is full of condemning, shocked and homophobic comments. As far as Tacit Subjects is concerned, I believe that Neuwirth could have had something to lose by making this statement- choosing to portray himself in the way he has. Despite being Austrian, he is ethnically Turkish. Turkish communities, similarly to Mexican and Cuban communities, are not inherently homophobic, however they are not generally accepting or open to the idea of homosexuality/transexuality. Homosexuality is definitely not mainstream or condoned in their society which is generally speaking on the more conservative side. —by Kal Petkov

“Mary Magdalene and Virgen de Guadalupe” (from “My Cathedral”) by Alex Donis

While googling some of Alma Lopez’s pieces, I came across this picture of Mary Magdalene and the Virgin of Guadalupe kissing which sparked my interest. This piece is by Alex Donis, a Guatemalan queer artist from Los Angeles.

While Donis grew up Catholic, he always resented the Church’s homophobic tendencies. His lived experiences inspired him to create a space to manifest what usually gets seen as forbidden or ‘dangerous’ desires. It is through his art that he succeeds in creating these spaces that would otherwise get displaced and ignored by the public sphere.

Like Alma Lopez, Donis’ piece, Mary Magdalene and The Virgin of Guadalupe from his My Cathedral collection, uses alternative modes of cultural production to create a space for queer desire and sexuality. Like Alma, Donis also uses symbols, in this case two biblical women who would normally be seen as opposites; one representing virginity and purity, while the other symbolizes sexual impurity.  By using these clashing symbols, Donis challenges the taboo of sexuality as presented by the Church and hopes to invoke in all a desire to dig deep into one’s own sexuality and desire.

Overall, Donis and other artists that we have learned about in class search to break paradigms that are hierarchical and repressive through different art forms. 

—Sandy Garcia

Askari Gonzalez articulates her desires as a trans woman that are bound within the very structures of white supremacy and racialized gendered violence. She articulates a different kind of Latina and of Color sexual Subjectivity that challenges heteropatriarchical sexual attraction that often marks trans women as “only being able to love and be loved by men.” Askari articulates her desires for other feminine and trans* feminine bodies, which challenges trans sexual discourse that is invested in ideas of normative belonging and loving.~

- A.J.M

Professor Hernandez’s article "Miss, You Look Like a Bratz Doll": On Chonga Girls and Sexual-Aesthetic Excess, reminded of the YouTube video, “Lean Like a Chola” which parodies the song “Lean Like a Cholo” by Down AKA Kilo. I thought it might be something the rest of the class might enjoy via the blog. This song, like “Chongalicious,” presents the chola as a spectacle that is different from the rest of society’s women. Like the chonga, the chola’s “firme” attitude is adored and enjoyed by those who do not share her socioeconomic status and situation. She is perceived as a confident and self-empowered woman who does not take shit from anybody. However, the chola is simultaneously repudiated for her devious and uncultured behavior, and the manner in which she emulates Mexican American women to the rest of the world. She is the symbol of deviance and one that does not fulfill the hegemonic expectations of what a woman in the United States should act or appear like. The chola is the “other” which must be policed andnsecluded from the rest of society.