A California student confessed microaggressions she had perpetrated on the LGBTQ community for her capstone project published Friday.
California State University, Monterey Bay student Erika A. Perez Montes, who identifies as “queer,” published the 22-page paper, entitled “Microaggressions within the LGBTQ+ Community: An Autoethnography,” as her senior capstone project for her human communication major with a practical and professional ethics emphasis.
“The oppressed can become the oppressors,” Montes said in her project proposal. “My expectations are to identify artifacts were [sic] I have committed microaggressions in the LGBTQ+ community. This would include Facebook posts, past memories, and experiences. I will also be journaling [sic] to reflect on these artifacts and why it was [sic] a microaggression towards the LGBTQ+ community.”
The student proceeds to divide microaggressions into three separate types: microinvalidations, which are unconscious, microassaults, which are deliberate, and microinsults.
Montes’ first reflection consists of an occasion when she took a picture of her friend’s “goofy” smile and posted it to Facebook with the caption “haha, look at this f**gots weird ass smile xD.”
“At the time I did not think anything of it. I can also recall that I said the word ‘f**got’ a lot as a term of endearment, even though now I don’t think there’s anything endearing about it,” the student said, analyzing the incident. “A lot my ‘friends’ at the time said that word and somehow I adopted it. I can’t say that word without doing a big gulp before I say it or even type it now.”
Montes proceeded to scrutinize a time when she posted a picture of a drag queen to Facebook with the caption “sHE is tripping.” (RELATED: Feminist Scholar Analyzes History Of Pelicans And ‘Racialized, Sexual Violence’)
“Looking back at it this was an unconscious microaggression because I knew they were male bodied and did drag, but I didn’t know if they identified as a woman or man,” the student wrote. “It wasn’t within my right to say what they did or didn’t identify as.”
In Montes’ third and final example, she recounts seeing an LGBTQ+ table at a CSU open house she attended with her girlfriend. Her girlfriend asked Montes if she wanted to “make friends with the other gays,” to which Montes responded “heck no.”
“While I was out to my friends in San Jose I did not see myself as that type of gay, who’s too gay,” the student reflected in her scholarly paper. “By that type of gay I mean someone who is out and screams gay. I remember avoiding that table during the open house. Over the semesters of being here at CSUMB I have learned that there is not right way of being gay and I have also learned that people now, since I am part of PRIDE Club here at CSUMB, might see me as someone who screams gay.”
The student used the “Discussion” portion of her paper to comment on how she perceived others as “too queer” or “not queer enough,” noting that she looks “stereotypically queer” because of her short hair and masculine dress.
“I hope that readers can read my autoethnography empathetically and for those readers who are queer to be able to understand that we cannot not blame ourselves entirely for experiencing hatred within ourselves and other queer folks,” she concludes in a reflective essay at the end of the paper.
Montes did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
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