Tag: Lives

“Batwoman” Season 2: In Our Ongoing Uprising for Black Lives, Ryan Wilder Is Right on Time

"Batwoman" Season 2: In Our Ongoing Uprising for Black Lives,

Almost six months ago to the day, Javicia Leslie was announced to follow Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane as Ryan Wilder, the first ever Black Batwoman. My very serious and understated quote here on Autostraddle, the lesbian paper of record, was an all caps “LET’S FUCKING GOOOOO!!!!!!” — so, no big deal. Supremely chill vibes. And it certainly hasn’t hurt that Leslie has spent the entire time since her announcement seemingly becoming a one-woman Black Bisexual Queer Nerd Catnip, complete with an enviable kicks collection, an adorable dog (he’s a pit bull rescue!), and ahem, an affinity for bodysuits. Still, whatever my confidence, it was hard to suppress nervous butterflies when I received the Batwoman Season Two press screener for review.

Just to get it out of the way, right at the top: Ryan Wilder is not Kate Kane. I suspect that sentence might make some of the original fans uneasy, but let me follow up by saying the decision to make Ryan a woman of her own changes very little about what makes Batwoman beloved. Ryan may run warm in all the places where Kate instead chose calculated cool, but she loses none of the badass strength that makes Batwoman who she is at her core. Her tomboy swag’s more Nike Air Force 1s than Kate’s James Bond bowtie, but the bravado itself is still undeniable. They are both proud, out lesbians.

In Leslie’s hands, Ryan Wilder is instantly and infinitely likable; she’s a little emotionally raw and surprisingly snarky (her humor was easily my favorite thing about her!). Overall, she comes across as very true to her original character description, “a girl who would steal milk from an alley cat and could also kill you with her bare hands” — which just happens to be my favorite kind of woman. (Other parts of her character’s description, namely having “spent years as a drug-runner” were mercifully and correctly adjusted after casting a Black actor in the role.) If for some reason none of that wins you over, please also know that Ryan is a plant mom!! And as a fellow plant mom, please know that we are the best kind of people.

Ryan Wilder reads a newspaper in her RV van — that is also her home — while sitting next to her beloved plant.

Going into its second season, Batwoman couldn’t have possibly had more stacked against it. The series namesake abruptly left after one season, the writers had to write them out while also maintaining continuity — when nearly all the characters of the series, including the lead villain, are directly related to Kate either by blood or love or both (I found Ryan’s new connections to Alice to be shockingly unexpected, yet organic and fully believable). They had to do all of that while in the middle of a global pandemic the likes of which haven’t been seen in 100 years! Oh and then they cast a Black woman to literally be the first very Black person ever to don the Batsuit on film; Javicia’s casting announcement came during a summer of Black Lives Matter protests and uprisings and now her TV debut as Batwoman will occur as we are once against bearing witness to large-scale white supremacist violence in this country. So again… supremely chill stakes here. Really just going for the hat trick.

The thing about comic book superheroes is that on the surface they may seem silly — all brightly colored suits and flying capes and gizmo gadgets and KABLAAM — but they are some of the most homegrown, American mythos that we have. They’re the stories we tell children, right from the youngest age, to explain right from wrong. They become buried deep, right into the marrow of who we are. Even people who have never picked up a comic book in their life or barely ever watch television know who Batman is. And when Batman is a billionaire playboy with fancy bat toys, or Ironman is a billionaire playboy with fancy Iron Hearts, or Superman is a homegrown blue-eyed boy right from small-town Kansas, that says a lot about who we believe can be “heroes” in the first place.

Kate Kane originally mattered, not only because her story was great, but because at the height of national debates around “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”gay marriage, and what it means to have the full rights of citizenship as a gay person in this country — she was kicked out of West Point for being a lesbian. But now it’s 2021, we are facing the dying gasps (we can only hope) of a fascist wannabe dictator that has cannibalisticly fed from and emboldened the violent racist backbone that has long existed since the founding of this country. After years and years of work at the hands of Black activists, cries of Black Lives Matter are finally sweeping this country. It’s time for a new story.

I’m glad that Caroline Dries, Batwoman showrunner, for deciding to make Ryan an entirely new character — not to recast Kate or to adapt another DC property into the role. The questions we are facing, the stories we need to tell ourselves now, they require fierce new answers. At least from the premiere episode, it appears that Batwoman won’t shy away from the responsibilities that it’s facing. I don’t want to wade too far into spoiler territory, but Ryan’s backstory comes with multiple points of entry to explore the ways that systematic racism impacts Black America Gotham specifically and opens up critiques of state-sanctioned violence that I don’t believe Kate, a military trained fighter who’s father is the head of the CROWS, would have been able to ask.

In her LA times profile published just this weekend, Javicia Leslie feels the weight on her shoulders, but she’s not letting it crush her. “Now that Ryan is becoming Batwoman, I feel like it opens up the possibility of what it really means to be Batwoman and that it doesn’t really matter who’s under the suit… Anyone can put that suit on and be a hero.” Superheroes shine brightest when they are made for their moment.

In this Batwoman season two review, Ryan Wilder is in the Batsuit with her wig and make held in her arms.

That doesn’t mean that this Batwoman is robbed of joy! I’ve already mentioned Ryan’s contagious snark, but as someone who deep in my bones loves a good woman villain, Rachel Skarsten continues to make my skin crawl in the BEST kind of ways. The fight choreography is slick, the bat toys are aplenty, and there’s gay melodrama and tortured loves. All the things that made the first season of Batwoman grow into its best are accounted for and welcomed back. Narratively speaking, what’s being asked of the Batwoman writers’ room is a tall order by any definition. They handle the transition as smoothly as anyone could have asked them, finding a tone that feels like its past but also a new and exciting terrain. And there’s enough about Kate left to continue to unfold in the episodes to come. Just as a nerd and a fan, I was impressed that anyone could pull that shit off.

Next week we’ll be back with even more details and a weekly Batwoman recap (!!!!) from Nic (!!!) — one of my favorite queer recappers in the game right now (have you read her work on Black Lightning?? It’s so smart and so, so good!!) — but for now I just wanted to say: If the writers of Batwoman can successfully walk the tightrope of “What happened to Kate Kane?” and the staggering, necessary demands of this moment we are living in, and still manage to get in a few flirtatious winks while they’re at it? There’s absolutely no telling what’s next.


Batwoman Season Two premieres Sunday, January 17, on The CW.

Black Lives Matter condemns claim it wants a ‘lesbian, Marxist revolution’

Black Lives Matter condemns claim it wants a ‘lesbian, Marxist

Patrisse Cullors at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. (Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

Patrisse Cullors, the artist, activist and prison abolitionist who co-founded Black Lives Matter, has condemned televangelist Pat Robertson’s for suggesting the movement is anti-Christian because it is LGBT-inclusive.

Robertson, 90, made the comments last week on his The 700 Club chat show. He claimed that the Black Lives Matter movement will lead to a “lesbian, anti-family, anti-capitalist Marxist revolution”.

Calling Robertson’s comments “outlandish”, “inflammatory” and “dangerous”, Cullors said that his insinuation that Black Lives Matter is anti-religion is “disgraceful” and offensive to Christian campaigners against racial injustice.

“People are hurting all across this country due to the carelessness of comments made by individuals like Pat Robertson,” Cullors said in a statement on the Black Lives Matter website.

“At what point do those individuals who walk alongside him stop and say, enough is enough with the sexist, misogynistic, and supremacist way of displaying the bigotry that continues to flow from the souls of many of our leaders.

“Christianity was built on empathy; not hate. Until hate and racism is eradicated, America will continue to be a divided nation.”

An unprecedented number of global protests against police brutality and racism began in May, after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white police officer kneeling on his neck, and have continued over the summer.

Robertson had also criticised Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback whose football career was effectively ended when he knelt during the US anthem to highlight police brutality and racism during the 2016 NFL preseason.

“Athletes used to be terribly admired by all of society, but their rating has gone to negative because of their association with Black Lives Matter,” Robertson said, citing no actual sources.

“Of course Black lives matter, but that legitimate thing has been hijacked by these radicals.”

These “radicals”, Robertson claimed, aim to “destroy the nuclear family” and paint “Christianity as being racist”.

In her statement, Cullors concluded: “It is our hope that Pat Robertson and anyone else who believes we are destroying Christianity with our work, would join us in our movement as we will continue to galvanise these moments of division and false character accusations as fuel to move our country and world forward.

“Every day, we are surviving — if we do. We will continue to rise up until all Black lives are valued and matter across this world.”

 

 

Student battles homophobic anti-Black Lives Matter protester…with a trombone / Queerty

Student battles homophobic anti-Black Lives Matter protester…with a trombone /

Meet Trey Hogan, a freshman at the University of South Carolina. Hogan has elicited cheers after he stood up to a demonstrator spouting racist and homophobic garbage by drowning out his comments with a trombone.

The protester appeared on the UofSC campus last week. True to form, he carried a sign that read “BLM are racist thugs,” and wore a “Make America Great Again” hat. As the demonstrator began to spout his hate, Hogan stepped up to do his part.

“I just had the idea to drown his sound out with mine, so I got my trombone and … I was kind of hesitant at first, but then everyone supported it,” Hogan told WLTX News. “He was saying some pretty hateful stuff, and I just didn’t agree with any of it.”

Related: MAGA loser gets a$$ kicked for threatening to sodomize woman then slapping another across the face

Video of the incident went viral, depicting Hogan blowing out loud wails every time the protester tried to speak. The counterprotesters went nuts, cheering him on each time.

“I didn’t really expect so many people to react the way they did but it feels really good, and it feels really nice to know that people are so supportive of what I did and they want to show their support to me,” Hogan added.

The viral video of the incident has brought Hogan all kinds of acclaim, including praise from Bob Caslen, President of the University of South Carolina.

The demonstrator on Greene St. today may have a constitutional right to be there & say what he wants, but his words do not reflect the values & principles of our university,” Caslen said via Twitter. “I applaud our @UofSC students who peacefully voiced their opposition to the hate he was spewing.”

Ultimately, Hogan played for two full hours until the Trump-supporting protester’s megaphone died. After that, a local pizzeria reached out to Hogan, offering him free pizza for the remainder of his college years. Hogan also got a shout-out from Gayle King of CBS News, who said “I love Trey Hogan.”

For Hogan though, the notoriety he has received from the protest doesn’t overshadow the pushback against hate. “It shows that we support everyone here. It’s just not okay, and we don’t want that on this campus,” Hogan declared.

Hey Trey, you can blow your horn in front of us anytime.

Trans Black Lives Matter protester suffers shattered jaw after thugs beat him mercilessly

Samson Tequir. (Facebook)

Samson Tequir. (Facebook)

In the latest flare-up amid the Black Lives Matter protests continuing to seize major US cities, a Black trans man was left with his jaw and eye socket shattered after two men brutally beat him up.

Samson Tequir, 30, who helps organise demonstrations in Rochester, New York, was assailed last Friday afternoon (July 31), law enforcement said.

Surveillance footage from a nearby storefront captured the rattling moment when two males hurl anti-LGBT+ slurs at Tequir outside Big Town Grocery at Denver Street and Parsells Avenue on the city’s east side, then, while walking home with bags of groceries, everything went dark.

He was unconscious. Medics said he was likely struck more than once. Tequir awoke to the sounds of his friend yelling, the dialling of police.

Tequir, now wearing a black eyepatch in his home, told Democrat & Chronicle that, following the attack, he now needs titanium plates inserted to repair a broken eye socket and suffered multiple fractures to his cheekbone.

Trans Black Lives Matter demonstrater brutally beaten by two men: ‘My story is not new.’

“My story is not new,” he reflected.

“It is not the last one, and I can look around the room I am in right now and find more of those stories just the same. The only reason you are hearing about it is because people happened to know my name.”

It was warm when Tequir and his partner left to grab Gatorade and water. Watching his partner go inside the grocers, Tequir described, he said two men down the street began to yell.

They lobbed abuse at him, saying “I couldn’t stand on the corner like that”, and shouted: “I had to get off his corner with that gay [expleitive].”

The men drew closer and “they told me that I shouldn’t be dressed like that, I had to get out of here with these gay clothes and all that.”

After Tequir said he would not leave until his partner was done shopping, the men, he said, then went into the Big Town Grocery and were hostile towards Tequir’s partner.

Tequir said that the pair focused on getting back home while the men lurked behind them, but the men struck Tequir’s head, hurling him into unconsciousness.

“The preliminary investigation revealed that the victims were approached by two suspects who engaged in a verbal altercation with the victims regarding one of the victim’s sexual orientation,” read a statement released by the Rochester Police Department.

“The Rochester Police Department is investigating this incident as a potential hate crime and is consulting with the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.”

Supporting LGBTQ Families Requires that Black Lives Matter

Supporting LGBTQ Families Requires that Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter. Black LGBTQ lives matter. And we will never have a just world for LGBTQ families until we have racial justice.

Black Lives Matter

Black and Latino same-sex couples are roughly twice as likely as White same-sex couples to be raising a biological, step, or adopted child, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute. And 50 percent of children under 18 living with same-sex couples are non-White compared to 41 percent of children living with different-sex couples. (Statistics were not available for other LGBTQ identities) Even if the numbers were far less, of course, these families would still deserve equality and justice—but the numbers underscore just how many LGBTQ families are impacted by ongoing racism in our country.

Racism is a formidable enemy, though, sometimes overt but often subtle. I can only speak to it from my perspective as a White person with a White child, but here are some of the things I am trying to do—and resolve to do better—to help dismantle it. I offer them as suggestions for others engaging in this work as well.

Educate myself. My day job is with a nonprofit program focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, which requires a fair bit of reading on the subject, but I’ve found there’s always more to learn about racism’s history, impact, and the perspectives of those impacted. I continue to read, consume podcasts and videos, and listen to colleagues and friends of color when they choose to share their thoughts.

There are a lot of good resource lists on racism going around right now, but I want to caution us White folks not to get caught up in feeling that we need to get through every article, book, movie, and podcast on a multi-page list before taking action. Educating ourselves on racism is an ongoing process. We shouldn’t feel we need to “finish” (no one ever can) before getting out into the real world and trying to make a difference. We should also not see resource lists as ends in themselves or view our progress through them as a sign of how “woke” we are. Read and listen humbly. Know there is always more.

I’m not going to offer my own list here, as there are many others already, but if you need a place to begin, I suggest the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s new Talking About Race portal.

Self-reflect and self-improve. I try not to act in racist ways, but as a White person, I know there are times when I am, albeit unintentionally. And simply by my privilege as a White person in our society, I am tainted by the systemic racism woven into its fabric, benefiting me in ways I may not even realize. This is not a reason to punish myself; instead, I need to ask what I can do to be more thoughtful about my words and actions, to use my privilege to be a better ally and accomplice, and to work towards a more just world.

Teach my son. One of the most important anti-racist actions parents can take, I believe, is to show our children how to be anti-racist as well. My spouse and I have tried to teach our son not only that people of all skin tones are to be valued and respected, but that his peers of color may have very different experiences in the world because of systemic racism. We want him to be thoughtfully color aware, not color blind. We’ve tried to expose him at every age to books, shows, and movies that not only include characters of color, but that are told from their perspectives.

Hand in hand with finding “diverse” media, however, we parents should talk with our children in age-appropriate ways when we find biases and lack of representation in any children’s media. Why don’t we see people of color here? How is this character a stereotype? And why might there sometimes be representation in one way but biases in another?

My suggested place for parents to begin is EmbraceRace, which offers not only resources but also a community of support for parents, teachers, and others of all racial identities. Additionally, award-winning author and Black queer mom Jacqueline Woodson has offered a list of recommended books on racism and race for children of all ages at the Oprah Magazine website. These are just starting points.

Take action in the world. First, we should each speak out any time we see racism, from overt slurs, to subtle microaggressions, to lack of representation in workplaces, schools, and other venues. That necessary work can be supplemented by attending rallies and vigils, signing petitions, contacting our elected officials, and donating money and time to civil rights organizations and others that work with marginalized communities, as we are able.

Yes, we may not always do or say the right thing; we may feel awkward; we may stumble. We should not let these fears keep us from doing anything, however. We need to come into the work knowing it is a process and being willing to listen, apologize, learn, and keep trying.

Pride was born from protest and resistance, led by people of color like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major, and Stormé DeLarverie. Many of our LGBTQ families would not exist today if it wasn’t for the smoldering revolution that they sparked into open flame. May we honor their legacy as we work for inclusion, equality, and justice.

(Originally published with slight variation as my Mombian newspaper column.)