Category Archives: Queer

Deadpool: The World’s First Pansexual (-ish) Superhero

deadpool

As readers of this site will know, I make no claim to having all (or any) of the knowledge when it comes to comics. So I rely on my friends and the media to inform me about things like this.

Deadpool first appeared in comic books in 1991 and was played by Reynolds in the 2009 movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine. An erratic, disfigured mercenary in a tight red suit, Deadpool is a wise-cracking antihero who often breaks the fourth wall and whose super-ability is an accelerated capacity for healing. The comics show the character propositioning Spider-Man and flirting with both genders; recent trailers and a fireside promotional further suggest the movie will follow suit.

Now that’s all fine and well to say, but if you’re gonna say this, you need to present the evidence that something approaching alternative sexualities are going to be included, and from the trailer, it looks pretty hetero to me.

The occasional flirtation does not represent sexual diversity. Give us a makeout, or a sex scene! Give us something tangible. Otherwise it feels like he’s being promoted as sexually edgy when in fact nothing is being risked.

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Asexual Awareness Week and Charlie Weasley – Possible Poster Boy?

charlie weasley and dragon

I honestly learned some new words and ideas in this article, originally featured on Mugglenet.com. I’m reposting it in its entirety here!

A couple weeks ago, MuggleNet staff member Amy wrote about Remus Lupin and incurable conditions for Invisible Illness Awareness Week. This inspired me to write something for Asexual Awareness Week, which runs from October 19 through October 25. Prepare to be aware!

I think we all remember the shock of J.K. Rowling’s reveal that Dumbledore was gay. Since then, there has been a lot tossed around about queer representation in the Harry Potter world.* Some people think that Dumbledore is a great representation, others think not so much. Of course, Jo made this announcement about eight years ago and started writing the books about 25 years ago (I know! That long!). Things have changed since then. Maybe if Jo were writing the books today, it would have been more obvious in the text that Dumbledore was gay. Or maybe there would be a few other queer characters that are blatantly labeled as such in the Potter world.

Which brings me to Charlie Weasley. Here’s a conversation from the 2007 documentary J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life.

JKR: “Charlie didn’t have children or marriage.”

JR: “Is he gay?”

JKR: “Dumbledore’s gay. I told a reader that once, and I thought she was gonna slap me. But I always saw Dumbledore as gay. Um, no, I don’t think Charlie’s gay. Just more interested in dragons than women.”

So that pretty much changed everything.

Because not only was Albus Dumbledore—one of the most prominent characters in the most popular children’s series in the world—gay, but Charlie Weasley was more interested in dragons than women. Which is as close to a confirmation of a Harry Potter character being asexual as we’re ever going to get.

Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction. Now, there are a lot of terms surrounding asexuality. There’s romantic attraction, sensual attraction, aesthetic attraction, demisexuality, gray-asexuality… These are all very important but can be a little overwhelming for someone new to the idea, so I’ll direct you to this page of asexuality.org, which has succinct definitions for all of these things. The one you’ll probably hear about most, though, is romantic attraction, which is the desire to be romantically involved with someone, but not necessarily sexually involved.

I know, you’re thinking, “What do you mean asexuals don’t experience sexual attraction?” I would counter that with “What do you mean allosexuals do?” (Then you would ask, “What’s allosexual?”and I would say, “Anyone who experiences sexual attraction,” but I digress.) I have no idea what sexual attraction feels like, and apparently, it’s really difficult to define! I’m asexual; I’ve known that for years now. Before I realized asexuality was a thing, I thought everyone was exaggerating about having crushes on people. Yes, that’s how a lot of asexuals think! But a lot of asexuals also don’t have an experience as simple as this. Instead, they’re isolated and made fun of; they feel as if something is wrong with them. It takes many asexuals well into adulthood to realize that they’re not broken, that there are other people out there like them. Part of the reason this realization is so difficult is because there’s little to no representation out there.

That’s why Charlie Weasley is so important. A nice, handsome young man who cares more about dragons than women? That’s awesome! I care more about dragons than men. There’s someone out there like me!

It’s grasping at straws, I know. Does J.K. Rowling know what asexuality is? Maybe by now, eight years after mentioning that Charlie doesn’t get married, she does. Would she agree that Charlie is asexual? I don’t know, but I hope so. I can’t imagine having this character taken away from me. That would be heart-wrenching, actually. Asexual characters in fiction are so difficult to come by that I take pretty much anything I can get…

Oh, no, I’d love to go with you as friends!” said Luna, beaming as he had never seen her beam before. “Nobody’s ever asked me to a party before, as a friend! Is that why you dyed your eyebrow, for the party? Should I do mine too?” – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Luna Lovegood, who cares more about friends than anything else? Heteroromantic asexual.

Katniss Everdeen, more interested in saving her sister than her own love triangle? Aromantic asexual (or aroace for short, which is also a great pun).

Sherlock Holmes, who thinks love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason that he places above all things? Asexual, despite how often Hollywood tries to shoehorn him a love interest.**

Daryl Dixon, heartthrob of The Walking Dead despite never showing romantic interest in anyone?Called asexual by the creator of the show! I don’t know if Robert Kirkman really knows what asexuality is, but that one threw me for a loop, and now I’m hanging on for dear life.

Representation is so important. It helps people feel less alone. It gives them the strength to be who they are. I don’t know if J.K. Rowling realizes what she has done for not only gay people but for asexual people, too, but I want to thank her. I made myself a little movement called Protect Charlie Weasley Aat All Costs. I never thought a minor character who works with dragons would mean so much to me, but he really does, and I am prepared to defend him to the ends of the Earth.

I hope all asexuals have had a great Asexual Awareness Week, and I hope everyone else is a little bit more aware. This is the most public I’ve ever been about my asexuality, and it’s kind of freaking me out, but I hope it helps a few of you out there be more comfortable with yourselves! You are all magical.***

The featured image is art by kaenith on Tumblr and depicts Charlie with an aromantic/asexual flag. And a dragon, of course.

*I use the term “queer” here as a reclaiming of the word, though I am aware of the negative connotations associated with it. I prefer it as a catch-all term over LGBTQIA+ because that is so often exclusionary toward asexuals either because people think “A” stands for “ally” or because the short version (LGBT) is only ever used.

**I’m so obsessed with this headcanon that I made a Sherlock Holmes web series in which I play an aromantic asexual Sherlock Holmes. It’s called The Adventures of Jamie Watson (and Sherlock Holmes), and you can watch the first season on YouTube.

***Even as magical as dragons. And dragons are pretty rad.

Posted by: Shannen October 25, 2015 http://www.mugglenet.com/2015/10/asexual-awareness-protect-charlie-weasley-at-all-costs/

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: An addictive gay teen vampire/wizard love story

simon and baz forest

Carry On, by Fangirl author Rainbow Rowell, is maybe the first fictional fan-fic novel ever published. Carry On Simon was the fan-fic creation of Cath (and her sister, Wren) in Fangirl, which itself featured a reluctant love story that made the book impossible to put down. Within Fangirl, the protagonist was a fandom sensation, writing fanfiction loosely based on Harry Potter that was followed by tens of thousands of online readers. In Cath’s version of things, Simon Snow (the HP-esque main character) struggled with his hate/love relationship with his rich, handsome, cocky roommate-cum-nemesis, Baz, which usually ended up with them making out. It’s Harry/Draco slash – antagonistic, sweet, and addictive to read.

Carry On sees their story to completion. In Fangirl, we only got snippets of Cath’s fic and we were left craving more. Now we have an entire novel committed to Simon and Baz. TBH, I found myself impatient for the first third of the book, only because – without giving too much away – the central relationship was on the periphery, for reasons you’ll come to know when you read it. I wanted to get to the good stuff – the aching, angsty dynamic between Simon and Baz that makes their story so compelling. But fear not, friends – once things get rolling, they’re on. I marathoned the rest of the book – three hours one day, three hours the next; it’s as if their connection comes off the pages and electrifies you while you read. (If you find antagonistic gay vamp/wizard love exciting to read, that is.)

The amazing thing about fanfiction is that it breeds itself. Harry Potter begat Simon Snow slash, and Simon Snow begat more Simon/Baz slash by writers other than Rainbow Rowell. After consuming Carry On I was left with a void, so jumped online to see what was out there. Well, turns out there’s a bunch of well-written Simon/Baz fanfic to be found on An Archive of Our Own, and a few of the pieces are so well written that if they were signed by Rowell I would have no hesitation believing they were hers. A few even have her multi-parenthetical signature.

And if you were left wishing that Carry On featured more, shall we say, scenes of an explicit nature, fear not. A few of the stories on An Archive of Our Own include ‘happy endings’ for us pervs – although more feature the same sweet and snarky banter that makes Simon and Baz’s love so, well, loveable. What’s great about fanfic is that, even when the book is over, the story lives on. Rowell helped our Harry/Draco fantasies develop into something new and wonderful, and now her fans are doing the same with Simon and Baz; it’s fanfic to the third degree.

Curious? Check it out here: http://archiveofourown.org/tags/Tyrannus%20Basilton%20%22Baz%22%20Pitch*s*Simon%20Snow/works

Now if only someone would create that ‘Baz lounging on a fanged black throne’ poster and sell it on Etsy…

simon baz art

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TOMBOY presents The Hogwarts Halloween Ball: review!

20151018_012408

Last night’s Harry Potter party at the Media Club was just friggin’ awesome. It had costumes, it had chandeliers and floating candles (poorly photographed above), it had burlesque and best of all it had tons of queer (or queer friendly) folks who love Harry Potter all together on one room!

Special mentions:

  • The group costume comprised of Professor Umbridge, a Doe Patronus, Aragog and Snape (with Umbridge dropping it like it’s hot on the dancefloor)
  • The doe and stag mask combo – designed purchased on Wintercroft (check it out at http://wintercroft.com/collections/masks )
  • The burlesque act featuring a girly Dumbledore, wearing a full grey beard, who revealed a matching grey beard merkin and pasties
  • The burlesque act featuring female Harry battling a dragon – to the Wrock cover of Katy Perry’s Dark Horse – with audience members singing along!

Best of all, all of the decorations and the efforts of the host of the night, Kasey Riot, who made this night happen in the first place! Nerds FTW!

UPDATE: for pics of the night, click here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153774865425719.1073741836.658140718&type=3

stag mask

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Tomboy presents: The Hogwarts Halloween Ball in VANCOUVER!!!

tomboy HP party

Somehow, the stars have aligned to bring my worlds together: there’s going to be a queer Harry Potter-themed party on October 17th! In Vancouver!! I cannot believe it. Way to blow my mind, Tomboy!!

If you need tickets, go here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/tomboy-the-hogwarts-halloween-ball-tickets-18927154629

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Coolest Parents Ever Make a Gender Bending Superhero Cake

Hulk princess cake

My twin daughters asked for a Hulk Princess Cake for their birthday and my wife made it happen. http://t.co/7ekuT5Uivr. Proud Poppa here.

— Brian Elton (@_b_ri_) September 15, 2015

If only more parents could have this much chill around gender stuff. Nice one!

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Stonewall: The Movie

Hmmm…. well, I don’t see many women or people of colour in that trailer, and the narrative is that of a seemly middle class white guy… which is concerning. But maybe the trailer just shows certain clips and we’re going to see all the Latino drag queens and young black men and bulldykes that took part in the riot to protest violent oppression in the full version of the film? Maybe?

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Butchbaby & Co. – Maternity Clothes for Queer and Trans Folks Who Don’t Wanna Wear Floral

butchbaby

Exciting news for queer and trans folks who want to have kids but don’t want to wear the decidedly femme-y maternity options out there – a young queer couple in the US have started a company that will produce cool, butch-y clothes to fit peeps who are up the stick (as they say in Scotland – thank you, Trainspotting).

Newman and Nance are targeting same-sex and transgender families because of their lack of visibility in the fashion industry. “Not too long ago, women were fighting just to wear pants in the workplace. There is always people who want to be who they are and accept themselves how they want to accept themselves,” says Newman.

Pregnancy is a time where “every part of your body that makes you feel feminine is going to accentuate.” That’s not comfortable for some people.

Butchbaby is hoping to start pre-sale during its Kickstarter, which opens Sept. 1. The line is expected to be up for full purchase by late winter 2015. Newman wants to go straight into creating a spring collection soon after.

http://mashable.com/2015/06/06/androgynous-maternity-butchbaby/?utm_campaign=Mash-BD-Synd-GCurrents-All-Full&utm_cid=Mash-BD-Synd-GCurrents-All-Full&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=rss

I know several people who would have loved to have been able to shop at Butchbaby & Co.! Be sure to spread the word.

http://butchbabyco.tumblr.com/

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Yay Ireland! Homos are feeling the love!

gay irish rainbow

The universe produced a double rainbow for Ireland after its population voted in favour of marriage equality for The Gays. I’m pretty sure that’s God giving Ireland a double thumbs up.

gay ireland

andrew-scott-campaign-n

Our fave TV crazybrains, Moriarty – aka Andrew Scott – was out in support of the vote.

Petyr Baelish – aka Aiden Gillen (whoa! Check out what he looks like in real life! Way less of a creeper.) – did a promotional video in support of the Yes side.

Yay Ireland!

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GoT Season 5 Episode 7 – A Necessary Evil?

obara sand

I had to take a few days away from the most recent episode of GoT, and watch the Knights of Badassdom for a second time within a few days, to help achieve some emotional distance from the closing scene. There have, of course, been other terrible scenes involving sexual assault – Khaleesi’s wedding night, Joffrey torturing Roz and her colleague (or rather, making them torture each other), the multiple visits to Crastor’s Keep – but for some reason it was Sansa’s scene with Ramsay that put me as close to the edge of deciding not to watch as possible. After reading online article about how things go down in the books – way worse, but with a character that isn’t Sansa – I was thanking the producers for drawing a line and not forcing Theon to take part (which surely would have driven even me, a die-hard fan, to abandon my favourite show).

I don’t think any of us thought Sansa’s wedding night with Ramsay was going to go well. I mean, what was going to happen? He wasn’t going to respect her and keep his hands off her like Tyron did. If there was to be a wedding, then there was going to be a consummation. But for whatever reason, I don’t think any of us anticipated it being this cruel. And that’s either the show’s fault or ours. Or a combination. The fact that Theon was forced to watch and the idea that it all happened in Winterfell made it all so much more toxic. ~ http://ca.ign.com/articles/2015/05/18/game-of-thrones-unbowed-unbent-unbroken-review

But I think there are some fair and important criticisms, all of them better articulated than any words I could put together.

I’d never advocate that Game of Thrones (or any work of fiction) shy away from edgy plots out of fear of pushback or controversy. But edgy plots should always accomplish something above pure titillation or shock value and what, exactly, was accomplished here? Allen said in an interview that this story would position Ramsay as “the new Joffrey in town, and then probably me followed closely after that.” But haven’t we had ample time to understand the depths of Ramsay’s depravity? If, best case scenario, Sansa and Theon (and probably Brienne and Pod) band together to take down Ramsay over the next few episodes, did we really need this rape scene to drive that engine? I think most audiences would have been happy with Sansa as avenging angel without subjecting her to a rape. After all, these are the people who killed her family.

Even worse than the idea of Sansa needing this to motivate her into vengeance is the notion that the Theon character needed to watch her rape in order to snap out of whatever zombie/Reek fugue state he’s been walking around in. I’m afraid that is the show’s interpretation, based on where the camera lingered. But the last thing we needed was to have a powerful young woman brought low in order for a male character to find redemption. No thank you. ~ http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/05/game-of-thrones-rape-sansa-stark

From The Mary Sue:

In this particular instance, rape is not necessary to Sansa’s character development (she’s already overcome abusive violence at the hands of men); it is not necessary to establish Ramsay as a bad guy (we already know he is); it is not necessary to prove “how bad things were for women” (Game of Thrones exists in a fictional universe, and we already know it’s exceptionally patriarchal). Rape here, like in all instances, is not a necessary story-driving device.

Using rape as the impetus for character motivations is one of the most problematic tropes in fiction. Rarely is it ever afforded the careful consideration it deserves. Was there more gravity given to the act on Game of Thrones than in the past on the series? I would say yes; however, it took Sansa from her growing place of power, cut her off at the knees, and put the focus on Theon’s ordeal, instead.

There’s only so many times you can be disgusted with something you love before you literally can’t bring yourself to look at it anymore. ~ http://www.themarysue.com/we-will-no-longer-be-promoting-hbos-game-of-thrones/

Since I’m already in giving-them-shit mode, here are a couple of other plots that the creators of GoT should probably answer for:

ser loras

Reducing Loras to a Gay Homosexual:

Ser Loras hasn’t always had a lot of screen time, but when we met him we knew he was a highly-skilled knight and member of Renly’s King’s Guard. He even beat The Mountain (!) at the tourney of The Hand in King’s Landing, although he ended up bested by Brienne – but hey, it’s fucking Brienne, there’s no shame in losing to her. Oh, and he was Renly’s gay lover. Part of who he was, not all of who he was.

Fast forward to Season 4 and 5, and we have Ser Loras: The Homo. Flirting with Oberyn, sexing up Olyvar the Procurer, our Knight of Flowers has not been seen in battle or doing much more than being gay and being a kinda lame sycophantic fiance to Cersei.

There haven’t been any more signs of him serving as a noble knight or crucial warrior the way he is in the books. Instead, his sexual orientation has become Loras’ defining characteristic.

One of George R.R. Martin’s book editors, Jane Johnson, has been very vocal on Twitter recently, referring to show-Loras as a “gay cartoon.”

sand snakes 2
And finally, let’s talk about the Sand Snakes. I was uber excited to see them demonstrate their warrior skills (as seen in the trailer), and was thoroughly disappointed when that scene didn’t even last two minutes. WTF? You have three women, trained as fighters since childhood, fighting two men, one of them with only one arm, and they don’t seem to get the upper hand and then the scene stops almost before it starts? RIPOFF!! So that was the extent of my disappointment. But there are deeper critiques that only those who have read the books can make.

HOW GAME OF THRONES HAS FAILED ITS MOST FEMINIST STORYLINE

http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/game-of-thrones-hates-dorne.php

I can’t actually quote that article because as I started reading it, I realized it contained spoilers based on book info. So, SPOILER ALERT! But if you don’t care about that, it the article has some important things to say.

[L]ast season, Oberyn was constantly boasting about his home’s progressive attitudes toward women. Well, progressive for Westeros. And one of the biggest indications of that female-friendly attitude is the fact that Arianne Martell, Oberyn’s niece and the daughter of Dornish leader Doran Martell (played by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine alum Alexander Siddig), is the heir to Dorne. That’s not the norm in Westeros (nor many of the medieval cultures Westeros is based on). If it were then Cersei would have been allowed to inherent Casterly Rock from Tywin, and Sansa and Arya would have been in line in front of Bran as the heirs of Winterfell. So Dorne and the Arianne plot should have been quite popular with modern viewers who are troubled by the role women in this medieval-esque world are often asked to play.

However… Arianne Martell, has apparently been replaced by her younger brother Trystane Martell… as “the heir to Dorne.” In fact, Arianne, badass heiress, is nowhere to be seen.

But without Arianne Martell, it’s much more likely that the Iron Throne grab will come from Dornish leader Prince Doran (out of character, but possible) or Myrcella’s betrothed Trystane trying to gain glory for Dorne. That is to say, once again we’ll have men using a young woman as a political pawn. ~ http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/07/game-of-thrones-cut-feminist-plot

Hey, HBO! Smarten the fuck up! You’re disappointing (at the least) to offending and alienating (at the worst) your audience of progressive folks who can tolerate a certain amount of mysogynistic shit when it is balanced with rich stories of powerful women/queers/outcasts. But recently it’s feeling like the scales are tipping too far in the patriarchal-crap direction. You have three episodes to impress us… remind us why we love(d?) this show so goddamm much!

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