Another Tinderella Story

By Elise Wantling

If you currently are, or recently have been, single, then you’ve probably heard of an app called Tinder. Or its’ more feminist sibling, Bumble. Perhaps, you’ve even heard of Grindr or Her if you’re LGBTQ+ identifying, or just well versed in dating apps. Online dating is nothing new. It dates back to 1995 with the creation of Match.com, but the creation of Tinder really revolutionized the industry, (though it was not the first dating app on the market). The release of Tinder spurred the creation of more and more dating apps.

With Tinder, no longer did you have to look at full profiles, and read detailed descriptions of who someone thinks they are and why they think they’d be a good match for you. Instead, you could simply swipe through photos without ever opening the profile and determine solely based on looks whether or not you think you’re compatible with someone. Tinder simplified things down to a science: swipe right if you’re interested, left if you’re not. If they like you too, you’ll match and you can chat. If they don’t like you back, you can’t message them. Simple, easy.

When I first got on Tinder back in 2016, I was nearing the end of high school and had recently turned 18, making me one of the people in my friend group old enough for the full Tinder experience. (At the time, Tinder also had a teen section for ages 16-18). My friends had gotten into it while I was seeing my first girlfriend, but after we broke up they encouraged me to download the app. I was recently out as bisexual, and the queer dating pool at my high school was pretty limited, so I decided to give it a try.

It wasn’t until I was a few weeks away from leaving for college that I got brave enough to go on my first Tinder date. It went horribly, we were not at all compatible (plus he showed up almost an hour late, said he would buy me coffee, but didn’t, and talked my ear off for two hours without me getting a word in edgewise). Despite that, I swiped on.

Tinder has a reputation for being a hookup app, an app people can use to find a quick date or a one night stand. While yes, some people do use it for that, a survey of 1,000 Americans done by Simple Texting found 52% of Tinder users surveyed said they never had a one night stand. From that same survey, almost 14% of those surveyed said they were engaged/married to someone they met on Tinder. Despite public opinion, the facts are there: Tinder is a viable way of meeting a long term partner.

Flash forward to my sophomore year of college. One lonely night I’m swiping through Tinder, only half paying attention, when a cute guy catches my eye. I open his profile and see that his chosen anthem is “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman (one of my all-time favorite songs!). I swipe right, and we immediately match, so I shoot him a message. Flash forward again, another two years, to October 2019. We’re now engaged and counting down to our wedding day that is in less than 7 months. We live together, we recently added a puppy to our family, and we have Tinder to thank for bringing us together.

One might assume my Tinder love story is an exception to the rule, and not the standard. Perhaps it is (though we are the second couple that I know in real life who met on Tinder and are getting married). However, according to the Pew Research Center, as of 2016 5% of Americans who are in a married or committed relationship said they met online. That is not an insignificant number of people! If you’ve been considering giving online dating a try, or getting back into it, consider this your sign- perhaps you can become just another Tinderella story.

 

 

 

Moonstruck: A Howling Good Comic

By Elise Wantling

Are you a fan of girls, gays, or ghouls? If you answered yes to any of those, you are going to love Moonstruck by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle. This is one of the most recent projects of author Grace Ellis, who is also the author of the popular comic Lumberjanes. The comic stars Julie, a chubby, shy Latina werewolf who lives in a small college town called Blitheton, where she is a barista at a coffee shop. She works with her best friend Chet, a nonbinary centaur who is dashingly handsome and fabulously flamboyant. Julie is dating Selena, a fellow werewolf who is black, on the chubbier side, and full of confidence. There is also a full cast of side characters, monsters and humans alike, representing different races, body types, and species.

Currently there are two published collections of comics, Moonstruck Volume 1: Magic to Brew and Volume 2: Some Enchanted Evening. Volume 1 follows the gang as they struggle to find and battle a magician who steals Chet’s magic at a free community magic show. Chet deals with an identity crisis, as he doesn’t know who he is if he isn’t a monster anymore.

While Julie and Selena are hot on the case, things also heat up between them, and eventually boil over. They also get some help from their friend Cass, who helps them put victory in sight. In Volume 2 the gang rescues their friends Lindi, Ronnie, and Mark from some serious trouble. They also manage to get themselves into the middle of a rivalry between the fairy sorority and fraternity. Julie and Selena have some relationship trouble when Selena finds out that Julie is keeping secrets. Mark is also keeping a secret, which is accidentally revealed!

The comic has a diverse cast of characters, both main and background. I really appreciate the representation of a variety of races, genders, body types and sexualities. While Julie is a bit on the shyer and more timid side, she is still a strong female character. There is also positive representation of a healthy woman/woman romantic relationship that is not hyper sexualized or used as a joke. Chet and their love interest are also taken seriously and display a healthy (and super cute!) relationship. It is refreshing to see a comic with a truly diverse cast of characters, and not the usual formula of “all cisgender, heterosexual, thin, white people + one or two characters who break that mold”. The comic simply reflects the realities of the world, which is that people come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and sexualities.

The comics are full color and beautifully illustrated. Each panel is a work of art unto itself and I personally adore the art style and character designs. It is easy to tell what is happening in every panel and not at all difficult to follow the storyline. Whether you’re a lover of strong women in media, cute art, the supernatural, or LGBTQ fiction, there is something in Moonstruck for everyone. I would recommend them for ages middle school and up, but they definitely appeal to the young adult as well as the adult crowd. Moonstruck tells simple, pleasing stories in a way that is easy on the eye. Volume 3 comes out February 11th, 2020, and I am counting down the days!

 

LGBTQIA Pride Month Lecture featuring Angelica Ross

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by Thea Voutiritsas

Join us Wednesday, April 12th at 6pm in the UMKC Pierson Auditorium for the LGBTQIA Pride Month Lecture featuring Angelica Ross!  Miss Ross is a leading figure of success and strength in the movement for trans and racial equality. She is the founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, a company that empowers trans and gender nonconforming people through on-the-job training in leadership and workplace skills. TransTech helps people lift themselves out of poverty and brings economic empowerment to marginalized communities. She was awarded the 2016 Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award for her work. She is also played a breakout role as Paige in the Emmy nominated 2015 film Her Story, which provides a look at the successful women who have been overturning conventions in their surroundings.

This lecture is free of charge. RSVP at http://umkclgbtqia.eventbrite.com

Cosponsored in partnership with the Division of Diversity & Inclusion; UMKC Women’s Center; UMKC Multicultural Student Affairs; UMKC LGBTQUIA Programs and Services; UMKC Pride Alliance; UMKC LGBTQIA Affairs Council; UMKC Trans+

The Fetishization of Lesbians and Bisexual Women

by Morgan Paul

            Recently I’ve seen a lot of blogs/arguments/articles saying that lesbians and bisexual women are more accepted than the rest of the queer community, but clearly these are not written by queer women. I find it crucial that we first separate acceptance from fetishization. Their sexuality is not accepted, they are instead seen as objects that are simply putting on a show for the enjoyment of those watching (specifically straight men). Fetishization reduces these women to things that are only wanted for consumption by a privileged group. Of course when I’m talking about lesbians I’m focusing on femme lesbians. Most straight men have no interest in watching masculine women; those are the “real lesbians”.

Image from Creative Commons Search

Image from Creative Commons Search

Femme lesbians on the other hand are seen as a challenge for men to “convert”. I’ve heard many men say things like “She just hasn’t had the good D” or “She’s never even been with a man”. To this I always ask if they’ve been with a man and the men get very defensive and tell me that they don’t need to try it because they know they’re straight. (It’s actually really funny to see how defensive a man gets when he feels like his masculinity is being challenged.)

This illustrates how they don’t see these women as human beings capable of making their own decisions but instead as helpless creatures that need to be taught. And what about the way that femme lesbians and bi-sexual women are ignored within the queer community? I’ve been told by many people that because I’m in a heterosexual relationship then I’m straight; they obviously don’t understand sexuality…at all. Because a woman doesn’t look like the stereotype of a lesbian woman does not mean that she’s any less gay, and if a woman likes men and women, she’s not any less queer. Stop telling people what they “really” are, they’re people and they shouldn’t have to take your shit.

Let’s Break the Gender Stereotypes about Women in Sports

By Torshawna Griffin

Image from Creative Commons.

Image from Creative Commons.

Two athletes, both African American, both going through the same situation. The difference is that the media took one athlete’s “moment” and shrugged it off, but made a story of the other. Britney Griner was a first draft pick for the WNBA and currently plays for the Phoenix Mercury. In April of 2013, she openly came out about her sexuality. Why you didn’t hear about this? Well, because the Sports Association and media both shrugged it off due to the stereotype, “Female athletes are lesbians” (Complex Sports 2013). Why is this the gender stereotype of females in sports in America? Because female athletes are portrayed to be masculine, pushing everyone to believe that they must be lesbians if they are “manly”.

While on the other hand, Michael Sam, a college male athlete that is going into the NFL draft, has received more publicity for this same personal landmark.  Michael Sam attends Mizzou and is currently pursuing a career in the NFL.  He openly came out and told the world that he was gay. Media has spun a controversy of whether his sexual orientation will out shine his talents. Michael’s agent has said that he does not think his decision to acknowledge his sexual orientation will hurt his draft prospects (Palm Beach Post 2014), while the media and a few NFL executives think otherwise. “I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” a personnel assistant told New Republic Magazine. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this time it’s still a man’s-man game.” What does that mean, a man’s-man game? Is he any less of a man because he likes other men?

Which brings the subject, why women are automatically lesbians for being an athlete and why are men criticized for being anything out of the status quo of masculinity. It should not matter whether Britney or Michael are gay. The thing that should draw the media to them is the fact that they both shine tremendously in their sport. We fight for gender equality every day. Gender roles should not exist because a woman can do anything that she puts her mind to, just a like a man can do anything he puts his mind to. Had the media not made a “story” of this young man’s courage, maybe he would not have plummeted 70 points in the CBS NFL draft board (since has regained 50 of those points). The media should be focusing on positive aspects of both these athletes’ lives. Instead of blasting Michael’s sexuality, Britney should have been congratulated for being the first openly gay athlete to sign an endorsement with Nike.

We Need to Fight Gender Violence

By Torshawna Griffin

poly-symbol-2Wednesday night was the Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony at UMKC. Although I did not attend, I still mourn with the family and friends of people who had lost their loved ones to senseless violence against transgender people. In my opinion, being transgender is not a choice, but more of a development at birth. Just like a child knows what foods they like and don’t like at a young age, I feel that they can know whether they identify more with a girl or a boy. How does a child wanting to identify as a different gender than what he or she is physically differ from a girl running around saying that she is a tomboy? It does, a tomboy is a girl who likes to dress more like the boys, it does not mean that she is gay or bisexual; it just means that she identifies with a male more than women. Think about girls who play basketball and want to play ball as hard as the boys; why are they not looked at different when they say they want to play ball like the boys? This brings me back to Laverne Cox’s story about her first counseling appointment. She was asked, “What is the difference between a boy and a girl?” She responded, “There is no difference.” In today’s society, girls can cut their hair off and boys can grow hair. Males even wear pink. So once again, I question what the difference is.

Two to 5% of the population is said to be transgender. In a survey done in 1999, 20% of all murders were targeted for transgender people and about 40% of all police-initiated violence was targeted towards transgender people. So, you can only imagine what the numbers have changed to. What troubles me the most is that they are treated like this due to the ignorance of other people? My mother always taught me that if you know better than you do better. If people only knew what people who identify as transgender feel like, being trapped in a body that they don’t identify with. Imagine that you are somewhere that you feel uncomfortable with, that is the same discomfort, I’m sure, that transgender people feel every day.

What troubles me more is for the fact that recently a transgender woman was beaten to death in front of a precinct in Harlem and no one came out to help; however, the police around the Harlem area were riding on their routine patrols.  People of America, we need to become aware of issues before we judge. You pursue your happiness, so why can’t everyone else pursue theirs?

Show your support for ending gender violence by getting involved in 16 Days of Activism, beginning on Monday.

Movie Screening


Don’t miss ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ Friday the 18th, at 6pm in the Student Union Theater. This event is sponsored by UMKC LGBTQIA Programs and Services and is to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance which is November 20th. This will be an awesome event and something you definitely don’t want to miss!