Carly Chiavaroli Jesse Hicks English 202A Behind the Rainbow: Observation at the LGBTA Resource Center If I asked

a student, “What flag represents freedom to you, and what are its colors?”, they would probably say the American Flag, and red, white and blue. For some that might be too mainstream, but I certainly do not expect them to say red, orange, yellow, green, royal blue, and purple. I would not expect them to say the Freedom Flag, the same flags that hang in the windows,on Boucke’s left side, that they probably pass everyday without a second glance. And why would they? The gay people flag”, as I’ve heard it called, doesn’t mean much when you’re straight, when you aren’t hiding your same sex boyfriend/girlfriend from your family, or wake up a woman in a man’s body or vice versa. My research, then, is dedicated to the LGBT people, and the straight allies who see more than a rainbow hanging in a window. The Freedom Flags hang the windows of the LGBTA (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender and Ally) Resource Center, are a welcome sight against the austere brick of Boucke. The bright colors lift my previously foul mood, left over from mathematical frustration. These observations begin from my second visit to the center. I enter Boucke, following the dim, dingy hallway about halfway until I reach the entrance of the center The center is flanked by a glass display case and a magazine rack. I pause here to look at the photos of grinning, LGBTA youth, proudly displaying their banners. A flashy add on the rack, entices gay couples to vacation in Key West. Chuckling at the vacationers mugging for the camera, I slip the add into my bag and open the door. I am promptly greeted by a conga line of two; a familiar center worker named Bryan, and a laughing, dark skinned youth I’ve never seen before. The

I feel like I can breathe. a pacific blue polo shit (“non. and signs the one I present to him. dark. bright place where the world is quiet. I also attribute this to my desire to join Bryan. and the mystery boy in their dancing. and the last of my moodiness evaporates. For a moment I contemplate joining them. and dark eyes. exuding a mothery warmth as she shakes my hand. An extensive movie. She is pleased to see me again. Bryan wears wire frameglasses that at present threaten to be flung across the room. I smile as then dance awkwardly towards me. pressed. where “normal” rules are not adhered to. He hair is down this time. and is sporting a corporate causal look today. framing her lined round face. and wraps back around to the check out desk on my right. He’s is tall and lean. kahkis. Bryan rolling his eyes as he’s pushed forward. His hair is best described as dirty blond porcupine quills. slacks. Michael who quickly reviews the contract I obtained during my first visit. I’m always amused by this switch of gender norms. She is wearing another lavender top . and white tennis shoes. . A general observation of the office reveals that the men dress very consciously of appearance.popped collar thank you very much”). a Hawaii native with almond colored skin. As I enter I’m struck by the change in atmosphere. sort of like Michael himself. I’m brought before the Programming Coordinatior. Everything is efficient and effortless. from the almost oppressive quality of the hallway to that of a child’s bedroom. He is dressed impeccably in black. an dbook collection extends down the length on the wall opposite me. Bryan has been tanning. and I feel it adds to the unique atmosphere of this place. coarse hair. with small offices and a study lounge jutting from the center. much at odds with gel stiffened hair. a safe. while the females seem to dress for practicality and comfort. but the center director Jennifer waves me into her office. but his stocky muscular frame has an easy grace about it. and I have yet to see him not wearing a smile. a silk collared shirt and tie and highly polished black dress shoes.hub of the resource center is a long room.

Transgender Men. “The Perfect Packer for Everyday!” the add jubilantly announces. The titles are as colorful as their covers. cursive script. I reverently pick up OP and examine the cover. and was probably sporting a “Perfect Packer” at that very moment! I felt blood rushing to my face. had not always been a boy . Advocate and OP. Curve. Poz Trikone. I quickly turn back to the cover and finally notice. gays. ashamed even. featuring eye poping patterns. Transgender Tapestry. . a woman tricked out in Napoleanic war regalia. The title of this issue is “Schooled” spelled out in a messy cursive scrawl across what appears to be a heavyset African-American punk boy. and drag queens. I feel extrodinarily embarrassed. Clearly punk boy. KT Hara. Myasapo. that I am. probably had to wake up every morning and make sure it was on good and proper before leaving the house.I recognize the LGBTA centric magazine Out nestled among several others I’ve never seen before. written very small under the issue number. Bitch. The covers catch the eye immeadiately. lesbians. people I’d desparately love to talk to:”The Man Who Once Had HIV”. My curiosity beyond piqued. and a feeling of shame and embarrassment swept over me. in fact seeing an add for fake penises. I turn the page and blink several times to make sure. featuring three disembodied penii floating over fancy.

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