We are now living in a world that is transcending beyond the former understanding that Sexuality and Gender identity are purely binary. Now, we live in a world where Sex and Gender lie on a far more complex spectrum than in the past. To many, their Sexual and Gender identity holds a pivotal role in shaping who they are. However, many struggle with their Sexual and Gender Identity at some point in their lives, including those we love. Contrary to what many of us may understand, Sex and Gender is not binary. Our biological sex is what chromosomes, hormones, genes, sex organs, and secondary sex characteristics we have, whereas our gender refers to how we think of our identity in the context of how norms function in our culture. Yet just like how gender falls within a more complex spectrum, our biology isn’t binary either. Students are often inaccurately taught that all babies inherit either XX or XY sex chromosomes and that having XX chromosomes makes you female, while XY makes you male. In reality, people can have XXY, XYY, X, XXX, or other combinations of chromosomes — all of which can result in a variety of sex characteristics. People with intersex traits can usually identify themselves as either Male, Female, or Intersex.
Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid. These are all classic stories that were brought to life by the Walt Disney Studios. For almost a century, they have dazzled audiences old and young with these tales of fantasy. But what do they all have in common? Their stories are centered on thin white beauties. This is not to claim there is an issue with that, but when you look at the expanseous vault of Disney movies, you can easily deduce that characters of color are painfully absent.
The cultural influences of the African American community have not only shaped American culture, but rather the entire world; with influences ranging from fashion, the arts, to even agriculture, African Americans rarely receive recognition for their contributions that are all stored in the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In what is known to be a ‘universal language’ that unites individuals of all demographics, music has historically been a symbol of hope and integrity for African Americans. From what began as a way to bond with fellow slaves while easing the drudgery of their lives, music has flourished into a pivotal component of America’s overall cultural heritage. Their dance tunes, religious music, and hip hop influences makes it nearly impossible to envision America without African American influence.
Black History Month started at a Chicago festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved people. Carter Woodson observed this festival, and opened up a Black history booth during the 3 week duration of the celebration. Soon after the festival ended, he decided to form the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (Now changed to Association for the Study of African American Life and History).
In a fiery spoken-word piece performed by Joy Buolamwini, she asks artificial intelligence a simple question: “Often forgetting to deal with// Gender, race, and class, again I ask Ain’t I a Woman?” This sentiment rings true as visuals play of multiple high profile black women, such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Serena Williams, being misidentified by various facial recognition software. The AI jumps to the conclusion that they are all men. This situation is evidence of underlying racial bias, and it’s not an isolated incident; racial bias is persistent in AI.
WRITTEN BY: Lucy Damachi
Gen-Z is a generation that is utterly obsessed with our phones and screens. We are a part of a generation that was born into the unknown and pushed into the abyss of the internet. Our developing years were spent having to choose between living in the moment and getting lost in our technology. We turned out fine though, right?
From his days on Harlem Shake to holding records on the Billboard, Joji has swept the world with his heartfelt lyrics and irresistible beats in just the past few years. Joji has now become an inspiration for young Asian-Americans around the globe. Born in Osaka, his Japanese background shines as a token of hope and pride for young AAPI youth. Underneath the company, 88rising, with fellow artists such as Niki, Rich Brian, and Stephanie Poetri, Joji has helped make a name for Asians in the mainstream music industry. His greatest feat came with his album, Ballads 1, when he became the first AAPI artist to claim the #1 title on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
4.5% of adults in the US identify as LGBTQIA+ as of 2017. 39% of those people suffer from mental health issues – that is 5.8 million people. It is really important to know that identifying as LGBTQIA+ is NOT a mental illness or disorder. Everyone has a sexual orientation and gender identity. People who identify differently than the majority of the population fall under the term LGBTQIA+. Although being LGBTQIA+ is absolutely not a mental illness, more LGBTQIA+ people experience mental health problems than their “straight” counterparts. This is mostly due to the shame, fear, discimination, and traumatic events they have to face due to how they identify. Discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. Many people who identify as LGBTQIA+ are also part of other marginalized communities. This adds the potential for xenophobia, racism, ableism, ageism, sexism, and much more to homophobia or transphobia they already have to face.
Video games have been around since 1958, and as the years go by with improved technology, playing video games has become a very popular hobby or leisure activity amongst everybody, no matter the age or generation. As of October 2020, there have been 3.07 billion active video gamers worldwide on many different platforms such as computers, consoles, mobile phones, TVs and others.
Social movements are increasingly realizing the importance of intersectionality – the understanding that every person’s different identities (their race, gender, class, sexuality, etc.) work together to define their unique experience in society. Until the importance of intersectionality was acknowledged, activists believed that a win for a marginalized group meant a win for everyone in that group, regardless of their other identities that might work against them gaining equal benefits. However, despite increasingly intersectional discourse, even current social movements fail to include all identities successfully.
WRITTEN BY: Elisabeth Mahilini Hoole