Gender roles in a black lesbian community

Morgan Alford, Viet Nguyen and Madison Kennedy talk about their own experiences during a Q&A at this months Queer Reels, Real Topics screening film on Feb. 25, 2020 at 7 p.m. in the Lubbock Room at the Student Union Building. The Office of LGBTQIA Education & Engagement and the Women's & Gender Studies department cohosted the screening of "The Same Difference."

The Texas Tech Office of LGBTQIA and the Women’s & Gender Studies department presented the film "The Same Difference: Gender Roles in the Black Lesbian Community" Tuesday.

The screening took place at 7 p.m. in the SUB Lubbock Room. The event was apart of the film series Queer Reels, Reals Topics.

The Same Difference is a 2015 documentary on a community of African American lesbians discriminating against each other based on gender roles. The film featured many queer celebrities who spoke about various topics including “stud” on “stud” relationships, bisexuals, pregnant “studs” and many more. The film outlined aggression among these lesbians, as well as the different gender roles influencing this aggression. In the end, the women where able to combat their struggles by confronting their discriminators.

Following the film, Tricia Earl, program manager with Women’s & Gender Studies, began a questions and answers session. She opened up the conversation with a poem called Every Girl, Every Boy.

“We put ourselves in boxes, but who’s defining that box?” Earl said.

Lubbock used to have eight gay bars back in the 80s, Earl said. Lubbock now has one bar.

The crowd at the screening was a diverse crowd, which is something Earl wants to continue to see at future events, she said.

Viet Nguyen, master’s student in higher education, was one of the speakers at the end of the screening.

The film being back in 2015 gave Nguyen a lens to look back to, she said. Although, she does not agree with everything in the film.

“People assume there are two gender roles, either male or female, and both have to be played,” Nguyen said.

The segregation has grown in the past years, as the small steps have added up, she said.

“We still have chatter about who’s with who and who’s what,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen said, overtime, she built stamina that allows her to get through the constant questioning from others.

Morgan Alford, sophomore psychology major from San Antonio, was another speaker after the screening.

The film felt like it was so out of its date, Alford said. She enjoyed the light on the lesbian community, as well as the education.

Alford has gotten the question “are you sure you are lesbian?” she said. When she had long hair, people wouldn’t believe her sexuality, but once she cut her hair, people would start to believe her more.

“No matter what, people will have their own opinions of you,” Alford said.

Madison Kennedy, senior psychology major from Belen, New Mexico, was also a speaker at the end of the screening.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you won’t learn if you don’t ask,” Kennedy said.

One needs to pose a question the right way with respect and give a way out, Kennedy said.

“Seeing all the girls on the documentary struggle and continue, shows me I can do it as well,” Kennedy said.

The Big 12 LGBTQIA & Allies Summit will take place from March 6 to 8. The time and location are to be announced. 

The next Queer Reels, Real Topics will be a screening of Women’s History Month at 7 p.m. on March 24 at the SUB Escondido Theatre.

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