First of all, I’d like to say that I am very, very proud of this issue, and of our staff here at OutWrite. I think this is our best issue yet, and I want to thank all of you for your hard work and infinite patience.
(For those of you who haven’t picked it up yet, the issue is on newsstands across UCLA this week! PDF/Issuu will be posted next week).
Now. A few things on the Daily Bruin article.
One of the first decisions we made when we started planning this issue was an assessment of the Daily Bruin from a queer student perspective. It’s always been something we have discussed in meetings, even in years past, and I felt like it was time to really address what a lot of us thought was an important issue on this campus, especially in light of a few articles published last year (which are discussed in the article).
However, we certainly didn’t want to attack the Daily Bruin and call its reporters homophobes. Far from it. We wanted to write a piece that would call attention to shortcomings, and hopefully encourage dialogue that would eventually result in change.
We were extremely fortunate that Lauren Jow understood where we were coming from. Jow didn’t have to respond to our article the way she did. She could have gotten defensive and turned this into a politics-and-power game, as others in Student Media have done. She could have ignored what many people on this campus feel is a newsmagazine that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Instead, she saw a problem that has been building for many years, and she has taken significant steps to correct it.
The Daily Bruin’s front-page treatment of a segment of Stephanie Gilbert’s feature on trans was a huge boon for OutWrite, the trans community, and the UCLA community at large. I want to thank Lauren Jow for devoting time and prime column space to such an important issue. It really meant a lot to a lot of people, and sent a strong message about the direction the Bruin is heading under her leadership.
If you’ve seen today’s Bruin (11/16), you’ll have noticed that yet another underrepresented identity, genderqueer, is given front-page treatment. Sonali Kohli did an admirable job of effectively communicating what life is life for Ryth Mendez, a valuable member of our community. Kohli wrote a great piece that elegantly navigated the complexities of the issues facing trans- and genderqueer-identified individuals, and did so with respect and tact. Elsewhere in the issue, Kate Parkinson-Morgan’s piece on LGBTQ individuals in the Greek system was well-researched, if a bit one-sided. It appears that our comments are being heard loud and clear, and I want to applaud and congratulate Jow and the Bruin for this bold, powerful journalism.
I hope that this is the beginning of a new trend here at Student Media, one in which all communities are covered fairly and respectfully. And I think I speak for OutWrite when I say that I look forward to building a great working relationship with the Daily Bruin, a great newspaper from which we could learn a great deal.