Tag Archives: Queer

Rebecca Black Comes Out As Queer

Rebecca Black, who shot to fame in 2011 after her original song “Friday” went massively viral, has come out as queer.

While appearing on podcast Dating Straight, the influencer and singer, told hosts Jack Dodge and Amy Ordman of the split and insisted she previously made a conscious decision not to ‘come out’.

“People started asking and I stopped not responding. I’m still in the process, it feels like.”

Asked how she identifies now, Black said she’s comfortable with the label queer.

“It’s like the f**king quarantine, every day is different. It’s something that over the past few years I’ve obviously been having a lot of conversations with myself about. To me, the word “queer” feels really nice. I have dated a lot of different types of people, and I just don’t really know what the future holds. Some days, I feel a little more on the “gay” side than others.”

Still, while she’s happy to speak about her sexuality, she’s not about to capitalise on the attention by jumping back into dating any time soon.

“I don’t really want to date right now, but even if I did, I have no choice,’ she said. ‘Unless I want to get on Raya and Skype date them? No.”

The star had recently said she saw herself on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, after she was asked in a YouTube video in January whether she was a member of the community.

While not specifying what she was comfortable labelling herself as, she said:

“I definitely see sexuality as being on a spectrum You can definitely be on one end of the spectrum or the other, you can be very gay or very straight, it is super cool. But of course, with there being a spectrum, there is this huge middle ground where everybody else falls in.”

Here’s Why Lesbian Visibility Day Is So Important To Our Community

Being a queer woman – that is, a woman who identifies herself as lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, or anything other than heterosexual and is attracted to other women – isn’t always easy.

Finding positive portrayals of queer women in media isn’t easy either. So it’s important that together we keep our representation strong.

Today is lesbian visibility day – a day which started in the US almost 10 years ago. It is a day to celebrate lesbian life and culture and all our diversity.

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.

10 Things That Happen in EVERY Queer Young Adult Novel

It’s hard to find positive lesbian role models on television. Shows are finally adding more lesbian characters, but they are killing them off just as quickly.

When many of us were hitting puberty five or ten or twenty years ago, there were even fewer lesbian characters on television. So where did we turn? The same place many teens turn when they realize they’re different:


Do you remember your favorite LGBT young adult book?

There are many. So, so many. So, so, SO many.

Wait a minute. If there are so many…doesn’t that most many LGBT novels end up telling the same story?

Yes. LGBT Young Adult novels, which were groundbreaking in the ’80s and ’90s, often fall into tropes now. The books that used to make our hearts skip a beat now make us roll our eyes.

(Don’t get me wrong. I’m a queer female writer with a short attention span, so LGBT YA is one of my favorite genres. And I’ve been known to write some bad lit sometimes. So I write this article with love.)

Here are the 10 things you’ll find in every queer YA novel:

1) Oh no! A football player has realized that he’s gay. Whatever will he do? His popularity is at stake!

2) Oh no! A cheerleader has realized that she’s gay (and she probably has a crush on the school nerd). Whatever will she do? Her popularity is at stake!

3) A bookish, quirky girl falls for the most popular girl in school – and realizes that the popular girl isn’t as shallow as she thought. Then they make out.

4) The biggest homophobe in school is secretly queer. My goodness!

5) A religious character has to break free of the church in order to embrace his or her ~true self~.

6) The shy main character meets a quirky, openly gay character who helps the main character become his or her ~true self~. The main character rarely starts out openly gay and helps someone else come out of the closet. These are stories of self-discovery, after all.

7) Come to think about it, most of these novels are just coming out stories with different covers.

8) Someone begins a friendship with a hidden agenda, but then the friendship becomes real. That is, until the original sinister intentions are revealed and ruin the friendship (for half a chapter).

9) A male character wears bright, quirkly clothing. That’s how you know he’s gay.

10) A female character has piercings and tattoos. That’s how you know she’s gay (and rejects the patriarchy).

Bonus: Out of sight, out of mind – where are all of the characters of color?

What stereotypes have you noticed in LGBT YA fiction?

Meet Queer Indie Band Mashrou’ Leila

This queer Lebanese indie pop band is tired of being political.

Mashrou’ Leila made waves when they debuted in 2008 – the western world wasn’t prepared for their Arabic indie pop sound.

Over the next eight years, the five-piece pop experience made headlines for creating unconventional music. They refused to produce mainstream, general pop like the more famous groups in Beirut, and they also didn’t create the “Oriental” sound that many Western music journalists expected from an Arab group.

The dynamic frontman of the group, Hamed Sinno, is openly queer, an identity that still carries a lot of stigma even in Beirut, one of the Middle East’s most liberal cities. Sinno and the band’s other members have not shied away from the difficult subject matter. Their hit song “Shim El Yasmine” narrates a queer relationship that cannot be realized in Lebanon:

“I would have liked to keep you near me/

Introduce you to my parents, have you crown my heart/

Cook your food, sweep your home/

Spoil your kids, be your housewife/

But you’re in your house, and I’m in another house/

God, I wish I had never let you go”

They openly swear that they’re not trying to be political, but their songs address issues that are very close to their heart, such as homophobia and violence. For example, one of their most popular songs, “Maghawir,” chronicles a night out in Beirut that ends with a nightclub shooting. Nightclub shootings are fairly common in the city.

When the members of Mashrou’ Leila talk about their own experiences, many Westerners music journalists label them an overly political band – apparently, only straight, white American men can sing about their experiences without considering “political” hardships such as homophobia.

The band might object to being called a “queer band,” because they insist that they are more than their political identities. However, I believe that this label is important. The band members are queer in that they shrug off typical gender roles and do not all ascribe to a rigid heterosexuality. Their songs do the important work of narrating what life is like as a non-heterosexual person in Lebanon – their lyrics are an “exercise in demystification.”

The band is also queer in that it is atypical. Their most recent album, Ibn El Leila, epitomizes the sound that the band creates best: “romantic angst and turbulent grief and caustic humor, set against the drama of everyday life in Beirut. It makes you want to weep. It makes you want to dance.”

Mashrou’ Leila offers a different type of queer experience. Their songs are honest, and they resonate with queer people, especially queer Arabs, who are often locked out of the (cisgender, white, male) American gay narrative.

Check out the band’s official page, and read more about Simmo’s experiences confronting homophobia.

4 Queer Indigenous And Native American Artists to Check Out

All some people know about Native Americans is Thanksgiving, the horrible Lone Ranger movie, and the Washington Redskins.

The protest against Dakota Access Pipeline provided a window into modern indigenous culture and the fact that there is much, much more to that culture than Disney’s Pocahontas.

Indigenous artists are creating amazing books, poetry and music. And yes, many of them are queer. Check out some of the biggest up-and-coming artists below.

Shawnee She-King

This upbeat popstar’s music has appeared everywhere – she penned a song for Disney Channel, toured with Roxette and Glass Tiger, and had her song Mirror Me hit #1 on Canada’s National Aboriginal Countdown.

Check out her official artist’s page, follow her latest hits on her Soundcloud and check out “Mirror Me.”


Storme Webber

In addition to being an award-winning spoken word poet and interdisciplinary artist, Webber is notable for founding Voices Rising, “a literary performance and spoken word event series dedicated to showcasing LGBTQ artists of color.” As the child of a multiracial Aleut lesbian and a bisexual black Chocktaw father, Webber describes herself as a two-spirit Black Native Lesbian.

Check out more of her work at her official website.

Cris Derksen

Derksen describes her music as a “genre-defyin braid of traditional and contemporary in multiple dimensions.” As a world-renowned Aboriginal cellist, she combines world, classical, folk and electronica influences. Her third and most recent album, Orchestral Powwow, blends classical cello and aboriginal music.

Says Derksen,

What excites me most about this project is bringing our Aboriginal music to the center of the European model as we as aboriginal artists lead the way with our drums and our heart beat to create new forms of music.”

Listen to the groundbreaking album here.

Sydney Freeland

As a transgender Navajo woman, Freeland has used film in order to break down stereotypes associated with her identities. Her first feature-length film, Drunktown, “is a coming-of-age story about the complex issues surrounding identity and the struggles faced by Native American people.” She’s currently working on a web series called Her Story, which documents the lives of queer and transgender women.

Read more about her experiences here.

Watch ‘195 Lewis’, A Queer Polyamorous Web Series

If relationships aren’t easy, then open relationships can be disasters. The new web series 195 Lewis explores the complications of a lesbian couple who decides to try an open relationship. Whether you’re considering polyamory or just enjoy character-driven dramas, give it a try.

The series follows Yuri and Camille as they test the boundaries of their open relationship. Yuri’s growing infatuation with a new lover leaves Camille distressed, which is only amplified by the unexpected arrival of Yuri’s old college friend Kris, who shows up with nowhere else to stay.”

One look at the trailer reveals that this is not your typical melodramatic love triangle or handicam web series. The almost dreamlike storyline is saturated in deep royal purples, making the characters seem larger than life even as they make devastating choices.

Filmmaker Chanelle Aponte Pearson heads up the series. In 2015, she won the prestigious Calvin Klein-sponsored “Live the Dream” grant. A clip from 195 Lewis premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam to roaring praise.


Pearson sat down with Filmmaker Magazine to talk about the creative process. When discussing why the show was set in Brooklyn, she said, “Brooklyn is constantly changing, and it continues to welcome a host of people from all walks of life. With 195 Lewis, I’m more interested in representing a part of Brooklyn that is specifically Bed-Stuy, Black, queer, and saturated with activists, artists, and other cultural producers that make the borough so inviting in the first place.” She aimed to create an immersive world.


She originally planned 2-5 minute comedic episodes in the same vein as successful series such as The Couple and Awkward Black Girl. However, she focused on the story and the characters; when she was done telling the characters’ stories, she found herself with an eight-part comedy drama longer than a feature film. Although this format is unprecedented for a comedic web series, she believes it will be successful.

She said,

Our core audience (queer women of color) are hungry for a show like 195 Lewis and we’re committed to delivering.”

When not creating web shows, she directs and produces documentaries, manages the Brooklyn-based production company MVMT, and is in post-production on her first feature-length film Elijah.

Trailer link: 195 Lewis – trailer

Lane Moore And Queering The Mainstream

Criticizing mainstream media and the ways they’ve contributed and affected the shaping and policing of women’s identities, choices, bodies and appearances, is an important step in the process of altering the popular discourse around – and for – women and their lives. However, assigning new features in the mainstream media and working actively to rebalance their priorities is even more crucial, when it comes to offering all women – and people of other genders – representation, inclusion and coverage of their issues.

Imagine how the Ellen Degeneres’ show contributed to mainstreaming LGBT+ identities, issues and acceptance. She set a revolutionary path, managing to raise awareness for issues not discussed enough up to that point. Making all accessible media representative for our identities, whether it be TV shows, books, films, music videos, can reshape our entire viewpoints of a world that seemed to reject us up to that point.

Remember sneaking Cosmopolitan into your room as a teenager, in order to feel rebellious, and how it kind of lost its charm over the years when your friends could relate to it but you failed to? One of my friends recently told me that watching the t.A.T.u. videoclip for All the Things She Said for the first time as a kid, was the ‘aha moment’ that made her realize and accept her sexuality.

This is why we should acknowledge the work of people who make steps to that change – even if those steps may feel tivial at first, when they most clearly are not.

Lane Moore is a New York based stand-up comedian, writer and musician, who started helping to queer Cosmopolitan last year. It’s a monumental thing, a magazine that once addressed limited women’s issues, such as straight relationship and sex tips, now aiming to speak to people of different genders and sexualities, and approach their lifestyle and concerns.

Moore identifies as queer and had always loved challenging gender norms and stereotypes. She applied for the Sex & Relationships editor position at Cosmpolitan.com and noticed some steps towards feminist politics and queer inclusion already being made on the website. As she said last year on AfterEllen.com, she took up the opportunity to address issues of consent, gender, queerness and body positivity, in ways that the readers could relate and feel benefited from.

Moore said:

Cosmopolitan is a women’s brand, so I write for all womenstraight, lesbian, bisexual, or any variation of gender or sexual identity. All of them. As someone who doesn’t identify as straight or cis, I’m excited that I get to bring different viewpoints to Cosmopolitan.com. I hope I can reach some of the women who may be questioning their sexuality or their gender identity, or have a crush on a female friend and don’t know what to do about it. I can’t imagine how invaluable it would’ve been for me as a teenager to read about genderqueerness or what to do if you have a crush on your female best friend in a massive women’s publication. That would’ve changed my whole life.”

At first, queer people reading Cosmo were skeptical at the possibility that these articles might have been written by a straight person, but in the end many of them found a voice to strongly relate to, or even to use as support and guidance for several of their issues.

This year, Moore has made another remarkable step towards normalizing queer identities in the media. Moore’s band, It Was Romance, launched a remake of Fiona Apple’s 1996 Criminal video for the song Hooking Up With Girls, where a slighter, non cis-male pair of feet surround her face in a bathtub, while in the original video a presumably male foot grazes Apple’s neck while having a bath.


Moore is really keen on challenging the gender and sexuality expectations of the public, and she actively pursues this goal in her music and artistic expression in general.

According to her, the new videoclip is a remake of Criminal but with queer women instead, and what makes it even more special is that, when this is done with allusions to two decades ago, it enhances the power of how timeless these feelings can be.

She tells Vogue that her music is genderless, referencing to love without complexities set by norms and social expectations.

She admits that Fiona Apple has been an artist she always looked up to and that, singing a cover of one of her songs, Please Send Me Someone to Love was the moment when she realized she could actually sing, and found the confidence to work on it. Since then she’s sung along to her songs numerous times, forming a special kind of bond to Apple’s art.

The feedback the video has gotten has been unexpectedly positive, even enthusiastic, coming both from queer people who feel that their identities are finally represented and celebrated, and from cis-straight people who appreciate its artistic quality.

Moore finishes her Vogue interview, referencing to her social media work:

I’ve always felt like a super-weird person and I’m not very social outside of small groups, so my friends on social media really have become like my friends and family. I genuinely want to make everyone laugh or feel things they couldn’t feel previously or feel more powerful or more loved or connected.”

If The Name Selena Forrest Sounds New To You, Then You’ve Not Been Paying Attention

One of fashion’s up-and-coming-it girls, Selena Forrest  — who is starring in DKNY and Proenza’s fall 2016 ad campaigns — initially made her foray into modelling via a one-off campaign with international fashion website Farfetch.


Since then she’s walked in 28 shows from Rome to Paris, and is the subject of a feature article in New York Magazine’s The Cut this week, where she drops that she is queer.


On the subject of sexuality, Forrest told The Cut:

I love girls. Or, you know what, I just love people. So, that’s what it is. I don’t really categorize it, but if there was a category, I would probably be bisexual. But I have never been with a guy.”




She also talked to The Cut about what it’s like to be one of only a few models of colour on the runway:

If your clothes look good on everybody and if you’re that confident about your clothes, then you should put them on everybody. Did you see the shoot where I was in Balenciaga just mean mugging?” [pulls up photo] “See? Black people look good in their clothes …and I look amazing!”


10 Queer TV Shows You Should Be Binge Watching Now

What does one do when the nights start to get cooler and darker as Autumn starts setting in? Easy peasy, we catch up on all the episodes we’ve missed of our fave TV shows and binge watch them all from start to finish, or, we watch our favourite re-runs again and remind ourselves of the characters we loved a few moons ago.

1. Jessica Jones

Having just finished its  1st season, Jessica Jones features Marvels first super hero lesbian, Jeri Hogarth, who works alongside Jessica Jones as a private investigator. It’s received rave reviews for its queer inclusivity and sexual positivity. Plus, both women are total badasses and sexy as hell.


2. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

This show will soon be approaching season 4 and tells the adventures of Phryne, a private investigator who is sassy and bold. It’s set in the 1920’s but the absolute lez delight is Doc, who Phryne often has to call upon to get her medical advice.


3. Master of None

Master of none is just preparing to go into its 2nd season later this year, so now is the time to binge watch all the episodes that you’ve missed so far. The show tells the tale of young artists struggling to survive in a big city. Denise is character who is a woman of colour and openly gay and she’s super funny.

tumblr_nxkm8ygKzs1try03vo1_500 lena-waithe

4. Wentworth

The 4th season has just finished and oh how we sobbed at the finale, which we won’t tell you in case you haven’t watched it! There are a few lez characters in this series about life in a woman’s prison, the most prominent being Franky Doyle. However, we get a great treat in season 4 as a previous heterosexual character falls in love with a fellow inmate and explores her bisexual side.


5. Orange is the New Black

This series is also based in a woman’s prison and has two prominent lez characters in it, Piper and Alex but again, other gay females pop up occasionally as well. It’s really funny and follows Pipers turbulent on/off relationship with Alex as well as explore how she adjusts to life behind bars.


6. The L Word

The L word did more positivity for Lesbians than any other TV show to date. Who can forget falling in lust with the naughty Shane, or how we rooted that Bette and Tina would reconnect after all their problems? If you haven’t ever watched the L word then it’s a must, but if you have, recapture those glowing moments and feast on all 6 seasons again.

Alice Piezecki (The L Word)

7. Last Tango in Halifax

This British TV show is really funny and not only features a prominent Lesbian character but also examines love later on in life. An elderly couple once dated in the 1950’s and reconnect via social media and one of their daughters falls in love with a woman after dating men all her life. It’s definitely worth a second viewing or if you’ve never seen it before you’re in for a real treat.


8. Pretty Little Liars

Well, Pretty Little Liars is now half way through Season 7 so now is your chance to catch up on everything you missed over the summer, or binge out on all the series and become an instant fan. There are many lesbian characters in the series and the lead character herself is gay. The show is smart, creepy and feminist and season 7 has to be one of the best yet.


9. Lost Girl

Oh how we fell in lust with Bo, our favourite bisexual succubus ever known. OK, probably the only one we’ve ever known but this show was so fabulous that all 5 seasons deserves a re watch and if you have never watched it before its worth every hour of your viewing time.


10. Bomb Girls

Bomb Girls only ran for 2 seasons but every episode was a complete gem. Set in Canada during World War 2 the story is about a group of women that work in a bomb making factory while their husbands are fighting in the war. One of the lead characters, Betty, is amazing as a semi butch lesbian who makes no qualms about what or who she is. This programme was just fabulous and deserves to be watched time and time again.



13 Queer Female Filmmakers You Need to Know About

It comes as no surprise that we love queer filmmakers. Most importantly, we feel an obligation to honor the queer filmmakers who have been movers and shakers in their industry – especially when their works touch us deeply. Although there are a number of queer filmmakers that fit the bill in this regard, today we’ve chosen to focus on 13 queer female filmmakers who have made a mark on us, sometimes in a very personal way.

Although these women all represent the smallest subsection among directors and producers, we feel that their work is invaluable – even when it doesn’t specifically touch on queer issues. So, who should you look out for?

1. Desiree Akhavan

Desiree Akhavan

What she’s known for: Appropriate Behavior, 2014

In Akhavan’s 2014 film (which she insists is not autobiographical), she plays Persian-American bisexual woman Shirin. In the movie, Shirin deals with her complicated relationship with her ex-girlfriend Maxine and her conservative family. She’s also struggling with her sexual identity and determining the best way to come out to aforementioned conservative family. Akhavan also has a web series called The Slope, with co-creator Ingrid Jungermann.

2. Jamie Babbit


What she’s known for: But I’m a Cheerleader!, 1999

Although Babbit has had a hand in some of the greatest episodes of Gilmore Girls, The L Word, and Looking, among others, she’s most known for the cult classic queer film But I’m a Cheerleader. In case you haven’t seen the film, it’s about young Megan Bloomfield (played by the adorable Natasha Lyonne) who’s sent to conversion therapy camp. The movie deals with some tough issues without being too dark – and, in fact, it borders on whimsical as the characters discover their sexuality. The best part is that there’s something relatable about it, even if you haven’t had the misfortune of going to conversion camp.

3. Lisa Cholodenko


What she’s known for: The Kids Are All Right, 2010, and High Art, 1998

Cholodenko offers the brilliant duality of mainstream success (The Kids Are All Right) and queer indie romance (High Art). While most people are familiar with the first, High Art has a bit of a smaller audience – and while it’s not specific to the queer crowd, it definitely serves as a cautionary tale for those of us attracted to the glamor of the artist’s lifestyle. OK, so not all artists turn out to be like Lucy in this movie, but there’s a lot of strong emotion hidden within this one – and it’s definitely worth a look.

4. Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster

What she’s known for: being Jodie Foster

Okay, so most people have heard of Jodie Foster, and her official coming-out story from 2013 (although there were a few of us who had our suspicions long before then). What’s less known is that she’s directed a number of amazing films over the last 25 years, including Little Man Tate (1991), Home for the Holidays (1995), and Money Monster (2016). While all of her films are worth noting, Home for the Holidays happened to feature Robert Downey Jr. as queer Tommy Larson. She even had her hand in directing an episode of Orange is the New Black – specifically, season 1, episode 3, “Lesbian Request Denied”. That sounds like a good enough excuse to rewatch season one, don’t you think?

5. Nisha Ganatra

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What she’s known for: Chutney Popcorn, 1999

In Chutney Popcorn, Ganatra plays the lesbian Indian-American woman Reena, who carries a child for her sister Sarita. This puts a major strain on Reena’s girlfriend Lisa, while Reena is already struggling to fit her sexuality into her cultural identity. Ganatra has been involved with a few other films, but she mainly works on television – including directing and producing the first season of Transparent, along with episodes of Mr. Robot and Shameless.

6. Aurora Guerrero

Aurora Guerrero

What she’s known for: Mosquita y Mari, 2012

Guerrero’s only feature theater release tells the story of two teenage girls, Yolanda and Mari, whose unconventional friendship turns into something deeper in a beautiful coming-of-age story. She has a second film in the works, Los Valientes, which has yet to be released. This second film tells the story of a gay undocumented Mexican immigrant. More than just a filmmaker, Guerrero is also an activist, and the co-founder of Womyn Image Makers.

7. Ingrid Jungermann


What she’s known for: The Slope, a web series that she co-created with Desiree Akhavan

Jungermann debuted her first feature film at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016. This movie, called Women Who Kill, tells the story of Morgan and her ex-girlfriend Jean, who co-host a true crime podcast together. These two women begin to suspect that Morgan’s new love interest might be a killer – definitely a film to watch out for! But, if you’re looking for something to hold you over until its widespread release, The Slope and F to 7th are two wonderful web series – the latter is being developed for television.

8. Maryam Keshavarz

Maryam Keshavarz

What she’s known for: Circumstance, 2011

In Keshavarz’s 2011 film, we follow a young woman in contemporary Iran as she experiments with sex, drugs, and a homosexual relationship. The film (and Keshavarz herself) were banned in Iran, which is often the mark of a true visionary. In 2003, she also worked to explore her own Iranian heritage with the documentary The Color of Love. We recommend checking out both movies when you can.

9. Kimberly Peirce

Kimberly Peirce

What she’s known for: Boys Don’t Cry, 1999

I think we’ve probably all seen Peirce’s amazing take on Boys Don’t Cry, which tells the story of the murder of Brandon Teena in 1993. She’s also released a couple of other films since then – Stop-Loss in 2008, and the remake of Carrie in 2013. She also appeared in the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated to discuss the unfair biases placed against queer sexual representation in movies by the MPAA.

10. Dee Rees

What she’s known for: Pariah, 2011

Rees’ 2011 film tells the story of 17-year old Alike, who is starting to explore and embrace her sexuality (as a lesbian). Rees followed this movie with the 2015 HBO biopic Bessie, about queer blues singer Bessie Smith (played by Queen Latifah). She’s helping to develop the TV adaptation of The Warmth of Other Suns, along with Shonda Rhimes. If you’ve got time, you should also check out the period film Mudblood, as well as her documentary Eventual Salvation.

11. Patricia Rozema


What she’s known for: I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, 1987

Rozema has had an eclectic career, spanning both films and television in Canada as well as the United States. I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing centers around queer women, as does her 1995 film When Night is Falling. She also helped to adapt Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and directed episodes of In Treatment and Tell Me You Love Me. Most recently, she worked with Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood on the apocalyptic drama Into the Forest, coming out later this month.

12. Lynn Shelton

DEAUVILLE, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 01:  Director Lynn Shelton poses at 'Your Sister's Sister' Photocall during 38th Deauville American Film Festival on September 1, 2012 in Deauville, France.  (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

DEAUVILLE, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 01: Director Lynn Shelton poses at ‘Your Sister’s Sister’ Photocall during 38th Deauville American Film Festival on September 1, 2012 in Deauville, France. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

What she’s known for: Humpday, 2009

Although Humpday isn’t exactly your traditional queer film – being that the protagonists are straight men who consider having sex on camera in the name of art – it explores male sexuality and homoerotic tendencies present in many male friendships. Shelton herself is bisexual, and has explored the spectrum of human sexuality in Your Sister’s Sister in 2011. She also directed Laggies in 2014, which tells the story of Megan, who spends a week living the teenage dream after her boyfriend proposes to her.

13. Rose Troche


What she’s known for: Go Fish, 1994

In a timeless example of classic queer cinema, Troche’s Go Fish tells the love story of Max and Ely. Troche’s films aren’t always specifically queer-themed, although she stated in a 2001 interview that “Everything I do is informed by being queer”. Many of her directing credits lie in television work, where she’s assisted with The L Word, Finding Carter, and Six Feet Under. More recently, Troche worked on the virtual reality film Perspective; Chapter 1: The Party, which took a head-on look at sexual assault.

Rowan Blanchard Discusses The Negative Responses She Received For Coming Out

At the beginning of the year, the Disney Channel star Rowan Blanchard opened up about her sexuality on social media, saying she identified as “queer.”

In my life—only ever liked boys. However I personally don’t wanna label myself as straight, gay or whateva so I am not gonna give myself labels to stick with—just existing;)”

In a new interview with Wonderland magazine, she explained that she received several false comments about her tweets, while other responses were borderline homophobic.


I’m okay with it now, but I still realize that I was allowing people to comment on something that’s very personal. The first day I tweeted about it, it was definitely scary to see people commenting about things that literally have nothing to do with them.”

But many responses were positive. After her first remarks about her sexuality, some called her inspiring and a role model for her generation.A fan also tweeted, “BisexualRileyMatthews2k16,” citing the name of her character.

It’s vvv important to me, being queer, that there is representation on our show/ Being queer to me just means not putting a label on sexuality- just existing.”


Rowan has more than 360,000 followers on Twitter and more than 3.6 million on Instagram. She told Wonderland that her mother started posting on her behalf when she was about 9 and then she began to share posts herself at age 12.

The downside to social media is it’s another place for girls to be made fun of and another way for girls to be degraded,” she told Wonderland. “The upside is that it’s also a way for girls—especially girls of color, for example to speak out and to take back some control.”

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 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”.

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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.

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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.

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

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David Beckham’s New H&M Range Clearly Has Queer Appeal

Will the new David Beckham’s H&M collection be entering your wardrobe the season?

Well, I have to say yes. Why, because the new collection is made up of key and essential pieces for spring, including a classic poplin white shirt, linen bomber jacket, white chalk-washed denim jacket and a sharp linen blazer – ideal for a queer tomboy edge or dapper style.


This week David Beckham announced he would be extending his role at H&M beyond his body-wear range with a new collection of his favourite pieces.

The new range is called Modern Essentials by David Beckham, which has been specially curated from his favourite pieces for the season.


Speaking about the campaign and new collection – which will be launched in stores and online worldwide on March 5, 2015 – he enthused:

“I am thrilled to continue and extend my collaboration with H&M by selecting my favourite pieces from this spring’s Modern Essentials collection. Each piece is a new wardrobe classic that will update every man’s spring wardrobe with great style. Marc Forster is one of my favourite directors – I can’t wait to reveal the new campaign with H&M”

David Beckham

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Watch H&M’s behind the scenes film with David Beckham and Marc Forster below:

Women, Whisky and Not Telling Mum: A Chat with Fawzia Mirza

Tom Sykes: Your new one-woman show Me, My Mom and Sharmila is partly inspired by the Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore. What do you admire about Tagore?

Fawzia Mirza: Firstly, she is from the same era as my mother, so my mother’s look, style of dress and the way she does her hair resembles Tagore back in her heyday of the 1960s and ’70s. Secondly, a there was a song that I heard a lot growing up called ‘Queen of My Dreams’ from the film Aradhana (Adoration). It was a huge hit in 1969 and won the Indian equivalent of the Oscar. While driving through the Kashmiri mountains, her co-star Rajesh Khanna sings this song about the love of his life. It’s so iconic for me and influenced my ideas about romance, love, womanhood and what I felt love should and could be. My play is based on the shared love my mother and I have for this Indian film heroine and I use Tagore as a way of exploring my relationship with my mother, my background and my identity.

TS: Was writing and performing Me, My Mom and Sharmila a different challenge to the other kinds of work you’ve done?

Everything I write is based on a personal experience or on my own political outlook. I write stories I want that I feel are lacking in the mainstream media.

FM: The play was unique because the character’s name is Fawzia and it’s very personal; there’s a lot of real-life stuff in there taken from my own upbringing. The challenge was how to write about my relationship with my mum, which is always evolving, always changing. It can be emotional because sometimes you don’t want to deal with certain issues or revisit events in the past.

TS: What did your mother make of the play?

FM: Even though we love and support each other very much, my work is not something I share with her. That issue’s still evolving too and who knows whether the situation will be different in a year. She’s never seen the show. There are parts of it she would enjoy and other parts she’d find difficult, I think.

TS: You’re probably best known for your web series Kam Kardashian. How much of you is in the main character?

I wanted to create a strong queer woman who challenged the idea of the model minority that you see so much in the mainstream. You know, if you’re gay you have to be rich or funny. If you’re South Asian you can’t be angry. If you’re lesbian you have to have long hair. I didn’t want Kam to fit these moulds.

FM: What’s fun about her is that I get to explore parts of myself and not be apologetic about any of it. She’s gruff, she loves to drink, she gets herself into predicaments. But she’s loveable too. In the series I’m not constantly talking about being gay or brown-skinned, I just am. I don’t have to explain anyone why you are drinking whisky neat – it’s just part of the character. Do I like to drink neat whisky in real life? Yes I do.

TS: The response to Kam has generally been positive. Have you had any criticisms?

FM: Most of the criticisms have been about the Kardashians, from people who hate anything connected to them. The idea behind the show is that Kam is a sort of long-lost lesbian sister to that family. Other viewers think it’s real funny, just as if it turned out that Margaret Thatcher or the Clintons had this secret sibling who was gay!

TS: You’ve also acted in more traditional TV shows like Chicago Fire. How does working on a bigger production like that differ from the web series you’ve done?

FM: Chicago Fire is such a large-scale production and event. There are fire trucks and cars exploding and special FX and jigs and dollies. Everyone’s role is very important, but you are just one small part of a big system. It’s wonderful and I hope to do more, but I love making my own work with my friend and collaborator Ryan Logan. I call him my “Platonic life husband”! We co-wrote Kam and he directed and edited it. There’s something so organic about being there from start to finish – from having the idea to the creation process to production to post-production to the editing phase.

TS: Do you think LGBTs have come to be more accepted within the South Asian community in the US?

FM: I think the phrase “coming out” is problematic. Growing up in an immigrant family that has conservative religious and cultural traditions makes coming out a much more layered, nuanced and difficult process. For example, I remember dating someone who told me that I just needed to tell my mum I was a lesbian. I said that it really wasn’t that easy! When I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to date or go to dances or proms. You can’t drink in our family house and nor can you wear certain kinds of clothing. Am I supposed to suddenly say, ‘Hey mum, I know you didn’t allow me to date guys when I was younger, but now I’m having sex with women’? It’s quite a leap. I’m still at the stage where it would be tough enough to tell her that I like a drink or that I don’t really agree with her religious views, much less come out to her.

I look at LGBTs in Africa and Asia and our struggles are different. I’m privileged to live in a country where, regardless of my family dynamic, I can live in a city where I can feel comfortable walking down the street holding hands with whomever I want. It makes all the difference that I belong to the Indian diaspora in the US as opposed to living in India and trying to love a woman there. I can empathise with people in that situation, but their fight is not the same as mine.

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Fawzia Mirza Brings The World New Comedic Web Series – ‘Brown Girl Problems’

Fawzia Mirza, creator of the character Kam Kardashian, brings you a new comedic web series, ‘Brown Girl Problems’.

It is a sketch-style series showcasing the comedic, awkward and even imaginary situations in the life of South Asian women. The show highlights Mirza’s own minority backgrounds: South Asian, Muslim, queer.

The show stars Fawzia Mirza as “The Brown Girl” and features Chicago TV, film and theatre actress Minita Gandhi as “The Brown Girl’s Best Friend” and “Mother”. The show also features Chicago stand up comedy favorites Candy Lawrence and Tamale Sepp and The Second City’s Neal Dandade (“Chai Chat”) and Abby McEnany (“Meet the McCardles”).

“I wanted to highlight and embrace my intersecting identities in a fun way. And I’ve been calling myself ‘The Brown Girl’ for years, I mean, who hasn’t?”

Fawzia Mirza

The series is produced and written by Mirza, directed by CJ Arellano and shot by Jason Culver featuring all original music by 2014 Sundance Composers Lab fellow, Josh Moshier.

The watch the entire series here at KitschMix.TV

Beauty Queen, African American, Queer – Djuan Trent Talks to Story Magazine

Djuan Trent was crowned Miss Kentucky 2010 and then went to be a top ten semi-finalist in the Miss America Pageant in 2011 (where she voted the first-ever “Contestants’ Choice”).

However, what really put Miss Trent in the media spotlight was when she announced to the world that she was ‘Queer’.

Yes, ‘Queer’ not a lesbian or Gay, but Queer. In a recent interview with Story – The Magazine she spoke openly about how she feels about it all…

“I had a hard time just saying I’m a lesbian because a lot of the lesbians I knew were women who felt they never had any kind of connection with a man; they could never be with a man because it felt completely unnatural to them, and that wasn’t my story,” she says. “I have been with men, and it was never something like ‘Eww, this feels so unnatural.’”

Djuan Trent, Story – The Magazine

Listen to the interview below: Former Miss Kentucky On Why She Calls Herself ‘Queer’

LGBT History Month @University of East Anglia

This year the university will be presenting a number of events in support of LGBT History Month –  All talks are free and they take place in Arts 2.02 at 7 pm.

Visit www.uea.ac.uk/literature/engagement/lgbt-history-month

Music in Queer Fiction – Dr Clare Connors – 3 February 2014

When music is described in novels it serves all sorts of purposes. It can connote passion for example, or an experience of intimacy, or point to areas of meaning, life and feeling beyond the grasp of words, or impossible for cultural reasons to articulate. This talk explores the specific role played by the representation of music in a number of twentieth-century works of queer fiction, including novels by Alan Hollinghurst and Sylvia Townsend Warner.

“Marriage is so Gay.” The battle for same sex marriage in the US and Britain: A comparative perspective – Dr Emma Long – 6 February 2014

Same-sex marriage has been a controversial political issue in both the US and UK in recent years. Yet despite the fact the issue is the same, the nature of the campaigns in each country has been quite different. This lecture considers the history of the debate and looks at why the issue has been received differently in the two countries.

Southeast Gaysia!: LGBT Heritage and Activism in the ASEAN Region – Yi-Sheng Ng – 10 February 2014

Southeast Asia is a hugely diverse region, where different races, religions and government systems exist side by side. And yet there are common threads in our queer history that bind us together, from traditions of holy transgender shamans to modern-day lesbian weddings and gay rights marches. Singaporean activist Yi-Sheng Ng will share stories from Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; these are tales of liberation and oppression, continuity and change.

Pitching Harmony: Thinking differently about the assimilation and difference debate – Dr Jonathan Mitchell – 13 February 2014

In this lecture I wish to speculate on the concept of harmony and how it offers creative possibilities for ways of thinking about LGBT politics. As LGBT politics becomes increasingly divided between a liberal acceptance and extreme differences – BDSM culture, bug-chasing, bare-backing etc. – I wish to muse on the concept of harmony, especially close harmony as a means to emphasize the ‘queer’ at work with and within the norm without having to lose one’s identity either to assimilation, or to the extremes. My own concepts here are fraught with problems and are highly value laden, and I aim to maintain these tensions as a process of self-critique.

“A Quiet Place”: Gay & Bisexual Classical Composers in 20th Century America – Malcolm Robertson – 17 February 2014

Perhaps due to the population size and the diversity of the cultural backgrounds of its citizens, the USA has produced a large number of diverse ‘classical’ composers in the 20th century of which a considerable proportion were/are gay or bisexual. The sheer variety of individual styles in which these composers expressed themselves is quite staggering and many of these composers have reputations that are of key importance to 20th century ‘classical’ music both nationally and internationally. The talk will look at the life and music of several of these composers, including works that seem to reflect their personal feelings and sexuality.

The Homosexual Steamroller: Queer “Propaganda” through Literature – Dr B.J. Epstein –  20 February 2014

Why are LGBTQ books for young readers considered so threatening? Can you turn people queer simply by featuring LGBTQ characters in literature? LGBTQ books for children and young adults are some of the most banned or censored books in the world. This talk will explore some of these texts and the many challenges they have faced. It will discuss the content of both picture books and young adult novels as well as how these works might influence readers.

Saints, Sinners and Martyrs in Queer Church History: The continuing evolution of religious responses to homoerotic relationships – Terry Weldon – 24 February 2014

History contradicts the common assumption that Christianity and homoerotic relationships are in direct conflict. There have been numerous examples of Christian saints, popes and bishops who have had same-sex relationships themselves, or celebrated them in writing, and blessed same-sex unions in church. There have also been long centuries of active persecution – but recent years have again seen the emergence of important straight allies for LGBT equality, and a notable reassessment of the scriptural verdict.

Trans & Gender Variant History 1800s onwards – Katy J Went – 27 February 2014

The development of modern theories, constructs and realities about gender, intersex, sex and trans. Changing social gender “norms”, sexual psychopathology, shifts in neuro and biological understanding of sex and gender, and modern medical possibility to redefine bodies. From crossdressing mollies to sexual inversion, transgenderism, non-binary gender and 80 shades of intersex. This is the second lecture in a series that began by covering the ancient and medieval history of gender variance until 1800, delivered at UEA in 2012.