Tag: story

Re-recorded Love Story and new Fearless album confirmed

Re-recorded Love Story and new Fearless album confirmed

Taylor Swift. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV)

Taylor Swift is dropping “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)”, a re-recorded take on her hit single, before an update to her 2008 album Fearless.

Swift appeared on Good Morning America to make a special announcement Thursday (11 February), announcing that the new “Love Story” would be released at midnight that same day.

“I’m so excited to share with you that tonight at midnight I’m putting out my version of my song ‘Love Story,’ which was originally on my album Fearless,” she said.

In a follow-up statement, Swift confirmed that alongside the release of “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)”, the entire Fearless (Taylor’s Version) album “is done and will be with you soon”.

“It has 26 songs including six never before released songs from the vault,” she wrote.

Speaking on Good Morning America, she explained: “I’ve now gone back and recorded those so that everyone will be able to hear not only the songs that made the album but the songs that almost made it.

“The full picture.”

Swift hasn’t officially confirmed a release date for the re-recorded Fearless, but fans think that, in classic Swift style, she hid the date within her statement.

With the post all written in lower case, sleuths were quick to spy that certain words have a capital letter lodged within them – when strung together in order, the capital letters say: “APRIL NINTH.”

The singer has been busy re-recording her first six albums after record executive Scott ‘Scooter’ Braun bought and sold the rights to her masters catalogue, or the original recordings of her music.

Taylor Swift teased snippet of new ‘Love Story’.

Fans were previously blessed with a teaser for the refurbished “Love Story” during an advertisement for dating website Match.com last year.

The version of “Love Song” heard in the advert leans heavily into the swoony country instruments of the original, answering the question of whether Swift’s re-recordings would be soundalikes or complete reinterpretations.

Swift was due to appear on daytime talk show Good Morning America where she said she would make a “surprise announcement”, fuelling fan speculation that the long-awaited “Love Story” remake would be coming out.

Swift, 31, previously told Good Morning America that re-recording her back catalogue – which spans more than a decade – has been an emotional journey for her.

“So far, of the ones I’ve recorded, I think it’s been the most fun doing ‘Love Story’ because the older music, my voice was so teenaged and I sometimes when I hear my older music and my older young teenage voice, it makes me feel like I’m a different singer now,” she said.

“So it’s been the most fun to re-record ones that I feel like I could actually possibly improve upon the song.”

Jewish Book Program Sending 14,000 Families with Toddlers a Free Two-Mom Story

Jewish Book Program Sending 14,000 Families with Toddlers a Free

PJ Library, which sends free books to families raising Jewish kids, has included a board book with a two-mom family in this month’s shipment to families with 1-year-olds—marking a striking change from how the organization handled a book with a two-dad family just a few years ago.

Havdalah Sky

PJ Library is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and unaffiliated with any Jewish movement, although they partner with organizations around the Jewish world. Subscribers receive free books each month, chosen by PJ Library, based on the age of their children. In 2014, PJ Library offered Elizabeth Kushner’s picture book The Purim Superhero, which stars a boy getting ready for the Jewish holiday of Purim. He happens to have two dads. Unlike their other titles, which they choose and send automatically, they only sent The Purim Superhero to families that specifically requested it. “Like it or not, parents in our community have differing opinions about same-sex marriage and how or when it is discussed with children,” wrote Harold Grinspoon Foundation trustee Winnie Sandler Grinspoon at the time. “… We think many families would love this book. Yet we know that there are some parents who would want to decide for themselves.” Even at the time, however, the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative movements of Judaism all supported marriage equality; only the Orthodox movement didn’t. Many were outraged that the book was treated differently from all others. The good news, though? The demand for the book was overwhelming. PJ Library ran out of copies within 36 hours and had to print additional ones.

Fast forward to this month, when PJ Library simply included Havdalah Sky: A Poem for the End of Shabbat, a board book by Chris Barash and illustrated by Sarita Rich, in its shipments to all subscriber families with one-year-old children in the U.S. and Canada. A publicist working with them told me that over 14,000 families have received the book. On its blog post announcing the pick, PJ Library wrote, “Our committee also loved that this book depicts a family with two moms. PJ Library strives to include books that represent all our families, and Havdalah Sky is an excellent contribution to that mission.”

What a difference a few years (and a little outrage) makes. Additionally, PJ Library now says it is “actively soliciting manuscripts that show and celebrate” a variety of diverse Jewish and interfaith identities, including “LGBTQIA+ people and families.”

Havdalah Sky itself is a gentle rhyming board book, told from a child’s perspective, as she, her two moms, and a pair of grandparents observe Havdalah, the short ceremony that ends Shabbat each week. After the requisite three stars are seen in the sky, a candle is lit; the grandfather (Saba) blesses the wine; Mama holds a container of sweet-smelling spices; the grandmother (Savta) watches the candle flame. The other mother, Ima (Hebrew for “mother”) plays the guitar and the child claps along, then the ceremony ends as the grandparents extinguish the candle in the wine cup, marking the end of the holiest day of the week. To end the evening, the child and her moms watch out the window as the child bids good night to the Havdalah sky. On the cover, one of the moms has very pale skin; the other mom and the child are just a shade darker. In the book’s interior, the dim room in which Havdalah is observed makes everyone’s skin a very light tan.

I love that, as in The Purim Superhero, the fact that this family has same-sex parents is entirely incidental to this soothing tale. I also love that Havdalah Sky shows extended family and the sharing of tradition across the generations, and adds to the small number of LGBTQ-inclusive books that depict families of faith. (Not that I’m particularly observant myself, although I am Jewish; I just don’t like it when LGBTQ and faith identities are always placed in opposition.)

Unfortunately, the book isn’t (yet) available to non-PJ Library subscribers, but PJ Library does tend to offer its books individually through the major online bookstores, so stay tuned. In the meantime, though, you can watch it being read in this Facebook video.

Bonus fun fact: Families with 3-year-olds received Here is the World, by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Susan Gal (Abrams), in their January PJ Library shipments. It’s a lovely book about the yearly cycle of Jewish holidays. While there’s no LGBTQ content in it, Newman is of course the author of several LGBTQ-inclusive picture books, including the famed Heather Has Two Mommies.

Second bonus fun fact: Havdalah Sky isn’t the first book to show a two-mom family celebrating Havdalah. The 1986 book Chag Sameach! (Happy Holiday!), by Patricia Schaffer, about the Jewish holidays, did so as well. The text doesn’t specify them as a couple, but professor and librarian Jamie Campbell Naidoo includes the title in his authoritative Rainbow Family Collections reference book—and they sure look like a couple to me. (Chag Sameach! feels dated now, though; I mention it only as a historic note.)

Want to sign up to receive PJ Library free books monthly? Do so here. Children 8 and under receive PJ Library’s picks; those 9 to 12 may select their own (from a few options) through the sister service PJ Our Way.

Extra bonus note: Today also marks the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat, the “New Year of the Trees” that is today often celebrated as a Jewish Arbor Day or Earth Day. For the holiday, PJ Library has launched a “Plant for Tomorrow” matching donation campaign to help plant tens of thousands of trees for future generations and help with critical reforest efforts. All proceeds will go to the National Forest Foundation (NFF). Each dollar contributed through PJ Library’s campaign through the end of January will help plant one native tree. PJ Library will match donations up to a total of $50,000, and NFF will plant trees where they are most needed.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story

What does being queer look like for South Asian womxn? We never knew. We grew up thinking we were the only queer Brown womxn because LGBTQ+ representation was (and still is) heavily Western-normative and constructs a gay narrative that isn’t conducive to South Asian culture. I repressed my queerness by age 14 for safety reasons, but ventured into the LGBTQ+ scene when it became possible to “live a double life.” I was—and still am—constantly heterosexualized by a colonial gaze due to my Desi features and Brown body. This turned the pride for my Gujarati roots into shame, and pressured me into assimilating. The microaggressions grew stronger, as I was unable to fully disassociate from South Asianness without being exiled from my culture. The inability to be queer in culturally conducive ways was extremely invalidating, invisibilizing and infuriating.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

In 2018, I participated in Pride Toronto’s Dyke March wearing my “not all lesbians are white” shirt to contest the assimilationist narrative of queer spaces. A year later, I was connected to a fellow queer activist who had seen me at that March, and was inspired to decolonize her own sexuality. And here we are now—rejecting assimilationist queer rhetoric together.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

This set of photographs signifies and celebrates the blossoming into my queer South Asian self without compromising either identity; peaceful acceptance that I may never be able to ‘come out’ to my family as anything but an activist; and achievement of self-love and happiness.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

To anyone who needs to hear this: You are valid without performing Western-normative sexuality. You are not living a lie if you are not out. Anyone who says otherwise is reproducing colonial ideologies.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

“We’re both second generation and grew up in different regions surrounding Toronto. We share an alike story—we both had a strong sense of Desi identity growing up, repressed our queerness at a young age due to an inability to conceptualize it at the axis of queer invisibility in South Asian culture and South Asian invisibility in culture, and felt like the only queer brown person ever. The pressure to assimilate and shame for our Desi identities intensified upon entering mainstream LGBTQ+ spaces.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

It took us about a decade to finally meet another queer South Asian womxn, but it finally happened. At PrideToronto 2018’s Dyke March, Praanee saw Alyy challenging assimilationist narratives in queer spaces by wearing a “not all lesbians are white” shirt. A year later, at PrideToronto 2019, she saw Alyy on a mutual friend’s IG story and asked for a formal introduction.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

We immediately bonded over our alike narrative, individual work within LGBTQ+ communities, and strong emotional attachment to our queer Desi siblings that we’ve never met. Importantly, we finally had enough people to hit the ground running for the QSAW network (yes, two was all we needed, and we are still lovingly bringing on anyone else across Canada that wants to volunteer). Our wholehearted goal is to create the anti-assimilationist visibility that we never had.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

It took us about a decade to negotiate our intersectional identities, and accept that we may never be able to ‘come out’ to our families as anything but activists—but we are here now. This is what our queerness looks like. This is what our South Asianness looks like. This is what our Queer and South Asian identity looks like—and we proudly embrace it.”—Alyy and Praanee

Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

Makeup artist: Shobia 


“Last Night at the Telegraph Club” Is a Dazzling Lesbian Love Story and So Much More

"Last Night at the Telegraph Club" Is a Dazzling Lesbian

I don’t cover a lot of young adult fiction here; the other age groups keep me busy enough. I’m making an exception today, however, not only because I happen to know the author, but because the book is a rare YA novel that I found myself reading for my own sake, not just with an eye to how it would impact younger readers. It’s the queer historical fiction novel I never knew I wanted.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club - Malinda Lo

Last Night at the Telegraph Club, by Malinda Lo (Dutton – Amazon

; Bookshop) is set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1954. Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu lives with her immigrant parents and is active in the Chinese American community, but finds herself also looking beyond it. She wants to study rocket science, inspired by an aunt who worked as one of the women “calculators” for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. (The character is fictional, but the calculators were real.) And one day, Lily joins Kath, a White friend from her public high school, in sneaking off to the Telegraph Club, a lesbian bar with performances by a charismatic male impersonator (whom we would today call a “drag king”). Lily and Kath’s own relationship begins to bloom, even as the anti-Communist “Red Scare” tactics of Joseph McCarthy threaten Lily’s family’s security in this country.

I won’t go into more of the plot, for fear of spoilers, but suffice it to say that I found the story and the ending wonderfully satisfying. There’s just so much to like about this novel. Lo’s details about the Chinese American community and the lesbian community of the time are deeply researched but smoothly interwoven into the story; I could almost smell the foods she describes and the cigarette smoke in the bar. She captures the longing of first love and the uncertainty of coming out without making them into clichés. She writes with thoughtfulness about the tension between immigrant parents and their children who have grown up in America, without making Lily’s parents into caricatures. In fact, the parents’ stories, and how they impact their hopes and expectations for Lily, form an important thread of their own. Lo also shows how Lily encounters microaggressions even from the women at the Telegraph Club; she is keenly aware of the complexities of intersectionality. The serious topics never come across as pedantic, though; they are all just different threads of Lily’s identities and experiences, which combine to make her who she is and shape her interactions with the world.

Young queer teens deserve this lovely coming-of-age love story; they deserve the knowledge that queer people have a history that predates Stonewall and that our lives were (and are) as bound up as anyone’s in the social and political happenings of their community and country. They also deserve books that are as masterfully crafted as this one. I also wholeheartedly recommend it to adult readers looking for a queer love story or historical novel. Would that there had been books like this when we were growing up.

Lo and I went to the same college, but at different times; we’ve had some interaction through the queer alum group and I admit to some bias towards her writing. Don’t just take my word about the book, though; it’s gotten rave reviews everywhere I’ve looked. Shortlist this one for all the awards.

Watch Lo read a passage and talk about her inspirations for the book and some of the real history (and photos!) behind it, and share info about upcoming virtual events:

(As an Amazon Associate and as a Bookshop Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

A Doctor, a Soldier, and a Transgender Man: Picture Book Tells Story of Dr. James Barry

A Doctor, a Soldier, and a Transgender Man: Picture Book

A picture book biography offers an inspiring portrait of Dr. James Barry, a 19th-century British surgeon and soldier who was assigned female at birth but lived his life as a man.

Were I Not a Girl - Lisa Robinson

Were I Not a Girl, by Lisa Robinson, illustrated by Lauren Simkin Berke (Schwartz & Wade Books), first asks us to “Imagine living at a time when you couldn’t be the person you felt you were inside.” James Barry, we learn, “refused to let that happen.”

Barry was born in Ireland around 1789, and given a girl’s name. Girls at the time were not sent to school and could not own property or hold most jobs. “Were I not a girl, I would be a soldier,” Barry wrote. After Barry’s father abandoned the family, Barry (still living as a young woman) and his mother fled to London, but Barry was too uneducated to find work as a governess. He was eventually was taught by a friend of the family, and developed the desire to become a doctor.

Barry then “took charge,” shedding women’s clothing, cutting his hair, taking the name “James Barry,” and emerging as a man. After becoming a doctor and “quite a dandy,” he enrolled in the army and travelled the world, along the way delivering babies, fighting a duel, falling in love, and demanding proper care for people in prisons and hospitals. Eventually, he rose to be Inspector General of Hospitals in the army. His birth sex was found out when he died in his 70s.

We don’t know exactly how old he was when he died, however. That’s just one of many unanswered questions about Barry’s life, Robinson notes. As with much of history, sometimes “answers remain hidden.” What is clear, however, is that “James was living his truth.”

An afterward offers more details about Barry’s life as well as a discussion of what it means to be transgender. Robinson gives two other examples of early modern people who were assigned female at birth, lived as men to serve in the army, but then returned to living as women. Barry, in contrast, “strived to maintain that identity throughout his life,” making it likely that he was what we would now call transgender. Robinson uses female pronouns for Barry in the part of the book discussing his childhood, but switches to male ones once he transitions.

Berke’s illustrations capture muted 19th-century tones, brightened by the red of Barry’s army uniform. This project was “particularly meaningful,” they say in an Illustrator’s Note, since they identify as nonbinary, and the book “highlights that transgender people have always existed and were able to figure out how to succeed on their own terms.”

One fact seems wrong: In the afterward, Robinson says that in 1826, Barry performed “the first documented caesarean in which both the mother and the baby survived”—yet there was one (not by Barry) in 1794; I think the best we can say is that Barry might have done the first successful, documented one by a European surgeon in the British Empire (but I’m not enough of an expert to know if even that is correct).

That small point aside, I love this story, which blends a knowledge of the limits of history with a respectful desire to try and reflect Barry’s life as he saw it. Contrast this with Rough, Tough Charley, the 2007 book by Verla Kay about 19th-century stagecoach driver Charley Parkhurst, which calls Parkhurst “a woman in disguise” upon the deathbed reveal of his birth sex and uses female pronouns for him on the last page. Were I Not a Girl is much the better book for an LGBTQ-inclusive collection. Kudos, too, to the publisher, Schwartz & Wade (an imprint of Penguin Random House) for noting in its promotional blurb that Barry “would live a rich full life.” That’s a model transgender children today deeply deserve (and one that can benefit their cisgender peers as well).

Were I Not a Girl is in fact the second picture book published in 2020 about a historical figure whom we would today call a transgender man: The Fighting Infantryman, by Rob Sanders, tells the story of Albert D. J. Cashier, who fought in the U.S. Civil War. (Full review.) Let’s hope that these two titles, good as they are, aren’t the last.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Pastor wants kids taken to Drag Queen Story Hour removed from their parents / Queerty

Pastor wants kids taken to Drag Queen Story Hour removed

Pastor E.W. Jackson
Pastor E.W. Jackson (Photo: Vimeo)

A high-profile, right-wing pastor with a history of anti-LGBTQ statements has done it again.

Virginia’s E.W. Jackson runs his own radio show and streams via Facebook to his followers. On his Facebook show, “The Wisdom Meditation” last week, he discussed the Bible, but then went off on a tangent about Drag Queen Story Hour, which occurs in libraries around the country.

“This is child abuse to take these children to be entertained by these perverse individuals whose lives are a moral sewer,” Jackson, 68, said.

Related: Gay people can’t be judges as they can’t be ‘fair and objective’ says pastor

“You want to live that way, it’s a free country, live that way. If adults want to be a part of such gross, disgusting entertainment, you have a right to do that. But child abuse is what I would call taking children to see one of these freaks go through a whole lot of sexual garbage trying to instill this mess in the minds of toddlers and kindergartners.

“I have no patience with this mess,” the Protestant Minister continued. “That person needs God, that person needs to be saved, that person needs to be delivered. God wants that person to be a normal human being. A drag queen is not a normal human being.”

“And the stupid parents who take their children into this mess need to be dope slapped. They need to have their children taken away from them.

“Do you think toddlers and kindergartners are [asking] to go to Drag Queen Story Hour?,” Jackson asked.

“Taking your children to church is not abuse. It’s what God commands us to do. But taking your children to Drag Queen Story Hour is abuse of a magnitude that is hard to overstate. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the equivalent of pedophilia, and it should be treated the same way.”

Jackson has previously asserted that homosexuality is “unnatural” and “gross”. Earlier this year, he said that besides concerns over the coronavirus, families should worry about the spread of the “homovirus”: Or what he regards as the militant LGBTQ movement to destroy the traditional family unit.

Related: Beware the “homovirus” warns right-wing pastor in unhinged coronavirus rant 

In 2019, Jackson claimed that the United States would become a “homocracy” if Mayor Pete Buttigieg won the Presidency.

Jackson was the Republican Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in the 2013 election and a Republican primary candidate for the United States Senate in Virginia in the 2012 and 2018 elections. Although he commands a sizeable, grassroots following within the state, he failed in each of these election bids.

Audible Original tells story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read

Anne Bonny and Mary Read as Michelle Fox and Erin Doherty

Hell Cats is a new Audible Original about two queer pirates. (Audible)

Hell Cats tells the amazing true story of notorious female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and their queer romance that has been buried by history.

As young women in the 18th century, Bonny and Read defied every expectation placed on them.

Both were born out of wedlock and into poverty, and were raised as boys to give them a better chance in life.

But despite pressure from their families to become respectable members of society, the two women broke free, as the new Audible Original podcast Hell Cats reveals.

While Anne burned down her father’s slave plantation and, at just 18 years old, ran off to the Bahamas with her male lover, Mary continued to dress as a man to escape to sea and work on a ship.

Through dramatic twists of fate, Anne and Mary found their way to piracy and to each other.

Close-up of two women holding hands
Hell Cats is a thrilling tale of love, defiance and adventure. (Audible)

Embarking on an incredible adventure together, while also finding revenge on the men who had wronged them, the two pirates became possibly the most impressive power couple – and the most well-known female pirates – of all time.

Hell Cats, written by Carina Rodney and directed by Kate Saxon, captures the whirlwind drama of the pirates’ lives in a gripping tour de force of audio drama. The series immerses the listener in high-seas drama with a diverse cast of 52 voice actors.

Michelle Fox (Overshadowed, A Very English Scandal) plays Bonny, with Erin Doherty (The Crown, Les Miserables) as Read and Fisayo Akinade (Russel T Davies’ Cucumber and Banana) as Pierre Bouspeut.

 Anne Bonny and Mary Read as Michelle Fox and Erin Doherty
Anne Bonny and Mary Read are voiced by Michelle Fox and Erin Doherty. (Audible)

While the podcast series has healthy doses of treasure, duelling and swashbuckling, it also artfully explores themes of queer love, gender expression, equality and freedom.

It’s a poignant tale for queer listeners and an exciting piece of LGBT-storytelling, refreshingly different from the norm.

You can feel the action swirling around you as Bonny and Read subvert expectations, outsmarting law enforcement and leaving a line of scorned ex-lovers in their wake.

At its core Hell Cats is a story of two fearless queer women, bringing to life erased and forgotten LGBT+ history, and giving Bonny and Read the recognition they deserve.

Hell Cats is available exclusively on Audible, and an exclusive limited run of Hell Cats merch is available through Audible’s Instagram.


‘Seventeen’ tells story of secret lesbian crushes at boarding school – Lesbian.com

‘Seventeen’ tells story of secret lesbian crushes at boarding school

What happens when you fall in love with your best friend? Seventeen year old boarding school pupil Paula is secretly in love with her friend Charlotte. But Charlotte’s going out with Michael. Lovelorn, Paula decides to try and take her mind off things by getting involved with schoolmate Tim, whose feelings for her are genuine. And then there’s Lilli, who is just dying for someone to fancy her and tries to play the wild seductress. Paula must decide if she wants to follow her own feelings or yield to other people’s.

104 min
German with English Subtitles

Tags: Alexander Wychodil, Alexandra Schmidt, Anaelle Dézsy, Elisabeth Wabitsch, Indie film, Leo Plankensteiner, lesbian, lesbian movie, Lesbian.com, LGBT, LGBT film, monja art, seventeen, Wolfe Video

Posted & filed under Movies.

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