Tag Archives: lgbt

Why Star Trek: Discovery Matters for Representation

In various interviews about her “Star Trek” role, Whoopi Goldberg describes why she wanted to be on the show: Up until “Star Trek,” people of color weren’t included in any vision of the future. She grew up in an era of segregation, with high-profile murders of civil rights leaders and activists, and a renewed push to build Confederate monuments. In such a time representation in science fiction might seem unimportant, but for 9-year-old Whoopi, it meant the world. Over the years she’s been very clear about how much it meant to her to see Lt. Uhura—a black woman—on screen. But despite the progressive history of “Star Trek,” LGBTQ children have never had the opportunity to see themselves represented on the show until now. This week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” takes us inside the bedroom of a gay couple, putting their relationship front and center for the first time in the 50-year history of “Star Trek.”

“Star Trek” was groundbreaking for its representations of people of color and women. In addition to Nichelle Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura, George Takei played Lt. Sulu, who eventually becomes a captain, and Walter Koenig’s Ensign Pavel Chekov—at the height of the Cold War—showed a future where the Soviet Union was not an enemy. “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry wanted to show women in command; the original pilot had a female first officer, but the studio nixed it. The show was also groundbreaking for having one of the first interracial kisses on TV. “Star Trek” offered a view of the future that was so fundamentally different and inclusive that it inspired people about their possibilities.

None of this is meant to negate some of the very real problems with sexism and racism that did creep through. Women wore skirts and, according to one episode, were not allowed to be captains. And in one episode, Uhura’s mind was erased and she suddenly spoke Swahili. Those are relics of the era and mistakes we shouldn’t repeat. But the grand mission of “Star Trek”—to show a future where humanity has overcome racism, hatred and greed, and has united to expand our understanding of the universe—is one that is as necessary today as it was in the 1960s.

While “Star Trek” was a pioneer in depicting people of color and women, it’s been sadly behind the curve in its representation of queer communities. Of course, in the original series there wouldn’t have been LGBTQ representation. It was the beginning of the LGBTQ movement. The Stonewall Riots happened the month the show was canceled, and it would be another decade before Harvey Milk would burst onto the scene in San Francisco.

But by the 90s and early 2000s, when “Star Trek” had the opportunity to continue with Roddenberry’s progressive vision of the future and include LGBTQ people, it did not. The producers flirted with it; Roddenberry himself was supportive of an AIDS metaphor episode, which would have been fitting since one of the actors from the film series died from AIDS related causes around the same time. But the network scrapped that idea. An episode of “The Next Generation” did feature an agender species, and “Deep Space Nine” had two women kiss. This kiss was a big deal; it came two years before Ellen DeGeneres came out, and it generated more hate mail than most episodes. But despite efforts over many years to have a LGBTQ character on “Star Trek,” our communities were mostly left behind by the franchise.

More recently, the film reboots have retconned Sulu to be gay, with the introduction of a husband and child, seen from a distance in 2016. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of Sulu and his family in the fourth film, and while it was a very nice step for LGTBQ representation, it was also a very small aside.

Part of what got Whoopi Goldberg so excited about “Star Trek” was not only the existence of a black woman in that fictional world but the dignity with which she was treated:

“When I was 9 years old, ‘Star Trek’ came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mom, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”

Dignity is particularly important. LGBTQ people are often a punchline. Take a look at the recent remake of “Beauty and the Beast”; the gay character is a buffoon, someone to laugh at. Or producers will present a sexually charged scene with perfect bodies, meant more for eye candy than character development. And when it’s two women, it’s almost always directed for the male gaze. “Star Trek: Discovery,” however, takes us into the bedroom of a committed couple as they talk about their fears and their love for each other. It focuses specifically on an argument they have, centered on career and personal safety. This is a scene about them as people, whole and complete, struggling with what every other person struggles with. It affirms queer dignity, agency and love. It shows us that we make it to the 23rd century.

Before someone says “Of course you make it to the future,” just stop. The president of the United States made a joke about how the vice president would like to hang us all. He spoke at the conference of an actual real-life LGBTQ hate group this past weekend. Globally there are countries that still execute us. In the United States, poverty rates are higher for LGBTQ people, you can be fired in 28 states for being gay, and violence and hate crimes are on the rise. All of this is to say that we deserve to have a future to look forward to. We deserve to look at the TV and see ourselves portrayed with dignity—the way that Whoopi Goldberg and Martin Luther King Jr. did when they watched “Star Trek” in the 60s.

Growing up, I loved “Star Trek.” I discovered it when I was 6 or 7. It was the only show my mother allowed us to watch, because she too liked this vision for the future. My parents were going through a rather unpleasant divorce, and “Star Trek” offered a refuge, a stability in the future that I didn’t have in my daily life. I gravitated toward and saw myself most in the outsider characters—Spock, Data,  Odo and 7 of 9. I wasn’t quite represented; yes, there were white men, but none of them were quite like me. I recognize now that it was those characters’ struggle to fit in that I connected with. Ultimately, I felt alienated from the people and relationships portrayed in the media. Kids today who watch “Star Trek” don’t have to feel like outsiders; they get to be full people in the series.

Throughout the 80s, 90s and into the 21st century, television made huge strides in LGBTQ representation. “Designing Women,” “Will & Grace” and “Glee” saw LGBTQ storylines develop from one-off episodes to central plots of the series. Even science fiction, full of male bravado and, too often, toxic masculinity, managed to begin to include us before “Star Trek.” “Torchwood,” “True Blood,” “The Walking Dead” and others have had LGBTQ characters and storylines. The “Battlestar Galactica” web series outed a main character; the prequel series “Caprica” had a major gay relationship. And “Stargate” had a lesbian main character in 2009. Of course, there was no “Star Trek” during most of the era when sci-fi began including us.

This may seem small, but it’s affirming and it’s exciting. “Star Trek” has finally come into the modern era and made us a part of the future.


Asher Huey is a DC based progressive activist and organizer.

Prism Awards Finalists Announced!

Prism Comics and the Queer Comics Expo have announced the finalists for the first annual Prism Awards! The Prism Awards are being established this year (2017) to recognize, promote and celebrate diversity and excellence in the field of queer comics. The panel of 12 expert judges have selected several works in each category which expand the growing body of diverse, powerful, innovative, positive or challenging representations of LGBTQAI+ characters in fiction and nonfiction comics. The winners in each category will be announced at a ceremony at the Queer Comics Expo on Saturday July 8th, starting at 4pm at the SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St, San Francisco.

Check out the list below for the nominees and congrats to everyone involved and nominated!

BEST SHORT FORM COMIC FINALISTS

Nothing Wrong With Me by Dylan Edwards http://www.studiondr.com/  – https://thenib.com/nothing-wrong-with-me
Flux by E Jackson http://eshiel.com/  – http://flux.eshiel.com/
Liar by Hari Conner  http://www.hari-illustration.com/ – https://gumroad.com/l/BtKou#
The Kiss of the Demoness by Gillian Pascasio http://7clubs.tumblr.com/

 

BEST WEBCOMIC FINALISTS

With Great Abandon by EH MacMillian https://withgreatabandon.tumblr.com/
Failing Sky: Ghost Story by Scout Tran-Caffee http://failingsky.com/ghoststory
Villainette by Scout Tran-Caffee http://strip.villainette.com

 

BEST COMIC FROM A SMALL TO MIDSIZE PRESS FINALISTS

Destiny, NY Volume One: Who I Used to Be by Pat Shand (Writer), Manuel Preitano (Artist), Jim Campbell (Letterer), and Shannon Lee (Editor) https://www.storenvy.com/stores/980896-continuity-entertainment
Short Gay Stories by H-P Lehkonen http://hplehkonen.com/
Active Voice The Comic Collection by P. Kristen Enos (writer), Heidi Ho (contributing writer), Casandra Grullon (artist), Derek Chua (artist), Leesamarie Croal (artist), Beth Varni (artist), and Dan Parent (cover art) http://www.pkristenenos.com/avgraphicnovel/

 

BEST SINGLE ISSUE FROM A MAINSTREAM PUBLISHER FINALISTS

Supergirl: Being Super #1 by Mariko Tamaki (writer), Joëlle Jones (pencils), Sandu Florea (inks), Kelly Fitzpatrick (colorist), Saida Temofonte (letters), Jones and Fitzpatrick (cover art) https://www.comixology.com/Supergirl-Being-Super-2016-1/digital-comic/431009
The Backstagers #1 by James Tynion IV (writer), and Rian Sygh (artist) https://www.comixology.com/The-Backstagers-1-of-8/digital-comic/410464
Lumberjanes #17 by Noelle Stevenson (writer), Shannon Watters (writer), and Brooke Allen (artist) https://www.comixology.com/Lumberjanes-17/digital-comic/260036

 

BEST ANTHOLOGY FINALISTS

Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology edited by Sfé R. Monster & Taneka Stotts
https://www.beyond-press.com/
POWER & MAGIC: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology edited by Joamette Gil
https://gumroad.com/powerandmagicpress
Food Porn edited by Gina Biggs http://comicorgy.com/print/food-porn-print-edition/
Chainmail Bikini: The Anthology of Women Gamers edited by Hazel Newlevant http://chainmail-bikini.com/


THE 2017 PRISM AWARD JUDGES

Rob McMonigal is a nonbinary writer who lives in Portland Oregon with too many cats and is the head writer of the Eisner Nominated comics review site, www.panelpatter.com.

Ajuan Mance is a genderqueer nerd, a Professor at Mills College, the author of Inventing Black Women and Proud Legacy, the editor of the anthology Before There Was Harlem, and the creator of the portrait series 1001 Black Men. http://8-rock.com/

Kirwan McHarry authored “Border Dwellers in Boys’ Love Manga” in On the Edge of the Panel (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), and co-edited a special section on BL manga for the Journal of Graphic Novels ! and Comics (4:1: 1-8). http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21504857.2013.793207

Jon Erik Christianson is a comics journalist who aspires to Lois Lane greatness (in a universe where she’s given her due credit). https://twitter.com/HonestlyJon

Jack Baur is a Teen Services Librarian at the Berkeley Public Library, and the co-host of the (erratically updated) In the Library With a Comic Book podcast, available at http://inthelibrarywithacomicbook.org.

AJ Real is an educator, QPOC, blue lantern, Hufflepuff, games enthusiast, and Pokémon master. He can be found online wherever evil and heteronormativity must be vanquished. https://twitter.com/darkshifter

Mel Reiff Hill is the illustrator and co-author of the GENDER book, an illustrated gender 101 for everyone! Find more of their work online at rowdyferret.com

Nia King is the the author of Queer & Trans Artists of Color, Volumes 1 & 2 and the host and producer of We Want the Airwaves podcast. Artactivistnia.weebly.com

Brian Andersen is a life-long comic book lovin’ gay geek, a contributor to The Advocate and writer of “Stripling Warrior,” featuring gay Mormon superheroes.  http://www.sosuperduper.com/

Heidi MacDonald is the editor in chief of Comics Beat, an awarding winning site about graphic novels. comicsbeat.com

Mey Rude is a bi, trans Chicana and is a writer/editor at Autostraddle and consults on and edits comic books.  https://twitter.com/meyrude

William O. Tyler is the creator of WoT’s Cinephilia, a webcomic that studies the love of movies and how they shape us. williamotyler.com

Listen to The State of LGBTQ Comics: A Roundtable on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ BlogTalkRadio ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

June is Pride Month so Graphic Policy Radio is talking with some of our favorite LGBTQ comics critics about the current state of LGBTQ people in comics: on and off the page.

Our guests:

Desiree Rodriguez is a columnist and Editorial Assistant for Lion Forge Comics’ Catalyst Prime. Desiree also writes for The Nerds of Color and Women Write About Comics @boricuadesiree)

Logan Dalton writes about comics and TV shows for sites like Graphic Policy and Nerds on the Rocks. Once he interviewed a vampire. He lives in the south. @MidnighterBae

Véronique Emma Houxbois is a fiercely queer trans woman from the wilds of Canada, most recently spotted in the Pacific Northwest. Contributor at Comicosity, Women Write About Comics, and London Graphic Novel Network. Consultant on Bitch Planet. Published by DC/IDW in Love is Love with Alejandra Gutierrez. @EmmaHouxbois

The State of LGBTQ Comics: A Roundtable LIVE Tonight on GP Radio

June is Pride Month so we’re talking with some of our favorite LGBTQ comics critics about the current state of LGBTQ people in comics: on and off the page.

The latest episode of Graphic Policy Radio airs LIVE tonight at 10pm ET.

Our guests:

Desiree Rodriguez is a columnist and Editorial Assistant for Lion Forge Comics’ Catalyst Prime. Desiree also writes for The Nerds of Color and Women Write About Comics @boricuadesiree)

Logan Dalton writes about comics and TV shows for sites like Graphic Policy and Nerds on the Rocks. Once he interviewed a vampire. He lives in the south. @MidnighterBae

Véronique Emma Houxbois is a fiercely queer trans woman from the wilds of Canada, most recently spotted in the Pacific Northwest. Contributor at Comicosity, Women Write About Comics, and London Graphic Novel Network. Consultant on Bitch Planet. Published by DC/IDW in Love is Love with Alejandra Gutierrez. @EmmaHouxbois

Listen in when the show airs live tonight.

Awesome Con and Geeks Out Announce Pride Alley

Awesome Con and Geeks Out have partnered up for the first ever Pride Alley at Awesome Con 2017.

The section of the convention puts a spotlight on queer creators and fans and unites the LGBTQ activities at Awesome Con. On top of a dedicated section of Artist Alley, it will include three days of panels and special events as well.

If you’re interested in taking part, Pride Alley’s table and panel submissions are open now!

The Woods Wins this Year’s GLAAD Media Awards for Comics

The 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards were announced this past Saturday in Los Angeles, and The Woods won in the comic book category. Receiving credit were James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas, Josan Gonzalez, Ed Dukeshire. The series is published by BOOM! Studios (with the latest issue out this week).

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community and the issues that affect their lives.

There’s two events, one held in Los Angeles on April 1 and another in New York City on May 6.

This year’s nominees included:

  • All-New X-Men (Marvel)by Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Paco Diaz, Nolan Woodard, Rachelle Rosenberg, Cory Petit
  • Black Panther (Marvel) – Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze, Chris Sprouse, Walden Wong, Karl C. Story, Laura Martin, Matt Milla, Joe Sabino, Clayton Cowles
  • DC Comics Bombshells (DC Comics) – Marguerite Bennett, Laura Braga, Sandy Jarrell, Maria Laura Sanapo, Mirka Andolfo, Pasquale Qualano, Marguerite Sauvage, Juan Albarran, Kelly Diane Fitzpatrick, J. Nanjan, Jeremy Lawson, Wendy Broome, Wes Abbott
  • Kim & Kim (Black Mask Studios) – Magdalene Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, Claudia Aguirre, Zakk Saam, Taylor Esposito
  • Love is Love (IDW Publishing/DC Comics) – anthology originated by Marc Andreyko
  • Lumberjanes (BOOM! Studios) – Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Carey Pietsch, Ayme Sotuyo, Carolyn Nowak, Maarta Laiho, Aubrey Aiese
  • Midnighter / Midnighter and Apollo (DC Comics) – Steve Orlando, David Messina, Aco, Hugo Petrus, Fernando Blanco, Gaetano Carlucci, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., Jeremy Cox, Tom Napolitano, Josh Reed
  • Patsy Walker, A.K.A Hellcat! (Marvel) – Kate Leth, Brittney L. Williams, Natasha Allegri, Megan Wilson, Rachelle Rosenberg, Clayton Cowles
  • Saga (Image Comics) – Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Fonografiks
  • The Woods (BOOM! Studios)James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas, Josan Gonzalez, Ed Dukeshire

Congrats to everyone!

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

Prism Comics Announces the 2017 Queer Press Grant Winner

The recipient of the 2017 Prism Comics Queer Press Grant was announced at the Queers, Comics & Social Justice panel by Prism Comics Queer Press Grant chair Elizabeth Beier, at Wondercon.

This year’s winner is Tee Franklin for Bingo Love. Tee hopes her story will let Black youth know it’s okay to be queer, and strongly represent seniors.

The Queer Press Grant is awarded to assist comics creators in self-publishing comics with LGBT characters or themes. Entries are judged first and foremost by artistic merit, followed by concerns such as financial need, proposal presentation, and the project’s contribution to the LGBT community. They are reviewed by the Prism Board, past recipients of the Grant, and Prism’s Advisory Board.

Love Is Love Raises Over $165,000 for Victims of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre

Last December, IDW Publishing, with support from DC Entertainment, created Love is Love, an anthology graphic novel that united the comic book community in support of the victims and families affected by the tragedy at Pulse nightclub. It has been announced that the graphic novel has raised more than $165,000 from digital and print sales. Through Equality Florida, the proceeds have been donated to the OneOrlando Fund to assist the victims and families impacted.

Love is Love was conceived and curated by comic book writer Marc Andreyko, under the editorial guidance of IDW Publishing’s Sarah Gaydos and DC Entertainment’s Jamie S. Rich, who called upon his industry colleagues to lend their talents to a benefit comic book. The overwhelming response he received in support of the project resulted in contributions from comic and entertainment luminaries including Grant Morrison, Gail Simone, Jim Lee, Paul Dini, Amanda Conner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis, Steve Orlando, Cat Staggs, Kieron Gillen, Mark Millar, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez, David Mack, Brad Meltzer, Taran Killam, Patton Oswalt, Damon Lindelof, Morgan Spurlock and Matt Bomer, among many others.

The graphic novel is currently in its fourth printing, and the remaining copies will be donated to Equality Florida and sold as fundraising items.

A fifth printing is forthcoming, with all proceeds from this and future editions of Love is Love being donated to LGBTQA charities.

Archie Gets Involved with the Love is Love Anthology

Archie Comics is teaming up with IDW Publishing and DC Entertainment and will be contributing to the Love is Love anthology benefiting victims of Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub tragedy.

The company will include two stories featuring Archie Comics characters designed to show support for the LGBTQ community.

Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, artist Stephen Byrne, and Archie legend Dan Parent have crafted two heartfelt and moving pieces featuring Kevin Keller, Archie, and other Archie Comics characters as they stand with the victims of this national tragedy and the entire LGBTQ community.

The Love is Love collection, curated by writer Marc Andreyko, features artwork from dozens of collaborators in the comic book industry designed to send a powerful message of support to the victims, survivors, and their families. All materials for the project have been donated and all proceeds will go directly to the families and victims via Equality Florida.

Kevin Keller, the first gay character in Archie Comics history, was introduced in 2010 by longtime Archie writer/artist Dan Parent, whose contribution to Love is Love features a one-page pinup featuring a message from Kevin Keller to the LGBTQ community about how to cope and respond to the tragic events that struck Orlando.

The Love is Love anthology graphic novel goes on sale December 21st at comic book shops.

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Around the Tubes

20161014060201watch_dogs_2It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What are you all excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you decide on that, here’s some comic news from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Boing Boing – RIP Jack Chick, father of the Satanic Panic – Such an interesting person.

Kotaku – Watch Dogs 2 Makes Fun Of Donald Trump – And the reaction by gamers was?

Kotaku – Marvel Comics Needs to Do Way Better With Its LGBT Representation – Yes it does.

Tulsa World – Jimmie Tramel: Oklahoma once waged war on comics, but looks like comics won – Some interesting history.

The Boston Globe – To fight bullying, Watertown man pens graphic novel – That’s cool to see.

Newsarama – Spider-Man 2099 Artist Wants To Teach You How To Draw – For FREE – This is really cool to see.

The Beat – Manga About A British Explorer Wins the German Children’s Literature Award for Nonfiction! – Didn’t even know about this one. Need to check it out!

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