Tyler The Creator Shoots His Shot at Timothee Chalamet

Tyler the Creator released a new song last week with a lyric aimed flirtatiously at Timothée Chalamet.

“Tell Tim Chalamet to come get at me,” he quips on “OKRA.” He continues, “Skin glowing clear of acne, diamonds see through so holographic.”

The 27-year old rapper from California offhandedly dropped the two-and-a-half-minute song on Thursday night, claiming it was a “throwaway song” in its YouTube description.

He also posted on Twitter that he will “promote this song for the next 5 days, then continue to live a normal life,” and later deleted the tweet.

On Monday, Chalamet responded to the Odd Future rapper by retweeting a fan’s meme about him and Tyler, which joked that Timothée would fall out of his chair upon hearing the lyric.

The song’s overt flirtation aimed at the Call Me By Your Name actor is somewhat unsurprising given Tyler’s past. For years, there’s been speculation around the sexuality of the Ladera Heights native, despite the fact that he’s seemingly come out multiple times. He released Flower Boy in 2017, his fourth studio album, which includes the line“I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004″onthe track “I Ain’t Got Time.”

In 2014, Larry King asked the MC if he thinks we’ll ever have a gay rap artist, to which Tyler replied, “Maybe one day…but why does that shit matter? Like, if he wanna fuck dudes or whatever, why does that matter? Why do we care? That’s so crazy right?”In 2015, he tweeted the admission, “I TRIED TO COME OUT THE DAMN CLOSET LIKE FOUR DAYS AGO AND NO ONE CARED.” And the following year, he responded to a tweet from Kendall Jennerwhose sexuality has also been called into question recentlywho wrote, “@fucktyler apparently we’re dating.” He responded, “NOT POSSIBLE, WE’RE BOTH GAY.” Tyler also tweeted an illustration he drew in 2016, which appears to depict a rainbow-clad man peeking his head out of a closet door, with a talk bubble reading, “Is it safe?”

While promoting Flower Boy in July of last year, he told Know Wave’s Koopz Tunes radio show, “I had a boyfriend when I was 15 in fucking Hawthorne.”

I guess Tyler Creator was the out queer rapper Larry King prophesied all along.

Images via Getty

Here Is The New Music We’re INTO This Month

INTO’s monthly playlist and recap seeks to spotlight emerging queer artists in music, with QPOC & femmes prioritized. Get Into March’s list here.

Listen to INTO’s recap playlist below featuring new releases byHayley Kiyoko, Doja Cat, Drebae, Years & Years and everything else you need to listen to this month.

Cynthia Nixon To Make First TV Campaign Appearance on ‘Wendy Williams Show’

How you durrin’?

New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon will give her first television sit-down interview to Wendy Williams, Variety reports. On Wednesday, April 4, the Sex and the City star turned politico will sit down with the Queen of Media to discuss her platform in running for governor.

According to Variety, though many people don’t usually think of Wendy when they think politics, the show’s 2 million-person audience is a huge get for Nixon, who needs more name recognition throughout the state. The show has a huge viewership in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, areas where response to Nixon’s bid is tepid.

“We win by getting her in front of voters, because we actually want them to see the real Cynthia,” Nixon’s campaign spokesperson Rebecca Katz said to Variety. “And that’s what we get with Wendy. Her viewers are a large and crucial part of the electorate, and her show reaches all corners of the state.”

Williams is also an icon in the LGBTQ communityjust look at how her gifs dominate LGBTQ Twitter. Despite her status in the community, several people in the community have called Williams out for her transphobic behavior. After VH1 tapped Williams to host VH1’s Drag Race viewing party during Season 9, former Drag Race contestant Detox, as well as host Michelle Visage, called Williams out for a past instance of transphobia on her show.

Nixon’s candidacy wasn’t popular among all LGBTQ people. Former NYC mayoral candidate Christine Quinn called Nixon an “unqualified lesbian,” which led to a conversation about Nixon’s bisexuality and, of course, some merch.

Nixon also has the endorsements of two of her Sex and the City co-starsSarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis.

Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

The Pictures Of Oscar Wilde: A History Of ‘The Happy Prince’ On Film

Oscar Wilde once said that “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” Fortunately for the esteemed playwright, Hollywood continues to find inspiration in his work even though a century has passed since his death on November 30, 1900. Wilde’s various forays into the realm of literature and his life as an openly gay aristocrat in the 19th century have been the subject of various films over the years, some of which vary wildly in quality, but a new effort from Rupert Everett is one of the best yet.

Directed by Everett who also stars in the lead role, The Happy Prince captures the final years of Wilde’s life with the razor-sharp wit that he was best known for. However, the same can’t be said for every film that’s been inspired by his work, so join us as we venture on a journey through the most prominent pictures of the literary icon and explore the history of The Happy Prince on film.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1910)

24 films and shows have pushed Wilde’s most iconic creation to the fore since The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890, back before motion pictures had taken the world by storm. However, you might be surprised to learn that Hollywood was beaten to the punch in 1910 by a Danish director called Axel Strøm who was the first to adapt Dorian Gray’s story just 20 years after the book was released.

Starring Valdemar Psilander in the title role, Portrait was a silent take on the story of a hedonistic aristocrat who remains eternally young while a special painting gradually reveals the ugliness of his soul. Gray’s double life and his controversial journey into the pleasure of sin undoubtedly reflects Wilde’s own personality, but this and numerous other adaptations that followed tried to downplay the homoeroticism of the book the best they could.

The Canterville Ghost (1944)

Modern audiences might associate Wilde’s infamous short story most readily with the TV adaptation that starred Patrick Stewart in 1996, but Jules Dassin’s take on The Canterville Ghost is arguably the best. Starring Charles Laughton as a ghost who haunts an English castle, this version plays around with comedy and horror while reminding audiences of Wilde’s ability to subvert genre in ways rarely seen before.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

Our second adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray on this list is notable for its recognition at the Academy Awards. Even now, the Oscars rarely give prizes out to fantasy movies, yet Albert Lewin’s take on Wilde’s novel was nominated for three awards and took a statue home for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White. Most surprisingly of all though, one of these nominations was given to Angela Lansbury for her role as Sibyl Vane, decades before a whole new generation fell in love with her for the lead part in Murder, She Wrote.

Oscar Wilde (1960)

Two films detailing the life of Oscar Wilde were released in 1960 and even more surprisingly, both also hit cinemas in the last week of May. While The Trials of Oscar Wilde was received favorably for its technicolor take on the playwright, the film simply titled Oscar Wilde didn’t fare as well due to its lower budget. What’s most interesting about this version of the story though is that an attempted seduction scene was cut from the final release, presumably because audiences might have been put off by seeing such explicit homosexual activity on the big screen.

The Happy Prince (1974)

Throughout Rupert Everett’s new biopic, Wilde tells the story of The Happy Prince to his children and that’s what gives the film its name, but this isn’t the first time that a movie has taken that title. Back in 1974, director Michael Mills tackled this tale of a statue who befriends a swallow through the medium of animation. At just 25 minutes long, this version of The Happy Prince is certainly worth watching and remains one of the few child-friendly adaptations of Wilde’s work.

Wilde (1997)

While there have been many Oscar Wilde biopics over the years, few capture the sheer gusto and wit of the legendary playwright like Wilde, which stars British comedian Stephen Fry in the role that he was seemingly born to play. For his efforts, Fry won a Golden Globe nomination, and the film is also notable for including the first appearance of Orlando Bloom on screen. As Fry is openly gay in real life, he admitted on the DVD commentary that he was nervous about acting out love scenes with his male co-stars, but fortunately, Jude Law, Michael Sheen and Ioan Gruffudd all put him at ease on set.

Velvet Goldmine (1998)

On the surface, this story of a fictional glam rock star shares little with the life of Oscar Wilde other than a flair for the flamboyant and is inspired more directly by musicians such as David Bowie instead. However, anyone who’s seen Todd Haynes’ queer infused drama will know that Wilde’s ideas are quoted throughout the film. Most bizarrely of all though, Velvet Goldmine actually opens with an intro that theorizes how the dead playwright was brought to earth by aliens to father what would become the glam-rock movement. Wilde really was one of a kind, although his extraterrestrial origins may have been somewhat exaggerated.

The Importance Of Being Earnest (2002)

16 years before Rupert Everett played Oscar Wilde in The Happy Prince, he starred as one of the playwright’s most famous characters in The Importance Of Being Earnest. Based on Wilde’s classic comedy of mistaken identity, this period drama also starred Colin Firth, Judi Dench, and Reese Witherspoon, but director Oliver Parker failed to bring the wit of the source material to life and the film ended up scoring just 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Saying that though, this version of The Importance Of Being Earnest is still worth watching just for the scenes where Everett surprised Firth by slapping him on the ass and squeezing in an improvised kiss for good measure.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

Comic book creator Alan Moore denounced Hollywood when it was revealed that his series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen would be translated to celluloid, yet audiences couldn’t help but enjoy seeing literary icons such as Tom Sawyer and Captain Nemo team up on the big screen. Among the various Victorian characters who star in the film, Dorian Gray ends up playing a prominent role in what’s arguably the strangest adaptation of Wilde’s work to date, using his immortality as a kind of superpower in the fight against evil.

Dorian Gray (2009)

Despite the lacklustre reception that The Importance Of Being Earnest received in 2002, director Oliver Parker returned to the work of Wilde once more to create yet another adaptation of his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Reimagined as a more generic horror feature, this interpretation of Dorian Gray’s story has already aged worse than the picture itself, but Colin Firth reunites with Parker to give his best in the role of Lord Henry Wotton and Ben Barnes impresses as the gorgeous Englishman who strives to party for eternity.

Wilde Salomé (2011)

Although Al Pacino isn’t the box office draw that he once was, his documentary about the making of Wilde’s play Saloméis an amusing take on the theatricality of the playwright’s work. Taking us behind the scenes of Pacino’s production, Wilde Salomé revolves around the story of King Herod and features a star-making turn from a then 29-year-old Jessica Chastain. This in turn produced a movie adaptation in 2013 simply titled Salomé and yes, this is all as confusing as it sounds. In Wilde Salomé, Pacino states that “I’m doing a play, a movie of the play, and I’m doing a documentary all at the same time,” something which Wilde himself would surely commend Pacino for if he were still around today.

The Happy Prince (2018)

Rupert Everett wrote the script for The Happy Prince over a decade ago, and it’s easy to see why he’s pursued this dream project for so long. Much like Wilde was ostracized by society in his final years, Everett too found that his career suffered after he came out as gay. It’s only fitting then that he would also star as the playwright in this biopic that touches on the darker aspects of Wilde’s final days. Most movies avoid exploring what happened to the playwright after his incarceration, but Everett’s assured script and direction dive deep into his life towards the end, retaining Wilde’s sardonic reverence for pleasure while also pushing his courage and convictions to the fore.

Wilde himself said that “One can survive everything nowadays except death,” yet the work he left behind has left an unforgettable mark on pop culture that ensures he will live on forever. Perhaps somewhere there is a picture of Oscar Wilde hidden that continues to age as his own legacy shines brighter than ever before.

Lena Waithe’s ‘Vanity Fair’ Cover Has My Gay Black Ass In My Feelings—And That’s A Good Thing

About two weeks ago, I logged into Twitter like it was a regular schmegular day, ready to take on the news in my feed like it was the morning paper. Of course, that kind of laissez-faire attitude could not have possibly prepared me for how quickly I was gobsmacked by the existence of Lena Waithe’s Vanity Fair cover and how swiftly it flooded my timeline.

Now, I have been casually observing as of late that Waithe is on an incredible roll, so this shouldn’t have been surprising. That said, nothing could have prepared me for the impact and the sheer magnitude of FEELINGS I felt upon seeing her on that cover.

Feelings of elation. Gratitude. Joy. All of that.

Now, there are only a couple of reasons I’d be this emotional to begin with and they go a little like this: First, Lena Waithe is living her best life. Saying that Waithe is on a roll is nice, but is still pretty much an understatement. This girl is on fire (ha ha ha). From scoring an Emmy for her immaculate work on Master of None episode to her producing the critically acclaimed TV show The Chi, to her cameo in This Is Us, to her being absolutely adorable and gracing us with her beautiful relationship with partner Alana Mayo, her securing the bag with her role in Ready Player One (which she was praised for by filmmaker Steven Spielberg), to the aforementioned Vanity Fair cover, Waithe is everywhere.

Like we have said with folx like Cardi B, and Tiffany Haddish, Waithe is having the BEST year. The best. It is her year and her moment. And this is incredibly special because in the former cases, while I am always cheering for [cis, straight] Black women to win, it means something more this time around that it is Waithe, a queer Black woman, who is doing the winning. I mean, borrowing from the words of the legendary Rihanna, First and Only of Her Name, yeah, Black girls rock. But queer Black girls? Non-binary Black girls? Trans Black girls? We’re on another level.

And being on another level is accompanied by a different set of hurdlesin comparison to our cishet counterpartsthat we need to overcome to attain success. Because often times, folx who attain the level of success that Lena is just getting started with and who identify as we do may not look like usparticularly when it comes to race. Indeed, the barometer of success in the LGBTQIA+ community usually looks like the go-to gay representation in media, which is usually the most basic cis, gay White man.

So, of course, seeing Waithe win like this and counter established norms with her VF cover as an out, butch Black lesbian is going to be incredibly empowering for a queer Black femme like me.

Secondly, in her sit-down with Vanity Fair, Lena encourages us as queer Black folx and queer Black people to reclaim our stories. And she is absolutely right. Part of what is making this year Lena’s best year [yet] is the fact that with all the accolades and jobs she is locking down, Lena is actually getting to be in the driver’s/writer’s/producer’s seat for all of her creative endeavors.

This is important for a myriad of reasons, but primarily because representation is only going to be as good as what that creative time/writer’s room looks like. And if the people you are seeking to “represent” don’t even have a voice behind the scenes or in the creative process and are unaccounted for in that room (looking at you, Jessica Jones), then your representation is merely decorative and shallow.

Unfortunately, this is the situation queer Black/QPOC creators usually find ourselves. It is the norm to bar us from telling our own stories (and to let us be the masters’ of our own fates in this regard). When I read about Lena addressing this ugly phenomenon in her magazine spread and encouraging us to reclaim our stories, I was clapping and snapping. Because not only is she the perfect person to say it (with her star being on the rise), but it absolutely needs to be said. You know why? Because no one is going to tell our stories better than us.

Because when we tell our own stories, the frequency of us being one-dimensional people and caricatures of ourselves decreases exponentially. Because when we tell our own stories, the frequency of us being tokens and accessories to other people’s narratives decreases exponentially. Because when we are in charge of our own stories, something wonderful happens and we get to be heroes and protagonists and nuanced antagonists and generally complex beings (like in Black Panther).As we all are.

Thirdly, she gives late-blooming queer folx like myself hope and encourages us to do the same for others. Another reason Waithe’s VF cover had me in my Black Gay fee-fees is because she gives late blooming queer folx immense hope for themselves and the future by inspiring them to be their truest selves, by being her truest self. And she encourages those same late-bloomers to step out do the same. She echoed this in her sit down with The View. While she was there, she gave a powerful speech about living our truths as queer folx, but I was particularly emotional when she said that “We have to be a beacon of light for those young [queer] kids of color.”

And even more recently, she commented that she definitely didn’t want to be the only queer Black person/QPOC that was out here working and prospering.That shouldn’t be taken lightly, chiefly because plenty of queer Black folx and QPOC come into this queer game late. We walk around with delayed adolescences, deferred dreams, and shelved aspirations. And if WE had had someone like Waithe walking around and living their best life like this when we were coming up, we might have been brave enough to do the same and be that example for someone else.

And I do not believe it stops there, either. Because just like there are those of us the outside of Hollywood’s deceptively pearly gates who have had doubts about ourselves, our sexuality, and our talents, there are probably those on the inside who have felt these same things. And they most definitely needed to hear it and hell, maybe they’ll be encouraged to lead authentic lives based on Waithe’s words alone.

Which is why Lena Waithe’s VF cover is, quite frankly, iconic. And is gonna forever have me shook. Because it’s not every day that you see a butch Black Lesbian doing it BIG like Lena is. And if you had told me that this cover would exist years ago, I would’ve guffawed in your face.while still falsely believing I was straight.

But thank Bast for progress, for growth, and for the only Lena that the Black Delegation formally recognizes…who sees the God in all of us queer Black folk.

Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage

These Trans People Are Fighting Ohio’s Discriminatory Birth Certificate Policy

Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the most joyous days of your life, but for Basil Argento, his marital bliss was interrupted by bigotry.

When Argento and his husband got married in October, they went to Buffalo for the ceremony. Although the pair live in Ohio, his partner’s family calls upstate New York home. On the day they were set to tie the knot, though, Argento ran into a major hitch: Under New York state law, individuals must present a birth certificate in order to get married.

Because Ohio doesn’t allow trans people to correct those materials, Argento’s paperwork lists the gender he was assigned at birth, as well as his former name.

Argento says that when officials discovered that his birth certificate didn’t match his other documentationwhich has been updated to reflect his correct name and pronounthe mood immediately changed. They became “rude” and “nasty” toward Argento and his partner.

“We can’t do anything for you,” they curtly informed the couple.

“We weren’t sure if we were going to actually be able to get married,” Argento tells INTO over the phone. “Any other person wouldn’t have had to worry about that. But in my case, I expect problems. The default is you’re going to have problems when dealing with government officials.”

The pair were able to get married that day after a friend informed them that Niagara Falls doesn’t enforce New York’s birth certificate policy because of the influx of tourists to the city.

But Argento wants to make sure no other transgender Ohioan has to face the same issue.

He is one of four plaintiffs who have signed onto a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s birth certificate policy on grounds that it makes trans people vulnerable to discrimination. Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Ohio Department of Health on Thursday.

In court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the groups claim there is “no government justification” to support the refusal of corrected birth certificates to trans people.

“Ohio’s refusal to issue such birth certificates erects a barrier to the full recognition, participation, and inclusion of transgender people in society and subjects them to discrimination, privacy invasions, harassment, humiliation, stigma, harm to their health, and even violence,” the advocacy organizations say.

Stacie Ray, another plaintiff who joined the case, understands this problem all too well.

A truck driver who lives in Columbus, Ray was outed during the orientation process for a new job two years ago. When her driver’s license didn’t match the gender listed on her birth certificate, the HR representative at the company announced that fact loudly to the other new hires.

The experience wasn’t just “embarrassing,” Ray claims. It made her vulnerable to bullying and harassment from her colleagues.

A female coworker threatened to assault Ray if she ever saw her out in public and also warned her not to use the ladies’ restroom at work. “If I ever catch you in the women’s bathroom, I’m going to beat your ass,” the woman said.

“Every time I use my birth certificate, I have to go through this spiel of who I am and why it says this,” Ray tells INTO over the phone.

At the time of writing, Ohio is just one of three statesalong with Kansas and Tennesseewhich expose trans individuals to prejudice by blocking them from updating their birth certificates. As of next month, transgender people will be allowed to correct their documents in Idaho for the first time following a successful lawsuit.

Attorneys with Lambda Legal note that Ohio’s policies are both harmful and inconsistent. Trans people are allowed to change their gender marker on driver’s licenses, passports, social security cards, and state IDs.

“When people like our clients can correct their driver’s licenses and marriage licenses but are prevented from correcting their birth certificates, it is like painting the walls and fixing the roof on a house with a cracked foundation,” says Lambda Legal Law Fellow Kara Inglehart in a statement to INTO. “Birth certificates are one of the primary documents that says who we are.”

Advocates note this wasn’t always the case in Ohio. Until a decade ago, the state allowed trans people access to updated birth certificates but abruptly changed course.

The Department of Health has yet to comment on the reasons for that decision.

Ray says this reversal is extremely invalidatingdepriving her of the ability to be seen for her true self. When her birth certificate is revealed to have a man’s name on it, others often treat her like a criminal, as if she’s using an assumed identity to hide from law enforcement.

“It doesn’t make me feel whole,” she says. “It lets me know that even though I’m working hard to become the person I identify as and feel I am, I’m still not complete without it.”

Both Ray and Argento have fought tirelessly to be accepted for who they are, even despite the costs.

Argento filed for dual citizenship under Italy’s “Law of the Blood” policy, which allows those who claim Italian heritage to be recognized as citizens. Because his birth certificate hasn’t been corrected, the process took three years and cost him thousands of dollars.

If Ohio allowed him to update those materials, it would have been over in a matter of months.

“It’s the right of all people to have birth certificates that reflect who they are,” Argento says. “Documents are supposed to be used by a living person. It’s not just a piece of paper. People use it to live their lives.”

Two other plaintiffs, Ashley Breda and Jane Doe, have signed onto the case. They were unavailable for comment prior to publication.

Did Adam Rippon Just Reveal His Finnish Boyfriend on Instagram?

U.S. Olympic skater Adam Rippon seems to have broken the ice with a man from Finland but are they dating?

The Kennedy Davenport-quoting, harness-wearing sass machine of the Winter Olympic season just posted a shot to his Instagram of he and another man at Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles with only the caption, “Good Boys Finnish First,” complete with an emoji of the Finnish flag.

Good boys Finnish 🇫🇮 first

A post shared by Adam Rippon (@adaripp) on

With nothing else to go off, people began to speculate whether Rippon is dangling his new boy toy in front of the internet’s collective face. People in the comments have even begun to ask Adam directly if the two were dating.

In a comment, Perez Hilton asked, “Your boyfriend??”

As recently as early March, Rippon told Ellen DeGeneres on her show that he was single. When DeGeneres asked Rippon his type, he responded, “Someone who goes to the gym and has a job.”

So, clearly this Finnish guy has fit the two criteria.

Now, the internet is clamoring for Tom of Finland to REMOVE. THE. SUNGLASSES.

via GIPHY

‘Blockers’ is the Lesbian Teen Comedy We’ve Been Waiting For

The Leslie Mann-led Blockers hits theaters Friday and critics have dubbed it the “female Superbad,” but what’s more outstanding is the movie’s heartwarming LGBTQ storylinea rarity for major studio comedies. In the leading lesbian role is 21-year old Gideon Adlon. If the name sounds familiar, you’re not wrongGideon is the eldest child of actress, performer and director Pamela Adlon, star of FX’s Better Things. Gideon is just breaking into Hollywood, but is already taking on groundbreaking roles and deftly positioning herself amongst powerful women.

2017 brought us Rough Night, the Scarlett Johansson starrer featuring Ilana Glazer and Zoe Kravitz as queer protagonists. Though we’ve seen LGBTQ characters in major studio comedies before, Rough Night was the first of its kind to center queer characters whose personalities weren’t solely based in their sexual ID, nor were they stereotyped or made to be the butt of the joke.

Blockers, directed by Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon, is following suit; the movie tackles coming out, self-discovery, sexual agency, and the fraught landscape of being closeted in high school. And for once, the studio comedy gets it right.

In the age of Love, Simon, many have been calling for a female-centric blockbuster rom-com with a lesbian protagonist. Blockers isn’t necessarily that movie, I’d file it under the category of “I wish I had that movie growing up.” Adlon plays Sam, a timid and questioning 17-year old who skeptically joins a sex pact with her two best friends, vowing to lose their virginity on prom nightit’s a modern, feminist American Pie, but smarter. Sam wants in on the pact, but she’s perturbed at the idea of having sex with a man.

Sam fills her last pre-prom days Photoshopping herself into fan art of Xena (yes, The Warrior Princess), unconvincingly proclaiming her attraction to a fedora-wearing theater boy, and crushing on the out lesbian girl in her school, who hilariously wears iridescent capes, bedazzled face jewelry, and attends a festival called “Lord-Con.” Adlon’s character had me squirmingit was like looking in a time capsule of my gayest moments. But the movie was deeply sweet, poignant, and timely, clad with nuanced discussions of sexuality and encouraging affirmations from Sam’s dad (Ike Barinholtz), and her crush, who replies “It’s different for everyone. I guess you’ll never know until you try,” when Sam asks how to know if you’re “confused.”

Plus, Blockers has a happy lesbian ending, the kind of feel-good rom-com theater we’ve seen heterosexual characters get ad nauseambut it’s rare to see that for two women on film. Sam’s storyline with her unicorn crush is completely devoid of complications with boyfriends or husbands, and the movie supplies her with the gift of acceptance; Her friends and family welcome her with open arms, without a blink of hesitation. Her coming out is simultaneously tear-jerking, yet no big deal.

Blockers is truly the first of its kind, as is Gideon’s character. We spoke to Gideon about her role, female directors, and queer people who inspire her.

What’s special about your character?

[Sam is] an observer. She’s scared to lose her best friends. She’s obviously very unsure about joining the sex pact, and then you realize that she just wants to be a part of it because she wants to share the experience with her best friends, and she’s scared to lose them. But she’s also nervous to show who she really is, because she’s pretty sure that she’s gay and that she wants to come out, but she’s never given boys a shot. But she stands out because she’s an observer. She’s more reserved and nerdy, and fun.

Who or what did you draw inspiration from for Sam? Are their queer characters you learned from, or maybe queer people in your life you look up to?

I grew up really heavily in gay communities. My best friend in the whole world has two moms. My other best friend is a gay man and he came out when he was nine years old. All of my mom’s closest friends are either drag queens or gay men or gay women. One of my other close friends is a gay guy who’s still closeted from his family. He can’t tell his family. So, I really drew inspiration from all of them.

But also, I feel like I’m very aware of the gay community and, you know, what my friend told me about being closeted, and what that’s like, and being afraid to tell people, or being afraid of their judgment, and scared that they won’t love you anymore. I’ve always been so shocked that that would even go through someone’s mindbeing scared that their family or friends would reject them or not love them anymore just because they love a person of the same gender. It blows my mind.

I feel so grateful that I’m the one who gets to make this a normal thing. This is a big blockbuster comedy, like a sex comedy about young women making their own choices with their minds and their bodies, and young men being respectful and ok with it. And then being able to normalize a girl liking a girl, and showing that Sam is a girl that has a crush on another female, and she’s just a high school teenager who has a crush and wants to kiss someone, and has real feelings for the first time for someone else who happens to be a female. I’m so happy that I’m able to show that story and that it’s not a big dramatic storyline, it’s just real life, and it shows that this happens. The storyline was put together in an amazing way and I couldn’t be happier.

Is it important to you, in this day and age, to work with female directors?

Oh, hell yeah! Are you kidding me? There’s only eight percent female directors in this industry, and that’s worldwide. That’s crazy. This movie would not be this movie without Kay Cannon as the director. She brought such great energy to the set, a very motherly feeling. I’m just so grateful that this is my first film, my first comedywith a female director, with three female leadsa movie that really isn’t about the sex, it’s about women making their own choices, and female empowerment. It’s such an empowering fucking movie.

I have another film coming out in September in theaters, with Focus Features, that was also submitted to Cannes for the summer, and it’s also a female director. So, the [only] two films that I’ve ever done have had female directors making their directorial debuts, so I’m very thankful.

In the time of Love, Simon and Call Me By Your Name, why do you think this movie and this role are important, specifically because it features a gay woman?

This movie’s important right now. We filmed this before the #MeToo movement came to surface, before the Time’s Up movement came to surface, and in a time when the LGBTQ community is still being discriminated against. There’s still so much discrimination, and people still have so much hate for same-sex couples and same-sex marriage, like “It’s not normal, it’s disgusting, a woman should be with a man!” or “A man should be with a woman!” And that’s just not how life works. Humans are humans, and humans are attracted to who they’re attracted to. It’s not sickness. It’s not something you can change. It’s just who you are.

I think that, in light of everything, this film is not just about that, it’s also about female empowerment and women making their own choicesyoung women in high school making their own choicesnot letting men tell them what to do, not letting men tell them what they want but women telling men what they want, what the woman wants. And It’s so important to normalize same-sex couples and to normalize same-sex loveyoung lovein a very casual way. It’s just so important to me, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be part of such an empowering movie, a movie that should’ve been made many, many years ago.

Blockers hits theaters this Friday.

Wall St Becomes Ball St for National Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

It’s almost April, and you know what that means: pranking your friends on April Fool’s Day, binging on peeps all Easter weekend, and scrambling to get your taxes filed at the last minute. You might not realize that it also happens to be National Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.

On April 9, one of the leading testicular cancer foundations, CACTI will take over Wall Street to raise awareness of testicular cancer. The “Balls to the Wall” event will feature snacks from the Meatball Shop, as well as a pop-up medical booth where the NYU chief of urology will be on hand to answer questions about self-exams.

According to a national study that will be released at the event, 35 percent of men don’t know how to examine themselves. Close to 50 percent of men surveyed don’t perform self-exams for testicular cancer, which could save their lives. And seeing as two-thirds of men are unaware that it’s the most common form of cancer in men ages 15-44, the event aims to raise awareness about the cancer and self-exams.

The “Balls to the Wall” event takes place Monday, April 9 at Bowling Green in New York City from 12-2pm. So, if you’re in the area, go enjoy some (meat)balls and learn how to save your own.

Images via Getty.