Fighting for the Queer Youth: In Loving Memory of Nex Benedict

On Feb. 7, 2024, Nex Benedict, a transgender, Two-Spirit teen of Choctaw descent, was assaulted in their high school’s bathroom by three girls who had reportedly been bullying them and their friends for the way they were laughing. Benedict went to bed with head pain following the altercation and their mother rushed them to the hospital after they later collapsed. They were pronounced dead on Feb. 8.

How a Queer Disabled Student is Fighting for Health, Safety, and Education

How many people do you notice in your lectures wearing masks? How many coughs do you hear? Even though federal and state government policies treat COVID-19 risk with little concern, health science research continues to demonstrate the necessity of masking to prevent its contraction. COVID is a multi-systemic, vascular disease that damages every system in your body. Each COVID-19 infection that you contract results in cumulative damage, weakening the immune system. Weakened immune systems aren’t able to fight off infection as readily, meaning that any sickness can potentially be life-threatening and disabling. Unchecked immune system damage forces constant sickness to be many people’s new reality.

Seeking Safety: LGBTQ+ Migrants Fight for Asylum

Whether through proposed restrictions, new waves of immigration, or the continued unjust vilification of migrants, stories of U.S. immigration are constantly circulating in many different forms of media. However, a topic that frequently remains unnoticed by a majority of the public is that of the immigration of LGBTQ+ people and the specific struggles that LGBTQ+ migrants face.

Queer Prom: Fantasy is a Radical Reality

UCLA’s Gender, Sexuality, and Society Living-Learning Community (GSS LLC) held its annual Queer Prom on March 1, 2024. The event was decorated around a “fantasy” theme — colored-paper windows resembled the stained glass of a chapel, long vines entangled every chair, and a projection of a firefly-lit forest flashed the words “Queer Prom 2024” in bold letters.

Homelessness and Familiar Faces

“As a queer person specifically, there was never a moment of rest — whether living in my car or on the streets — I always had to be on high alert. I was always filled with adrenaline. Trying to sleep on the streets, all you can think about is: ‘Is anyone coming?’”

Pride Admit Weekend Needs More Volunteers: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

I had the pleasure of interviewing Outwrite’s own Ava Rosenberg (they/she) as they prepare for Pride Admit Weekend (PAW) on April 12–14, 2024. PAW at UCLA is the only queer yield program in the country, running for eleven years and counting. In order to keep this awesome tradition alive, PAW needs more volunteers to help run the event. Ava gave me a rundown of what PAW is like and what kind of people are needed to make it happen.

The Destruction of Queer Public Spaces Has Forced Us Online

This January closed with police raids on Seattle gay bars. In a scene reminiscent of 20th-century police raids of queer bars, officials with flashlights entered a bar unannounced, took pictures of patrons, and cited a bartender for having an exposed nipple. It’s no secret that queer bars have been heavily policed throughout American history, or that nowadays, lesbian bars are practically nonexistent in the U.S. Queer spaces still exist, but we have lost the thriving queer sex culture of the 1980s largely because of the American political response to the AIDS crisis.

Oklahoma School Bans Gender Change

In 2023, there were at least 32 hate crimes that led to the deaths of transgender individuals. Many trans people may choose not to disclose their trans identity in situations where they feel it is unsafe or unnecessary to do so. Transgender children increasingly face an onslaught of demeaning and even life-threatening pressure to disclose from peers, parents, and, now, educators. 

“What Was I Made For?”: Thoughts of a Queer Barbie

I look out over the rolling waves and allow my eyes to rest on her. She’s wearing a fitted white tank top, jean shorts, and her signature silver chain around her neck. Her dimples are on full display as she laughs at something her friend says, and her eyes capture the rays of sunlight and infuse them into her irises, brightening them beyond Technicolor. They’ve broken through to the sixth dimension, and I can’t look away, and I don’t want to look away.

The Fight Over Flags

When I was in high school, my friend and I fundraised and worked with our district to paint progress pride flags at each campus in the school district. While some called our project indoctrination, others claimed it was unnecessary because they believed this was an empty display of virtue signaling. However, as our right to queer expression continues to suffer heavy restrictions around the country, it is crucially empowering to permanently show that we are not leaving. Students may not feel safe at home, and affirming their identities decreases depression, anxiety, and suicide rates by allowing them to be themselves in school. The symbols used to identify people’s orientations and politics inform others of whom to trust.