Category Archives: homophobia/transphobia

Shame: The Interracial Relationship, The Casting, The Homophobia

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

I saw Shame a couple of weeks ago with my homie Sarah Jaffe…and, on the real, I wanted to check out the flick because I wanted to see Michael Fassbender’s full frontal nudity. (And, considering how quick the box-office attendant was asking for photo IDs for this NC-17 flick, I guess quite a few under-17 others were trying to see the younger Magneto’s full frontal nudity, too.)

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT after the jump.

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Awkward Black Girl’s No-pology to Transgender Fans and Allies

By Andrea (AJ) Plaid

If you’ve seen the latest episode of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl (ABG), you probably caught J’s best friend Cece refer to White Jay’s ex as a “tr***y bitch in heels.” Or J’s co-worker Patty ask her if she’s “gay” because J cut her hair to a tweeny-weeny afro (TWA). Or J’s nemesis, Nina, asking her when did she “catch cancer” due to the new ‘do.

Some fans responded to the overt transphobic insult with an open letter on Crunk Feminist Collective Tumblr:

Dear Awkward Black Girl,

We love the show! We also love your continuous engagement with fans and your commitment to staying on the Web to maintain your vision. What we don’t love is the transmisogyny and misogyny in episode 11.

In episode 11, CeCe calls White Jay’s ex a “tra**y bitch in heels.” The word tra**y perpetuates violence and divisiveness amongst women by relying on the idea that trans women are not “real” women; it suggests that White Jay’s ex is somehow less than the main character J.

The word “tra**y” has a very real history of violence and discrimination, often targeting trans women. It has been used as a slur, as a way to objectify women, and as a way of denying the personhood of trans women on the basis of appearance.

We have seen your responsiveness to the fans of ABG and we hope that by raising this concern you will respond accordingly by not using such language in future episodes. There are so many awkward queer, trans, and disabled folks who love the show and it hurts to see and hear our lives used as punchlines. For those of us, the awkward black, queer folks who have lived at the intersections of our awkwardness, our blackness, and our transness, words like “tra**y” erase our lives, and our humanity. Phrases like “No lesbo” and the use of affected speech to imitate hard of hearing people detract from the vision of creating representations for the rest of us who are all too often maligned in mainstream media.

We look forward to many more episodes of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl that are hilarious without the use of marginalized groups as a punchline. We have confidence that you have the creativity to continue to push comedic boundaries in new ways and educate your audience in the process.

With fierce love,
alicia sanchez gill
Claire Nemorin
Moya Bailey
Kimberley Shults
Anonymous Awkward Others

Another tumblrer reblogged a tweet regarding the creators’ response to the Open Letter.

The initial Tumbl’d responses to this:

“This does not look promising.”

“hoping the response letter does not cause more pain.”

“well, shit. so much for finding a non-problematic show to love.”

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Not (Just) Another Queer Movie: The Racialicious Review Of Pariah

By Guest Contributor Spectra

Wait a minute, not all lesbians in movies are white, rich or middle-class with no bills to pay? You mean “life” doesn’t get put on pause so that all gay people can experience the thrill of coming out at summer camp? And, there are other LGBT issues worth talking about besides marriage? Gasp! And Hallelujah for Spike Lee protégé Dee Rees’ Pariah, a film women of color (and other marginalized groups) can truly relate to.

On the surface, Pariah is a coming of age story about an African-American lesbian, Alike (pronounced “Ah-LEE-kay”) in Brooklyn. But dig deeper, and you’ll see a smart and layered tackling of gender, sexuality, religion, and even class — an essential layer of complexity needed to accurately portray the diverse experiences of queer people of color, long been absent from mainstream LGBT films. Rather than depicting homophobia as the only kind of oppression experienced by the LGBT community, Pariah’s world is a varied socio-cultural landscape in motion featuring an all-POC cast, led by Nigerian actress Adepero Oduye’s performance as 17-year old Alike.

Pariah’s urban setting almost eliminates the need to discuss race at all (or, as in popular case of experiencing race through white characters, explain it). The audience is plopped, un-apologetically, right in the middle of a story filled with black characters, making way for intersectional observations about class and gender roles within the story’s cultural context.

SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT

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Why I Don’t Feel Welcome at Kotaku

By Guest Contributor Mattie Brice, cross-posted from Kotaku

Tamagotchi. Remember those?

They became popular when I was in 4th grade. Sometimes my mother took me to a nearby Target to pick a toy- she told me it was for good grades, but I knew it was because I got bullied often at school. One of these times, I raced to find a Tamagotchi, as all of my friends were getting them. I liked the idea of something with me at all times, to take care of it and make me feel like something needed me.

And there it was, a whole wall of glittering purple eggs. I remember that exact, uncreative display panel to this day, and my mother stopping me. She told me to wait, that my aunt wanted to get that for my birthday when she visited. I protested, but the answer was the same: be patient, you’ll get it soon enough. We went a week later and all of them were gone, sold out from every toy store in our area. For some reason that memory is lodged in my brain. I brought it up to my mother recently, but she’s forgotten.

The stray times I visit Kotaku, it’s like I’m seeing an empty panel that the reward for my sitting, smiling, and internalizing should be. I was supposed to find somewhere to escape to, maybe even a place that needed me a little. You told me to wait, and I did. Where’s my Tamagotchi?

There is only a wrong way to go about this. So let’s just get to why I’m here:

Me too.

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Tyrese Mansplains To ‘Too Independent’ Women

By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said

For the past few weeks, as part of my project exploring black women, relationships and marriage, I’ve been immersing myself in books, films, blog posts and other media on the subject. Last week I read Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man and am still trying to wash off the film and stink of patriarchy. I told my husband over the weekend that I am unbelievably proud of black women. As a group we are able to hold our heads high in the face of the relentless narrative that there is something wrong with us that needs to be fixed; that, for us, admirable qualities like independence, only make us more unlovable–a narrative not only championed by the mainstream, but, too often, by members of our own communities.

So, singer, actor and (God help us) author Tyrese decided to drop a little wisdom on the black lady folk during a recent interview with NecoleBitchie.com. (above) He warns us about being “too independent.”
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What The Hell Has Penn State Become?

By Arturo R. García

TRIGGER ALERT for subject matter relating to rape

For the sake of their safety, we don’t know the race, or any other identifying detail, of any of Jerry Sandusky’s alleged victims. But the tweet above is still right: what happened at Penn State University Wednesday night was about privilege. And it’s time sports fans started owning up to that.

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The Problems With Geek Girl Con – And Some Solutions

By Guest Contributor Christina Xu

A few weekends ago, I trekked out to Seattle for the first ever GeekGirlCon, a convention “dedicated to promoting awareness of and celebrating the contribution and involvement of women in all aspects of the sciences, science fiction, comics, gaming and related Geek culture”. Regina Buenaobra, a Filipina-America community manager at ArenaNet, had asked me to speak on a panel about race and gender in geek communities way back in May.

In her initial email to the panelists, she wrote:

The main reason I’ve sought to try and put together a panel like this is because the voices of POC should be heard in fandom circles, and there isn’t enough of this happening at larger nerd-oriented conventions. Since GeekGirlCon is a new convention, if they accept the submission, it has the potential to help set the tone of what kind of panels may appear at future incarnations at the convention.

Our panel was incredibly ambitious; we were promising to cover an impossibly enormous topic (race AND gender in ALL geek communities?) and, after Racialicious Editor-In-Chief Latoya Peterson canceled, we were left with an ironic lack of racial diversity among the panelists (though we were split between Filipina-American and Chinese-American). It took us a bit to get going, but by the end I was pretty pleased with the ground our panel had covered.
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