I am a Christian

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Editor-in-chief Tatum Sturdivant illustrates Christianity in today’s society by having someone read their Bible.

Butler Students share their thoughts on how they think society views Christianity

by Tatum Sturdivant | editor-in-chief

In Wichita, there are approximately 200 churches, according to Churches-In.com. When driving down the street to the store, everyone is bound to pass at least three churches. A total of 70.6%  of Americans surveyed by Pew Forum claim to be in the different Christian denominations; 20.8% claim to be specifically Catholic and the remaining 8.6% range in a variety of other religious beliefs.

Although Christianity is the most common religious belief in America, many followers believe society tends to treat these believers to a different set of standards than everyone else.

“People expect for Christians to be perfect,” freshman Adrian Bookout says. “They have to be 100% all the time like we do not have our bad days. The most stereotypical trait that I think people expect is for us to be judgmental.”

It is impossible for everyone to be perfect and please one another, so these expectations may lead believers to suppress their beliefs, or not mention it, depending on who they are around.

“I feel like sometimes people do not want to hear about it, or I fear they will treat me differently because of it,” Bookout says. “[Society’s expectations of Christians] brings pressure on Christians because if [they] mess up, then that can reflect badly. Also, people will act a different way, or not be themselves with you to please your beliefs.”

Bookout also claims, by suppressing her beliefs it has impacted her image when around her nonbelieving peers.

“I will sometimes act differently with my friends who are non-believers, which will then impact their view of me,” she says. “I have noticed that I am more able to speak out my beliefs when I am with other Christians. I think that is because I do not have to be vulnerable. I know that I am already in a safe place to talk. With nonbelievers you put yourself out there; it is hard to do and it is uncomfortable, but that is what God called us to do.”

While some Christians feel like they have to suppress their beliefs, there are others that would say otherwise.

As part of having a relationship with God you are supposed to share your faith [with] people,” sophomore Gizell Gonzalez says. “Not because you want people to see what you believe in, but because you want people to see your relationship with God and make them think about what they believe in could be wrong.”

Speaking up and sharing one’s beliefs is not necessarily an easy task, but it is something that believers feel called to do.

One time Gonzalez recalls was when she told her friends from home about how she gave her life to God.

“When I was telling my friends from home that I gave my life to God they [said] that they did not like who I was becoming,” Gonzalez says. “That was really hard for me to hear from them because they were my childhood friends and still are. It was hard for me to pray for them because I knew they did not accept me for who I am.”

Although society often provides negative feedback towards one’s beliefs, one way that Gonzalez and Bookout stay in tune with their beliefs is by staying connected in the Christian community.

“Community is very important,” Bookout says. “We are the body of Christ. If we are not in community, then our body is not functional. We need that support and accountability. It can be a positive environment to just be yourself in.”

Bookout claims that it is easy to confide in those with the same beliefs but also believes that Christians need diversity.

“However, I would say that there needs to be some diversity,” Bookout says. “We have to reach out to those who are lost. I heard this analogy that it is those who are sick that need to see the doctor, not the people who are healthy. Meaning that we, as Christians, need to reach out to the ‘sick.’”

In order to stay connected in the community, Bookout claims she attends weekly church services, has a weekly Bible study and attends Navigators on Thursday evenings at Wichita State University.

Gonzalez agrees that it is important for Christians to stay in community with fellow Christians and does so by attending Campus Crusade for Christ, Cru, a youth group for college students at Butler Community College, and attending church with a family in El Dorado.

“[Cru] has impacted me so much,” Gonzalez says. “It is where I have met my closest friends that are now my best friends. … [I] believe that … your Christian friends help you grow [closer] to God, and you can talk to them about anything that God has for you in your trial. It is also  possible that they are also going through the same thing, or have gone through that trial.”

Bookout believes that despite the stereotypes society holds over Christians, that believers are able to change how they are viewed.

“Be your best even at your worst,” she says. “Show God’s love each day and let people know what you believe. You should show it through words and actions. Let people see that it is okay to make a mistake, show people that you are forgiving. We are all human, we are going to sin; however, because of God’s love and mercy, we are able to repent and be redeemed. People need to see that we aren’t perfect and we do make mistakes, but we learn and strive to be better. We still need to keep the standard high, but also know that it is okay to have bad days.”

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Butler Forming Stars

Butler alumnus Joey Defore talks about life as an aspiring actor

by Nadine Armstrong | photo editor

When thinking about moving to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in acting, Butler Community College alumnus, Joey Defore, describes his experience as nerve-wracking.

“I had never been [to LA] prior to packing all my things in my car and heading West, so I had no idea what to expect,” Defore says. “I just remember having the feeling and knowing that LA was the place I needed to be in order make my dream a reality.”

 

Defore started acting and performing when he was in elementary school, acting in musicals and plays.

 

“It was always something I enjoyed, but I never thought pursuing it for a career was possible until I came to Butler,” Defore says. “That was when I started taking my craft more seriously.”

Defore was on a vocal music scholarship for performing in Headliners, the show choir.

“My time at Butler was really where I came out of my shell. I was lucky enough to have so many different opportunities all at my fingertips,” Defore says.

 

The opportunities he had were acting classes with Professor Bob Peterson and Professor Samuel Sparks, dance classes with Professor Valerie Mack, and vocal lessons with Hide Teichgraeber. Some classes Defore took that he later found as an asset were the Radio and TV

production classes, taught by Dr. Keith West, because he learned what went on behind the camera, which helped make it easier during filming.

Defore found moving to LA an incredible feeling but a challenge leaving everything and everyone he’s ever known behind.

“Where there is no risk there is no reward though, so I knew moving was the only option,”  Defore says. “Another challenge on a similar note has been not having very many people to associate with since I’ve been here. It’s a big city, but it is nearly impossible to make it on your own, so finding friends and supporters that are on your side are essential, but pretty hard to find.”

Defore knew he made the right choice to pursue acting when he tried to see himself doing anything besides acting, but he could not.

“The famous saying is, ‘If you can do anything else in life besides acting, do it.’ This is mainly because through the journey of becoming a successful actor, you will go through many valleys of feeling like it’s impossible. You will want to give up, quit, almost once a month and the only actors that make it are the ones that can repeatedly keep themselves motivated after having those thoughts. Often it is the circumstances of not having a plan B that keeps the motivation high,” Defore says. “My family has always been my biggest fans and I’m blessed to have such a loving family that calls me all the time to check in and see how I am doing. Sharing good news is the biggest payoff, but they have been there to support me even when it is bad news.”

When casting, directors hold auditions for new shows or new characters. They come and go very quickly, according to Defore.

He often gets the material for a potential role the day before his audition. Sometimes when it is a more significant role he gets it a couple of days prior, in order to prepare.

“But [an audition] has a ‘drop everything that I’m doing and focus on the audition’ kind of feeling,” Defore says.

The material he is given before his audition contains the breakdown (the list of character descriptions and story line), the sides (the scenes with the character he is auditioning for) and the script if it is available to him. When he knows the general focus of the character’s purpose in  the script he rehearses the scenes and plans out choices that satisfy the purpose of the character. He also makes some interesting choices that might not be the ‘obvious’ choice.

“Choosing something obvious is what everyone else is going to do and it is important to stand out, especially when there may be 50 other actors that the casting directors are looking at,” Defore says. “I will run the scene with friends after I have crafted it, just to solidify it and make sure it runs smoothly.”

In order for his mind to be fresh and focused for an audition he does not go out the night beforehand, he goes to bed early as well and wakes up early the day of his audition.

“This is why it is difficult for actors to hold regular jobs,” Defore says. “Because one minute you are planning on working that night or the next day and all of a sudden you get a phone call saying you have an audition, changing your entire schedule for the next 24 hours or until your audition is over.”

Defore has been in six shows. His top shows he has been cased in are “Agents of Shield” as Young Von Strucker, “Hawaii Five-0” as 20-year-old Charlie Williams, and “Scorpion” as Jesse Colt.

Defore says there are similarities and differences when it comes to filming every show. The process he goes through when he arrives at the studio for filming is similar. He is taken to his trailer and is given the daily call sheet and script for the scenes that are being shot that day. He checks the script to see if there were any changes to the scenes he is in and if there are no changes he goes to hair and makeup.

“Once I’m actually on set, it is pretty relaxing until we are ready to shoot the scenes. I will normally talk with the other actors and get to know them a little so shooting the scene with them isn’t the first time we are actually communicating,” Defore says. “I try to get to know as many on set as possible. For me, that is the most fun part and since it isn’t something that happens every day, I like to talk with all of the people there that get to ‘make the magic happen’ as they say.”

Where the shows are filmed and what he has to do for each one is different. Defore flew to Hawaii for the first time for his debut on prime time TV to film “Hawaii Five-0” for a week on location. He says it was an experience he will never forget.

“‘Marvel’s Agents of Shield’ was the most fun [to work on]. For this role, I had to work on a German accent. It also had some action scenes where I got to fight another character,” Defore says. “On top of that, I was a bad guy for this role and I really enjoyed being able to immerse myself in villain’s shoes for such a prestigious show and cinematic universe.”

Defore has always had a lot of drive. He was taught growing up that if he wanted to accomplish something he would have to work for it, even in times when he thought it seemed impossible.

“I try to use all the negative stigma around becoming an actor as motivation,” Defore says. “There are many [people] out there that don’t think it is logical and where it is a profession that is notoriously known for having a very small success rate, if you believe it is possible and can motivate yourself to work hard for it, you can accomplish anything in life, even becoming an actor.”

We Are Not Your Stereotype

Students discuss how various stereotypes have affected them

by Keandra Rovaris | reporter

 

According to Merriam-Webster, a stereotype is: something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially: a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment. There are many different types of stereotypes, but all stereotypes take away a person’s individuality by lumping you into a group. Whether the stereotype is claimed to be positive or negative, it is discouraging to find someone who views you as another member of a group and not as your own person.


Types of Stereotypes:

Negative stereotypes: Most stereotypes. Any stereotype that negatively represents a group of people. They are unfairly biased and harshly critical.

Examples: Women are not as smart as men. All children hate vegetables.


“Positive” stereotypes: A stereotype that is believed to be a flattering statement about a group. Positive stereotypes can be as common as negative stereotypes for every identity, and they can cause the same amount of harm. If one does not fit the “positive stereotype,” then the stereotype can be even more dividing. It sets the bar high, and when it is brought to one’s attention, it can actually make them perform worse.

Examples: All Asians are good at math. Women are natural nurturers.


Racial Stereotypes: Racial stereotypes are based on a racial identity or ethnicity. They are often considered to be humorous at least to the one holding the prejudiced view.

Examples: All African Americans are good at sports. All Mexicans speak Spanish.


Cultural Stereotypes: Cultural stereotypes are slightly different than racial stereotypes because they can stereotype geographical regions or nationalities.


Examples: All Americans are lazy. All Canadians are really polite.


Gender Stereotypes: Gender stereotypes are judging others on how males and females are “supposed” to think or act. These are commonly used as even small children grow up, attributing different characteristics as masculine or feminine.


Example: Men are stronger than women. Girls should like the color pink, and boys should like blue.


Sexual Orientation Stereotypes: These are stereotypes based on one’s sexual orientation. There are many associated with the LGBT community.


Examples: Homosexual men have the best fashion sense. Heterosexual men should approach the women.


Group Stereotypes: Group stereotypes can be specific or broad. They target any group of people based on any characteristics.


Examples: Blondes are unintelligent. All librarians are mean, and they wear glasses and their hair in buns.


Age Stereotypes: Age stereotypes are prejudices about one’s age. They can be held by persons of any age about their age group or another age group.


Examples: All teenagers are rude and rebellious. All of the elderly people hate change and are bad at using technology.

 

AJ Adams, sophomore

How are you stereotyped?

I am stereotyped by people thinking I am just a dumb athlete.

How do you feel these stereotypes impact your life?

I️t impacts my life because it makes me want to learn more, so I can see the look on people’s faces when they find out that I’m actually smart.


What is an example of a stereotype you have held toward others, and why?

An example of stereotype I held with others was in a basketball game when I thought a big chubby kid was sorry but he actually turned out to be good.


Tya Wiley, freshman
How are you stereotyped?

A stereotype would be that I’m loud, crazy, ghetto, etc.

How do you feel these stereotypes impact your life?

I guess they do because that is what people think and depending on the situation that could end badly for me.


What is an example of a stereotype you have held toward others, and why?

That short Hispanic people are crazy because my mom is Hispanic and short and acts crazy.

Amari Beasley, freshman
How are you stereotyped?

I’m stereotyped because people think just because I am a black girl, that means I have an attitude or that I’m ignorant. People will say “you are nice for a black girl.” Like what does that even mean?

How do you feel these stereotypes impact your life?

I mean I guess it makes me feel different because people are treating me differently than everyone else.

What is an example of a stereotype you have held toward others, and why?

That all white people over the age of 60 are most likely racist. I do not know why I just get that vibe.


Tavian Stewart, freshman

How are you stereotyped?

I get stereotyped because I’m the youngest in the company, so they think I don’t know what I’m talking about or that my opinion doesn’t mean anything.

How do you feel these stereotypes impact your life?

It definitely hurts my self-esteem and makes me feel like I can’t move up because of my age.

What is an example of a stereotype you have held toward others, and why?

A stereotype I give to people is when they have nice things at a young age like Jordans or nice clothes that they are spoiled brats and don’t know how to work hard for what they have.

The Inside Scoop: Austin Allen

Sports editor, Madison Pierce interviews freshman Austin Allen on what it was like for him to come out as gay

Madison Pierce: At what age did you realize that you liked the same sex?

Austin Allen: My sophomore year [of high school].

MP: How did you come out to your parents?

AA: I came out to my parents separately. I had come out to my mother junior year [of high school] and my father my senior year. It was at the end of my senior year when I was dating my first boyfriend. I felt that it was time for me to tell my father, so I could finally be myself. They were both really accepting of my sexuality. I had come out to them in person.

MP: Was it hard to tell your friends? What did they say or think?

AA: I came out to my best friends before I came out ot my parents. They were very accepting.

MP: What’s a common reaction to you coming out as gay?

AA: The most common reaction that I get to coming out to people is that they either say that they already kinda knew or that they are still here for me.

MP: Any fears about being openly gay? (Jobs, making friends, etc.)

AA: I have had fears that my sexuality would affect how people think of me and how some people might not want to be friends with me. The biggest fear is that some of my family might not accept it.

MP: How do you face your fear of people not accepting you?

AA: I faced my fear by being proud of my sexuality and discovered that I do not need people’s approval.

MP: Have you been to any pride events/marches?

AA: I have been to one pride event and would like to say it is an amazing experience because you get to see people come together not to just celebrate LGBTQ, but getting to see that we are all equal.

MP: How does your experience of being openly gay compare to others?

AA: My experience of being openly gay is that I am proud of who I am. Other people that I know are—most of the time—the same way. There are some who feel like they have to closet that part of them away because of how people will think of them.

Split Views

Different queens talk about the drag experience

Imani Kotoure

Nadine Armstrong | photo editor

Current Miss Gay Wichita Pride 2k17, Imani Kotoure, has only been part of the drag community for about two years after her best friend at the time got involved.

“I had known of drag, but had not really seen any of it off screen,” Kotoure says. “When my best friend at the time got into it, and I began helping him, and learning more about the art of drag along the way I fell in love with the art.”


Kotoure’s favorite part about being a drag is getting to prep for a gig.


“I add whatever songs I am performing that night to a playlist of other songs that tend to get me ready to slay, pour a glass of wine, and some munchies, and then sit down at my vanity,” Kotoure says.


When transforming Kotoure takes three hours to paint her face for something important, but can get ready in two when needed.


After arriving at the bar, Kotoure goes backstage to become a woman.


“I tuck, and layer on like 5 pairs of compression shorts,” Kotoure says. “Then grab my body from my body bag, … which is two hip pads made out of foam …, and then two butt pads, also of the same material. I put those on under two pairs of flesh tone tights, and then I layer on about eight caramel colored ones after that, along with a pair of fishnets and my undergarment.”


Next in Kotoure’s transformation she puts on her foam breasts, costume and starts getting ready for her first number.


“My last steps are putting on my wig, nails and jewels because I always feel like they pull my looks together,” Kotoure says.


Then she is ready to go on stage and perform.


“It’s an amazing feeling to put so much time and energy into a performance and then to take it a step further and to be able to see the people in the audience, friends and family alike, live for you and all of your hard work, it’s exhilarating,” Kotoure says. “I always say, If you’re doing it right, you’ll feel like you’re Queen of the Night.”


 

Terri S. Aqui

Nadine Armstrong | photo editor

Former Miss Gay Wichita Newcomer 2016 and first alternate to Miss Gay Kansas Newcomer 2017, Terri S. Aqui as been active in the drag community for the last five years. She entered the drag community through an ex-boyfriend who was a drag queen.


“In the middle of our conversation I told him I thought it would be easy; something I could mark off my bucket list of things to try,” says Aqui, “so I went to the Amateur show called ‘Boot Camp.’ After your performance, the judges tell you everything you did wrong and everything they hated. I kept coming back until they couldn’t judge me anymore and 5 years later I’m still at it.”


When Aqui is getting ready for a show, she takes a nap two to three hours before the show so she can reflect and relax. When Aqui wakes up, she finds a song to perform.


“Once I wake up, I just think of a song that reflects my current mood for the moment and perform that,” Aqui says.


To keep it quiet while putting on makeup, Aqui gets ready on Facebook live. When it comes to the glamorous outfits, she orders them, but she is learning how to sew her own.


Every Saturday, Aqui hosts a show with her drag grandmother Adina Ronee at Club Boomerang called “The Saturday Night Pre-Game.”


“Being on stage is the best feeling in the world,” says Auqi, “because you are taking on a completely different persona and living a new life all in that moment. All of your problems and worries go away.”

Performing does have its challenges. Aqui has to find new and creative ways to keep the audience engaged so they do not get bored watching the same set.


“Drag is an art form, drag is self-expression, drag is beautiful and you should never judge a queen,” Aqui says, “because it takes more courage to stand in front of a group of strangers and dance your heart out in a dress than you’ll ever know.”


 

Harmony Nyte-Carmichael

Noah Merrell | design director

For Carmichael being a “Drag Queen” is not just dress up, it is a way for her to be her true self.


“It is a difficult thing to explain,” she says. “You know that feeling when you just get your haircut, or you know your makeup looks great? Put on those new shoes and feel untouchable? Being in drag is that feeling to me. It is nice to walk around and feel beautiful. It is even nicer when you have a crown on your head!”

Going into the show she plans everything out even days before.


“I always pack my bags the day before a show just in case I forget something I will have time to pack it before heading to the event,” she says.


She treats the packing like she is going on vacation and can plan up to a week worth of just clothing.


When it does come to show time she has to get into her persona and loosen up to help her get prepared.


“Typically on show days, I find myself jamming to the songs I will be performing that evening on repeat. I love to use my show prep as a time to become Harmony,” she says. “That being said I like to get into the mindset of what I will be doing for the evening.”


Not only is drag something she loves to do, but it has also come with some awards for her.


“I am proud to say that I am the current Miss Gay Wichita, Current Miss XY, Former Miss Boomerang, and Former Miss Wichita Pride. I am a recipient of the MImi VanHorn Evening-gown award, the Fritz Capone Talent Award, and Miss Wichita Pride – Audience Choice Award,” she says.

She also said that she strives to be the most awarded Queen in Kansas.


“I am known as a ‘pageant queen.’ I honestly just do drag to compete and win pageants. That is just me. Some queens would not be caught dead competing in a pageant,” she says.

It is safe to say that Harmony has made a name for herself in the drag world and is even recognized sometimes when she is not even in drag.


“Often times going by any of the clubs or bars I am called Harmony (in-or-out of drag) however, it is not common for me to be stopped out in public and greeted as Harmony,” she says.