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.

Waverly Earp Is the Queer, Demon-Fighting Cowboy You’ve Been Waiting For

Where can you see an attractive girl save the world from demons, wear leather jackets and get into queer love triangles? The answer isn’t just Buffy the Vampire Slayer anymore.

Wynonna Earp has come to your screens. This supernatural Western thriller defies categorization, but it does have two things for certain: It is very feminist, and it is very, very queer.

So who are Wynonna and Waverly Earp?

If you’re a fan of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Flash, Arrow, Luke Cage or really any of the 7,004 comic book adaptations that are on cable these days, then Wynonna is the perfect addition. It’s based on Beau Smith’s IDW comic books.

The great-granddaughters of Wild West sheriff Wyatt Earp (who’s a real guy), Wynonna and Waverly, fight the Revenants, demons spawned from all of the people Wyatt Earp killed. And boy, has he killed a lot. Wyatt and her anti-demon six-shooter called Peacemaker can barely handle all the trouble that comes her way.

Here’s where it gets gay.

Unlike queerbaiting shows and movies, which either merely hint at characters’ queer sexuality or tout a token queer-ish character in order to drive up ratings, Wynonna puts the queer main character front and center. They even flesh her out!

Waverly is openly queer. She even has a dynamic love interest in Nicole Haught, a confident and charming young officer. GLAAD nominated the show for its portrayal of LGBT characters.

Waverly gets her own coming out storyline, but it’s not what you think. She’s openly gay and relatively proud of it, although she’s still wrestling with some demons of her own. But at the end of Season 1, she comes in contact with an ominous black goo that possesses her with something evil. Inverse says, “Fans suspect that it wasn’t something coming in, but rather something already inside of her coming out.”

Queer female protagonist? Check.

Complicated metaphor for internalized homophobia and self-denial personified as evil goo? Check.

Check out the first season on Netflix!

After 50 Years, Dr. Who Casts First Lesbian Companion

Science fiction needs more queer women.

In sci-fi, women mainly exist to wear revealing outfits, shoot space guns and provide sexual frustration for the male protagonist. Very few sci-fi movies or TV shows pass the Bechdel test. If there happens to be a queer female character, she’s likely to die within a few episodes, or will probably be a shallow character with a D-cup. Probably both.

Dr. Who, one of the most popular shows on British television, is taking a step in the right direction. The show follows an extraterrestrial Time Lord called “The Doctor” who explores time and space in a British police box.

Dr. Who show started in 1963. It’s retained its longevity by having the doctor “reincarnate” with a new personality and new sidekick every time the writers get tired of the lead male actor. The current doctor is Peter Capaldi.

But finally, the sidekick – ahem, “companion” – is going to be a queer woman. And not just a queer woman, but a queer woman of color. In other words, something rarer than a unicorn on TV.

If you’re worried about the queer woman being relegated to a sidekick, don’t worry. On this show, a sidekick isn’t a lackey, like the pathetic LaFou whom Disney is touting as their first gay character. The Doctor’s companion is like the Watson to his Sherlock – beloved, insightful and, in this case, very attractive.

Pearl Mackie will be playing the companion, Bill Potts. She told the BBC, “It’s important to say people are gay, people are black – there are also aliens in this world as well, so watch out for them.”

Rumors are swirling that the next doctor may be a woman, another first in the show’s 50-year history. Could there be romantic tension on the horizon if Potts and the doctor find each other very attractive?

I hope so.

I sincerely hope so.

Dr. Who returns on April 15.

Don’t Be Fooled By Hollywood’s Shiny New Queerbait

Good news: Hollywood is finally embracing queer people.

Bad news: By embracing, I mean “keeping at arm’s length.”

Hollywood keeps proclaiming its “good news.”

In recent weeks, Hollywood has announced some exciting developments, such as the gay character LeFou in Beauty and the Beast that had queer Disney fans tearing apart the internet to figure out what the “exclusively gay moment” was.

Power Rangers also recently announced that the Yellow Ranger would be queer.

Has Hollywood really had a change of heart regarding gay characters? No. Hollywood is just realizing that mediocre children’s movies can break even by fishing for the $917 billion dollar gay economy.

Here’s why the “queer moments” don’t mean anything.

When Beauty and the Beast announced Disney’s first gay character, fans were excited at the possibilities – after all, the lyrics of Beauty and the Beast were written by an openly gay man who viewed the movie as a metaphor for his excruciating demise from AIDS.

But then Disney announced that the character was LeFou. And lesbians around the world wondered, “Le Who?”

“LeFou” is literally French for “the fool.” In the new Beauty and the Beast , he is a buffoon, the henchmen of the villain who is so overcome by his homosexual passions that he cannot think for himself.

And LeFou doesn’t get a happy ending. No, he gets an “exclusively gay moment” that is nothing more than a few seconds of him dancing with another man at a ball. In case you missed it, that is Disney’s big gay moment. That is the big gay moment that made headlines around the world.

Instead of actually fleshing out one of the main characters with sexual fluidity or even giving LeFou some emotional depth, Disney made being gay the punchline. Again.

Power Rangers isn’t much better. It has a history of homophobia – David Yost left the show in the 90s after being harassed for being gay – so fans were excited about a new queer ranger. Perhaps we expected too much.

Here is the extent of the Yellow Ranger’s queerness:

Her fellow Ranger Billy asks, “Boyfriend problems?” She pouts slightly harder than usual and Billy re-guesses: “Girlfriend problems?” She pouts slightly less signaling agreement. She puts her identity into explicit words, really, but she goes on to bemoan her family’s normalcy and their belief in labels. “I don’t know how to tell them what’s really going on with me,” she says, adding that she’s never admitted any of this stuff out loud before. And that’s basically that.

So what do we do?

It’s natural to be excited about gay (or at least gay-ish) characters in your favorite films, but don’t take the bait. If you weren’t excited about a movie before you found out that one of the characters was a 2 on the Kinsey scale, then don’t purchase a ticket afterward.

If you’re looking for good queer cinema, don’t neglect indie films. Here are seven to get you started.

Queer Rapper Resse P Makes Emotional Club Songs

Queer female rappers are finally getting their due.

From Young M.A to MicahTron, lesbian rappers are taking center-stage and bringing down the house with their heavy club bangers about dancing, drinking and enjoying their youth. Each rapper looks a little different. Silvana wears her hair long and straight, while Young M.A twists thick black braids and MicahTron favors a bouncy fro. One thing is undeniable, though – they all have swagger.

Resse P is no different. Her waist-length dreads and permanent pout give her an air of aggressive confidence that no other rapper can touch. She wears enormous, nerdy glasses as well as a thick gold chain. You could say that she is a hipster poet who conquers club beats.

Resse P hails from Chicago, home of powerhouses like Kanye West and Chance the Rapper, and proudly represents her city. One of her premiere singles is even called “Chicago.”

She’s released a few loosies via Bandcamp, but her first major single, #MOOD, comes from her upcoming EP, OneVerse. #MOOD epitomizes what Resse P does best: mixing vulnerability and toughness. Right next to rhyming about how difficult life can be but how she’s the greatest, she opens about about love and heartbreak.

#MOOD is a jazzy hip-hop beat that alternates between hard rhymes bragging about how girls send her scandalous selfies and laid-back reflections about her emotions. “I’m in my hashtag mood,” she croons.

Curve says,

With her compelling energy and ability to draw listeners in with her words and her unique delivery, she sets the tone for every song. The effect is lyrical, yet upbeat.”

How does Resse P describe herself? She says she lives a “humbly luxurious life.” She prides herself on “blending a variety of sounds” but is also excited to be an “80s baby all day!” Music, traveling, reading, meditation, and everything healing and organic are important to her.

Check out her official page.

‘What’s In Your Box?’ Subscription Service Helps Women Have Better Sex

Vaginas are awesome.

But even though vaginas are so awesome, people who have them aren’t taught to be proud of them. Women, non/abinary people and trans* men who have vaginas are taught from a young age to hide them.

Just think back to your elementary school textbooks – how many dicks were drawn on the pages? Probably a lot. But if you’d tried to draw a vagina, you would have been hauled to the principal’s office for obscenity.

Penises indicate strength, while vaginas indicate weakness – being called a p*ssy is an insult. And let’s not start with the double-standard between men and women regarding sexual promiscuity.

The new subscription service What’s In Your Box? is changing all of that. According to the official website, this monthly subscription box is “a social movement opening the dialogue around women’s sexual health to empower all women to explore their bodies freely without stigma or shame.”

A new box arrives at your doorstep each month. Each box includes five product samples that cater to sexual health, pleasure, hygiene, education and pride.

Christine Long founded the company when she became frustrated as a young woman in her twenties. She says,

I was inspired to start WIYB after my own personal run-in with STIs, which caused me to feel a lot of shame around my body and sexuality. As a young woman in her 20s wanting to explore sex, I felt there were no reliable brands or resources I could turn to that would help me take charge of my sexual health.”

WYIB aims to be affordable so as not to cater to just one demographic. Subscriptions start at $15 a month for a 3-month plan and go up to $18 for a month-to-month plan, although the contents of each box are worth up to $50.

So what can you expect to find in your surprise box? Each includes toys, washes, lubricants, condoms, dental dams, lingerie, stickers, diagrams, and more.

Get your own box for your box at the official site.

Get Fit At America’s Only Queer Gym

Being a queer woman at the gym is a lose-lose situation.

If you’re femme, then you’ll have to keep looking over your shoulder, ready to defend against “well-meaning” (read: creepy) straight men who think the gym is a great place to cruise for women. There are only so many times you can say, “Stop correcting my form, Chad, and no, I don’t want to see you flex or do 100 pushups and please stop watching me run on the treadmill” before it gets old.

If you’re more masculine presenting, men often don’t know what to do with you. Some see you as a threat to their masculinity and get angry. Dealing with constant harassment and staring is exhausting.

Nathalie Huerta is sick of it.

The Oakland, California resident was tired of turning the wrong heads at the gym. She says:

I grew up in the gym and when I was more feminine, I only dealt with the general gym creeper dudes. Yet, the minute I cut my hair and ditched the makeup, things got weird in the locker room (women hiding from me) and in the weight room (pissing contest with dudes).

So she opened LGBT-only facility The Queer Gym in 2010. It currently has 150 members and is expected to reach 175 by the middle of 2017, at which point it will open new locations.

The Queer Gym aims to be a place, first and foremost, where LGBT people can work out in safety. Huerta says, “How can you think about getting healthy if you’re worried about getting jumped or sexually assaulted in the locker room?”

Yes, hookups do occur – with lots of attractive queer ladies and lots of adrenaline, what do you expect? – but that’s not the point of the gym. Huerta envisions a place where queer women can feel good about themselves and focus on their own wellbeing.

Working out at The Queer Gym is more than a chore. It’s a community. Some of the people who’ve met at her gym have even gotten married.

This is the first and only LGBT-only gym in the US. Get an in-depth look or check out the official website.

‘Please Like Me’ is a Hilariously Depressing Show (That You Will Love)

Depression. Pastries. Queer sex. Whether you like Sylvia Plath, cooking shows or the gay section of Pornhub, this show will satisfy all of your desires.

Please Like Me. No, it’s not just my yearbook signature, it’s also the name of a transversive Australian show that you show watch immediately.

The queer.

The show follows Josh Thomas, a narcissistic comedian who manages to be adorable yet completely self-absorbed. At age 20, after dating a gorgeous woman for years, he realizes he is gay. (He also realizes that his mother is suicidal, but we’ll come back to that.)

Over the next four years, Josh explores all avenues of sexuality, from hookups to Craigslist dates to monogamy to polyamory to failed threesomes. There is a lot of crying during sex. But he’s usually not the one crying.

His friends, Tom (Thomas Ward), Claire (Caitlin Stasey) and Hannah (Hannah Gadsby) also experiment with their sexuality. Hannah is a wry lesbian who manages to win beautiful women despite her inability to crack a smile or socialize for more than 5 minutes. Tom dates a barely-legal high schooler with a bunny fetish while Claire moves to Germany and back again before settling down with an older man.

The honest.

It’s hard to write a funny story about depression. Writers usually ending up making it either too lighthearted or too, well, depressing – but Please Like Me strikes the perfect balance between humor and pain.

The humor stems from the way the characters handle their mental illnesses, not from the mental illnesses themselves. Somehow, you’ll find yourself laughing at depression, suicide attempts, panic disorders, self-harm, fetishes, cheating and loneliness. Lots of loneliness. Please Like Me taps into the loneliness inside all of us. While watching this show I felt simultaneously close to the characters and more alone and hopeless than I’ve ever been. But hopelessness is okay as long as you’ve got laughter. That’s what Josh believes, anyway.

The hilarious.

Nothing really happens in Please Like Me. Things occur in general – Josh dates a man who could spontaneously die of a brain aneurism, Tom meets a girl while taking LSD, Hannah reconnects with her ex-girlfriend in a trailer while her best friend commits suicide – but, unlike general sitcoms that have a clear driving plotline, there is none.

Characters live. Characters die. In the middle, they just try to figure out life and cook the most delectable pastries they can.

Start bingeing Please Like Me here.

Top 3 Lesbian Comedians To Have On Your Radar

You’ve finished going through Kate McKinnon‘s greatest hits and you’ve watched Suicide Kale twice. Where can you turn for some hilarious female comedy?

Check out these rising stars.

Hannah Gadsby

On the hit Australian show Please Like Me, Hannah Gadsby plays a sad, sad lesbian named Hannah Gadsby. On stage, she’s equally sad – but also hilarious.

Her latest comedy tour is called Nanette. Here is an excerpt:

“Hello. I have another show for you. This show was inspired by a woman who goes by the name Nanette. Although we did not exchange a single word or even a glance, Nanette has changed my life. She hasn’t at all, but she did prompt me to think about some things and those things I thought have become this show. Cool stuff.”

Stay up to date on her self-deprecating humor at her official website.

Zoe Coombs Marr

Zoe Coombs Marr is every men’s rights activist that you love to hate – but you will love to love Zoe.

On stage, she plays men’s rights activist Dave, who believes that PC culture is ruining the world and the Trump Administration will usher in the second coming. As a queer woman, she flips the script (and writes a new one) on gender, sexuality and the “alt-right.”

Meet Dave at her official website.

Fortune Feimster

With a name like Fortune, you’ve got to go into either comedy or investment banking. Luckily for us, Fortune chose the former.

You may have seen her on Mindy Project as Colette, a hilarious southern lesbian who has no time for decorum and who isn’t afraid to say what she thinks. When she’s not being the best part of Mindy Project (a welcome break from the misogynistic men who populate that show), she’s raising money for charity and writing for Chelsea Lately.

Fall for her wildly curly hair at the official website.

Who’s your favorite queer comedian?

Why You Deserve A Professional Lesbian Massage (and How to Get One)

There’s nothing like a nice, relaxing massage. After all, being queer is hard work – we’ve got endless flannel shirts to wash and carabiners to organize – and having someone else massage the stress away feels incredible. The right massage can erase years of tension with a little baby oil.

Massages just got better. And a whole lot sexier.

Lesbian tantra massages are an ancient practice that dates back to the year 400 A.D., according to tantric masseuse Erica, who runs Karma Tantric in the UK. Tantric massage is the “ritual by which you liberate or separate two aspects of consciousness and female divine body.” It “stimulates total undoubted release of the body and mind between a female masseuse and her female client.”

If you’re new to tantric massage, it’s not for kids. Tantric massages view sexuality as just an extension of the relaxation process.

Masseuses are just as likely to rub between your shoulder blades as they are to rub between your legs. They’re popular among couples who want to bring spirituality and intimacy into their sex lives, because it’s said to promote spiritual bonding.

Tantric lesbian massages are even better than heterosexual ones. One of Erica’s clients called it “a session of feminine discovery and erotic pleasure in authentic magical tantric energy.” A little over the top? Maybe. Hot? Definitely.

You don’t have to be a lesbian to enjoy this. Many of her clients identify as straight women who just prefer to get erotic arousal and spiritual bonding from female hands.

Even if you’re interested, you might feel a little uncomfortable at the thought of a stranger’s hands all over (and potentially in) your body. Erica says that if you’re interested at all, “it’s safe to say there’s a subconscious interest there. We very rarely dislike the things we crave passionately, after all, if you like the idea of it, you will probably love the real physical and erotically enchanting touch of another female.”

Read the rest of Erica’s interview here and search for a lesbian tantric massage near you.

Queer Fantasy Novels Are Pushing the Boundaries of Gender and Sex

Gender and sexuality are endlessly complicated. And yet we tend to see everything in terms of male or female, gay or straight.If you identify as a gender other than the one you were assigned at birth, you’re trans. If you like someone of the same gender, you’re queer.

If you identify as a gender other than the one you were assigned at birth, you’re trans. If you like someone of the same gender, you’re queer.

Even all the different types of women – femme, butch, masculine-of-center, stemme, and more – are just lumped into the category of women.

But it’s more complicated than that.

That’s why fantasy books are the some of the more progressive pieces of queer literature available. They reimagine what sexuality, gender, relationships and even race could be.

For example, let’s look at Jon Skovron’s Empire of Storms Books.

Skovron is a man who knows the blurring of identities. He identifies as a man, but considers his masculinity atypical – he’s sensitive and creative, all of his close friends are women and gay men, and he was raised in a houseful of women. He was married to a woman for nine years until she realized she was a lesbian and left him for another woman.

After that devastating event, he realized that gender and sexuality are fluid. Just because his wife fell in love with a woman didn’t mean that she had never loved him. He realized that people are always changing.

That helped to inform the characters in Empire of Storms. He finally freed himself up to write dynamic characters that defied labels. He says,

If we can imagine flying dragons and elves, why not a third gender, or a fourth, or a whole spectrum of gender?”

The protagonist, Red, identifies as a man but not with “typical” masculinity. Like Skovron, Red identifies more with emotions and female friendship than with “many” activities like fighting. He says, “Red is, in part, my attempt to embrace and celebrate my own somewhat unconventional masculinity.”

Another gender-defying character is Brigga Lin, who can magically change sexes at will. This power is less about how cool it would be if one could switch back and forth, but about how powerful it is to be able to present as your desired gender at will.

Skovron isn’t the only writer to do this. In Ursula K. LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness, everyone is sexless except for once a month, for breeding purposes, and everyone uses the pronoun “he” regardless of what sex they happen to take on that month.

In Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, the main character comes from a genderless society and finds it tiring and futile to interact with a society with such rigid genders. The character refers to everyone as “she.”

Read more about Skovron’s gender-bending writing here or Left Hand of Darkness, Ancillary Justice and other gender-queering books here.

How ‘The Little Mermaid’ Was Actually An Allegory For Being Queer

It’s a proven fact that most Disney films are pretty gay. Although the only overtly gay character is “The Fool” from the live-action Beauty and the Beast, movies like Mulan have challenged gender binaries, and movies like Frozen have drawn parallels to the queer experience.

But Disney’s foray into queer stories began a long time ago, before Frozen and even before Mulan. The Little Mermaid film that came out in 1989 is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Little Mermaid,” written in 1836. That’s pretty obvious. But did you know that his short story was based on the romantic letters that Andersen exchanged with a handsome young Duke, Edvard Collin? Unable to express his homosexual feelings of love toward the young Collin, Andersen used this story as an allegory for his experience.

Let’s break this down a little further.

Ariel’s love for the human world parallels Andersen’s love for other men.

Ariel is afraid to admit that she loves the human world, because her father believes it’s shameful and her friend Sebastian thinks that she can learn to love the sea if she just tries harder (sound familiar?). Like many teenagers, Ariel hopes that she will grow out of her shameful obsession when she gets older. That is, until she meets Eric.

Eric is Andersen’s long-lost love, Collin.

Eric may have loved Ariel, but he was engaged to one of his own kind. A (human) woman. In their letters, Andersen lamented that Collin was engaged to a woman because marrying a woman was the proper thing to do. As much as he wished that Collin wouldn’t marry the woman, Collin and Andersen’s story didn’t end as happily as Ariel”s and Eric’s. Collin married a woman and Andersen suffered heartbreak.

Ariel is silenced just as queer people were silenced.

Ariel is literally silenced. In the 1830s, queer people could speak out – if they wanted to be shamed, arrested or even put to death. Unable to speak freely, they resorted to covert letters, coded messages and, it seems, allegorical fairy tales.

Ursula is a closeted, resentful queer person.

There is a saying that says, “Those who scream the loudest have the most the hide.” In this case, the most vehemently homophobic people are the ones who are terrified of their own homosexual desires. Ursula’s relentless opposition to Ariel is based in her own resentment toward herself. Ariel is taking a risk by actually pursuing the illicit desires that she wants, whereas Ursula has often tried to ignore her own desires.

In the first draft of “The Little Mermaid” Ursula was Triton’s sister until her own love for the human world drove them apart. In the film, Ursula was based on a drag queen named Devine.

The rainbow that Triton paints in the sky is as gay as it looks.

When Ariel finally overcomes everything to marry Eric, her father paints a rainbow in the sky. This could symbolize peace, as in the peace that the Christian God made with people after Noah’s flood. But The Little Mermaid came out in 1989, and the rainbow became a prominent symbol of the gay rights movement in the 1970s. Disney animators knew exactly what it stood for.

Disney lyricist Howard Ashman confirmed that Beauty and the Beast was an allegory for AIDS.

Ashman, who was the lyricist for both Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, was an openly gay man who died of AIDS right after finishing Beauty and the Beast in 1991. Ashman considered Beauty and the Beast to be his personal story: “Shunned from society, his body hideously transformed, and his life wilting away like the enchanted rose, the Beast is a figure of degenerative disease. Belle’s love and the ultimate breaking of the curse is the fantasy cure that Ashman was denied.”

Learn more about the queer subtext in The Little Mermaid here and about queer subtext in Disney in general here.

New NYC Art Exhibit Shows Genderfluid Japan

What do you think of when you think of Japan?

You might think of rigid gender binaries where men love women so much that they fall in love with pillows with images of women printed on them. You might think of the sharp divide between shonen, which are cartoons aimed at boys, and which deal with fighting and battles, and shojo, which are aimed at teen girls and almost always deal with relationships and love. You might think of geishas, professional female entertainers in thick makeup.

But not too long ago, Japan led the way in blurring gender binaries.

Between 1603 and 1868, when American colonists were burning witches at the stake and English women were being locked up for “hysteria,” Japan was exploring fluid ideas of gender and sexuality.

Teenage boys called wakashu dressed extremely effeminately. Japanese people considered them a third gender, and men and women both pursued (and were pursued by) them sexually. When wakashu grew out of adolescence then they, too, could pursue wakashu.

This is much like “boy love” in Ancient Greece, except for one distinct difference – women too could sleep with wakashu, indicating that Japanese people thought of both sexuality and gender as loose guidelines instead of strict boundaries. People didn’t have to be married to have sex, and sex was far from purely procreative.

Curve Magazine remarks that in Edo culture, “homo-eroticism, androgyny, gender ambiguity and bisexuality flourished and were encouraged.” Women slept with each other as often as they did men.

A new NY exhibition called A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints explores the history more thoroughly in order to shine the light on non-Western ideas of sex and sexuality. Clearly, Puritan Christian rules were not the norm everywhere.

The exhibition features books, woodblock prints, paintings and “lovely objects.” One of the most prominent features of the exhibit is a large, colored woodblock that features two Edo-era women using a dildo.

Learn more about the exhibit here.

China Introduces LGBT Issues To Sex Education

When people think of “liberal, progressive” societies, they rarely think of China first. After all, the country is known for communism. Closeted Chinese women and men sometimes use apps to hide their queer sexuality through arranged marriages.

But some of China’s scandalous new textbooks are causing a stir.

In many primary schools – second through sixth grade – illustrated textbooks are teaching children about gender identities, career gender equality, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and even homosexuality.

Not everyone in China is happy. One mother wrote on China’s Facebook-equivalent, “Is it reasonable for a textbook to be compiled like this? I myself blush just looking at it.”

However, some Chinese parents were pleased – even proud and relieved. One said, “Giving our children more knowledge about sex will help them better protect themselves in the future,” while another gushed, “Finally, sex education in China has caught up with the rest of the world!”

Releasing these textbooks was no easy decision. The publisher, The Beijing Normal University Publishing Group, assures the press that the content underwent strict scrutiny and editing in order to be appropriate.

Ignoring sexuality was no longer an option. China’s sizable gay population, particularly the gay men, has had a sharp incline in STDs since more people feel comfortable coming out of the closet and exploring their sexuality. This exploration, coupled with a lack of knowledge, can be deadly. In 2015, a report revealed that male-to-male HIV cases among Chinese youth had increased more than 20 points, from 58.5 percent to 81.6 percent.

Of course, sexual education in China has a long way to go – just as it does in the US and other parts of the world. But the introduction of these textbooks is a major leap forward and will go a long way toward helping students accept themselves.

If more LGBT youth in the US had access to these resources in school, suicide might not be a leading cause of death among them.

Read more here.

Why Faking Orgasms Is Hurting Your Relationship

At some point or another, we’ve all faked it in bed.

We’ve faked moans, we’ve faked intensity or maybe we’ve faked the entire orgasm. After all, we don’t want to hurt our partners’ feelings, and making them think that they’re amazing in bed is the best way to spare them. Right? (Wrong.)

According to YourTango, here are the most common reasons queer women fake orgasms:

  • “I don’t want to hurt her feelings.”
  • “I don’t really like what she’s doing, but I don’t know how (or am too shy) to tell her or show her what I do like.”
  • “I’m ready to stop having sex, but she’ll feel bad if she knows I didn’t come.”
  • “I want her to like me and think I’m hot.”
  • “She’s doing all the right things, so I should be turned on. There must be something wrong with me (and I don’t want her to find out.)”
  • “She’s been working so hard down there, I think she must be tired. I need to fake it to take care of her.”
  • “I feel insecure about how long it takes me to come.”
  • “I really didn’t feel like having sex right now in the first place.”
  • “I’m not really attracted to her, but I thought maybe it would feel different once we got into bed!”

But think about it. Would you like it if you found out that your partner had been faking it? How would you feel? Probably a little disappointed in them and yourself, and maybe even a bit humiliated. If they had just told you what you were doing wrong, you would have fixed it! After all, sex should be about the pleasure of both people.

Give your partner the same courtesy.

If something just isn’t working, let them know. I know it’s nerve-wracking to be vulnerable. How do you say, “I like you but I don’t like what you’re doing,” when they’ve already seen the most intimate parts of you?

If you’re just not into sex at all that day, then it’s especially hard to communicate, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m not really in the mood anymore.” It might seem easier to just fake it and get it over with.

But if you’re not honest with your partner, your intimacy will suffer. The longer you go without telling them what you want in bed, the more difficult it will become – how do you explain after two years that they’ve never actually made you come?

Being honest, and encouraging honesty in your partner, is the first step to true intimacy.

Now how do you actually go about doing it? Check out Conscious Girlfriend for more information.

This Expensive Club Lets Straight Girls Be Lesbians For One Night

Wouldn’t it be great to have all of the joys of being a lesbian without, y’know, actually being a lesbian?

That’s the idea driving Skirt Club, a new lesbian sex club that caters to women who enjoy lesbian sex but who identify as heterosexual (or, if there’s a tiny bit open-minded, bicurious).

This all-girl orgy allows women to experiment with their sexuality away from the prying eyes of men, which was a major complaint of many attendees – most of them had attended sex parties organized by men, where the male gaze kept them from feeling completely comfortable. Nothing ruins the mood like a man trying to insert himself into the mix (literally) when you’re trying to kiss a cute girl.

Some straight women felt like frauds when they attended lesbian sex parties, because they felt like they were leading on queer women who may have wanted a relationship. Despite their attraction to women – and some Skirt Clubbers say that they’ve been attracted to women for a long time – they identify as staunchly heterosexual, and the idea of dating a woman is inconceivable.

The application process to apply to the Skirt Club is extensive and includes a mandatory ful-body photo. The party founder, Genevieve LeJeune, aims to build a “femme membership” of women, and she has to approve of your appearance before you are allowed access. Wouldn’t want any pesky masculine-of-center women to complicate things, right? Only attractive femme women ages 21-49 are allowed.

The application also includes a space for divulging your career details, and the party comes at a hefty fee of $180 a night. Why? To “weed out women who don’t have high-income careers.”

If you’re keeping track, this party is only for wealthy, young, attractive “straight” women who want to be lesbians for a night.

Is this inherently problematic? No. After all, LeJeune has the right to create any type of party she likes and for any audience. But if the women who attend truly want to explore their sexuality, then they might want to look past this homogenous, self-selective group.

Dark Queer Comedy ‘Suicide Kale’ Is Now Available to Stream

The hottest movie on the festival circuit right now isn’t a slow-moving meditation like Boyhood or a heartbreaking look at masculinity like Moonlight.

Nope, it’s Suicide Kale, a low-budget homemade indie film made by a group of queer unemployed friends, shot in 5 days.

Let’s back up a little. How did a movie with a name like Suicide Kale even come about? Was it the product of someone’s bad experiences with garden vegetables?

A group of queer women watched Tangerine in the summer of 2015. Tangerine is remarkable not only because it’s about trans women, but also because it was shot on an iPhone, proving that expensive movie-making equipment isn’t always necessary. The friends, who were LA-based performers and writers, started asking themselves, “Why haven’t we made a movie yet?”

So they did. Powerhouse Brittani Nichols (of Hamilton the Podcast fame – is there anything this woman can’t do?) came up with the idea, wrote a barebones script and cast all of her friends.

Five days later, the film was entirely shot – with a $0 budget. For reference, Get Out is being hailed for being such an incredible low-budget film, shot for the low, low price of $4.5 million. The last Pirates of the Caribbean movie cost $410 million.

The film follows Jasmine and Penn, two friends whose cheery lunch turns into a tragedy when they “find an anonymous suicide note at the home of the happiest couple that they know.”

Based off that concept and the 30-page script that Brittani sketched, the actors improvised most of the script in order to create something that felt authentic to their queer experiences. They shot so much in 5 days that editing took 6 months. Now Suicide Kale is earning massive buzz on the festival circuit and is finally available for home viewing.

Learn more at the official website, catch it at an upcoming festival or grab it from Amazon.

Top 3 YouTube Channels for Queer Female Gamers

Queer female gamers make up a ton of the video game community. However, the video games industry still caters to straight males. Why? It’s a mystery, since the Pew Research Center found that 48% of all gamers are female.

When it comes to queer video games, the tide is turning, albeit very slowly. Games like Life Is Strange push the boundaries of space, time and sexuality, while the Queerly Represent Me database keeps tabs on LGBT characters.

Still, when it comes to queer representation in mainstream games, the industry is lacking. Although mainstream games like Overwatch are including lesbian characters, queer female gamers often feel like fish out of water.

Some Let’s Play gamers are changing that.

Let’s Play is one of the most popular YouTube categories. A witty commentator cracks jokes as he or she (but usually he) plays through video games. Millions of people watch each video. The field is dominated by men, but a few queer women shine through the pack.

Danielle Riendeau

Danielle works for Polygon, one of the quirkiest game sites, and wrote about “the best video game women of 2015.” She streams dozens of games, from Fallout 4 to Bloodborne. Warning: Once you start to watch them, Danielle’s commentary so addicting that you might not emerge for 80 hours, until you watch her beat the final boss . She also streams games with her partner, Patricia Hernandez.

Tanya Depass

Tanya, a bisexual woman of color, helped found #INeedDiverseGames, a movement that spotlights players, developers and streamers of color. She is a powerhouse. Watch her Let’s Plays of everything from Mafia III to Elder Scrolls on her YouTube channel.


Kathleen is young, queer, and ready to blow your head off in Mass Effect. While she vlogs about political issues and general gaming news, her Let’s Plays are by far the most interesting – she tears into any game that she can get her hands on. Join in the fun on her YouTube channel.

What are your personal favorites?

Check Out ‘And The Moon’ – A New Black and White Lesbian Musical

Do you remember the first time you realized you were in love with a girl?

Maybe it was your first kiss with the shy girl in your biology class. Maybe it was when you first laid eyes on that cute girl with an afro at a poetry slam. Maybe it was when Kristen Stewart helped you make Totinos Pizza Rolls and had sex with you on a counter during the Superbowl.

The new queer musical explores that moment through music, dance and film.

The producer, Dan Bindschedler, says:

And the Moon” is a musical short about a woman’s journey to allow herself to be vulnerable, to fall in love, and to openly embrace her desire for another woman. Late at night, at the end of a promising date, a young woman is caught off guard by her date’s open, direct desire for her. During their dance of seduction, time suddenly stands still as she considers her own feelings of love and the erotic attraction that she feels towards this other woman. Wordlessly, through dance, she grapples with her fear about publicly owning her queerness, as well as the universal fear of being vulnerable enough to fall in love with another person.

The film will be shot in high-contrast black and white. The producer aims to emulate the romanticism of 1950s European art film, with an eye trained on Luchino Cisconti’s Le notti bianche. (Will this make the film insufferably artistic and self-important? It’s too early to tell.)

Because the musical is about women, the producer prioritized women when assembling a crew. The writer-director and choreographer are both women, as are every member of the cast.

The cast is notable for its diversity. Several women of color play the starring roles. It stars Gabby Beans, Adrianna Aguilar, Raquel Chavez, and Maria Diez, most of whom are new to film, but not to acting.

The film isn’t quite ready yet. They’re still raising money at their Kickstarter with the hope of submitting it to festivals in 2018 – everything from LA Outfest to NYC Newfest, with perhaps Sundance in between.

The producer has a dedicated schedule of when the film will be submitted and released online, so you can be sure that come hell or high water, you’ll be able to get your hands on it. Donors will get to see it first.

To contribute, head over to the “And The Moon” Kickstarter.

Something Is Oddly Addicting About This Lesbian Witch Movie

Sorceress’ unofficial tagline is, “What if all the characters in Girls were lesbian witches?”

While I’m not a fan of Girls, I do support queer lady loving. And magic. Why not combine the two?

Sorceress is a queer indie movie rapidly gaining a cult following. It bills itself as a comedy-drama, although the drama sometimes overshadows any urge to laugh – until the moments, of course, when the drama is so over-the-top that the viewer can’t help but laugh.

The film has a gritty, homemade feel that may or may not be intentional. Given its low budget, that’s to be expected. The film looks washed-out as if someone either forgot to add color or used the Sierra Instagram filter from start to finish.

Sorceress’  setting certainly doesn’t make it a vibrant film. This movie follows a young witch named Nina raised in the US who returns to Eastern Europe, where she was born, to sort through her life after a mysterious and devastating tragedy. At the same time that she learns to accept her magical powers, she learns that having sex with women is awesome.

The plot is mindlessly enjoyable, although it won’t win an Oscar for breakthroughs in queer cinema anytime soon.

Nina, the witch, has the very sexy job of working in a library, where she meets an alluring and mysterious woman named Katya. You can tell she’s mysterious because her name is Katya. They start spending time together, fall in love, have minor identity crises over whether they’re gay, and mumble a lot of their lines. But somehow their love perseveres.

The plot gets a bit muddy in the middle. At one point, Nina becomes a radio hit, and by the end, as Decider so succinctly puts it, “Nina is a former librarian sorceress popstar.” If that plot sounds like it was written by a freshman lesbian film student trying to get a C+ on a student film, well…

Still, something about this movie is oddly entrancing. Perhaps it’s the harsh Eastern European weather that casts an ominous shadow over the film, the paradoxically likable unlikability of the characters, or just the fact that there are lesbians with magic.

Decide for yourself. Watch the film on Prime Video.

Top 5 Lesbian SNL Sketches, Ranked

We already know that Kate McKinnon is the best thing to ever grace our gay TV screens. And we know that Kristen Stewart’s visit to SNL turned us 200% more gay. But there’s no such thing as too much lesbian humor.

So let’s back at some of SNL’s best (and queerest) sketches, shall we?

5. Whiskers R We

Lesbians like cats. And repressed lesbians love cats.

In this recurring sketch, McKinnon and a female guest host play two middle-aged women who work at a cat rescue shelter. The female guest host always has an unrequited crush on McKinnon, which leads to lines like:

McKinnon: “That is my nipple and I think you know that.”
Wiig: “I think I know you like it.”

McKinnon: “Keep it in your jorts.”

Other great lines?

“Cats have paws, claws and 0 flaws.”

“This cat is a gift from God. At least that’s what he told the members of his cult.”

The good: Kristen Wiig pinching Kate McKinnon’s nipple on live TV.

The bad: They will put cats in your car when you’re not looking.

4. The Concert

Wow, has it already been nine years since Ellen Page came out as gay on SNL?

AKA, wow, has it already been nine years since we fell in love with Ellen Page?

In this sketch, she plays a young woman who has found herself (and a lot of lady lovin’) at a Melissa Etheridge concert.

At one point, Page splits her legs into a deep V and moans, “Why does everything have to have a label? Why can’t I just hug a woman with my legs in friendship?”

The good: Lots and lots of…friendship.

The bad: Andy Samberg and Ellen Page should switch haircuts.

Watch it here.

3. Dyke and Fats

In this homophobic, fatphobic world, who is humanity’s last hope? Les Dykawitz and Chubbina Fatzarelli, AKA the crime-fighting duo Dyke and Fats.

The good: This duo can save me anytime.

The bad: Is the world ready for a savior who’s not a straight white man?

2. Cherry Grove

When gay men have fun, they dance, strip, have crazy sex, start drama and wear a lot of glitter.

When lesbians have fun…they don’t. They do puzzles and have tearful arguments.

The good: Five miracles of home water birth.

The bad: What on earth are water socks?


1. Totinos

This is one of the only post-2012 lesbian sketches on SNL McKinnon hasn’t appeared on – and yet it’s the most gay.

A cheery housewife (Vanessa Bayer) is perfectly happy making pizza rolls for her “hungry guys” – until Kristen Stewart shows up in a leather jacket, and they start having sex on the counter. While speaking French.

The good: Pizza rolls.

The bad: The camera cuts away before we see them reenact Blue is the Warmest Color.

4 Creative Lingerie Ideas For Butch Women

If you’re a masculine-of-center / butch woman, shopping for lingerie can be triggering. Why does women’s lingerie always consist of pink frills, push-up bras and thongs thinner than floss? The women’s underwear that claims to be “boy’s shorts” are mysteriously tight and short, but underwear from the men’s section is often too large and baggy.

Recently, Elite Daily offered a few tips for how masculine-of-center women can think outside of the gender box. Here are the best of the tips:

Wear suspenders.

Here’s the kicker – wear them without a bra.

You can’t exactly take this outfit out to work (unless you have a very, very lenient boss), but it’s perfect for when you’re expecting late-night guests at home. The suspenders are alluring yet masculine, showing enough to be scandalous but not emasculating.

Sports bras.

Some tomboys want to wear binders in order to completely flatten their chests, but if that doesn’t appeal to you, consider sports bras. They flatten out your chest without damaging your ribcage, and they’re extremely easy to remove once you get to the bedroom.

Fitted Briefs with Room for a Strap-On

RodeoH underwear believes that there shouldn’t be a line between business and pleasure. These flattering, form-fitting briefs are specifically made by queer women, for queer women, and they come with a hole in the front for a dildo. Say goodbye to bulky harnesses.

If you like to pack, then the hole also makes it easy to slip a packer in. The underwear is so comfortable that you can wear the packer all day.

Not sure where to start? RodeoH also sells dildos and packers on their site, so buy the underwear and the toys at the same time.

Tuxedo and Motorcycle Vests

Headed out to a gay bar and really want to make a statement? Planning an especially kinky night for you and your girlfriend? Go bra-less beneath a silky tuxedo or studded leather motorcycle vest. The lack of sleeves will still let you flex your biceps, but the revealing nature of the outfits shows that you’re ready for an adventure.
What’s your favorite tomboy lingerie?

Gina Rodriguez Eager to Play America Chavez in Marvel Movie

America Chavez is Marvel’s newest, most badass superheroine – and one of the most badass queer women in Hollywood wants to play her in a movie.

America Chavez is a queer Latina superheroine that doesn’t bow to anyone’s notions of femininity or sexuality. She’ll kick butt and kiss whomever she wants, thank you very much.

Her title as Marvel’s Miss America is a slap in the face to anyone who thinks that Americans have to be straight, white men. America Chavez proves that there’s nothing more American – and more radical – than being yourself and battling evil face-to-face.

Actress Gina Rodriguez has recently expressed interest in playing the role if Marvel ever takes America Chavez to the big screen – which, given the intense popularity of diverse upcoming Marvel films like Black Panther, could be sooner than we think.

Gina plays the titular character from the hit show Jane the Virgin, a satiric telenovela that follows the mishaps of a young Latina woman who becomes accidentally artificially inseminated with a rich, handsome bachelor’s baby while she’s engaged to another man. Oh yeah, and in the show, her estranged dad is a superstar. And an evil villain named Sin Rostro is killing people. And everyone has an evil twin. And the narrator is sassy. (Somehow it all makes sense within the show, okay? I did say it was like a telenovela.)

Rodriguez opened up about her sexuality recently. When a fan asked her, “Are you straight?” she replied with, “I don’t need anyone to define their sexuality to me. Nor do I feel the need to either. I love hearts. Period.”

Her response confirms what queer women have long been speculating, seeing as Gina rocks a fierce queer undercut. Fingers crossed that Jane in Jane the Virgin will eventually get a queer love interest.

Learn more about America Chavez here.

What’s It Like To Be A Lesbian In The TV Industry?

We applaud shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black for presenting diverse queer characters. Why can’t more shows revolve around queer characters? It can’t be that hard, right? Web series do it all the time!

Unfortunately, when it comes to LGBT issues, politics get tricky behind the scenes of your favorite shows. Being an openly queer woman creating openly queer content is harder than it looks.

What’s it like to be a gay woman working in TV?

If you’re an actress who looks like a lesbian, you’ll never get any roles.

Actress Lauren Logiudice told Curve that she was having trouble booking roles in Hollywood. She was a beautiful, talented, dynamic actress with years of experience. So what was the problem?

“Your hair is too short,” said her agent.

Her agent said that Lauren’s short, spiky hair made her look like a lesbian. And since only 1.32% of characters on TV are lesbians, she didn’t have a future as a leading lady anytime soon.

Lauren grew her hair out to her chin and immediately booked enough roles to make a living as an actress.

“The dividing line between work and no work was five inches of hair,” she said.

Staff writers don’t have a lot of wiggle room.

Lesbian characters die all the time. Seriously, it’s a problem. So why can’t queer writers in the staff room speak up and change things?

It’s not that easy. The showrunner makes all the major decisions, but even he/she has to take direction from the studio and the network, or risk cancellation. A writer can speak up against a particular writing choice, but ultimately she’s told to write the script that the showrunner wants, and the showrunner will always rewrite her script later.

So why can’t a writer just refuse to write a script? For example, if a queer woman of color didn’t think that a certain death at the end of Orange is the New Black season 4 was justified, couldn’t she refuse to write the script as an act of protest?

Only if she wants to get fired.

Writer-director Maria Maggenti says, “If you want to keep your job, you don’t refuse to write a script.”

TV is changing for the queerer.

Some people say we’re in the Golden Age of Television. Other people call it a Television Bubble. Either way, ages end and bubbles burst.

In order to keep television fresh, networks need new ideas all the time. And they’re finally turning to diverse writers to pitch them.

Director Lynn Shelton says, “For you to have a show that is not going to be like 20 other shows you really have to diversify.” And networks are increasingly searching for creative web series to turn into hit shows like Broad City and Insecure, both of which started on YouTube.

Being a queer woman in the TV industry isn’t easy, but it’s necessary – we’ve come far, but we still have much further to go.

This Vibrator Syncs to Audiobooks

When it comes to sex toys, the crazier the better.

That seems to be the motto of Vibease, who specializes in creating vibrators to fill needs that you didn’t know you had. Who knew that you couldn’t truly appreciate the literary qualities of Fifty Shades of Grey, without actually feeling physical sexual stimulation?

The Vibease Wearable Smart Vibrator isn’t as “smart” as it is eclectic. This little thing does so much. For example, it lets your partner control it by playing with a dot on the screen.

It also syncs to your favorite sounds. Yes, not just songs, but sounds. That means you can set it to sync to a podcast – next time you’re listening to Hamilton the Podcast, use this vibrator for the full experience. You can even set the vibrator to pulse along to special recordings, so you’ll never need to leave a normal voicemail again.

But the vibrator’s most unique function is its audiobook functionality.

It calls itself “the vibrator that brings Fifty Shades of Grey to life.” Each erotic story in its collection affects the vibration in different ways. During a gently erotic story, the vibrator may just pulse slightly. During a hardcore erotic story, the vibrator may rattle. This is a whole new way to be immersed in a story. Each story is about 10-20 minutes.

The downside? Well, the vibrator stops whenever characters stop having sex in the story, so you might find yourself frustratingly edging as you skip ahead from 30-second sex scene to 30-second sex scene.

And the jury is still out on whether its lesbian erotic content adequately meets the needs of its queer female readers. The vast majority of the available stories feature shirtless men with six-packs staring moodily into the distance. If that’s your kink, then you’ll be right at home.

But if you’re an avid reader, head to the Vibease Fantasy Erotica page for a truly stimulating literary experience.

The Limit(less) Photo Project Showcases Queer Africans

Being queer is un-African.

When his parents told him that, Mikael Owunna went into shock. He was fifteen and had finally come out. Decrying American corruption, his parents exiled him back to Nigeria to remember how to be an African – that is, straight.

Going back to Africa didn’t turn Owunna straight. It just introduced him to many, many more queer Africans who felt just as adrift as he did.

Owunna told Buzzfeed,

There was nowhere that I felt like I could be both queer, African and whole.”

That led him to create the Limit(less) photo project, which features portraits of and interviews with LGBT African expats. He wants to prove that being queer is very African, thank you very much.

This project is as much to unite the queer LGBT African community as it is to debunk stereotypes about Africans. Says Owunna,

Almost all of the (very few) images of LGBT Africans out there are so sad and depressing and center exclusively on our pain. I want to provide a space through my art where we can heal and see that we not only exist being both LGBTQ and African – but that we also thrive and love ourselves!”

Despite the large numbers of LGBTQ Africans, it’s not always easy for Owunna to find people to interview and photograph safely. Before agreeing to take someone’s picture, he has an in-depth Skype interview with them to make sure that adequately understand the risks of being vocal about their identity. Even in Western countries, they’re not always safe.

So far, he’s photographed over 30 LGBT African immigrants in the US, Canada, Sweden and Trinidad & Tobago. In the summer of 2017, he will travel to Belgium, France, Portugal and the UK for more participants.

See Owunna’s award-winning photography on his official website and check out the Limit(less) project for yourself.

For more LGBT African art, read Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta.

Schools Are Failing LGBTQ Students In More Ways Than Just Bathrooms

We know that many American schools are failing LGBTQ students. After all, suicide rates for LGBTQ students are outrageous. One out of every 6 LGBTQ students in America seriously considers suicide each year, and of the nearly 50% of transgender adults who’ve made suicide attempts, 92% of those attempts were before age 25. Clearly schools are failing these students somewhere along the line.

In early 2017, Trump denied federal protections for transgender students to use their bathroom of choice. And, given his Secretary of Education, many students aren’t too hopeful about the prospects of bathroom choice returning, especially in conservative states such as North Carolina, who pioneered the HB-2 “Bathroom Bill.”

But the problems go deeper than just bathrooms.

CUNY’s revolutionary What’s Your Issue? project championed public school research based on parameters set by LGBTQ and gender non-conforming (GNC) youth of color, who are often the hardest hit by anti-LGBTQ legislation and lack of legal and anti-bullying protections for LGBTQ youth. This project collected more than 6,000 surveys from LGBTQ/GNC youth of color all across America in order to paint an honest – if painful – picture of LGBTQ life for the most vulnerable students.

Here’s what they found.

1) LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to be sent to juvenile detention as their straight peers. In the US, more than 300,000 LGBTQ youth are detained or arrested each year. But…

2) Of that 300,000, 60% are Black or Latino, even though only 24.8% of people in the US are black or Latino.

3) Forty percent of girls in juvenile detention identify as LGBTQ/GNC.

4) GNC female students (i.e. cisgender women who dress more masculinely, such as butch or stud women, or transgender women who don’t look “female” enough to appease cisgender adults) of color are the most affected by harassment, school policing and dropout rates.

5) LGBTQ youth of color are twice as likely as straight youth of color to either drop out or be forced out of school.

6) Masculine-presenting female students of color are most likely to be aggressively over-disciplined. They have the highest rate of suspensions, and they are the group most likely to be handcuffed and frisked by school police and security guards.

To learn more about the study and its detrimental effects on students, read the Black Girls Matter report and learn more about the What’s Your Issue? project.

7 Ways to Be a Better Ally

Queer women are awesome.

That’s why you’re on this site, right? Maybe you’re an amazing queer lady who loves to connect with other amazing queer ladies. Or maybe you’re just a rad ally who wants to be an asset to the queer community.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes allies make things worse. They don’t do it on purpose – but because they just don’t know what it’s like to be LGBTQ, they can accidentally do more harm than good. So how can you be the best ally you can possibly be?

Cisgender queer women, you’re not off the hook. How can you be an amazing ally to the transgender community too?

  1. Don’t assume someone’s sexuality based on their appearance.

Maybe that girl wearing flannel is a lesbian, or maybe she’s just a lumberjack. Maybe that girl with a buzz cut is a lesbian, or maybe she just got gum stuck in her hair. Maybe that girl with the carabiners is a lesbian, or…no, she’s definitely a lesbian.

  1. Don’t assume someone’s gender based on their appearance.

It might feel awkward, but always ask for preferred gender pronouns (PGP). You might be surprised by the sheer amount of wrong assumptions you’ve been making.

  1. Don’t assume asexual people don’t have sex.

Some asexual people never have sex. Some have a lot of sex but feel no romantic attachment. Some have strong romantic attachments but don’t really care about sex. There is more than one way to be asexual. Here are ten ways to get you started.

  1. Don’t assume all queer people want to have sex with you.

You’re just not my type.

  1. Don’t say “dyke,” “fag,” or “tranny” unless you belong to that group.

If you’re a queer woman, you might call yourself a dyke as a way to reclaim that word and empower yourself. The queer community did for, well, the word “queer.” But if you’re not from that community, using that word isn’t empowerment, it’s a slur.

And these privileges aren’t one-size-fits-all: Cisgender ladies, just because you’re LGBTQ doesn’t mean you can use the word “tranny.”

  1. Don’t assume bisexual or pansexual people are promiscuous.

Some bisexual people are sexually promiscuous. Guess what? So are some heterosexual people. And so are some homosexual people. And so are some rabbits. Whether you have a lot of sex doesn’t depend on your sexuality, it depends on how good you are at Tinder.

  1. Understand that the “A” in LGBTQIA doesn’t stand for “ally.”

Straight people, I get it. You support queer people and you would love to be included in the acronym, even if it’s just at the end. But the A isn’t for you. It’s for asexuals, aromantics and a-mazing lesbians.

Learn more ways to be an incredible ally at the Post.

Read Patricia Cornwell’s Nail-Biting Lesbian Crime Novels

Do you ever watch CSI and think, “I wish the show were gayer?”

Do you ever listen to Serial and say, “Cool, but why can’t Adnan be a lesbian?”

If you’re a fan of both queer ladies and crime stories, then you’ll love Patricia Cornwell, who brings the best of both.

Cornwell’s Scarpetta novels follow Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a kickass female agent; Lucy, her sharp-witted queer niece; and Carrie, a villainous mastermind.

Both Lucy and Carrie are lesbians with genius-level IQs and athletic builds. Oh yeah, and they’re FBI agents. You’ll drool over them both.

In each book, travel with the three characters as they solve – and commit – international crimes all over the world. Crack cases with Scarpetta, bust villains with Lucy and stay one step ahead of the police with Carrie.

Cornwell pulls all of these experiences from her own life. She’s a happily married lesbian who moonlighted as a crime reporter for the Charlotte Observer. After falling in love with crime stories, she began working for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where she spent years poring over murdered dead bodies and piecing together the mysteries that would later appear in her novels.

To say that Cornwell’s novels are popular would be an understatement. The Charlotte Observer is popular. The cool girl in high school is popular. Cornwell’s books are blockbusters. She’s sold more than 100 copies and is widely hailed as the best crime writer in the United States. In fact, forensic crime shows like CSI and NCIS are based on her work.

Cornwell’s story is inspiring because she proves that it’s never too late to do what you love. She didn’t come out of the closet until she was fifty, but now she’s happily married to the love of her life. She didn’t publish her first novel until she was in her late thirties, and her first crime novels were rejected three times before her first one, Portmortem, finally hit the shelves.

Read more about Cornwell’s incredible life (preview: she flies helicopters and fires rifles for “research”) and get hooked on the Scarpetta series here.

New ‘Butch Talk’ Podcast Discusses All Things Butch

It’s hard being a baby butch.

For one, there are so many types of butch to be. Butch lesbians come in all shapes, sizes and labels. Masculine-of-center. Stud. Andro. Soft butch. Stone butch. Boi. Diesel dyke. The list never ends.

Where do you even start? How do you know which label fits you? And how do you handle practical things like shutting down men who harass you in the streets, or choosing masculine clothing that doesn’t highlight your curves? How do you befriend other butch bros? How do you make sure you’re not perpetuating misogyny? What does it mean to be butch and bisexual?

Thank God for Butch Talk.

Join Whitney Lauren and her guests every week as they tackle new topics relevant to butch women. This new podcast explores female masculinity from all angles through personal stories, interviews, queer history, question-and-answer advice segments and just plain boi/boi banter.

Butch Talk started as a YouTube channel in 2013. The videos covered everything from how to handle your period, to what it means to wear clothing as armor, to what invisible etiquette you need to follow. After amassing thousands of subscribers, the channel took a break for two years, but it is relaunching bigger and better than ever as the Butch Talk podcast.

The beauty of the podcast is that it offers many perspectives on each issue. It will never tell you one right thing to do, but it will offer several people’s opinions on a certain topic. It’s all about starting a conversation.

And if you’re tired of female masculinity being discussed in terms of Judith Butler and other verbose, confusing queer theorists, then don’t worry. Put down the textbook. This podcast is relaxed and informal, and you’ll never hear the phrase “unsustainable analysis of the failing self.”

Eight episodes have debuted so far. The first two episodes discuss hair, the next two cover the politics of clothing, the ones after that discuss physical health, and the most recent episodes talk about family.

While you wait for new episodes, check out calendars highlighting female masculinity at It’s All Butch. Finesse your style at Haute Butch. And share your art at Bklyn Boihood.

Can You Make Your Best Friend Climax Without Touching Her?

Whether you’ve had a crush on your best friend for ten years or whether you two are strictly platonic, you can take your friendship to the next level by giving each other hands-free orgasms. How? With these adorable joint vibrators.

The Sync vibrators are technically made for couples, but female best friends have been using them for a little bit of platonically erotic play. Give this trend a try for yourself.

Step one. Get these matching vibrators with your best friend. Very cute, right? They come in a rainbow of colors.

Step two. Sync your best friend’s vibrator to your phone and vice versa using this app.

Step three. Let go of your fears. You’re doing this.

Step four. Have your best friend insert the vibrator into herself.

Step five. Use the app on your phone to control her vibrator. With her pleasure in your hands, you can make the vibrator go slower, deeper, harder, better, faster, stronger.

The vibrator comes with ten different settings: low, medium, high, ultra, pulse, wave, echo, tide, crest and surf.

With the app’s Beat mode, you can sync the vibrator’s pulsations to music. With the app’s Touch mode, you can control her pleasure with your fingertips.

Best of all, the synched vibrators work from anywhere, so if you and your best friend are too embarrassed to be in the same place, use the app when you’re in separate apartments. Or if you miss your long-distance bestie and want to feel close to her across the ocean, these vibrators are a unique way to keep in touch (without physical touch).

If you’re really adventurous, then insert the small vibrator before you’re about to run errands and tell your bff to surprise you throughout the day.

Of course, you can obviously use these vibrators with your girlfriend – they’re called couple’s vibrators for a reason. But if you’re single or if you just enjoy queerplatonic fun, then why don’t you mix things up and let your best friend control your pleasure?

Get your own at the official website.