Top image from Transposes, by Dylan Edwards
By Arturo R. García
Science fiction author, futurist, essayist and literary critic Samuel R. Delany was honored at this past weekend’s Nebula Awards as the 30th writer to be bestowed the title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in celebration of his body of work.
“This award astonishes me, humbles me, and I am honored by it,” Delany was quoted as saying after the honor (formally known as the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award) was formally announced late last year. “It recalls to me — with the awareness of mortality age ushers up — the extraordinary writers who did not live to receive it: Roger Zelazny, Joanna Russ, Thomas M. Disch, Octavia E. Butler — as well, from the generation before me, Katherine MacLean, very much alive. I accept the award for them, too: they are the stellar practitioners without whom my own work, dim enough, would have been still dimmer.”
By Arturo R. García
Our colleagues at Racebending passed along this video of their panel from the recent C2E2 event in Chicago, “Diverse Means for Diverse Worlds,” which discusses how creators make the realms in their work hew closer to the diversity we encounter in everyday life.
Moderated by Gabrial Canada, the panel includes:
(Batgirl, Megalopolis, The Movement, Red Sonja)
A few excerpts from the panel:
Onli on fans’ power as consumers:
“You guys have all the power to go to any vendor and say, ‘Um, how come this graphic novel collection on the shelf is not as diverse as what I see when I go to iTunes and look at music? When you go to iTunes, there’s more going on than The Beatles. So what are we talking about? Spider-Man kind of hit when the Beatles did. Superman hit when, who, Benny Goodman hit? Batman hit when Public Enemy No. 1 was James Cagney. So, their music isn’t stuck like that, right?
Liu on battling artistic misconceptions regarding characters:
I’ve actually specifically had to request people of color in the books, like in the script. Because if I don’t, the assumption is that everyone’s gonna be white. And so I’ll say, ‘No, this character is biracial, she’s Black.’ And I’ll get the colors back and she’ll be white. And I’ll be like, ‘She’s black.’ And they’ll be like, ‘Okay.’ And then I’ll get colors back and she’ll look tan. I’ll be like, ‘You know what, we’re having this conversation a third time.’ It’s really weird, this resistance. There’s an incredible resistance — not sometimes, all the time to diversify and bring in people of color into these books.
Simone on inclusive “casting” in her work:
People talk all the time about, ‘Why do you have to put all these characters in your comics that are gay or that are, you know, a different race, just let it happen organically. Well, the truth is, we didn’t get to where we were with so many straight white characters organically. Decisions were made for decades that that’s how it was gonna be. So, we can’t wait around for an organic thing to happen, even if there is such a thing. It takes people making decisions, doing the work, getting the work out there, and above all, people supporting those works.”
Overall, a solid discussion and a good watch and/or listen for you if you’ve got just under an hour to spare today.
By Arturo R. García
University of Massachusetts guard Derrick Gordon announced to the public on Wednesday — after telling his parents and teammates — that he is a gay man, becoming the first gay male NCAA basketball player.
“I know what it’s like to cry yourself to sleep or ‘have a girlfriend’ when that’s not your girlfriend, just to try and impress your friends,” Gordon said in video published by Outsports on the day of his announcement. “Nobody should have to try to live like that.”
Though his opening up to his teammates was by all accounts positive, the road there appears to have been rough for Gordon.
It wasn’t that long ago when we were being told that black players couldn’t play in “our” games because it would be “uncomfortable.” And even when they finally could, it took several more years before a black man played quarterback. Because we weren’t “comfortable” with that, either.
So many of the same people who used to make that argument (and the many who still do) are the same people who say government should stay out of our lives. But then want government in our bedrooms.
I’ve never understood how they feel “comfortable” laying claim to both sides of that argument. I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay; I don’t understand his world. But I do understand that he’s part of mine.
- As aired on WFAA-TV, Feb. 10
By Arturo R. García
After getting scooped by Sports Illustrated when Jason Collins announced he was gay last year, ESPN maneuvered itself into being perhaps the most visible outlet for Missouri University star Michael Sam’s own public coming-out over the weekend. But even if the network appears to be going all-in with the story, there’s some interesting pockets of silence around him thus far.
For starters, it should be noted that the announcement was not made on the network’s flagship football show, NFL Countdown. Instead, ESPN’s critically-lauded newsmagazine, Outside The Lines, broke the story along with the New York Times and Outsports. OTL specializes in big-picture, human interest stories (it recently reported [trigger warning] on the university’s apparent mishandling of a swimmer’s mental health and sexual assault) and Chris Connolly did ably cover at least some of the immediate questions surrounding the road ahead for Sam.
But it’s been nearly two days since Sam’s announcement, and we haven’t heard from Countdown host Chris Berman or his lieutenant of sorts, senior analyst Tom Jackson. The only member of the Countdown cast who has been featured in ESPN’s coverage as of Tuesday evening is correspondent Chris Mortensen.
Meanwhile, SI reported that Sam’s announcement is already cause for concern among league administrators.
“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” said an NFL player personnel assistant. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”
All the NFL personnel members interviewed believed that Sam’s announcement will cause him to drop in the draft. He was projected between the third and seventh rounds prior to the announcement. The question is: How far will he fall?
“I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down,” said a veteran NFL scout. “There’s no question about it. It’s human nature. Do you want to be the team to quote-unquote ‘break that barrier?’”
And the thing is, Sam is as close to an “ideal candidate” for this moment in history as you can ask for: He was co-Defensive Player of the Year in the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference, for a team that finished in the Top 10 nationally, and was projected to be picked in the third or fourth round of the draft. So for Sam not to get picked would be really suspicious, to say the least.
But what do you think about the Michael Sam story thus far?
[Top Image via Michael Sam Facebook page.]
Shadow & Act big ups the phenomenal work being done by black women documentarians. Out of 151 Academy Award-qualifying documentaries (admittedly a large pool), more than five were directed by black women, including Free Angela and All Political Prisoners by Shola Lynch and Valentine Road by Marta Cunningham. Jai Tigget writes, “…black documentary filmmakers – and black women in particular – are doing groundbreaking work that continues to be overlooked even within the doc and independent film space. The films listed above have been awarded and recognized widely on the film festival circuit, but many are still struggling to get mentioned on the shortlists that will push them towards serious Oscar consideration.”
Also included among the qualifying documentaries by black women, Yoruba Richen’s The New Black, about race, sexuality, and the black church.
By Guest Contributor Monica Roberts; originally published at TransGriot
Since Brazilian trans models have been ripping up the runways around the world since the 1980s; sex reassignment surgery in the country is free courtesy of the national health plan; and a Brazilian trans beauty pageant sends its winner to Thailand all expenses paid to compete in Miss International Queen, Brazil seems, on the surface, to be a friendly haven for trans people.
But for those of us who have been attending Transgender Days of Remembrance (TDOR) over the last few years, it’s been fairly obvious that my Brazilian trans sisters are catching hell.
If you are of Afro-Brazilian descent and trans it’s even worse, as this year’s TDOR, approaching on November 20, and a perusal of Eduarda Santos’ Transfofa em Blog, documenting what’s happening in Brazil, will sadly demonstrate.
Global Rights.org recently released a report documenting what’s happening to my Afro-Brazilian trans sisters, and it’s not a pretty picture.
An annual report by Grupo Gay de Bahia (Gay Group of Bahia) or GGB, a leading national organization in Brazil combating anti-TBLG violence against LGBTI Brazilians noted that there was a 21% increase in murders directed at BTLG Brazilians between 2011 and 2012.
There was also a 5.6% increase between 2002 and 2010 in the number of homicides of Afro-Brazilians as they declined 24.8% amongst white Brazilians during the same period
The lack of Brazilian federal legislation to prevent violent acts based on sexual orientation or gender identity also has been a factor in fueling the anti-trans murders aimed at trans Afro-Brazilians.
You may wish to read this sobering Global Rights.org ‘Report On The Human Rights Situation Of Afro-Brazilian Trans Women‘ by clicking on the link.