On May 6, 2023, UCLA’s Association of Chinese Americans hosted its 34th annual Chinese American Culture Night. The three-hour production featured performances by several Chinese cultural clubs and its main show, “lead me to the lilies.” As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month throughout the month of May and anticipate Pride Month in June, “lead me to the lilies” beautifully portrays certain nuances of the queer, second-generation Asian American experience.
The Queen of Lips and the Beauty of Drag
Have you ever heard the term “dinner and a show?” Now imagine drinking from a fishnet and stiletto adorned leg over 12 inches tall, followed by a three course meal, a stack of dollar bills in your hand. This is the experience of Lips Drag Palace.
Queer Next Up: Evan Collins
Evan Collins (he/him) a trans filmmaker from Ontario, Canada with interests in accessibility, musical theatre and Sign Language. He typically works in horror films and documentaries but loves going outside that comfort zone.
The Censure of Trans Lawmaker Zooey Zephyr
Instead of shutting down harmful anti-trans bills, the Montana House of Representatives chose to shut down the voice of trans representative Zooey Zephyr. Zephyr is a member of the Montana House of Representatives and is in the 100th district representing Missoula, one of the bluest areas of Montana.
FDA Removes Ban on Queer Men Donating Blood
On May 11, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially struck down its ban on blood donations from queer men. This news comes less than four months after the FDA initially proposed these changes in January for a 60-day public comment period.
The Homophiles, the Liberationists, and Us
Activism is rough, and we throw a lot of words around at each other. “Assimilationist!” “Unrealistic!” “Conformist!” “Aggressive!” LGBTQ+ activism has not only been met with virulent backlash from the cisgender, heterosexual side of society but also has been plagued by intra-community conflict on the best ways to do things. The tension surrounding LGBTQ+ activism boils down to a push and pull between outright rebellion and more incremental forms of justice. This conflict is not specific to the LGBTQ+ community; all sorts of movements spanning different identities and ideas encounter the contentious dichotomy between abolition and reform.
Queer Next Up: Atom Fellows
Atom Fellows (they/them) is a musician/filmmaker and YouTuber whose show, The Anarchy Funhouse, tackles the world’s most intractable issues using music, animation and puppets!
Queer Next Up: Heather Muriel Nguyen
Heather Muriel Nguyen (they/them) is an asexual, non-binary, and Vietnamese-American filmmaker passionate about visceral stories that center queer and trans characters of color grappling with intergenerational trauma and self-love. Their films build a multiverse of unapologetically queer stories with captivating platonic relationships.
Visibility and Representation: A Look Into the UCLA Pride Softball Game and an Interview with Coach Kirk Walker
On April 8, 2023, UCLA softball had its annual Pride Game against the Oregon State Beavers. I attended the game to see how Pride was celebrated and also sat down with Head Coach Kirk Walker, the first out D1 coach in the country. He also co-founded the Equality Coaching Alliance and the LGBT Sports Coalition to promote inclusion in sports. Walker received a kinesiology degree from UCLA in 1988, then began his softball coaching career immediately after. He is also a skilled athlete in men’s fastpitch softball and has won two national titles playing as a pitcher. With Walker, the Bruins have made it to seven NCAA Championships and 17 Women’s College World Series.
Good News Amongst the Bad: Recent Pro-Trans Legislation
In the past year or so, there has been a scourge of discriminatory legislation targeting the entire Queer community, transgender individuals in particular. Bills have been introduced in state legislatures that attack freedom of expression, access to gender-affirming care, education, and visibility for the transgender and broader Queer community. These laws are an astonishing and frightening violation of basic human rights and speak to a worrying rise in widespread anti-transgender intolerance. Essentially, conservative politicians are trying to write Queer and trans people out of existence.