|Diversity Makes the World More Colorful
|Love Conqueers All
|The Importance of Equality in Society
|What You Fear Without a Heart
|Flesh & Blood
|Hamilton: An American Musical or Cultural Phenomenon?
|ESL within USDF
|Kiera’s View on Diversity and Self-Identity
|Intercultural Interactions on Social Media
With a whole heart, I’m happy to introduce you to this month’s Libertarian: Diversity & Self-expression. For the past month, the Libertarian Team has been working extremely hard to bring you a high quality issue. They’ve done an outstanding job and we hope that you enjoy the read!
Throughout history, we’ve seen many strong and inspiring individuals fight for equality among people and groups with different genders, values, morals, cultures, races and perspectives. We live in a better world today than we did many years ago. However, that doesn’t mean the fight for equal rights is over. Many people around the world still experience discrimination regularly, and that’s not okay. We bring you this Libertrian to shed some light on the array of different backgrounds individuals come from.
We are blessed that USDF is accepting of all people as equals. USDF is made up of a wide range of people and it’s important for each person to play their role in maintaining a safe, positive and inclusive environment. With this, just remember: each person is a unique individual. Always embrace who you truly are and don’t let society force you into hiding your authentic self. You are beautiful, no matter your experience. By learning how to accept your true self and others, we can make this world a better place, one step at a time. Spread love and kindness.
Diversity Makes the World More Colorful
Culture can be portrayed as the art and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. However, diversity is the condition or fact of being different. It can be singular, if we think about us as individuals who have different ideals and principles, or it can be in a plurality concept, if we are talking about a social group that has a lifestyle based on their traditions. When combined, cultural diversity is about any kind of human manifestation that can be expressed by dance, folklore store, food, language or music, which goes through generations.
According to the philosopher François de Bernard, culture is dynamic because it cannot be static, it can be “changed” or “adapted” which can be influenced by important occurrences. During the colonization period and the migratory movements, many countries received influence over their own culture. The colonizer culture seemed to have a more dominant influence, mainly in the idiomatic question and the creation of festivals or holidays. Aside from the colonizer culture, there are numerous other influencers that contribute to cultural diversity. These other groups will influence culture with dance, food, religion, and other kinds of human manifestations that tend to make the culture richer. Different cultures can exist simultaneously and quite often, due to how multicultural society has become, we are introduced to a variety of cultures daily. This has become so normalized that it isn’t always identifiable that we are experiencing different cultures.
Besides strictly human intervention, culture has been influenced by technological advances and the sharing of information around the world. Globalization is a phenomenon that started in the late 15th century with modern globalization starting in the 19th century, which made it possible to shorten geographical distances, by the advancement of the internet. The possibility to talk with someone from the other side of the world helped to intensify cultural exchange. Thus, we can identify more with a type of cultural habit and bring it to our lives. For example, someone from the United States of America can enjoy Japanese style culture through easy access to games or anime or someone from France can listen to Brazilian music. At the same time, globalization allows cultural exchange, some researchers believe that it interferes with cultural diversity, because the trend is to become something homogeneous, a unique culture.
According to the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), cultural diversity contributes to a more peaceful and prosperous world, offering a constant source of innovation and creativity. Looking to preserve cultural riches and culture maintenance, especially from those populations who live isolated. UNESCO issued a statement recognizing the countless cultures in the world as a “common heritage of society”, making humanity responsible to protect and promote cultural diversity.
Love Conqueers All
One thing I adore about Habbo, especially within the USDF, is the diversity of our personnel. All different kinds of people from all different backgrounds and upbringings, from all over the world, connecting on one platform. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community myself, Habbo was the last place I expected to find a pride family, as it’s just a game I thought. Well, the USDF LGBTQIA+ family is a strong and expressive community that really showed up for me being fiercely inclusive and open minded. Let me introduce you to a few personnel, who will discuss what pride means to them, what personal struggles they’ve encountered surrounding their experience and how they express themselves.
LCDR WarmClimate – identifies as gay
To me, pride means being able to show off one’s identity without the fear of prejudice. It’s feeling confident and comfortable with oneself. I had to overcome coming out my entire fire/EMS service career when I was 20 years old. Fortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing some wonderful people that helped me reveal my truest self to those who I have to trust with my life in life-threatening situations. Five years later, and I have yet to have any issues relating to my sexuality in my workplace. I feel welcome and accepted, and perhaps even more respected than I was before I came out. I express myself in many ways. Sometimes, I wear mascara and a touch of foundation, and other times I wear nothing, it depends on the mood I am in that day. Do I get manicures with light pink gel nails? Absolutely. Am I afraid to show them off in public? Absolutely not. I’ve come to realize that how I want to express myself is up to me and I won’t let anyone else dictate what I should or shouldn’t do. There is no “norm” for how you would act or express yourself in society anymore… At least not to me. But most days, I express myself in my most natural way.
Ret. Gen AbbieGator110 – identifies as a trans lesbian
Pride to me is something that doesn’t have the same purpose as it could or should. This year was my first pride year, and I never really got to celebrate it properly. Educating others is something I enjoy doing and for me, the biggest issue is coming out to friends and family. There’s a lot of fear when you come from a rural town that is very right-leaning, but ultimately, my family and friends accept me and that’s all that matters. I’m also a moderator of a trans subreddit, and dealing with transphobia on this platform is another major challenge. I have found some of it to be really difficult to deal with and I couldn’t really get through it without the love of my girlfriend. She means the world to me and she’s able to calm me down after seeing something particularly offensive. I am somewhat femme when it comes to my presentation, but still largely afraid to wear a dress outside the house. I really want to express myself more with clothing as the year goes on, including wearing a dress to work when I get back into the office.
SSgt Wierzbowski – identifies as gay
Pride means bringing everyone together and celebrating us all as one. Celebrating love as something beautiful no matter gender or sexuality. I celebrate it by going to festivals and joining in on community celebrations with friends. I think just being an out gay male is tough because people associate being male with having to be super ‘masculine’ which I’m just not. I’ve been called names and spat at and been ridiculed. It’s really hard to walk down the street holding your partner’s hand, without feeling like you have a target on your back. I guess I haven’t fully overcome that yet, but I just try to remind myself that I love who I’m with no matter what. Hopefully one day, I’ll feel comfortable in my own skin. However, I guess I’m also true to myself and don’t hide away. I’m honest when people ask, and I choose to present myself however I please. My expression is through my behaviours and how I dress.
CW5 RoyalThaGoddess – identifies as a pansexual cis female
Pride to me is celebrating yourself and who you are, and also those who are like you. Most of all really, to know you aren’t alone. I celebrate it by talking with others in the community and learning more about the history. I have had to come out to my friends and even my boyfriend. This was a huge issue to me because most of my friends (like me) were really confused as to what I identified as, since I was feminine and masculine, and I liked basically gender. With my boyfriend, he was the first person I have ever dated, and knew I was pansexual but he doesn’t care as he is accepting of me. I’ve also had to deal with homophobic family members, which I overcame by simply just not paying them any mind and living how I wanted. I express myself through my art, whether it be by me drawings or through my writings such as poems or songs. I also express myself through music and the songs I listen to which can tell people about me and my several different personalities (swear I’m not crazy lol).
USD I Fotoshop – identifies as a bisexual trans male
Pride is celebrating how far I’ve come with embracing my identity because I grew up very repressed. I usually celebrated pride by attending the NYC Pride Parade hosted in June. I guess the biggest issue for me was coming to terms with it. It was a scary realization, because being trans isn’t as understood or accepted as being gay/bi/lesbian. Even a lot of my friends had some trouble understanding it, and don’t even get me started on pronouns lol. I overcame this by blindly messaging some other trans guys on Instagram. I specifically reached out to two Asian trans men and both messaged me back with encouragement. We talked about our experiences; how they came out, specific issues with being trans and Asian, and just sometimes life in general. The two guys gave me the courage to come out to my greater groups of friends and then eventually everyone, including my parents. I’m on testosterone now and present myself male-like. My voice got deeper, and I’ve had some other physical changes as well. I’m very open about being transgender and express myself freely.
CWO3 saltpocalypse – identifies as gay
To be fully honest, I’m still struggling with being prideful of myself, but I have a lot of friends who are also LGBT+, so we go to parades and festivals together. I am also a filmmaker, and the way that I personally like to express my pride is through film. I don’t like the way that the clichés portray the community so I’m always trying to make films that are diverse and represent us in a good way. There were some people throughout my life that weren’t as accepting as the rest, but I put myself first and I removed those people from my life. It hurts to cut people out, but it would hurt more to continue existing with people who can’t accept the most basic part of me. I express myself through my films and the way I dress and behave.
CWO5 Kerfuffle – identifies as a cisgender lesbian, “soft butch”
When I was younger before I came out to my family, Pride used to be something I snuck out to go attend without telling my parents. I live in a major U.S. City and the parades were always huge! It was a very conflicting time for me because it was so joyous to be around people that were like me or accepted me, but I hadn’t reached that conclusion about myself yet. It is very difficult to grow up around that sense of guilt and shame over who you are. Since I’ve come out, the weight has lifted so much more each time. Now, I go to Pride events and celebrate who I am in the community with an air of confidence, love and appreciation for what we, as a community have achieved. It is liberating each time. Pride is the gift that keeps on giving, it is a reminder that I am loved, accepted, and celebrated for who I am. It’s done a lot to combat the shame I felt as a youngster. I try to be open, honest, and kind – always. I give myself room to be honest with myself. I dress how I want; I wear my hair short, and I take backpacks everywhere I go in real! I have given myself a lot of room since coming out to be authentic – it has been such a freeing experience and my friends can tell how much my confidence has increased as a result.
Rainbow Cupcake Recipe
For the cake
- 2 sticks of butter, softened
- 2 ⅓ cups of sugar
- 5 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
- 3 cups of flour
- 4 teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 ½ cups of milk, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave
- Rainbow gel food coloring
For the frosting
- 2 sticks of butter, softened
- 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
- 1 pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons of milk
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until soft and mixed all the way through to become significantly lighter in color.
- Add in the egg whites and vanilla essence until totally combined.
- Add the salt and baking powder to the flour.
- Add in the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of milk at a time.
- Add one cup of the batter to 6 different bowls.
- Color each bowl with your gel food coloring in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
- Mix until the colors are fully combined.
- With a small spoon, scoop the batter from each bowl into the cups making layers of colour.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
For the frosting
- Whip the butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until you see the butter is lighter in color and fluffy (about 1 minute of mixing).
- Add in the vanilla essence.
- Add in the powdered sugar in 1 cup increments with the milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Mix on high for 1 minutes after each addition.
- The frosting should be light and fluffy.
- Using a closed star tip and decorating bag, pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.
Now you can enjoy these delicious cupcakes with your friends and family!
The Importance of Equality in Society
In a world with such uncertainty, we look into places we are familiar with to find a peace of mind. USDF is the top military on habbo, and that comes from our diversity and hard work! There are many benefits to having a unique and diverse workplace! One being that diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation. This is truly highlighted in all aspects of USDF, particularly within offices and Branch Councils.
In councils, we exercise our creativity to personnel throughout our branches by helping them with demotivation, good times, and everything in between. Our Senior Command also comes up with new ideas, and tries to innovate our systems for beneficial and positive change to aid in progression. This isn’t just a Senior Command responsibility, but instead the duties of all personnel by contributing to discussions and voicing opinions that shape change.
We encourage all personnel to submit their own suggestions and ideas via the appropriate pathways. These measures allow for a level playing field where all ideas are valued from our personnel and their contributions regarding input towards the outcome of the military is considered. This isn’t just because our leaders are good people who make good decisions, but instead our leaders understand the value of others and that anyone, no matter their background, can contribute to the success that USDF holds!
Another thing that is unique to USDF allowing for a more diverse workplace is our process for selection of positions, Officer Candidate School, and offices! We encourage all personnel who are eligible to apply, thus working for a diverse and fair application process! We provide EOI Review Councils to all personnel so that way it’s accessible to all. Without these services we really wouldn’t be selecting the best applicants but the most convenient ones for example based on timezones. This would imply an unfair advantage to those with unfavourable timezones such as Asia or Australia which is the opposite to the militaries timezone EST/EDT.
The best thing about USDF is its diverse community of personnel, allies and guests, who truly add different perspectives, colour, change and layers of details to USDF. We are all so proud of the differing cultures, and we hope you are too.
What You Fear Without A Heart
We are the people who push at the boundaries
Who tear at the chains to set ourselves free
We are the hands who have built our own cities
Who carry the weight of our long ancestry
We are the fighters who carve out a namesake
Who reshape the words that you used for shame
We are the mixers who spin a new remake
Who write out the lyrics to songs you can’t name
We are the souls who break free of your tyranny
Who build up our shields to block out hateful speech
We are the minds who give up on your “honesty”
Who see you for what you are, arrogant leech
We are the dreamers who make strides toward freedom
Who pave a new path toward a haven for all
We are the stars who ensure you believe them
Who build you up so you’ll stop feeling so small
Flesh & Blood
~ 1981 ~
“I wanna be a chef!” Zac exclaimed. “The best chef in the world!” He picked up his toy knife and waddled back to his seat.
“That’s marvelous, Zac!” said the teacher, putting on a slight smile. The class, filled with future policemen and women, firefighters, doctors, teachers and principals, clapped as Zac finished his show and tell.
~ 1991 ~
“Hey bro, I’m gonna go over to the lawyer booth. Catch ya later.”
“Oh.. alright. See you later, Taylor,” replied Zac.
Once again, he was alone. It was Zac’s third year attending the mandatory school-wide Job Fair. Yet every year, he would sit in the corner of the bustling gymnasium along with the other misfits. Among the misfits was a skiing champ, shoe designer, and world-famous chef. Careers that the school disregarded, mocked, and ignored. Our school, and perhaps more frustratingly, society, turned a blind eye to these careers. Every year, dozens of kids arrive and depart from the so-called “career misfits”. Most people usually realized their half-hearted passion toward their childhood aspirations and gave up. Only the most passionate misfits remained. Zac, being in the “career misfits” for more than a year, was considered a veteran. Despite being a veteran himself, Zac’s uncertainty over his career choice grew larger.
~ 2001 ~
“How dare you serve this garbage to our customers? You call this medium-rare? You know what, Zac, just go home. You’re on thin ice.” Mortified, Zac awkwardly shuffles over to his belongings. He did everything he could to avoid eye contact with his colleagues as he dragged his body towards the door.
“Hey hon! You’re home early, did something happen?” asked Ronnie.
“I might have lost my job,” replied Zac. “Who have I wronged in my past life to deserve this? It was just one stupid mistake!” he exclaimed. “World-class chef? More like a world-class loser. I’m a total failure.”
“Zac, failure is how we learn. Don’t stress about it, they just don’t understand your talents.”
He sighed, “I’ll cook dinner later. I need to process all this with a shower.”
“Dinner is ready!” said Zac as his hands motioned to a grand huzzah. “Here we go, two delicious risottos, one extra sauce, for m’lady, and one regular, for myself.”
“Y’know, this sauce is simply perfection!”
“Right? Sometimes I feel like you’re the only one that appreciates my cooking.”
“Err.. we’ve been dating for quite a while now, can I give you a bit of constructive criticism? Promise you won’t get mad?”
“I can handle it.”
“Well, I’ll be honest, the asparagus is overcooked. On top of that, the scallops are really bland. But I’m not lying when I say this sauce is amazing.”
“I’m going to bed,” declared Zac.
“Thanks, Ronnie. I think I know what to do. I’m not going to work at the restaurant anymore.”
~ 2004 ~
“And now, the winner for ‘Most Delicious Premade Sauce’ goes to Burns’ Premium for their premade risotto sauce!” exclaimed the TV hostess. “Please welcome the creators of Burns’ Premium: Mr. and Mrs. Burns onto the stage! Mr. Zac Burns, how’re you feeling?”
“Honestly, I don’t know what to feel. I remember the day I was kicked out of the restaurant like it was yesterday. And you know what? I’m thankful that I overcooked that piece of steak. I sulked about my mistake on the way home, and that was the same night Ronnie opened up to me about my many other mistakes. The thought of my unknowingly terrible cooking served to my partner was the final nail in the coffin. It prompted me to rethink my entire career. While I was lying on my bed, I got a call from my childhood friend, Taylor. He said he would return to town, and couldn’t wait to try my risottos again. That’s when I thought of creating a brand for my risotto sauce. I set up booths around town for people to taste test my sauce, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Serving up jars of premade sauce started as a side hobby, but it’s now turned into my life. Of all things, I’m thankful. I never imagined my creations would step foot onto the global stage. I wasn’t a good cook back then, and I’m still learning new things every day. I couldn’t have done it without my wife, Ronnie, and my best friend, Taylor, who isn’t here today. Thanks, everyone!”
“Thank you for sharing, Mr. Burns,” said the T.V. hostess. Zac and Ronnie exit the spotlight and into backstage. Zac checks his phone and discovers a message from Taylor: “I was watching you on T.V.! Congrats! How are you feelin, world-famous chef?” Zac put on a slight smile. He’s finally done it.
Hamilton: An American Musical or Cultural Phenomenon?
Six years ago, if you were to walk up to a random American and ask them “Who is Alexander Hamilton?”, they would probably respond with “Who?”. Now, you might still run into someone with that response, but more likely someone will say “The guy that musical is about?” or even “The ten-dollar, founding father without a father!”.
On February 17th 2015, Hamilton: An American Musical premiered off-Broadway at The Public Theater. It came to Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre just six months later on August 6th, where it has been playing for the past five years. It was nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards (winning 11 of them) and received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Since it’s very first performance at The Public Theater, Hamilton has become a cultural phenomenon, playing to sold-out houses all over the world. From a sit-down production in Chicago, to three ongoing U.S. tours, to a London production, two more productions planned for Germany and Australia, and even a filmed pro shot being released on Disney Plus just last month, Hamilton has touched all corners of the world. With all of its success, one might wonder: How did a musical about America’s first Treasury Secretary garner so much popularity and attention? I think one quote from writer Lin-Manuel Miranda provides the perfect answer: “This is a story about America then, told by America now.”
Hamilton has broken multiple barriers in its ongoing success. In the musical theatre world, it defies the norm by being one of two musicals that use hip hop and rap in the songs (the other being Miranda’s first musical, In The Heights) as opposed to more traditional styles of showtunes. The fact that Hamilton appeals to so many different types of people–theatre geeks, history buffs, and even fans of modern music–is a huge factor as to why it is so popular. More importantly however, is the rare occurrence of a cast of predominantly non-caucasian actors. There are only two caucasian actors with a featured part in the musical, both of which are perceived as antagonists–or at the very least, on the opposite side of Alexander Hamilton. This is done with a purpose: to allow non-caucasian Americans to be able to claim American history. It is a reminder that people of color are a part of America and its history, and should be represented as such. Hamilton was and still is one of the few shows on Broadway with this much diversity. Even moreso, it is one of the only shows in which the fact that the races of the actors are not caucasian does not relate to the plot whatsoever. This is more important than you might realize. There are many shows with lots of diversity, but it’s normally because the characters’ races are important to their storylines. There are many more shows in which the race of the main characters do not relate to the plot; The Phantom of The Opera, Wicked, Beetlejuice, and Moulin Rouge! to name a few. Yet out of those four extremely popular musicals, only one features a non-caucasian actor originating a leading role (if you’re wondering, it’s Karen Olivo in Moulin Rouge!). In its 33 year run on Broadway, Phantom has only cast one non-caucasian actor for the Phantom and one for Christine. Wicked has cast only one actor of color as Elphaba and not cast a single actor of color as Glinda in its 17 year run.
Last year, Britney Johnson (an understudy), was the first non-caucasian actor to go on as Glinda. In it’s short stint on Broadway, Beetlejuice cast only one actor of color as a lead or understudy of a lead. Despite claiming a pride in the inclusiveness and diversity of Broadway, the industry is still very much lacking. Hamilton serves as an important reminder that people of color need a voice too. Since Hamilton’s premiere in 2015, the only other show I can think of that features a cast of mostly non-caucasian actors whose character’s stories don’t revolve around their race is Hadestown, which originally premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2016, and hosted productions in Canada and London before finally opening on Broadway in March 2019.
Hamilton took the world by storm in 2015, and again last month. While it has many messages, one of the most important is the diversity. Hamilton set a precedent for Broadway. It demonstrated that people of color should not be disregarded in the theatre industry. They deserve a place in the business just as much as caucasians.
ESL within USDF
Throughout USDF, we have many different languages, which also includes numerous dialects within a language. This can sometimes cause a barrier for effective communication. USDF places significant importance on positive interactions and communication between co-workers, allies and guests in order to maximize everyone’s experiences. Through interviewing personnel, I wanted to capture and expose some of the similar struggles that our personnel face who do not come from an English speaking background, and highlight their accomplishments associated with the English language.
What is your first language?
- CW4 GoodTop said, “Portuguese”
- CWO2 keenZlee said, “Cebuano – a dialect in the Philippines”
- CW4 KelseyAnnie said, “My first language is Welsh which is unfortunately a dying language”
- Maj :alyss said, “My first language would be Filipino.”
- 2nd Lt Janskyot said, “My first language is Tagalog. It’s the primary language as a Filipino.”
- MAJ Tjedshaul said, “Tagalog (southern dialect)”
- Brig Gen Appartment said, “My first language is actually Mandarin/Hokkien.”
- Maj Synnax said, “My first language is actually Bisaya, which is mostly spoken in a certain region of the Philippines.”
Have you learned the English Language before, outside of USDF?
- CW4 GoodTop said, “I studied English at school, but I also learned a lot of the English language whilst playing games and watching online classes.”
- CW4 KelseyAnnie said, “ So I have been speaking English as a proper language since I was about 8 or 9 years old and I joined USDF when I was 14.”
- Maj :alyss said, “Yes, I have. When I was a kid, I would always prefer American T.V. shows and movies as opposed to my own country’s. I was quite a bookworm when I was in high school and had a passion for learning English. My real life mother made me attend English classes outside of school where I learned to hone English language reading and writing skills.”
- 2nd Lt Janskyot said, “I learned english before I even joined USDF. It wasn’t hard for me to learn as being a student in a prestigious school resulted in me communicating with all types of people.”
- MAJ Tjedshaul said, “No, in fact USDF helped me a lot when it came to communicating using the English language. Before I came to USDF, I couldn’t even write one sentence without committing a grammatical error. But because of the different culture, community and challenges that USDF presents, I have learned to push myself and thus learned to speak English.”
- Brig Gen Appartment said, “Yes, I have previously learned the English language before entering USDF.”
- Maj Synnax said, “Yes, I have learned English before joining USDF as I was taught at an early age.”
How would you say USDF has helped your English skills?
- CW4 GoodTop said, “USDF keeps improving my English skills. I love learning English all day and working at USDF.”
- CWO2 keenZlee said, “It helped me improve my English. We are required to speak English in HQ and by conversing with others it helps me learn, improve and practice my English skills. Even though I still make some grammatical errors, I am still learning the language with each conversation, and I keep on improving for my self evaluation.”
- CW4 KelseyAnnie said, “A lot of my conversations, like regular small talk in English, I actually had because of USDF. Due to my accent and dialect, the English people I spoke to did not understand me too well. Since I could talk to so many different people in USDF, especially people with different accents using English (for example; American, Australian and European), it definitely helped with the way I spoke. I now don’t sound so uneducated every time I speak… or the opposite… like the Queen.”
- Maj :alyss said, “USDF has helped me a lot since my re-enlistment. It had been quite some time since I last wrote some short stories and read books. USDF has helped me hone my English skills again with the use of writing and reviewing EOIs. It is really not that easy to write a good EOI if English isn’t your first language.
- 2nd Lt Janskyot said, “USDF helped me in a lot of ways such as proper sentence construction and how to write and talk professionally in English. I now have confidence to write applications, and effectively communicate with my office colleagues allowing me to interact with all sorts of people here.”
- MAJ Tjedshaul said, “Yes, English is not my first or secondary language so joining USDF was very challenging for me. Everything I need to do to progress, requires English reading and writing skills. This includes even the most basic of tasks such as recruiting, applying for an office and even training people.”
- Brig Gen Appartment said, “Prior to joining USDF, I honestly didn’t have vast knowledge over plenty of vocabulary and I struggled with formulating proper sentences with the right grammar or punctuation. After encountering tons of EOIs, I had learned a lot from all the feedback and the endless Google searches for synonyms to avoid redundancy. I’ve been here for over a year now, and I can honestly say that it has significantly helped me with my English skills that could be applied both here and in real life.”
- Maj Synnax said, “USDF helped me to improve my writing skills when it came to EOIs and also conversing in English. In real life, I could not practice my English skills as much as I did in USDF.”
How do you feel USDF has accepted your background, and culture?
- CW4 GoodTop said, “Yes, it is a little difficult for people who do not have English as their first language to settle with the other native members. Many people can be shy and are sometimes afraid of prolonging conversations, but I believe that USDF gives people a great opportunity to improve their English language skills.”
- CWO2 keenZlee said, “USDF did not mind where I came from. They make me feel it doesn’t matter, as the most important thing is who you are and the friendship we build within USDF. It’s all about the experience and fun. USDF did not make me feel any different to everyone else, we blend and we make friends with everyone which is one of the things I love about USDF.
- CW4 KelseyAnnie said, “I think USDF is excellent at accepting other cultures. Despite being a part of the United Kingdom, Welsh people are so proud of their heritage and meeting another Welshie is always such a good feeling. I am lucky to have met some good friends here who are also Welsh. Not only am I Welsh, I am half Ukranian too, and I have found so many people from Eastern Europe who understand my love for Varenyky who I just don’t meet in real life.”
- Maj :alyss said, “I’m not going to lie, there are a lot of Filipinos here in USDF but even if there are no Filipinos present in HQ or active on Discord, other people from different timezones would still make you feel welcome and comfortable. So, to answer your question, I feel very blessed to be in a community that doesn’t judge someone from their country, ethnicity, race, and culture, even if they don’t speak fluent English.
- 2nd Lt Janskyot said, “I genuinely think USDF doesn’t see an individual based on his/her race or where we come from, but this organization proved to us all that it respects all cultures we practice. There’s no discrimination, and if there is, it would be dealt with accordingly as per USDF regulations. I appreciate the community here and actually, the fun part is mostly where we, as an organization, are composed of different people where we get to share our cultures with our colleagues and at the same time learn from them. It’s a beautiful friendship you see.”
- Brig Gen Appartment said, “USDF has a diverse community full of different people around the world. There are times where historical events of different countries are announced which makes those people who aren’t from the States feel acknowledged for their own background and culture. The community here also appreciates one another and understands where each other are coming from. I’ve met a lot of people who have been fascinated by our own culture and are always eager to learn our language and specifically the dishes we have in store as well.”
- Maj Synnax said, “With the different diverse communities in USDF, I believe that a lot of people have accepted how we are and even tried learning a few words from our vocabulary.”
Overall, USDF is a loving, diverse, and wonderful workplace. We believe that our differences are truly something to be celebrated. Thank you so much to all of those I interviewed, and I really appreciate your honest statements, and caring responses.
Kiera’s View on Diversity and Self-Identity
To begin with, I’ve grown up with the Internet, YouTube and gaming, technology and services that were all rising to the global scale it is today. Some may say it had already grown to be a global scale while I was growing up. While this definitely has had an impact both negative, like the time I flunked a lot of exams as I didn’t revise, and positive, like finding a tight friendship group, one thing stuck out to me. Online it’s always easy to be who you want to be. It’s easy to show the side of you that you want people to see, it’s easy to remove the people who will hurt your feelings from doing so. It’s easy to be the true you, the perfect you, a shadow of you, and you.
What do I mean? For one, it means I can show my true self. For people who don’t know, I’m transgender, although I’m pre transitioning. Online I can present myself as a female and be regarded as such. If people want to go out of their way to not accept me, I can ignore them, block them and prevent them from communicating with me. That truthfully, in my opinion, is one of the greatest benefits of being online.
You may be asking yourself, “Kiera, what does any of this have to do with diversity as well as self expression?”. To that I say this, in every game there is a LGBTQ+ Community, in some games it’s more hidden than in others, but from my personal experience every game has one if you look hard enough.
A few years ago I received an interview on diversity and equality in gaming, many of the answers I gave have changed little through the years, only in their sounding and explanation. Diversity and equality in wider gaming is amazing. I dare you to find another place where a person can simply be themselves. Do you want to have pink hair, a pair of cool aviators and be wrapped up tight in a pillow, well you can be! Do you want to be the best mage in the entire game? Then go have some fun! Gaming is already one of the, if not the most diverse cultures.
Now I think of myself as an open minded individual. I’ve been able to connect with people online, way better than offline, and this has allowed me to embrace and experience the worldwide cultures, LGBTQ+ community and other forms of diversity. This has helped me find myself, as many years ago in late 2018, I stumbled onto Habbo and into a military where I made friends. There were a few who I hung out with and who have had a profound impact on my life. These people opened my eyes further, helped me to understand more about the world, but helped me to find myself. These people are still my friends to this day. Although some of us have moved on from Habbo and some of us have changed names, identities and some have got engaged (after thinking they were straight and changing their sexualities). Others have simply been there as a shoulder to cry on; the glue to keep us together. But what matters most in my eyes is that each of us have figured out who we are, and underneath we are still the same sets of emotions, same brain, bones and body, but we have diversified and become ourselves, we each have found our identities. We did this together as friends, all of us supporting each other.
I remember 2 years ago when I was first introduced to Habbo through a long time friend who took me to the White House. I was immediately hooked on something that was meant to be just a one off fun evening. Sometimes I look back wishing I could change actions or change paths. Sometimes I’ve even regretted staying on this site after that 1st day. However, most of the time I look back as I managed to find myself through these experiences. Solidifying my identity and becoming the person I am today.
I started by talking about being the true us, online we can be who we want. We can be the troll and the jokester. We can be the law enforcers or have different colours of skin and different genders. But one thing I have taken away from my time in USDF is that it matters not what you look like, but what is deep in your heart. We should respect what others want to identify as and we should help others where they need assistance by looking out for one another.
I am not a woman of great intelligence or outstanding qualities, I’m just a woman who knows who she is and what she stands for. Now I want you to think deep down, are you truly who you want to be? If not, then why not? Are you perfect? But one thing is for sure. I’m behind each and every one of you, be it your journey in realising who you are, or simply knowing what you stand for and what makes you… well, you! We’re all individuals, even the most identical of twins. So you should not be defined by what others think of you but by what you believe yourself to be.
Intercultural Interactions on Social Media
In this digital age, social media makes sharing information as easy as a few clicks. Not only can people from various countries share and connect, but they can also share their social and cultural values. Without constraints like time, or even embarrassment, social media users are often encouraged to freely express their beliefs and lifestyles from their culture.
Although social media can bring about unwanted side effects such as possible negative interactions, addiction, and loneliness, it brings positivity in terms of intercultural interaction. It turns out that social media is a comfort food for people who seek emigration. A study showed that many people who have considered immigrating to the U.S. used social media to become familiar with the American way of life. Social media served as a place for these people to learn and interact with the culture which they would soon immerse themselves in.
Another study investigated the relationship between exposure to the native culture and willingness to learn the language. The study found that being exposed to a particular culture made learners more willing to learn the linguistics of that culture. As English becomes the “main language” for many popular social media platforms, on top of the rising number of social media users, more and more foreigners are seen tackling the challenge of learning English. As social media unlocks an easy path to learn new languages and cultures, embracing and appreciating the vast cultures seen on social media should become a common practice for all.
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