Oscar Key Sung, Ah Mer Ah Su & HTML Flowers Just Released Your NYE Anthem

A haunting house track about letting your inhibitions go, “Fools,” artfully illustrates that moment when you peak at the function — when love takes over and your rising star nears climax. This unexpected house crossover is a far cry from the usual repertoire of any of these three artists which is why we’re like, shook.

“Slow down and dance with me
I’m underwater
She’s got me feeling free
Like she’s my lover
I’ve gotta move my feet
And let my body roll

Take me high
Make me fly

Have you ever loved someone?
Have you ever tried?”

Ah Mer Ah Su had this to say about the collaboration:

“Oscar and I met at SXSW in March 2017 and we became internet friends, then randomly this summer we both happened to be on European tours and based ourselves out of Berlin. We ended up being flatmates completely randomly and we connected on music and life and mutual friends and decided to make a fun little song. He is an angel and I cherish him dearly.”

Oscar Key Sung, Ah Mer Ah Su and Grant Gronewold aka HTML Flowers aren’t the
likeliest of collaborators for a number of reasons. Ah Mer Ah Su is a soulful folkie from Oakland who’s dreams originally rounded off in theatre, while Aussie’s Oscar and Grant, initially hated eachother when they met in high school.

From opposite corners of this #FlatEarth, their happenstance encounter in Berlin brought us this bop, perfectly fit for your New Year’s Eve.

Oscar Key Sung on collaborating with Ah Mer Ah Su and how the track came to be, “I think she is amazing and early on we talked about collaborating. The track started with us doing some singing to a pretty basic instrumental I had made, she did a lot of different layered parts which were really beautiful (that did not make it on the finished track).

Cut to Los Angeles, I was working in a studio in Silverlake (secretly I was sleeping on the couch too and bathing at the public toilets by echo park lake). I remember I made the instrumental whilst not really paying any attention to what I was doing because I was watching Naruto the anime while I made it.

I improvised a bunch of singing with some different random lyrics i had swimming in my head and cut that up. Then, I realised that the parts Star had recorded over that other beat in berlin worked really well over this new instrumental. Everything slotted in very naturally with simple warping tricks.

Cut to Melbourne, I was hanging out with my long time collaborator and best friend Grant (HTML Flowers) showing each other new music we wanted to feature eachother on. We have made a bunch of records together. Anyway in the past I had made remixes of his rap parts by putting them over low-fi – housey sounding beats and always really liked the way the combination sounded so I was desperate to get him on this track.

I showed him the song and explained I wanted to release it for new years (which was 10 days away at the time). He actually made his part THAT DAY!!! So proud of how incredible he is, he has worked so hard to get so good. They were both such talented angels.

Listen to “Fools,” below.

These Are The NYE Events to Ring in 2018 with a Bang

With 2018 just around the corner, it’s time to leave the worst of 2017 in the past. That means you only have a one more night to have all the naughty fun with none of the regrets.

And luckily, there are numerous parties taking place across the country this weekend to help you ring in a big queer new year. From New York to Los Angeles and New Orleans to Miami, some of the hottest nightlife events are ready to kick off 2018.

Forego the store-bought fireworks and watching Ryan Seacrest drop his ball, and add one of these parties to the last page of your 2017 calendar.

New York City

Double Penetration NYE Party, Rockbar NYC (9pn-4am)

Head downtown to one of our favorite gay dives for midnight on NYE. The evening includes a performance by Viva Vidalia, as well as a champagne toast at midnight. Dress comfortable and stay after hours for the Dark Room Special.

Find more info here.



Los Angeles

New Queer’s Eve, Globe Theatre (8pm – 4am)

The mother of all queer NYE parties comes with mistresses of ceremony, the Boulet Brothers and hosts, Meatball, Ollywood, Biqtch Puddin, House of Avalon, and more. There’s free clothing check and performances by Big Dipper, Kimora Blac, and Artoor.

Find more info here.

Dungeons: The Afterhours, Stock Exchange (4am-noon)

The party doesn’t have to end at midnight. Dance well into New Year’s Day with DJ Micky Friedman. Don’t forget to check out the rest of Kingdom’s NYE programming, taking place all weekend long.

Find more info here.

Las Vegas

New Year’s Eve Party, The Phoenix Bar & Lounge (6pm-4am)

Dance the night away with DJ Panda Funk, and ring in the new year with Phoenix’s sexy bartenders. Enjoy a free champagne toast at midnight with hosts Sheila Wright and Keyska Diva.

Find more info here.

Miami

R House’s NYE Bash, R House Wynwood (8pm – 5am)

Get your new year started with dinner and drink packages starting at $75. Hosted by Athena Dion, it features performances by DJ Sushiman, Kataleya Davenport, Shemuwel, Asheeria Pryce, and Miss Toto.

Find more info here.

New Orleans

Divas @ the Dive, Kajuns Pub (5pm – ?)

Vanessa Carr presents a fun and festive night of drag queens and karaoke to kick off 2018. Stop by for some NOLA drag culture and stick around for the midnight champagne toast.

Find more info here.

Old Leather New Leather NYE, Rawhide 2010 (8pm – 5am)

Bring on 2018 with a side of kink, if you prefer. Celebrate the new year with a midnight champagne toast and hot men in leather. Cover is $10 or free if you’re in leather.

Find more info here.

Seattle

HER Seattle NYE Party,Art Marble 21 (8:30pm – 2am)

Leave the boys behind and say hello to 2018 with some fun feminine energy. DJs Toya B and Illogicalogic are providing sounds for the evening, hosted by HER, the dating and social networking app for queer women.

Find more infohere.

At Least Three Men Have Accused Rolling Stone Co-Founder Jann Wenner of Sexual Misconduct

Another accuser has come forward to claim that Rolling Stone co-founder and publisher Jann Wenner sexually assaulted him.

Jonathan Wells claims that Wenner invited him to his Manhattan apartment in February 1983, hoping that he might land a job with the publication. Wells, then 28, grew up idolizing the iconic music magazine.

But the meeting was far from strictly business, he tells BuzzFeed. The two men spent the evening partying and drinking, later ordering a prostitute to Wenner’s residence at his request. After the sex worker left, Wells claims in an interview that the 37-year-old “leapt on him,” pinning him down and forcing him to engage in oral sex.

“I was lying back and he put himself on top of me,” Wells alleges. “He was kissing me, but you know, normal stuff, kissing my chest. I remember him putting his penis in my mouth. I remember him sucking me, going down on me. I remember his hair on my stomach.”

Wells felt “powerless” under Wenner’s weight, BuzzFeed reporter Mary Ann Georgantopoulos writes.

The men would meet up for two more sexual encounters, both of which Wells says were consensual. Although Wells doesn’t identify as gay, he claims he “idolized” the famed publisher, who he considered one of his personal heroes. It wasn’t until much later in his life that the 62-year-old, who is married to a woman, began to regard what happened to him as rape.

Wells would eventually be offered what he once thought he had wanted: a position at Rolling Stone. He claims he was made director of Rolling Stone Press without having to interview for the job or meet any of the staff.

After working for the company for two years, Wells alleges he was abruptly let go when the department was reshuffled. At the time, he says that he didn’t view his firing as “retaliation,” but decades later he views it very differently. Wells continually rebuffed Wenner’s advances during his first six months at Rolling Stone, with the publisher frequently inviting him to dinner.

“I don’t know if I was especially stupid or just I couldn’t understand the whole thing,” Wells tells BuzzFeed.

Wenner has denied the claims, which were supported by the statements of several friends who say Wells told them the story after the incident allegedly took place. The accused says the two men have stayed close in the years since the encounters.

“I am completely surprised by these allegations, as we have remained friends for almost 35 years since then,” Wenner claims in a statement. “I sincerely believed our relationship was totally mutual and consensualabsolutely, and without question. I am saddened to hear this is his memory of that evening, because it is different than mine.”

Wells says he was inspired to come forward following a similar account from journalist Ben Ryan. An editor-at-large for POZ magazine, Ryan previously told BuzzFeed that Wenner propositioned him with sex in exchange for a job offer.

Wenner denies that account, saying he flirted with Ryan and was turned down.

A biography of the Rolling Stone bigwig published earlier this year claims that Wenner’s sexual misconduct has long been an open secret. In Sticky Fingers, author Joe Hagan writes that the publisher “was known for his jovial sexual harassment,” which was also aimed at members of the magazine’s staff.

“He told me he had slept with everyone who had worked for him,” the late journalist Glenn O’Brien told Hagan. O’Brien, a New York bureau chief at the publication for four years, claimed he left after Wenner came onto him.

Author’s note: The writer of this piece was a freelancer at Rolling Stone between 2013 and 2017.

Image via Getty

How Rejecting Labels Is A Sign Of Internalized Homophobia

Stefano Gabbana has always been a PR car-crash; when he’s not busy downplaying sexual assault or denouncing gay adoption, the designer spends his time creating “mammy” earrings, “slave” sandals and sneakers emblazoned with the #aspirational mantra: “I’m thin and gorgeous!” His latest misstep came just last week, when he shared an Instagram post of a boring, plain black tee printed with the catchy slogan: “I’m Not Gay, I’m A Man.”

This statement is stupid. First of all, it’s weirdly ambiguous – so you don’t want to be labeled according to your sexuality, but you’re happy to wear the marker “man” with pride? Second of all – can you not be both? I’ve always comfortably identified as a gay man, but Gabbana seems to suggest that this identification is literally impossible. Do I have to choose? Is he not a gay man? Is everything we know a lie?

Although heavy-handed, the slogan seems to expand on comments Gabbana made a few weeks ago as part of an Italian TV interview, in which he said the word “gay” was “invented by those who need to label people I don’t want to be identified by my sexual choices.”

Again, there are problems with this statement. Being gay isn’t a sexual choice, nor is it a “lifestyle,” nor is it (at least in the 21st century) a pathology. Rimming is a choice. Being gay, however, is not.

He then expanded the scope of his statement, explaining that he had hoped, as a famous person, to spread “a new culture a culture no longer based on gay rights, but on human rights.” Gabbana finally said he didn’t feel like he wanted to be protected by gay associations because he had done nothing wrong, and that “we are human beings before being gay, heterosexual or bisexual.” These words are more nuanced than the clunky soundbite on that god-awful T-shirt, but there’s still something concerning about the designer being so desperate to distance himself from his sexuality.

We know that no experience is universal. We know that “gay” as a label can reduce us to one-dimensional stereotypes, caricatures. We also know that you can be gay but still be massively homophobic, racist, misogynistic or transphobic. Incidentally, Gabbana himself has proven this on numerous occasions.

But saying that we should live in a world free of labels is at best idealistic and at worst completely delusional. LGBTQ people around the world are still being killed, abused, disowned and persecuted for their sexuality. Even the term “gay” in the context we know it is reactionary; the term gained popularity after activist Frank Kameny reclaimed it, coining “gay is good” to rally against accusations that he was a pervert; a sexual deviant.

As queer people, our identities are politicized whether we like it or not. After all, we’re all raised and conditioned within a society that still feeds us messages: that heterosexuality is the default, that whiteness is universal and that men are more powerful. That’s precisely why we need these labels – for specificity, but also because we’re taught to be ashamed of them. There is no universal experience of being gay, but it’s a factor which colors the way we view the world – and the way the world views us.

It’s also worth pointing out that this “label-less utopia” bullshit is a pretty well-known defense for discrimination. How many racists have responded to criticism by stating they’re “color blind?” The reality is that any characteristic which differentiates us from the white, straight, heterosexual norm will at some point be weaponized against us – we can’t ignore that, and nor should we.

Then, there’s the recent rise of the “androphiles” – people who are attracted to “masculinity.” Not only is the term used by alt-right gays to disavow “gay culture” (Ariana Grande and Queer as Folk, apparently), it’s used as a fancy new term for ones we already know, like “femme-shaming” and “misogyny.” Plenty of us glorify masculinity while simultaneously shaming men that don’t fit that rigid definition in the process. Attracted to #masc men? That’s fine! But also, it’s a well-known fact that #masc4masc guys are the ones usually – not always – touting app profiles laden with slurs and actively assimilating with the damaging definitions of what a “man” should be. If labeling doesn’t help anyone, why does Gabbana still wear that label with pride?

In essence, we should read Gabbana’s T-shirt for what it is: internalized homophobia. It’s just another example of a man seeking to distance himself from a label because he attaches shame to it. Let me be clear – a world in which being gay doesn’t matter would be AMAZING. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been lazily stereotyped, reduced to nothing more than my sexuality and asked intrusive questions by drunk straight people in bars. I swear, sometimes before I go to sleep, I can hear the slurred words: “Are you a top or a bottom?” ringing in my ears. It’s bullshit.

But what we need to be doing is highlighting that stereotypes are lazy and that the LGBTQ community is diverse, multi-faceted, and more complex than gay caricatures could ever have us believe. What we don’t need to be doing is internalizing this linear, discriminatory thinking and attempting to disavow our own community. After all, gay people can be literally anything. Most surprisingly, as Gabbana himself has proven on numerous occasions, we can even be homophobic.

12 Moments of Black Trans Resistance In 2017

When the pussy-grabbing Predator-in-Chief took his first official steps in the Oval Office, Black trans folks were already on notice.

We had just transitioned out of 2016, a year of increased numbers of transgender deaths and business as usual in terms of barriers to housing, economic opportunities and healthcare. Though many continued to tragic narratives of our helplessness, we carried on despite the heightened ridiculousness of this political moment.

Here are 12 moments of Black trans resilience that prove our fight for liberation won’t be stopped:

Trans presence at The Women’s March calls for intentional inclusion.

On Trump’s literal first day in office, author Janet Mock and I were speakers at the National Women’s March in opposition to the inauguration of the most unqualified President in U.S. History.

In “I Am My Sister’s Keeper,” Mock discussed the need to carry all of our sisters’ and siblings’ demands in our freedom work while I foreshadowed the necessity of intersectionality and intention inclusion in this new iteration of movement in “A Vision of Liberation.”

Activist Rae Nelson brings trans inclusion to Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice.

On Jan. 28, Nelson became the first trans woman to speak at the 7th Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice at the State Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Nelson called for nuanced conversations on pregnancy, birth control, abortion, trans-related healthcare and more. Given the event’s history of commemoration for the Roe v. Wade ruling, before Nelson’s presence there was a notable lack in awareness and elevation of the reproductive justice needs of trans people of all genders.

Activists gather 1,000 people outside of Trump Tower to protest anti-trans violence.

In the wake of Trump’s revocation of an Obama Era guidance to allow trans students to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity and five murders of Black trans women in February, trans organizers called fora protest outside of the Trump Tower in Chicago.

On Mar. 3, chants like “Black trans lives matter!” and “Protect trans youth!” rang out in opposition of Agent Orange and his Administration.

‘Queen Sugar’ Actor Brian Michael Smith comes out as trans on TV.

In July, Smith made the bold move to come out as trans on one of the most prominent TV shows of the time, “Queen Sugar.”

He portrayed Toine Wilkins, a transgender police officer who went to high school with principal character, Ralph Angel. He made a powerful decision to allow the Ava Duvernay directed show to bare his most authentic self.

Ohio’s Black Pride 4 are arrested while protesting state violence.

Over the past few years, Black and Brown LGBTQ folks have been calling for less police presence at Pride parades and community events.

Given that the Stonewall Riots happened in response to police brutality, it only makes sense that commemorative events would be intentional about acknowledging that history.

This year at Columbus Ohio’s annual Stonewall Pride Parade, Wriply Bennet, Kendall Denton, Ashley Braxton, and DeAndre Antonio Miles-Hercules, demonstrated to raise awareness on anti-Black and anti-Brown violence.

They were arrested and berated by cis white parade attendees. Trial for the activists is set to begin in early 2018. Support the Black Pride 4 by donating to the Black Pride 4 legal fund.

Eyricka King goes viral after sharing her brutal experiences in prison.

A Black trans woman detailed sexual assault and physical violence from officers at New York’s Franklin Correctional Facility after a her mother, Kelly Harrison, circulated a video discussing a letter she’d received from King.

Just a few days later, she was released from solitary confinement and demands were made for her sentencing to be reduced.

Model Munroe Bergdorf continues to lift the veil on white supremacy after L’Oréal Paris U.K. drops her from their beauty campaign

Early this year, Bergdorf was named the first trans model to front a L’Oréal UK campaign in the UK. Within a week, she had openly discussed her thoughts on the aftermath of Charlottesville and rampant white supremacy.

The beauty company promptly dropped her from their diversity campaign causing outrage on multiple levels

After the debacle, Bergdorf’s popularity has risen, she’s continued to stay booked with a major deal with Illamasqua and still discusses the perils of white supremacy more than ever.

Ashlee Marie Preston holds Caitlyn Jenner accountable for working against the Trans Community.

In late August, the activist and editor-in-chief of Wear Your Voice magazine confronted Jenner at a Trans Chorus of LA event.

For years, Jenner has openly supported the Republican Party and Trump despite their insistence on rolling back or blocking progress for the trans community. Preston said the words many of people had been wanting to say since her ascent to popularity.

Black trans politicians gained major firsts on Election Day.

After a year of U.S. politics steeped in neo-fascism, it was refreshing to see Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham win seats on the Minneapolis City Council.

They became the first Black trans woman and Black trans man, respectively, to be named to a major city’s council. Here’s to more firsts for Black trans folks in politics in the future!

Activists respond to transphobia after the Breakfast Club Boycott.

While on the press tour for her second memoir, author Janet Mock made an infamous stop at radio show, The Breakfast Club.

A few days after the cringe-worthy interview, the hosts made light of the trans community, used Mock’s identity as comic fodder and comedian Lil Duval joked about killing a trans woman if he encountered her under romantic circumstances. Well, trans activists were having none of that.

Marsha P. Johnson Institute Founder Elle Hearns called for a boycott of the show, I made a call of action to allies to take a stand in solidarity and Ashlee Marie Preston with Patrisse Cullors-Khan, of Black Lives Matter, confronted host Charlamagne during one of his speaking engagements.

Kortney Ziegler partners with National Bail Out to launch Appolition.

Ziegler has worn many hats over the years as filmmaker, tech guru and scholar.

His latest effort, with co-founder Tiffany Mikell, is Appolition, an app that takes spare change from each purchase a user makes, rounds it up to the nearest dollar and automatically donates each time they reach at least 50 cents in spare change.

Sign up here.

Reina Gossett holds David France accountable for lifting influence and research on Marsha P. Johnson for his documentary.

It was the Instagram post read around the world. Gossett, an activist and filmmaker, accused France of uncredited extraction of influence and archival work for his Netflix-backed documentary, “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.”

She discussed her frustration with how after years of trying to get her film off the ground and attempts to undermine her work, a white cis man had used his privilege, connections and resources to diminish her efforts.

Gossett’s film “Happy Birthday, Marsha!” is slated for release in 2018.

Alex Jones Says Princess Leia and Holdo Are Lesbians Like It’s A Bad Thing

Conspiracy theorist and conservative talk show host Alex Jones saw The Last Jedi and boy, did he have a lot to say. Jones is known for his contentious and overtly wrong political takes, including claiming 9/11 was an inside job, and heartlessly declaring that the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting was a hoax (it was not). This week, Jones has moved on to less grave topics, but maintained his trademark bloviating we’ve come to expect/hate.

The radio host claimed that Princess Leia, the beloved Resistance leader played by Carrie Fisher, was a lesbian. He assured us that Admiral Holdo (played by Laura Dern) was her “girlfriend with purple hair.” In the past, fans have theorized about Holdo’s sexuality. In the Claudia Gray novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan, a prequel to A New Hope, a piece of dialogue between the 16-year old Princess Leia and Holdo in which the admiral-to-be says relationships with humanoid males is “limiting.” Plus, many queer Star Wars fans actually do ship Holdo with Leia.

“To be honest, I was not aware of the details of the book [at the time of filming],”Dern told The L.A. Times. “But what I love about the world that they have created is that this world is meant to represent us, and the Resistance is meant to represent uswhat the worldactuallylooks like, not some made-up, archaic concept of who represents the world. And I think they have and will continue to work diligently to represent everyone. I look forward to a character being deeply represented in terms of their sexuality. I know that none of us would have any problem, and only joy, if anybody wants to put [an LGBTQ identity] onto my character or any character in this film.”

I think it’s safe to say that Jones meant “lesbian” as a dig, but what a compliment! If Leia and Holdo really did have a passionate romance, I’d like Star Wars even more than I already do. In The Last Jedi, the two share a few gutting, heartfelt scenes (that pass the Bechdel testyay!), so regardless of sexuality, there’s obviously real love between them.

Of course, Jones offered zero proof to support his indignant claim, other than the insinuation that all powerful women are lesbians. “Every movie the women are the bosses, the women are the heroes, they’re all lesbians,” Jones says. Again, that would be an absolute dream, best-case scenario, but it’s categorically untrue (as is the suggestion that all powerful women are lesbians, just because they don’t need men). But if Jones’ abstract theory is true, then I’m looking forward to Daisy Ridley and Billie Lourd merging into the lesbian power space couple of the milenium.

Leia and Holdo aside, many fans (and even some of the Star Wars actors), want Finn and Poe, to date. Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose in The Last Jedi, joked that she ships them. Jones didn’t have any negative comments on Finn and Poe, or Roseor Rey, for that matter. His beef with Holdo was undoubtedly because of her unyielding and elegant take-down of her mansplaining inferior, Poe. The Huffington Post reported that the alt-right fueled a sexist, scorched-earth attack on The Last Jedi’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score. Their primary grievance was the introduction of more female characters, adding that Poe was a “victim of the anti-mansplaining movement.” So, it’s unsurprising that Jones’ bone to pick was with Holdo, and the woman who cheered her on, General Leia.

Jones is a notorious and revolting homophobe, having made outrageous claims that transgender women are mentally ill gay men who want to “pick up more guys,” or that having sex with cars is part of the “LGBTQ23PCL4” agenda, and a personal favorite, that a lesbian woman had children so she could make them into slaves.

Among other nebulous, certifiably insane assertions from Jones, he also called the Star Wars series “state-sponsored brainwashing.” Right, because the 40-year old franchise spouts more propaganda than Info Wars, an Internet show that gained popularity through catering to Donald Trump’s alt-right fan-base.

Jones continued that the Daisy Ridley-fronted film was “chock-full of political propaganda” and “total SJW.” Obviously, this was the first Star Wars film Jones has seen, as “The Resistance,” which democrats adopted as their moniker post-2016 election, has been a hallmark anti-evil political opposition group in the canon for decades. In 2016, Gary Whitta, a writer on Rogue One, tweeted and deleted that “the Empire is a white supremacist (human) organization,” and the Empire is “opposed by a multicultural group led by brave women.”

In 2015, the creator of Star Wars himself, George Lucas told the Chicago Tribune
That the space opera was originally about the Vietnam War, noting, “That was the period where Nixon was trying to run for a term, which got me to thinking historically about how do democracies get turned into dictatorships? Because the democracies aren’t overthrown; they’re given away.” Dany Roth covered this for Vox and declared that Star Wars is inherently, indisputably political and liberal, and this came from directly the creator’s mouth.

As if that wasn’t enough, Jones also claimed that General Hux, the Supreme Leader’s right-hand, was purposely made to look like Eric Trump, so that audiences would associate the Trumps with the First Order. Again, General Hux’s character existed before Trump was president and before anyone would think to associate a movie character with Donald Trump’s son, who isn’t known for anything besides being Donald Trump Large Adult Son. Although, I’m sure General Hux’s Aryan aesthetic wasn’t coincidental.

Finally, the maniacal, red-faced conspiracy theorist declared that Admiral Holdo wouldn’t let men “assert their dominance,” and thus represents the “bitchy feminist who hates men.” While feminists definitely don’t hate men, Jones isn’t making it very easy for us.

The “Cruel Intentions” Musical Highlights the Original Film’s Dated Homophobia

This December, the Cruel Intentions musical returned for a second off-Broadway run, and queer critics are not happy. While the show is hyperbolic, entertaining, and packed with nostalgic feels, Tim Teeman of The Daily Beast called its treatment of gay characters “horrible.” The show is brimming with homophobic slurs and dangerous tropes, which is disappointing given the film’s queer storylines.

The original film was chock-full of homophobia. The now-infamous girl-on-girl kiss between Kathryn and Cecile (Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair) reflected a negative, old-school ideology: Kathryn suggests that Cecile “practice” kissing with a girl in order to prepare herself for the real thinga boy. While the kiss was voyeuristic and such insinuations were derogatory toward queer women, the scene was considered bold at the time. Not to mention, it served as an eye-popping sexual awakening for hoards of queer ‘90s girls. (It went on to win Best Kiss at the 2000 VMAs.)

And in 2015, Gellar and Blair recreated the iconic kiss while attending the first iteration of the musical in Los Angelesa definite publicity grab, but an homage to their queer female fans, too.

The musical remains pretty faithful to the seminal film; the music is killer, including ‘90s favorites like “Kiss Me,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and “Bye Bye Bye.” The characters, too, fall in line with their predecessors. The story follows the mischievous, perverse and incestuous brother-sister duo of Kathryn and Sebastian as Kathryn manipulates and subjugates everyone around her. The Lindsey Robin-directed play features Lauren Zarkin as Kathryn and Constantine Rousouli as the conflicted Sebastian. Unfortunately for Cruel Intentions, sticking to your roots also includes maintaining problematic humor that was admissible in the ‘90s.

The Daily Beast writer notes, “In 1999, it may have been deemed acceptable to fling ‘fag,’ ‘queer,’ and ‘lesbian’ around as an insult (it wasn’t OK, but it was prevalent), but not today. And in Cruel Intentions, they are used as insults.” The musical’s homophobia isn’t even commented on or satirized; it’s just left as is. “The people saying them are not admonished,” Teeman writes. “The insults are simply thrown and an audience in 2017 is encouraged to laugh at the people being made fun of or dismissed.”

The word “fag” is lobbed at the closeted football jock, Greg McConnell. Slurs aside, today, the “shocking” reveal of a gay jock is a tired tropeas are jabs about virgin women being lesbians. The musical suggests that male homosexuality is something to be ashamed of, while lesbian sexuality is “a plaything,” not the real thing.

But today, we should be able to do better. These jokes shouldn’t have flown in 1999, let alone 2017. It’s disillusioning that the musical wasn’t updated to reflect modern credos about LGBTQ peopleespecially considering that queer people make up a large part of the Cruel Intentions fanbase, myself included. And from the sound of it, the musical takes cheap, ugly jabs at gay people in ways that aren’t causticit’s just outright mean.

As a fan of the movie, I was shocked to hear that these jokes and storylines weren’t updated. Though patently skewed and problematic, the movie plays with sexuality in so many forms, for both men and women. It would’ve been super interesting and refreshing to watch a modern version, maybe where Cecile and Kathryn further explore their sexualities; or maybe Greg McConnell and Blaine Tuttle could be out and proud. The possibilities were endless, and they really dropped the ball.

Cruel Intentions: The Completely Unauthorized Musical is currently in its second iterationthe play originated at a cabaret venue in Los Angeles earlier this year and starred Katie Stevens (The Bold Type, Faking It) as Kathryn. If you can stomach it, the play is at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City through January 28, 2018. If anything, you’ll get to enjoy a Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC mashup performed as part of the queer romance between Greg McConnell and Blaine Tuttle.

This year, film critic Emily Nussbaum tweeted about the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm with a sentiment I now share about Cruel Intentions: “I can’t tell what changed: the show, the world or me.”

We’re Queer And Here For Now: On Being LGBTQ and Undocumented

When I was 15 and I’d discovered I was gay, the brand new Gay & Lesbian Alliance Club in my high school was a huge deal. I breathed a sigh of relief because it felt like security, like there was backup now, because there was a group of us and a group is a lot louder than just one little newly out lesbian voice. We were going to fight for marriage equality, we were going to stand up against injustice and prejudice, and we were going to sport cute rainbow gear while doing so.

But as I got older and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Club was far behind me, it became starkly clear that there was a line drawn between the LGBTQ community and the undocumented LGBTQ community.

When my friends and I turned 16, we all learned to drive, except they all got Driver’s Permits, and I didn’t. I wasn’t allowed.

When we turned 21 and wanted to go bar hopping, they got to just show up and walk right in while I risked the embarrassment of being turned down at the door because my ID was not state issued but instead from the Mexican Consulate. It was green and unfamiliar, and most of the time it wasn’t worth the confused look on the door guy’s face trying to find my birth date before inevitably informing me I wasn’t allowed in without a valid form of I.D.

When marriage equality finally happened, I felt validated because I’d marched the marches; I’d protested in every protest; I’d held up the signs. It was so gratifying I never even noticed that the same faces from the protests for LGBTQ rights were missing at the ones for immigration reform.

But DACA eventually came into effect and it seemed like progress. Some of us were allowed work permits and a Driver’s License for the low, low price of $500 every two yearsnot including attorney fees. Well, that was nice while it lasted.

My time in this country has been limited to two final years by a tiny laminated card, and a man with even smaller principles. When President Obama signed DACA eight years ago, it was if not a light at the end of the tunnel, a very shiny, bright glimmer. For a moment there was security on some level, though not without its restrictions.

Traveling, for example, is limited to work or school related trips, and there is a petition to be made beforehand, along with a hefty additional fee. In addition, DACA does not provide a pathway toward citizenship, in effect locking its applicants within a status of illegality with a very slight exception. There are approximately 800,000 of us working and contributing to the economy daily, and everyday thousands of us are being stripped of our status and have been left with nothing but uncertainty in its place–I myself have renewed my work permit for what is potentially the last time in late November.

Still, little is said in mainstream media, and even less amongst the LGBTQ community.

I can count on one hand specific recollections I have of Mexico, where I was born, and some of those are only half memories. I was nine when I left; I’m 32 now and I haven’t been back since, so I can’t begin to imagine I’ll feel at home there if I’m forced to return.

My Spanish is great, but it’s not perfect. How exactly does an introverted lesbian go about starting all over again in a small, traditional, deeply Catholic Mexican town? I don’t know, but I liked it when my daily struggles consisted of getting control of my slight accent while being careful to not roll my Rs when speaking in English.

Here’s one thing I’d like people to understand: Getting rid of DACA isn’t about safety, or conserving some American ideal, or even about immigration at the end of the day, because getting rid of DACA kicks Americans out of their home and drops them into an environment that hasn’t been familiar in a long time, if ever. It goes without saying that it’s been a rough year for everyone in the U.S. that is not a white, heterosexual male. I am sympathetic. But as I stand at the tipping point, I look around and realize that my LGBTQ family, for the most part, have no idea or don’t care enough to fight for those of us who have been left out of the equation because of our legal status.

When the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Club was founded in my high school, there was no support group for undocumented students, no outreach programs, nor were we ever even acknowledged, not in the alliance clubs, not in known gay clubsthe hub of the underdog where our Matriculas weren’t even recognized as valid I.D. We were turned away from the places that were supposed to be havens. They were not havens, not safe placesnot for us, because we were practically non-existent. Now, as we face the end of what we had once taken as a small beginning, the LGBTQ community still remains relatively silent on immigration issues, save for the occasional murmur when it’s a trending topic.

I will admit we are a silent group ourselves, because silence has been the norm in our upbringing due to fear of exposure and extraction, of deportation. Being gay and undocumented is a closet within a closet, but we have been out and loud for years now and still, our issues are solely our own.

Before DACA, I worked illegally, I went to school without financial aid, and I drove without a license. I know what it’s like to live in fear and to have paranoia sewed into the fabric of my upbringing. Simple things caused anxiety, like being carded at a concert and getting that look from the bouncer, deciding whether or not he’s going to give me a stupid wristband so I can get a beer at the bar. I don’t think I’ll ever not automatically begin to sweat when I see a cop car with its siren on approaching behind me, even if I’m doing nothing wrong.

Knowing I may very well return to that in just two years’ time is frightening because I no longer have the luxury of anonymity. Before DACA I wasn’t in the systemthere was no real way of tracking meand now I, along with hundreds of thousands more will be a hell of a lot more vulnerable because eight years ago we were made a promise that we would be protected. And now that promise is practically irrelevant.

I was in a couple of relationships before DACA with women to whom I felt I had to disclose my status once they became serious, because I couldn’t do certain things, like take an impromptu trip to Mexico, cheap as it may be to vacation there, and I came to dread that talk. It was difficult for them to grasp the concept that their X-Files obsessed, U2-loving, tattooed girlfriend was the job stealing immigrant Republicans warned them about.

We need to end that stereotype, and we need to call out our people when they make light of it. We’re not a joke, and we’re not a hypothetical. We were in the shadows, and now we are being shoved back. We need the support of the LGBTQ community because we are a part of it. The laissez-faire attitude toward issues on immigration reform progress and lack thereof is troubling, and for a while made me feel resentful toward the queer community, because my voice was appreciated only when it benefited those without worries of deportation.

My only hope is that it doesn’t remain that way forever and that immigration reform comes to the forefront of the fight for queer rights because a lot of us might not be here much longer, an estimated 75,000 of us that include artists, Doctors, attorneys, and activists like Catalina Velasquez, who in 2008 was the first Undocumented Trans person to attend Georgetown, and 2013 became the first Immigrant Trans Latina appointed as commissioner for the Office of Latino Affairs in D.C.

We love our queer celebrities and politicians. We love seeing them thrive because they represent us. When they move up, we move up. Queer DREAMers are thriving in every field. And if we are gone, our representation is shortened by 75,000. That’s support none of us can afford afford to lose.

Image via Getty

Dating As A Single, Sober Gay Man

When I’m asked on a date it’s almost always through an invitation to “get a drink.”

And why wouldn’t someone ask this way? Getting a drink is low commitmentit’s easy to wrap the date if it’s not going well, and easy to keep it going if you hit it off. Plus, it allows people to get feel a little more confident by, well, drinking.

Of course, the problem with this type of invitation for me lies in the fact that I don’t drink.

While “drinks” don’t necessarily have to mean those of the alcoholic variety, I’ve found that is usually what the invitation implies. When I am in the position, I find myself running through the my different options: Should I tell him I don’t drink now? Should I tell him I don’t drink when I get there? Should I tell him I don’t drink and try to make a different plan?

I used to feel embarrassed by my sobriety, and feared it made me less attractive to other young people. Years of therapy, trial and error, and just putting myself out there, over and over again, has made me me realize how wrong I was. After four and a half years of sober dating, I have come to find that my sobriety is an asset. My sobriety is a testament to my strength, and it is a part of who I am. My addiction, and my recovery, have shaped the way I approach life, the things I value, and my sense of humor.

Being sober is simply part of who I am. It’s a part of me I love, and I need whoever I date to love that, too.

I’ve found more success in being honest about my sobriety upfront. As everyone’s sobriety is different, there are no clear-cut rules. It’s important to listen to yourself, and not put yourself into any situations where you will be at all tempted to drink.

Personally, I am comfortable dating people who drink, and I am fine with being in bars. I know that is not the case for many people, and I don’t encourage anyone to ever put themselves in an uncomfortable situation. If you think that going to a bar will, in any way, make you feel tempted to drink, it is not worth it. No date is worth chancing a relapse.

Some choose to only date other sober people, and I completely understand that decision. I have spoken to sober people who have discussed how it can feel triggering for them to kiss someone who has been drinking, as their mouth might literally taste like alcohol. I have friends in recovery who believe that only another sober person will be able to understand their emotional needs based on that shared experience of overcoming addiction.

And while I am open to dating people who drink, I could never date someone who drinks heavily, because it would just make our lives too incompatible, and would remind me of a part of myself I chose to leave behind.

The more confidently you communicate your sobriety, the less of a big deal it is to the other person. That’s why I always say it right away, answer any questions the person may have, and then keep it moving. Being sober does not make people less fun or interesting, it makes them learn to be themselves, all the time.

If anyone thinks you are less attractive because you are sober, then they are simply not worth your time. If someone’s desire to date you is contingent on you consuming alcohol, then that reflects poorly on him, not on you.

If you don’t want to go to drinks, then don’t. There are so many dates you can do, that don’t involve sitting in a bar. Go for a hike, go for a walk, go to the beach, go to the movies, go to a museum, go to coffee. Do whatever will make you feel comfortable.

If you do go to a bar, whether you tell your date you don’t drink there or beforehand, just approach the situation confidently. If you make it seem like it’s something that the other person shouldn’t react strongly to, then they probably won’t. And if they do, know they’re not worth your time. If a person can’t find something to relate to you through besides alcohol, then that’s a very bad sign.

In my years of sober dating, I have dealt with people who didn’t handle it well. I have dealt with people who got awkward, or who almost seemed to get agitated; I have dealt with people who seemed to make it about themselves, and I have dealt with people who seemed judgmental. All of those people were not worth my time. Though those types of interactions made me upset years ago, I am now aware that they don’t matter.

And for every negative interaction I have had, there have been so many more that were positive.

Dating is challenging. Dating while sober can make it even more-so. But it doesn’t have to be. Just take care of yourself by listening to and putting yourself and your sobriety first. You will find someone who finds you attractive because of your strength and your decision to become sober, not in spite of it.

Image via Getty

Jennifer Tilly Wanted To Play The Butch in ‘Bound’

Over the course of her long and bountiful career, actress Jennifer Tilly emerged as somewhat of a queer icon for her LGBTQ-positive roles. Most notably, Tilly starred in the 1996 film Bound, the monumental lesbian neo-noir written and directed by the Wachowski sisters.

Yesterday, she sat down with the Dallas Voice to talk about her LGBTQ roles and spilled that she had originally wanted to play her butch counterpart, the role Gina Gershon made famous as Tilly’s on-screen lover.

“When I went and auditioned forBound, I really wanted the part of Corky,”Tilly said. “I did not want the part of Violet.”

She revealed that she’d auditioned for Corky whenLinda Hamilton was originally set to play femme fatale Violet, the role Tilly was ultimately cast in.

“I wanted to be the badass and the Wachowskis got upset,” Tilly said of co-directors Lana and Lily Wachowski, who both came out as transgender in 2012 and 2016, respectively. “They were like, ‘All the girls want to play Corky! Violet is the better part.’”

When The Wachowskis found Gina Gershonwho was thenstarring in the queer camp classicShowgirls to play the role of the masculine-of-center handy womanCorky, the co-directors reached out to Tilly, whomaintained that she only wanted to play Corky. It wasn’t Tilly met Gershon that she relented.

“When I met her, we got along so well on the set,”Tilly said. “We had such a good time.”

Eventually, the duo became so close that they’d sit in their trailer and send craft services to retrieve their snacks: “We’d torture, torment,” she said.

For decades, queer film critics have praised Bound for the historic lesbian sex scene between Tilly and Gershon. While many lesbian-themed films opt for shadowy hands and pleasurable implications, Bound boldly portrayed realistic sex. The Wachowskis hired lesbian sexpert Susie Bright to help nail the sex scene and bring queer authenticity to it, and it paid off.

“With the sex scene, it was really fantastic because with a guy you’re always kind of trying to show off your tits and bits to your best advantage,”Tilly said. “But with a girl, we’d be like, ‘Oh, can you put your hand here to cover up the cellulite on my thigh?’ or ‘Can you prop my breast up a little bit to make it look plumper?’”

Obviously, there are significantly more benefits to sleeping with women besides these superficial and ego-based conveniences, but, alas, straight women playing gay.

Tilly gushed that she and Gershon had so much fun together that the Wachoswkis often had to reprimand them during the sex scenes, telling them to “settle down” or remind the women, “We’re making a movie here!”

The actress also insisted that she never saw Bound as a “sexploitation movie,”and that prior to the Wachowskis having come out, they still had the kind of sensibility needed to deliver such a perfectly queer film.

“They were able to write such a sensitive, compassionate story about women,” Tilly said. “Those were two of the greatest roles for women ever, and the characters were really fantastic.”