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Working through #Orlando and The Symbolic Importance of Gay Bars











Yesterday, I woke up to the news “that someone had shot up a gay club in Orlando and there were many injured and killed.” I then went about my morning getting ready to go to a gay family picnic celebration. There would be snowballs, a jumping castle, and lots of games and fun stations set-up for kids to play.  The news hadn’t sunk in yet, and I didn’t look for details. There was some slight talk at the event and I had at least two interactions with folks that they were glad this celebration was taking place at a (and this is my description) “gated” park and reservation were previously made to attend. I like to think the reservations were so those organizing the event would know how many to plan for…but now I wonder. Dont get me wrong these reservations were made weeks ago…but here NOLA we still have closed family FB groups, and operate by rules some of y’all might think are from the days in which social tolerance was much lower.

My initial thoughts regarding Orlando were that this was some serious hate and I was sure it was planned and planned for Pride. The social psychologist in me guessed some perceived threat had likely led to this event. It was only after I had returned home that I started to learn the details and the death toll was rising.

There are so many angles and lessons to learn from this event, but for me I felt compelled to share my opinions on the symbolic importance of the gay bar to myself and the gay community to my FB friends and family. No doubt there would be a back lash coming that would judge the gay bar and blaming the victims–based on sexual orientation, lifestyle, and even just being at a bar.  The post lead to many responses to me personally via messages, texts, and also shares and from friends I haven’t spoken to in years. As such, I thought maybe I should share it here too with a few minor edits:

My post was spurred by these two tweets from Jeramey Kraatz:





I don’t usually write this sort of thing..esp on FB but…I feel compelled to comment today.

I tried to find a link to the gay night club mass shooting that wasn’t linked with terrorism but in any case, I really just wanted to make note of a couple sentiments that I think make this particularly impactful for the lgbt community including but not limited to the fact that this took place during Pride month and at a bar.

For many gay bars were and are, even though we love to make fun of them or dismiss them within the community or rarely go to them, the most accessible safe spaces for us. They have academically been compared to churches for the LGBT community–and just knowing they are there is powerful. Having access to safe spaces, and then not, or to now to be scared, because something has happened in your “house”…and during your holiday or time of celebration. I have gone years not really celebrating Pride, but on a day like this you realize why it is there and why we do it and why it is important.

Growing up a sexual minority means you were most likely raised by the majority script this means you likely weren’t taught the skills, or coping mechanisms to deal with your sexuality and most definitely homophobia while you were growing up or from your family. And, living in fear that those you love the most may not understand. Moreover, you go from one day being what you thought of as “typical” and having unrecognized privileges to coming out and in the next moments many of those things are wiped away. To then have to re-frame expectations for yourself and what you can do and what is…just because of a few words you said out loud. And, I am not even going to get into dealing with changes in relationships–friends, family, coworkers, whatever.

I had an amazing coming out and was so lucky that I didn’t lose those I cared about, but til this day I can say I also never came out to 2 people that I loved deeply because of that fear. Maybe I will tell my friend now since I am sure she knows as we are Facebook friends although we never speak of it. The other was my grandmother who is no longer with us…but I am pretty sure she knows.

Mural at Mary's


Some recommended reads and viewing:

The Long, Tragic History of Violence at LGBTQ Bars and Clubs in America

The Upstairs Lounge Fire: The Little Known Story of the Largest Killing of Gays in US History

Documentary: Small Town Gay Bar (2006)

Documentary: Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria (2005)

Documentary: Stonewall Upraising (2010)

A Feel Good Movie for Pride: Pride (2014)





Finals Tips for Warrior Week

By Tristen Kade

BraceFinalsMemeIt’s that time of the year again! You just got back from Thanksgiving break and suddenly realized that there are only a couple of weeks left in the semester. Upon your return to campus, you may find your self freaking out and wondering where all of those “tomorrows” went while you procrastinated. We end up kicking ourselves because if we would have *only* started that literature review or final project instead of *just* watching one more Netflix Original season, we wouldn’t be hyperventilating and continuously pacing the library in search of relevant citations right now. But fear not, even though we put off these projects or only worked on them sporadically throughout the semester, we can still finish strong… ish. Unfortunately, I cannot provide you with the magic secret of getting stuff done in a short amount of time. Yet, what I can do is give you some advice on maintaining self-care during the anxiety-driven warrior week.

Over the years my advisor has provided me with self-care tips to avoid sleep deprivation crashing and how to not expose your immune system to the stress induced from warrior week. As a second year graduate student who has experienced this week at least 10 times, I can safely say that these tips are helpful. Without further procrastination, here are the tips:

Dr. C's Self-Care Boot Camp For those of us who are not fully ready to get back to work, fear not. I have two more list to show you. This next list has applications of self-care from a social psychological perspective, along with random suggestions of what my advisor would tell me to do (or not to do). I suggest doing a few things on this list once you have completed a task.

Soc Psyc Self Care JazzIt is important for us to acknowledge the completion of our small tasks that lay the foundation for the overall bigger task to take place (aka the final paper and/or project). Show yourself appreciation for each task you have finished, whether it be something small (such as an amazing sentence or coming up with a witty title) or the larger tasks(like turning in the 25 page term paper).

Immediate Anxiety Reduction

Lastly, I want to provide you with a list that will help reduce the anxiety you may experience during warrior week.

Alright, I have procrastinated too much now — but doing something fun and productive — as such I must get back to write. I hope these tips will be handy for you during crunch time. The important message is that we are more efficient when we take care of ourselves. In doing so, we will perform our best during the pressures of warrior week.

Graduate Students and ECR’s going to ASA

If your going to ASA give this panel a check out:
Professional Development Workshop: ASA Editors Offer Insights and Advice on Writing and Submitting Articles

Description: ASA editors from a variety of ASA journals will provide insights and advice on publishing in scholarly journals, including preparing manuscripts for submission, selecting a journal, responding to revise and resubmit decisions, and deciding what to do if your paper is rejected. The workshop will provide opportunity for audience members to ask the editors questions about publishing.

Saturday, Aug 18, 10:30am-12:10pm

David Bills, editor, Sociology of Education
Karen Hegtvedt, editor, Social Psychology Quarterly
Tim Liao, editor, Sociological Methodology
Holly McCammon, editor, American Sociological Review
Debra Umberson, editor, Journal of Health and Social Behavior

Latest Not-So-Much News.

Today’s blog is about how sometimes you have no measurable output for the past week of work you have done. I have attended numerous meetings-faculty and student meetings, and done a ton of organizational things. Yet, there is nothing to really show for it except a messy date book (yes I still use a datebook) and an empty feeling in my un-tenured stomach. It’s also a rainy day here in NOLA which adds to the mood. On the positive front, the grad students seem to be progressing nicely and most everyone is excited about Mardi Gras and/or their current research agendas. I also know I have done a lot to make others feel good about their work and productivity.  All of which is actually very important and should be the primary focus–especially during a week that has been quite hectic with long hours, and otherwise seemingly unproductive.  Here is where I wish I had a great quote to cite–you know one of those ones that could go on an inspirational poster or is said by someone everyone loves.  Something to the effect of  “Sometimes you are most productive when you are unproductive!”  Quick someone get me a picture of Ryan Gosling or some cute kittens photo-shop this on to and spread around the internet.   #italwaystakespatienceperseveranceandhumor