Category Archives: Society

To Say You Were Born Gay

Weird. I was trying to research something I thought about earlier while participating in a communications study, and somehow ended up reading this article about being gay. I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the whole thing. If you had been in class all day, doing research, AND participating in a study, you probably wouldn’t be up for much reading either. The article did spark something in mind that I hadn’t thought about for a while.

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Has Technology Changed Our Culture?

Today in one of my seminars, this question came up. To my surprise (and my professor’s, I’m sure), there were people who sincerely (and stubbornly) believed that there’s no way technology could ever change a culture. One of them said that culture changes technology (Guy). Another said that it was a “dynamic relationship” (Girl). And the others didn’t even have arguments worth remembering.

The class turned into a mini-debate on the subject. Guy made the argument that we are the same people, we just use different tools. Girl somewhat supported his argument, but added a little example. “Think about back in the day when people ate berries. One of them finally figured out that they could use a stone as a weapon and kill that animal. And now they ate animals!” This was her way of showing that culture and technology interacted with each other, but had no effect on each other. About three classmates and myself sided with the idea that technology can DEFINITELY change a culture. So after Girl’s argument, I said: “you just proved our point.”

I then offered my counterargument. After listening to their flawed arguments, it was clear to me that they were throwing around the term “technology” without having a concise idea of what it meant. I explained to them that technology isn’t just something digital- but that the term included other things. A bottle, for example, is a technology- because it helps us carry and conserve water. Then, I tackled why Girl’s argument was actually evidence supporting my own argument. The people (from back in the day) were now meat eaters. This involved so many different changes including how they gathered, cooked, and ate their meals. AND how eating meat would affect their bodies. This technology, in this case the stone used as a weapon, definitely changed a culture (think of hunter-gatherers becoming farmers!).

The most interesting thing of all is that Guy and Girl still would not agree with what I explained above. They were short of saying that it made no sense. But I think their ulterior motive was that admitting you were wrong about something is not easy for some to do. I do admit though, that we are all ENTITLED to have a different opinion. So if they really want to stand and say that technology does not inflict change, then be ready to look extremely uneducated. I mean, you’re UCLA students, be proud to show off your education.

Now I turn this back to you. What do you think? Can technology change a culture?

-MTO


Bus Rides to Different Worlds

I don’t know how much you know about UCLA… other than the fact that our football team still sucks. Despite the fact that this isn’t our brightest hour (see: Education cuts in California), there are some things that still amaze me about this school.

UCLA is indeed a multicultural school. If you walk on campus on any given day, you will probably hear at least three different languages spoken- and after 10 steps in any direction, you may have probably crossed the paths of at least two students that come from a very different place than yours.

Sometimes, when my wife’s break from class and my lunch break from work coincide, and when I’m more than happy to give up my lunch readings to see her, I take the University Shuttle to campus and meet her at the cafeteria behind the law school. Since she only gets thirty minutes, we eat quickly, but I treasure every minute as if it were an hour. Once our meal is over I hurry back to the bus stop. And then I wait impatiently for the shuttle, as I alternate looking at my watch and the corner where the shuttle turns my way.

Once in the bus, a ride to different worlds begin. Last week’s in particular, there were three groups around me. I sat right next to the back exit, because unlike most of the people around me, my trip wasn’t as long. There were two girls sitting across from me. They were speaking Russian. I had heard my wife enough to know which language, but not enough to know what they were saying. They caught me staring, and I smiled shyly, wishing I could have asked where they came from and what classes they were taking.

The guys in front of me, three of them, were speaking French. They were talking about the beach, I knew that much- “Plage.” But their words were too quick for my slow brain, and I couldn’t ever catch more than a word or two- but never full sentences.

A couple behind me, speaking Japanese, seemed to be arguing about something. I didn’t catch anything they said because I have never had any contact with the language… Perhaps something I could correct in the future. Whatever it was, he talked more than she did. Before I knew it, my stop was sneaking upon me.

I stepped outside the bus and I thought of all these people I’ll never meet. I’ll never know their stories, or their classes- yet we were still sharing a ride, a space together, for about 15 minutes…

-MTO


It’s All About the World

I used to hear stories about how you should be nice to others because everything affects everyone. None of that made more sense until today.

Truth is that there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world that isn’t right, and we do little about it. Why? Usually because we’re not aware of it. But what happens when we do become aware? I’ve been feeling so guilty about food and resource waste that though I’m very thirsty right now, I can’t bring myself to buy a bottle of water. “That won’t last long” you may say, and you may be right, but I truly hope you’re not.

Growing up, when my grandma wanted to coerce me to eat ALL my food, she’d say something like “there are children who don’t even eat in one day half of what you’re eating right now. They were pretty good in guilting me to eat. But how about teaching me or giving me resources to help those who don’t eat in a day half of what I’m eating right now?

I still remember when my mother, in her ignorance, asked me why I do community service (her question was: why are you working for free?). Sure I’m broke, and sure she’s worse, but it’ll never kill anyone to provide some help to others, instead of say… watching TV. Those habits have changed, I will admit, but it is because I am currently more overworked than I was before and all the little free time I have goes to some rest (which is truly less than 4 hours of sleep each night).

But back to the original problem- what to do now? People are hungry, women get raped (children do too), people live without civil liberties, people can’t afford a car, or a laptop- heck, that was me not too long ago! So how CAN we fix the world? I don’t know- or at least not yet. Yes, we all ponder on this question. But this is particularly important today because I can’t bring myself to buy a bottle of water.

Confused,

-MTO


Soccer and Books

The Women’s World Cup is on and Germany and Japan are playing a scoreless game so far. Because Germany is the host nation, they have a lot of pressure to make it as far as possible in the cup. Japan on the other hand, is working with a shorter team, but their defense has been pretty impressive so far.

I made cheese blintzes for breakfast, and coffee, of course. The Mrs. is working from home and I am working on my research project. I barely started an hour ago, but it feels like an eternity already. Not because I’m bored, but because it’s such a pretty day outside and I won’t get to enjoy it. So I figured I could come and blog and spread my word to the world, and maybe that would feel a little bit like I’m out and about somewhere.

I stumbled upon a Wikipedia page of The 100 Best Books of All Time. I have barely read 3 on the list and I’ve been on the middle of another one for the longest time. Though I find myself with little or no time for pleasure reading, I think this might be a good list to start with. If you have a moment to check it out, do you think is a good list? How many have you read? Which one you recommend I read first?

-MTO


The Kids Are All Right: And so is the Family

When I first saw the trailer of the movie “The Kids are All Right” which is opening on July 23rd, I must admit that my feelings were mixed about what this movie would mean to the gay community as a whole. I haven’t seen the movie yet but after finding the following comment to a discussion about the movie in the New York Times, my feelings are now a little more defined:

2.
rimantas
baltimore, md
July 21st, 2010 10:21 pm
Gay families? What’s a gay family?
Hollywood may deal in fantasy, but in the
real world the only real family is man, wife
and children, the children conceived and
nurtured by male father and female mother.
The gay part is merely a diversion, not
applicable to real life. Movies about gay
families are merel illusion.

Prior to meeting my wife, I had little knowledge about what I could expect in life from being a lesbian. At one point I even started to believe the people who would tell me that I’d end up alone- I mean, it makes sense; being gay is just a phase anyway, right?* But then I met my wife’s aunts- Yep, as in two lesbians who are committed to each other.

They have been married (got married in Canada) over 20 years ago and have a 12 year-old son. They are the most functional family I have ever met. Yes they have problems like all of us, but they’re my role models. I can only wish to be half as good to my wife as they are to each other.

They are stable- something that I’m sure my divorced parents would envy for life. But they’re not great because they’re lesbians, they’re great because they LOVE each other. I’m not making a case for lesbian families here, I’m making a case for a family. Same-sex couples are not the reason why families are being destroyed- It’s people in general why this happen. People that marry someone for money, or looks, or other situation other than love, respect and committment.

This movie disappoints me, but I’ll still go see it Sunday night to make sure my feelings are justified. I just wish Hollywood had something better to say about us than that we are desperately wanting to meet our child’s donor so we can cheat on our partners. It just saddens me. We deserve better than that.

As far as “Rimantas” goes, I wonder if he’s ever heard of single-parent families… but I guess since there isn’t a man (or woman, whatever the case) in that picture, then it’s definitely not a family.

*My mom told me that this was just a phase in 2006. I told her she was wrong. I hope she’s no longer waiting for the phase to be over.


I Too Give A Damn!

Spreading the word!

Not too long ago I ran into the Give A Damn Campaign website. From their site, “The Give a Damn Campaign is for everybody who cares about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.”

This website has all sorts of resources from information and videos to personal stories from people that have a reason to fight for equality.

Please take a moment to check it out and join if you too give a damn.


Not A Lifestyle Choice

The common myth that being gay is a lifestyle choice is just that, a myth. During the first year after I was outted to my mother, she told me once during a phone conversation that all I needed “was to have sex with a man to know that my liking for women was just in my head and not real at all.” Because she was older and more experienced to my eyes, and I was just an 18 year-old that didn’t know what was best for me, I decided to give it a try.

He was a really nice guy. We did date for a bit and I did like him. I didn’t think I liked him the way I had liked women at that point, but I knew that if I had to go for the extreme measure in order to “fix what was wrong with me,” then he would be the guy.

Up until today, I still wish with all my heart that I had never gone through that experience. It simply didn’t feel right. I know people have told me it’s supposed to feel “natural” but it didn’t. Not for one moment. I was very disturbed afterward. At least for a little while.

I still don’t understand the logic behind people’s obsession over other people’s lives. I don’t have a girlfriend to upset anyone, I have a girlfriend because I love her. Because with her, it actually feels “natural.” The easiest way for me to look at it is that if you’re a straight man/woman, the idea of loving another man/woman as a partner is nonsensical- the same is for me when thinking of being with a man.

Perhaps I do have the choice to be with my girlfriend, but I didn’t choose to fall in love with her. And if you really think it’s a crime/sin to choose love, then be my guest- “Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.” Kahlil Gibran.


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