WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by David Watkins 04.28.2015 126 days ago
at 04:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Queer City Spotlight: The Jenner Interview

Local LGBTQ news and views

Disclaimer: Although Jenner gave ABC, some news outlets and Jenner’s family permission to use "he," "him" and "his" pronouns until people become comfortable with the change, I am using gender neutral pronouns "they," "them" and "their "and dropping Jenner’s first name out of respect to an individual that has dealt being misgendered for a large portion of their life. Jenner also has not released their preferred name. The black and white photo showed what appeared to be a twentysomething with a shaggy bowl-cut. The person was smiling, mouth open, revealing his probably perfect pearly whites as he looked off camera. Who is he looking at? Is he in mid-laugh or mid-sentence? What made the old photo interesting, despite it being posted on Instagram by Kylie Jenner in the first place, was how the person’s chiseled muscles and hairy abs contrasted with the tight clothes that concealed body parts our society likes to label “vulgar” and “inappropriate”. The last place I looked was in the eyes. I had noticed they were looking away, but I never really looked in their eyes and tried to read them. The eyes in the photograph read as distant, unfocused, not fully engaged. Was I just looking at it in a different light because my prior knowledge and context changed? The Instagram post read, “daddy throwback. #Tonight #DianeSawyer #ABC #love”. I had a lot of positive and negative anxiety about the Bruce Jenner Interview with Diane Sawyer. My two biggest passions — the queer rights movement and popular culture — were center stage, about to sing a dynamic duet under a hot spotlight. The iconic event would change my view on the direction of the trans* movement, how I view the Kardashian family — a guilty pleasure turned complete obsession, especially with Kim K. — and how the public views a community they have little knowledge about. Waiting for the interview to start, I was clueless as to what was in store. I only knew the duration of the interview and sneak peeks I viewed online. While I was confident I knew Jenner’s announcement after viewing the illegal paparazzi shots published by the New York Daily News of Jenner in a dress, I refused to give into the stereotypes I made based on photographs. Jenner was the only reliable source. I did not think it was a public relations scheme to promote a new reality show, but I wondered how it could last two hours. What are we in store for — two hours of ignorance and the same pictures on rotation from the 1976 Summer Olympics? As the interview began and progressed, I was pleasantly surprised with Jenner’s well-informed, genuine responses and the educational presence of the interview. I appreciated the inclusion of newsworthy events from the past couple of years, interviews from other transgender figures and the visual approach the interview took in terms of explaining and comparing terminology. Here are the good and bad moments before, during and after the interview that I found the most interesting:Morning talk show host and personality Wendy Williams has made controversial comments about Jenner for years and received flack again the morning of the interview. Then on Monday, she repeated that Jenner was “deceptive and really fame hungry like the rest of the family.” Here is my take on this: Even if the interview was a publicity stunt (which I do not believe it was), it almost does not matter. It educated a record 17 million people Friday about gender and sexuality. For many viewers, it was their first time hearing specifics about the subject. Jenner’s documentary series — premiering on E! this summer — was not mentioned until the last half-hour of the interview, and according to E! Online, writers will consult with GLAAD, The Kinsey Institute and other Ph.Ds. This makes me think the docu-series will have the same educationally driven tone the interview attained. Diane Sawyer played the part of uninformed mainstream America perfectly as she struggled to grasp the difference between gender identity and sexuality, changing her wording but essentially bringing up the same theme multiple times and asking the same questions about gender identity versus sexuality throughout the interview. I thought it was quite comical in the moment, but in retrospect — if Sawyer was playing the part of “at-home-viewer” — it showed society’s inability to grasp nonbinary ideals and accept an individual’s state of unknowing. Jenner shades the Kardashians. Being the Kardashian fanatic I am, I was shocked to realize 30  minutes went by without even mentioning Kim K! Jenner proved critics wrong in a tasteful, informative program without typical Kardashian sensationalism and not many people on social media noticed the family’s absence — proving Jenner really did have the only real story all along. Gasp! *cries in corner* Kim K is still American royalty to me! Kim K is the most accepting? Khloe is having the hardest time?! Jenner explained that Khloe has experienced a lot of heartache with the loss of her father, Robert Kardashian Sr., at an early age and then alluded to her ex-husband Lamar Odom’s downward spiral toward the end of their marriage. Jenner says Kim, on the other hand, is the easiest to talk to about the transition. One of the lighter moments was when Jenner quoted Kim saying, “Girl, you got to rock it, baby. You got to look good! If you’re doing this, I’m helping you. You’re representing the family. You got to look really good.” Jenner’s four children from his first two marriages — Brandon and Brody, who we occasionally see on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and Burt and Casey (Jenner has another daughter?! Literally, how did I not know this?) displayed unconditional love. It’s always special when former The Hills star Brody Jenner reappears on television, but his brother Brandon had me swooning as he and his man bun sat by Jenner’s side in full support. But where were Kendall and Kylie? When a big televised event is on, social media goes wild with Vines, Tumblr gifs and tweets making fun of highlights from the show. When I scanned social media during commercial breaks, I saw inconsiderate and transphobic content, of course, but positive responses outweighed the negative drastically according to my newsfeeds. Jenner clarified they are not a spokesperson for the transgender community, but mentioned daily struggles the community goes through. “The suicide rates, the murder rates, the difficulty for especially black female women” were issues Jenner shed light on. One of my only complaints is Jenner answering Sawyer’s questions about their political views. We learned from the interview that everyone deserves to live an honest, authentic life. Individuals are entitled to support the political party of their choice. It just bothered me that someone in a newfound position of power to be a role model, which they are and will continue to be, would publically associate with a traditionally anti-queer political party. Jenner lost some clout and credibility I gave them — after an emotional, informative interview — when they said they thought Republicans Mitch McConnell and John Boehner would be receptive to a conversation about trans* rights… Newsweek reached out to both individuals. No comment. Shocker. Jenner’s mom got me choked up again at the end. Eighty-eight-year-old Esther Jenner, who was described as “rather conservative,” sent in a video message from her home to tell Jenner how proud she was. “I was very proud of you when you stood on that podium in Montreal,” she said. “I never thought that I could be more proud of you, but I’m learning I can be.” *chills* After an iconic, progressive and informative two hours spent challenging gender roles and learning about gender identity, Diane Sawyer feels the need to close on a sexist joke made by the Soviet athlete Jenner defeated at the Olympics. He asks, “How could I have lost to a woman?” Really? “I’m saying goodbye to people’s perception of me,” said Jenner. “I’m not saying goodbye to me because this has always been me.” Enough said. Respect. But Jenner was not the only one making national headlines that day. Cincinnati received coverage, but not for anything noteworthy. Senate, a gastropub in OTR that occasionally picks a celebrity or current event as inspiration to name and create the Dog of the Day, featured the “Bruce Jenner 2.0” Friday. The dish, described as “part hot dog part taco,” had a beef frank sliced in half and filled with taco toppings. After experiencing outrage on social media, Senate issued an apology and donated the proceeds to The Heartland Trans Wellness Fund. This whole situation is wrong for multiple reasons. In 2014, transgender folks received an unprecedented amount of media attention. Actress Laverne Cox, model Carmen Carrera and author Janet Mock reestablished how reporters and talk show hosts speak to trans* individuals by speaking out when they felt uncomfortable or triggered in interviews and making it an on-air educational opportunity. One of the main themes in these interviews was America’s fascination with transgender genitalia instead creating conversation about the trans* suicide rate or homeless queer youth. The bottom line was that trans* public figures wanted to be valued for more than what is in their pants. Sexual reassignment surgery is typically the final stage of the transformation, but not required or done by everyone. It is a monumental and hyper-personal moment for individuals that continue on in that journey. The “Bruce Jenner 2.0” was a symbol of how privileged individuals and businesses appropriate minority groups, even for just one day of media buzz, and increased revenue. Senate’s actions were regressive to the strides Cox and others made in regards to how we speak to trans* people. The Jenner interview was unprecedented and a major success for trans* visibility, but it does not change the suicide rate or the fact that seven trans* women of color were murdered the first eight weeks of 2015. Visibility in the media and educating the masses is crucial to the movement, but it must translate to policies and how mainstream society treats transgender people. Jenner is not the first to show public displays of bravery. As the trans* rights movement continues on and we meet new faces, let us not forget the historical events like the Stonewall riots and the unspoken queer heroes that paved the way for Jenner to come out and educate the nation on primetime television. Growing up, you always hear that eyes are windows to the soul. If that is true, why is it the last place we truly look? Why is it so romantic and out of the ordinary when you are on a date and the other person describes your eyes in great detail, as opposed to generalizations like, “You’re beautiful,” and “You look so hot in that”? During Jenner interview, I saw it all in their eyes — the pain, the relief, “her”. I saw it again as they replayed scenes from Keeping Up with the Kardashians. When now-ex-wife Kris made fun of Jenner’s clothing and style, what I perceived as annoyance when I watched the episode years ago I now perceived as hurt and pain in Jenner’s eyes. In the flashback scene of Khloe referring to Jenner as a strong male presence in her life, Jenner looks deep in thought and distant. Context changes a viewer’s perception, and we need to start paying attention. Reflecting back on Kylie’s Instagram photo of a young Jenner, I realized that I had to get past the short jean shorts and cut-off tee to truly see the photograph. You never really know someone’s life or the journeys they are on. Here was the model “masculine figure,” but inside Jenner was filled with emotions and feelings most people cannot begin to understand. Like society’s fascination with what transgender folks have below the waist, we could not see that Jenner had a lot more depth to him that we presumed. Jenner’s closing advice for people was to “have an open mind and have an open heart.” This ideology can be translated to different aspects of our life and the relationships with others, especially those we do not know. Together we are all connected, making up collective humanity. We are one. Watch the full interview with Jenner and Diane Sawyer here.
 
 

The Wanderer

Jessica Lea Mayfield leaves the rootsier material behind on her new album Make My Head Sing …

0 Comments · Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Mayfield’s latest album, Make My Head Sing …, marks a stark departure from her previous efforts in its sonic approach.   

Soul Proprietors

Soul ensemble St. Paul & the Broken Bones make a big splash with their debut album Half the City

0 Comments · Tuesday, September 23, 2014
St. Paul (a sly reference to Janeway’s religious background) & the Broken Bones has found itself in the middle of two new musical trends — the rise of Alabama acts like Alabama Shakes and Muscle Shoals-born John Paul White of Civil Wars, and the revival of American Deep Soul music courtesy of Sharon Jones, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley and others.  

UC’s Whit Babcock Talks Conference Realignment, Crosstown Shootout

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 28, 2012
During the nine days between the Oct. 24 announcement that Whit Babcock had accepted the offer to become the athletic director of the University of Cincinnati and the day he started on Nov. 2, West Virginia became the third Big East member to leave the conference.  

Chris Mack Discusses Xavier’s Struggles, Opportunity

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
As the college basketball season started, many predicted the Xavier Musketeers would finish the season in the Final Four. And that’s still a possibility — but nobody predicted this would be the ride. Winners of their first seven games, including wins at Vanderbilt and Butler, the Musketeers were living up to their billing and were ranked No. 8 in the country.  
by Amy Harris 02.03.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Interview at 12:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Fitz and the Tantrums

Alt/Funk/R&B/Rock crew Fitz and the Tantrums is one of hottest buzz bands in the land right now. The group’s debut record from last year, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseeker chart and its song “Money Grabber” became an activist anthem for the Occupy Wall Street movement across America. CityBeat spoke with frontman Michael Fitzpatrick recently, in advance of the band's show this weekend at the Super Bowl Village in Indy. Fitz and the Tantrums performs tonight at 7 p.m. The show is free. (Click here for details.) 

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by Amy Harris 02.02.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Interview at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Anthrax

Anthrax are innovators of the sound of today’s Hard Rock and Metal landscape. The band recently released its 10th studio album, Worship Music, a return to the band’s early sound thanks to the re-emergence of lead vocalist Joey Belladonna. CityBeat caught up with Belladonna and guitarist Rob Caggiano before their show earlier this week in Louisville at Expo 5 to talk about the direction of the band and what got them to where they are today. Anthrax performs in Cincinnati this Saturday at Bogart's.

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