My Complex Feelings On Gal Gadot and Kate McKinnon’s SNL Make-Out Session.

You would not believe how many GIFs there are of just this one scene.
Source: Buzzfeed

People dress up as superheroes for Halloween, Right? This is TOTALLY a Halloween post!

Sorry, I promise I’ll get to the spooky stuff eventually. But October has been super eventful and I want to talk on this now while it’s still relevant.

So, recently on SNL, Gal Godot got to host the show and did a whole skit reprising her now iconic role as Princess Diana of Themyscira, AKA; Diana Prince, AKA; Wonder Woman. In it, SNL regulars Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon play a lesbian couple who set out for Themyscaira – the island home of the Amazons – believing it to be a lesbian utopia only to be quickly disappointed when they find that the Amazons just aren’t that into it. The skit ends with Diana and McKinnon’s character making-out just to reassure themselves that there are no feelings between them.

I have A LOT of feelings on this skit; most of them contradictory.

Starting with the negatives, I was a little off-put at the stereotypical butch lesbian characters (apologies if these are recurring characters; I typically don’t watch this show). I logically get WHY they made them this way; sketch comedy doesn’t provide time to flesh out characters very well and so writers have to rely on visual stereotypes to get the point across as quickly as possible. Still, I can’t help but wonder how many LGBT women were as uncomfortable with the archetype as I was. Not to mention that the big Godot/McKinnon kiss smacks of pandering to the surprisingly massive overlap between DC Comics fans and lesbian fetishists (seriously, almost every woman in the DC Universe is written as at least bi-curious these days).

But the more I looked at it and the more I thought about Wonder Woman’s lore, the more sense it made to me.

The initial reaction of the Amazons not knowing what Bryant and McKinnon were talking about almost makes too much sense. These are a race of ageless, immortal Demigoddesses that have lived apart from men since they escaped from the clutches of Hercules (the armbands Diana wears are actually their old iron shackles that the wear as a reminder of why they distrust men) that don’t need to have intercourse to maintain their population (depending on the continuity, Diana was literally made from the clay of the earth). They probably have a limited concept of sexuality PERIOD, let alone heterosexuality v. homosexuality.

What really gets me though is how Diana acknowledges, “… I love all my sisters,” and how the Amazons clearly understand the idea of romantic attraction. This means that they, and the scriptwriters by extension, recognize one of the things I’ve been preaching since I came out as asexual; the divide between sexual orientation and romantic orientation. In all reality, it’s quite likely that the norm for the Amazons is not homosexual like many imagine, but asexual homoromantic. In fact, Diana would be the outlier here as the only biromantic Amazon.

Oh, and I would be remised to forget that the actresses all did fine jobs with their roles (was it just me or were McKinnon and Godot REALLY good at performing a genuinely sensual make-out scene?).

Anyway, I’m just having fun overthinking entertainment. I feel that, despite a few missed steps, this skit did its job of providing visibility to the LGBT+ spectrum while being legitimately funny. In fact, I may actually start watching the show to see what else I’ve been missing should my schedule allow it.

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Why Undyne and Dr. Alphys Are The Best LGBT Couple In Gaming Today

If the game were less politically correct, I suspect Sans would have made jokes about Alphys “sleeping with the fishes.”
Source: tomatomagica.tumblr.com

So, per the suggestion of many reviews, friends, and YouTube Gamers, I finally got my hands on Undertale and I’m enjoying the trip. It’s easy to see why it’s indie gaming gold; it’s a story of hope and determination where every choice you make has weight and there’s no wrong way to play it. You can even go through the whole thing without raising your weapon once and relying on judicious diplomacy and kind gestures if you’re a dedicated nice guy.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a memorable game without some emotional moments. Moments that I’d like to talk about at great length, but if it’s one thing that all the hype around Undertale has taught us, it’s that it’s best experienced coming in fresh. So, I’m only going to spoil ONE aspect of ONE of the story’s paths in order to talk about the game’s most adorable couple.

A good chunk of the story is dedicated to two characters – Undyne; the fish-like head of the Royal Guard who pursues you initially, and Dr. Alphys; a reptilian scientist studying the very nature of what the game refers to as SOULs.

As the game progress (provided you don’t stray from the pacifistic route and kill either of them, you monster), you learn that the two are very close friends and that Alphys has deep affections for Undyne that she fears are unrequited. However, play your cards right, and you’ll see these two finally admit their love for each other and go on their first date.

Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t any meaningful LGBT characters in gaming; it’s just that they don’t seem to carry as much gravitas. Transgender characters like Birdo and Vivian exist in the Mario games but offer very little other than simply acknowledging they exist. And if they do offer something more, it’s often lost in western translation.

I once dedicated nearly a third of an article to gay and bisexual characters in Borderlands 2, but while they may have been intentionally written that way, there’s the nagging feeling that such commentary on LGBT rights might have only come about due to time and budget constraints preventing the unique character interactions based on gender.

Undyne and Alphys don’t have such concerns surrounding them. They are a legit lesbian couple and their relationship is treated just like any other romance.

There are several other aspects that make this relationship beautiful. For one, it’s easy to forget that neither of these two fit the standard definitions of beauty. Undyne is an intimidating, muscular, almost amazonian woman with a face like Lord Voldemort had sex with a disgruntled great white shark. Meanwhile, Alphys is short, timid, overweight, and suffers from a noticeable overbite. This, along with their monster-like qualities, makes it much harder to sexualize their relationship (not that the internet hasn’t tried) and brings their romance to the forefront.

What’s more, there’s a darker story that fuels their passion. Alphys’ SOUL experiments have led to the unintentional creation of many nasty characters in the game leaving her filled with guilt. It’s even suggested that she might be suicidally depressed by her failures. You quickly start to realize that someone like Undyne gives her something to keep working for and saves her from her spirit-crushing sadness; She’s LITERALLY her knight in shining armor.

Undyne and Alphys have one of, if not the most beautiful love story in gaming history and their existence is a sign that the medium is still moving forward. Here’s hoping for a sequel where they hand out the wedding invites.

It Has Only Begun: What To Expect After Marriage Equality

Can we just leave those lights on? It really brightens up the place.
Source: US Magazine

 

June 26th of 2015 will forever be remembered as one of the single biggest victories for the LGBT community in American history. This is the day that the Supreme Court ruled that no state can make any law forbidding same-sex couples from marrying.

As a citizen of one of the first states to legally recognize gay marriage (New Hampshire was 5th behind Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont) and someone with quite a large number of gay, lesbian, and transgender friends, this news raises my spirits enough to still have enough faith in the world to keep charging forward.

That being said, the job is far from done.

Just because same-sex marriage is protected by law does NOT mean other people are willing to accept it. In many ways, the problem of homophobia is likely to become more insidious.

Those that oppose gay couples have already started pushing back; some in ridiculous ways. When those people start perceiving this change as a threat to them (it isn’t, but that’s how change is handled by those who don’t accept it), they will start reacting in more aggressive and bolder ways. As uncomfortable as it may be to think about it, some may even take drastic measures and we may see a spike in violence toward LGBT people as a response to this victory.

Now. It’s possible that this may not happen and same-sex opponents may accept that they were on the wrong side. However, we have to expect that this is a very real possibility. In a world where wars are still sparked over religious hate and racism persists long after anti-discrimination laws are passed, it’s not unrealistic to expect some people to be more active in their use of homophobic language or give more accusatory stares when “the wrong couple” walks into a room.

This is by no means to diminish the victory that has been won. We have every right to celebrate the fact that our government is now obligated to recognize the right of it’s citizens to love whomever they choose.

What I AM saying is that we can’t let this victory make us complacent. We have a long fight left ahead of us and we can’t lower our arms just yet. The ruling in the Supreme Court was a painfully close 5-4 decision showing that tough opposition still lingers.

Homophobia still lives and we can’t rest until we wipe it of the face of the earth. Things may be getting better, but we can make them better still.

Memoirs Of A “Queer” Journalist

Source: HowStuffWorks

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to be a citizen of the United States of Fabulous.
Source: HowStuffWorks

October 11th marks National Coming Out Day, an important day of civil awareness for the LGBT community. It’s a chance for the community to share their stories with others and give other gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people – among others with lifestyles other than hetero-normative – the confidence in their identity to be open in public.

Since I am an avid supporter of LGBT rights and an open pan-romantic asexual, I felt a social obligation to answer some questions that people may have about coming out, as well share my own coming out story on this special day.

Why Is Coming Out Important?

I’m sure a lot of straight people wonder why it’s so important for gay people to announce it to people. I’ve actually heard several people ask, “Why can’t they just keep it to themselves? Wouldn’t it be easier for them to not come out?”

This way of thinking ignores just how stressful being forced to hide one’s true nature can be. And make no mistake, it IS being forced to hide. Let me put it this way; are you familiar with the feeling you get when you’re at work and feel really stressed out because you can’t joke with customers and coworkers the way you do with your friends or you just feel lousy and can’t talk about it to anyone there? Well, imagine never being able to go home to be yourself around friends and family and you have the average stress levels of a “closet” LGBT person.

It’s also important to note that some people see coming out as a sort of rite of passage. Being able to be open about your orientation is a symbol of growth and emotional strength. It’s similar to the feeling you had when you got your first job or earned your driver’s license.

How And When Should I Come Out?

This is one of the most challenging questions an LGBT person will ever ask themselves. The problem comes from the fact that every person is under a radically different set of circumstances. If you want to come out, you need to consider how people will react and how it may affect all parties involved. Remember: this will be just as much of a shocking and tense moment for them as it will be for you.

There are many ways to come out. You can try coming out to a closer friend or family member that you can trust your secrets to and ask them for advice before coming out to the person you want to come out to. You might also try coming out through a letter, text, or email so that you both have time to consider your words so neither of you says something you’ll regret in the future. The method you choose is based solely on your comfort.

Most importantly, you should never feel like you’re on a timer. There is absolutely no perfect time to come out. The only perfect time is when you are comfortable and ready to make the call yourself.

My story

I consider myself very fortunate as I feel my coming out was much easier than most. That said, that’s not to say that there weren’t difficulties.

The first problem was just understanding who I was and forming an identity. I knew I wasn’t gay or bisexual because I had no real interest in sex (sex, in my experience, made many a relationship much too complicated to manage). But at the same time, I couldn’t deny the fact that I found many people – male, female, transgender, and otherwise – attractive both physically and on a basis of personality.

Fortunately, I had discovered a great circle of friends in college that I could talk to about my identity crisis. They introduced me to the concepts that I use to identify myself today. This act of coming out to myself finally let me feel like I had a place in the world that I belonged.

The next step was to tell my parents. This was important to me because I never want to keep secrets from my own mother and father; It just felt dishonest. I was lucky enough to have been born to two very understanding human beings that I could speak to directly. In fact, I recall working it into a discussion on the show The Big Bang Theory claiming that the character of Dr.Sheldon Cooper had a similar identity (and we’re both unintentional braggarts at times).The most difficult part was explaining to them what pan-romantic meant.

Now, here I am on a global forum with the courage and force of character to announce who I am without shame. It’s my hope that everybody learns to welcome those different from them and that those different people will have the courage to be themselves without worrying about their present company.

If you are reading this and you’re one of the people scared of the changing world around you and the people that live in it or are just afraid that you don’t fit in anywhere because of how you identify yourself, know that I understand how unnerving those feelings can be and that I made this blog to help educate those who are confused about something and just need a friendly guiding hand.

Also know that, even though I may have never met you and I probably never will, I want to be a friend to the world and that I truly and unconditionally love you all.