Pride Month TBR

Something I haven’t talked much on my blog about is how much I love reading. LGBTQIA+ books especially have a special place in my heart, so that’s why for Pride I’m reading only queer books in the month of June. Some of these books may have more queer representation than I’m aware of since I haven’t read them yet! This month I’m planning to read…

  1. Little & Lion By: Brandy Colbert

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What is it about?: In Little and Lion, the main character Suzette just came home from boarding school, and is being reacquainted with her family and friends. Shortly before she went to school, her brother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Suzette begins to have a crush on a girl that her brother Lionel is in love with, but the girl is detrimental to Lionel’s mental health.

How is it LGBTQIA+?: The main character Suzette is queer (the blurb doesn’t specify a more specific identity.) Multiple other secondary characters are lesbians.

2. Ash By: Malinda Lo

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What is it about?: Ash is a fantasy novel that is a retelling of Cinderella. Instead of a prince, Ash falls in love with Kaisa, the King’s Huntress.

How is it LGBTQIA+?: Ash and Kaisa are lesbians

3. The Swan Riders By: Erin Bow

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What is it about?: This is the second book in the Scorpion Rules duology. The Swan Riders is a science fiction book, whose main character Greta was a hostage in a futuristic world, where every country designates a hostage that is a related to the ruler of their country, and if their country starts a war then the hostage is killed. I don’t want to spoil the first book, so I’m going to keep it pretty vague. Greta is going on a cross country journey with the leader of the United Nations, who set up the hostage system. I really enjoyed the first book is this duology, soI’m really excited for this sequel!

How is it LGBTQIA+?: Greta is queer, most likely bisexual, but that isn’t explicitly stated. Other secondary characters are also queer / possibly bisexual.

4. Almost Like Being in Love By: Steve Kluger

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What is it about?: Two boys fall in love their senior year of high school, but they separate when they go to college. Twenty years later, Travis realizes the thing missing from his life is Craig, and he begins to try to get back in touch with him.

How is it LGBTQIA+?: The main characters are gay men.

5. Tales of the Lavender Menace By: Karla Jay

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What is it about?: Tales of the Lavender Menace is about the group of radical lesbian feminists in the 1970’s, who protested the exclusion of lesbians and their struggles from the feminist movement. The author was a member of the group, and wrote this book as a memoir.

How is it LGBTQIA+?: All about lesbian history!

 

I’m super excited to read exclusively queer books this month! Although who am I kidding, I mostly read queer books every month. Are you reading any books with LGBTQIA+ rep in them currently?

Happy Pride!

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Should Non-Queer People Play Queer Characters?

There’s nothing more disappointing to me than enjoying a queer character in a show, looking up the actor, and finding out they aren’t a part of the LGBTQIA+ community at all. It’s not like there’s a shortage of talented queer actors; Hollywood just doesn’t cast them. With over 10% of the population being LGBTQIA+ in some capacity, there’s definitely a plethora of talented queer actors, probably even some that identify the same way as their character does.

Representation is incredibly important for every minority group. While there’s been more LGBTQIA+ representation in the media in 2017 than ever before, we still have a lot of progress that needs to be made. It would be ridiculous and wrong for someone to play a black character if they weren’t black, so why do we treat sexuality and gender that way? Sure, some non-queer actors do a pretty damn good job playing queer characters, but they just don’t have the experience. They don’t know the struggle, and it really shows when they do interviews about their show/movie. As much as I think we really need to support queer media as a whole, I would rather support queer artists making LGBTQIA+ content.

As a young queer person, I often find myself finding other LGBTQIA+ identifying people, mainly queer women, to look up to. I really needed solid representation when I was figuring everything out, and straight women playing lesbians on TV just wasn’t what I wanted or needed. I also have a problem with the specific type of cis-straight-heteroromantic people that are casted. They are almost always white, able-bodied, and financially privileged. The real LGBTQIA+ community is diverse in every sense of the word. Hot white gays are not the majority, and their stories are not the most important ones to be told. Queer people of color, and disabled queer people’s stories and accomplishments are constantly being erased.

The history behind the character is important. People who are figuring out their gender and/or sexuality need to see queer people living “normal” lives. Straight-Cis-Heteroromantic actors just can’t possibly convey that, or be that representation off the show. Recently, Stephanie Beatriz’s Character Rosa, on the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, came out as bisexual. The only thing that’s cooler than Hollywood actually letting someone say the word “bisexual” on TV, is that Stephanie is bisexual. She is a perfect example of good queer representation. I wish we saw this more often.

Do you think non-queer people should play queer characters? Who are some of your favorite LGBTQIA+ actors?

Queer-Baiting and Representation

We’ve all been there, a “hit television show” brings in a queer character or reveals one of their characters is queer and we start binge watching the show solely for the LGBTQIA+ representation.

All too often the characters are either killed, written out of the show, or declare being queer a phase and “go back” to dating the opposite sex as if bisexuality isn’t a thing. Most recently the shows that have made headlines for doing this are The 100 and Supergirl. These are two examples of blatant queer-baiting, but many shows queer-bait in a less obvious way. They make two girls/guys have a flirty relationship that’s implied but not explicitly stated, then once the ratings go up from queer people flocking to the little representation we have, they kill one of them off. TV shows shouldn’t be using the LGBTQIA+ community for views only to get rid of the queer characters the first chance they get.

While we have way more representation now then we did even three or four years ago, a lot of it still has problems. I’d like to see LGBT people in healthy relationships just living life every once in a while. Maybe that isn’t “good TV” but it’d be nice to see. It seems like big problems arise in most characters situations or sexuality is the premise of their character. Why can’t they be gay without it being a big deal or being one big stereotype?

The killing of LGBT characters specifically queer women is what’s most alarming to me. It happens so often that it isn’t a coincidence at this point. I feel that it sends a very clear message that Hollywood does not value LGBT lives or at least sees them as expendable. Some people may think that conclusion is dramatic, but these repetitive actions seem very straightforward. LGBT lives are disposable and unworthy; They are deserving of physical harm, death, or to be cast aside when Hollywood is done using them. Sending these messages is incredibly dangerous to the community, specifically young people who are looking for guidance and an image of what their future may be like.

Most representation is good, but accurate and diverse representation in more important. I’m happy to see more LGBTQ+ characters on TV and in films, but I’d like to see more diverse stories. The tale of a cis-white-middle class gay person isn’t the narrative of many people in the Queer community or even most. There also isn’t a lot of representation for non-binary, intersex, or asexual people. What’s up with that?

I think we should be a little more picky about the TV shows we choose to support. We shouldn’t just accept any representation, but rather demand the diverse and accurate representation we deserve!

– Alyssa

Fried Gay Tomatoes?

Over the Holidays I watched Fried Green Tomatoes with my sister. I had heard of the movie before, but I had never seen it, and I’ve got to say it is so queer!

Idgie the main character obviously is a lesbian and has a thing for her friend Ruth. It may be cannon, but i’ts there. The whole time we were watching the movie, I kept saying “this movie is so gay!” My sister who had seen the movie before didn’t realize it, but once I pointed it out, she couldn’t stop seeing it either. The sexual tension between the two of them is crazy.

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Maybe I’m just looking too far into it, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’ve never heard anyone talk about this movie having gay characters and that’s crazy to me. The movie was made in 1991, but is set in the 1920’s. From the way they dress Idgie, to her mannerisms and they way she talks, they made her a pretty stereotypical lesbian. She wears button down shirts, slacks and suspenders, while all the other female characters dress overtly feminine.

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Idgie also was friends with black people during a time where it wasn’t considered socially acceptable for white people and black people to be friends. There is a strong prevalence of the KKK in this movie, and Idgie is always fighting them. While this isn’t a direct sign that she’s gay, minorities do tend to stick together, because we can understand some of each others struggles. Maybe I am looking too far into this?

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I think the ultimate deciding fact is the way Idgie looks at Ruth. When Ruth marries Frank Bennett, Idgie is devastated. Also when she figures out Frank is abusing Ruth, she doesn’t hesitate to get Ruth out of there, and take care of her. Idgie takes care of Ruth up until the day she dies, and continues to love her when she’s in her old age and Ruth is gone. This movie really delves into the true meaning of love, and what that looks like.

Their romantic relationship may be played down a bit, but the love they had for each other is undeniable. I did some research to see if I was the only one who thought this, and I’m definitely not alone. So what do you think? Are Idgie and Ruth a couple? Let me know!

-Alyssa

LGBTQ+ Representation in Music

I love listening to music from queer artists because I feel a deeper connection to the lyrics. Music is universal, and while you can always switch the pronouns out in a song, it’s a whole different experience to listen to queer artists sing about the same experiences and feelings I have. Here are 5 queer artists I enjoy; I hope you’ll like them as well.

  1. Tegan and Sara
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I may or may not be completely obsessed with Tegan and Sara. I saw them in concert in September of 2016, and they were amazing. My all time favorite song is their song , Where Does the Good Go from their album “So Jealous.” I’m not the type to get obsessed with celebrities or have big celebrity crushes, but they are the exception. I mean come on, just look at them, they’re super attractive, and they’re so funny. From what they put out into the world, they seem like good people, and they’re pretty cool.

2. Hayley Kiyoko

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Hayley Kiyoko is best known for her song Girls like Girls, which is super catchy and is something every queer girl can connect to. Earlier this year she released a new album called Citrine , which was a great follow up to Girls like Girls. My favorite songs off that album are Gravel to Tempo, and Pretty Girl.

3. Shura

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Shura is an incredibly talented artist who sings synth pop music. She opened for Tegan and Sara at the concert I went to and is also really good live. My favorite songs off her album “Nothing’s Real,” are Touch, Indecision, and What’s it Gonna Be? She also actively posts on twitter an sis hilarious, especially if you imagine reading all her tweets in her British accent.

4. Mary Lambert

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Her song Secrets was really popular in 2014-2015, and she sings Same Love along with Macklemore. She also recently did a cover of Rise by Katy Perry along with Superfruit, which gave me goose bumps.

5. Adult Mom

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I just started listening to Adult Mom, and they’re great! I love their eclectic sound, and the twang in their voice. The lead singer , Stephanie Knipe (pictured above) identifies as non-binary. Adult Mom is different from most of the music I listen to, and I really like that.

 

Let me know who some of your favorite LGBT artist are below. I’m always looking for more queer artist to support!

– Alyssa

LGBTQ+ Youtubers

LGBTQ+ representation in the mainstream media isn’t always that great, but youtube is one place where queer people really dominate. Here are ten of my favorite LGBT youtubers!

  1. Shannon Beveridge or nowthisisliving
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Shannon’s youtube channel nowthisisliving has always been one of my favorites. She is a lesbian youtuber who does everything from challenge videos to Q&A’s and is an upbeat person who will always put you in a good mood – and she’s gorgeous so that never hurts 🙂

2. Kaitlyn Alexander or Realistically Saying

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Kaitlyn is a non-binary Youtuber who is a song writer, poet, actor, and comedian. They are also in the web series “Carmilla” on KindaTV’s Youtube channel and play the non-binary character LaFontaine. They’re super funny and also create thought provoking content that I think most people will enjoy.

3. Alayna Fender

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Alayna is a bisexual youtuber who makes sexual education videos, vlogs, and has a hilarious series called “I Don’t Bi It” that comically brings to light the stigma behind bisexuality.

4. Nick Camryn

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Nick is a transgender guy who makes great content talking about his experience being trans, and also does Q&A’s, and reaction videos.

5. Ari Fitz

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Ari Fitz is an amazing lesbian youtuber who creates artsy videos, as well as vlogs. She also has a channel called Tomboyish where she shows off her androgynous style, and teaches you how to dress is a stylish, masculine manner. She’s super creative and fun to watch!

6. Ash Hardell

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Ash is a pansexual non-binary youtuber who creates educational content for the LGBTQ+ community. She recently got married to her wife Grace, who sometimes joins her on her side channel onetakeashley. She also wrote a book called ” The ABC’s of LGBT” that coincides with a series on her channel with the same name. If you’re new to the LGBT community or want to know more about gender and sexuality, you should defiantly follow her.

7. Ebony & Denise or Oliviahas2moms

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Ebony and Denise are a lesbian couple who have a beautiful daughter named Olivia, and *spoiler alert* twin boys on the way. Ebony and Denise vlog about their daily life, their  TTC journey, and have also vlogged both of their pregnancies. I have enjoyed watching their family grow over the years; they are such a cute family!

8. Chandler N Wilson

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Chandler is an agender  youtuber who creates educational LGBT content as well as vlogs.  Chandler is incredibly smart and articulate, and has taught me a lot about the trans community.

9. Amanda McKenna or AmandasChronciles

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Amanda is a lesbian youtuber who makes videos that are super creative. She’s hilarious and has really interesting content ideas, that always turn out well. Some of her videos include coming out to strangers, bathing in TruMoo, and dying her leg hair different colors. She always puts a smile on my face and someone who I could just listen to talk for hours.

10. Scott Hoying & Mitch Grassi or Superfruit

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Scott and Mitch are 2/5 of the spectacular a cappella  group Pentatonix. They are both gay and make videos about LGBT topics, do Q&A’s, and have recently released some music together. They’re both really funny, especially Mitch, and have insane talent.

 

These are just a few of my favorites, but there are many more I like. I am a white, cisgender,  gay girl so these youtubers may reflect that. I tried to make the list diverse in race, sexuality, and gender, while also staying true to the youtubers I thoroughly enjoy.  Leave a comment below with your favorite queer youtubers!