Tag: Queerty

Can one of the best gay movies ever not even utter the word “gay?” / Queerty

Can one of the best gay movies ever not even

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a re-watch.

The Opus: X-Men Days of Future Past

Maybe it’s our sadness over the conclusion of WandaVision, but this weekend has us craving some serious mutant action. Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe started raking in the bucks, 2000s X-Men proved that comic book properties had a built-in audience, and could attract big-name talent, make subtle commentary on social issues facing society, and have a degree of verisimilitude that would make even an absurd premise as super-powered mutants seem plausible. The very uneven catalog of X-films that followed hit an epic peak in 2014 with the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, a film that combined the casts of all the prior movies into one mammoth story.

In the distant future, the world has become an apocalyptic wasteland thanks to mutant persecution by giant killer robots called Sentinels. The few surviving X-Men–led by Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart)–devise a plan to send Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman, jacked as ever) mind back in time to the 1970s. There, he must unite the younger versions of Magneto and Professor X (Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, respectively) to prevent the rogue mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating a prominent scientist. Should Wolverine succeed, he can prevent the Sentinel wars of the future, and save all mutantkind.

Days of Future Past has one Hell of a cast roster which, in addition to the aforementioned, includes Elliot Page, Halle Berry, Nicolas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters, Omar Sy and Anna Paquin. Beyond that, as with the best of the X-movies, the film also works as a queer metaphor: the wisdom passed on by the Wolverine/Older Xavier/Older Magneto team to a younger generation in hopes of preventing a genocide feels a lot like the survivors of AIDS and systemic homophobia warning an emerging LGBTQ generation not to be complacent, lest they suffer the same fate. The movie features a number of prominent queer actors (including McKellen, Page and Paquin), and the shape-shifting powers of Mystique feel like a literal representation of gender and sexual fluidity.

Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention the film comes from gay director Bryan Singer, a man known as much for his personal scandals as his movies. As with any number of other figures “canceled” for their transgressions (Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen, Roseanne Barr, Brett Ratner, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein), Singer may never work again. That does not, however, negate his creative accomplishments here. While it’s possible to interpret elements of Days of Future Past as reflecting Singer’s personal woes (Professor X’s drug habit is the most obvious), the movie does not try to normalize any kind of sexual exploitation. Contrast that with the work of Woody Allen, who constantly tries to normalize the sexual relations of older men with barely legal or under-age girls in his films. In other words, Days of Future Past does not have any kind of ulterior motive buried in its plot, nor does it constantly remind viewers of Singer’s alleged sexual assaults.

In sum, then, Singer may be a vile person, but that doesn’t make Days of Future Past a vile film, nor does it negate the outstanding work of the other cast and crew that helped make the film a success. Epic, thrilling, and teeming with queer allegory, we suggest giving it a watch to aid with the WandaVision withdrawal, and as the most successful use of the X-Men on the big screen to date.

Note: Days of Future Past exists in two versions, one from its theatrical release, and a longer version known as the “Rogue Cut” which reinserts several deleted subplots. Watch the Rogue Cut; it is the better, more satisfying complete version of the film.

Streams on Disney+, YouTube, Hulu & iTunes.

Lil Nas X just shared receipts on which rapper slid into his DMs / Queerty

Lil Nas X just shared receipts on which rapper slid

Donston

You can’t even be mad at Lil Nas X for semi “outing” him. Tekashi has indulged rape culture in his lyrics and is known to hit on underage girls. While it’s just dumb as hell to try and throw homophobic shade at someone when you were in their DM’s, coming off thirsty. So dumb.

Some of these DL and closeted guys are a mess. Some of these dudes who contend with fluidity, paraphiliacs, dimensions or contractions as far as the gender, romantic, sexual, affection, emotional investment, commitment spectrum- they really do fit the stereotypes and are problematic and insecure as hell. All you had to do was keep quiet, but you just couldn’t help throwing a gay joke his way (probably because he had no interests in meeting up with u). This type of shit is partly why my fascination with “straight”, DL or closeted guys died down quickly when I hit 30.

George Takei really wants to send this gay man to space / Queerty

George Takei really wants to send this gay man to

Actor, activist and pop culture icon George Takei thinks it’s high time we had a gay man in space. He also thinks he knows the perfect candidate: Jon Carmichael.

On February 28, Takei tweeted out his endorsement of Carmichael, a New York-based astrophotographer, on his grassroots campaign to be the first openly gay man in space.

“First gay man to go to space?” Takei wrote. “I certainly can relate to that dream! Jon’s story is truly inspired. To my LGBTQs and allies, can we make this young man’s day with a RT barrage? Let’s give it maximum warp and help send Jon on that mission!”

Takei also included a retweet from Carmichael, announcing his bid to land a spot on the Inspiration4, a SpaceX experimental rocket designed to ferry private citizens to space. Inspiration4 offers three spots to space tourists who can earn a spot on the ship by sharing an inspirational life story. Carmichael hopes that his life as an adventurer, a gay man, and his advocacy in favor of St. Jude Children’s Hospital–a facility designed to treat kids with cancer–will earn him a spot.

“Hey @Twitter fam!,” he wrote. “There’s a chance I could be the first gay man to go to SPACE! Please watch my story for the #Inspiration4contest and RT – if this tweet takes off, I could too! Help support @StJude by ordering a print at my @Shift4Shop store! joncarmichaelgallery.com”

Replying to Takei’s endorsement, Carmichael wrote: “I believe representation is important; when I look back when I was a child/teenager who was terrified to come out, felt that I was less-than and would never amount to anything, had I seen an openly gay person being selected to go to space, it would’ve changed everything for me.”

Though it was not well known during her time as an astronaut, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, was a lesbian.

Major Christian adoption agency in U.S. to start working with LGBTQ people / Queerty

Major Christian adoption agency in U.S. to start working with

Gay dads with their son
Posed by models (Photo: Shutterstock)

A major, evangelical-run adoption and fostering agency in the U.S. has informed staff that it will extend its services to LGBTQ people.

The Michigan-based Bethany Christian Services was established 77 years ago. Until recently, it did not allow same-sex couples to adopt or foster. It would typically refer gay couples to other agencies.

That changed in Michigan in 2019 after the state said it would stop funding adoption agencies that discriminated against gay people.

Bethany changed its policies within the state following that ruling. Now, in a memo sent to staff nationwide on Monday, it has said that it will be extending its more inclusive policy across the U.S., with immediate effect.

Related: They survived Mormonism. Can these gay dads survive triplets?

In an email sent to 1,500 staff, and reported by the New York Times, the organization’s President and Chief Executive, Chris Palusky, said, “We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today.

“We’re taking an ‘all hands on deck’ approach where all are welcome.”

Bethany operates in 32 states. In 2019, it facilitated 3,406 foster placements and 1,123 adoptions. Besides Michigan, it had already begun to work with LGBTQ families in four other states, often following the threat of losing contracts or funding being cut if it did not do so.

Bethany Christian Services turned away a lesbian couple in 2018 in Philadelphia, with a representative telling them the agency had never placed a child with a same-sex couple. The city subsequently suspended its contract with Bethany and another Christian agency: Catholic Social Services.

Bethany promptly changed its policy in the region, but Catholic Social Services took the matter to court. The Supreme Court is due to announce a ruling on that case this summer.

Bethany’s new policy was quietly, unanimously approved by its 14-member national board on January 21st. It does not use the phrase ‘LGBTQ’ but instead says it will, “implement a nationwide policy of inclusivity in order to serve all families.”

“Faith in Jesus is at the core of our mission. But we are not claiming a position on the various doctrinal issues about which Christians of mutual good faith may disagree,” Nate Bult, Bethany’s vice president said, reports Christianity Today.

“We acknowledge that discussions about doctrine are important, but our sole job is to determine if a family can provide a safe, stable environment for children.”

Related: This single gay dad adopted a baby girl with Down syndrome after she was rejected by 20 families

One board member, Susanne Jordan told the New York Times, the agency expected some criticism from some Christian groups over the policy change.

“We recognize there are people who will not be happy. We may lose some donors. But the message we’re trying to give is inviting people alongside of us. Serving children should not be controversial.”

Time for some ‘Watermelon,’ and one of the best queer movies ever / Queerty

Time for some ‘Watermelon,’ and one of the best queer

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Groundbreaker: The Watermelon Woman

Strange how Cheryl Dunye, one of the great lesbian filmmakers of our time, has had such a low-profile career. After a series of short and experimental films, Dunye arrived on the New Queer Cinema scene with her rom-com/drama The Watermelon Woman, which combined scripted and documentary film techniques into a meta-narrative that walks the line between reality and fantasy.

The film stars Dunye as Cheryl, an alternate-reality version of herself: a black lesbian film enthusiast. While doing research on classic films of the 03s and 40s, Dunye becomes fascinated by an actress billed only as “The Watermelon Woman” (an unfortunate real-life practice for African-American actresses, who had to adopt caricature-like stage names rather than use their own). Cheryl becomes obsessed with learning more about the woman, particularly after she discovers that the actress in question was also a lesbian. Meanwhile, Cheryl also begins a flirtation with the beautiful Diana (Guinevere Turner), a leggy, brainy beauty with a passion for film of her own.

The Watermelon Woman uses its unusual format to comment on everything from queer dating to historical erasure to racism and homophobia. Dunye closes the film with a title card revealing that the story of the film is fiction by necessity: sometimes, thanks to the erasure of queer history, we have to imagine our own. It’s also not hard to see the wide-ranging influence of the film in contemporary LGBTQ artists such as Lee Daniels, John Cameron Mitchell, Mark Christopher, Todd Haynes, and, in particular, Lena Waithe. That Dunye has only made one feature film since The Watermelon Woman is our loss.

Quirky, funny, and inspiring, we offer it up as both an overlooked LGBTQ romantic comedy, and an inspiration: even when we must fill in the gaps of our own history with fiction, we can still find truth.

Streams on Showtime, Amazon, YouTube & Hulu.

Things are looking bad for Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric as investigations into family business heat up / Queerty

Things are looking bad for Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric

Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump “should be worried,” former White House Counsel John Dean warns.

Speaking to Don Lemon on CNN this week, Dean was asked about the ongoing investigations into the Trump Organization and whether the adult children of the ex-president might be in trouble.

Earlier this month, Don Jr. was deposed as part of the Washington, D.C. Attorney General’s lawsuit alleging the misuse of Trump inaugural funds. Jr. is also at the center of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office into the Trump Organization’s finances.

Meanwhile, Ivanka was deposed by lawyers from the DC Attorney General’s office in December, and Eric was deposed by the Manhattan DA’s office back in October.

Related: Ivanka freaks out on Twitter after being deposed by DC attorney general in ongoing investigation

“I think they should be worried,” Dean said matter-of-factly. He went on to explain that the Trump family has managed to weasel their way out of trouble with Manhattan DA Cy Vance in the past, but he doesn’t think that’s going to happen this time around.

“I don’t think [Vance] looks very favorably on the Trump family anymore, and he wants to clean up his reputation,” Dean said. “So, he’s probably being very aggressive about them and pursuing any potential criminality.”

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Trump’s last-ditch, years-long effort to keep his tax returns and other financial documents out of the hands of prosecutors.

As a result, millions of pages of documents were turned over the the Manhattan D.A.’s office, including tax returns, tax prep documents, financial statements, and communications related to the tax returns.

“There’s almost a terabyte of data,” Dean told Lemon. “That’s massive. That’s thousands upon thousands of documents.”

“This is going to show how they prepared the tax returns over the last eight years that they’re looking at. The memos back and forth. Records of phone calls where the accountants were being instructed. So, if there’s malfeasance, non-feasance or misfeasance in there it’s very likely to be in that terabyte.”

Related: Ivanka is clearly freaking out about going to jail, says she’s being “harassed”

Circling back to Don Jr., Dean explained that his involvement in the family business appears to have been limited, largely due to the fact that “his father didn’t have the greatest faith in his skills and abilities and he was often kept out of things.”

And all this time, we thought Eric was the dumb one.

Dean concluded by saying that there are a lot of directions the cases could go, and it will likely take time to sort everything out.

“Who knows where all this is going to go?” he said. “The conspiracy law in New York is very broad, as most states have, and they’ve been operating clearly in secret for a long time. And that’s what Mr. Vance is looking at. So, I think he’s got jeopardy.”

Watch.

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.

You’re invited to the Queerties with Heidi N. Closet, Angelica Ross, Billy Eichner, and more! / Dragaholic on Queerty

You’re invited to the Queerties with Heidi N. Closet, Angelica

You’re invited to the queerest pop culture party of the year, the #Queerties!

You voted for your favorite LGBTQ entertainers, now come watch the live show to find out who won! The Queerties are streaming virtually on February 24, marking the first time that voters get to attend the award ceremony alongside the nominees.

Join hosts Heidi N. Closet and Queerty Editor-in-Chief Dan Tracer as they present a night full of star-studded surprises, including virtual red carpet appearances, winners’ acceptance speeches, special award presentations to Angelica Ross and Billy Eichner, and an exclusive musical performance from Bright Light Bright Light.

RSVP to watch now.

A UK court put the smackdown on homophobic ‘Color Purple’ actress / Queerty

A UK court put the smackdown on homophobic ‘Color Purple’

Seyi Omooba. Via YouTube

Seyi Omooba, the actress fired from a UK revival of The Color Purple over homophobic social media posts just suffered a major loss in a UK court. A judicial panel known as the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled against Omooba in a wrongful termination claim.

Omooba had filed the lawsuit following her termination from the Leicester Theatre Trust’s revival of the stage musical version of The Color Purple in 2019. The producers had sacked Omooba following the resurfacing of a Facebook post from 2014 in which she decried LGBTQ people as immoral. The producers felt that casting a homophobic actress as the character of Celie, a lesbian, would not suit the production. The theatre also offered to pay Omooba her full salary, but she refused. The actress then filed suit, claiming that her career had collapsed from the negative backlash. In court, Omooba sought £4,309 from the theatre plus a further £25,000 for damages to her career.

Related: Fired, homophobic ‘Color Purple’ actress sues; claims she’d never play a gay character

The BBC reports that a judicial tribunal found Omooba’s case unconvincing, and on February 17 rejected her claims of discrimination, harassment and breach of contract.

“In the view of the tribunal,” the court wrote in its opinion, “Mr. Stafford [Chris Stafford, chief executive of Leicester Theatre Trust] did not have the purpose of violating the claimant’s dignity or creating an intimidating or humiliating environment for her. His purpose was to save the production.”

“There is no financial loss because she would not have played the part,” the court said. “There is no loss of opportunity to enhance her reputation by performing, because she would not have played the part. If there is damage to her reputation, it was not caused by being dropped from the production but by an unconnected person’s tweeting… of her Facebook post and the outcry resulting from that.”

Attorneys for Omooba expressed their disappointment for the ruling, but have not ruled out options for appeal.

In her original Facebook post–later circulated on Twitter by actor Aaron Lee Lambert–Omooba expressed her disapproval of homosexuality, writing: “I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexuality is right, though the law of this land has made it legal doesn’t mean its right.” Following the controversy over her firing, it also came to light that her father, pastor Adegboyega Omooba, advocates for gay conversion therapy.

Based on the novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple debuted on Broadway in 2005, and would run for three years. The show also received 11 Tony Award nominations, winning one.  A 2015 Broadway revival of the show won two Tony Awards in 2015, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress for future Oscar-nominee Cynthia Erivo.

Perez Hilton says he’s sorry for tormenting Britney Spears, says people need to be more forgiving / Queerty

Perez Hilton says he’s sorry for tormenting Britney Spears, says

Perez Hilton says he feels really, really, really bad about all the horrible terrible things he’s ever said about Britney Spears.

“I regret a lot or most of what I said about Britney,” the out blogger told Good Morning Britain this week, “as I’m sure Piers [Morgan] would if he were her about things he’s said in the past.”

“Thankfully, hopefully, many of us get older and wiser,” he added.

The celebrity gossip blogger was talking about the recent documentary Framing Britney Spears, which documented the years of abuse the pop princess suffered at the hands of fans, her father, the media, and, of course, Perez himself.

During Britney’s apex, he would regularly mock her alleged addiction issues, accused her of being an unfit mother, circulated rumors about a bogus sex tape, and, in 2008, shortly after actor Heath Ledger died, marketed a t-shirt with an image from Brokeback Mountain along with the phrase “Why couldn’t it have been Britney?”

“I think a lot of people just want to blame this person and that person, and it’s not as simple as that,” Perez said.

Related: Neil Patrick Harris recalls that time Perez Hilton launched a campaign to out him

In a followup interview with the podcast Chanel In The City with Chanel Omari, he claimed to have apologized to Spears last year for everything that he did.

“I have also apologized privately recently before the documentary, I don’t want to get into details, but I did apologize to Britney recently,” Perez told Omari.

After saying he didn’t want to “go into details,” he then went into details, saying he suffered an “emotional break” in December and decided to reach out to the singer.

“One of the things that I wanted to do, my idea, not even my therapist’s was, I felt it was important for me. It’s kind of like the things that people often do in 12 step programs. You know, they’ll, they’ll reach out to people that they have wronged and apologize,” he explained.

“Even though I had apologized before, there’s nothing wrong with apologizing again or differently. So I did. And she was one of the few people that I reached out to in December.”

Speaking about apologies, in general, Perez said, “It seems like so many people don’t want to give others the opportunity to be remorseful and sincere and grow and learn from their mistakes.”

Related: Perez Hilton can’t find a date, claims “the overwhelming majority of gay men don’t like me”

You’re invited to the 2021 Queerties, feat. Angelica Ross, Billy Eichner, Bright Light Bright Light & more! / Queerty

You’re invited to the 2021 Queerties, feat. Angelica Ross, Billy

While we’ll certainly miss seeing all the incredible Queerties nominees in person this year, there’s one silver lining to hosting a live-streamed awards show in 2021 — everyone gets to attend!

Consider this your official invitation to join the first-ever virtual Queerties Awards Show presented by Lexus, recognizing the year’s best in LGBTQ culture. And it wouldn’t be an awards show without some very special guests.

RuPaul’s Drag Race star and “Future All-Star” nominee Heidi N. Closet will co-host the evening alongside Queerty’s Dan Tracer, announcing winners in everything from Film/TV to drag to social media. You can find a full list of categories and nominees here.

They’ll be joined by two very special honorees — Pose star Angelica Ross will accept the Groundbreaker Award, and Billy Eichner will receive the MVP Award for inspiring a get-out-the-vote campaign while staying safe throughout the pandemic.

The show will also feature a performance from Bright Light Bright Light, and appearances by Nicco Annan, James Bland, Isis King, Jai Rodriguez, Cameron Esposito, Shangela, Jinkx Monsoon, BenDeLaCreme, Willam, Alaska, HBO’s Veneno star Isabel Torres and many more.

The ceremony will stream live at 6pm PST / 9pm EST on February 24 at Queerty.com as well as on Revry (including Revry’s third-party channels on Samsung TV Plus, Roku Channels, Xumo, Stirr, Apple TV). You can also find it on Queerty’s Facebook and YouTube pages. 

Head here to RSVP, and we’ll see you on the red carpet!