Daily Archives: May 20, 2011

A student artist’s journey of self discovery

Islam & Homosexuality by Shayne Oanes

Islam & Homosexuality by Shayne Oanes

Islam & Homosexuality by Shayne Oanes

Islam & Homosexuality by Shayne Oanes

Islam & Homosexuality by Shayne Oanes

Transformed from an Iranian girl, suffering from restrictions of religion and gender injustice, to a “free” man who was recently granted asylum by the U.S. government, senior Shayne Oanes shared his entire 24-year-old life story, except for his real name.


Difficulty of being a woman in Iran

“I always felt I was a different person among my peers. It was hard to be a woman in Iran because of the way [people in Iran] treat women,” Oanes said.

Coming from a poor family in South Iran, Oanes’ mom had 20 siblings. The highest education she received was through fifth grade elementary school, because she was told it was enough for a woman to survive in the household. She married Oanes’ father when she was 15 years old.

“My dad forced my mom to marry him. My mom’s family also wanted to get away from her,” Oanes said.

Born into an extremely religious family with Islamic values, Oanes said he never felt comfortable with who he was because he didn’t even believe in God. He attempted his first suicide when he was 18 years old.


On the way to finding himself

When Oanes was 10 years old, he took a 20-day trip to India. Oanes said he was totally lost in India because he couldn’t speak English, and he realized that learning English is the way to communicate with people around the world. He started to learn English and made connections with relatives who lived in the United States.

In May 2006, he came to the United States with his father, who is a well-known filmmaker in Iran. As an assistant producer for a documentary on the role of the United Nations in mediating the debates over Iran’s development of nuclear programs, Oanes got a Media Visa (I-visa), a nonimmigrant visa for temporary travel.

When he came to Oregon to visit his uncle, he talked with Floyd Schrock, assistant director for International Admission, who promised to give him financial aid for studying at Linfield.

In February 2007, Oanes started at Linfield and decided to study psychology.

Oanes said that before he came to America, he watched Disney and Hollywood movies and thought that he knew America pretty well, but he still felt uncomfortable about the values in U.S. culture. He said that even though America is still a religious society, it was a great move for him from Iranian culture.

“I would never say that the U.S. has a big problem with religion, but you can definitely see the influences of religion on cultures. Religion plays a big role here,” Oanes said.

After he heard that women in America were unable to vote until the 1920s, he said that he realized women’s rights as a universal issue women in every culture still need to fight for.

“Once we try to make laws for a whole set of people, we get injustice,” Oanes said.

In gender theory class, he met Brenda Marshall, chairwoman of the Theater & Communication Arts Department, who taught him the politics of power distribution.

“She opened my eyes to the reality of why women’s progress is still hindered in the Middle East,” he said. “[The class] helped me put my experiences back home into perspective, because I come from a patriarchal society where men dominate all arenas.”


Changes coming from inside

However, positive influences from his outside environment didn’t stop his second suicide attempt after three years of being in the United States.

Fortunately, at the moment of having the pills, he said he realized that he was just born in the wrong body, wrong time and wrong society; so, he went to the hospital alone.

“The change I needed had to come from the inside, not the outside world,” Oanes said. “Transgender was the missing piece that completed the picture for me.”

Since then, he said the depression has been lifted and everything makes sense for the first time. However, he also got some criticism from feminists who thought he became a man because he wanted dominant power.

In summer 2009, he went to a homosexual community in San Francisco, where he applied for asylum and made friends who were in the same situation as him.

He said homosexuality is not allowed in Iran. After being discovered once, homosexual people would suffer floggings and would be killed if found more than three times.

“My young generation in Iran wants to have more freedom. They are inspired by Western values — liberty and
individual expression,” Oanes said.

He also said many newspapers get closed every day and the editors go to jail because they point out the problems in the society that should be taken care of.

“The Middle East is getting ready to adjust to the society, moving away from religion that the government enforced,” Oanes said.


Free expression of art

Once the confusion of his gender lifted, he started to express himself freely starting with his art piece exhibit in Portland.

Oanes’ Islam & Homosexuality gallery, which features a projector installation with 40 photos, runs April 8 through May 28 in Mile Post 5.

“I never thought my life was relevant to others. This semester is the most wonderful time for me, because I became an artist and even wrote my artist statement,” he said.

In his artist statement, he said: “Everyone has a story worth telling, but some of us have been told otherwise. Islam & Homosexuality is one of those stories deemed too unnatural, perhaps possessive of a counter-cultural quality, a dangerous blend of a frustrated generation of Iranian youth aching for the freedom to tell their stories and the harsh reality of everyday oppression. Islam & Homosexuality lies in the narrow line between a frustration for expression and the outright brutal oppression of the voice of a generation in need.”

The art piece includes 40 photo shots of two girls wearing loose-fitting chadors and rusaris that cover the hair. They hug, kiss and take off each other’s clothes. At the end, both girls are naked, only wearing thongs.

Junior Emily Shults was a model in the photos.

“Body is a good thing; no one should be ashamed about it,” she said.



As a graduating student of Linfield, Oanes has his proposed plan for the future. He said he is planning on making a documentary on transgender experiences in the United States this summer.

Through the Department of Psychology, he said he designed a study to test if viewing a realistic image of the transgender community, where they share their own life stories and engage in perspective-taking, would change the negativity in American society toward people who don’t conform to the binary definitions of gender.

He said the findings allow him to believe that viewing the transgender community in a realistic human light and attempting to take their perspectives could reduce negative attitudes toward this minority group. His effort could be effective in the future.

His plan includes more than the transgender or homosexual population.

“In this narrow-minded society, why don’t we let men cry? Why is homosexuality a gender disorder when I am healthier than I have ever been? The most basic thing for human beings is emotion, [my effort] is not just for homosexuality, but humanity,” Oanes said.

Jaffy Xiao/Online editor
Jaffy Xiao can be reached at linfieldreviewonline@gmail.com.

Local waterpark prepares to make a splash

Photo courtesy of Kasey Richter

Photo courtesy of Kasey Richter

Photo courtesy of Kasey Richter

Photo courtesy of Kasey Richter

Linfield students staying in McMinnville can add something new to their list of summer plans — the “Wings and Waves Waterpark” at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

The park is set to open its doors to the public June 6 with a Grand Opening Celebration, after more than two years of planning and construction.

“We were looking to attract a younger demographic,” Kasey Richter,  class of ’09 and director of Public Relations for Evergreen Museum, said. “We knew there was nothing else in the area like it.”

The creation of the park included planting a Boeing 747 jetliner atop the building where 10 water slides, a wave pool and a children’s museum will be housed.

Not all of the slides are inside the building. Several of the slides begin inside of the 747 itself, exit the plane and re-enter the building into a pool inside.

Educational exhibits designed to inform visitors about the role that water plays in society are inside the building.

The park isn’t only for education. Some features of the park are designed purely for fun, including the slides that begin inside the plane.

“There may be educational information on the stairs and in the lobby of the 747, but not on the slides themselves,” Richter said.

While the park is geared toward a younger age group, many Linfield students said that they are excited to visit the park this summer or next year.

“I will most definitely try to make it to the water park this summer,” senior Benton Canaga said. “It looks pretty cool from the outside, and I want to check it out.”

The park also has the potential to attract visitors to McMinnville, senior Allison Navarro said.

“I don’t know if the water park will single-handedly make McMinnville a destination, but I think it will attract people from surrounding areas, as a water park is sort of an oddity in the Pacific Northwest,” Navarro said. “I also think a lot of McMinnville residents will be interested in going.”

Junior Kirstie Franceschina agreed.

“I think it might bring more people to McMinnville through the summer months as a day trip or family destination,” she said.

Admission to the park is $30 for visitors over 42 inches tall. The price is $25 for those under 42 inches and admission to the children’s museum is $15.

The price of admission may be a deterrent for college students looking to visit the park because there is not a Linfield student discount.

“I might attend the waterpark once or twice this summer, but $30 is a little too expensive for me,” Franceschina said.

Brittany Baker/Staff reporter

Brittany Baker can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com.


Speaker shares views on Middle East foreign policy

Guest speaker William Beeman, chair of the anthropology department for the University of Minnesota, shares misconceptions about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East during his lecture “Middle East Foreign Policy: Why the State Department Needs Anthropologists” May 9.

Professor William Beeman, anthropology department chair and professor at the University of Minnesota, gave an anthropologist’s perspective on the United States’ foreign policy in the Middle East during his lecture on May 9.

The lecture, titled “Middle East Foreign Policy: Why the State Department Needs Anthropologists,” focused on how the United States would handle foreign policy if it considered some of the cultural and political differences between the Middle East and the United States.

“We didn’t even understand our own culture very well,” Beeman said, referencing the United States’ lack of cultural expertise in foreign and American policy.

Beeman used the analogy of a baseball team to explain America’s reasons for foreign policy, saying that after World War II, America was like the best baseball team in the world. The only way to make the game more interesting was to split up the teams, which is an analogy for America becoming more invested in foreign policy.

Beeman explained five commonly held misconceptions that the American public generally believes to be true: the world consists of nation-states, the world is dichotomous, the world is ruled by elite rulers, the world is ruled by violence and wealth and all events have approximate causes.

“The U.S. has a bad habit of believing that the only reason things happen is because of immediate causes,” Beeman said, explaining that the current uprising in the Middle East is the result of things that have happened for centuries.

Some of these things included strong colonial influence and a feeling of being robbed by stronger powers, which has led to the current conflict, he said.

Beeman explained that the Middle East populace has different interests than the American populace and is more focused on spiritual matters.

“He talked about how they aren’t influenced by guns and money at all,” sophomore Julia Cooper, said. “The people would rather have something to believe in, something more than that.”

Cooper said she attended the lecture to hear what Beeman considered to be an anthropologist’s place in resolving conflict.

“I was really interested in hearing about how anthropologists could help with the situation over there,” Cooper said. “The main idea behind that was instead of looking at how we can help solve their problems from a governmental or military viewpoint, we should go there and experience the culture and actually see what’s going on in the Middle East on a daily basis.”

Brittany Baker/Staff reporter
Brittany Baker can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com

Wildstock to feature free food, music, games

At the end of each year, the Linfield Activities Board hosts Wildstock, a free concert and festival for students. This year’s festival is on May 20 and features a highly anticipated musical lineup, as well as food and activities.

Parachute, a nationally recognized pop rock band, will be the featured band at this year’s Wildstock festival.

Parachute will be accompanied by student bands Prowler and Na Hemo. Prowler, who will open the show at 6 p.m., was the winner of this year’s LAB sponsored Battle of the Bands. Na Hemo will begin at 7 p.m. Parachute will play from 8 p.m. until the festival ends.

Although all three bands have different styles, Nicole Bond, vice president of programming ASLC, said she thinks it will be a great show.

“It’s nice to have diversity,” Bond said.

The event will also include student activity booths sponsored by ASLC  chartered clubs. There will be several booths, including the Hawaiian Club’s shaved ice booth and the Greenfield Henna tattoo booth. There will also be carnival games, trivia and more.

Booths will open at 5 p.m.

Ribslayer Barbeque, El Primo, Odmo’s Pizza, Thai Country and Coldstone Creamery will cater Wildstock. Because food has been known to run out at previous Wildstock events, LAB has ordered even more than usual, with 75 pounds of pulled pork, 30 extra large pizzas, 200 enchiladas, 50 orders of pad thai and enough ice cream for 600 people. Each student will be able to have a plate from two different restaurants, as well as a dish of ice cream from Coldstone Creamery.

Students will begin the evening at the student check-in table where they will receive two food tickets and one ice cream ticket. From there, the event will be free-flowing and students can choose to eat, listen to the bands and visit booths at their leisure.

The event will be a good time for everyone, Bond said.

“If you are interested in music, in food or if you just want to hang with friends, there is something for everyone at Wildstock,” she said.

T-shirts for Wildstock will be on sale every night in Dillin and in the CIC leading up to the event. They will also be available at Wildstock. Shirts cost $3, and are available in hot pink, blue and charcoal gray.

Wildstock will begin at 5 p.m. May 20 on the IM field .

Marissa Cole/News editor
Marissa Cole can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com

Director of Multicultural Programs to be hired

Three candidates for the new Director of MultiCultural Programs position visited campus May 9-11 to sell themselves through meetings, presentations and discussions with students, staff and faculty.

Randolph Corradine, Robin Beavers and Jason Rodriquez visited May 9, 10 and 11.

After eating lunch with small groups of students, each candidate gave presentations where students, staff and faculty had opportunities to learn more about the applicants, ask questions and discuss the role of that position at Linfield.

After interviewing 12 of the top applicants via Skype, Affairs and Dean of Students Susan Hopp, said three candidates were chosen to visit.

“What we’re looking for is a person who can really build strong relationships with students [and] who will help facilitate the kinds of programs and organizations and experiences that our students want and also need as part of their out-of-classroom leadership experience at Linfield,” she said.

Corradine discussed his ability to connect with students and his experience working with admissions. He said he wanted to be a resource on campus to listen to the concerns and challenges of students and develop more programs.

“I have a personal goal to serve all communities that I am a part of through meaningful and lasting work. This is accomplished through my commitment to public service coupled with a personal mission of giving back in order to serve young people who come from low-income and first-generation backgrounds to attend college communities,” Corradine said in his résumé. Corradine works in admissions at Evergreen State College.

Beavers talked about collaborating with students, faculty, staff, family and the community to generate student success. She also cited her experience working with students of diverse backgrounds.

“I have assisted numerous students in obtaining their higher education goals. Providing academic success strategies financial aid advising and general counseling, I have the ability to help students realize their full potential and grow into positive contributing citizens,” she said in her résumé. Beavers works for non-profit Self Enhancement, Inc.

Rodriquez discussed building a mission and setting goals for what he sees as a potential office during his presentation.

He is the Director of Diversity Education and Support at the University of Oregon.

“My diverse experiences in functional areas such as student activities, fraternity and sorority life, volunteer services, career services and many other functional areas outside of multicultural affairs/diversity education make me a strong candidate for this position,” Rodriquez said in his résumé.

Hopp said she hopes to decide by the end of next week and that she is looking for someone who can relate well to students.

“It’s an administrative position because they’re directing programs, but the work is really working with students,” she said. “They all had a committment to access and having a diverse student body with the right kinds of support systems in place for students.”

Hopp said the lack of a director since former Director of Multicultural Programs Barry Tucker suddenly resigned last fall has been hard on students and hopes the new director will revitalize the office.

“I think it’s hard on the students because they’ve had to do everything themselves — pull off the Lu’au, pull off Hispanic Heritage Day — and those are big events,” she said. “I want it to be a really active, engaging place for students to feel supported and valued and where they can really learn a lot and also where they can plan events that draw in all students.”

Braden Smith/Managing editor
Braden Smith can be reached at linfieldreviewmanaging@gmail.com