Again, no guns please

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in an effort to expand gun rights in Texas, signed a bill last June that will allow the carrying of concealed handguns on college campuses.
On May 29, the Texas legislature passed a law to allow the open carry of handguns. Texas was one of six states with a ban on open carry.
Soon afterwards, the legislature also passed concealed carry on public college campuses.
The House voted 98-47 on the issue. Then the bill was sent to Gov. Abbott, which he signed at Red’s Indoor Range in Pflugerville, TX on June 15th
Allowing concealed handguns on our college campus will not make us safer. The purported benefits of allowing weapons are outweighed by the potential dangers and complications it introduces.
The primary argument from gun activists is that adding more armed students and staff will make campuses safer and ward off would-be shooters.
Texas has more than 850,000 concealed handgun license (or CHL) holders. But CHL holders must be at least 21; therefore most college students would be too young to carry.
Former Navy Admiral William McRaven is more than familiar with weapons, as he directed the Navy Seals’ takedown of Osama bin Laden, and he opposes campus carry. He is now the UT System Chancellor, overseeing the nine UT schools. He states mental health professionals worry adding guns to the preexisting emotional and psychological stress on students will lead to more suicides and accidental shootings.
“The presence of concealed weapons will make a campus a less safe environment,” McRaven said.
In fact, the majority of universities and college staff oppose campus carry.
“You won’t find a lot of faculty that are supportive of it,” Midland College professor Sondra Richards said. “We deal with young people everyday, so it concerns us. Students get a lot of emotional, psychological and just real school-based stress.”
Dr. Richards says most of the students will handle the stress just fine. But now, bringing concealed guns on campus adds elements of unnecessary crisis management for the staff. They now must have a heightened sense of worry for the students who concerned them anyway.
For many years, the House has tried to pass concealed carry on campuses. The public universities in Texas and their advocates, such as McRaven, strongly voiced their opposition to the proposed law.
Midland College Chief of Police Richard McKee said: “The larger universities tried to explain to the legislature that a college is not a place to be carrying weapons and doing so was of no benefit, but obviously it didn’t sway their opinion.”
Despite the strong opposition, the Legislature didn’t listen. Instead, the well-paid lobbyists employed by the strong gun rights presence in Texas instead swayed them otherwise.
“It’s such an interesting political thing to me that the people who are teaching and actually running the colleges were saying we don’t want this and they’re going to pass it anyway,” Dr. Richards said.
When it became clear that this law had a strong chance of passing in this last legislative session, advocates of its opposition pushed for the option for schools to opt out. At first, this provision looked like it would pass. According to Dr. Richards, this was denied once they realized practically all of the schools would opt out.
The new campus carry law goes into effect for public four-year schools in August of 2016, and for community colleges (such as Midland College) in August of 2017.
The new open carry law goes into effect in Texas in January of next year. It allows anyone with a concealed handgun license to openly carry that firearm in areas where they were already allowed to carry concealed.
“Campus carry is a completely different law,” Chief McKee said. “It allows concealed handgun holders to carry firearms on campus, provided they are concealed. So there is no open carry provision on campuses.”
The campus carry law allows college presidents to carve out “gun-free zones” on their campus.
“A sign would have to be prominently posted that this is a gun-free zone,” Chief McKee said.
However, the Texas Legislature made it very clear that college presidents are not allowed to simply blanket their entire campus in gun-free zones, and thus circumvent the new law. The fact that this had to be explicitly prohibited shows the Legislature’s awareness of the disapproval of campus carry and it’s subsequent disregard of it.
MC’s implementation of gun-free zones will be directly influenced from the fact that MC has both a childcare center and Early College High School on campus.
The Allison Fine Arts building is the main location of Early College classrooms, so that building would be a gun-free zone but also potentially anywhere else Early College students go. The problem is they could potentially go anywhere on the campus at any given time.
Dr. Richards and Chief McKee both said that MC will have to take note of how other colleges will handle their designation of gun-free zones:
“A lot of community colleges have Early College High Schools so I guess we’ll figure it out together,” Dr. Richards said.
“We’re waiting to see what kind of feedback other colleges that have early college high schools on their campuses get from the legislature,” Chief McKee said.
The implementation of campus carry law brings with it many complications, but we strongly urge the MC Board of Trustees to create lots of “gun-free” zones, even if they have to push limits of the law.

Military Acttion Never ceases

By Evan Simon
MCP Staff Reporter
The main character Punished Snake is deep in the jungles of Africa; his mission is to infiltrate an enemy camp and rescue six prisoners. Snake has to lead them up a hill where a helicopter is waiting.
But there are several enemy soldiers standing guard throughout the encampment and an enemy chopper patrolling the area.
So Snake and his party sneak toward the rendezvous point, but he spots two men standing nearby, “Wait.” He instructs the prisoners as he pulls out his tranquilizer and quietly shoots both men in the head He then gives the okay and the move forward.
But another enemy in the distance sees them Snake tries to shoot him in the head but it’s no use; the guard has a helmet on.
This is bad because if he gets to call for back up Snake and his posse are dead. Luckily though Snake brought some back up.
In the distance hides the deadly sniper Quiet. She shoots the helmet off the guard, which gives snake an opportunity for another head shot. He aims and fires at the man, bull’s-eye; the man goes down and they keep going forward.
That’s what’s great about Metal Gear Solid V; it gives the player nonstop action set pieces to experience. But what’s even more impressive is that the only objective was to escort the prisoners to the RV. Everything was spot on, including the third guard seeing me, Quiet shooting off his helmet allowing the player for the perfect headshot, and the shooting of the helicopter out of the sky. All things happened because of the players choices, none of which were scripted.
The player could have gone at a different time of day with a different set of equipment and a different companion. These are all variables that affect the outcome of the game which also gives a game a strong sense of replay ability, something a lot of games lack.
Another thing the game does is to let players feel like they are amazing soldiers. Early on another character tells Snake that “ (He’s)… a legend for those who live on the battlefield…” The game does nothing short of making the player feel that way, everything from how Snake sprints to a destination, or how he holds a gun, to something as simple as standing.  A lot of games give you the promise of being the world’s greatest assassin/fortune hunter/interstellar space guardian, but few make good on that promise.
The gameplay is king, and whether it be sniping an enemy from across the map, or sneaking up on them and knocking them out, everything is extremely fun and accessible.  There are a lot of mechanics in this game, but it teaches them in a reasonable pace, and so the amount of things to do never feels overwhelming.
The missions in this game are really fun and engaging to play and are challenging but never too frustrating that they stop being fun. Even when players has failed several times, they are always willing to come back for more.
The open world is also amazing as well, with it being both beautiful and vast with several enemy composts to infiltrate, plenty of fun side missions to do and a whole lot of resources to collect. It’s big enough to have fun in, but it never feels like the player is going miles with nothing happening.
Everything about this game is balanced and engaging except for maybe its story. Not to say the story is bad by any means, but it simply doesn’t add up to how the gameplay feels.
Long time Metal Gear fans might be let down by this, but on the other hand the, story’s hands off approach may help newcomers to the series come into the franchise with little or no confusion.
That all being said, the story never takes away from the gameplay, and that’s a good thing considering how fun it is. The strong mechanics, vast open world, and beautiful graphics make it not only one of the series best but possibly the greatest action game of all time.

Victoria’s Secrets

Valentine’s Day is no doubt the steamiest holiday. In fact, many will spend it at the theater watching Fifty Shades of Grey with their significant others.

With more than 100 million copies of the book sold, many have been fantasizing over Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s relations, but how realistic are they?

Fifty Shades of Grey presents a strong representation of BDSM, or Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), Sadism and Masochism (SM).

Examples of such include Grey’s “playroom,” filled with an abundance of blindfolds, chains, whips and other devices compared to “the sixteenth century and the Spanish Inquisition,” as stated by Steele in the book.
Steele and Grey make readers want to be involved in a BDSM relationship, but the type of roles portrayed are unhealthy and inaccurate of what should be accepted.

Research from the Kinsey Institute has revealed that 55 percent of females and 50 percent of males receive some degree of pleasure from physical pain in the bedroom, but what is written in Fifty Shades of Grey is borderline abusive.
Christian Grey has no regards to Steele’s safe words, telling him that she is uncomfortable and wishes to stop these activities. These words act as her sign of consent. Without consent, what is the barrier between consentual love-making and rape?

Grey also takes advantage of Steele’s inexperience and uses alcohol to sway her. This behavior pushes her boundaries, belittles her and ultimately sexually abuses her.

The fact that behavior like this is making its way to the big screen troubles me. Displaying sexual acts and abuse in a theater can give way to the public finding totalitarian dominance and sexual assault okay.

Fifty Shades of Grey can affect young women’s minds by making them feel insecure and feel like they need to be controlled by someone in order to be loved. This is not the case.

Couples who participate in BDSM need to be understanding of one another. Understanding of how they are feeling, what they like and what they are uncomfortable with will help the relationship.

One good thing, perhaps, presented in the erotic romance, is how Grey and Steele outline their “hard limits” as to what they do not wish to partake in. These types of boundaries are good for all relationships and build a foundation of trust and support.

Ultimately, there is no wrong way of handling business in the bedroom, as long as both parties are mutually consenting to all activities.

There is much give and take as well as communication that needs to be exchanged between partners to create a healthy and exciting environment.

Netflix on a Nickle 04

SushiGirl_posterSushi Girl
Sushi Girl has an amazing explosion of retro star power, ranging from Sonny Chiba to Mark Hamill and everyone in between. Seriously, name a male star from the 80s to the 90s and they’re probably in this film. Danny Trejo, Tony Todd, James Duval, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, and what truly blew my mind, Noah Hathaway. Hathaway is best known for playing Atreyu in the Never Ending Story.
Sushi Girl follows a thief as he is released from prison and reunites with his criminal cohorts. The film dives into darkness quickly; walking the line between criminal and psychological thriller.
This amazing cast nails every performance, but Mark Hamill steals the show. Mainly known for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, Mark Hamill has a huge voice-over career. He played the voice of the Joker in the Batman: The Animated Series and a few of the Arkham games. Fans of Hamill’s Joker will enjoy his performance in this film. There are a few moments that the character takes on a similar persona.
If you like yakuza or western gangster films, check out Sushi Girl. However, due to the graphic violence, a torture scene and partial nudity, the film is not for everyone. The amazing cast is reason enough to watch this criminal thriller.

Automata
automata-poster-antonio-banderas-01In the future, robots are everywhere and there are laws blah, blah…seriously can we get a new concept involving the evolution of robotics? Isaac Asimov wrote the exact same story over 50 years ago.
I am a fan of science fiction and I love the idea of artificial intelligence but seriously I can only watch the exact same movie so many times.
Automata stars Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith and Robert Forster. Another film with an amazing cast combination.
All of the actors do an amazing job however the plot is pretty close to any robots-becoming-aware film.
If you want to see a passable science fiction film about robotics with decent digital effects, check out Automata.
If you want to see something with more action (more of a Terminator plot) check out The Machine.

Nightbreednightbreed_cabal_cut_poster
Clive Barker, known for making disturbing horror films and novels, is a prolific artist. Barker has been described as a living art factory—the amount of content he creates is mind blowing. He consistently turns out short stories, paintings and even murals.
Nightbreed shows the darker side of the film industry as well as the magical side. Right before the film was originally released the studio heavily edited the film, to the point of cutting out a main character. The studio also advertised the film as your standard slasher flick. Barker felt violated and mislead by the studio, wrote off his film as a lost cause and attempted to move forward.
An original print of the film was discovered, and late last year the director’s cut was released. Barker’s original version had been restored and the film was received with eagerness.
The film is about a troubled young man who is drawn to the town of Midian where a variety of monsters are hiding from humanity
Nightbreed is not a slasher flick. It has moments that are similar to some slashers, but overall it is a monster flick.
The monsters in the film are amazing, and the mythos that Barker has created feels real and believable.
Even though the clothing and music dates the film, the effects and story are not dated. Fans of horror and monster films should check out Nightbreed.

The Alleyway

So, it begins, the semester— that semester where it ends. The basics for my degree will be over. The metaphorical dragon shall be slain. Round two is in only eight months. Panic ensues as my psyche fails to comprehend the sheer masses of generalized stuff I have to do before the end of this chapter comes.
The professor goes over the syllabus, so does the next and the one after that. My first day of the last semester begins the same as the past three. I grow bored as my mind wanders. Could I make steak tonight? Should I get a head start on classes? Should I finish my Pokémon game? Or will I decide to curl up in bed with my laptop and watch the original Teen Titans series I bought the week before?
Finally the last class is over. This first day was not exactly exciting. Really wish I had bought a huge steak to cook tonight. Wait, I have a text as I open my car.
My heart starts pumping faster. There are demons to kill. I have been invited to join my friends on an epic adventure of demon killing. My two huge weapons are already equipped. The fiery adrenaline shoots through me as I behead one hellhound and take out three explosive zombies. The guys shoot and cast spells on the horde while I take down the front line.
No! I’ve been hit! Stupid skeleton archer, I’m after you now. Prepare to die. I am an angel of death here. I am a Valkyrie of Norse legend. Minus the wings, maybe more like the Chooser of the Slain…either way, die zombified scum, die!
Did the government teacher say something important?
Look the castle! OMG A DRAGON!!!!! I feel like I’m in How to Train Your Dragon, before the Vikings were on good terms with the dragons.
And now it is dead. I tossed it off the wall. Sorry pretty dragon. Wow, the guys killed those demons so hard it left blood on the stones. Do demons even have blood? Cool, my clothes are red now without the legendary red dye of Saffronixa.
I feel like someone is saying my name. Is it the prince? The red-haired one, not the black-haired one is calling for me right? What is his name…?
“Edgin! Pay attention!”
The professor was glaring at me from the lecturn. Well, I guess I should pay attention. But I would much rather lay down and imagine myself the hero, fighting the great war against the Homeworkians of Collegian Basin.
So, the professor begins, checking to make sure the window with beautiful sunlight wouldn’t steal my attention from the structure of Texas counties and their seats. Seats. That reminds me of basketball. March Madness is so far away.
I miss watching March Madness with my family. What I miss the most is being around them as we would make our picks on the tournament bracket.
“Last time Edgin!”
Sigh. Fine, I will pay attention. But I’m telling you, Texas needs more basketball and dragons. I will have no problem studying government if it involved more basketball and dragons.

Commentary: Cinema evolves

“Cinema is dead,” director Quentin Tarantino declared at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Tarantino went on to express a general sense of hopelessness for future generations. Tarantino’s focus was digital projection and DCPs as the root cause for cinema’s demise. Tarantino is not the first filmmaker to make this claim.

Cinema is more than 120 years old and has been declared dead numerous times throughout its lifetime. The common thread throughout all of these declarations: the film industry was in a state of change, and the established filmmakers and critics seemed jaded or perhaps jealous of the new innovations that were changing their beloved cinema.

Entertainment as a whole is in a state of change. No one is sure where it is headed, but the experts agree that traditional models are no longer going to be the standard. Websites like YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix are changing how audiences watch films and even to some extent why they watch.

A group of kids in Challis, Idaho, can become internationally successful because of a video they uploaded to YouTube. Almost everyone has a phone capable of shooting video and then uploading the video to the Internet.

Perhaps directors like Tarantino, who struggled to become successful and have refined their craft over the last several decades, are stunned by how easy the process has become. The challenges that filmmakers faced 20 years ago no longer exist, and the only real challenge is creating something that rises above the noise of all the other junk on the Internet.

We live in a time where anything is truly possible, thanks to crowd-funding websites like indiegogo.com and kickstarter.com. If you want to start a business where you make hats for cats, you can get funding. More specifically to filmmaking, a lot of indie directors are going to crowd-fund to get the money they need to make their films.

The entertainment is shifting into a new and uncertain future. I can understand why this scares the establishment, but I am excited to see what is around the corner.

Perhaps traditional cinema is dead, and while it’s sad, the new form of cinema might just be as artful and profound as its predecessor.

Netflix on a nickel 03

Life sometimes gets heavy, and thankfully we can take a break by watching movies.
Here are some silly and fun movies to check out.


Dabangg 2

dabangg-2-posterBollywood is the Hollywood of India; the primary difference is most of their films are musicals. Every genre has a musical counterpart, everything from romantic-comedies to action-flicks are made into musicals.

Imagine Dabangg 2, as a musical mashup of Jackie Chan’s Supercop and Rush Hour, it has the over-the-top action sequences and the great comedy cop moments. However, it doesn’t stop there, it also gives you amazing dance sequences with a catchy musical score.

Dabangg 2 is the story of Chulbul Pandey, an honorable cop who fights against corruption. Salman Khan, often referred to as the Sylvester Stallone of India, stars as Chulbul Pandey and his performance is thoroughly enjoyable.

If you want to watch a film that literally has something for everyone, check out Dabangg 2. This is especially true if you think modern action films take themselves too serious and miss the campy cheese of yesteryear.

Troll Huntertroll-hunter-poster

For the last few years, amazing films have come out of the Norway and Sweden region. Films like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Let the Right One In did so well internationally that Hollywood did big budget remakes. Troll Hunter is a Norwegian horror/adventure film that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Troll Hunter is about three students, who enter the Norwegian woods to film a documentary on a bear poacher who claims that he really tracks trolls for the Norwegian government.

I strongly dislike the self-shot movie, but there are a few exceptions. Troll Hunter is one film to make it work well. All of the trolls are computer-generated, and it is obvious from the beginning. However, the way the filmmakers incorporate practical effects makes up for sub-par CGI. When the trolls slam the ground, dirt explodes or if a giant pushes up against the trees, the actual trees move and bend.

If you are a fan of creature movies or just love fantasy check out Troll Hunter.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

tucker_and_dale_vs_evil_posterCombining dark comedies and slasher flicks from the 70s describes Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, starring Alan Tudyk (Frozen, Serenity) and Tyler Labine (Monsters University) as the titled characters. Together the two are hilariously brilliant and make the film fun from beginning to end.

Expecting to relax at their “vacation” cabin, Tucker and Dale’s trip turns into a nightmare when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids. The film quickly starts referencing redneck/hillbilly slasher flicks and never loses its edge as it embraces the comedic moments.

A great introduction to the slasher sub-genre, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is for both people who do not enjoy slasher flicks and cannot get enough.


For the next issue, I will be reviewing different TV series that are on Netflix.
If you have any movie suggestions for the next issue, email me at
commoncollegestudent@gmail.com, and in the meantime, watch more movies!

Netflix on a nickel 02

Halloween is coming and I’ve got some spine-chilling, hair-raising and bloodcurdling movies for you to watch. Clear out your queue and prepare to scream, it’s horror movie mayhem!


All Cheerleaders Die

All Cheerleaders Die PosterLucky McKee is a popular name with horror fans; he is credited with creating amazing and shocking new horror films.

All Cheerleaders Die is the definition of modern horror. McKee hits all the appropriate beats while maintaining quality. The beginning of the film starts out as a self-shot teen flick; thankfully that ends quickly.

A rebel girl signs up a group of cheerleaders to help her take down the captain of their high school football team, but a supernatural turn of events thrusts the girls into a different battle. All Cheerleaders Die is fun and fast-paced while maintaining the gore and scares. While full of superficial jokes and plot devices the film also covers gay rights, bullying, rape, and domestic abuse .

All Cheerleaders Die is a horror film that most people can enjoy but because the target audience is 18-to 21-year-olds it might fall flat.

ContractedContracted Poster

Some films ask the audience to be patient, with the promise that the film’s experience will be rewarding as a whole, Contracted is exactly this kind of film. The pace is slow and the plot slowly unfolds which might bore modern audiences. Eric England, the indie director from Arkansas, wrote and directed Contracted.

A young girl, Samantha, contracts what she thinks is a sexually-transmitted disease but it is actually something much worse.
Najarra Townsend’s performance as Samantha is captivating and her emotional journey is a rollercoaster of extreme ups and downs.

The scares come in the form of the grotesque infection and Samantha’s physical transformation. Personally I loved Contracted and enjoyed it from beginning to end. However, because of the slow pace, it is not for everyone. Fans of infection films should check it out.

Argento’s Dracula

Argentos_Dracula_3D-posterDario Argento is famous for combining the grotesque and the beautiful, as he showed in Suspiria. Combining Argento with Stoker seems like a match made in horror heaven, but the reality is quite disappointing.

Argento’s Dracula has copious amounts of nudity and gore but no plot and phoned-in acting. Thomas Kretschmann plays the infamous Count Dracula like he’s constipated with laryngitis. Van Helsing is played by the legendary Rutger Hauer. While Hauer has the best moments in the film, he seemed to need an oxygen machine or a nap based on his overall performance.

For an enjoyable horror experience watch the original 1931 Dracula or even the 1992 remake but avoid Argento’s Dracula.

Big Trouble in Little Chinabig_trouble_in_little_china_poster_01

John Carpenter is the horror master, known for Halloween, The Thing, Christine, The Fog, They Live, In the Mouth of Madness, Vampires and The Ward. Few directors have the scope and the longevity that Carpenter has. Not all of his films are horror, and some, like Big Trouble in Little China, combine horror, action and fantasy with generous amounts of humor.

Big Trouble in Little China is the story of Jack Burton, a trucker who thinks he is a living legend and a self proclaimed ladies’ man, as he gets dragged into centuries-old mystical battle in Chinatown. The effects are dated and the film is definitely a product of the 80s, but it holds up.

Big Trouble in Little China is loaded up with cheese, memorable quotes, and ridiculous over-the-top action sequences. While not a horror film, it will provide an entertaining and fun palate cleanser between horror films this Halloween.


 Have a terrifying and creeptastic Halloween. If you have any movie suggestions for the next issue, email me at commoncollegestudent@gmail.com, and in the meantime, watch more movies!

Men unite to walk a mile in her shoes

WalkinhershoesBACKUPPepper-spray, rape whistles, personal alarms, stun-guns, anti-rape condoms, and most recently a nail polish that detects date rape drugs help deter sexual assaults.

Such deterrents help women, who often see every unknown male as a potential threat.

A full-time student, who also works full-time as a waitress, shared a horrifying story during class. Normally she does not have the time to do her hair or makeup. One day, she found the time, and went to work. She felt confident, made a few more tips, and had a good night. After closing, she walked to her car and saw a note on the windshield.

The note said: “I just wanted to let you know, I got my eye on you and your p—-.” She no longer felt safe; confidence and happiness were replaced with fear and violation.

Another woman in the class, obviously upset, said: “Just because you wore makeup.” This woman wasn’t blaming the victim and was simply frustrated because the one day she dressed up she was violated. The way it was said struck me at my core.

This had nothing to do with her wearing makeup. It had everything to do with the person who left the note. That person either had no idea what is acceptable behavior, or actually believed that it was a flattering comment, or even worse, knew that it was wrong but did it anyway. It was easy to dislike this person, but then our culture helps create this person’s attitude and it is part of a larger problem.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, an average of 237,868 people are victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year. That is one every two minutes. Sixty percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police and 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail. Approximately two-thirds of the assaults are committed by someone known to the victim; 38 percent of rapists are a friend or an acquaintance.

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (2008-2012), sexual assault has fallen by more than 50 percent in recent years. Does that mean we went from one rape every minute to every two minutes?

Why do women fear men? The answer is sadly, because we, as men, have allowed our society to become perverse and corrupted. Some might argue that rape has always existed, but should we sit idly by and just shrug?

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Awareness has spread in recent years. Frank Baird created Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® in 2001. According to the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes website, “What started out as a small group of men daring to totter around a park has grown to become a world-wide movement with tens of thousands of men raising millions of dollars for local rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs.”

Men, the next time another guy says something lewd or vulgar, call them on it, regardless of who it is. Would you allow them to say that about your mother or sister?

I’m not advocating confrontation or violence, but silence is the same as outright toleration. If you want to make the world safer for your mothers, sisters and daughters, you have to be willing to speak out.

For information or help, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or the Midland Rape Crisis and Children’s Advocacy Center at 432-682-RAPE (7273). More information is available at http://www.RAINN.org or http://www.mrccac.org.

Drag Queens offer different outlook

Having duct tape, a lace-front wig and a fierce walk is just the beginning of being a drag queen.  The number of drag queens is growing, and they are taking over stages and clubs across the country. When hearing the term ‘drag queen,’ some just think of cross dressers, when being a queen takes much more. In 2009, television network Logo TV aired the first episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

The show has been going strong for six seasons and shows audiences how much work goes into being a drag queen. From what I can tell, queens have a much better wardrobe, makeup and hair style techniques than I do. It’s amazing to see the queens after they “beat” their faces. Some of the contestants from past seasons of Ru Paul’s Drag Race have gone on to make their own music videos, star in other TV shows,  model for clothing companies, and star in music videos for pop artists like Lady Gaga and Ke$ha.

It takes much more than just looking and acting like a girl to be a drag queen. Queens have to have to be funny, know how to act, perform, put outfits together that often require sewing, have a drag name. They have to have a personality larger than life. Queens are so inspiring in many ways because they aren’t afraid or ashamed to be who they want, no matter what anyone says. They work hard to leave their mark on the world and spread their name as far as they can.

Queens don’t give up, no matter how difficult things become. Assuming that majority of drag queens are homosexual or transgender, they get more criticism and face more obstacles than the rest of us. Some of my favorite queens are Courtney Act, Adore Delano, Sharon Needles, Alaska and Bianca Del Rio. My other three favorite queens are from cities close to home and have performed in clubs as close as Lubbock. Miss Alyssa Edwards is from Mesquite, Shangela is from Paris, and Laganja Estranja comes from Dallas.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for drag queens. They encourage eachother and build eachother up instead of kicking them down is inspiring. The amount of love and self respect they have for themselves is contagious. It’s refreshing to see people who have lacked support, love from others, and acceptance believe in themselves and push themselves to accomplish goals and live dreams. I can’t imagine the positive vibes that radiate off of them in person. I feel more positive about everything by just watching them.

There are many celebrities who admire drag queens as much as I do. There is a celebrity wish list for guest judges on season seven of Ru Pauls’s Drag Race. Johnny Depp,Daniel Radcliffe, Iggy Azalea, P!nk, and YouTube stars Tyler Oakley and Shane Dawson are among the 200 on the list.

Their fun personalities spark up a room and have people laughing until it hurts. Queens are dramatic and quirky. They even have their own set of definitions for average words. For a queen, Shade doesn’t mean a place to get out of the sun.

Fish isn’t an animal that swims in water, and sickening is not a bad thing. Their lingo, jokes and opinions might be hard to swallow at times, but can become part of your everyday life. Without realizing it, you won’t go to class in sweats and baggy T-shirts anymore. You’ll be serving couch potato realness. Before asking yourself “is that a girl or guy,” remember that it doesn’t matter because even if they’re a part-time girl, they are still people with jobs, worries, dreams and insecurities just like you.