This August marks the 25th anniversary of the debut of My So-Called Life, the short-lived but influential teen drama that was also one of the first network shows to have a gay character as a series regular. Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz) faced some of the same adolescent woes as his peers Angela Chase (Claire Danes) and Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer), but as an out teen, he also faced homophobia at home and school. Despite the show’s limited run, Rickie became a beacon for queer teen viewers, especially queer teens of color who’d waited a long time to see themselves on TV.
Last week, Mark Chambers, the mayor of Carbon Hill, Alabama, shared an image on his Facebook page that read, in all-caps, “WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY WHERE HOMOSEXUALS LECTURE US ON MORALS, TRANSVESTITES LECTURE US ON HUMAN BIOLOGY, BABY KILLERS LECTURE US ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIALISTS LECTURE US ON ECONOMICS.”
SOUNDS LIKE AN OKAY WORLD TO ME!
In case the post wasn’t clear enough on just where he stands on the issue of LGBT rights (or abortion, or socialism), after a friend commented that it “will take a revolution” to change society, Chambers then replied, “The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it’s bad to say but with out killing them out there’s no way to fix it.”
Has anyone talked to Kesha about the 2020 election recently? Based on the new track she dropped on Monday, she is mad as hell and ready for change. “Rich, White, Straight Men” is a droll, tongue-in-cheek critique of the United States’ treatment of women, immigrants, and same-sex couples who want to get married. Kesha also takes serious issue with the country’s reluctance to adopt universal healthcare and free college for all. The message is clear! (Is she voting Warren?)
Sonically, this song is unlike any other Kesha’s ever released; there are no thumping club beats or glittery opening chords. This is far from the perfectly manicured pop songs that were once her calling card. “Rich, White, Straight Men” opens with the unsettling sound of cashiers opening and coins falling, and then Kesha begins to dryly check off a list of policies that would materially improve our lives, if only the people in power would enact them. The best part, though, is the song’s literal chorus of voices demanding to know “What if the rich, white, straight men didn’t rule the world anymore?” The melody is almost… swashbuckling? Burlesque? Kesha’s voice uncharacteristically slides up and down as she sings “Guess what, God is a woman, I know her.” The whole thing feels slightly uncomfortable, I guess rather like the political climate. It’s an unprecedented and ultimately enjoyable change for her; what would it sound like if this Kesha made a whole album? I look forward to finding out.
Women in Japan are asking that the government ban employers from discriminating against women who don’t wear high heels to job interviews or work. The movement was started by freelance writer and actor Yumi Ishikawa, who submitted a petition with more than 18,000 signatures to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare on Monday, according to BuzzFeed News Japan.
As a recently out gay woman, I was a little unsure at first about how to talk with my kids about LGBTQ+ topics. But, even before I accepted my identity and told my family I was gay, having these conversations was something that was important to me. I wanted my kids to be allies, not just for me, but for the queer community at large. I also wanted to make it clear to them that if they fall anywhere within the beautiful LGBTQ+ rainbow, I will accept and love them for who they are.
Still, I understand that if you’re not surrounded by queer folks, it can feel arbitrary or forced to suddenly start talking to your kids about “gay” topics. It helps to keep in mind, though, that you are talking about diversity of love and gender expression. We can all relate to being true to ourselves, right? But what if you don’t really know what to say? What if you yourself feel under-informed? And how the heck does one even begin to explain all of this to a kid?
Bias on social media has become a highly politicized topic in the US—started mainly by right-wingers crying foul at having their accounts suspended or banned, and snowballing in a series of congressional hearings on the subject. The White House itself spun up a website last week for people to report incidents of censorship due to political beliefs.
We can argue as to whether the fears of the Trump administration or its various howling Twitter goons are grounded in reality (many have), but the fact is: social media platforms are lousy arbiters of speech. Their rules tend to be opaque and their enforcement is capricious. At least, that’s what a newly-launched project from the Electronic Frontier Foundation contends.
Last week, Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legally recognize same-sex marriage. And on Saturday, over a thousand people celebrated that landmark ruling with a massive wedding banquet.
According to NPR, the celebration included a big group wedding, with about 20 couples tying the knot in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city. In addition to the couples, there were about 1,600 supporters and other guests in attendance, all of whom watched the newlyweds walk down a red carpet. There were rainbow flags, lots of food, and festivities galore.
On Saturday, Meek Mill accused a Las Vegas hotel of racism after its staff denied him entry and threatened to have him arrested for trespassing.
The rapper posted several videos on Twitter of a confrontation with security at the Cosmopolitan, in which he was told he’d be arrested for trespassing if he got out of his car. According to TMZ, he’d arrived at the Marquee Dayclub to see DJ Mustard when he was told he’d have to leave.
In the U.K.—like in the U.S.—rape is a dramatically underreported crime, and, once reported, few cases go to trial. In 2018, only 1.9 percent of reported rapes in the UK were prosecuted, and a figure that in 2019 fell to a five-year low. So now, police in the United Kingdom have introduced a measure that they believe will improve the likelihood of these cases going to trial: a national consent form, requiring anyone reporting sexual assault hand over all of their text messages, emails, photos, social media accounts, and from their phones, laptops, or smart watches.
For all the food photos on Instagram, there are drastically fewer photos of people actually eating. In one sense, that’s logical: Not many of us think we look our best when we’re going to town on barbecue or housing a burrito. So the Instagram photos that do exist of people eating, especially people who identify as women, appear hyper-posed: a woman smiling behind an ice cream cone, or holding out her unicorn Frappuccino, or pointing to a giant slice of pizza. Rarely, though, is she ever actually eating said food. If we do see her eating the food, it’s often captioned as shameful/indulgent (“cheat day!”) or styled to look weirdly seductive.