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Chiara / March 2, 2017 , Thu / films & music, lgbtqia

1. sense8

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I don’t see how Sense8 couldn’t be on a list of favourite shows with LGBTQIA+ characters. This show is so queer and it is so wonderful. Even though at times I am not 100% sure of the storyline regarding the sensate business I thoroughly enjoy every episode I watch. The character relationships and the romantic relationships are all A+. YAY FOR SUPPORT AND FOUND FAMILIES.

Also huge kudos to Netflix for hiring a transwoman actress to act in a transwoman role. If only the rest of the world would do this for trans roles (and all LGBTQIA+ roles, let’s be real).

In my Googling for this post, I just found out that one of the creators said that ‘in theory’ all of the characters in Sense8 are pansexual so *endless cheering and excitement and yeses*

2. orphan black

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I had heard about Orphan Black a lot, but I was never particularly interested in watching it. Then, one fateful day, I was browsing through Netflix and decided to see what all the fuss was about. I then proceeded to binge the entire series (except for the last season which releases this year – NO, DON’T LEAVE ME).

Orphan Black is as good as you’ve heard. The storyline can get a little complex and convoluted at times, and literally nothing ever goes right, but damn this show is good. And Maslany’s ability to portray so many different characters is freaking amazing.

As for the LGBTQIA+ aspect: Cosima, one of the four main clones in the show is gay, and there was also a transguy clone who had a small role, as well. Cosima’s romance with Delphine is really adorable and also wrought with heartbreak because this is Orphan Black we are talking about here.

3. pretty little liars

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Yes, this show is kind of terrible but I cannot help but love it. Also, a girl loving girl of colour is one of the main characters so that alone is a 100% valid reason to watch.

The fact that Emily’s romances get as much screentime and angst and cuteness as all the cishet ones makes me happy. Because when my cute queer couples are sidelined for the cishet ones I am not happy.

At the point where I’m up to in this show Emily hasn’t fond her endgame girlfriend but it better happen. After all the A crap she deserves a happily ever after.

4. shadowhunters

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Okay so the acting might be terrible, and they have changed the storyline so much from the books that it’s barely recognisable … but I can’t help but watch this. And Malec is so BEAUTIFUL. And haven’t been denoted to just the cute m/m couple. They are adorable together, yes, but they also disagree and talk about important things and are real! people!

I’ve also heard rumours that Simon is going to be pansexual and so help me lord if this happens because it would be AMAZING.

5. how to get away with murder

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How to Get Away with Murder started off with two cis male gay characters (one of whom is a man of colour), and then BAM Annalise is bi/pan (so far I haven’t seen her use a word to describe her identity). THIS MADE ME SO HAPPY I CANNOT EVEN.

I loved this show before it was revealed that Annalise had been in a relationship with a woman (and then kind of continued that relationship in the present), but my respect for the show went up by approximately 100% after that point. It’s still such a big deal (and I mean this in the exciting way, obviously) when shows have queer characters, and for one this popular and widely consumed to expand upon a character’s sexuality in the second season was just incredible.

Have you watched any of these shows? Do you want to? What are some of your favourite shows with LGBTQIA+ characters?

Chiara / November 30, 2016 , Wed / books & reading, lgbtqia

Whenever readers talk about the lack of LGBTQIA+ characters in a book or series, there are varied negative responses. A lot of these are along the lines of:

1) Write your own book with LGBTQIA+ characters, then.

2) Friendships are important. Why can’t we have friendships anymore?

3) The author owns these characters. She/he/they don’t have to write LGBTQIA+ characters.

Sure, there are other responses, but these three above are the ones that I most often see floating around the book community.

And, because I am sick of seeing these excuses given in response to asking for LGBTQIA+ characters in a book or series and legitimate discussions about the lack of diversity in the YA publishing world I thought I’d write a little something about it.

1) You know, I actually am writing my own book with LGBTQIA+ characters in them. I’ve written two already, in fact. But that does not detract from the fact that I want to see LGBTQIA+ characters outside the books I write myself. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see them in a series that I’ve invested time and money into. It doesn’t mean that suddenly my desire to see LGBTQIA+ characters in the pages of books disappears because I’ve written my own.

And furthermore, if a reader wants something – if a reader wants to see themselves in the books they read – it is not up to that reader to do it. There is no responsibility for readers to write what they know, or what is lacking in the book industry. To put such a responsibility and weight on the shoulders of marginalised readers just shines a light on the privilege of the people saying they should write the books themselves.

2) This one actually almost makes me laugh more than it makes me angry because the complete dearth of canonically queer romantic relationships negates the entire claim. Please, name one friendship that actually resulted in any kind of queer romantic relationship. I will wait. Literally. I will wait because it will take you a long time (if not forever) to name one of these precious friendships of yours that has actually moved beyond friendship and into the realm of beautiful, queer love.

3) Oh, naïve and ignorant person. Have you never heard of The Death of the Author or New Criticism? The author holds rights to their words, yes. But they do not hold rights to interpretation of their characters. They are not the be all and end all of how their readers will perceive a character’s emotions, actions, and relationships. Yes, they wrote them. No, they do not own them. Once a book is out in the world the author is not the sole authority on how their text is going to be interpreted. In fact, The Death of the Author and New Criticism all but deny any relation of the author to the text, except for the fact that the author wrote the words.

You do not get to tell readers how to perceive a character. You do not get to tell readers who to ship. You do not get to tell readers that whatever the author says goes because it just does not work like that. The author is the creator, sure. But the author does not hold some kind of god like power over every single interpretation of what they have written. They cannot argue with readers (although we have seen this happen, horribly so) over who their characters are. They cannot tell a reader that, in fact, they read those two characters incorrectly and that there is just unequivocally no homoerotic subtext between that prince and his guard.

It just does not work like that.

Now, sadly, I know that just because what these people are saying is nonsense it doesn’t mean they won’t keep saying it (I mean, look at the real world media lately). But I just hope that if you are one of the people having these ridiculous things said to you – don’t believe it. You can want LGBTQIA+ characters, you don’t have the responsibility to write those characters, and you can ship whoever the damn hell you want to ship. Because that’s how reading works. It works for the reader, not against them. And you can ask for diversity. You can ask for representation. You can ask for an author to do better. Because you’re the reader. Because you’re supposed to be the person that the publishing industry is doing this for.

Chiara / September 7, 2016 , Wed / books & reading, lgbtqia

There’s been a lot of talk about diversity lately, and I have more serious thoughts on this that will at some point be transcribed into a post. But, for now, I wanted to share some LGBTQIA+ books that are coming out in the future that I am really excited to read about. Hopefully you’ll be won over by them all, and will add them to your TBR, buy them, or ask your library to get them. Here we go:

1) Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

labyrinth lost

A bisexual Latina main character with magical powers? Add in a gorgeous cover, plus the fact that this book is #ownvoices, and I am 100% sold on it.

2) Boy Robot by Simon Curtis

boy robot

As you can see from the Goodreads description, there is not much to know about Boy Robot. YET. But sci-fi queer YA makes me incredibly happy, so I’m keen to find out more about it and see what it’s like.

3) Look Past by Eric Devine

look past

A transboy MC in a mystery/thriller? It is like the bookish gods have gifted me. And so did Net Galley, because it’s “read now” over there. Go, go, go.

4) Marian by Ella Lyons

marian

An f/f retelling of Robin Hood. I was on board from the moment I heard about it. I love me some queer retellings, and I’ve been wanting this one for a pretty long time now. I’m excited to read the e-ARC I have (smugly grinning over here), and share my thoughts once I’ve read it!

5) When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

when the moon was ours

A trans MC falling in love with his best friend? Roses growing out of skin? SO MUCH MAGIC. I really, really hope that there is an adorable friends-to-lovers romance in this book because that would make my life, let’s be real. I pre-ordered the crap outta this book a long time ago.

6) A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho

a good idea

Another mystery/thriller, this time with a bisexual female main character looking for her best friend, who goes missing. I am so blessed with the books right now because lord knows this one is needed in my life. ASAP.

7) Beast by Brie Spangler

beast

A queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast, where Belle is trans. I … have a might need for this book. I really, really hope that the story is beautiful and gorgeous and respectful and done well because then it would be magical in so many ways.

8) Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas

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I am so incredibly excited that Because You’ll Never Meet Me is getting this sequel! I want that gorgeous friendship between Ollie and Moritz again. I also kinda want them to fall in love, but that is severe wishful thinking on my part, I believe. But still. All the cheers for having these boys again!

9) Bad Boy by Elliot Wake

bad boy

Also pre-ordered the crap outta this book because of everything. The story, the author, #ownvoices – literally everything. SO EXCITED TO READ IT OMG.

And there we have it. A small collection of queer books that I am really, really excited about (if you couldn’t tell already by my little description thingies above). Are there any LGBTQIA+ books coming out that you’re excited about?

Chiara / May 4, 2016 , Wed / films & music, lgbtqia

I found myself having watched three LGBTQIA+ movies in the last two weeks, and I thought I would go ahead and share some short thoughts on them because they’re LGBTQIA+, which is important, and they’re also movies, which I love. (All the source links will take you to IMDb.)

1. holding the man

holding the man

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Holding the Man was a movie I’d been looking forward to for ages. It’s a story about two guys who meet and fall in love in high school, and it follows them through quite a lot of years of their life. To be honest, I was expecting to like it a lot more than I ended up liking it. I thought it would be one of those movies that completely ripped me apart and left me sobbing at the end (I’m looking at you, RENT). There was a particular moment that had me in tears because it was heartbreaking, but overall, I didn’t quite feel for this story in the way I thought I would.

I still 100% recommend it, though. It’s got a tonne of lovely moments, and I feel like it was a really raw and emotional depiction of the relationship between Tim and John (who are actually real. This is based off an autobiographical book written by Tim), and how both their lives were affected by HIV/AIDS.

2. the normal heart

normal heart

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The Normal Heart broke me. It was one of those moments where I could let myself spiral down into a blackhole of despair and tears. The Normal Heart follows a fictional character through the initial discovery and subsequent epidemic of HIV/AIDS. I knew things were bad for the gay community back then – I think everyone knows that. But some of the events in this movie had me completely shocked. I don’t know if this kind of shit actually happened, but I’m guessing it did since this story is a semi-autobiographical account from the man who wrote it.

The main character, Ned, is angry. He wants HIV/AIDS to be recognised, and he’s frustrated as all hell at the fact that no one was willing to do that. His friends give him a lot of flack for that, but to be honest, I couldn’t blame him. Hell, I was angry as all hell watching how HIV/AIDS was completely dismissed by everyone they spoke to.

One of the best aspects of this movie is the relationship that develops between Ned and Felix It’s absolutely gorgeous, and will leave you wrecked. I 100% recommend The Normal Heart.

3. pride

pride

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I was recommended this movie by the lovely Romi, and finally got around to watching it (she rec’d it at Christmas). It was completely different to the previous two movies I’d watched. In general, it was a lot more light-hearted. It follows the story of a group called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), which wanted to raise money to assist the mining communities back in the eighties. All towns except one refused their help.

Pride was, on the whole, pretty adorable. The latent homophobia expressed by some of the people in the mining town was a difficult pill to swallow sometimes, but the overall acceptance and support of LGSM was heartwarming. As with both Holding the Man and The Normal Heart, HIV/AIDS did play a role in this movie (which isn’t really surprising since they were all set in the 1980s). There were a lot of sweet moments in Pride, however, and it was incredibly enjoyable overall.

I really liked all three of these movies, but if I had to pick a favourite, it would be The Normal Heart. But seriously, all these movies were absolutely gorgeous. I really want to try and find more LGBTQIA+ movies to watch, especially ones that don’t just focus on the G, and also have some intersectional diversity in them, as well.

Have you seen any of these movies? Do you want to? Have you got an LGBTQIA+ movies you recommend?

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