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Chiara / January 16, 2018 , Tue / films & music, lgbtqia

1. the way he looks

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I remember hearing about this movie quite a while ago, but never being able to watch it because Australia sucks and doesn’t import a lot of foreign movies. But then I bought an all-region DVD player (honestly the best thing I have ever purchased) and as such I have gone on a buying spree of all the movies I’ve never been able to watch before. The Way He Looks was one of the movies I was the most excited about. It just looked so sweet and adorable.

Funnily enough, a few weeks before my copy arrived, I saw the original short film that the movie was based on. It was so cute, and I was interested to see how the writers would expand a story that worked so well as a short into something that was full length. Honestly, they did a fantastic job. I liked the movie better than the short because there was so much room for character development and growth, as well as relationship development and growth.

I think the thing I liked best about The Way He Looks is that it wasn’t tragic at all. There was an element of bullying that was almost in the really horrible category but never quite made it. For the most part it stayed at the level of teenagers being shitty to each other. The Way He Looks is a queer boy movie that ends happily, and I am so glad it exists.

2. those people

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I found this movie by searching “lgbt” in the Netflix searchbar, which actually brings up all their queer movies so YAY for figuring that out. I don’t really know why I picked this one out of the multitudes but I did.

Can I just say that the movie poster for this movie fucking slays me? I mean, it might not slay you unless you’ve seen it but my heart is aching because of that picture, jesus holy christ.

Those People follows this guy who is in love with his best friend – who is also gay – but starts seeing this new, older guy. Drama and angst ensues. And also a realisation on my part that I am very attracted to Jason Ralph.

I feel like Those People went for the “life isn’t always perfect” route, which I am never a particularly big fan of. I know life isn’t always perfect. THAT IS WHY I WATCH A LOT OF MOVIES. I WANT THE GAY BEST FRIENDS TO END UP TOGETHER AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, OKAY? I DON’T NEED ~MATURE~ REALISATIONS. EVER. But I guess these kinds of movies do serve their purpose. Even though I weep for the loss of a friends to lovers romance with a perfect ending.

3. breathe

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Bless Stan for having a dedicated “LGBT” film section so I don’t even have to use a searchbar like I do on Netflix. To be honest I chose to watch Breathe because it was quite short, the poster was pretty (it was different to the one above – more romantic), and also it was about queer girls and I feel like I haven’t watched enough queer girl movies.

Breathe was incredibly… weird. Though I feel it definitely falls into the queer film category it never explicitly feels like it does. There is one kiss shared between the two girls, but it was when they were kind of play acting with each other so its sincerity was never covert. To be honest the only real confirmation of its queerness comes at the very end.

Speaking of the end… I had no fucking clue what I had just spend an hour and a half of my life watching. Furthermore, I had no idea why I had watched it. The only thing I can say about the ending of Breathe was that it was vicious and out of the blue.

4. the handmaiden

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I can honestly say that I have never watched a movie quite like The Handmaiden. It blends elements from almost every movie genre I can think of – drama, romance, comedy, crime. With a dash of sex in there, as well.

I decided to watch The Handmaiden because I had seen it on Stan, and then a few days later I saw it on someone’s Twitter thread of f/f movies that end with happily ever after. The Handmaiden does indeed end with a happily ever after for the two women of the movie, and for that I was very glad.

The Handmaiden, while quite a journey of two and a half hours, hooked me from the very beginning – so much so that I didn’t even take into account how much time had passed. Told in three parts, the story is woven in a very interesting way. You think of the story in one way, and then it is completely turned on its head.

This is a movie I know I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Have you watched any of these movies? Do you want to? Have you seen any LGBTQIA+ movies recently?

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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