Lesbian News

Roscoe actor Omari Douglas on authenticity and Stephen Fry

Omari Douglas as Roscoe, leaning against a pub bar, wearing acid-washed jeans and a string vest

Omari Douglas plays Roscoe in It’s A Sin. (Channel 4)

It’s a Sin star Omari Douglas tells PinkNews about working with Stephen Fry, his views on authentic casting and how filming the show was an education.

A five-part drama documenting the human cost of the AIDS crisis doesn’t exactly sounds like the most joyful of experiences. But Russell T Davies’ It’s a Sin, which bursts onto screens Friday (22 January), has a certain catharsis to it, with moments of unbridled queer elan among the cruelty and devastation.

“I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, but there was such an energy – the friendships and the joy of it, and the youth,” is Omari Douglas’ best attempt at summing it up.

At 26, the actor is making his TV debut in this landmark Channel 4 series as Roscoe Babatunde: one of the the central characters.

Roscoe is “pretty fearless” from the get-go. In the first episode (very mild spoiler) we meet him as his homophobic, God-fearing parents are preparing to send him to Nigeria, to be cured of his gayness (Douglas can’t relate, he says he’s “very lucky to have a very accepting and loving family”). Roscoe storms out before he can be taken away, eventually starting a new life with new friends: Olly Alexander’s Ritchie, Callum Scott Howells’ Colin, Nathaniel Curtis’ Ash and Lydia West’s Jill.

Roscoe, Ash, Ritchie, Colin and Jill in the back of a cab laughing
The central cast of It’s a Sin. (Channel 4)

Of the group, Roscoe is the most independent. “His fabulousness, which manifests itself in so many ways, as much as it is this joyous, vibrant, part of him, it’s also a shield,” explains Douglas. “It’s like, if I’m going to run away from that environment, then I’ve got to protect myself. He’s not gonna let anything get in his way of getting what he wants. The values that he’s been brought up with contradict too much with with what he really feels – I guess that is the tussle for a lot of people.”

Part of getting what he wants leads Roscoe to meet a Conservative MP, Arthur, the type to (literally) get hard for Margaret Thatcher. He’s played – brilliantly – by Stephen Fry, part of a starry supporting cast which also includes Neil Patrick Harris and Bodyguard’s Keeley Hawes.

“The first scene I shot with [Fry]… in the script it just says, ‘Roscoe sees Arthur and goes up to him and whispers something really dirty in his ear.’ Our director, Peter, said to me the night before the shoot: ‘Do come with your A-game and have some ammo for him.’” It worked, apparently, but laughing, Roscoe refuses to be drawn on just how far he went.

Working with a gay cast who lived through the AIDS crisis ‘cements how important it is’

Douglas and Fry filmed their scenes over a week, and the night before they began shooting together sat down for tea.

“Everyone knows how legendary he is. He was so generous with his time and just lovely. I could listen to him tell stories all day.

Stephen Fry and Omari Douglas (Arthur and Roscoe) in the back of a cab
Omari Douglas shared scenes with Stephen Fry on It’s a Sin. (Channel 4)

“What is incredible, and just makes the making of it even more poignant, is the fact that he lived through it. It’s weird that this is a period piece and yet, we still have access to those people. It’s not like you’re just having to rely on reading lots of things, we can still speak to people, which just kind of cements how important and significant it is.

“He was telling me stories about working on Broadway, and then going back to visit, and then hearing that half of the cast had gone because of this horrible, horrible disease that just appeared from nowhere. So it was really harrowing. But equally, we had the most joyous time – it was so fun, so easy.”

Douglas was born in the ’90s, meaning he grew up after the worst of the AIDS crisis. He was aware of the history before shooting, of course – no thanks to his schooling, where he says he doesn’t remember even hearing the word HIV thanks to the “taboo” that existed (and continues to exist) in the aftermath of Section 28. But working on the show naturally meant he began seeking out a deeper understanding of the crisis, one that can’t be drawn from statistics and death tolls.

“It’s just a human thing, seeing how people dealt with the loss, doubled with all of the prejudice that they were facing,” he says. And because he “has a relationship” with the history now, Douglas thinks he’ll keep “chipping away” at the kind of journals he’s been reading, the films he’s been watching, the photographs he’s been poring over. “And maybe people will be compelled to do the same,” he says, hopefully.

Omari in a black suit jacket
Omari Douglas. (Phil Sharp)

As well as from Fry, Douglas received an education from Russell T Davies, who explained how gay men at the time had no option but to “live for the enjoyment, because no one knew that this was going to happen. They carried on and endured”. He also pays homage to Nathaniel J Hall, a theatre-maker, performer and HIV campaigner from Manchester who lives with the virus, and was part of the cast. “He’s so inspiring, and being in the presence of him, it forced me to read more and to clue myself up.”

This brings us onto the topic of authenticity in casting, something that’s dominated news cycles since Russell T Davies said that he wouldn’t cast a straight actor in a gay role (in It’s a Sin, gay actors play gay and straight roles, but there are no straight actors playing queer).

I don’t think casting gay actors in gay roles is trying to spite anyone.

Casting this way, Douglas thinks, gives actors an “immediate engagement” with the subject matter that just wouldn’t exist otherwise.

“It’s not the kind of engagement that’s like, ‘Well, you know, I’m an actor, I should look into this stuff probably’. It’s, ‘No, this stuff is kind of connected to me, I would be wrong not to be engaging with it.’

“You can’t please everyone with with an answer to this debate. But I do think that with a story that is so personal – and also, I think people need to remember that this is a story that is personal to Russell – as a creator of that story, and to have lived the experience that he has himself poured into that text, you do have the right or the autonomy to cast it in the way that you want to cast it.

Roscoe in a skirt, crop top and head scarf, flipping the bird to his father and grandfather
Roscoe Babatune walks out on his homophobic father. (Channel 4)

“Of course, anyone could flip the argument and do the devil’s advocate thing. But that’s not what this is trying to do. I don’t think casting gay actors in gay roles is trying to spite anyone. I think it’s just trying to redress the balance a little bit, and just to be celebratory and to honour the story. I don’t think that there has been enough opportunity for people to tell stories that represent their own community. And I think that’s what Russell is trying to do.”

As well as his gayness, Roscoe’s Blackness is also something that defines his experiences. Having such a vibrantly queer Black character on a major TV event (and a period show at that) is sadly unfamiliar and feels groundbreaking. But Douglas is quick to point out that really, it shouldn’t be.

“I feel like there’s a world of people almost thinking that proud Black queer men, of any gender actually, are sort of a thing of now. But they’ve been around since since time began, it’s about visibility.

“It is amazing that we have got the presence of more prominent Black queer people in media and in stories, but historically, I think it’s wrong to think that they weren’t there because they really were. And in fact, a lot of those people were blazing a trail for the cultural landscape of the queer scene, like the nightlife, the music, the fashion. And that’s what inspired me in terms of Roscoe, actually. Because he really does do his own thing, he’s carving out his own path and he doesn’t conform in any way. And I really enjoyed that element of him.”

He recalls a short documentary he watched on the Gay Black Group, a meeting of gay, Black and Asian (politically Black, at the time) communities in the ’80s at the Gays the Word bookshop. In a way it echoes It’s a Sin perfectly, documenting a time that seems so far removed from now, but is also painfully relatable.

“It’s literally like someone’s taken a mirror and put it up to the conversations that people are having now, they’re waxing on about exactly the same things that we discus right now. Times do change, and things do progress. And yet some things do just last as the same.”

It’s a Sin premieres on Channel 4 at 9pm. All five episodes will be available to stream on All 4 immediately after.

“LESBIANS ARE NATURAL LEADERS — YOU’RE FOLLOWING ONE,” Stonewall 25, New York City, June 1994. : actuallesbians

“LESBIANS ARE NATURAL LEADERS — YOU’RE FOLLOWING ONE,” Stonewall 25,

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

10 sexy guys from one of the world’s top portrait photographers / GayCities Blog

10 sexy guys from one of the world’s top portrait

GayCities encourages you to stay safe during the Covid 19 pandemic. If you choose to travel, we recommend that you follow all CDC Travel Guidelines and adhere closely to all local regulations regarding face coverings, social distancing and other safety measures.

UPDATE: Due to the Coronvirus pandemic, it is not considered safe to meet up with strangers quite yet. However, there’s nothing wrong, as they say, about looking at the menu as long as you don’t order. These regular guys, handpicked for shoots around the globe, will help you fill in the time before it is safe to venture out and about again.

The photographic subjects for this article were hand-picked by Liam Campbell from the first four years of the magazine project, Elska, to celebrate the magazine’s anniversary last year.

Liam generously agreed to share them exclusively with GayCities along with a bit of behind the scenes commentary on some standout moments.

Aarash K (Mumbai, India)

I often site Mumbai as my favorite city. It was uncomfortably hot, crowded, and simply overwhelming, but also unforgettable and full of some of the most lovely people I’ve ever met. One of the participants offered me dinner with his family, another invited me to the beach after our shoot, and pretty much all of the guys’ mothers and grandmothers were bringing me tea when I came over to shoot. Aarash’s session was particularly memorable though. We started by me getting on the back of his moped so he could tour me around potential shoot locations, then he took me to a café for afternoon tea, then we went to meet his friends, and I almost managed to stay along for dinner if I didn’t have to get to another shoot. I never felt so welcome as in Mumbai, and I can’t wait to return to India one day.

Kolbeinn H (Reykjavík, Iceland)

Conducting a photoshoot out in the middle of a city is interesting enough as jobs go, but when it’s only 2 degrees outside and the subject is half-naked, you really have to pinch yourself. Somehow Kolbeinn managed to neither look cold nor to lose his focus even as the wind howled and as traffic started to slow to watch. It was a Sunday morning and apparently, it’s a popular pastime for older Icelandic couples to cruise in their cars along the harbourfront. They got a somewhat more beautiful view than usual that morning.

Tammie B (Los Angeles, USA)

Over the years, Elska’s become known for not featuring models and celebrities, but it’s never been the case that these people weren’t welcome. It’s just that these sort of people don’t often see the value of a little indie arty publication like this one. Before I got to LA I knew that it was possible I’d end up meeting some celebs just because they’re such a part of the fabric of the city. A couple of them turned out to be egomaniacs, and unfortunately, their shoots had to be canceled when their demands for trailers and MUAs showed a huge misunderstanding of what I am all about. Of course, some celebrities are still human, and that includes the surprisingly down-to-Earth Tammie Brown. When I got to his house he greeted me with a big hug, put on a pot of coffee, and then toured me around his rather ordinary neighborhood hotspots, including the local 99c store and a little playground where he played on the swings as I snapped the camera. It was such a sweet day.

Myeongjin K and Y.E.S (Seoul, Korea)

One of the most incredibly fun and exciting cities I ever visited was Seoul, but it was also perhaps the most difficult place to shoot. Despite over ten million people and the biggest gay scene in Korea, the number of men who were out, or out enough to feel comfortable being published in a magazine was tiny, making it very hard to find guys for the issue. Furthermore, there was this ludicrously oppressive standard of beauty that the men seemed to be subjected to, meaning that even if they wanted to take part, they kept insisting they were too ugly or uninteresting. I tried to reassure them, but they weren’t listening to me. Luckily with the help of some local LGBTQ activists (like Myeongjin here on the right) and a few local drag queens, the word managed to spread and we made it a success. Korea is opening up more and more, but it’s a slow process.

Nikolas L and Pieterjan V (Brussels, Belgium)

It’s always a pleasure to meet a couple. Even though there’s some difficulties getting two people to coordinate for a photo, the results of seeing a happy loving gay couple in their home environment are worth it. One common challenge is that one half of a couple tends to be shier than the other, meaning you constantly have to pause while the couples argue about what to reveal, and this was definitely the case with this Brussels couple. At first, it was easy because the shots were very simple – them sitting on the sofa together, having a laugh, drinking tea – but then when we moved to the bedroom it got tricky. Let’s just say that Pieterjan (the one on top) got a little bit frisky, and although I tried to shoot what was going on for a while, eventually my natural shyness took over. I ended up putting my camera away and sneaking out, and left it to my imagination what happened next.

Sonwabo S (Cape Town, South Africa)

When Elska started I wanted each of the issues to be really different from the one preceding it, so I tried to choose cities that were geographically or demographically diverse. However, my choice of locations was also subject to a really tight budget. It took some time but eventually, we managed to save enough funds to shoot an issue on every continent (except Antarctica), including Africa, which was somewhere I always wanted to go. Sadly, Africa is one of the most difficult places in the world to be gay, and a lot of the region is simply too unsafe for me or for the participants due to incredibly high levels of social and political homophobia. South Africa however, and particularly Cape Town, is safe, free, and is a real beacon of hope for all queer Africans. I can’t wait to get back to Africa, even if it’s to another city in South Africa. Johannesburg maybe?

Marcin Z (Szczecin, Poland)

One of the things I like about photography is the spontaneity of the images. I like to treat each photoshoot like a documentary, leaving it up to each participant and to the mood of the moment where we shoot, how we shoot, and what he wears or doesn’t wear. Due to social differences between cities, naturally we end up with some issues that have a lot of nudity (our two Latin American issues, Guadalajara and Bogotá, have the most) and some that have very few guys who want to bare all (two of our Nordic issues, Reykjavík and Helsinki, have the least). Although I enjoy going with the flow, I did get a bit annoyed at how shy everyone in Helsinki was. That’s why a few days later on a side trip to visit friends in Berlin I took my camera on a day trip to the Polish city of Szczecin. When I arrived I turned on a gay dating app and started messaging strangers to ask if they wanted to do a shoot and story for us. Two guys agreed straightaway – Beniamin and Marcin – both of whom weren’t the least bit shy. So I ended up adding them to our Helsinki issue and looked forward to one day doing a full issue somewhere in Poland. Stay tuned for that.

Daniel D (Los Angeles, USA)

While it’s not our biggest seller by any stretch, our Los Angeles issue is truly one of the best, both for the hard work the men put into their stories, and especially for the photography, which just somehow flourished under the California sun. Photography is technically all about using light, something that Daniel here, a photo-artist himself, understood well. I remember sitting in his kitchen, happily chatting but also aware that he seemed to be killing time. Eventually, I asked if we should get started, so he went over to look out the window and said, “Yes, the sun is in the right place now.” He then took me up to his bedroom where at that moment the sun was streaming through his blinds, creating a zebra light effect. I quickly sat him in the mix of sun and shadows and starting clicking the camera.

Yosh N (Yokohama, Japan)

I definitely can’t make a list of my favorite moments without mentioning the Yokohama issue, which I shot along with my husband serving as an assistant and designated bag-carrier. My husband is kind of a Japanophile, and he used to always bring up stories from a business trip he once took to Yokohama, which is Japan’s second-largest city. I imagined that if I ever did an issue in Japan, it would be Tokyo or Osaka, or maybe even Sapporo, but I ended up going for Yokohama, in part to surprise him and invite him along. We ended up having a great time but of course, we also did a lot of work dealing with some of the shiest people I’ve ever met, Yosh here being a happy-go-lucky exception. Making an issue in Japan has its challenges, but it’s also super fun.

Gabriel P and Mario A (Bogotá, Colombia)

Another of my absolute favorite issues to make was our trip to Bogotá. It was truly one of the most stereotype-breaking places I’ve been. I remember how horrified my grandmother was when I told her I was going there, after which she started to tell me horror stories that I presume she stole from episodes of “Narcos.” In reality, Bogotá is one of the coolest and gayest places I’ve ever been, and quite safe too in my experience. But the people really are what made it special. They were some of the most open and up-for-it I’ve met, including Mario (the one in front), who I was meant to shoot alone, but when I casually asked his boyfriend Gabriel if he wanted to join rather than sit staring at us from the sofa, he promptly undressed, wrapped his arms around Mario, and looked right into the camera. Magic.

Victor UK (London, England)

Ok, so I meant to give my top ten images, but I’m adding one more. Consider it an ‘honorable mention’ bonus shot. London is my hometown, and when I shot our Elska London issue it was my first time back in the city after moving to the USA two years earlier. Unfortunately, it became one of the most unpleasant experiences I’ve had – the schedule was just too busy, the commuting and crowds exhausted me, and frankly a good number of the guys I met were moody AF. This isn’t really a surprise if you’re used to London, but I guess I sort of forgot after the time away. Anyway, Victor was a total ray of sunshine in an otherwise grey experience. If it wasn’t for him I’d have probably jumped into the Thames. Cheers, Victor!

Liam Campbell is editor and photographer of the indie print mag, Elska, a project that involves traveling around the world, getting to know some regular local guys, and introducing them and their city to the world through honest photography and personal stories. This month the project marks its fourth anniversary, so far comprising twenty-four issues in twenty-four cities and more than four hundred photographic subjects.

Issues of Elska Magazine are available, both in a limited edition print version and in an e-version. Signed art prints, annual subscriptions, and a behind-the-scenes bonus zine called Elska Ekstra are also available.

The 2021 Bernie Sanders Meme, in Lesbian TV and Movies

The 2021 Bernie Sanders Meme, in Lesbian TV and Movies


It all started this morning, when Carmen came into our little virtual office and lamented over her bowl of oatmeal: “Today is one of those days I wish I had photoshop skills, because I bet photoshopping that Bernie Sanders meme into famous gay tv scenes would be hilarious.”

Natalie, of course, saved the day — because it turned out you didn’t need fancy photoshopping to use that photo of Bernie Sanders and join in on the best meme of the last 36 hours. You only needed this:

A clear cut out of Bernie Sanders sitting alone at the inauguration, his arms crossed grumpily on a chair.

And friends, once we got started, we absolutely couldn’t stop.


Bernie’s Anatomy

(Grey’s Anatomy)

cut-out Bernie Sanders sits between Callie and Arizona having therapy on the show Grey's Anatomy.

Bernonna Earp

(Wynonna Earp)

A cut-out Bernie Sanders sits between Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught in Wynonna Earp

But I’m a Bernie!

(But I’m a Cheerleader)

Bernie sure does hate conversion therapy in "But I'm a Cheerleader!"

Berninson

(Dickinson)

A Bernie Sanders cut-out is photoshopped between Emily and the love of her life/sister-in-law, Susan.

Dr. Bernie

(Dr. Who)

A Cut out of Bernie Sanders is cold and lonely with these characters (one of which is an alien with horns) from Dr. Who

Bernie’s Little Liars

(Pretty Little Liars)

A cut out Bernie Sanders sits grumpily as Maya and Emily kiss on Pretty Little Liars

(Gia)

A cut out of Bernie Sanders creeps behind the door while Gia flirts with her girlfriend in the movie Gia

Bernie Also Hates Mr. Schue

(Glee)

A cut out of Bernie Sanders sits in the choir room of Glee, he Is just as unhappy to be there as the rest of us are.

The L Word: Generation Bernie

(The L Word: Generation Q)

Bernie is grumpy that Shane is using flash photography at Angie's play in the L Word: Generation Q

Bernie Sanders Is Once Again Asking Jenny Schecter To Stop Smoking in a Public Park

(The L Word)

Cut out Bernie Sanders is pissed about the air pollution as Jenny smokes with her legs crossed in sepia tones in this image from The L Word

Bernies of Tomorrow

(Legends of Tomorrow)

Bernie joins a futuristic sci-fi group huddle to defeat the Big Bad in "Legends of Tomorrow"

One Bernie at a Time

(One Day at a Time)

Cut outBernie Sanders is sad with his arms crossed because Elena's dad is homophobic while the rest of the Alvarez family cries and holds Elena to support her at her quinceñera

Bernie Said 🗣 “Kat You In Danger, Girl”

(The Bold Type)

Cut out Bernie Sanders is judging Kat's terrible life choices while she records her podcast on The Bold Type (the back of Kat's head is backlit while she talks to Ava)

Bernie Gives It a 9, At Best

(Pose)

Bernie Loves Creamed Spinach and a Dry Martini with an Olive

(Carol)

A cut out of Bernie Sanders peers over Therese's shoulder during lunch in a 1950s bar in "Carol"

San Bernipero

(San Junipero)

Bernie hangs out in a bar in the 1980s with the women of San Junipero

Bernie8

(Sense8)

Cut out Bernie Sanders sits in the park with his legs and arms crossed in the cold while Noni and her girlfriend flirt in Sense8

Bernie 19

(Station 19)

A cut out of Bernie Sanders is grumpy to be caught in the middle of Carina and Maya eye f*cking at a bar on Station 19

Berniest Season

(Happiest Season)

Wow Bernie hates Harper, who is currently cuddled up with Abby during a sunlit kitchen morning, in Happiest Season

Superbernie!

(Supergirl)

Cut out Bernie Sanders sits at a wooden table while everyone plots how to take down a villain on Supergirl

Our Long Lost Tío Bernie

(Vida)

A cut out of Bernie Sanders sits in the corner very unhappy as Lyn plays music on the guitar and Emma listens along, smiling, on the tv show Vida.

Bernie in The Wild

(The Wilds)

Cut out Bernie Sanders is lost in the woods and he is very unhappy about it!!

And Finally…

Portrait of a Bernie on Fire

(Portrait of a Lady on Fire)

How it Started… How it’s Going

White House website now asks users for their pronouns

The White House, lit in the rainbow flag.

The White House lit with the Pride flag. (Getty Images/Molly Riley)

For the first time in history, the White House website is asking visitors for their pronouns and offering gender-neutral options to choose from.

President Joe Biden wasted absolutely no time in making his pro-trans stance clear, with the website updated mere hours after his inauguration.

The simple yet monumentally meaningful detail was noticed by the LGBT+ advocacy group GLAAD, which happily shared an image of the White House contact page on Twitter.

Those contacting the White House can now select from a range of pronoun options or alternately indicate that they’d rather not share their pronouns if they wish.

They can also choose the gender-neutral prefix “Mx”, which is listed alongside “Mr,” “Mrs” and “Ms”.

The simple act spoke magnitudes after Trump’s sustained attacks on the LGBT+ community over the past four years, and Twitter users were delighted to see it.

 

Peter Thiel helped bankroll the GOP politicians who incited the Capitol insurrection / Queerty

Peter Thiel helped bankroll the GOP politicians who incited the

Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel may not be the first person you think of when it comes to the insurrection at the Capitol, where Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president today.

But thanks to his generous contributions to some rather odious politicians, he played a key role in putting the inciters in office, inevitably leading to their assault on our democracy.

First and foremost, Thiel was one of the few Silicon Valley figures willing to place a bet on Donald Trump. Thiel’s wholehearted endorsement of Trump earned him a primetime spot at the Republican national convention that year, where he praised the candidate and told the assembled crowd of right-wing party faithful that he was “proud to be gay.” (It was not exactly a big applause line.)

More to the point, at a time when Trump’s campaign was starved for cash in 2016, Thiel invested $1.25 million, making him one of Trump’s largest donors. The investment came late in the campaign after the tape of Trump boasting about sexual assault became public.

Thiel’s argument was basically that people should be taking Trump seriously but not literally and that he was not as bad as the other candidates. All along, however, Trump has been a literalist. He would have gladly sacrificed his own vice president to the mob if he could have stayed in the White House.

Thiel was also partly responsible for the presence in the Senate of Ted Cruz, who fueled the lie that the election was rigged even after the insurrection.

Thiel was the largest donor to the super PAC that was instrumental in helping Cruz secure the GOP senate nomination in 2012. When Cruz started his campaign, he polled in the low single digits. Thanks to the investment of wealthy donors like Thiel, he was able to score an upset.

And it’s not just Cruz. Thiel also made the maximum possible donation to Josh Hawley’s campaign for Senate in 2018. He had already given Hawley $300,000 two years before for Hawley’s run for Missouri attorney general. (Hawley is one of the most ardent religious right figures in public office, and Cruz’s counterpart in insurrection baiting.)

Trump, Cruz, and Hawley have all been branded as the lead inciters in the Capitol insurrection. They are in office, at least in part, thanks to Thiel’s financial backing.

This isn’t to say that Thiel underwrote the insurrection. He just bankrolled the politicians who inflamed the crowd with lies about the election.

But as a reminder, Thiel is no fan of the democratic system. He has said in the past he doesn’t believe freedom and democracy are “compatible.” He’s not a fan of the press either, despite his appearance on Fox’s Tucker Carlson Tonight to denigrate “identity politics,” as if that term could not describe Trump’s support for White Supremacists. He spent millions of his own money to fund the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that drove Gawker out of business, killing what surely would have been a critical source of Trump corruption coverage.

To make matters worse, Thiel this year contributed nearly a million big ones to Senate hopeful Kris Kobach,  a prototype for Donald Trump before Trump ever ran for president. The Republican made his reputation as the Kansas Secretary of State by crusading against immigrants and (imaginary) voter fraud, but he also trafficked in virulent homophobia. At one point, he compared homosexuality to drug use and polygamy. A few weeks after the donation, Kobach, deemed too extreme even for the GOP, was trounced in the primary by a more moderate Republican.

Thiel managed quite the feat: bankrolling the four horsemen of the democracy apocalypse, Trump, Hawley, Cruz, and Kobach.

To his credit, Thiel did give up on Trump in the 2020 campaign cycle, not contributing to the re-election campaign. Apparently, the administration’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic was too much for Thiel to swallow. reportedly calling the Trump reelection campaign, in a nice turn of phrase, the SS Minnow, a reference to the shipwrecked boat from Gilligan’s Island.

But even there, Thiel has a connection. Palantir, the data-mining firm that he founded, was awarded a contract by the Trump administration to track the virus. (That’s better than the awkward hand fondle Trump gave him for his support.)

Now, CDC officials are urging the Biden administration to dump the system Palantir created because they say it’s potentially inaccurate. Like the company founder’s political instincts, it appears to be deeply flawed.

Thiel is said to be focused on raising two kids with his husband; let’s hope that family leads to a “kinder, gentler” kind of political philanthropy in the post-Trump era. The world could use his help.

Gay Santiago – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Santiago - The Nomadic Boys

Gay Santiago - The Nomadic Boys

Fresh out of Santiago’s International Airport, excited to practise our Spanish which we’d spent months perfecting, only to encounter…Chilean Spanish…

As our sweet smiley taxi pickup driver tried to welcome us in Spanish we both looked at each other wondering if we’d arrived at the right place…What was this strange language?!

Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but Chilean Spanish is the hardest Spanish dialect to pick up. Even native Spanish speakers have trouble understanding Chileans. For example, they cut off the end of every other word, connect words together so you don’t know when one word starts/finishes, and they speak at such a rapid pace… Then there are the Chilean slang words thrown in to confuse you even more, especially “weón” – randomly placed in every other sentence! It’s actually quite a beautiful sing-songy dialect to listen to. 

Santiago is certainly the perfect base to get your head around this quirky dialect. The gay scene here is massive, particularly in the Bellavista neighbourhood – probably the largest in all of South America outside of Sao Paolo. The city is also home to an exciting wine culture with world-class wineries to visit, lots of impressive city street art to awe at, tons of outdoor adventures like paragliding to try out, and natural hot springs to relax in – remember the city has the Andes mountains right on its doorstep.

And then there are the boys! Smokin’ Hot gorgeous Latino looking Chilean studs everywhere you look…

Trust us when we say you WILL have a fantastic time in Santiago! 

And we’ve got you covered right here with our detailed gay guide to Chile’s capital city. We’ve put together all our practical tips from our firsthand experience travelling in Santiago as a gay couple, including the latest info on the best gay hotels, bars, clubs, parties and events, which we always keep updated thanks to the help of our local gay friends in Santiago.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Chile Gay Travel Resources

Can we take a minute to appreciate Lady Gaga and her Hunger Games vibes for the 2020 Inauguration? A much appreciated “f*** you Trump” on behalf of most of the nation. : actuallesbians

Can we take a minute to appreciate Lady Gaga and

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Looking at Tessa Thompson, Our Heart Literally Stops Beating? Is That… Normal?

Looking at Tessa Thompson, Our Heart Literally Stops Beating? Is


Welcome back to No Filter! This is the column where I tell you all about the fun and exciting celesbian happenings on Instagram! Let’s party!


Well hello to you too Gigi, I love the shoe!


Okay, so yes, this is very late but COME ON THIS DAMN COUPLE UGH! Again, I am famously too single for this!


Something about… just looking at Tessa Thompson makes my heart literally stop beating in my chest and then I start blushing and feeling faint? Is that… normal?


I straight up lol’d at “lesbian hand rub”


Tell me baby why don’t you love me, when I make me so damn easy to love?


The Auntie Agenda continues apace!


Une petite music moment from Clay, I think so!


Legends supporting legends!


Nothing but love for Haley, always.


King Princess is *checks notes* yep, on brand!


Okay but actually do swipe through because it is very funny!!!


The Hocus Pocus Hoax by Lilliam Rivera – The Lesbrary

The Hocus Pocus Hoax by Lilliam Rivera – The Lesbrary

Goldie Vance: The Hocus Pocus Hoax by Lilliam RiveraI already know and love the Goldie Vance comics, but now it is also a middle grade novel series! The premise is that Goldie Vance is a sixteen year old girl who works as a part-time valet, part-time detective at a resort her father manages. She is the assistant to the hotel’s detective–which is apparently a thing?–and aspires to be a full-time detective when she’s older.

It has a 1950s feel, and Goldie is the plucky heroine we expect from a girl detective, except this one is a queer girl of colour! I love the comics, so I had to see how the novel versions compare. Although the main character is 16, she appears to be a little younger, which I think matches the 1950s aesthetic and definitely makes this work as a middle grade novel. When I worked in the children’s department of my local bookstore, I often wished there were more middle grade and YA mysteries–they are very popular for around 6-8 year olds and then inexplicably disappear–so I’m glad to see this will help fill that niche.

I was a bit worried about whether the queer relationship would be included in this middle grade version of the story–the comics are all-ages, but could easily be read by teens as well. Happily, it’s actually a big part of the plot in this volume.

A conference of magicians is happening in the hotel, and the stakes are high. The intimidating owner is demanding everything goes smoothly, because if this because a repeat event, it will be very profitable. Unfortunately, three of the waiters get food poisoning, and Goldie and a few of her friends at the hotel have to fill in. Meanwhile, Goldie is trying to plan the perfect first date with Diane. Unfortunately, she’s forced to be a server that night and has to cancel, and when they reschedule, the restaurant has been reserved for a special event. Goldie invites Diane to come to some of the magician performances happening at the hotel, which she happily accepts. But that’s not the end of her first date complications: someone is sabotaging the magicians’ performances, and she has to figure out the culprit–all while the son of the celebrity magician keeps following her around and telling her how to better do her job.

Was I proud of myself for keeping up with a middle grade mystery’s clues? Yes. I’m not usually a mystery reader because I am terrible at keeping track of details, so apparently middle grade mysteries are my level. I won’t comment on the mystery structure itself, because it seems silly to critique whether a mystery for 10 year olds is sufficiently complex for a reader triple that age, but this was an entertaining read full of memorable characters.

This finishes with a short comic at the end, which was a fun surprise. We see Goldie and Diane finally get to have their date together, and it’s adorable. I do think this translates well in the novel format, and I hope the series is long-running. This is technically the second book in the series, not counting the comics, but you don’t need to have read any of the other Goldie Vance books before this one: it’s a self-contained story.

An Open Letter to Joe Biden from a Lesbian Mom

An Open Letter to Joe Biden from a Lesbian Mom

Dear President-elect Biden:

I’m writing you this open letter as you prepare to take office as president. My son was just a few months too young to vote in the last election, but watched it with great concern, for its results would directly impact him and his family. Would the next administration be one that treated our family with equality? Would it view families like ours as part of the rich fabric of American diversity or as aberrations?

Joe Biden

I’d like to think he has reason for hope. Since this is an open letter, I’ll recap one example, though I’m sure you remember: In 2012, you attended a fundraiser held at the Los Angeles home of husbands Michael Lombardo, an HBO executive, and Sonny Ward, an architect. As reported by Jo Becker in the New York Times, political strategist Chad Griffin (later head of HRC) saw you talking with the men’s two young children and was motivated to ask you your stance on marriage equality.

According to Becker, you responded: “I look at those two beautiful kids. I wish everybody could see this. All you got to do is look in the eyes of those kids. And no one can wonder, no one can wonder whether or not they are cared for and nurtured and loved and reinforced. And folks, what’s happening is, everybody is beginning to see it.”

You said this at a time when the Obama administration was still officially opposed to marriage equality. Some thought your remarks were a planned “trial balloon” for the issue; Becker disagreed, but said that they “inadvertently set off a chain reaction.” Either way, within weeks, President Obama announced his support for marriage equality, relating that his own daughters had friends with same-sex parents and “I know it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently.”

Marriage equality didn’t hinge on these encounters alone—it was the work of thousands of people over many years—but your remarks were a turning point for the administration’s willingness to back it publicly. I hope that as president, you will continue to champion equality for all families.

I am encouraged that you have named two lesbian moms and one transgender parent to your administration: Karine Jean-Pierre as principal deputy press secretary, Pili Tobar as deputy White House communications director, and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health. And Pete Buttigieg, whom you nominated as secretary of transportation, was asked during his own presidential run if he and his husband might start a family while in the White House. “I don’t see why not,” he replied. Perhaps this might happen even as he takes on a different role.

While their work will not revolve around LGBTQ issues, I hope that their presence will continue to remind you that all parents and our children deserve equality. Despite the progress made under President Obama, that equality has been chipped away at during President Trump’s time in office. Even now, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case about whether taxpayer-funded child service agencies can claim the right, on religious grounds, to discriminate against LGBTQ people, people of different faiths, and others. This would reduce the number of otherwise-eligible homes for children in need and could mean that LGBTQ youth get placed with families that don’t support their identities. That case aside, eleven states now allow child service agencies to cite their religious or moral beliefs as a reason to discriminate against someone; nine of them permit it even if the agency receives taxpayer money.

Additionally, on January 7, the day after insurrectionists stormed the capitol, the Trump administration finalized a rule that will allow foster care and adoption agencies, along with other public health and social service organizations receiving taxpayer funds, to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others. LGBTQ populations are among the most vulnerable here. LGBTQ organizations are already suing HHS for other recent discriminatory policies; you could save everyone time and money, while helping those in need, by changing these policies as soon as possible.

To guide you, the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign, a coalition of LGBTQ, civil rights, and faith organizations, has released a set of policy recommendations to set us on a renewed path towards inclusive, affirming care for LGBTQ youth and families, people of color, and people with disabilities within the child welfare system. I hope you will take these recommendations seriously.

Equity for LGBTQ families—and all families—goes beyond just child services and healthcare, however. It extends into educational policy, housing, employment practices, and even foreign policy, for we LGBTQ families exist around the world. There are no areas of your administration that will not touch us, for we are woven into the fabric of the American people.

I hope our voices (broadly speaking, not just those in your administration) are among the many you will listen to in order to guide our country forward. I am not asking you to prioritize LGBTQ families above any others, but rather to ensure that your policies include and protect us equally so that we have the same chance to thrive. The more Americans who thrive, the stronger and better our country will be as a whole.

I want the country in which my son reaches adulthood to be one of equality, justice, and compassion, not only for LGBTQ people and families, but for all. I’m sure that as a parent yourself, you know what it is like to want such good for your children. Please be the president our country—and our country’s children—need.

Originally published with slight variation as my Mombian newspaper column.

Caitlyn Jenner tipped to star in Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That

Caitlyn Jenner tipped to star in Sex and the City

Caitlyn Jenner is being tipped to make an appearance in the Sex and the City reboot. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty)

Caitlyn Jenner is being tipped to star in HBO Max’s upcoming Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That in an effort to bring some diversity to the show.

The reboot of the classic series was confirmed on 10 January, with Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis all set to reprise their roles – but Kim Cattrall, who played fan-favourite Samantha Jones, will not be making an appearance.

Much has been made of the lack of diversity in the original run of Sex and the City, which closely followed four white, cisgender, middle-class women as they explored relationships and sex in New York City.

Ever since its original run, fans have been criticising the show for its general failure to represent LGBT+ characters and people of colour in meaningful ways – and many have wondered if And Just Like That will right those wrongs.

Caitlyn Jenner would be ‘perfect for an appearance’ in reboot

Now, an insider has told The Mirror that bosses working on the show want it to be as diverse as possible – and Caitlyn Jenner is being touted as a perfect fit to appear in the new series in an effort to make it more inclusive.

Caitlyn has been a media fixture in one way or another for going on 50 years. She’s really perfect for an appearance.

The insider said that Caitlyn Jenner, who came out publicly as transgender in April 2015, could have a cameo appearance in the Sex and the City reboot.

“Caitlyn has been a media fixture in one way or another for going on 50 years,” the insider said. “She’s really perfect for an appearance.

“They want new faces for the show, but they want people viewers actually know and care about too.”

The news comes as Jenner revealed that she hasn’t become a “spokesperson” for the trans community because many see her as being too “controversial”. 

In an interview with The Skinny Confidential Him & Her podcast, Jenner, 71, said that her background and political beliefs meant she did not receive the warm welcome into the trans community that other public figures, like Elliot Page, did.

Jenner remains a Republican, despite the fact that Donald Trump dedicated much of his presidency to rolling back LGBT+ rights.

Sex and the City spin-off will be made later this year

And Just Like That will comprise of 10 half-hour episodes and is scheduled to kick-off production late spring in New York City, US. Parker, Davis, Nixon and Michael Patrick King will executive produce.

“The new Max Original series is based on the book, Sex and the City, by Candice Bushnell and the original TV series created by Darren Star,” a statement from HBO Max’s parent company WarnerMedia read.

“The series will follow Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s.”