Drag Race Winner Violet Chachki Wants More Queer Visibility in Mainstream Fashion

Violet Chachki—burlesque bombshell, corset queen and champion of Season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race—has one thing to say about the fashion industry and its long-held conviction of gender binary representation: the LGBTQ+ community should also be visible.

In today’s society where the straights are slowly becoming the minority as people are beginning to realize that gender is a fluid concept, mainstream fashion has a lot of reorienting to do given its ingrained beliefs on sexuality and attraction. Chachki, who recently starred in Prada’s Neon Dream ad campaign, says it is important, if not imperative, for big brands to allow queer artists space in the mainstream sphere.

“It’s really great to see that brands are recognizing what it means to be a queer artist these days, how that looks politically, [and letting me] take up space as a queer person. Especially now, it’s more important to have visibility in mainstream brands and marketing,” she told Out magazine.

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Chachki has also modeled and walked for Moschino this year in Milan, sporting a “tandem tux” by Jeremy Scott. In an interview with Vogue, Chachki shared similar sentiments on queer visibility in the fashion industry and what it was like to walk for Moschino. “To me that’s what the show was—strength! It’s very important to have visual representation, to show that queers are important, queers are powerful, queers are beautiful, queers are valid, and you can’t erase us,” she said.

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Revising my bucket list after realizing that not all queer people die young

Revising my bucket list after realizing that not all queer people die young


Revising my bucket list after realizing that not all queer people die young

My bucket list is pretty normal for a wanderlust 20-something. Learn Italian, see Machu Picchu, road trip with friends, kiss a pretty girl, live to 30. It’s called “Get It Done,” and I made it while sitting through a very long lecture in college. I tried to fit in any goal that I thought I could accomplish in the next ten years if I tried hard enough (and never saved any money). As of last fall, I finished most of it (and have no savings), so I added some new items to the list.

“Live to 30” is a specific goal still on my bucket list, as I have not turned 30 yet. It’s not any more specific than “eat haggis in Scotland” and “see a Broadway play,” but it tends to give people pause when I talk about it. I put it on there, near the top, as sort of a larger, more ambitious goal than all the others. I put it on there because I didn’t actually think I’d make it, but I wanted to try anyway. Then I made it to my 28th birthday, and realized I might hit my 40th, 50th, even 80th birthdays. So I revised my list—I needed more goals.

So why did I assume I wouldn’t make it to my 30s?

I knew I was bisexual at age 12 and that I was transgender in my 20s. Most of the people like me on TV, in movies, and in books didn’t make it that far. There is even a name for this TV trope: “Bury your gays,” or the habit of killing off a show’s queer characters.

I think back to my freshman year health class. We were a progressive school for 2004, so our curriculum actually mentioned the LGBTQ population. By that, I mean we watched Philadelphia—the Tom Hanks film about a homosexual lawyer living with HIV/AIDS. I learned about the virus and I filled out a worksheet about condoms.

I thought to myself, I don’t know many gay people because I’m 14 and I live in a rural town of 1,000 people, so this must be what happens to gay people in the rest of the world. Maybe if I try harder to not be gay, I won’t die young from AIDS.

I managed to see Brokeback Mountain in 2005 when it was released in theaters, a movie about gay romance that also ends in a young tragedy. For years, I watched Law and Order and other crime shows, where the only transgender characters are dead bodies seen in an episode’s first few minutes. Artistic, high-budget documentaries about the AIDS crisis taught me, again, that people like me were young and precious for a while—then they died shortly before turning 30.

Even LGBTQ media—made ostensibly for my people and not for straight audiences—can have this problem.

In a memorable episode of Queer as Folk, Brian Kinney, the so-emotionally-distant-it’s-hot bad boy with a heart of gold, turns 30 and panics over it. He starts engaging in risky behavior and contemplating suicide because “everything is over now.” With the help of his friend group, he eventually copes with his anxiety, but it’s a scene that stuck with me.

Sometimes, just learning about the history of the LGBTQ community can imbue one with the impression that we never grow old.

In one of my favorite recent books, The Lonely City by Olivia Laing, she writes about great artists of the ‘80s and their relationship with art and mortality, including the famous artist and activist David Wojnarowicz, who died from AIDS at 37. The book is actually an investigation into the lonely lives of creative people, but I was struck by how young Wojnarowicz was at the time of his death.

I look back and think about how my school band teachers were all enthusiastic, nerdy lesbians of a certain age. One of my first bosses moved to my hometown with his husband after having lived in the West Village for decades. Two of my current coworkers are queer women over 35. I wasn’t lacking for personal older role models in the LGBTQ community, but media’s incessant messaging has a way of convincing you that what is represented is reality. Stories are infectious.

***

There is a “forever young” story still told in the LGBTQ community. Some of that is a result of the 1980s AIDs crisis, since many in our community did die young, forever stopped in their 20s. Demographically, I live in a state populated by many older people, but you wouldn’t know that if you attended our largest Pride festival. It was shining and resplendent with youths dressed in beautiful rainbow tutus, but I did not find many older queer people. We do have services for older members of my community, but they are not very visible. This all causes me to admittedly buy into the “forever young” undertone of my community at times.

But this Peter Pan-type of thinking isn’t helpful when I start thinking of life as something more than a series of experiences to have before perishing early.

I went from empathizing with Alexander Hamilton in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical—“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory”—to daydreaming about the decade of my life in which I will take up quilting. I’ve started wondering if maybe I’ll even have a family of my own.

I have a trendy publishing job that lets me bounce around the globe, scratching off bucket list items that others would kill for. Now, I can look to the career in medicine I had set aside when I realized how many years it would take me to achieve it. I can see farther than tomorrow’s horizon. So instead of focusing on a full life, I can now plan for a long, fulfilling one, too. Some more items for the list.

The post Revising my bucket list after realizing that not all queer people die young appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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Their Lips Aren’t Sealed: The Go-Go’s Score a Queer Broadway Hit in ‘Head Over Heels’

Courtesy Joan Marcus

The Broadway pop and rock takeover—soon to bring us three versions of Cher in one musical—continues with an excellent show devoted to the back catalog of The Go-Go’s.

Not that Head Over Heels, directed with a warm, zany energy by Michael Mayer, is a conventional jukebox musical following the rise, success, splintering and later reuniting of the group itself.

Instead, in Jeff Whitty’s creation (he wrote the original book, adapted later by James Magruder), the songs of the The Go-Go’s are threaded through an Elizabethan romance based on The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney written near the end of the 16th century.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Everything You Need to Know About David Wojnarowicz, the Queer Artist Who Gave a Voice to Outsiders

As a retrospective opens of the fearless artist and AIDS activist’s work, we spoke with the exhibition’s curator to discover why Wojnarowicz’s art is so necessary now.

The post Everything You Need to Know About David Wojnarowicz, the Queer Artist Who Gave a Voice to Outsiders appeared first on sleek mag.

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Queer Eye Season 2 Couple William and Shannan Get Married in Intimate Sunrise Beach Ceremony

They got engaged on season 2 of Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye. And now, William Mahnken and Shannan Eller have officially walked down the aisle and said their “I dos.”

The couple, who appeared on the episode titled “A Decent Proposal,” got married on June 13 in a sunrise beach ceremony in Amelia Island, Florida.

Mahnken — who was made-ver by Fab 5 members Jonathan Van Ness, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, and Antoni Porowski on the show — shared a photo of he and his new wife to Instagram on Saturday, calling her his “best friend.”

Though the Queer Eye boys helped Mahnken with his proposal, neither of them were able to make it for their big day. Mahnken said in his caption that he and Eller had a “small, private ceremony” which was officiated by friend Deborah Ramey.”

The official Queer Eye Instagram account also shared a photo from the wedding.

“Congratulations William and Shannan!” they wrote in their caption. “Thank you for letting us be a part of your love story and we hope that the next phase of your life is filled with love, movies, and a lot of avocado goddess! We Shannan you both.”

That last line was a callback to Mahnken’s proposal, which was seen on the show. He had taken his then-girlfriend to an outdoor movie screening where he surprised her with a humorous and tender homemade video, filmed as he struggled to come up with a new word to describe the love he had for her.

In the end, Mahnken found the perfect word for Eller and surprised her with it when he proposed: “Shannon.”

RELATED VIDEO: Queer Eye’s’ Fab Five Talks Biggest ‘Pinch Me’ Moment & the Importance of Inclusivity in Season 2

This isn’t the first time the Fab 5’s intervention has lead to a couple tying the knot.

In season 1, they helped Tom Jackson rekindle his romance with ex-wife Abby Parr, the two marrying in March in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Fellow season 1 subject AJ Brown also revealed during a Netflix “FYSee” event that he married his boyfriend, Andrey.

Both seasons of Queer Eye are currently streaming on Netflix.


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Pete Davidson Asked This ‘Queer Eye’ Star to Help Him Prepare for Wedding

Here comes the groom! Pete Davidson has called upon Queer Eye’s fashion guru, Tan France, to help dress him for his wedding to Ariana Grande.

France, 35, opened up about the exciting collaboration while speaking to the New York Post’s Page Six on Tuesday, June 26. “He asked if I’d help him, the answer is yes,” said the Netflix star, who previously helped Davidson amp up his look during a March Saturday Night Live promo.

Ariana Grande Pete Davidson
Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson in New York City on June 19, 2018. PC/MEGA

Earlier this month, Us Weekly exclusively revealed that Davidson, 24, and Grande, 25, had gotten engaged weeks after they started dating. Since then, they’ve moved into a luxury, $ 16 million condo in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood and have gotten tattoos together. The A-list couple also frequently takes to social media to share photos with one another and eagle-eyed fans often point out sweet messages that they leave on each other’s posts.

The comedian confirmed his engagement to the pop star during his visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday, June 20. “I feel like I won a contest,” he raved at the time. “It’s f—king lit, Jimmy. It’s so lit … It’s so funny to walk down the street because dudes are walking by … Some dude goes up to me and says, ‘Yo man, you gave me hope.’ I was, like, I didn’t know I was that lucky. I’m a lucky motherf—ker.”

Davidson gifted his fiancée a diamond sparkler that’s reportedly valued at $ 93,000. Grande has been seen sporting the ring during performances and while hitting the streets of NYC hand-in-hand with the Set It Up actor.

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How Boy Love Anime’s Rape Problem Damages the Queer Community

In the anime Love Stage, Izumi and Ryoma are two star crossed lovers. Thanks to a cross dressing mishap, handsome celebrity Ryoma discovers his childhood crush, Izumi, is actually a boy. When he realizes he has feelings for another man, Ryoma goes to Izumi’s house to confront him, forces Izumi to undress… and ultimately tries to rape him.

It’s an incredibly shocking scene for an anime that promotes itself as a saccharine sweet love story. Nothing in the pink and flowery opening title sequence or key art implies that Love Stage is a story about sexual abuse.

Love Stage isn’t unique. It’s part of a sub genre of anime called shounen-ai or “boy love.” Crunchyroll, and other anime streaming services are full of these shows, and they all have similar names: Love Stage, Super Lovers, World’s Greatest First Love.


Popular shounen-ai titles: Love Stage!!, Super Lovers, World's Greatest First Love

On the surface, boy love anime are presented as flowery love stories about young men discovering their feelings for one another, but all too quickly these stories take dark turns. Nearly all shounen-ai anime has the same issues and problems, thanks to their reliance on tropes.

Anime fans are well aware of how prevalent tropes are. They’re in every anime, from Dragon Ball Z, to My Hero Academia, to Yu-Gi-Oh.

Anime tropes can be benign, like high school students running with toast in their mouth. Oftentimes they’re somewhat problematic fan service, like magical girl costume changes.

Romance anime has its own set of tropes, prevalent in straight and gay stories alike. And in the case of shounen-ai, these tropes become deeply troubling instances that present a warped and dangerous view of gay relationships.

So let’s break down these common themes and why they’re so damaging to queer representation.

Trope 1: Older man with much younger guy

One of the most obvious and apparent tropes in boy love shows are that the main couple have a substantial age difference. There is always a distinct seme (top) and uke (bottom) in the relationships, which creates a distinct power dynamic.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but in boy love anime the uke character is often presented as VERY young. They may technically be an adult, or likely a teen, but they have the body of an early pubescent boy. This is often spelled out clearly, that this 16 year old boy looks like a 12 year old.


Haru and Ren in 'Super Lovers' have a significant age difference that is noted as taboo in the show.

There’s a damaging and untrue stereotype that gay men are predators, on the prowl for younger boys. The term “recruiter” is used to describe older gay men that lure otherwise straight boys into a life of perversion, and the relationships in shounen-ai perpetuate this perceived dynamic.

It also reinforces the intrinsically misogynistic stereotype that the bottom in a gay relationship is the “woman.” The uke character is frail, too weak to resist the advances of his seme. He is almost always soft skinned, effeminate, and sometimes even voiced by a woman. In addition to this being an extremely narrow and increasingly incorrect portrayal of gay dynamics, it’s also a very boring way to think about gay characters.

Trope 2. Sexual assault

You don’t have to get very far in any shounen-ai anime before there’s a scene of sexual assault. In every one, the seme character has physically pinned the uke against something and is forcing themselves upon them. Oftentimes this results in a scene of violence that’s played off as a gag, and almost always the assaulted character flees the situation, only to come back the very next episode.

Even if the character is traumatized by the experience, other characters offer no support. In Love Stage, Izumi’s own friends and family brush off his assault because nothing actually happened, and they liken the experience of Izumi being forcibly stripped and overpowered as “no worse than a mosquito bite” which is both ludicrous and infuriating.

Look, if your romance story starts with attempted rape… you’re telling a very shitty love story.

It’s painful to watch a character describe the man who assaulted him as his true love, and it sets an incredibly bad example for impressionable gay youth. It sends the message that people should go back to their abusers, and that if the victim loves the abuser enough, then the abuse will be replaced by love. Frankly that’s a dangerous message to send.


He does not stop.

And why is this even a thing? If Boruto started with Naruto forcing himself on Hinata nobody would be down with that, but in romance anime it’s expected that consent will be tossed out the window.

Writing this off as fiction does everyone a disservice because rape is a real problem. Furthermore it gives a worrisome look into Japan’s broader shame culture problem that pressures victims of rape against speaking out. A 2014 Cabinet Office study showed that only 4% of sexual assault victims in Japan actually report the crime to the police, and of those, few were successfully prosecuted.

Trope 3: The main characters aren’t really gay

In most shounen-ai anime, the seme and oftentimes the uke as well, are presented as mostly straight. They like girls, and even go on dates with them, too. They’re not gay, they just have such a connection with this one specific guy that it transcends their heterosexuality.

Now I can actually get behind anime that showcase a bi or pansexual character, but that’s not the impression that’s given. The characters rarely if ever self-identify as anything but straight. Because shounen-ai and yaoi are made for an assumed straight female audience, as opposed to gay men, the characters within them always stay… available. They’re not gay because in Japanese media gay men look and act a certain way…


Puri-puri Prisoner from 'One Punch Man' is an example of a gay stereotype character. A weird combination of hyper masculinity and flowery femininity… oh and also he's a serial rapist because of course he is.

By not making the characters actually gay, shounen-ai continues the othering of gay men. Sometimes the anime will make the distinction very clear, showing offensive and incorrect stereotypes of gay men as a comparison to the main couple. This fits the star crossed lover narrative so common in romance anime, but it prevents gay relationships from being normalized.

Trope 4: Main character is traumatized/broken

The poor poor boys of shounen-ai anime are usually pretty broken. Maybe they watched their parents die right in front of their eyes. Maybe they had a childhood trauma they never got over. Maybe they were… raised by wolves? What the hell?!

Lemme make this clear, with big ol clapping hand emojis.

GAY 👏 PEOPLE 👏  ARE 👏 NOT 👏 BROKEN 👏

We didn’t become gay because we’re otakus. Or because our bodies are small and thin. Or because one time a boy was mean to us in middle school. By making the characters in shounen-ai all stunted, broken, or traumatized people it gives the impression that being gay is not normal. That there is something fundamentally wrong with you to make you fall in love with another guy. It’s messed up and shows a lack of nuance about sexuality that is pretty shocking in this day and age.

So what can we do?

I wish I had a solution to this issue, but when it comes to anime, we as a Western audience have very little pull. But what we can start to do is to stop excusing this and other overly problematic tropes. All too often when issues with anime are brought up, the answer is a general shrug of “Well, Japan is a different culture.”

I think this excuse does a disservice to us, and Japan. It’s a very impotent way to view ourselves, as helpless to affect positive change on a global scale, and in a world that is increasingly more global thanks to the Internet, we know this isn’t true.

Furthermore, it’s insulting to Japanese people to claim that negative stereotypes are part of their culture, as if homophobia is a time honored tradition up there with shogi or kendo.  

With American companies like Crunchyroll and Netflix bringing anime en masse to the states, we need to be more particular about what messages we’re promoting.

It’s important that young people, gay youth especially, have positive and realistic portrayals in media. Growing up, it’s all too easy to think there’s something wrong with you, and if you’re watching anime that reinforces this thought, it can damage you at a very formative time in your life.

Now, it’s not all bad. While shounen-ai is a flaming garbage pile, there have been notable examples of positive gay representation in anime and manga. While not overtly gay, Yuri!! on ICE takes the common tropes of sports anime’s latent homoeroticism and uses it to tell a love story on top of the broader sports plot.

Gengoroh Tagame’s manga series My Brother’s Husband is both an examination of gay relationships, and the differences between Japanese and Western society’s views on many social dynamics and issues.



And if you like the notion of shounen-ai anime and want a more positive Western spin, check out the Academy Award winning film Call Me By Your Name. It’s a beautiful and thoughtful romance that does everything a shounen-ai anime does, with none of the damaging stereotypes.

Hopefully in time, we’ll see anime continue its trend towards more accepting and thoughtful portrayals of all kinds of people. But before we can get there, things like shounen-ai’s rape culture storylines need to go.

 

9 Must-See LGBTQ Anime

The post How Boy Love Anime’s Rape Problem Damages the Queer Community appeared first on FANDOM.

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Queer Eye’s Fab Five Travels to Yass, Australia, to ‘Make Better’ a Single Rancher Dad

Queer Eye captured the hearts in Gay, Georgia, and now the Fab Five is taking over Yass, Australia!  (Yes, that’s a real town!)

After two seasons of “Yass” jokes, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness descended on the rural town earlier this month to “make better” not one, but two men, including 54-year-old George, a single father and rancher who focuses more on his work commitments than his family.

“I do not think George has ever had four American gay men with one gorgeous Pakistani Brit ever come at him so aggressively for cuddles,” expert groomer Van Ness jokes about the hero, who was nominated by his son Levi.

RELATED: Queer Eye‘s Season 2 Features First Female and Transgender Subjects — and a Proposal!

While Karamo, Tan and Jonathan turn their attention to mentally and physically transforming George, Antoni and Bobby rebrand a local restaurant and pub with a completely new interior design and menu. (No avocadoes for Antoni this time!)

And the Fab Five even become Australian royalty!

The guys were surprised with a special ceremony by the Mayor of Yass, Rowena Abbey, who crowned them all Yass queens.

RELATED: Who Is the Thirstiest Fab Five Member? Queer Eye Cast Reveals All in Game of ‘Spin & Spill!’

Recently, Bobby, Karamo, Tan, Antoni and Jonathan spoke about the cultural and social impact the Netflix reboot has had on viewers around the world, and how they continue to tackle newfound fame together.

“On a personal note, I’m so incredibly proud of the way that I think each of my brothers and cast mates have tackled the electricity and how grand this whole thing is. I feel like it’s just exploding so quickly, especially with Season 2 dropping,” Antoni said at the 2018 Changemakers Award ceremony in New York City on Tuesday.

“Not only on social media but when we get together we don’t see each other. The fact that we all get to experience this as a unit, and I think it’s been unifying for all of us,” he said.

Season 2 of Queer Eye is streaming now on Netflix.


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Hal Sparks Reveals Why He Had To Have His ‘Queer As Folk’ Role & Why He Fired His Agents | PeopleTV

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‘Queer As Folk’ Reunion: The Cast Gets Emotional Looking Back At Groundbreaking Series | PeopleTV

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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The ‘Queer Eye’ Guys Says the Show is About Human Connections

Queer Eye

Earlier this year Netflix debuted its reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy—now called Queer Eye—and it offered viewers a heartwarming take on a group of five gay men, not only providing men with fashion makeovers but partaking in conversations about love, loss and everything in between. The show was a hit with viewers and Netflix […]

The post The ‘Queer Eye’ Guys Says the Show is About Human Connections appeared first on EBONY.

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‘Younger’ star wears gender-bending outfit for his polyamorous queer wedding

What do you wear when you’re a polyamorous, gender-nonconforming person marrying your long-time, queer, sexually-fluid partner? The answer is: definitely not a basic mermaid gown or a tux. That was the challenge designer Andrew Morrison faced when “Younger” star Nico Tortorella approached him about creating matching ensembles for him and his partner of 11 years…
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A Husband with No Rhythm Gets a Queer Eye Dance Lesson | The Oprah Winfrey Show | OWN

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Backward-thinking ‘Queer Eye’ won’t work in 2018

On Wednesday, a new trailer for Netflix’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” revealed that the show will blaze back to TV on Feb. 7. But is it time to give this reboot the boot? The reality program, which originally aired on Bravo from 2003 to 2007, featured a quintet of perky gay men —…
Entertainment | New York Post

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Meet Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s New Fab Five, Making America Fabulous Again in Netflix’s Reboot

Queer as Folk Reboot15 years after meeting their predecessors, it’s time to say hello to a new Fab Five!
Nearly a year after announcing their plans to revive groundbreaking makeover series Queer Eye for…

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Meet Muna, the Queer L.A. Pop Trio Now on Tour With Harry Styles

"I really care that our music is a story of growth," Muna singer Katie Gavin tells Rolling Stone in an August phone chat. Fittingly, the thoughtful L.A. pop outfit, also including guitarist Josette Maskin and keyboardist-guitarist Naomi McPherson, is in the midst of a major real-world growth spurt. Currently opening for Harry Styles on his first solo world tour, the band – whose

This article originally appeared on www.rollingstone.com: Meet Muna, the Queer L.A. Pop Trio Now on Tour With Harry Styles

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This Black Queer Love Story Is Exactly What The Comic World Needs

Black queer love between two women often goes underrepresented in any medium. 

Writer Tee Franklin wants to help change this with her forthcoming comic “Bingo Love.” It follows the fictional story of Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray, beginning from the time they fall in love as teenagers in 1963.

Their parents find out and forbid them from seeing each other again. The women lead separate lives, marrying men whom neither of them love. Hazel and Mari reunite at a bingo hall and old feelings surface. They divorce their husbands and live out their truth as a married couple, a light in which audiences rarely see elderly black women. Their love story extends all the way to 2030. 

The 80-page graphic novella is one of the first of its kind.

Franklin told The Huffington Post that some of her experiences as a queer woman of color helped inform her writing in “Bingo Love.” She said that she’s kept her sexual identity a secret out of fear and that she’s inadvertently coming out to her extended family as bisexual with this novella.  

“I know that there are black women and men who have had to hide their sexuality due to the time era and I know that there are some that are still hiding it,” she said. “As someone who’s been married, sometimes you stay for the kids ― even though you know that the love is gone. Hiding your sexual orientation for decades and not truly being happy inside is what I wanted to touch on with this story.”

Franklin, who created #BlackComicsMonth in 2015 to promote diversity in the straight white male-dominated industry, said inclusive stories like “Bingo Love” are crucial. She said that sometimes white superheroes aren’t as exciting as representation in comics.  

“It’s rare in the comic industry to have two black women leads, especially written by a disabled, queer black woman,” she said. “Now to have these protagonists queer and older? This will never happen in the comics industry unless someone does it on their own.”

The only superpowers Hazel and Mari have is the confidence to leave their past lives in their 60s and spend the rest of them together living their life to the fullest.
Tee Franklin, writer

With her Kickstarter campaign, Franklin wants to raise at least $ 19,999 to pay for her small, diverse creative team ― artist Jenn St-Onge, colorist Joy San, letterer Cardinal Rae and editor Erica Schultz ― printing and shipping. The writer said the response to her novella has been overwhelmingly positive. Her campaign has already raised more than $ 16,500 in only five days.

Franklin said she’s aiming to have the comic distributed before the end of the year. She said she hopes the novella shows readers that love is love, no matter what it looks like.

Love has no boundaries and it lasts forever. If there can be an Ellie and Carl from Disney’s ‘Up,’ there can be a Hazel and Mari in ‘Bingo Love,’” she said. “Once again, these topics aren’t discussed in comics and there definitely aren’t older queer black women around. But, you can have a Magneto who’s in his, what, 60s? 70s? The only superpowers Hazel and Mari have is the confidence to leave their past lives in their 60s and spend the rest of them together living their life to the fullest.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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FABRICATIONS: Meet Queer Fashion Designer And Artist Ben Copperwheat

This is the twelfth installment in a miniseries titled “FABRICATIONS” that elevates the work of up-and-coming queer individuals working in the fashion world. Check back at HuffPost Gay Voices regularly to learn more about some of the designers of tomorrow and the way their work in fashion intersects with their queer identity.

Originally hailing from the United Kingdom, Ben Copperwheat is a queer fashion designer and artist living and working in New York City. His clothing is heavily informed by both his background in screen printing and his work throughout a variety of facets of the fashion industry, and his designs have appeared on the likes of Boy George, Liza Minnelli and Pat Cleveland. Read the interview below to learn more.

ben copperwheat

The Huffington Post: What has your journey as a queer artist and fashion designer entailed?
Ben Copperwheat: I was born in Luton, England, 30 miles north of London and lived the first 28 years of my life in the United Kingdom. I had an interest in art at a very young age and drew pictures of Disney characters in my childhood and Madonna in my teens while listening to the pop music my mum would play. At 18 I enrolled in the local art college and, with the nurturing of wonderful tutors, I went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts at Bath Spa University. My aspirations led me to London and the Royal College Of Art of which I graduated with an MA in Printed Textiles in 2001. This jumpstarted my career and since then my journey has been a wondrous ride of exploration and growth.

After graduating I taught textiles for fashion at Northumbria University in England. This was great as I enjoy working with students, but it also enabled me to pursue print design projects with a variety of different people and companies. After two years working in London I felt ready for a big change. It doesn’t get much bigger than New York City! I had visited New York twice before and had fallen in love with its fizzy energy and sky-high possibilities. My cousin was already living in NYC, so this made the transition easier.

ben

Upon arrival in 2003 I applied for jobs, and almost immediately I was offered a position as a print designer at Calvin Klein Jeans. I worked at CKJ for five years and I had a great time. I learned a huge amount about the fashion industry, met some lifelong friends and travelled the world to cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Berlin, Paris, London, Barcelona, Dehli and Jaipur, shopping for inspiration. During my time at CKJ I also designed print collections for Stephen Burrows, Sue Stemp and Peter Som. In 2008 I desired more freedom so I left my job and transitioned to a freelance print designer.

In 2009, in partnership with my cousin Lee Copperwheat, came the formation of the clothing label COPPERWHEAT. We produced five seasons for New York Fashion Week in a variety of venues including Soho Grand Hotel, the Maritime Hotel and Cappellini store in SoHo. This was a huge learning curve, a tumultuous ride, the outcome of which was some beautifully made, very cool clothes. Ultimately, this label and partnership was not meant to be. In 2012 we went our separate ways, at which point I threw my creative energy into what I know best: screen printing. This juncture felt like a new beginning, and came with it a freedom of expression more vibrant and unrestrained than I had previously experienced. With a print area built into my duplex apartment in Bushwick, I went for leather and printed clothing, wallpaper and interior fabrics. I started selling pieces in Patricia Field’s store on the Bowery and producing commissioned outfits for clients.

liza

Where have your designs appeared?
Through my work with Stephen Burrows, my prints have adorned the bodies of Liza Minnelli, Pat Cleveland, Gail O’Neill, Alva Chinn, Anna Cleveland and Lily Cole. With the label COPPERWHEAT we were featured in Dazed, Surface Magazine, Vogue Italia, Style.com, collaborated with Palladium Boots, Singer Miguel and Bruno Mars. For my own brand, Ben Copperwheat, my prints have been worn by NBA star Russell Westbrook, commissioned for Will Sheridan, Rod Thomas of Bright Light Bright Light and, most recently, I designed the stage outfit for the Boy George/Culture Club reunion tour and merchandise T-Shirts. Boy George debuted this outfit on “American Idol” in March 2015.

boy george

What does it mean to you to be a queer designer? How does your queer identity intersect with your work?
Queer has always been a tough word for me to embrace, as growing up in England I was bullied for my sexuality from as early as I can remember to the age of 8. Queer was one of the words I was called, along with “bent” and “puffter.” I feel, as time goes on, the word “queer” is becoming more of a friend. So, therefore, to be a queer designer, living in New York City is a gift. I feel incredibly grateful to have the freedom to express myself through my clothing, art and interactions in such a vibrant culture — especially when there is so much oppression and suffering throughout the world. I have been openly gay/queer for over 20 years, so my queer identity is without a doubt synonymous with my work. Bright color and graphic pattern are predominant features in my designs, which is not the norm in current fashion and art. I feel “queer” represents that which is not the norm.

Who does Ben Copperwheat design for? Who is your audience and how do your designs cater to them?
I design for anyone who is looking for something different and visually exciting. My designs are a cross between artistic streetwear and high-end fashion. Whomever wears them brings their own personality and dimension to the prints. I have fans and clients of all ages and backgrounds. I wear my designs daily as I find this to be the most comfortable form of self-expression and I am regularly stopped on the street by a cross-section of admirers. I am inspired by the world around me — in particular New York City — and I feel my work reflects this.

Historically the fashion world has been extremely queer friendly — what role do you think the fashion world has played within mainstream acceptance of LGBT identity?
I feel it definitely has played a part in mainstream acceptance, especially Vivienne Westwood, with her embracement of all things queer. Also, other designers in tandem with popular music, specifically artists such as Madonna working with Jean Paul Gaultier, Lady Gaga with Alexander McQueen, Pet Shop Boys with Jeffrey Bryant to name a few. On the other hand, designers such as Dolce & Gabanna and Giorgio Armani are trying to turn the clock back with recent comments. Such is the push and pull nature of progress.

ben

What does the future hold for Ben Copperwheat?
With 15 years working as a designer and turning 40 this coming September, I feel that I am only just starting to realize my full creative potential. To be an artist/designer is a lifelong vocation, so with, I hope, at least another 40 years left on this planet I have many great things to come. I am currently in a group show curated by my friend Walt Cessna, “#INTERFACE Queer Artists Forming Communities Through Social Media” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York. I am also planning work for a solo art show in NYC. I would like to show solo again at NYFW when the time feels right — branch out more into interiors (wallpaper/murals/fabrics). I am turning my apartment into a “museum” of my work, where every surface is printed/painted. Design costume and sets for theater. Get back to painting — I started out as a painter while at art school. Continue to nurture relationships with recording artists and performers and design more stage outfits. My ethos is that prints can be applied to anything. The nature of my work is very versatile, and I intend to continue to evolve in this way.

Want to see more from Ben Copperwheat? Head here to check out the website. Missed the previous installments in this miniseries? Check out the slideshow below.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Style – The Huffington Post
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Siamese Spots, Queer Female Music Duo, Releases ‘Banter’

Are you ready for this ground-breaking queer female music duo?

Siamese Spots hit the scene earlier this month with their debut track “Banter” — and we’re big fans.

The twosome is comprised of openly transgender artist Chase Marie, who has previously been featured on HuffPost Gay Voices, and Tahlia. The pair hails from the trenches of Oklahoma and cites bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Sleater Kinney and Garbage as influences.

The band is currently writing their debut record, which will be out sometime in 2015.

Check out the video for “Banter” above and visit Siamese Spots’ bandcamp page here.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Spanish Queer Cinema

Spanish Queer Cinema


Since the Catalan government passed the first of Spain’s regional governmental laws on same-sex partnership in 1998, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer culture in Spain has thrived. Spanish Queer Cinema assesses the impact of this significant cultural expression on Spanish Cinema and evaluates the role LGBTQ film has had in creating and shaping identity and experience.Focusing on films from 1998 to the present day, Chris Perriam skilfully analyses the development of LGBTQ filmmaking and filmwatching in Spain and places this within the wider cultural context. Covering lesbian cinema, gay and queer documentaries and short films, as well as mainstream features, the book investigates how LGBTQ films are distributed and how audiences react to them. It includes discussions of film festivals, cultural centres and social networking sites and it places the filmwatching experience within the context of other cultural activities such as television viewing, reading, surfing, downloading and festival–going. It assesses the importance and impact of Spanish queer cinema on the construction of LGBTQ identities and experiences.

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