Not long after the Nazis took power, the German Institute of Sex Research was destroyed. The organization had pioneered studies into homosexuality and gender non-conformity decades before other Western countries, and used that knowledge to advocate for the legal rights of queer people. Its founder, Magnus Hirschfeld, invented the term “transsexual,” and the Institute was among the first places in the world to provide hormone treatment and trans-related surgeries to patients. In 1933, its archives were set ablaze after an attack by the German Student Union. The loss that this represented for queer (and especially trans) people worldwide was incalculable. And for queer Germans, the message was clear: the Nazis are coming for you.
There is a profound sense of anger that grows in you when you consume films as an LGBT+ person. You find that there are so few films that feature someone like you in them, and most of the ones that do are created by straight people who fetishize you or your community’s struggles. LGBT+ filmmakers who are given a platform are also rarely funded unless they create films which pander to a predominantly straight audience. It becomes exhausting never to see yourself on screen unless it is to die as a martyr for the larger cisgender, heterosexual population. This is why Arthur Bressan Jr.’s Buddies serves as such a well-praised pillar of queer cinema. And now, with its recent release on DVD and Blu-ray for the very first time, it is available to those whose lives it will no doubt change.Continue reading “Arthur Bressan Jr.’s ‘Buddies’ Is an Important Piece of Gay History That Needs to Be Seen”
Slovenia’s first LGBTQ-themed film, Consequences (or Posledice, 2018), is an arresting portrayal of what happens when institutional and judicial structures fail young gay men. The debut film by director Darko Štante asks: if men haphazardly placed in youth detention centers do not receive adequate support, what happens to the gay men in it? How do failing political structures further marginalise gay men, and leave them twice-removed from society?Continue reading “‘Consequences’: On Gay Loneliness and the Spectacle of Hyper-Masculinity”
“Is this paint the kind that shines in the dark? Do you have someone who makes you happy? Someone who makes you shine like paint?”
While an unflinching look at the plight of LGBTQ Brazilians up to this day, Hard Paint (or Tinta Bruta, 2018) is a sweepingly tender portrayal of gay love. Directed by Brazilian writer-director pair Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon, the film astutely illuminates the realities of poverty, sex work, and gay loneliness amidst the backdrop of rising homophobic violence against Brazilian LGBTQ people.Continue reading “‘Hard Paint’ and the Tenderness of Gay Love”
Animation opens up universes of possibilities. In worlds drawn from the imaginations of its creators, anything can happen. So then why is there so little queer representation in Western animation? There are a few examples out there, such as Steven Universe, that provide beautiful stories that speak to adults and children alike. But these examples are few and far between, which can lead one to believe that there’s something about non-heterosexuality that is shied away from in animation, despite stories that take place in space with plethoras of alien races. There is much more queer representation in anime, though it isn’t always for the best. Yet they still include these characters and themes more often than seen in the animated films of Disney and Pixar.
This list contains eight are examples of queer stories and characters created in the world of animation. Most of them are television shows, with a few short and feature films sprinkled throughout. The length of this list is a testament to the need for more gay animation, especially in the mainstream.
“They just disappeared.”
While The Lavender Scare reminds us that the political systems which reproduce our oppression can never be trusted upon for our freedom, it fails in its glorification of American patriotism. Josh Howard’s documentary details the height of McCarthyism in the late 1940s to 50s, when gays and lesbians were purged from state offices for fear that they were “morally susceptible” to Communist influences. Continue reading “‘The Lavender Scare’ Criticises Homophobia, But Errs in Glorifying American Patriotism”
Gentleman Jack (2019) makes me feel that my life is possible. As a long-time fan of Sally Wainwright, I trusted her to do justice to Anne Lister’s diaries. My expectations were high, but after having been let down time and time again by most lesbian-centered representations, they were still within reason. Before the series premiered, I expected a brilliant portrayal of Lister – one that is done with respect and empathy. However, on the topic of lesbian sexuality, I had far less hopes. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Gentleman Jack unabashedly delights in including its lesbian audience, and revels in speaking only to lesbians. The series goes beyond merely portraying lesbians on the screen, and takes lesbian representation a notch further by being unapologetic about its depiction of lesbian desire, lesbian sex, and lesbian mannerisms.
Just as the real Anne Lister was proud of her ability to seduce women, Lister’s fourth-wall breaks in the series seduces the audience, charms them with her wit, and most importantly of all – remind lesbians that we have always existed. In-between 200 years ago and now where our lives have been violently annihilated by virtue of homophobic cruelty, we always have existed, and we continue to exist.Continue reading “‘Gentleman Jack’ Celebrates Lesbian Existence, Bravery, and Love”