Understanding Sexuality: Being TQ

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief, and Mackenzie Border, Layout Manager

Trans is the broadest of the umbrella terms used in the LGBTQIA acronym. Trans covers most of the gender identities, with the exception of the queer and intersex identities.

Queer is the umbrella term that covers any identity outside of the gender normative. This can include gender queer, gender neutral, gender fluid, and others.

These three communities of people face constant scrutiny by medical professionals, politicians and the public.

For example, during the Caitlin Jenner transition, many people spoke on opposing sides about their feelings. Some supported Jenner and respected her, while others were thoroughly against it.

The TQ community is more likely to face “physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual violence than those who are cisgender [identify as their born sex],” stated Jamie Fuston, Instructor of Sociology.

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the majority of hate crimes in 2013 (72 percent) were transgender, and 67 percent of them were trans women (male to female) of color.

“Transgender women are 1.8 times more likely to experience sexual violence and transgender people in general are 3.7 times as likely to experience police violence and seven times more likely to face physical violence when interacting with police as those who are cisgender,” said Fuston.

Fuston also said that this has not improved, as 2015 has seen more transgender homicide victims than in any other recorded year.

Many states also do not provide laws to protect trans individuals from discrimination, including Tennessee, added Fuston.

TQ individuals experience high suicide rates for a number of reasons, including “mental health factors and experiences of harassment, discrimination, violence, and rejection,” said Fuston.

Fuston added that research shows individuals who are “out” as a TQ individual are more likely to attempt suicide than those who do not.

This often ties in with gender dysphoria, a term used to describe distress or confusion over one’s biological sex and gender identity.

“Sociologically, the notion of gender dysphoria itself is socially constructed to label those who do not agree or feel comfortable with their assigned gender or assigned sex at birth,” said Fuston.

Multiple circumstances can affect gender identity, including hormonal composition, chromosome type and environment.

In addition to this, non-cisgender individuals experience higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, physical and verbal abuse, and self-harming behavior, added Fuston.

The lack of social acceptance and anxiety experienced in the TQ community leads to a negative influence on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional health.

Outside of the U.S., however, the transgender community can see a range of different reactions.

Keith Bell, Associate Professor of Geography, stated that in some Asian countries, such as Thailand, views on gender are different from the U.S.

The Thai have a term referring to either transgender woman or an effeminate gay man, Kathoey, which literally means “lady boy,” added Bell.

“Thailand’s traditional definition of ‘male’ or ‘female’ is far looser than here in the West.

“A man or woman’s gender is much less a matter of chromosomes and more about personal choice,” said Bell.

India also has a transgender community known as the hijras, a 4,000 year-old group who has built their community around religious practices.

While members of the group were once seen as spiritual figures representing fertility, there has been a growth of discrimination within the country over the past few decades.





“Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” Review


(Pictured: Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman, in promotional art for the new film.  Photo courtesy of The Telegraph.)

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer

In a way, it feels like “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a teaser film for more to come. The substance of the film was duller than it was gripping, but it manages to keep our attention, nonetheless.

As someone who was never deep into the comics, seeing the film was a bittersweet experience indeed.

Henry Cavill returns as Clark Kent/Superman with a truly heroic flair. Cavill is excellent and impressive as the red-caped crusader.

Ben Affleck’s Batman/Bruce Wayne was not too boring. We can give him credit for a solid performance. We can only hope that Affleck’s Batman settles well into his character for the next Justice League films to come.

The introduction of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was definitely a moment to cheer for. Her presence in the next Justice League films will be an overdue performance.

Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luther was rather child-like and confusing. Is it just me or would an actor of Bryan Cranston’s capacity have been better for the role?

As decent as the performances were, that alone does not make the film. To say that BVS was a cinematic masterpiece would be a far reach. Director Zack Snyder takes on the film with a more Batman centric theme and tries to deliver a solid Superman intertwined story.

As the world questions whether or not a god-hero should operate with such unchecked power, Batman and Superman brawl in the streets of Gotham and Metropolis.

Terrorism, paranoia and torture are woven into more standard superhero tenets. This is a battle between God and man, and the film also has plenty of moments worthy of a classic Greek tragedy.

Ideas are plentiful and often repeated, as are dream sequences and Snyder’s patented wide-angle slow-motion set pieces. And really, do we need another ‘young Bruce Wayne watches his parents get shot’ sequence?

BVS is filled to the brim with comic book references and it begs the question, “Did Zack Snyder make this film for everyone?” It is easy to understand how these films would reconnect to the comics, but it does leave a good chunk of its audience confused.

If you are a comic fan, give this film a go and you will probably enjoy the heck out of it, even just for the references, but if you are not all up to your knowledge, as I am, then give it a go with a clear head.

There is a bunch to wrap your head around, and it turns out to be more ‘Dawn of Justice’ than ‘Batman vs Superman.’

Vol State to host Communication Week

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting its annual Communication Week during Monday, April 11–Thursday, April 14.

Jennifer James, Department Chair of Communication, said that the week is dedicated to celebrating the programs offered by the communication department at Vol State.

“We hope that the communication programs will gain visibility and student interest as a result of Communication Week,” said James.

James went on to say that Communication Week is an annual celebration of Volunteer State Communication Department programs.

This year’s program includes a remote broadcast by Vol State’s own radio station, WVCP, from Duffer Plaza, between the Warf, Ramer and Wood buildings on Monday, April 11, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Jim Ball, producer of online news site SmokeyBarn.com, based in Robertson County, will be hosting a talk on Tuesday, April 12, at 12:45 p.m., in the Carpeted Dining Room.

Clay Scott, Associate Professor of Communication, invited Ball to come.

Scott said that Ball could show a real life perspective to what is being taught in the classrooms.

“His visit is another opportunity for students to learn, and learn from a professional who is living what we, as faculty, are teaching in the classroom,” said Scott.

“I hope that they [students] will get a better understanding of online media, and how it is impacting the traditional print and broadcast media,” Scott said, when asked what he hopes students will glean from Ball’s talk.

“I would also like for them to recognize that online media is a very realistic option for their future in media,” added Scott, who also teaches a digital media class.

According to the website, Smokey Barn News was named after the tobacco firing process used for generations in Robertson County.

“Our mission is to bring you video coverage and all things News related in and around the Robertson County area as it happens, real-time,” according to smokeybarn.com, which contributes to local news stations in Nashville.

The event on Wednesday, April 13, will be the Hal R. Ramer Oratorical Contest at 1 p.m. in Mattox Room 104.

Dr. Melva Black, Instructor of Communication, will be chairing the event.

“The goal is to give students an opportunity to showcase and continue to develop their public speaking skills and establish an opportunity for the VSCC community to support a student activity,” said Black.

Dr. Hal Ramer was the founding president of Vol State, and the contest was named in his honor to celebrate the achievements of students who share a passion for public speaking.

Annual Spring Fling a success

By: Sam Walker, Staff Writer

The Spring Fling was held for Volunteer State Community College students in the cafeteria on March 30.

Spring Fling is an annual event sponsored by The Student Life & Diversity Initiatives Office to raise student awareness about extra-curricular programs and activities.

There was a line of tables at the front with flyers for available clubs and a separate table for applications. The applications table showed a variety of positions that will soon be vacant.

There were many Student Government Association (SGA) positions available along with a position for editor-in-chief of The Settler.

Among the students running the booths, Jesse Versage, current SGA President, was in attendance.

“I think Spring Fling is a great way to get publicity for clubs that a lot of people dont know about,” said Versage.

Along with having informational tables the Spring Fling also had many other attractions.

There was letter art that was sponsored by Makerspace, the student art club at Vol State. Sand art was displayed and sponsored by Team Change.

Service Learning sponsored a photo booth for students. In the back of the cafeteria there were tables with free food for attending students and faculty.

An Xbox One was set up along with board games for students to play. A raffle was held for attendants to win prizes.

Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, said the Spring Fling event has grown significantly over the past few years.

“First it was just an opportunity for students to get information about clubs and now we have created game table and community service tables as well.

“The purpose of the event is to give students an outlet in the spring semester to get club information, participate in community service, enjoy free lunch, and get free stuff,” said Sherrell

With the Spring Fling growing in size every year, there is a chance that next year the Student Life and Diversity Initiatives Office will hold the event outdoors.

“They had lots of information and raised some valid suggestions for clubs, not to mention the free food,”said David Crowley, a Vol State student.

Sherrell said that although the Spring Fling event left many students satisfied, she hopes for an even higher attendance next year.


Bluegrass Ablaze draws a crowd

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(Pictured: Andrew Turner with his instrument.  Photo by Gayla Collier.)

By: Gayla Collier, Staff Writer

On March 30 at 6:30 p.m., Volunteer State Community College’s Bluegrass Ablaze performed at Swaney Swift in downtown Gallatin Wednesday.

The band performed for 40 minutes in front of a full house. People stood while they ordered drinks and food because there were no tables or chairs available at the bar.

The crowd was a mixture of people from Vol State and the community. They clapped along as Bluegrass Ablaze performed each song.

“This is my first time listening to Bluegrass Ablaze perform live,” said Truman House, a Vol State Student and part of the Commercial Music Ensemble at Vol State.

“This is my second time coming to see them perform. Last Wednesday, we [the Commercial Music Ensemble] performed here and we came here tonight to listen to bluegrass,” said Chad Carter, who is also a part of The Commercial Music Ensemble.

After performing, most of the Bluegrass Ablaze members went into the crowd with their families and friends.

“I haven’t always been a part of this band. I got in here like two months ago,” said Andrew Turner, who plays the double bass.

Turner used to be the Principal at Rucker Stewart Middle School in Gallatin. He retired in 2014.

“I just started playing. The director taught me to play the double bass. There are two kinds. The one I played with tonight is a two-strand one, but there is a four-strand one,” said Turner.

Bluegrass Ablaze performs locally and nationwide.

“We have this big show coming up in Indiana this summer,” said Turner.

Mark Barnett in the Music Department at Volunteer State Community College directs Bluegrass Ablaze.