I know that SuperCorp is very unlikely to happen because Sanvers is already a thing, but between us… that’s bullshit.
Tv shows should always aim to reach out for the audience, capturing their interest - on a side trying to represent them and on the other trying to surprising them. We’re getting a hint of representation of the LGBT community (and I’m not saying LGBTQA+, because that part of the community is practically nonexistentaccording to the media) right now, which is definitely not enough, and what we get is rarely a quality product (for the most part, we’re used to make jokes, which isn’t representation, but more likely cheap comedy). We frequently get little screen-time, poor character development (he’s gay, what else is there to say?) and yes, we often get to DIEtoo (for the benefit of famous “shock value”… which doesn’t shock anybody, really, since it happens almost all the time). What we don’t get is main roles, good backstories, characters who are not only defined by their sexual orientation and… well, to live, to grow and get to be happy on screen (what an absurd concept, am I right?).
Supergirl has done an incredible job by representing Alex Danvers’ coming out story: it showed its audience how a strong, brave woman like Alex can still be very fragile and struggle with this kind of realization; how she fears to accept herself, to be fully herself and out with the people she cares the most about, and more importantly how things can actually go well. This is damn important, ‘cause it helps a lot of people to think that “Hey, maybe my family won’t take it this badly” or “Maybe my friends will accept me” and “Maybe things will change for the better!”, ‘cause guess what? IT CAN HAPPEN AND IT HAPPENS! But this is not very interesting to show, apparently, ‘cause most of the time it’s all freaking dramatic and it ends in tragedy.
The new generations are already lucky, ‘cause now there is something like this (Supergirl) on Tv, but it’s not enough still, ‘cause they’re portraying a tiny fragment of their audience, of the people around the world, and if you think “But it’s a lot already”, I’m gonna tell you that the straights have every single damn shade from every single damn angle for their representation on screen, while we are barely there and almost never the main character or anything close to that. Yes, there are movies in which we are protagonists, but let’s be real, they’re almost always centered on our sexual orientation, the discovery and the consequences, which is helpful and good to see, but it’s not everything there’s to see and to know. Plus, they really abuse of the dramatic factor of it in order to “send a message”, but that’s a message wasted on the straights, and if they think you’re an abomination already, surely a movie won’t change their minds. Instead, it will just fuel fear in us, which - there’s no really need to say it - it’s bad (we unfortunately have reality for that).
I remember my probably very first approach to the whole “girls liking girls” thing thanks to the media. I was a kid and I was watching this movie on the Tv. I remember only pieces of it, ‘cause I don’t think I was paying much attention until a certain point. What I still recall, though, stuck in my head for a reason. There were two girls, one white and the other brown, that grew closer to each other (I seriously don’t remember anything about whatever was the rest of the story). I recall this very specific scene that had me and my sister (who was also watching) like: “Oh, they are helping each other undressing ‘cause they’re friends”. When they started making out we were like “Oh… Okay, so they’re not just friends, apparently”, and that was it. I don’t think we knew about all the hatred towards people of same sex being in love with each other, to us it was just like “Okay, this is a thing that exists: acknowledged”. They seemed to be fine, so there was no issue… right? WRONG! The white girl’s brother saw them, got angry as shit, took a gun and started shooting at them. They got into a car, trying to get away from him, but he got into another and started chasing them. It was raining, they were scared as shit, he looked insane, I felt the anguish growing inside of me: it was awful (again, I was a kid at the time). The car slipped, then fell down a bridge into a river/lake and it quickly sank. After a while, only the white girl emerged from the water. The other drowned. Last scene that I remember was a time jump where the white girl was a now a white granny, and she was probably remembering this terrible thing that happened to her once.
No fucking wonder if growing up I didn’t want to be gay and I pushed down my feelings and thoughts, since this is the kind of message to which I was subjected. And now? Now there are some things that portray the whole “being gay” as normal (as it always should be) and not in a dramatic, catastrophic way, but it’s also true that we get shows like The 1OO, Person of Interest, Orange Is The New Black, Pretty Little Liars, The Walking Dead and many, many, many others where the lesbian freaking dies, where there is no happy ending for us.
It’s simply not okay.
But to finally address the very main reason why I started this post - that no one will read ‘cause it’s too long, and people have time only for thoughts as long as a tweet - is the importance to acknowledge the presence of MORE THAN ONE GAY CHARACTER in a story. In a story AND in a family. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, we are more than two and we indeed can have LGBTQA+ wonderful siblings. Madness, right? Except that it’s not, it’s our reality, which is way more colorful, interesting and beautiful than the arid one-sided representation we witness on daily basis (I’m talking about heteronormative).
So, what really drives me nuts, it’s not the fact that people seem to be scared shitless to insert us in anything (although we’re everywhere), but how little crafty they are. We have proven to be a real force of nature over the whole LGBT Fans Deserve Better initiative, which raised by far $166,547 for the Trevor Project, and we did that after being smacked down once again by showrunners. Can you imagine what we could do if people were fair to us, for a change? We’re loyal, passionate, absurdly creative and talented (have you ever seen our fanArts, read our fanfictions? They’re often better than the original stuff and we don’t get paid a coin for making them), and yet we hardly get anything.
Tv shows should listen to their audience and get smart, because it’s not a pink UFO the thing we’re asking for, it’s not something that won’t fit their story, but simply more good representation. Supergirl scored with Sanvers, but there’s still so much potential that is sadly going to waste, and if they opened their eyes they would see it.
Do you want a great, original idea? Be fair and listen.
Here’s a roundup of several books I’ve read and enjoyed so far in 2017.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
I stayed up till 2 am in the morning to finish We Are Okay. This is a beautiful book inside and out because it deals frankly with grief and pain as well as the illuminating joy of first love — in this case, between two girls. Books about grief aren’t my usual go-to but this one took hold of me and didn’t let go. It was so clear, like its winter setting. It spoke so eloquently about depression, dealing with loss, complicated friendship-love-relationships. It had great sentences.
The main characters are fully realized queer girls, but We Are Okay isn’t primarily about coming out, unless it’s about coming out of grief. Also I particularly loved every detail of the San Francisco/Northern California flashbacks. So well done and genuine. I loved being there again. So, in conclusion, read the book! It’s precise and grounded and real.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
When Trevor Noah became the new host of The Daily Show, I watched, but initially wasn’t drawn in. I missed Jon Stewart and I didn’t really connect with Trevor right away. So I wouldn’t have picked up his memoir had it not been recommended to me by editor Cheryl Klein when we were in Phoenix at the Desert Nights, Rising Stars writers conference in February.
She told me that the book does interesting things with memoir, interspersing his personal experiences with shorter passages delving into the history and culture of South Africa. When I started reading the book, I was hooked right away. Trevor Noah has a wonderfully engaging and funny voice, and he does a great job introducing us to his homeland.
His memoir is about growing up biracial in South Africa during and after apartheid, and it’s about his complex yet deeply loving relationship with his mother. The stories he tells are eye-opening and fascinating. It was illuminating, moving, and funny. But not in funny haha way — funny in a real, heartfelt, finding-humor-in-tragedy way. And now I am much more interested in The Daily Show, which I honestly think is finally finding its groove with its new host.
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
This is a sweet and sexy young adult romance about Joanna Gordon, a lesbian Christian teen (yes, really!) who moves from big-city Atlanta to small-town Rome, Georgia, with her evangelical radio host dad and his new wife. He asks her to lay low on her gay pride while they adjust to small-town life and the in-laws. Jo reluctantly agrees (there are reasons that become a big part of the book), and she finds it increasingly difficult to keep her promise when she (surprise!) falls for a beautiful girl in her church group.
This is first and foremost a romantic comedy. It is adorable and full of oh-no-they-didn’t, will-they-or-won’t-they shenanigans. It’s also about being Christian and queer at the same time, something that I’ve read very little about but really appreciated. Best of all (for me), Jo has a best friend, Dana, who is also an out queer girl. Their friendship is hilariously real, and it both infuriated me and made me laugh because I recognized it.
If you’re in need of a rom-com about a queer girl in a small Southern town, pick up Georgia Peaches! It’s perfect for spring.
This year I’ve also enjoyed In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan, which is book 4 in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, about dragon naturalist-cum-adventuress Lady Trent. These books are like Amelia Peabody set in an alternate Victorian world with dragons, and they’re basically candy to me. The fifth and final volume of Lady Trent’s memoirs, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, has just been released and I can’t wait to read it!
If you’re looking for page-turning thrillers about clones murdering each other in space (and who isn’t?), then I suggest you pick up Mur Lafferty’s Six Wakes. It’s escapist fun with lots of brain candy about clones and identity and humanness, and makes you think of 3D printers in a totally new light.
Finally, I inhaled The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly, his most recent Harry Bosch novel, over the course of a weekend. This is the nineteenth (!) Bosch novel that Connelly has written, and by now these books are well-oiled machines. They don’t necessarily surprise, but the pacing is page-turningly steady and the details are always fascinating to me. They’re also really good for travel because they’re easy to sink into and escape what’s around you.
If you’d like to see what I’m reading more often, follow me on instagram, where I often post pics in-progress. Happy reading, everyone!
Here’s the thing: I’m not religious myself, but I get Frankie Boyle’s point about disliking celebrity atheists like Ricky Gervais and finding them snooty and obnoxious. (Boyle is an atheist himself.)
I was reading Trevor Noah’s book and he brings up a great point: In Apartheid South Africa, Christian missionaries were the only ones willing to open up schools and give black people an education that consisted of things like art and history and politics.
Basically, all the things the government didn’t want them learning. (They wanted them learning about farming) Then when they ordered them to stop; the missionary schools flat-out refused.
“And your reward for all that? Ricky Gervais looks down his nose at you.”
The coffin was small, lined in creamy satin. Sherlock stared at the offending box, frowning. It was wrong. Nobody fancied facing this sort of box, the final resting place for all. It had left a bad taste in his mouth since the Sherrinford incident. Seeing a similar coffin, this time meant for a much smaller occupant was not any easier.
“Sherlock,” he heard her voice behind him and turned. His gaze fell to what she carries, and suddenly the lump in his throat can’t be ignored anymore. “I thought this might be better…”
In Molly’s hands was a small chest, a proper treasure chest with a padlock and key.
“I just thought…” she trailed off, shrugging. “I thought maybe this might be more suitable.”
He took a step closer, there was a small engraved plaque on the top. It read:
‘Victor Trevor - Beloved Friend, ‘Pirate’’
“It’s quite-” Sherlock paused, touching his mouth with a crooked finger, unable to gather himself for a moment. He blinked twice, hoping to clear his vision. Heaving a sigh, he managed to swallow his tears. “It’s quite acceptable.”
“None of this is acceptable,” Molly shook her head, still holding the box, shaking her head. She looked at the child’s bones laid on the slab. “But it is what it is.”
Sherlock nodded, silent. For a moment, neither spoke.
“I didn’t feel right…” he said at last. “Not giving him a proper burial…his family is gone and…I couldn’t leave him.”
“No of course not,” Molly soothed.
“Will you-” he glanced at the table, then back to her, trembling. He gestured to the bones and then the far doors leading to the crematorium.
“I’ll see to it, I’ve asked if I could be the one,” she said, understanding what he wanted. “I’ll stay all night, and make sure nothing happens, I promise.”
Sherlock breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you.” He stepped closer, pressing her cheek reverently. “Thank you.”
“Go home,” she urged gently. “Go rest and mourn, this has been a long time coming.”
Wordlessly he nodded, and turned.
He only got as far as the door.
She turned at the sound of his voice. “Yes?”
“I wonder…I wonder if I could stay,” he shifted, looking at the floor a moment. “Please?”
Molly didn’t know what to say for a moment.
“The thing is,” hands in his pockets, he kept on staring at the floor, willing the tears that hung in his eyes to go away. “We never had a proper sleepover…Victor and I…we’d talked of it, our mums were planning the weekend but it um…never-” he shrugged, sniffling, looking up and around the room, anywhere but Molly.
She set the trunk down with a soft ‘thump’, crossing the room. Gathering him in her arms, she held him close. After a moment, he returned the embrace, burying his head in the crook of her neck. He cried only for a few moments, and Molly said nothing when he gently extricated himself from her, knowing he needed to regain control of himself for his own comfort.
“Go and fetch your violin,” she urged. “Go on, and something for dinner. I’ll be here, getting things ready,” he understood she did not want him to feel obligated to watch her place the remains in the crematorium. “It will be all set by the time you get back. You can tell me all about him while we eat.”
He regarded her with no small degree of thankfulness, grateful that she was in his life at this moment. Kissing her gently, he cupped her face, thumbing away the tracks of tears on her cheeks, she returned the favor, eyes shining, her smile gentle and strong.
“I’ll be back in an hour,” he promised, and with one final kiss, headed out the door.
Quietly, Molly set to work, still blinking back tears.
“Come along,” she said, more to herself than to the remains. She gathered the tray of bones. “It’s time you were laid away at last.”
If Sherlock would find comfort and closure in staying while Victor Trevor’s remains were cremated, Molly would give him that. If he found solace in keeping the chest of ashes in Baker Street, rather than the plot of land in the orchard where he’d grown up, she would give him that too. It was a chapter of his life that had been left open for far too long, one that she was certain Sherlock would finally receive great relief in finally being able to close.
The craziest moment of Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” book isn’t (oddly) even the apartheid stuff. It’s when he talks about how his stepdad shot his mother.
Basically, the guy was a drunken psychopath. Had been for years. He attacked Trevor and his mother more than once. The mom eventually leaves and takes the two younger brothers with her.
Then, one day, the guy shows up after she’s at church, shoots her in the leg, tries to shoot her point blank execution-style (the gun fails), then he succeeds in shooting her in the skull while she flees.
Thankfully, the mom recovered. The bullet just missed her brain. Her face got most of the damage.
Then Trevor mentions the stepdad got a plea deal, three years’ probation, never did a day of jail time and still got joint custody of the two brothers. So the mom has to still be around a man who, you know, literally shot her in the fucking head. He still lives near where she is.
One of the most horrifying things I think I’ve ever read.
Daily Show host Trevor Noah sat down with our friends at Fresh Air for an extensive conversation about growing up in apartheid-era South Africa with his indomitable mother – a story he tells in his new memoir, Born a Crime.
Abel wanted a traditional marriage with a traditional wife. For a long time I wondered why he ever married a woman like my mom in the first place, as she was the opposite of that in every way. If he wanted a woman to bow to him, there were plenty of girls back in Tzaneen being raised solely for that purpose. The way my mother always explained it, the traditional man wants a woman to be subservient, but he never falls in love with subservient women. He’s attracted to independent women. ‘He’s like an exotic bird collector,’ she said. 'He only wants a woman who is free because his dream is to put her in a cage.’