Author Archives: J Marie

About J Marie

J. Marie graduated from Duke University with a degree in International Relations and dreams of being a creative writer--dreams she's now realizing as a musical theatre writer in NYC. She's passionate about global black identities, black representation in media, and leather-bound notebooks. She also loves backpacking through a new country at a moment's notice, and speaks Spanish, Swahili and Standard Arabic.

Should You Do A Sex Detox?

Sometimes, you have to limit your body in order to free your mind.

That’s the rationale behind a new wave of young women who are embracing the sex detox as a way to increase their mental and physical health.

What’s a sex detox?

Well, imagine a life without sex. Now go live that life.

Some women choose not to have sex at all – no masturbating, no porn, no erotica. Some women choose not to have any sort of sexual contact, like kissing, while some women are okay with everything except having sex with another person (so vibrators are fine).

The length of time varies based on each woman and on how often she has sex. For a woman who has a different girl in her bed every night, going a week without sex might be enough time to clear her head. For a woman who has sex once a month, maybe six months of celibacy is a good goal.

What are the benefits of a sex detox?

You get to know yourself sexually. If you decide that masturbation is still okay, then you have all of the time in the world to explore your body. Get rid of all of your preconceptions about what your partners assumed you like. What do you actually like? What do you find hot? Touch yourself in new ways. Use new toys. Read new types of erotica and learn about different types of BDSM. Nothing is off-limits, and there’s no one to be embarrassed in front of.

You get to know yourself physically. If any type of sexual activity is off-limits, then you suddenly have a lot of time to appreciate your body in other ways. Get a massage. Go to the gym. Just stand in front of the mirror for ten minutes and look at yourself – really look at yourself – and find the beauty in every freckle.

You can work on your sexual health. Get tested. I know, it’s not sexy, but seriously – get tested for everything. And learn about safe sex. All about safe sex. Seriously, learn as much as you can.

You can undo bad habits. When some people get upset, they overeat. When other people get upset, they have sex. If you’re using sex to fill a void, feel loved or numb your feelings, then a sex detox will help you learn better behaviors.

Think a sex detox is for you? Get started here.

What Do Butch Women Like In Bed?

When you picture a butch woman, who comes to mind? Maybe it’s Poussey or Boo from Orange is the New Black, each sporting short hair and a boyish swagger. Maybe it’s Ruby Rose, who blurs gender. Maybe you picture an innocuous short-haired woman like Tig Notaro or Alison Bechdel, or a generic woman with dreadlocks, a strap-on and an easy smile, like Young M.A. Regardless, all of these images have something in common: “masculinity.”

Now what do you think these women like in bed? Go ahead, take a guess. If traditional straight men are anything to judge by, then butch women probably like to be dominant. They like to penetrate.

But that’s just not true. Remember Domo and Crissy, the butch/femme couple where the butch woman – gasp! – was the one to get pregnant? The Internet erupted in flames because the “wrong one” got pregnant.

Clearly, when we impose archaic homonormative and proto-masculine ideas onto queer couples, we end up wrong.

Arielle Scarcella sat down with several butch women to discuss stereotypes about what butch women want in bed. “What would people be surprised to know about you specifically?” she asked.

One butch woman admitted, “I’m really versatile. I’m usually the one to initiate and take care of her first – but then it’s my turn!”

Another woman looked proud when she said, “I can only really orgasm vaginally.” AKA, from being penetrated.

One woman explained why it’s so uncommon to believe that butch women can enjoy being dominated. It comes back to toxic masculinity. “If you do enjoy receiving penetration,” she says, “that takes away from your masculinity.” #MasculinitySoFragile it even applies to women.

Of course, not all butch women like to be dominant, and some dislike penetration. And that’s completely okay. But don’t make assumptions about what a girl wants in bed based on her biceps and buzz cut.

Watch the video.

Why Queer Diary-Novel ‘Notes of a Crocodile’ Should Be Your Next Beach Read

It’s time to hit the beach, which means it’s time for a fun new beach read. How about a novel about a Taiwanese lesbian and a crocodile on the run?

Qiu Miaojin became one of Taiwan’s most popular and influential novelists when Notes of a Crocodile debuted in 1993, two years before Miaojin died at age 26.

Notes of a Crocodile follows a young woman named Lazi through her journey through a prestigious university in Taipei. According to the LA Review, the story “chronicles her binge-drinking, sexual experiments, and dark ruminations on shame, monstrosity and sexuality, before it closes with her commencement, which she attends alone.”

Through letter- and diary-like excerpts arranged in episodes, Lazi’s story unfolds. She falls face-forward into a relationship with the entrancing Shui Ling, and then with an older woman named Xiao Fan, all why amassing a quirky crew of queer characters.

Long before the bathroom bills that currently obsess transphobic legislators across the United States, Lazi and her friends challenged the idea of gender; one notable line says, “Hey, we should found a gender-free society and monopolize all the public restrooms.”

Interwoven like a double helix through the story, and potentially more interesting, is the story of the crocodile.

The mass-media ecosystem of Notes is crocodile obsessed, with constant reports on croc-sightings and wild speculation about what these secret urban crocodiles eat and how they mate alongside polemics on whether they should be protected or destroyed. Anxious about being exposed, the novel’s eponymous crocodile disguises itself in a “human suit,” lives unobtrusively in a basement, and avoids conspicuous behaviors like purchasing too many cream puffs at the local bakery (cream puffs being a known crocodile delicacy, naturally).

The crocodile, of course, is a metaphor for being gay in a homophobic society – you have to disguise yourself in order to avoid being attacked, and society is obsessed with destroying you. The crocodile seeks refuge in Lazi’s house, where it eventually comes to terms with being a crocodile and not a human. It evens starts a vlog (more than ten years before YouTube was invented).

The book broke countless barriers when it was released. For one, a popular Chinese slang term for lesbians, lazi, comes from the protagonist’s name. And because Miaojin was writing so openly about controversial topics, she has been called the Taiwanese David Foster Wallace.

Notes of a Crocodile has finally been translated into English. Pick up your copy.

Lacey Baker Is the Lesbian Queen of Skateboarding

Tony Hawk was the most daring skateboarder of all time – until Lacey Baker hit the scene.

At just twenty-five years old, she has already made skateboarding history as one of the first queer women to be sponsored by Nike in skateboarding’s 60-year-history.

It’s hard to pin Baker down. In the same paragraph, Vogue calls her a skateboarder, guitarist, designer, barista, queer, straight, male, female, both, neither, dog-lover, cat-lover, with long hair, pink hair, green hair, orange hair, or no hair.But there’s one thing for certain: She’s got a technical expertise that is unmatched in the skateboarding world today.

But there’s one thing for certain: She’s got a technical expertise that is unmatched in the skateboarding world today.

Nike gained interest in her after she won the prestigious SLS Super Crown World Championship in 2016. Since then, she has been working with Nike to transform skateboarding teams from teams of men with a few token women, to teams of men and women working together.

She’s optimistic about the future of women in skateboarding, partially because more women are joining the sport, and partially because skateboarding is poised to become an Olympic event, which will lend it international credibility and value – not that Baker puts much stock in what other people think.

She describes herself as more masculine and is comfortable with that. She’s always wanted to have short hair, so she recently took the plunge and shaved her head. Her clothing style is purposefully androgynous and minimalist – yet deceptively complex as well.

If she gets an item of clothing, she will alter it to make it her own, even if that just means cutting off the bottoms of shirts or tapering her pants. Everything that she puts on her body must be distinctly Lacey Baker.

In a recent interview, she talked about how quitting her job to pursue skateboarding was the best decision of her life. Read it here.

NYC Just Hosted the First Russian Gay Pride Parade

Russia is not known for its tolerance. Who can forget the boycotts over the controversial Sochi Olympics just a few short years ago?

Due to homophobic persecution in Russia, thousands of Russians have emigrated from Russia to the United States, seeking asylum. However, these immigrants have not always been welcomed with open arms into the US’ existing Russian immigrant populations, many of whom migrated for economic reasons and are socially more conservative.

In order to bridge the gap between tolerance and intolerance, proclaim their pride in front of their community, and build solidarity among themselves, hundreds of LGBT Russian-speaking immigrants took to the streets of New York City in May for their first-ever Russian-speaking LGBT pride parade.

The parade included immigrants not just from Russia, but from all countries of the former Society Union. Despite the overcast skies and intermittent rain, the parade wound its way down the Brighton Beach boardwalk. There was chanting, dancing, music and excitement. Non-Russian allies carried signs to show their support.

People waved rainbow flags and signs that said, “There is enough kielbasa (sausage) for everyone,” a pro-inclusive statement that references Soviet-era food shortages. The Rude Mechanical Orchestra provided music for the march

Speaking about intolerant members of the Russian-speaking immigrant community, Lyosha Gorshkov, president of the Russian-Speaking American LGBT Association, says,

They don’t see us, and I decided we have to do something to make Brighton Beach safe for all of us.”.

Not all of the onlookers welcomed the parade, unfortunately. One Russian immigrant said about the parade, “They shouldn’t allow it. I’m not saying they should kill them, although if it were up to me…but these marches should not be allowed. First this, and what’s next?”

Attitudes like that are the reason for this march. Check out photos at the official Facebook page.

What Will Sex Be Like in the Future?

On one hand, sex has stayed the same since the beginning of time – after all, male and female bodies haven’t really changed, so neither has the process of procreating.

On the other hand, sex is changing rapidly all the time thanks to the advent of sex toys, dental dams, lube, and evolving attitudes about sexuality. Ten years ago, Virtual Reality was pure science fiction, Tinder was just a word meaning “kindling for a fire,” and polyamory sounds like a fake Scrabble word.

Recently, Bustle sat down with some sexologists to discuss the future of sex, which could include everything from sex robots to true orgasm equality. Here’s what they found.

VR sex will be a thing.

VR porn is already taking off in popularity, but soon, according to the VR company, people will be able to hook themselves up to machines and simulate long-distance sex. They’ll even be able to feel each other.

Way more people will be using sex toys.

Right now, vibrators, dildos and kegel balls are something we giggle when we talk about – they’re things we’d hesitate to put in any bag that a TSA agent will touch, and something we’d die if our parents knew we had. But the CEO of Unbound theorizes that soon, sex toys will be as normal as a toothbrush.

Polyamory will rise.

According to an sex educator, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who identify as polyamorous is rising every day. She speculates that in 10 years, monogamy won’t necessarily be the default.

Queer will be the new normal.

Historic numbers of millennials are identifying as LGBTQIA, and even as labels that didn’t exist ten years ago. Ten years from now, that percentage will only rise, and sexual fluidity will be far more accepted than it is now.

What do you think will be the future of sex?

#SafeWordSociety Is the Safe Space Podcast We Need Right Now

A safe word is magical.

Many couples use it during sex, especially when practicing BDSM. If you get too overwhelmed with what your partner is doing, you can say your safe word – and boom, the uncomfortable situation ends. You feel safe and comfortable again.

If only the world worked like that. Wouldn’t it be great if, whenever a straight white man speaks over you in a meeting or you remember that Donald Trump is the US President, you could speak a “safe word” and return the world to something comfortable?

#SafeWordSociety is the next best thing. This podcast is a comforting safe space where you can be free from racism, misogyny, homophobia and ableism, at least for one hour each week.

The podcast delves deeply into the nuances of surviving as a queer or transgender person of color (QTPOC). The podcast specifically focuses on NYC, but it’s uplifting and applicable for queer women who live all over the globe. Their purpose is to “create a safe space in media for versatility while uplifting the stories of those that aren’t often heard.”

Every week, the bubbly host Kristen McCallum teams up with Lamika Young to conduct interviews with influential people fighting for QTPOC rights.

For example, on the episode The Quench, they sat down to chat with Morgen Bromel, CEO and Founder of Thurst, who will help you get got this cuffing season.

This revolutionary app focuses on queer and transgender people of color, who are often overlooked on mainstream social networking sites because they’re not conventionally desirable.

In the episode “Workplace Woes,” they shot the breeze with a transgender IT professional and a gender nonconforming university administrator, discussing the fails of workplace inclusivity.

New episodes debut every week. Learn more at the official website, or get caught up by bingeing the first dozen episodes directly on their Libsyn page. If you’re a QTPOC and have ideas for what you would like to see covered, don’t hesitate to contact them – they need your voice on air.

How Shakespeare Can Teach You To Pick Up Girls

When it came to being a playboy, Shakespeare was worse than Shane from the L Word.

Hard to believe, right? How can anyone be more of a womanizer than the woman who (spoiler) left her fiancee at the altar because she was afraid of commitment?

It’s summer, which means summer flings. So if you’re looking for tips on how to pick up woman, you should hit pause on the L Word and thumb through a few of his plays. Here’s what you can learn about boning from the Bard.

#1: Never group sext.

In Merry Wives of Windsor, a man named Falstaff finds himself smitten with two married women. Instead of flipping a coin – or bedding someone single – he writes a sexy love letter to each of them, hoping one of them will succumb to his charms.

Yes, a sexy love letter. One. He sends the same letter to both women.

That’s like writing a long, heartfelt text message about how in love you are with a girl, and sending it as a group message to her and her sister.

Does it work out for Falstaff? Not even close. He ends up crying alone in the woods.

The moral of the story? Be at least a little creative with your sexts.

#2: Always choose her.

You probably know Antony and Cleopatra as the most beautiful historical love story ever told. Cleopatra even kills herself with a snake because she can’t bear to be without Antony. That’s dedication.

What you might not know is that Cleopatra was technically Antony’s mistress.

Yes, our beloved Antony was already married when he started bedding Cleopatra. At one point, while Antony is visiting Cleopatra in Egypt, both Antony’s friend Caesar and his wife Fulvia demand that he come back to Rome.

Cleopatra, none too pleased, says, “Call in the messengers. As I am Egypt’s queen/Thou blushest, Antony, and that blood of thine/Is Caesar’s homager. Else so thy cheek pays shame/When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds.”

In other words: “Go back to Rome if you’re going to be a lil bitch.”

Instead of listening to Cleopatra, Antony says: “Let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch/Of the ranged empire fall. Here is my space.”

In other words: “Let Rome burn down. I’m staying here.”

And Cleopatra says, “Oh, zaddy.”

The moral: Next time a girl says that you can leave if you want, assure her that you would rather to set fire to your entire hometown than leave her.

#3: Always take your chance.

Pop quiz: Where should you never hit on a girl?

  1. Her coronation
  2. A funeral
  3. A confessional

Correct answer? Trick question! According to Shakespeare, there’s never a wrong time to make a move.

Let’s take the titular character from Richard III. He hits on a woman called Lady Anne by saying the following:

Anne: And thou unfit for any place but hell.
Richard: Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.
Anne: Some dungeon.
Richard: Your bedchamber.

Savage. And here’s how it gets more savage:

  1. Anne is at a funeral.
  2. Anne is at her husband’s funeral.
  3. Anne is at her husband’s funeral because Richard killed her husband.

And it works.

The moral: Never be afraid to go for it.

What love lessons have you learned from Shakespeare?

‘Rainbow Riots’ Album Features LGBT Artists From Countries Where Being Gay Is Illegal

Queer music is on the rise across North America, Europe and even South America. But while we celebrate artists like Choco and Young M.A., we can’t forget that, in many countries, it’s not just dangerous to be LGBT – it’s punishable by death.

However, that does not stop brave artists from sharing their voices with the world.

The new Rainbow Riots charity album centers these voices. Each song is written and/or performed by LGBT artists from countries where being gay is illegal, and/or where anti-LGBT violence is a constant fear. All proceeds go to the Rainbow Riots charity, which fights for the LGBT rights of people across the world.

The artists’ countries include Uganda, Malawi and Jamaica, among others.

Swedish composer, writer and activist Peter Wallenburg began the project in order to amplify the voices of people who’d often been silenced.

Wallenburg says.

Imagine that your very existence is a crime and that the police, authorities, and lynch mobs chase you simply because you are who you are. I created Rainbow Riots as a movement to fight for freedom against tyranny.”

Wallenburg was spurred on by the 2016 Ugandan Pride parade which, unfortunately, the police shut down with a brutal and violent raid.

While the album isn’t set to release until mid-June, the first single, Mista Majah P’s “Equal Rights,” has already dropped, to much applause. The U.N. even used the song as the anthem for their Global Goals campaign.

While many artists remained anonymous of fear of death, some are boldly attaching their names to their music in order to take a public stand. These artists include Brayo Bryans of Uganda, Shivan of Uganda, Kowa Tigs of Uganda, Umlilo of South Africa, and Ivy B of Malawi.

Rainbow Riot’s previous projects include a 2016 Orlando fundraiser, where drag queen Lady Bunny and queer rapper Jwl B teamed up for a song for charity. The organization also teamed up with UN Global Goals in order to make being LGBT legal worldwide by 2030.

Check out the album teaser or pre-order your copy at the official website.

LGBT Musical ‘RENT’ Heads to Television

TV and movie musicals have really taken off the last few years. Grease: Live made headlines for its star-studded cast and multimillion-dollar budget. La La Land was nominated for an Oscar. In 2016, Hamilton was filmed live on Broadway, to be released at some unknown point in the future.

And now, Rent.

Even if you’ve never watched Rent, you’ve probably heard the line “525,600 minutes,” AKA the number of minutes in a year, AKA Rent‘s most famous line from “Seasons of Love.”

Fox has just picked up the hit 90s rock musical for TV in order to introduce it a new generation of theatre-goers. Marc Platt, who won an Emmy for producing Grease: Live, is heading up the project.

Rent made headlines in the 90s for its edgy rock score, the likes of which had never been seen on Broadway before. Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer of Hamilton, credits Rent for showing him that musicals can push the boundaries of music.

But it wasn’t just the score that packed audiences when it opened. Rent tackles subjects that no musical had before – or since:

The show follows several starving artists in New York City, many of whom are queer. It features a prominent lesbian couple, as well as a gay couple where one of the men often wears drag. Most of the cast is also people of color as well. Several of them have AIDS, which is raging through the city without a solid cure; the one available drug, AZT, isn’t exactly a miracle drug. These queer artists of color can barely afford to feed themselves, let alone pay exorbitant rent prices.

But they’re not exactly saints – on top of queer issues, the show address gentrification. While the starving artists move into these apartments, they marginalize those who are even poorer than they are. The show is interspersed with homeless people begging for change. And our main characters often walk right past them.

Casting hasn’t been announced yet, but newly out Alia Shawcat would make an excellent Maureen. And can you picture Gina Rodriguez as Mimi?

What would your dream Rent casting be?

Study Proves That Lesbians Are Crazy About Tumblr

When it comes to social media, we each pick our favorite poison.

Some of us throw on a pair of huge sunglasses and stay Instagram ready at every moment of the day, while others do the world a favor by tweeting our constant genius inspirations. But, statistically speaking, most LGBT people are actually most likely to pick Tumblr.

If you haven’t heard of Tumblr, that’s not really surprising. It’s been dubbed the “weird cousin” of Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter – which may be why so many LGBTQ teens and young adults flock to it.

A new study called Scrolling Beyond Binaries investigates exactly why Tumblr is so darn queer.

It’s anonymous.

Unlike Facebook, Tumblr doesn’t ask you to share any personal details. You can be KateMcKinnonsGurl69 or AllLezAlways2000, and no one will ever know it’s you.

It’s longform.

While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are focused on sharing the best parts of yourself, Tumblr focuses on, well, sharing anything and everything that comes to mind. Its longform format means you can type out whatever you’re feeling, at any time, with no pesky word limits.

It’s great for anxious people.

Tumblr puts you in direct contact with 330 million virtual strangers. Know what that’s great for? People who get nervous about meeting strangers in real life. For some people, socializing is just easier behind a keyboard. This is also great for queer ladies who can’t be safely out in their IRL communities.

It’s social justice oriented.

Tumblr actually gets a bad rap for being a cesspool of “social justice warriors,” but that’s just because people on Tumblr don’t let anything slide. Ever. Two hours on Tumblr and you’ll learn about systematic oppression big time. You’ll also learn that there are about 500 genders.

Tumblr isn’t for everyone, but it is for many queer people. For starters, check out 15 times Tumblr nailed television’s rampant killing of lesbians.

People Look For Hookups More In Summer, Study Says

Fall is for dates at pumpkin patches. In winter, you need someone to cuddle with. Spring is the season of blossoming love.

But summer? Summer is for sex.

Hey, it’s science.

OKCupid recently released their analysis from a study of 18 million active users. Over the course of years, from 2013 to 2016, they tracked users’ answers to the question, “About how long do you want your next relationship to last?”

Users could answer, “One night,” “A few months to a year,” “Several years,” or even “The rest of my life.”

They found that in April, May and June, there is a 17% increase in people looking for one-night stands, on average. In June alone, 33% more people look for a one-night stand, as compared to the other eleven months.

The inverse is slightly true. From January to March, there is a 2% increase in people looking for longer relationships of “a few months to a year.” The cold is for commitment and cuddling.

But the steep drive toward hookups in June is too dramatic to overlook. Why does it exist? Their data scientists have posited some theories.

  1. People travel more during the summer, and when you’re only in a place for a short period of time, you’ll only want someone while you’re there. You might not find your true love while you’re on a weekend trip to Vegas, but you might find a girl who looks great on your arm.
  2. People wear fewer clothes in the spring and summer, making them more uninhibited. I mean, a one night stand is technically much easier if you only have a bikini to work through, as opposed to a parka.
  3. Now that it’s warm out, people are more likely to venture out of doors and brave public spaces like clubs and pools and sex parties.

Read the rest of the study here, and then start polishing your pickup lines.

New Rainbow Underwear Lets You Save the World One Thong at a Time

In June, which is Pride month, corporations start becoming vocal about their commitment to LGBT rights. Often, for June only, they make Pride-themed items and donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.

We won’t pretend that they do it out of the goodness of their heart. Corporations realized, a long time ago, that the “pink economy” is a thriving resource of money that they can tap into with a rainbow sticker. If they really cared about LGBT rights, they would donate proceeds to human rights organizations year-round, instead of just in June.

But hey, at least they’re doing it. So for one month, you can feel good about buying things that you might not necessarily need, like rainbow Smirnoff vodka or #betrue Nike sneakers.

And…high-end underwear?

MeUndies prides itself on being a high-end yet affordable underwear brand whose products contour themselves to your specific shape, for maximum comfort. EliteDaily calls them the “ultimate feel good underwear.”

MeUndies Creative Director Andrew Teague says that last year, he was struck with an intense desire to be part of LA Pride. In the past, his company often handed out free underwear during Pride. That was fun but they wanted to do more. Right after Pride 2016, in the wake of the Pulse shooting, he and his team began working on their largest campaign to date. After a year, their big project is finally ready for launch.

The pro-LGBT “Celebrate Yourself” underwear is here. Each pair is white with rainbow-colored polka dots. For every pair sold, MeUndies will donate $1 to the LA LGBT Center, which is the world’s largest organization for LGBT health and advocacy.

The LA LGBT Center gets 70% of its funding from federal grants. However, with the Trump administration threatening to slash funding, organizations like them are in trouble, which means that this MeUndies campaign will be a great boost. And if MeUndies keeps selling the underwear after Pride month is over, then that will be even better for their bottom line.

Try on your own snug pair at the official website.

17 Things People In Open Relationships Hear Too Much

Open relationships definitely aren’t for everyone. That’s a fact. But people who are in open relationships tend to be looked at with skepticism – or just plain judged.

Just because polyamory isn’t for you doesn’t mean it isn’t for someone else. If you catch yourself saying these 17 things…rethink.

1. Open relationships are God’s way of saying you shouldn’t be together.

Or it’s God’s way of saying that human relationships are diverse and should be explored.

2. You’re just slutty.

First, there’s nothing wrong with liking sex, and second, relationships – whether those relationships are with a primary partner or secondary ones – involve so much more than sex. Like a lot of movie nights.

3. Why don’t you just break up?

Because an open relationship is a valid relationship. Why don’t you break up with your significant other?

4. Cheating is cheating, even if you have your partner’s consent.


5. Clearly you’re not happy in your relationship.

On the contrary, people in open relationships experience higher degrees of happiness.

6. You can only love one person at a time.

Unlike petrol, love is not a finite resource, and you can love different people different ways.

7. Polyamory isn’t real.

Tell this to the

8. That’s basically polygamy, which is illegal.

Having relationships or sexual/romantic encounters with more than one person at a time isn’t the same as marrying all those people. This isn’t Sister Wives.

9. Open marriages would never work.

Except that they do.

10. Doesn’t that make you jealous?

Communication is the key to overcoming jealousy.

11. So do you and your partner just talk about all the different people you’ve slept with?

Some polyamorous couples do. Some don’t. Every couple has their own agreement.

12. That means you’ll sleep with anyone.

Just because someone sleeps with more than one person, that doesn’t mean they will sleep with every single person in the world. For instance, some people in the world are narrow-minded, and a poly person might not want to sleep with them.

13. That’s disgusting.

So is sex, if you think about it. Lots of fluid.

14. I’d never do that.

Never say never.

15. Your parents must be so ashamed.

Polyamory isn’t shameful. Cheating is shameful.

16. You’re overcompensating for something sexually.

Sex doesn’t have to be tied to trauma and insecurity. Besides, instead of “overcompensating,” why not say “enhancing”?

17. I’ll never understand.

Copies of The Ethical Slut are $15.29.

If you’re in an open relationship, what are you tired of hearing?

Choco Makes Lesbian Reggaeton Music for Feminists

Most people only know one Reggaeton song, which is Gasolina. But the genre is wide and diverse, and easily one of the most popular genres in Latin America.

Unfortunately, the genre is also dominated by men and misogyny. It’s nearly impossible to find a song that doesn’t mention using women as sex objects, or a music video that doesn’t twist women into compromising positions.

Choco is changing that.

Choco is the pioneer of lesbian reggaeton and the reggaetonera movement, which is taking the genre from men.

She initially started branding herself as a lesbian reggaeton artist as part of satire. She kept the trademark dembow rhythm and the perrero, a type of doggy-style dance, but changed the lyrics to reflect the pitfalls of male masculinity. In “Lo Que Las Mujeres Quieren” (What Women Want), she sings, “Hey macho reggaeton man, listen to what I say / You don’t know about women / A woman prefers two well-placed fingers.”

However, she also exploits women in her own way. In her music videos, she depicts women in sexual pleasure, albeit absent from men. She also sings, “I like cheaters / I like ugly girls,” and “I like women empoderada (empowered) / But I like it even better if she eats this empanada (slang for vagina).” Because of this, she’s received backlash from women who say she’s doing just as much harm to feminism as the men are. However, she sees her music as an opportunity to shrug off the taboos of sex and allow women to express their love of sex and consensual sexual powerplay.

She also sees herself as part of the reggaeton feminista – feminist reggaeton – movement, side-by-side with other female reggaetoneras like Ms. Nina los Santos (Argentina), Tomasa del Real (Chile), La Favi (San Francisco, US), Farina (Colombia), and Tremenda Jauría (Spain), among others. “Currently reggaeton is the most popular music at all the feminist parties.”

Her debut album is fittingly called Sátira (Satire), because she began the project as a satirical middle finger to the hypermasculine machismo culture. Listen to it here.

3 Queer Horror Movies (and 1 Web Series) to Have on Your Radar

The latest frontier of queer activism is queer horror.

Okay, bear with me. How is having gay people in horror movies revolutionary? After all, gay people have always been in horror movies, usually as the villain or as a joke – remember in American Psycho, when the psychopathic serial killer is so repulsed by a gay character that he can’t kill him?

But queer horror is different. It’s horror centering around queer people and their struggles, sometimes told metaphorically, sometimes told in a straight-forward way.

For example, Two Sentence Horror Stories combines the chilling technothriller vibe of Black Mirror with the everyday horrors faced by queer people, like homophobia. The result is a creeping horror show that feels gut-wrenchingly real even though it’s also supernatural.

Queer horror is taking to the big screen as well. Kristen Stewart, everyone’s favorite soulless android-turned-badass lesbian, is currently starring in Olivier Assayas’ edgy mystery-horror ghost story, Personal Shopper.

According to Fader, Stewart “plays a spiritually traumatized assistant with a thing for dressing up in her celebrity boss’ clothes.”

Her characters’ androgyny adds a certain queer gaze to the film; what’s life like for this gender-nonconforming character, and how does her sexuality and gender presentation affect the way that she perceives things like the random slasher scene that cuts through the center of the film?

The Blackcoat’s Daughter is more explicitly lesbian – a “wintry horror” starring Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper from Mad Men), and distributed by the same production house as Moonlight. After being possessed by the devil in a boiler room, Shipka stalks the other girls at her boarding school, consumed with lust and desire. (“You smell pretty,” she growls.)

Then there’s Raw, a French film about cannibalism and queer identities. On the surface, that sounds crazy. But, somehow, it works.

Queer horror is important because it illustrates just how violent and terrifying the world can be to a queer person on an everyday basis. Walking down the street, being ourselves, falling in love – we’re often killed for that. The world is horrifying. Finally, this genre lets us share our fears with the world.

Marvel Straight-Washes Queer Women in ‘Black Panther’ Film

Superheroes have gotten queerer than ever.

Power Rangers announced that the yellow ranger would be queer. DC comics recently confirmed that Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are queer. And let’s not forget Marvel’s America Chavez, a fiery queer Latina superhero that Gina Rodriguez has her eye on.

Unfortunately, when it comes to queer superheroes, it’s two step forwards and one step back. Marvel recently announced that two queer main characters from Black Panther will be straight in the films.

Black Panther is a hit comic book series about T’Challa, the king and protector of the (fictional) African country of Wakanda. The series is notable not just for its strong racial diversity, but also for having powerful queer women of color at the forefront.

Black Panther: World of Wakanda delves into the relationship of two female Wakandan protectors, Ayo and Aneka. Ayo and Aneka are recruited into an elite task force, but find their relationship taking center stage instead.

As the official website says,

What happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other?”

Yeah. That’s pretty gay.

The Black Panther movie is set to be released in February 2018. Movie footage recently dropped that appeared to continue the relationship of Ayo and Aneka.

In a certain scene of the trailer, Ayo (Florence KasumbaCaptain America: Civil War) and Okoye (Danai GuriraWalking Dead) are dancing.

After looking Ayo up and down flirtatiously, practically drooling, Okoye says, “You look good.”

“You look better,” Ayo.

Okyo looks smug as she says, “I know.”

Yeah. That’s pretty gay.

Unfortunately, Marvel doesn’t seem to think so. In response to a Vanity Fair article about the footage, a Marvel representative interceded to say that, despite all of the flirtatious lesbianness of that scene, Ayo and Okoye would be totally straight in the film.

According to the representative, that particular storyline didn’t make the cut. Even though the women are flirting in the released footage. Are we supposed to believe that they’re flirting platonically?

Sadly, this is an example of Hollywood straight-washing queer characters in order to make the film more attractive to wider audiences. With the film already centered on characters of color, the representative didn’t want to push any more boundaries.

If you’d like to read the actual queer love story, pick up the comics here.

Make Berlin Your Next Queer Vacation Spot

Are you and your girlfriend planning a lesbian vacay getaway? Are you newly single ready to Eat, Pray and Love your way across the European social scene? Hop on a nonstop flight to Berlin, Germany.

Lesbian clubs and parties aren’t dead here.

Lesbian bars may be shuttering all over the world, but Berlin – once known for its incredible queer nightlife – keeps the party going.

Lace up your motorcycle boots and head over to a hollowed-out former motorcycle clubhouse called Roadrunner’s Rock and Motor Club, where you can dance at the Mondo Klit Rock Party for Girls and Friends. Get ready for queer, sexy bartenders, skilled DJs, and drinks that will set your body on fire.

Activists are everywhere.

When you think of squatters, you probably think of Occupy Wallstreet or the cast of Rent singing, “We’re not gonna pay.” But the squatter’s movement is alive and well in Berlin, where you’ll find dozens of “queer-centered anarcha-feminists” living in abandoned buildings, making art and resisting the establishment.

Nerd out, lesbian style.

Take your first date to Spinnboden, which is Berlin’s largest lesbian library and archive. Not only is it gorgeous, with blossoming courtyards, but you can also access Germany’s lesbian history dating back more than 100 years. You can also find movies in all languages, a research room with materials you can’t find anywhere else, and a general library for all your queer tastes.

While you’re at it, check out Berlin’s famous lesbian cemetery.

It’s cheap.

Let’s talk dollars. Or rather, euros. The euro is worth more than the dollar right now, but in Berlin your money can still go a long way.

You also don’t have to worry about public transportation, because you can rent bicycles on a weekly basis (that’s cheaper than a car note or an NYC Metro Card).

Learn more about queer Berlin, and start planning your trip today!

Alia Shawkat Officially Comes Out as Bisexual

When you were ten, she played Maeby Bluth, and you wished you had her wild freckles and bouncy, curly hair. When you got older, you binge-watched all episodes of Search Party and drooled over her a Alexander Hamilton.

Last year, you watched her be Ilana Glazer‘s queer doppelganger and wished you were Ilana so that your queer fantasies could come true.

Well, today is a happy day. Because Alia Shawkat – of Arrested Development, Search Party, Drunk History and Broad City – has finally come out as queer.

She did it in a recent interview with Out (naturally) when discussing her latest film endeavor, a film called Paint It Black. Whereas Shawkat is known for her dry comedic wit, Paint It Black is a noticeably darker psychodrama. The film meditates on the queer and somewhat twisted relationship between a girl (Josie) and the mother of her dead boyfriend.

Shawkat always knew she was just a bit different. She was a tomboy growing up. When she was ten, her mother asked her, “Are you attracted to boys or are you attracted to girls?” Shawkat said that she didn’t know; who does when they’re ten?

However, she now identifies as bisexual, and credits her balance of “male and female energies” for her growth as an actress.

After Paint It Black, she’ll throw her energies into a film that she wrote and is starring in, Duck Butter. Duck Butter is a queer romance between two women. Fun fact: One of the parts was originally written for a man, but they couldn’t find the right guy, so they swapped the role.

Coming out as queer and creating queer content might be seen as a bold step, but Shawkat says, “I used to be less outspoken. But as a woman, an Arab-American, and a member of the LGBTQ community, I have to use whatever voice I have. There’s no more delicacy in being quiet.”

‘The View Upstairs’ Is the Queer Musical America Needs Right Now

Musical theatre is pretty gay. There’s a reason that gay men are stereotyped to all love musicals and that the lesbian-centric Fun Home won Best Musical.

But with the exception of RENT, which touched on the spread of AIDS among gay and gender-nonconforming men, musical theatre tends to gloss over the darker parts of gay history. Want to watch a queer cross between Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Wizard of Oz?

Welcome to Straight Outta Oz. Want to date the gay book characters you fell in love with as a teenager? Catch a run of Normativity.

But if you want to look at the darker parts of gay history, like the dozens of devastating mass killings of LGBT people, then you won’t find that on stage.

Until now.

The View Upstairs is a groundbreaking musical about the devastating fire that burned down a prominent gay lounge in New Orleans in 1973. Thirty-two people died, making it the deadliest LGBT hate crime in the US until the Pulse shootings.

The musical centers on a young gay man named Wes who, through the power of magic, is transported back in time to the Upstairs Lounge, where he meets lesbians, drag queens, and gay rights pioneers.

Nearly ever show has been sold-out so far. RuPaul has enthusiastically endorsed the show, and famous people like Michael Kors have purchased tickets. Although it’s currently Off-Broadway, it will be a short leap to Broadway.

One of the best parts about the show is its racial and age diversity. The show includes aging drag queens, young gay men of color, a Latina mother figure and, of course, Henri, the black lesbian who runs the bar.

It has been hailed for doing many things: for fighting back against the whitewashing of LGBT history, for humanizing and honoring those who died at the Upstairs Lounge, for talking about a chronically underreported hate crime, and for providing a safe space for queer people to see themselves and their history.

Get tickets and learn more at the official website.

-ismo Is a Queer Arts Magazine for the Resistance

-ismo is a magazine for queer people who resist.

This new, quarterly literary magazine is for people who are tired of being silent. It’s for queer people and genderqueer people and transgender people; it’s for people of color and immigrants; it’s for poor people and stereotyped people and religiously oppressed people; it’s for disabled people and non-neurotypical people; it’s for artists and creatives – if you’ve ever felt different, it’s for you.

Four times a year, they release a multimedia online magazine. The first issue released in April 2017, and is called In the Face of Death and Resistance. It asks,

What is the purpose of an artist? A writer? How is one called to action? What are the many faces of resistance?”

One form of resistance is protesting, which the issue features a photo series on.

There is also poetry, like “41.8781º N, 87.6298º W” –

sometimes i can hear
my mother singing in
the shower and i wonder
if she can hear me when i’m

The magazine also features opinion pieces, such as Letting Go of Your Former Self, pieces about being genderqueer, and interviews with artists. You can even learn about the queerness of dance with a Parisian-born Colombian dancer:

Why is this magazine so important? It is the embodiment of self-care. Being queer is hard. Every day, we hear about more hate crimes and more anti-LGBT legislation being passed. Every day, we fight hard just to survive.

We’re nearing the 1-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the deadliest antigay hate crime in the United States. Because of that, arts publications like -ismo are more important than ever.

For more queer art, check out these 4 powerful queer poets and these 17 breathtaking spoken word poems.

Then Plug into these 5 lesbian podcasts, immerse yourself in the works of these feminists or drown your heartache with these 14 queer songs.

And if you’re a creative, submit to -ismo.

How ‘Below Her Mouth’ Gets Lesbian Sex Scenes Right

Lesbian sex is harder than rocket science.

At least, that’s what you’d think if you watched movies like Blue is the Warmest Color or Carol. Movies just can’t depict lesbian sex correctly. Is it really as hard as it seems?

Most lesbian sex scenes, especially those shot by straight male directors, suffer from inauthenticity. After all, having a man watch and direct two women making love is the dictionary definition of “male gaze.”

Blue is the Warmest Color made headlines not just for its 10-minute, puzzling lesbian sex scene, but also for director Abdellatif Kechiche’s notoriously awful treatment of the actresses.

Luckily, Canada’s doing something right. The new lesbian drama, Below Her Mouth, centers on the queer female gaze. And the movie is one hundred times better for it.

Here’s how the movie gets it right.

The lesbians don’t look like Victoria’s Secret models.

When shooting lesbian sex scenes, straight men like to shoot attractive women that they would like to have sex with. But Below Her Mouth stars an intimidating butch lesbian who does not play by the rules of the gender binary.

There is an all-female crew.

Everyone on the crew was a woman, from the director (April Mullen) to the writer (Stephanie Fabrizi), who is openly queer. This created a safe space. And while shooting the sex scenes, only the director and the female director of photography were allowed in the room, for intimacy.

The movie actually shows sex positions that actual lesbians actually do.

Below Her Mouth focuses on real things that women do in order to come. Spoiler: it’s not just scissoring.

The movie let the sex happen organically.

Directors often interrupt and adjust actors during scenes, in order to get the perfect shot. But Mullen took a step back. She let the two actresses get a feel for each other on their own and have sex in a way that felt natural to them. “I would never have interrupted them just to be sure we got the right angle or the right light,” says Mullen. Sex doesn’t happen that way in the real world, and it shouldn’t on camera either.

Judge for yourself. Rent Below Her Mouth on Amazon.

Get Hooked on Niña Dioz, Mexico’s First Out Rapper

From MicahTron to Dio Ganhdih, the queer hip-hop scene has recently exploded.

The newest arrival is the spitfire Niña Dioz, a rapper who hails from Monterey, Mexico. She just moved to the US and released a hit music video for her song Dale.

However, although she now lives in LA, her heart belongs to Mexico. She holds the notable, and perhaps dangerous, honor of being Mexico’s first openly lesbian rapper.

When she was a child, her inspiration came from many different sources. She sat in front of MTV for hours at a time, watching everything from Beasty Boys to Missy Elliot to the Fugees to TLC.

She said in a recent interview, “It really blew my mind!” One of the most awe-inspiring experiences was when her friend brought a Dr. Dre album back from the US in 2001. When she wasn’t marveling at the marijuana leave on the cover, which she called “artwork,” she was listening to Metallica, Madonna, Cypress Hill and Nirvana.

When she entered the rap scene on her own terms, she didn’t face much blowback or bullying for being a woman, but her sexuality made men uneasy. Men felt territorial about a queer person encroaching on their heterosexual machismo culture. That’s why Dioz is Mexico’s first rapper, male or female, to be openly gay.

Since coming out, Dioz feels more open about herself and more determined to create safe spaces for people like her. “Where I’m from,” she says, “women are getting killed just because they’re women. It’s necessary to keep fighting for equality, and I can use my music as a tool.”

She has some advice for young women hoping to follow in her footsteps. This could apply to any queer woman trying to break into the arts:

  • Do the music (or art) that is real to you.
  • Be unafraid of being different.
  • Don’t worry about what other people say.
  • Dream big and remember that everything is possible.
  • If you love it enough, it will become a necessity.

While she’s in the US, Dioz will be touring, so catch her at a concert hall near you. Get connected with her music here.

Whitney Houston Was Bisexual, Says New Documentary

Whitney Houston is an icon whose songs are still played all over the world. Who hasn’t belted I’m Every Woman to boost self-confidence after a breakup, or shed a tear as someone on America’s Got Talent/American Idol/X Factor sings, I Will Always Love You.

But did you know Houston was queer?

Many people don’t. But a new documentary, Whitney: Can I Be Me, dives in-depth into Houston’s tragic love for her best friend, which blossomed into an affair that continued during Houston’s marriage.

Houston met Robyn Crawford – who today would probably be called a stud – in 1979, when they were both teenagers trying to make it in New Jersey. They formed a fast connection that went deeper than friendship.

Houston’s security personnel, Kevin Ammons, says, “Robyn and Whitney were like twins.”

But then he elaborates, shifting away from the platonic dimension of their relationship.

They were inseparable. They had a bond, and Bobby Brown [Houston’s husband] could never remove Robyn. He wanted to be the man in the relationship.”

In June 2016, Brown admitted that Houston had had an affair with Crawford, confirming rumors that had been swirling about the two women since they’d first met. He went on to say that Houston was bisexual and that after fourteen years of marriage, he knew the ins and outs of her personal life. Although Houston had always denied romantic involvement with Crawford, Brown felt it necessary to come forward.

He also made the heartbreaking statement that Houston’s homophobic mother had kept Crawford and Houston separated, and that if the two women had been allowed to explore their relationship, Houston would be alive today.

Unfortunately, while the documentary provides great insight into the singer’s personal life, these revelations are too little too late. If Brown is to be believed, then Houston’s death is, in part, another tragic casualty of homophobia. One can only wish that she and Crawford had been allowed to be themselves.

Keeana Kee’s ‘Coconut Rum and Coke’ Could Be The Song Of The Summer

It’s summer, so you know what that means: Shaking sand out of bath towels you’re using as beach towels. Popping cold drinks under an umbrella and relishing ocean spray on your face. Turning your crush into a successful summer fling.

But there’s nothing more important than the summer soundtrack. And Keeana Kee may have just released the song of the summer.

If I could, I would drink you all night long,
like coconut rum and coke
I want to make your palm trees move

Coconut Rum and Coke is a laid-back track with reggae vibes about what it’s like to relax with a tall glass of, well, coconut rum and coke, probably sipped straight from a hollowed-out pineapple.

Keeana Kee isn’t the singer you’d expect behind a reggae beat like this. She was born in Latvia. The song’s feature, Maffio, is a popular Latin rapper who’s worked with Maroon 5 and Pitbull.

Kee, who is openly gay, told HuffPost that the music video was inspired by the years of homophobia that she faced when working as a fashion model.

I went through some discrimination working as a fashion model, so I really hope to make a difference by encouraging people to be themselves no matter what, and to stand up for themselves, even if it seems impossible.”

That’s why the video depicts queer love.

In the video, Kee is proudly flaunting her sexuality while being pursued by her butch love interest.

I’m very confident with my sexuality, so I was comfortable to be myself in the video. I want to show the world that there is nothing wrong with being gay.”

Will this song become the internationally recognized Song of the Summer? Drake’s One Dance held that spot in 2016, and Omi’s Cheerleader debatably took the title in 2015.

This year is anyone’s guess because a top contender has yet to emerge. But maybe you’ll be hearing Keeana Kee’s Coconut Rum and Coke from every speaker come June.

The Handmaid’s Tale Paints A Grim Future For Queer Women

In a world where women are tortured and harvested, LGBT women get the worst treatment.

Enter the realistic torture chamber that is Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the horrifying Margaret Atwood novel of the same name.

In this women, women are stripped of their identities and assigned to men for procreating. Their very existence revolves around heterosexual reproduction.

So what happens to queer women?

In Atwood’s book, the government immediately hanged all lesbian, bisexual and queer women, but the TV show decides to explore their predicaments a bit more in-depth. Two queer women help anchor the narrative.

First, there is Ofglen (Alexis Bledel). She’s a headstrong lesbian who refuses to bend to the establishment.

Bledel says,

In playing her, I certainly felt that she had more at stake than some of the other handmaids because she would be deemed a gender traitor. She’s a lesbian, and they don’t approve of her sexual orientation, so she’s really vulnerable.”

Add that vulnerability to the fact that she’s a major player in the resistance movement, and Ofglen is a walking target.

But the most heartbreaking narrative is that of Moira, played by Samira Wiley, who recently faced a horrifying death in Orange is the New Black – she can’t get a break. A few episodes in, the audience is told that she has been killed.

The only reason that the government allows queer women to live is because their ovaries are functional. Before the fascist revolution that led to the enslavement of women occurred, there was a major environmental disaster that sterilized many women.

The queer ones who were unable to have children were shipped to colonies and left to die.

In the third episode, Ofglen is publically declared a gender traitor. In what is the most heartrending moment of the series, she is forced to undergo physical and emotional torture, humiliation and mutilation.

Of course, all of this torture is carried out in a way that will prevent Ofglen from ever experiencing any type of sexual pleasure in the future, but will still allow her to have children.

Why tell such a horrifying story? And why now?

With a President that seems hellbent on stripping away the rights of women and LGBT people, these types of stories are more pertinent than ever. They’re a warning: Fight for your rights before it’s too late.

Watch The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

‘Queen of Geeks’ Is the Lesbian Love Story You Need Right Now

There’s something magical about Young Adult fiction. It exists in a realm all of its own – no matter how bad your day is, it’s not as bad as fighting in the Hunger Games like Katniss Everdeen, or as crazy as getting a box of thirteen suicide tapes from your crush, like in the book 13 Reasons Why.

Queens of Geeks is another great story that sucks you right in. If you’ve ever dreamed about becoming a YouTube celebrity, dressed up for a convention, or secretly bookmarked your favorite fanfiction, this Australian YA book is for you.

Check out the official description:

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself. “

Charlie is famous. Well, YouTube famous. But with millions of followers, she’s one of the hottest young stars in the world.

She goes to SupaCon (a geek convention very close to Comic-Con), in order to promote her first movie and prove that she’s over her breakup with her co-star, Reese Ryan.

When Alyssa Huntington, Charlie’s longtime crush and even more successful vlogger, shows up, Charlie discovers that maybe she has a chance at love after all.

Taylor, Charlie’s best friend, couldn’t be more different. She’s extremely shy and averse to crowds or change. But maybe SupaCon is her chance to finally break out of her shell and win the fan contest of her dreams.

This book is strong on diversity. Charlie is a bisexual woman of color, and Taylor has autism, both of which are rare in book characters. This book touches on mental health, the politics of race and sexual orientation, feminism, body image, and whether Internet fame is all it’s cracked up to be. It’s a fantastic, feminist romp and hilarious quick read that will make your day.

Pick it up on Amazon or learn more at the official website.

OperaRox Makes Queer Opera Edgy

Opera is cool.

Okay, have I lost you? Bear with me. I know it took Hamilton to musicals cool, so until opera gets its own Lin-Mozart Miranda, you’ll probably be a little skeptical.

Pretentious establishments like Royal Opera House and the Metropolitan Opera keep many young people from plugging into “the scene.” Many people see opera as out of touch, unaffordable, and just plain boring.

Queer rocker Kimberly Feltkamp is here to change your mind.

She started OperaRox, an offbeat, edgy opera house that aims to combine artistry, professionalism and punk chill to create unforgettable performances.

Feltkamp is always looking for new ways to push the art form. For example, she infuses new performance blood into the opera scene. She picks people based on how little they have on their resumes, in order to give them room to grow. This way, she discovers exciting new talent that gets overlooked at larger opera houses.

But the most exciting thing is that Feltkamp has dedicated her opera venue to producing LGBT-related operas, which is a supreme rarity in the opera world, due to lack of perceived interest as well as the fact that many operas are hundreds of years old.

While OperaRox has produced traditional operas like Marriage of Figaro (1786) and Alcina (1735), they are also hosting the NYC premiere of Sweets By Kate, a new opera that depicts a young baker named Kate who returns to her small hometown with her partner. The couple faces the town’s disapproval, the death of Kate’s father, and the literal Devil. The show will debut at the LGBT landmark Stonewall Inn.

Says Feltkamp:

Being LGBT myself, I have a great love for this area, the West Village. That’s why I was super jazzed to do this opera this summer at Stonewall. It was like a dream,” said Feltkamp. “This idea that there are transgender, lesbian, and gay singers that never really get to play themselves, and again that’s why I love ‘Sweets By Kate’ because this is the first time I’m playing a lesbian character and this is a part of me that I’ve never brought to the stage in that same way.

What is Feltkamp’s dream? She hopes that OperaRox will get its own venue one day, so that it can funnel more money into the productions themselves and less into renting space. But overall she just wants opera to become mainstream and reclaim its role in popular culture. There are so many amazing queer stories to tell. And she’s just getting started.

If that sounds cool to you, check out the Chelsea Manning rock opera, and learn more about OperaRox.

How to Get Over Your Study Abroad Girlfriend in 5 Steps

Ah, the city of love. Bright lights. Great food. Beautiful people. Eternal love.

Ah, Paris.

Or Berlin.

Or Johannesburg.

Let’s face it, the city of love is wherever you studied abroad.

Studying abroad is a magical time. You get to live for six months in a foreign country, experiencing only the best of what that city has to offer, namely attractive college students and tourist attractions.

It’s normal to fall in love while you’re abroad. Overseas, it feels like you’re going to live this magical new life forever. But then you return home, and reality sets in. It’s not as easy to have a 5,000-mile long-distance relationship as you thought.

So how can you get over someone you thought was your True Love after it doesn’t work?

1. Accept that sometimes love is just for a season. Some people and experiences are meant to come in and out of your life. The memories are precious. Instead of being frustrated that something has to end, appreciate that it happened.

2. Don’t keep trying. If the long distance makes the romance fizzle out after a few months (or hours) of you being back home, accept that. Don’t keep trying to force it.

3. Don’t ghost her. That said, you don’t have to cut her off completely – just because you get on a plane doesn’t mean the person has to become dead to you. Keep up your friendship.

4. Don’t idealize her. Life after study abroad is hard. You return to exams and reality and a Trump Presidency. It’s tempting to look back on your ex-lover and think, “If I could be with them again, I would be as happy as I was when I studied abroad.” That’s not true. They might remind you of the happiness you had abroad, but they can never replicate that happiness, and trying to force a relationship with them won’t send you back in time.

5. Get back in the game. You’re young and beautiful and smart. You should be out meeting other young and beautiful and smart people. Ask out the cute barista with braces and a butterfly tattoo. Download Tinder, Her and Bumble, and swipe right on people way out of your league. Stay in a bar long past closing. Just put yourself out there and have fun!

And if all else fails, buy a plane ticket somewhere else.

What Does Intersex Mean? This New Video Explains It

Gender isn’t always male or female, transgender or cisgender, or even genderqueer or agender. Unfortunately, Intersex people often get left out of the conversation, partly because people just don’t understand it. After all, even if a transgender person transitions, they were still born as “one or the other.” Right?

That’s a common misconception. And Lindsey, with her gender non-conforming Teddy Bear, are here to educate people about the truth.

On her show Queer Kid Stuff, Lindsey easily and queerly explains facets of LGBTQ life; while she technically makes the videos for children/young adults, her simple and easy-to-follow style is helpful for any age group. On a recent episode, “I is for Intersex,” she invites intersex activist and Everyone is Gay writer Claudia Astorino to break down what it means to be intersex.

Astorino says,

Intersex people have bodies that aren’t easily defined as boy bodies or girl bodies. Some parts we expect most boys to have, some body parts we expect girls to have, and sometimes traits that most girls or boys don’t have, all in the same body.”

While the other letters of LGBTQIA are either genders or sexualities, being intersex is technically neither, and has no bearing on how people identify. Some intersex people identify as male, female, a/bigender, genderqueer, or anything, really, and can be of any sexuality.

Growing up as an intersex child can be traumatizing, because children are taught from a very young age that people are either boys or girls. It’s as if the world is full of only apples and bananas, and one day an orange shows up. It’s isolating, lonely, and confusing, and people assume intersex people don’t really exist.

But videos like “I is for Intersex” are a great step in the right direction. The more that people learn about intersex identities, the more they will be able to accept others’ – or their own – intersex identities.