Heteronormativity in the portrayal of historical figures

By: Irene Cohen and Ellie Mulvaney

Stigmas have been prevalent in modern society since its creation; limiting those who act or think differently than the status quo. Even now, there are conscious and subconscious prejudices against these people or ideas that taint the way they are perceived.

Homosexuality is one of such stigmas that has been frowned upon or discouraged in many communities, from the past through to present day. There are many figures in American history alone that have been rumored or confirmed as LGBT+, though this is often omitted when their stories are recounted. Let’s look at who some of these people are and why their sexualities were kept under wraps.

To begin, we have a revered poet and author responsible for works such as ​”I Hear America Singing​” and “​Song of Myself”;​ the latter of the two being a mildly controversial poem that sparked intrigue over the topic of sexuality. The University of Illinois reports that this poem contains a certain “Section V”, which contains explicit themes in a setting with another man. He titled the group of works centered around this man ​”Leaves of Grass”,​ and upon its discovery by his employer, this homoerotic poetry cost him his job. He was quickly rehired, but the work remained controversial and even prohibited in places. Since he self-published it in 1855, it underwent multiple transformations to muffle it’s suggested nature by scandalised editors, and was banned in Boston in 1882. At the time, Robert K. Martin was credited with saying “Whitman intended his work to communicate his homosexuality to his readers.”

Back then, being anything but straight was heavily condemned, and hidden almost completely by those who that pertained to. Despite progress made in terms of acceptance in the present day, there still is heavy criticism around the LGBT+ community. Could this in part be accredited to the lack of normalization?

In the case of Walt Whitman, even after his unconventional poems, that called mass amounts of attention to his identity, his sexuality is not commonly known. In my own years of studying and analyzing his work, this detail has always somehow been excluded from what I’ve learned about him. Teaching about honored individuals while being fully transparent in who they are can not only provide role models for LGBT+ youth, but also give more insight into the lives and experiences of said individuals.

A personal idol of Walt Whitman, who had similar gender preferences in relationships, was the renowned president Abraham Lincoln. Famous for documents such as the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln is one of the US’s most prominent political figures.

As familiar as many are with his achievements in office, his personal endeavors are much less known. One piece of information that many point to, to support the claim that Lincoln was actually gay, is the fact that Lincoln admitted to sleeping with another man, Joshua Speed, for four years, though Speed was far from the only man to have shared a bed with Abraham Lincoln over the years. Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon, mentioned that Billy Greene had once said to him “They were as perfect as a human being could be,” in reference to Lincoln’s thighs.

Another, Captain Derrickson, was known to sleep in Lincoln’s bed and use his nightshirts when Mrs. Lincoln was out of town. Despite this overwhelming amount of corroboration for the idea that Lincoln was gay, historians to this day are maintaining that this esteemed president was heterosexual. One could argue that had any of these citations been with women rather than men, the claim that these people had an intimate relationship with Lincoln would be almost completely certain.

Looking back in the history books, it is evident that there is a lack of LGBTQ+ figures. The idea that people have only now begun to identify as anything but straight is nothing but illogical, though historians have seemingly edited out the parts of history they deemed unnatural or distasteful to further this notion. The public not seeing this aspect of the identities of figures they respect, or idolize, can be toxic to the queer community. Treating being gay as some sort of taboo stunts the movement and normalization of the existence of queer people.

Hopefully, the discussion opens up more and more in the future about just how many capable, and successful, people lived a non-heterosexual lifestyle.

Different animals going extinct

By: Leslie Lopez Ibanez

There are many animals going extinct. Some of them are: tigers, elephants, black rhinos, sloths, and red pandas.

There were, in total, 8 subspecies of tigers. 3 of them are now extinct. Tigers are endangered for a couple of reasons. Their habitat is being destroyed by human activities, by building road networks and clearing forests for agriculture and timber, and by the growth of human population. According to WWF, they have lost 95% of their historical range. Also, in some cultures, they use tiger parts to cure diseases like convulsions, rheumatism, dysentery, and typhoid fever.

There are around 40,000 elephants left in the world. The species is classified as endangered. They are going extinct because they are being killed to use their ivory tusks, which later are traded illegally in the international market. They also go through habitat destruction by building roads, mines, dams, and industrial complexes.

Black rhinos are critically endangered. They can be found in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. They are going extinct because they are a part of an illegal wildlife trade. They kill them and take their horn. According to WWF, some Asian consumers, in Vietnam and China, use them for folk remedies. There are about 5,500 black rhinos left in the world.

There are 6 different species of sloths but only 2 of them are going extinct. The maned sloth is one of them. They are going extinct because of habitat loss. Pygmy sloths are actually one of the most critically endangered mammals in the world. There are less than 100 of them hanging in their island home. They can only be found on a tiny island off the east coast of mainland Panama.

Red pandas are another animal that is endangered. They are only found in the mountainous areas in the forests of Asia. The main threat to their extinction is habitat loss by human growth in the area. Climate change has also affected them by the temperature rising and them having to adapt to that. Climate change has led them to fragmentation, and a loss of land that they can no longer live in anymore. Red pandas eat bamboo but only a specific part of it. But since their habitat is shrinking, it is becoming more difficult for them to find food. Red pandas are also hunted. People like them for their fur and meat. According to the WWF, they have found red panda fur hats for sale in Bhutan.

How likely are you to make a living off of TikTok

By: Olivia Miller

Image taken from: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pittsburghparent.com%2Ftiktok-what-parents-need-to-know-about-online-safety%2F&psi g=AOvVaw1BNbKUW-iPsLT8K3mOqpk2&ust=1608258837854000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAMQjB1qFwoTCNDVuZj90-0CFQAAAAAdAAAA ABAU

TikTok is an app that has blown up over the past year. Formally known as Musically, TikTok is a social media app that allows you to connect with others around the world through short videos. These videos can be anything from funny skits, dances, lip sync videos, and many many more.”

Although TikTok is mainly targeted to kids and teens, people of all ages are using it. No matter what your age, and where you’re from, TikTok is probably one of your most used apps; if not your missing out!

By submitting a video to TikTok you’d be sharing it with your followers on the app. These followers are usually your friends and family, but TikTok is an app where, when you submit a video, it goes on the Foryou page. The Foryou page is a place where, when you submit a video, people from all over the world, who have the app, can see it and interact with it. If your video gets on enough peoples Foryou pages… it can go viral.

“How can I go viral?” you may be asking.

Well, if you create a video that you think people will like, it will show up on their Foryou page and they can comment, share, and give it a heart. If you get enough hearts your video is considered viral. Viral videos can have from 10,000 likes all the way up to 10,000,000 likes. Crazy, I know!

Creators who have many viral videos start to get followed by people who like their content and want to see more of it. These creators are called influencers, and influencers can make money. How much money? Well, lets find out.

According to ​influencermarketinghub.com t​here are many ways to make money off of TikTok. These include gifts from livestreams, selling merchandise, and doing sponsored videos.

You have to gain a following before you can actually start making money off of TikTok though. This can be hard; you have to make videos daily that get enough views and likes. Most people who have the app can agree that even having one viral video can be super hard to accomplish, so having TikTok be your only job is not a dream most people chase. But how likely are you to make a living off of TikTok?

Although there isn’t an exact percentage on how likely you are to be lucky enough to make a living off of TikTok, most people could tell you it’s very very slim. Under the very rare circumstances that it does happen, boy are you lucky.

The most successful people on TikTok have net worths from 1-5 million dollars. TikTok also open doors for creators to start their own music career, makeup line, or even acting career.

So, even if your chances are slim, don’t shy away from posting that video you may think has potential, you never know what’s going to happen.