Tag Archives: Queer Characters

Shannon Purser Addresses Riverdale’s Queer Baiting Backlash

Shannon Purser addressed some of the issues that Riverdale caused within the LGBT community – namely the queerbaiting that the show has been called out for, particularly in its first episode.

The problems began with a kiss between Riverdale‘s two female leads, Betty and Veronica, but the kiss itself wasn’t the issue. The real mistake was how the CW and Riverdale‘s creators handled it, promoting the kiss in trailers while stating outright that Betty and Veronica would never be an item.

It was a definitive example of queerbaiting.

They used a performance of girl-on-girl action to sell the show, while fans hoped for a sincere representation of queer sexuality.

Archie Comics built an empire on the Betty/Archie/Veronica love triangle, and while Riverdale focuses on other pairings, the show’s fandom still revolves around shipping.

The rivalry between ships is so intense, that Purser inspired backlash by tweeting this mild criticism of shipping culture.

https://twitter.com/shannonpurser/status/854476496299335680

After a few hours of backlash, Purser posted an apology where she came out as bisexual, explaining that she was “very very new to the LGBT community,” and had never heard the term “queerbaiting” before.

https://twitter.com/shannonpurser/status/854538329546780678

Addressing the fact that shows like Riverdale have very passionate fans that ‘ship’ particular characters together, Purser apologized to fans who felt that she and the show were marginalizing them by hinting at relationships which are very unlikely to happen.

Although this was the first explicit statement about her sexual orientation, the star hasn’t been shy about the topic of sexuality in the past.

Earlier this month, she took to Twitter to talk about the anxiety she experienced over her sexuality.

https://twitter.com/shannonpurser/status/851934358516748289

Top 7 Queer Moments: Steven Universe

If you could sum up Steven Universe in one line, it would be this:

Giant lesbian space rocks and lots of self-care.

The show is a virtual safe space where gems fall in love, watermelons rule their own island, and Nicki Minaj voices a badass character.

It follows the adventures of Steven, a young boy with supernatural abilities, and the Crystal Gems, female aliens whose lives depends on their gemstones. The current Crystal Gems are Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, and Peridot.

Steven Universe fights racism; many characters are of color, and their differences are celebrated without being centralized. It fights misogyny; strong female characters abound. It fights xenophobia; one character admits she doesn’t have a license because she’s technically an illegal immigrant. And it fights classism; the main character’s father lives in a van and finds no value in money

But let’s look at the way Steven Universe handles queerness. All of the crystal gems are female, and they fall in love with each other – it’s natural. They also fall in love with human women. It’s natural. Their stories are handled with care and nuance, and all of the queer characters are fleshed out.

Let’s look at some of the top queer (and genderqueer) moments.

7. Desperate to impress Amethyst, Peridot saves her life – and winds up on top of her. Then she gives her a gift.

6. Pearl and Garnet perform the most erotic dance ever allowed on kid’s television, and then fuse into one person.

5. Steven rocks this aquamarine dress and pageant makeup. And never once does he bring up fragile masculinity.

4. Jasper returns from the bottom of the ocean to beg for Lapis to come back to her, but Lapis recognizes that Jasper was toxic, and ends the abusive relationship.

3. Ruby and Sapphire have been together for more than 3,000 years. And they still can’t stop flirting. This is the ultimate lesbian love.

2. Pearl falls in love with a woman who looks like Steven’s mother, Rose, whom Pearl was also in love with for thousands of years. She does have a type.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg0ZL10R2do

1. This. All of this. (Beware: Major spoilers for Season 1.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ct0Sq57u4c

What are your favorite queer Steven Universe moments?

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.

Which Game of Thrones Characters Are the Queerest? – The Official List

Game of Thrones will be returning this spring. That’s right, it’s almost time for your favorite dragons, incestuous couples and complicated storylines to return with a vengeance for the penultimate season!

How will you prepare yourself? You could read the books. You could rewatch all six seasons. You could write even more Yara/Dany fanfiction (we know you’ve already started several).

Or you could remind yourself of all of your favorite queer characters, with help from GeeksOut.


Gender Non Con-forming Characters

Brienne

Brienne rejects all of your feminine stereotypes. No, she will not grow her hair out. No, she will not act like a lady. Yes, she will cut off your head if you disrespect Jaime Lannister.

Arya

Is Arya really gender non-conforming or is she just a tomboy? It’s hard to tell. But, since she did spend an entire season pretending to be a boy, we’ve got to admit that she was never one to care about gender.


Asexual Characters 

Asexuality is hard to define because many of the men in Game of Thrones have been castrated. (Seriously, the castration rate is alarmingly high. Someone in Westeros should probably do something about that.)

If these characters hadn’t been castrated, would they experience sexual desire? Do they still feel sexual desire regardless of their lack of genitalia? What about the men who were castrated later in life – have they completely lost the ability to have sexual desire, or just the ability to act on that desire?

Theon

Late to the castration game, Theon can’t consummate his desires even if he still has them. Very jealous that his sister Yara gets more girls than he does.

Varys

Castrated as a child, Varys does not trouble himself with things as silly as sex. He’s too busy pulling the puppet strings of the entire kingdom.

Greyworm

Greyworm can still fall in love, so if anything, he’s asexual but heteroromantic. He and Missandei would win the award for cutest couple hands-down.

Jon Snow

Okay, Jon Snow isn’t technically asexual, but he seems like he could be gray-asexual. He’s only ever slept with someone once, and he did not seem particularly interested in sex before, after or even during losing his virginity.


Queer Men

Remy and Loras

Remy and Loras should be together forever, in life, in death, and in lists.

Oberyn

If bisexuals had a mascot, Oberyn would be it. Openly sexually fluid – and with a delicious accent – Oberyn proves that labels don’t always matter. Hotness does.


Queer Women

Finally, the category we’ve all been waiting for: the ladies of Westeros that make us lick our lips.

Daenerys

When Yara hits on her, Dany seems very interested. Enough said.

Yara

Yara is the bro-iest bro to ever bro, and not just because she rescued her bro Theon. Who can forget the time she checked out Dany with a smirk? Or the time she started having sex with a female prostitute?

Sansa

Not yet. But it could be coming.

Who do you think should be added to the list?

Get ‘Witchy’, A Supernatural New Queer Comic

This queer Asian witch is growing out her hair to save her father.

Witchy, a new webcomic by Ariel Ries, follows a queer South Asian witch named Nyneve (Nin-eev) who lives in the witch kingdom Hyalin. In Hyalin, the strength of a witch’s magic is determined by the length of his or her hair. The strongest witches join the Witch Guard, a law-enforcing order that keeps the peace during wartime.

But witches who grow their hair too long become too powerful, and are marked as enemies of the state. The Witch Guard annihilates these enemies in an execution called a witch burning. Haunted by the execution of her father and conscripted by the Witch Guard organization who killed him, Nyneve has a choice to make: Should she join the organization that murdered her father or take a stand against the government?

Witchy updates every Monday. Four chapters and hundreds of pages are available so far, so spend a few hours getting caught up in the archive before the next update.

Ries hand-draws each comic. She’s an animation student in Melbourne, Australia.

In addition to putting together her thesis film, Ries is in the process of collecting Witchy Chapters 1-3 into a print volume.

She draws her comics quite large (A4) in order to make all of her uploads high-resolution. Her work has evolved since she began drawing the comic in 2014: She drew the first 20 pages with a dip pen and deleter ink on manga paper, then used Photoshop, and now works primarily with Manga Studio 5 using customized brushes.

No one in Witchy is white. The kingdom of Hyalin is a melting pot of East Asian, South Asian and Oceanic cultures. Although Nyneve is a young adult (age 18), this series is darker than typical Young Adult novels.

Witchy won a 2015 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Online Comic and a 2016 DINKy Award for Outstanding Web Comic.

Check out the comic here, and look at Ries’ other projects here.

‘Black Sails’ Is the Queerest, Most Progressive Show On TV (Also, Pirates)

What is the queerest show on TV right now? Is it lesbian Latina sitcom One Day at a Time? Or Ellen? Or the Kristen Stewart episode of Saturday Night Live?

Nope, it’s Michael Bay’s queer feminist pirate drama Black Sails.

Yes, you read that right. And yes, that’s Transformers’ Michael Bay.

You have a right to be skeptical. Unlike Transparent or Orange is the New Black, Black Sails has not won any awards for its LGBT activism. But it should. The show explores – not exploits – lesbian, gay and polyamorous relationships exploits. The show doesn’t play the relationships for shock value but delves into them with utmost care. Let’s look at a few more in-depth.

(For the sake of spoilers, I won’t use names.)

The protagonists are lesbians.

Lesbian relationships abound. From the very first episode, two of the show’s main characters – one of whom is a sex worker, the other a defiant entrepreneur – are shown in a lesbian relationship.

As the show progresses, the relationship dissolves and evolves, but it’s never played as a cheap trick or queerbaiting. The women are fully human, and they are fully in love with each other (but they love themselves more).

Sex is used as empowerment.

One of the characters, a sex worker, doesn’t just use her body for manipulation. A devious, scheming woman who seduces men in order to control them is an old trope, but this character is different.

Even though other characters have used sex to control her, she uses it in order to heal others and reclaim control of her own body. She later becomes the madam of a brothel, where she treats women fairly.

Polyamory is a dynamic and valid relationship structure.

A man (we’ll call him Captain Mouth) discovers that his longtime lover (Captain Hat) is having an affair with the woman above. Instead of getting angry, he says, “Just come back to bed when you’re done.” At some point, he even has a threesome with his lover and her girlfriend.

Love doesn’t need labels.

Come to think of it, this show is big on threesome couples. The show’s most dangerous character is a hardened criminal who killed his boss to steal his wife; now he keeps that wife captive on a tiny island in the Bahamas.

Except, that’s not what happened.

The actual events are much more scandalous: The criminal and his boss fell in love, and although the criminal and the wife had a brief fling (condoned by the boss), the criminal and his boss are the show’s true love story. That doesn’t mean the boss neglected his wife – rather, all three of them shared a secret and satisfying relationship.

A word of caution:

Don’t get me wrong, this show is far from perfect. It depicts brutal violence, sexual assault, slavery and plenty of bad haircuts. Also, pirates.

But this show is a queer landmark for its ability to bend and transcend gender roles and monogamous heterosexuality. If you’re looking for an honest, thoughtful exploration of sexuality, then watch Pirates next.

Actress Debra Wilson Explains The Key To Queer TV

“I’ve never really played a gay character,” says Debra Wilson, the queen of playing gay characters.

Let’s back up a little. Debra Wilson is a fierce, tattooed actress who is bringing heart to queer television.

You may have seen Debra on the sketch show MADtv, where she gained a cultlike queer following for her portrayals of Whitney Houston and Oprah Winfrey. As a MADtv actress for fourteen years, Debra became one of the show’s powerhouses – she was the Kristen Wiig of the show.

When she first began on the show in 1995, she may headlines for her then-groundbreaking views on homosexuality. She said,

I don’t give a fuck who you fuck; that’s your business.” These remarks and her hilarious impersonations have been credited with bringing a large queer following to the show, which was unfortunately canceled in 2009, but was revived by the CW in 2016.

What has Wilson been up to since the show’s ending? She’s done a lot of voiceover work for popular TV shows and video games, and but her main project is playing the lead in the web series My Sister Is So Gay.

Written by and starring Terry Ray and Wendy Michaels, up-tight, homophobic Amanda (Michaels) crash lands in the home of her gay brother Seth (Ray) after finding her husband has cheated with her best gal-pal. Her misplaced distress about the break-up –- and increasing curiosity about Seth’s lesbian coworker (Wilson) – signal more to Amanda than possibly even she realizes.” – Huffington Post

Wilson has often been praised for her non-stereotypical portrayals of queer women; this is her third time playing a lesbian on camera. In a time before multilayered queer actresses such as Tig Notaro and Kate McKinnon, Wilson was important in breaking down the “butch, man-hating” lesbian stereotypes that prevailed in the nineties and aughts.

She told Huffington Post that she has always looked to the character’s tribulations, not the character’s sexuality. “I’ve never really played a ‘gay character.’ I’ve always played the person in the midst of a situation – who happens to be gay.”

She also said, “If you stripped away who you slept with, you’d still be this human being who goes through the trials and tribulations, your joys, your sorrows, your celebrations and chooses how you experience and express your humanity.”

Catch My Sister Is So Gay here.

Web Series ‘Brujos’ Gives Queer People Magical Powers

Queer people are magic. Ricardo Gamboa’s Brujos harnesses that magic.

This web series centers around a group of LGBTQ Latinx heroes who are grad students by day and witches by night. They face off against witch-hunters, the privileged descendants of early American colonists. That’s right – the Salem Witch Trials are getting a round two.

The series consists of twelve seven-minute episodes; each episode reflects a Zodiac sign. According to Gamboa, Brujos both “reclaims the mystical knowledges of our ancestors” and makes “a statement about the magia [magic] in every queer and trans person of color.”

Gamboa created the series partly because he saw the lack of representation for queer people of color (QPOC) in the media. He watched Girls, and although he was inspired by the slice-of-life storylines, he failed to see himself in the privileged white characters who stumbled through New York. Brujos tells a story close to his heart: the story of QPOC surviving in a world that wants them gone.

The witch hunters, who are wealthy, white and male, clearly reflect upper-class America.

Gamboa decided to produce this series himself instead of trying to sell it to a high-powered studio because he believes in making his art directly accessible to the masses. He believes that people’s hearts change when they see stories.

He told Latina.com,

You won’t see my work in a museum. My work is on YouTube, where it’s accessible to people who can’t afford to visit a museum. It’s grounded in the idea that it gets people to see and feel, and if you get them to see and feel differently, you can get them to act and think differently.”

Why is it so important for queer people to have magical powers? One, it connects them to their ancestral, pre-Christian spiritual traditions, which are still alive and well in West Africa and the Caribbean in religions such as Yoruba and Santeria. Two, to supernatural is to be queer – queer meaning radical and abnormal.

To be supernatural is to push against the boundaries of everyday life in order to make the impossible possible. Society tells queer people of color that they do not deserve to live, so every day that they survive is a supernatural act. Brujos adds magic to the supernatural acts that queer people perform every day.

The first episode comes out on Inauguration Day, January 20. Learn more at the official website.

Watch the trailer below.

4 Queer, Radical Moments You Missed in SpongeBob

SpongeBob isn’t explicitly gay, but it is a queer show – at least, according to queer theorist Daniel Spielberger…and many furious Christian organizations.

The show has always raised a lot of eyebrows from LGBTQ viewers and conservative viewers alike. It has been accused of making children gay, and fat, and sex-crazed.

You be the jury. Is SpongeBob as queer+radical as conservatives fear?


1. SpongeBob and Patrick adopt a clam and prove that traditional gender roles lead to the degredation of families.

Why is it gay? SpongeBob and Patrick, two men, start a family together. Evil!

How is it corrupting children? It teaches children that people of the same sex can parent a child, and that when those people force themselves into traditional roles – SpongeBob becomes a housewife and Patrick gets a fulltime job – then families fall apart.

PATRICK: Oh! I wanna be the mom!

SPONGEBOB: I don’t think you can be the mom, because you never wear a shirt.

PATRICK: You’re right. If I was your mom, this would be kinda shocking. Just call me daddy!


2. When Mr. Krabs insults SpongeBob’s masculinity, SpongeBob is flattered.

Why is it gay? Mr. Krabs attempts to force traditional gender roles onto SpongeBob, who subverts these gender roles by embracing traits ascribed to women.

How is it corrupting children? It teaches children that misogyny is not okay. It also teaches boys that they can be pretty girls. Evil!

KRABS: That hat makes you look like a girl!

SPONGEBOB: Am I a pretty girl?


3. SpongeBob and Patrick ride a nearly naked David Hasselhoff through the ocean without doubting their masculinity.

Why is it gay? Two male characters are happily, eagerly riding on the naked back of a very toned man with no respect for heterosexual norms. If they rode on the back of a nearly naked woman, that would be understandable – men should assert sexually-charged masculinity at all times.

How is it corrupting children? It teaches children that they can physically interact with a person of the same sex out even if it “looks gay.” Children need to learn that if something looks gay, then it’s definitely evil and should be shamed!

SPONGEBOB: Oh no, how will we ever get back to Bikini Bottom now?

DAVID HASSELHOFF: I can take you there.

[Hasselhoff runs up in slow motion, Baywatch-style]

SPONGEBOB: Who are you?

DAVID HASSELHOFF: I’m David Hasselhoff.

SPONGEBOB/PATRICK: Hooray!

SPONGEBOB: So, uh, where’s your boat?

DAVID HASSELHOFF: Boat?

[They ride away into the sunset on David Hasselhoff’s naked body]


4. SpongeBob gives Valentine’s Day gifts to everyone in Bikini Bottom, irrespective of gender, disproving the idea that only romantic love has value.

Why is it gay? Valentine’s Day is traditionally for monogamous, romantic love. However, this episode shows SpongeBob giving elaborate gifts to nearly every citizen of Bikini Bottom. This seems to suggest that SpongeBob has an affinity for queerplatonic relationships: emotionally rich and expressive relationships that blend the line between platonic and romantic/sexual. Or, SpongeBob could simply be asexual, valuing platonic relationships above all else.

How is it making children gay? It shows children that not everyone needs to fall in love to be happy. Evil!

FRAN: Hey SpongeBob, I just wanted to thank you for this box of chocolates.

SPONGEBOB: Uh, no problem, Fran.

PATRICK: And even though I was expecting more…

[A man with roses walks up]

DAVE: Thanks for the roses, SpongeBob. Happy Valentine’s Day.

SpongeBob: You too, Dave.

PATRICK: And not that it matters that we’ve been friends for so long…

[A woman walks by with a bike]

FEMALE FISH: Hey SpongeBob, thanks for the bike! [talking to Patrick] Can you believe this guy? I just met him this morning!


SpongeBob has been queering television screens since 1999. What’s your favourite (and gayest) moment from a children’s TV show? Leave your answer in the comments!

Browse 700 LGBTQ Video Games On ‘Queerly Represent Me’

So you’ve finished Life is Strange and you’ve beaten Queer Quest. What video games should you play now?

Queerly Represent Me has the answer. This groundbreaking database catalogues LGBTQ video games for Playstation, Xbox, Mac, PC, iOS, Android, Nintendo and even DOS.

It’s notoriously difficult to find LGBTQ video games. While novelty games such as Gay Cats Go Into the Weird Woods offer a mere twenty minutes of fun, and cheesy, campy games such as Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony steep gay characters in stereotypes, gamers have always had difficulty tracking down games that explore thoughtful storylines centered around queer characters. Queerly Represent Me is long overdue.

The database allows users to sort by title, year, database, genre, publisher and platform. Users can also check to see if games are AAA – that is, big name games such as Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed.

If you click a game’s title, you will receive an explanation of the queer representation it includes.

The database currently has 713 entries. However, that list isn’t exclusive to video games that focus on queer characters – the list includes every video game that has a queer character (such as God of War III), or every video game that has the potential for queer characters (such as The Sims 1, 2, 3 and 4).

In the case of God of War III, the “queer representation” is a short cutscene in which two topless women are briefly seen caressing each other. The women do not speak to the protagonist or add to the storyline in any way. In The Sims, characters are only queer if you design them to be.

The list also includes games that were simply made by queer people; the game Identi-Key instructs players to drop keys onto locks of the same color. There is nothing LGBTQ about that game. However, because the game was made as part of the #RainbowJam diversity in gaming festival, the database includes it.

One of the database’s most helpful features is the ability to filter through all of these games in order to find games whose protagonist is explicitly LGBTQ, games whose protagonists are implicitly LGBTQ, and even the games that have been labeled problematic.

With nearly 1000 entries (and growing every day), this database will ensure that you never run out of games to play. So close your eyes, pick one at random and go have fun!

Check it out for yourself.

Hilarious Web Series “Advocates” Skewers LGBTQ Organizations

IRIS: Your paisley shirt looks like bacterial sperm.

STRAIGHT JANET: This is offensive.

IRIS: Shut up, straight Janet! It's your turn to be silent!

If you’ve ever looked at an organization like GLAAD or Human Rights Campaign and thought, “Working there must be awful,” then you’re right.

Advocates takes you inside the dark, messy world that is LGBTQ public relations. The series is set in a GLAAD-style organization, GULPTAB*, the “most powerful dysfunctional gay nonprofit in America.”

If you’ve watched The L Word or Looking… Then this show is nothing like that. And that’s a good thing. The world needs fluffy gay melodramas, but it also needs a new type of LGBT entertainment, and Advocates offers just that.

juniperdianestill

You won’t know whether to love or hate the anti-hero protagonists as they fake celebrity coming-outs (“I’m a hard 1 on the Kinsey scale,” the celebrity sobs, and is commended for her bravery), face off against more successful nonprofits, skewer The 600 fandom and, of course, make fun of Straight Janet, the only heterosexual in the office.

The only problem with the show is that it seems to offer a very privileged, very Caucasian view of LGBTQ life.

The token Asian character is ridiculed for addressing the lack of inclusion at GULPTAB* – “The asterisk in GULPTAB* is for special snowflakes,” says one of the organization’s directors.

Then again, that may be the point; organizations such as GLAAD and HRC are notoriously monochromatic, so it makes sense that GULPTAB* would be the same.

iris-casey1

The writing is witty, the satire is sharp and the trailer alone will leave you in stitches. Even better, the writer and the cast are LGBTQ.

Having queer content by queer creators is always a cause for celebration.

Unfortunately, you can’t binge-watch season one just yet. The series isn’t set to release until January, and it needs your help.

Check out the IndieGoGo page to donate and to get updates on the series’ release.

5 LGBT Webcomics To Make You Laugh

When you’re stuck at work or in a dull lecture, webcomics are the perfect bite-sized escape from reality.


What’s Normal Anyway?

2010-12-09-what-to-expect

What’s Normal Anyway? follows Mel, a transgender man who transitions from female to male during college. The comic puts a humorous spin on heavy issues, from body shaming to transphobia to dysphoria. Because it ran from 2010 to 2014, you’ll have hundreds of pages to laugh over.


Girls with Slingshots

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This quirky comic has been running since 2004, and updates five times a week. It follows queer girls Hazel and Jamie, and their forays into relationships. Some relationships are successful. Others…not so much.


Assigned Male

download-21

Have you ever wanted to read Judith Butler, Simone de Beauvoir and Audre Lorde, but had trouble deciphering dense theoretical texts? Stephie, an elementary school trans* girl, will explain them to you in Assigned Male. This comic is witty and insightful it follows Stephie’s adventures hanging with family, battling dysphoria and destroying the patriarchy.


As the Crow Flies

2016-09-25

As the Crow Flies is as honest as it is beautifully drawn; each hand-colored colored pencil page builds onto the harrowing story of Charlie, queer a thirteen-year-old black girl who finds herself in an all-white Christian backpacking camp. The author sometimes takes weeks between updates, but the archive has over 250 to start you off.


Find Chaos

2016-08-29queer-benefits-bathrooms

Find Chaos is the hilarious autobiographical webcomic about an agender cartoonist A and their girlfriend K. The comics touch on gender, sexuality, mental health and cats. New updates usually once a week.

Queer Viking Comic ‘Heathen’ Gets Vol. 1 Compilation

If you’re looking for queer female representation in the mainstream comic world, then it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

For example, although new Marvel and Netflix show Jessica Jones introduced lesbian character Jeri Hogarth, Hogarth is only the first gay character in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Meanwhile, while DC fan favourite Batwoman (Kate Kane) is an out lesbian, DC refused to let her get married to her fiancée (which prompted the creative team’s resignation) and in one issue, she was also sexually assaulted.

It’s reasons like these why so many queer female comic fans have begun to look elsewhere for representation.

One such comic that has garnered attention is Heathen (written and illustrated by Natasha Alterici), which made headlines last year following its successful Kickstarter campaign.

Heathen

Heathen stars Viking warrior Aydis who is banished from her tribe after she is caught kissing another woman. The official blurb for the comic explains that Aydis then goes on a mission to “end the tyrannical reign of god-king Odin during a time of warfare, slavery, and the subjugation of women.”

On her quest, Aydis gets help from “legendary immortal, the Valkyrie Brynhild” and she “battles, befriends, and outwits the various gods, demons, and fantastic creatures of lore she encounters along the way.” One of these friends includes Freyja, who AfterEllen describes as both “queer” and “polyamorous”.

Heathen 02

While it gets major kudos from us for starring a queer protagonist on a journey to bring down the patriarchy and it has also been called “the best self-published comic of 2015” by Comixology, there is one major criticism about Heathen.

Some readers have taken issue with the fact that Aydis is scantily clad, something that seems a little odd given the cold climates of the comic’s setting.

Heathen 03

Other than that, both Heathen‘s backers and critics seem to be happy with the comic and so it seems like a standout choice if you want something with both queer content and Norse mythology.

Heathen 04

The first four issues of Heathen are no available in a Volume 1 compilation here.


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Agent Carter Season Two: Dottie Returns As We Rage About Angie

When Agent Carter premièred last year, Marvel fans were ecstatic.

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Starring Hayley Atwell as fan favourite character Peggy Carter, the first eight episode series saw Carter kick butt, save the day and shut down sexism in the workplace.

While that was entertaining enough, viewers also enjoyed Peggy’s dynamic with best friend (and new roommate) Angie Martinelli.

The two characters’ friendship is wonderful to watch as not only do they have each other’s backs, but the roomies are also just really cute together (a hug towards the end of the first season is a particular highlight).

Naturally, some fans began to ship them (as ‘Cartinelli’) and have been encouraged by both Atwell and Lyndsy Fonseca (who plays Angie) – most notably, Fonseca tweeted “#Cartinelli forever”

Unfortunately, Angie will not feature in most of Agent Carter’s second season and instead, she will have a small cameo in the ninth episode where Peggy (and hilarious sidekick Jarvis) get knocked out and have a musical, black and white dream sequence.

Since the second season kicked off at the end of January, fans have continued to be more vocal about their disappointment, noting that the decision doesn’t make sense, especially as Peggy and co. relocated to Los Angeles, a place where Angie (who had dreams of stardom) had been desperate to go to.

One of the most serious accusations that has been put forward by fans since the season two premiere is that the team behind the show wrote Angie out for fear that Cartinelli shippers would demand that the pairing is made canon.

Fans say that if this is true (and we should note that there is currently no evidence that it is) it would be especially insulting as Cartinelli fans campaigned fiercely for the show to be renewed.

But, while it doesn’t look like Peggy and her gal pal (platonic or otherwise) will embarking on proper adventures any time soon, some fans have at least found comfort in the return of Russia spy, Dottie. While Dottie was a bad seed in season one (at one point she kissed Peggy in order to knock her unconscious), viewers have still been entertained by her shenanigans.

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In the season two premiere Dottie is arrested before being handed over to the FBI, and while there’s no word on whether Peggy/Dottie will become canon (it seems unlikely as they seem to have put Peggy in a love triangle with two men), the chemistry between the two women is palpable.

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These Peggy/Dottie breadcrumbs certainly don’t replace Angie and they also spark fears of queerbaiting/the queer villain trope, but it will be interesting to see what other hijinks Dottie will get up to (and Peggy will try to foil) over the rest of the season.

Meet London’s Female Drag Queens (Video)

Female drag is seen as gay man’s art, but their are a group of women challenging that concept.

While they’ve traditionally the subject of imitation, female-identified performers are now taking centre stage in London’s drag scene by dressing up in exaggerated tropes of femininity.

“Faux queens” however, are not yet fully accepted in the drag community; some gay male performers question whether women have the right to compete next to their male counterparts.

In the video below, Broadly explores a day in the life of three women who are reclaiming drag for themselves, redefining its heritage, and proving that the art form is genderless.

Sci-Fi Comic ‘Infinite Loop’ Has Time Travel and Lesbians

Let’s see a show of hands: what’s the very first rule of time travel? If you said ‘don’t alter things that happened in the past’ then pat yourself on the back and give yourself a round of applause.

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Obviously, if you and I were able to time travel we’d probably stick to that, knowing that meddling in time affairs could drastically change the fabric of our world, but in the comic book world of Infinite Loop, there are plenty who defy that simple rule for nefarious reasons.

In Infinite Loop, time travel is everywhere: sort of like Ugg boots and selfie sticks and so the chances that people will alter the past for kicks is that much higher. Bring in the the Paradox Hunters then who are a crack team of folks hired to snuff out those who alter the past, to stop it from changing the present.

Our main character Teddy, is one such Paradox Hunter and things are going fine and dandy for her until she falls in love with one of the people she’s meant to eliminate.

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You see, Ano was born in one such paradox accident meaning that her very existence goes against what Teddy knows.

A synopsis from the comic’s publisher, IDW (who picked up the comic after it was successfully crowdfunded), explains that “Teddy must decide between fixing the time stream or the love of her life, both of which have unique consequences” so expect Infinite Loop to sucker punch your heart as much as it will captivate your attention.

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Unfortunately, Infinite Loop is only six issues long (it’s technically a mini series) so there’s the risk that that’s not enough time for us to fall in love with Teddy, Ano and their relationship, but if it’s paced right it could be a relatively enjoyable, albeit bite-sized read.

Furthermore, each issue will also pack in a reader submitted story about their first loves or when they realised that they were gay, bi, queer or trans, which you can submit to  the.infinite.loop.idw@gmail.com.

The first issue of Infinite Loop will be released on April 22nd, 2015.

Pussy Galore Returns to James Bond Series, But is She Still a Lesbian?

You may not have know this, but in the original James Bond books, the infamous Pussy Galore, was a violet-eyed lesbian gangster dreamed up by Ian Fleming for Goldfinger.

This fact was never mentioned in the film – only hinted at when Bond tried to charm her, to which she replies “I’m immune”.

However, now she is set for a reboot in Anthony Horowitz’s new James Bond tale Trigger Mortis.

The Foyle’s War creator unveiled the title, the plot outline and the cover or his new Bond thriller this week. Set in 1957, the story takes place two weeks after the events of Goldfinger, placing Bond in the middle of the Soviet-American Space Race as the US prepares for a critical rocket launch.

As well as bringing back Pussy Galore, Horowitz has also dreamed up a new Bond girl, Jeopardy Lane, as well as a “sadistic, scheming Korean adversary hell-bent on vengeance.”

Pussy Galore last appeared at the end of the 1959 novel Goldfinger, in “nothing but a grey fisherman’s jersey that was decent by half an inch”. She and Bond pair had just been rescued from a life raft after they made it off Goldfinger’s plane.

Pussy asks 007 “not in a gangster’s voice, or a Lesbian’s, but in a girl’s voice, ‘Will you write to me in Sing Sing?’” Bond looks into her “deep blue-violet eyes that were no longer hard, imperious”, and says: “They told me you only liked women.” Pussy replies: “I never met a man before,” and Bond’s mouth “came ruthlessly down on hers”.

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The plot for Trigger Mortis includes Fleming’s own treatment for an un-filmed episode of a television series, Murder on Wheels, in which Bond gets involved in a Formula One race in Germany.

This is thought to be the opening scene of Trigger Mortis.

It was great fun revisiting the most famous Bond girl of all – although she is by no means the only dangerous lady in Trigger MortisI hope fans enjoy it. My aim was to make this the most authentic James Bond novel anyone could have written.”

Lucy Fleming, the niece of Ian Fleming, said

It was almost as if Ian had written [Trigger Mortis] himself. It does feel like a Fleming book. It takes place a couple of weeks after Goldfinger – Pussy’s back, which is fantastic, and we’ve got a particularly good villain in Sin – he’s absolutely horrible, a megalomaniac type, but fascinating as well. Pussy Galore is one of the iconic characters from the films and the books . It will be interesting to see what the public make of that.”

Mad Men Introduces Bisexual Photographer ‘Pima Ryan’

Set in the 1960s and the 1970s, Mad Men is a period drama that covers the personal and working lives of the employees of Sterling Cooper, an advertising agency in New York City. Across seven seasons the show has received plenty of accolades (including 15 Emmys and four Golden Globes) for its costume design, the stellar acting from its cast (which includes Jon Hamm and January Jones), its directing and its historical authenticity with the show often tackling the social issues of the times.

What Mad Men hasn’t been praised for, however, is its LGBT representation. During its seven seasons on our televisions there have only been two lesbian characters: Joyce Ramsay was a photographer for Life magazine who licked Peggy’s face and told her that “He doesn’t own your vagina” when Peggy turned her down because she had a boyfriend and there was also Carol who fell in love with Joan (something which she confessed to her) when the two women were roommates in season one.

It was quite a surprise then, when a recent episode of the show introduced another queer lady; a bisexual photographer named Pima Ryan. Pima, in all of her pantsuited glory, waltzes onto the scene after Peggy is accused of “digging deep” for her because she wants a woman on her ad campaign. Like a scene right out of our dreams, Pima starts flirting with Peggy straight away and even compliments her on being in charge of the shoot.

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After their exchange, Pima ends up having sex with Stan, one of Peggy’s coworkers. Not that it’s particularly romantic as Stan has a girlfriend named Elaine (Pima and Stan were actually waiting for photos of Elaine to develop when they decided to hook up) and he also seems to be intimidated by Pima, so it’s more of a power struggle situation.

Peggy, meanwhile, is less attracted and intimidated by Pima’s demeanour. Pima asks her if she’d been married and says that she’d love to take her picture and although for a split second it seems like Peggy’s going to go for it…she doesn’t, much to our disappointment. Moreover, Peggy is actually furious at Pima when she finds out about her and Stan.

Is it likely that Pima will return in a future episode and try and charm the pants off of Peggy again? Probably not as this seventh season of Mad Men is also its last and the final episode will air mid-May, so the show’s writers are unlikely to devote much time to a side character that they’ve only just introduced. It was nice to have another queer woman on our screens though, even if it was just for one episode.

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How Television Can Solve Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity

Did you watch the Oscars last month? I didn’t, not because I don’t love a good celebrity shindig – especially when there are cameras and copious amounts of alcohol involved – but because if I wanted to see a mostly white, mostly male group of people in power award other mostly white people then I would turn on the news or simply look at the world around me.

In an awards season where Dear White People took on the issue of white people, black culture and racial microaggressions, when Selma looked at the civil rights movement and countless other films about people of colour captivated audiences, the Academy (the group of people who decides who is nominated for and who wins at the Oscars) conveniently engaged its ‘whites only’ tunnel vision.

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Despite all of the astonishing achievements of by actors of colour in Hollywood in the past year, not a single actor of colour was even nominated in the lead or supporting categories. It’s one thing to snub actors of colour but to not even invite them to the party? Hollywood, that’s cold.

The conversation that the controversy has created has been great, however. #OscarsSoWhite trended on Twitter and critics and and moviegoers alike have all being asking the question of ‘why’ and also ‘how’ of Hollywood’s stark whiteness.

The why can be answered with ‘Hollywood is racist’, as despite the the fact that Latino@s and black people are the two fastest growing groups of moviegoers, Hollywood is still quick to ignore or gloss over their stories.

This is especially obvious in the cases of things like The Hunger Games when despite the series of books saying that Katniss isn’t white, the multi-million dollar movie franchise decided to take some real, racist creative license and casted a white actress for the role instead.

As for the ‘how’ the Oscars ended up being so biased, many critics are chalking it down to the popularity and success of films like 12 Years a Slave, Django Unchained, Life of Pi and Beasts of the Southern Wild (which all featured people of colour in lead or main roles) in previous years. Many feel that as Hollywood ‘threw people of colour a bone’ with that previous acknowledgement, they feel that their work is now done and that people of colour will be satisfied.

This year Selma was snubbed almost across the board (although it won for Best Original Song and it was nominated for Best Picture) despite everyone who saw it having raved about its brilliance. British actor David Oyelowo (who plays Martin Luther King Jr.) explained in an interview with Variety that:

“We’ve just got to come to the point whereby there isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy — a notion of who black people are — that feeds into what we are celebrated as. Not just in the Academy, just in life generally. We have been slaves, we have been domestic servants, we have been criminals, we have been all of those things. But we have been leaders, we have been kings, we have been those who changed the world.”

In short, unless the media shows people of colour being let down, trodden on or oppressed, Hollywood just ain’t that interested.
Unless it comes to television.

One prevalent argument coming out of the debate is that television is the next frontier of diversity. This television season alone we saw the mostly-Hispanic TV show Jane The Virgin grace our screens, recent debut Empire focuses on a massively wealthy black family in the music business, How To Get Away With Murder features a no-nonsense black, female lawyer surrounded by several fearless people of colour and black-ish also focuses on a rich black family looking to fit with their white counterparts.

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Television has been an absolutely joy to watch these coming months as we’re no longer forced to put up with monotonous white men at the helm, for the sake of a glimpse of a bitpart black woman – we now have a plethora of brilliant, POC-featuring media gracing our screens each and every single night of the week.

So why does TV get it right while the silver screen cannot?

Part of the reason behind the recent emergence of people of colour on television (this year at least) is because it’s driven by business decisions and a need for variety. It’s a well known fact that services like Netflix are steadily chipping away at cable TV viewership and on top of the ease of TV watching that Netflix offers us, it’s also filling a serious diversity gap.

Just look at Orange is the New Black which has a cast almost entirely made of women who are flawed and funny, racially diverse and also aren’t just straight or cisgendered either.

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Given that traditional TV networks need to compete and need to offer us something different and better than the many mostly white and male protagonists that have been littering our screen, it makes sense for them to finally do right by ethnic minorities and put some non-white faces on TV.

It should also be noted that black people watch more TV (in the United States) than white people (Nielsen estimates that black people watch at least two hours more each week) so that may also have been a driving factor.

The statistics aren’t perfect though and while it’s beautiful that TV is becoming more diverse, there’s still lots of work to be done. For example, queer people of colour are still a rarity and there are still plenty of shows that are still mostly white and definitely not representative of the people who are watching them.

As for the hope of TV’s prowess rubbing off on Hollywood, it may take much longer than one awards season to right those racially homogenous wrongs. It’s not just the casting directors of Hollywood that are racist – or just plain ignorant – towards people of colour but it’s the whole damn hierarchy.

It is notoriously difficult for non-white filmmakers and actors to breakthrough to the big leagues and be considered for the same opportunities as white people. So unless those at the top want to make a real, serious change, things may be stuck like this forever.

The ball is rolling now and it will not stop until finally, the media on offer represents the people who are actually watching it.

Why Gay Fans Shouldn’t Accept Queerbaiting In TV Shows

Queerbaiting (verb): to deceive or trick the audience of a form of media (e.g film or television) into thinking that a character identifies as non-heterosexual. Often done by networks in an attempt to raise viewership numbers.

Even if you didn’t have a definition for queerbaiting until now, you were certainly exposed to it. Case in point: Glee with Brittany and Santana (in season one), Glee again with Quinn and Rachel, John and Sherlock in BBC’s Sherlock, MTV’s Teen Wolf, Rizzoli & Isles, Once Upon a Time, and Skins (Gen 3).

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Once Upon a Time - Swan Queen Art Work

All of these shows are guilty of it; the production teams behind them have purposefully injected faux queer content into their shows so that queer folk pay attention and begin to support the show.

They dangle a queer carrot in front of us like a rabbit that’s not eaten for a week and then, because we’re a fickle bunch, starved for canon queer content, we often hoover up these scraps and run with them.

Furthermore, not only do we tune in and watch the shows that do this but we’re also incredibly vocal about them on platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and YouTube.

With a tuned in queer audience, not only are the networks getting extra viewership but queer fans getting their queer friends to tune into the show too and the TV networks are managing to do this without actually including any real queer content at all.

You see, the beauty of queerbaiting is that it can be explained away, or, in some particular egregious cases, it can just be left alone and forgotten about. A good example is Glee, which I’ve mentioned.

In the first season, there was a throwaway line by Brittany that her and Santana had slept together. Back in those days Brittana didn’t get very many lines and so it wasn’t until season two that the show really elaborated on it – after fans had expressed their vocal support for the pairing.

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Glee - Brittana

Meanwhile, Quinn and Rachel were also extraordinarily close (despite the show pitting them against each other), something shown in season one where Quinn draws a not-so-nice picture of Rachel in her notebook and yet she doodles hearts around it.

Glee was keen to have them face off, though, despite the times that they comforted each other (e.g when Rachel called Quinn the prettiest girl she’d ever met), and it allowed the show to dismiss their relationship as a budding friendship, despite the hints of something more.

But you know and I know that this sort of thing is classic queerbaiting, and shows like Glee should be ashamed.

Are we right to put up with this sort of behaviour from TV creators? In our defence we don’t have a lot of representation so perhaps queerbaiting, even in its weakest form, is a good thing? One clued in TV viewer I spoke to (who we’ll call J, for privacy), disagreed with this idea:

“Just because it’s representation, it doesn’t mean that it’s good representation; LGBTQ people deserve good representation like everyone else. I understand that the intentions are often good, but for me, it’s not good enough.

I don’t want to say that if you’re not going to have good representation (preferably written or influenced by actual queer people) don’t bother at all, but queerbaiting is still unfair.”

When considering a stance on queerbaiting, we should also consider the other nefarious side of the business, along with the outcomes of it.

Queerbaiting doesn’t just pull queer viewers in, but it also satisfies heterosexual ones too. By having viewers ask ‘are they or aren’t they’ and then eventually revealing that no, the character isn’t even the slightest bit questioning, it helps to pander to an audience that would be uncomfortable if the character was anything other than incredibly heterosexual* (*with close gal pals or bromances only).

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Rizzoli & Isles

On the one hand, this robs real queer people of a chance to see their stories presented on TV but it also tells people that it’s far easier for a character to not be queer. When you skirt around the issue of someone’s sexuality, it suggests that there’s something wrong to be skirted around. And that’s not fair at all.

Essentially, if the queerness isn’t canon, don’t accept it. It’s fine to ask and campaign for it but watching a show specifically for queerness that will most likely never happen in the future means that the queerbaiting production teams have won. If they don’t respect our identities then they don’t deserve our patronage and really, it’s as simple as that.

Polyamorous Love Story Film ‘Twice’ Seeks Funding

If there’s one thing that queer people are collectively fed up with it’s seeing the same old stories time and time again. Representation is nice, yes, but does it always have to be a case of ‘two same sex people meet each other, one realises they aren’t straight and ditches their opposite sex partner’? We’ve seen that time and time again.

And queer media isn’t the only place we’re assaulted with trope-y love triangles either. Take the entirety of the Twilight franchise, for example, or even The Hunger Games. It’s always the same thing – someone taken falls in love with somebody new and then they’re forced to choose.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. Some people aren’t about that choose-y life; why sacrifice one loving relationship just so that you can begin another? Some people are polyamorous and have multiple partners, loving them equally. That’s not talked about very often and there’s a misunderstanding and a stigma surrounding the polyamorous identity but polyamorous love story film ‘Twice’ would like to change that.

Twice focuses on two people, a man and a woman, who experience a polyamorous love story from two very different viewpoints. One of the leads, named Woman, is polyamorous and one of her partners, Man, grows uncomfortable with her identity and her idea of the magic number (the idea that because there are more people involved in a relationship it doesn’t mean that you’ll love each of them any less) and so he breaks up with her.

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The film is described by its creators as being “about second chances, actively loving, being honest, coming out, heartbreak, recovery and the power that exists within the everyday story you tell yourself.” That certainly sounds like it’ll hit all of the right notes to be a soppy, popcorn fest and even if it isn’t explicitly queer it certainly appeals to a queer audience who that’s looking for something more than a woman torn between two tedious men.

Furthermore, should Twice prove successful, who knows what sort of stories we’ll get about queer characters in future? Say, an alternative where Brittany on Glee can love Artie and Santana rather than breaking one or both of their hearts.

Half of Twice has been filmed and its creators are looking for $25,000 to finish the rest of the movie. Check it out on Kickstarter here.

3 Reasons Why Everyone Should Watch Jane The Virgin

Responsible for such hit television shows as Gossip Girl and 90210, The CW network isn’t usually the go to TV channel when it comes to queer TV programming. In fact, given that the channel had no regular LGBT characters in any of its shows (as of October 1st, 2014), The CW was actually a channel that LGBT folk avoided.

But that could all change with Jane The Virgin.

Based on a Venezuelan telenovela called Juana la Virgen, Jane The Virgin focuses on a woman named Jane who has chosen to save herself for marriage. But that all comes into question when she becomes pregnant via an accidental round of artificial insemination following a routine doctor’s appointment.

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All of the drama ensues, complete with a tangled web of lies, tales, family members and love interests and it makes Jane The Virgin one of the most unique, original and outright brilliant TV shows to grace our screens. Here are three good reasons why you should watch it.

1. A Diverse Cast

Very often, we find ourselves rolling our eyes at just how white (and usually male) the casts of our favourite television series are. Not so with Jane The Virgin as the majority of the cast are actors of colour.

Jane and the members of her family, along with her best friend and her boss’s sister are Hispanic, while Jane’s fiancée and Jane’s boss’ wife are white, the best friend of Jane’s boss is mixed race and the police partner of Jane’s fiancée is black.

We very rarely get casts this diverse and with Jane The Virgin it never feels like anybody’s a token, merely, these are the characters and it’s just nice to see some more relatable faces. None of the characters are stereotypes either making it a shining example of good representation.

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2. Queer Characters

Yes, for many of you the amount of queer characters is a deal-breaker as it rightly should be! No need to worry about Jane The Virgin then as the story kicks off thanks to the lesbian sister of Jane’s boss.

After she walks in on her wife mid-affair, Dr. Luisa Alver drinks and shows up to work dazed and out of it, which is why she fails to realise that she artificially inseminated the wrong woman. While the circumstances are unfortunate, with Luisa we have the plot of the show.

She also gets a love interest a few episodes in, which comes with its own strings and issues (naturally), but Luisa isn’t treated as a side character nor does her drama only focus on her sexuality. Rather, her problems are in the thick of it right with everyone else’s.

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3. Brilliant Storylines

If you’re struggling to keep up with the immaculate pregnancy premise then don’t worry. As Jane The Virgin is based on a telenovela it’s meant to have these many branches of stories and lies, that’s what keeps it fun.

Rather than being campy or ridiculously as telenovelas can be, Jane The Virgin’s plots have migrated to network television incredibly well and each week, reveals that you’d usually expect shows to bookmark in a series premiere or finale pepper each episode and keep you addicted.

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Watch Jane The Virgin on Mondays on The CW.