Author Archives: Hue

FOUR THINGS WE DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT GAY HISTORY

Jack Drescher, MD.

Jack Drescher, MD.

Jack Drescher, MD, one of the world’s experts on the psychology of gay men, lectured at FIT last week about the history of psychiatric views on homosexuality. (He was invited by Daniel Levinson Wilk, Associate Professor of American History. )

Turns out Hue didn’t know nearly as much as we thought we did. For example:

1. Pioneering psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud considered homosexuality to be a result of “developmental arrest,” and nigh impossible to treat, but he didn’t judge it as perversion. Only later did psychiatrists pass judgment on it.

2. At the American Psychiatric Association convention In 1972, Dr. John Fryer spoke to the membership about his life as a gay psychiatrist. At that time, a psychiatrist could lose his or her license for being gay, so to conceal his identity, he spoke through a microphone that distorted his voice, and he wore an oversized suit and mask. Creepy!

A landmark 1972 panel on the question of whether homosexuality is mental illness, featuring a moving speech by Dr. John Fryer, right.

A landmark 1972 panel on the question of whether homosexuality is mental illness, featuring a moving speech by Dr. John Fryer in disguise, right.

3. When the APA voted in 1973 to remove homosexuality from the DSM (the official list of mental disorders), it was the first and only time the membership has voted on a scientific matter.

4. Conversion therapy, the effort to change the sexuality of gay people, is now illegal in some places because it is considered consumer fraud. In other words, any claim that it can be “successful” is false.

Hue plans on reading Drescher’s book, Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man, to learn more.

FOR THE LOVE OF POETRY

FIT students are known for being driven, creative, and business-savvy. After an inspiring event last week, Hue is prepared to add one more attribute to the list: lovers of poetry.

Indeed, beginning foreign-language students read beautifully in a range of languages to a packed house at the 25th Annual Foreign Language Poetry Recitation Ceremony on November 13. No advanced students were permitted to enter, yet the winners read with precision and grace. It reminded us that the sound of poetry is beautiful even when we don’t understand the words.

Contest winner Daeyoung Yoo reads a poem in Chinese. Photos by Smiljana Peros.

Contest winner Daeyoung Yoo reads a poem in Chinese. Photos by Smiljana Peros.

Professor James Cascaito, chair of the Modern Languages and Cultures Department and a poet in his own right, started the competition a quarter-century ago because he loved reciting poetry as a student and hoped that the process would foster language appreciation in FIT students.

“If they have a deeper love for the language, they are more likely to continue on to the advanced levels,” he explained.

Tenor Neal Harrelson sang arias in between readings.

In between readings, tenor Neal Harrelson sang arias in Romance languages to entertain the crowd.

FIT offers numerous opportunities for winning prizes and scholarships, but this competition isn’t one of them. Students win a parchment certificate and a rose–and, if they’re lucky, a love of the foreign language they’re studying.

“People ask, ‘Why not give them a gift certificate?'” Cascaito said. “Absolutely not! I don’t want it connected to anything commercial. Students have to learn that there are certain honors that stand on their own. You win the distinction of being a scholar. And the students take very well to that lesson.”

The foreign-language students who won the poetry recitation competition.

Winners and runners-up of the Foreign Language Poetry Recitation Competition.

WHERE DOES FIT’S TRASH GO?

As part of Hue staff writer Jonathan Vatner’s Spring 2014 feature, “Where Does FIT’s Trash Go?”, he led three site visits to recycling facilities in the New York City area. Watch short videos of two of the field trips here.

Pratt Industries paper recycling plant, Staten Island. Video by Suzanne Baer, FIT Technology Development Team

Sims material recovery facility, Brooklyn. Video by Jonathan Vatner

CONVERSATIONS WITH INTERESTING WOMEN

The concept is astonishingly simple and deliciously complex: a book about our relationship to clothes, as experienced by 642 women, including Lena Dunham, Cindy Sherman, Tavi Gevinson, and two FIT faculty members, Sara Freeman and Dale Megan Healey. In the hands of editors Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton, the result is Women in Clothes, a clever, surprising, encyclopedic portrait of beauty, insecurity, and family. And it reads like the most delicious issue of O magazine.

On October 23, the English and Speech Department invited Julavits and Shapton to read from and discuss the book. Julavits read about accompanying a smell scientist to the coatroom of a New York restaurant to judge the wearers of the coats. (“It’s a very nice scent,” the scientist said after sniffing the armpit of one coat. “I think she’s with the wrong guy.”) Shapton read a first-person account from a garment worker in Cambodia who sews bras too expensive for her to afford.

Women in Clothes

No detail of the book’s design was overlooked. Shapton wanted it to be softcover to be more welcoming. They didn’t want pictures of the women so that readers wouldn’t form judgments based on their looks. They wanted a gridlike design, broken up by images every few pages. They went back and forth about which cover to use.

Toward the end, someone asked them whether the book had made them more conscious about what they put on each morning. “I think, ‘What am I feeling inside, and how do I want to express that in some manner?’” Julavits said, then amended her answer slightly. “Today I’m wearing this book. That’s what you should be looking at to understand me, not what I’m wearing right now.”

Hue thinks she wears it well.

Leanne Shapton and Heidi Julavits discuss "Women on Clothes."

Leanne Shapton and Heidi Julavits discuss “Women in Clothes.”