Queer is Not Enough: The Quest for Worthwhile Representation on our TVs

In the new Wild West of queer visibility on TV, what makes a show worth watching?

Teen scifi show The 100 was a queer, feminist, worthwhile show even before Clarke and Lexa’s brief kiss. And recent dialogues around The 100 and One Big Happy have gotten me thinking about the state of LGBTQ+ representation on TV. It’s not enough these days to be “a lesbian show” or have a queer character. Just like making feminist TV isn’t just about putting in “strong female characters,” making good queer TV is not just about watching women whom we are told are gay.

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Not My Job

audre lord

I was writing a response to this post last week, which a family member had liked on Facebook, when I realized suddenly how much time and energy I have expended over my life, refuting claims that have no basis in reality, claims which are patently ridiculous.

This blogger, a conservative white male with no expertise in sexuality, gender, genetics or anything else he was writing about, had once again conflated LGBTQ+ people with pedophiles, rapists, and adulterers. He explained that “the progressives” would have us be a slave to our urges, no matter how harmful those urges were. I was in the middle of meticulously crafting a point-for-point rebuttal when something I had been hearing other people say lately, in one form or another, pop into my head:

It is not my job to educate you. 

Your validation is not necessary. 

Your acceptance of me does not make me whole.

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Quicklinks: Happy Transgender Day of Visibility!

Happy #tdov! How are you celebrating?

Hey, everyone, btw, a quick poll: are you still using the asterisk in trans*?

I don’t watch soaps, but Heather Hogan thinks Bold and the Beautiful is doing a crappy job on their trans storyline. Straight to blackmail? Really, writers?

When I was a teenager, everyone I knew wanted to be the Clean & Clear girl with the perfect skin. That girl will now be Jazz Jennings!

Are you scared of accidentally misgendering someone by using the wrong pronouns? I know I am — I have been known to mess up occasionally when meeting new people. When you do misgender someone, you will probably feel terrible, and your first instinct might be to tell the person how very awful you feel. But this isn’t about you. Instead, acknowledge your mistake and/or correct yourself, and move on quickly. After all, Q Blog says, “there’s nothing worse than getting misgendered and then having to soothe and care-take the person who just misgendered you.”

Activist Blake Brockington was remembered at memorial services over the weekend. He was eighteen years old.

I know I always talk about it, but have you read Janet Mock’s autobiography yet? DO IT. The book helped me move to a new level in my lifelong process of dismantling the transphobia that I grew up with. Reading a well-written book is the best way I know of how to (kind of almost) walk a mile in someone’s shoes. And Janet Mock has gorgeous shoes.

Finally, look up #tdov on Twitter for an endless scroll of color and activism, anger and hope and pretty people and regular human beings! ❤

Whack-a-Mole: The Safe Space of Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher’s Comedy

-Buzzfeed

 

These ladies are kicking ass and queering spaces in ways I don’t yet have the tools to do.

So I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito over the weekend. The show was great. It was also very, very gay. And as I watched, I realized that I haven’t really spent that much time yet in queer spaces, at least outside of our little community center here in town. I haven’t been to a big Pride weekend or even an Indigo Girls concert. I’m still kind of a baby gay, my skin is all fragile and new.

So during the show (when I was trying not to look at Rhea Butcher’s butt in those jeans, because she’s taken, but DAMN), I was watching this middle-aged straight man seated a few tables down from us. He was at the show with his much-more-attractive lady date, and I don’t know how they got their tickets, but I don’t think he realized what they had gotten themselves into until it was too late. (Maybe it was court-mandated comedy service for homophobes.) The show started with Rhea Butcher talking about how much she loves her last name (“that’s what I am. I am butcher than all of you”) and progressed into Cameron Esposito’s “TED talk” on what lesbians do in bed (“those women in porn aren’t lesbians. Just look at their fingernails. And if you wonder why I say that, would you keep sharp objects at the end of your dick? I’m holding the mic with my dick right now”).  And throughout, this guy just got purpler and purpler. I only saw him chuckle once, and it was pretty forced.

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One Big Lezzie

You can always spot the Lesbian by her collared shirt.

NBC’s new show takes queer lady visibility right back to 1994.

Did you guys catch One Big Happy last night on NBC? If you didn’t, you can always head over to AfterEllen (cough *sponsored by NBC* cough) to catch up on the hype. And it’s no wonder people had high hopes for the show, with Liz Feldman and Ellen at the helm. But…sigh.

Remember in Friends (especially in the first season), when all we knew about Ross’s babymama Carol was that she was a lesbian — and wasn’t it funny? Sentences like “she’s a lesbian” and “Susan and I are getting married” were met with raucous laughter. Of course, that was a long time ago. High waisted jeans have gone out of style, come back into style, and (possibly) gone out of style AGAIN. In the meantime, the country has made great strides towards marriage equality. And especially in recent years, lots of gorgeous, funny, nuanced queer lady characters have graced our screens, playing whole people who had entire lives, and were also gay or bi or pan or curious or just plain slutty.

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Jason Biggs Leaves OITNB, Lesbians Bask in a World Full of Sunshine

Larry’s story is over.

The news that Jason Biggs would not appear in season three of Orange is the New Black BLEW UP my Twitter feed on Friday. Lesbians have hated Larry from day one, and the writers didn’t really do him any favors with his storylines in Season 2. Add that to the fact that googling Jason Biggs asshat takes you down a rabbit hole of incredibly offensive jokes he’s made on public platforms in the past few years, and it’s generally just a good day for humanity that he’s off the show.

Besides, let’s be honest:

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The Jenner Files: A Hollywood Surgeon Mansplains ‘What Makes a Woman’

Photo by Joe Bergantine
A Nordstrom mannequin (photo by Joe Bergantine)

The Daily Beast has me fuming with their latest article about Bruce Jenner. But not for the reasons you’d expect.

If you live in the world, you’ve no doubt seen Bruce Jenner’s rumored gender transition in the news. Articles have run the gamut from somewhat respectful (if that’s possible, considering Jenner hasn’t yet made a statement) to downright horrifying.

I don’t want to write about Bruce Jenner. No announcement has been made, so there’s really nothing to talk about. I don’t even want to talk about the media circus that has accompanied the rumors — Jenner has always courted fame as a means to an end, and we already knew how badly the mainstream media can step in it when trying to report on trans issues.

But over the weekend, I happened upon this article from the Daily Beast

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Happy Galentine’s Day!

My partner is out of town this weekend, which means you’ll find me this afternoon at the movie theater during 50 Shades of Grey, a little drunk, peering down at the poor hapless actors from the very back of the theater, laughing as loudly as I want. I expect the movie to be, in essence, the sexual version of Sharknado — a cult classic that’s all cult and no classic. But come on. I mean. We’ve all gotta see it, right?

Anyway. That is not why I am writing this post.

I am writing this post because it’s Galentine’s Day Weekend! And that means love.

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Aussie Aussie Aussie!

IMG_2831-0 Hey lovelies! Just a quick shout out to Australia, which has, unusually, had way more visitors to the site than the US and the UK this week! Thanks for reading, friends! I assume since you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, everyone down there is queer until they come out as straight, but that rumor hasn’t been confirmed. 💙