‘The Bold Type’ Season 2 Episode 9 Recap: Road Trip

God bless drunk Jane Sloan.

The Bold Type’s divisive protagonist (played by Katie Stevens) had a nice uptick in her character development last episode, with an emotional plot that made her sympathetic. This week’s episode, even more crucially, made her fun again.

All three of the Freeform series’ lead women have something they want to escape this week. Kat (Aisha Dee) wants to get away from a hostile Jacqueline (Melora Hardin), who is making questionable business decisions amid questions about her competence. Jane wants to avoid going over the extensive fertility plan materials her doctor boyfriend left for her. And Sutton (Meghann Fahy) would prefer to not deal with her mother when she finds out she needs her original birth certificate for her passport application.

Unfortunately for Sutton, she has no such luck: She has to drive home to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to get the certificate from her mom. Luckily for the other two, the impromptu road trip gives them exactly the excuse they needed to avoid their problems.

Jane starts the road trip drunk, after joining former flame Ryan (Dan Jeannotte) for a drink instead of reading about potential fertility plans. She crests on that tipsy vibe throughout, even giving Stevens a chance to show off a bit with a cover of “Torn” at Sutton’s mom’s local bar. (Stevens, an American Idol alumna, does Natalie Imbruglia proud.) Between the performance, her sense of humor throughout, and her generally out-there approach (like suggesting they break into Sutton’s mom’s house) make her a breath of fresh air this episode.

If she kept avoiding her problems, Jane might turn back into being annoying. But on the trip back, she reads up on what her boyfriend gave her, and decides to freeze her eggs. The balance of letting loose and taking responsibility is a good look on Jane, making for her absolute best showing of the season.

Sutton continues to be the character who interests me most, in large part thanks to Fahy’s performance. This week, we dig into the mommy issues she mentioned a couple of episodes ago: Sutton’s mother Barb is a drunk, and was a terrible parent when Sutton was growing up. When she finally sees her mom in Harrisburg, Barb swears up and down she’s sober, and has been for seven months.

Sutton is skeptical, considering her mom has pledged to sober up before. But Barb’s tune seems to have truly changed, and Sutton agrees to give her the benefit of the doubt, and open up to her a little bit more. It’s a nice mother-daughter moment, the kind we don’t get much of on this show. It also nicely positions Sutton to go to Paris without much weighing on her mind back home.

Also joining her in Paris is Kat! Who was apparently always going. (This reveal gets played perfectly, with even the music cutting out to emphasize the joke. The Bold Type got really funny this week.) It’ll be a good distraction for Kat, who mostly bungles her mindless getaway to Harrisburg by thinking too much about work and her relationship.

After almost hooking up with a hot bartender, Kat rethinks things, and decides she no longer wants to be in an open relationship with Adena (Nikohl Boosheri). Though she’s enjoyed playing the field, Kat feels like she and Adena have lost a connection that she needs. Unfortunately for Kat, even after ending the open relationship, Adena remains distracted by work. She lost the casual sex and didn’t get much back. Honestly, I don’t see a way this season ends next week with Kat and Adena still together.

Most intriguing this week, however, was Kat and Jacqueline’s story. Jacqueline is the subject of a nasty New York magazine piece that questions if her time — and generally, the time of the celebrity editor — is up. Though she feigns not being fazed, the piece clearly rattles her, and she makes an unwise decision to close Scarlet’s comments section during the website’s relaunch. Kat advises her not to close the comments, as the publication has a vibrant commenter base and strongly moderates inappropriate comments. But Jacqueline doesn’t listen, and is furious when Kat tries to go over her head to Richard (Sam Page).

The thing is, as inappropriate and tactless as Kat’s attempt to stop Jacqueline was, the social media director was right. Losing comments infuriates Scarlet’s reader base, and Jacqueline has to reinstate them with a note of apology. Her fix is an elegant one, but the damage is done; Richard warns her that there are forces that would rather see her not continue as Scarlet’s editor. My guess: board member and fitness guru Cleo (Siobhan Murphy) will take the shot to try and remove Jacqueline.

Freeform already renewed The Bold Type for a third season before the second even went into production, so the show has some room to play going into next week’s finale. My guess: Jacqueline does get removed as editor — or at least leaves amid an attempted removal. Kat and Adena break up. And Sutton finds something in Paris that will make her want to stay. Those are just my guesses — we’ll see what really happens next Tuesday.

The season finale of The Bold Type will air next Tuesday, August 7, at 8 p.m. Eastern on Freeform.

Prosecutors Won’t Charge Ed Buck For Death of Gay Black Man Gemmel Moore

Democratic donor Ed Buck will not face charges for the death of Gemmel Moore, the 26-year-old gay black man who fatally overdosed in his West Hollywood home in July 2017. According to the Los Angeles Times, insufficient evidence prompted prosecutors to decline to file charges. 

According to the document obtained by the Times, authorities also performed an inadmissible search and seizure. Seymour Amster, an attorney for Buck, called the decision a “complete exoneration” to the Times

“Gemmel Moore’s death was a tragedy. It’s now clear that Ed Buck had nothing to do with it,” Amster said.

The medical examiner found Moore’s death to be an “accident” caused by “methamphetamine use,” and those who knew Moore allege Buck injected him with the drug.

At a wake for Gemmel Moore held in front of the West Hollywood sheriff’s station in August, Moore’s mother LaTisha Nixon said that her son’s death “shouldn’t have happened.”

“I just hope the sheriff’s department does not fail my son,” she added. 

At the time, Moore’s godfather Marcus Wilson-Smith called the investigation into Moore’s death “botched.” 

“The case was open and shut so quickly,” he said. “I’ve never seen an autopsy report completed so fast.”

Though Moore passed in Buck’s home in July 2017, the sheriff’s department didn’t open an investigation into his death for 21 days. Moore’s mother also confirmed to the WeHoTimes that Ed Buck was a client of her son’s, who performed sex work.

In September, the L.A. County District’s Office granted several young men immunity to offer testimony about Buck and the incident in his West Hollywood home.

More Than 1,000 People March in Dublin’s First Trans Pride Event

An estimated 1,000 people made history on Saturday by marching in Dublin’s first-ever Trans Pride. But organizers say the event — which marked the 35-year anniversary of Ireland’s inaugural LGBTQ Pride — wasn’t a parade. It was a protest.

In 1983, queer and trans Dubliners took to the streets to condemn the murder of Declan Flynn, an openly gay man killed following a homophobic attack in Fairview Park. The gang of five men responsible for his death — which included Robert Alan Armstrong, Colm Donovan, Patrick Kavanagh, and Anthony Maher — pled guilty but were given suspended sentences.

This despite the fact that news reports of the time claim Flynn’s murderers robbed him as he lay dying.

To commemorate the 200 LGBTQ people who trekked from Liberty Hall to Fairview Park in March 1983 to protest systemic injustice, organizers with Dublin Trans Pride led community members down the same route this weekend. Numbering as many as 1,500, the boisterous crowd hoisted signs like “Trans Rights Are Human Rights” and “Real Men Respect Trans Women.”

Pride organizers claim the action was intended as a “return to the radical roots of pride” after they Dublin’s yearly LGBTQ Pride event has become increasingly corporate in recent years.

“It was quite explicitly a political protest and we were very clear about that,” lead organizer Thomas White tells INTO. “This is a place where corporations weren’t welcome. This was a space for the trans community to put forward their needs and demands and have their voices heard.”

Event speakers claimed that while Ireland has made historic advances on trans rights in recent years, much more must be done to ensure full equality under the law.

“It’s not good enough that we must be diagnosed with a psychiatric condition just to access the healthcare we need,” This Is Me campaign founder Noah Halpin told an enthusiastic crowd gathered in Fairview Park. “It’s not good enough that there’s only one surgeon in Ireland who will provide surgery to transmasculine people and that their waiting list is years and years long.”

At the top of a list of demands from Dublin Trans Pride is access to health care. Ninety percent of hospitals are operated by the Irish Catholic Church, which White claims is “no friend to trans people.” In Ireland, it’s currently legal for doctors and other medical professionals to refuse service based on “religious ethos.”

White says the widespread denial of gender-affirming care “impacts the poorest and most vulnerable in our community.”

“If you have a bit of money, you can afford to go to Poland for three months to afford top surgery, but most of us can’t afford that,” he says. “If you’re a poor trans person or someone who is in precarious housing, you’re not able to afford the thousands of Euros to fly to Europe and stay there for months at a time, as well as the cost of treatment itself.”

Additional demands include banning conversion therapy, ending genital mutilation of intersex babies, increasing trans-inclusive mental health services, and lowering the age at which transgender people can legally correct their birth certificates.

Enacted in 2015, Ireland’s Gender Recognition Act permits trans individuals over the age of 18 to “self-declare” their gender identity. Transgender people between the ages of 16 and 17 can update their birth certificate with permission from both parents and a medical professional, and advocates would like to see those barriers lifted.

Meanwhile, the process of correcting birth documents doesn’t recognize intersex or nonbinary people at all. These populations “legally don’t exist,” White says.

Organizers of Dublin Trans Pride — which began the planning process just weeks ago — hope the groundbreaking event will inspire further grassroots activism in a country with just one transgender advocacy group, the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

White believes the momentum is there. During Saturday’s march, he says the contingent was bursting with “vitality and anger.”

“The mood was electric,” White claims. “I was leading the march, and when I got to Fairview Park, I turned around and saw the entire march splayed around behind us — there was nothing like it. Every single section was loud. They were screaming, chanting, and demanding their rights.”

Organizers say they are already planning to hold another Trans Pride event next year.

“We want to make this an annual thing,” White claims. “We don’t want to make this the last one. We want to keep pushing and fighting for trans liberation.”

Header image via Facebook

Funding Crisis Could Close Gender Identity Center of Colorado

It’s been more than 40 years since The Gender Identity Center (GIC) of Colorado began operating in basements, serving transgender, nonbinary, and questioning individuals. Since then, it has grown into a full-fledged community organization with support groups, staff, and a space of its own.

But the Denver-based organization, which has counseled thousands through life and gender transitions, now faces a funding shortfall that could shutter it as early as November.

“The rug got pulled out from underneath us in a relatively short period of time,” says Emma Shinn, member of the GIC board of trustees.

According to Shinn, GIC had been seeing about 100 therapy clients a month. It’s the only Colorado organization focusing solely on transgender people.

In addition to providing mental health services, the nonprofit offers facilitated and peer-led support groups for trans and non-binary people and their partners, hosts speakers, runs an internship program and holds community events.

Amanda Hergott first stepped into GIC in August 2016 on her way home from work. It was the same decision she had made twice in the past month, but she had finally found the courage to exit her car and enter GIC. She had told her doctor she had gender dysphoria and asked him about hormone therapy, but he didn’t know what she was even talking about.

“I was getting to a point where I was very very hopeless,” Hergott tells INTO. “I wouldn’t say I was quite suicidal at that point, but it was getting to the point where I started wishing I was suicidal because then I would have an excuse to transition.”

At GIC, Hergott got a referral to a doctor who could give her hormone therapy, and she started attending support groups.

In a blog post about GIC, she asks community members donate to save GIC.

GIC has historically offered a sliding scale for therapy services, with low-cost or no-cost options made available to clients in an effort to remove a barrier to care often faced by trans community members.

But a perfect storm of events has threatened those vital programs. Last year, the organization moved into a new space that made it easier to offer confidential counseling. But the rent came at a price tag of $6,000 a month. The cost increase was followed by the resignation of GIC’s executive director Dr. Karen Scarpella, who left unexpectedly to deal with health issues, according to the organization.

Scarpella’s resignation abruptly cost GIC its clinical supervision ability. The organization could no longer see patients and its income disappeared.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t really forecast that,” said Shinn. With most of its income coming from Medicaid billing and donations from clients, the GIC has little to fall back on.

Since the crisis was announced, GIC has launched a Facebook fundraiser to keep the lights on. In an urgent message, GIC told supporters that without help, the organization would close its doors in 30 days.

“For over 40 years, the Gender Identity Center of Colorado (GIC) has provided a support structure for transgender, nonbinary, and questioning people, but now its very existence is threatened,” the organization said.

Thus far, they have raised a quarter of the $100,000 they need to get back on track. That’s enough to propel them into November, says Shinn.

Still, to survive, GIC will need to diversify its funding by finding major donors or other income streams to shield it against future shortfalls. And while the initial $25,000 is a start, it’s far below what GIC needs to right itself. In the meantime, hundreds wait for GIC services to resume.

“It was a devastating loss not only to those who were given only about a week’s notice that they could no longer be receiving counseling, several of whom I know personally, but it now threatens a major source of funding for the organization,” wrote Hergott in her community appeal. “Like so much of the community it supports, the GIC exists with little financial security to survive a sudden loss of income.”

Images via Facebook

Ellen and Tig Notaro Are the Lesbian Comedy Duo I Didn’t Know I Needed

On Tuesday morning, Ellen had friend and fellow lesbian comedian Tig Notaro on her show, prompting her to discuss a memorable moment in their friendship.

Tig recalled an incident a few months ago at Ellen’s birthday party when she took the stage and performed “Hello” by Adele—a truly terrible rendition, as she cannot sing nor play the piano.

“Literally just hitting the piano, no chords, nothing,” Ellen interjected.

Soon after said cacophony, the talk show host sent a mariachi band and camera crew to Tig’s house in order to cheer her up. When that didn’t work, she sent a drag queen dressed as Adele to her house the next day to perform “Hello.”

“When Adele showed up at my house, I was so stunned. I was so confused. For like the first 15 seconds, I believed that was Adele,” Notaro told Ellen. “Soon after that, I was like ‘You really thought that Adele came over to your house to sing to you.’”

Tig joked to the comedian, “You have ruined my life in a way,” because if she’s ever feeling down and her friends don’t match Ellen’s enthusiasm, she’s like, “Where’s my mariachi band?”

Ellen described Tig as someone she “cares very much about.” I didn’t know this friendship existed, and I certainly didn’t know how much I needed it until right now.

Did Kim Kardashian-West Say Something Homophobic to Tyson Beckford?

Misogyny, meet homophobia!

According to a social media post captured by The Shade Room, model Tyson Beckford took time out of his busy schedule to comment on Kim Kardashian’s body, which absolutely no one asked him to do. Underneath a picture of her, Beckford wrote, “Sorry, I don’t care for it personally.”

“She is not real, doctor fucked up on her right hip,” he wrote, with an added green “gonna vomit” emoji.

Kardashian responded to Beckford’s (totally unnecessary, body shaming) comments by saying, “Sis we all know why you don’t care for it.” Along with the comment, she added the frog and tea emoji, the international symbol for “But that’s none of my business.”

After the comments showed up on The Shade Room, several people on Twitter called out Kardashian for her homophobia in the comments and on social media.

Kardashian’s ill-advised comments come only one day after she chose not to criticize President Donald Trump on last night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!

“I have nothing bad to say about the president,” she said.

Well, we’re certainly praying for you, Kim.

Beth Ford Makes History as the First Openly Lesbian CEO of a Fortune 500 Company

The new President and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Beth Ford, will make business history when she assumes the role on Aug. 1 as the first openly lesbian woman leading a Fortune 500 company. The company announced her appointment in a press release last week.

The Land O’Lakes, Inc. Board of Directors made the announcement on July 26. Founded in 1921, the company is one of the U.S.’s largest food and agricultural cooperatives. It sits at number 216 on the Fortune 500.  

Ford will replace Chris Policinski, who is retiring, according to the company’s statement. Prior to being selected as CEO, Ford served as Chief Operating Officer at Land O’Lakes Businesses as well as head of Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition.

“At a time of unprecedented change in the agriculture and food industries, no person is better suited to lead us into the future than Beth Ford,” Board Chairman Pete Kappelman said in the statement. “We are thrilled to have someone of such strong qualifications and character to build on the legacy of growth that Land O’Lakes has established.”

In response to her appointment, Ford said in the statement, “I’m humbled and honored to have the chance to serve this great organization […] I look forward to continuing to work with the talented and dedicated leadership team, as well as our outstanding employees to deliver for our member-owners, customers and communities.”

The statement notes that Ford lives in Minneapolis with her spouse, Jill Schurtz, and three children.

When Ford steps into the CEO role, she’ll join only 24 other women who lead Fortune 500 companies, making up 5 percent of the leadership on the list, according to Fortune. The outlet notes that of those 25, only two are women of color, Geisha Williams of PG&E Corporation and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo.

CNN reports that between 2017 and 2018, there was a 25 percent drop in women leadership on the Fortune 500.

Ford will also become only the third openly LGBTQ CEO of a company on the Fortune 500 and the first woman, reports Fortune. For queer women, holding top executive positions is rare. Examples, according to CNN, include the CEO of Lloyd’s of London, Inga Beale and United Therapeutics’ Martine Rothblatt, yet none had reached the elite club of the Fortune 500 until Ford.

Speaking to Fortune, she said that the fact that she’s the first openly lesbian to hold the role is “not nothing.” She tells the outlet that during her 20s she felt she could not be her real self in her workplace.

“If [one of a few openly LGBTQ CEOs] gives someone encouragement and belief that they can be their authentic self and live their life and things are possible, then that’s a terrific moment,” Ford said.

“I think I’ve been fortunate since my mid-30s of being just who I am,” she told Fortune. “I think it must be really hard if you feel like you’re in a culture where you can’t be who you are.”

Rights groups have praised Ford’s selection. Deena Fidas, the director of workplace equality at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), tells CNN, “The fact that she is assuming this role as an out lesbian sends an especially powerful message.

“This is not a story of someone getting into the higher echelons of leadership and then coming out. This is someone walking into this role with her full self,” she added.

As INTO reported previously, HRC released a research report titled “A Workplace Divided: Understanding the climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide” in June and found that 46 percent of LGBTQ people surveyed have not come out to their coworkers. Much of this stemmed from a fear of discrimination or experience at work. For instance, more than 50 percent told HRC that they would regularly hear jokes targeting LGBTQ individuals in their office.

Respondents also reported that many of these experiences had increased over the past year.

“While LGBTQ-inclusive corporate policies are becoming the norm, LGBTQ workers too often face a climate of bias in their workplace,” Fidas explained in a statement at the time of the report’s release.

“LGBTQ employees are still avoiding making personal and professional connections at work because they fear coming out—and that hurts not only that employee, but the company as a whole.”

Fifty-nine percent of non-LGBTQ people surveyed also felt that it would be “unprofessional” to discuss sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace, INTO reported. And 36 percent responded that they would feel uncomfortable listening to an LGBTQ-identifying coworker discuss their dating life. An astonishing 50 percent of non-LGBTQ respondents said that there were no openly LGBTQ people at their work.

Some organizations have begun tracking the best workplaces for LGBTQ-identifying people. Stonewall, a United Kingdom-based LGBTQ rights group, released their list of Top Global Employers on July 19 that included companies like Accenture, BP, and SAP along with 10 others.

“At a time when global LGBT rights are under threat of going backwards, we’re proud to work alongside our Top Global Employers, who operate in some extremely difficult contexts, to ensure all people are protected and welcome at work, wherever they are,” said Stonewall’s Chief Executive, Ruth Hunt, in the list’s announcement.

Ford commended Land O’Lakes Inc. for their support of her. “I am extraordinarily grateful to work at a company that values family, including my own,” Ford told CNN in a statement. “The Board chose the person they felt best met the criteria to drive success in the business. I realize this is an important milestone for many people and I am pleased to share it.”

Exposed: The Basic Bitch Account

Even in an age when sharing mundane details online is standard, it’s easier than ever to control the way others see us—until, as people often say on social media, someone gets “exposed.” Welcome to Exposed, a monthly column where author and activist Chris Stedman invites you to get a little more vulnerable.

It felt like the end of summer and the end of her life.

Almost a decade after moving to the United States, Olivia arrived at an airport in the middle of the country. She sat up to get out of the car and the seat, sticky with August humidity, pulled at her skin as if to say, Don’t do this. Don’t go.

But she had no choice. Olivia exited the car, stepped out into the sun, and walked toward the shadows cast by the brutalist concrete building. By the time she boarded her flight to the Caribbean, the sky was darkening. She left the ground and the plane tilted south, pivoting toward the island nation where she grew up. She looked out the window and said goodbye to the country she was leaving to once again live with a family that didn’t — and couldn’t — know the real her.

Olivia had moved the U.S. in her late 20s to work and go to graduate school. Eventually, she graduated and then a new presidential administration began, and with it, new immigration policies were implemented. Suddenly, for the first time, she had visa troubles. Though the new administration terrified her, she was happy in the U.S. and had no desire to leave. But she didn’t even consider staying in the country undocumented — her mother’s health was declining and Olivia didn’t want to risk not being able to leave to see her if she needed to, knowing that if she left undocumented she wouldn’t be able to return.

So she wept, and screamed, and resigned herself to moving home.

As soon as she returned to her country of origin, Olivia felt something inside of her shift. Or, rather, she felt several things inside of her go underground. Her family, a large collective of evangelical Baptists, was as devout as ever. But since leaving, Olivia had come to realize that she wasn’t so devout. In fact, she wasn’t even an evangelical Baptist at all.

She had also realized a number of other things: She was politically progressive, theologically agnostic, and bisexual. Sharing any one of these things would put her at risk of being cast out of her family, or worse. A queer cousin of Olivia’s was so thoroughly rejected that not only do family members act as if he no longer exists, it’s almost as if he never did in the first place. So upon moving home, Olivia put the aspects of herself that were in conflict with her family’s beliefs into a box and buried it deep inside of herself.

The change couldn’t have felt more abrupt. While living in the U.S., she had been not just out but outspoken. Everyone around her knew about her sexuality and her beliefs; she was opinionated and vocal in both professional spaces and as an activist. Silencing herself, hiding her beliefs and identities, wasn’t just counterintuitive — it was suffocating.

But Olivia had one lifeline: her Twitter account.

Unlike Facebook or Instagram, where members of her family follow her, Olivia’s Twitter has never been associated with her legal name. Mindful of how easily a family member could find her anonymous Twitter account, she’s never posted pictures of herself or talked about where she’s lived. From the very beginning of her time on Twitter, she has always been intentionally vague about personal details.

She’s not vague about her beliefs and her identity on Twitter, though. Through her anonymous account, Olivia is able to be as outspoken as she used to be in other areas of her life, regularly posting about the difficulties of immigration, her views on conservatives’ calls for “religious liberty,” or what she thinks about the fragility of straight white men.

On the one hand, her Twitter account is a freeing space to share things that she can’t articulate in any other area of her life, but using it can also exacerbate how isolated and lonely she feels. On Twitter, she can say things that she desperately needs to say. Doing so also reminds her, however, that she can’t say them anywhere else.

Since moving home, Olivia’s posts on Twitter have become even more vulnerable than they were before. But her Twitter also feels increasingly fraught. She catches herself writing out a tweet — about how hard it is to go back in the closet, or the anti-LGBTQ comments her family makes — but then deleting it before hitting post, wondering if she’s venting too much. She worries that people will eventually get so sick of her complaints that they tune her out — by muting her, or worse still, unfollowing. The idea of losing the one venue she has for self-expression, of becoming even more isolated and alone than she is now, is too devastating to imagine.

Olivia also feels protective of her followers, many of whom are friends she made while living in the United States. She doesn’t want them to know how bad things actually are, how desperately she’s struggling with feeling alone and unsafe, and she also worries that her posts sometimes cause even her to focus too much on her problems. Not once has someone told her that she’s sharing too much, but still, the fear of alienating others or hurting herself by sharing so much of her struggle weighs heavily on her.

Though Olivia’s experiences are unique to her current situation, certainly many of us can relate to the feeling that we need to scale back — that if we really say it all, if we share everything we’re feeling, it will be too much and drive people away, or that it may even exacerbate our own unhappiness.

During some of the more difficult periods of my life, I’ve often spent hours in front of the computer drafting out status updates that would lay bare my suffering, only to delete them out of a fear that I would be judged, or that I would estrange the people from whom I so badly wanted support. Like Olivia, I’ve often created rules, limits, and thresholds for others in my head, based on my imagined understanding of how much they could tolerate — rationing out posts about my mental health and cutting myself off at an arbitrary number, or couching my laments about ongoing difficulties in self-deprecating humor.

Even when I do allow myself to post a bit more uninhibitedly, I, too, have found myself worrying that social media sometimes makes it harder for me to not fixate on what’s going wrong.

To help her practice focusing on happiness, Olivia made what she calls a “basic bitch” account, where she primarily posts cheerful things: casual thoughts on TV shows like Chicago P.D. and Scandal, or pictures of a cute outfit. Although she’s often worried that her Twitter account allows her to stew in a way that’s not healthy for her, having this account allows her to preserve her other handle as a space for pain and fear.

As an added bonus, if someone who knows her offline asks if she has a Twitter, she now has a handle to share with them. Her family has never asked, but if they did, she could point them in the direction of that account.

Her private Twitter account remains a very necessary lifeline. Despite her concerns about it, Olivia can’t imagine how she would be getting through this period in her life without social media. She still gets nervous — especially about Facebook, which is the most mixed space of all of her social media accounts, where members of her family and people from her life in the U.S. interact with her alongside one another — but she’s trying to focus on the good she’s getting out of it.

While she trusts her friends from the U.S. to be careful and practice discretion, she’s also given them clear instructions not to post certain things, and to never tag her private account in anything her family might come across. The consequences of Olivia’s private account being connected to her offline identity, of her family discovering that she is proudly queer and agnostic, would be great. For Olivia and many others, coming out to family just isn’t possible, which makes having safe, low-risk spaces in which she can be out — particularly digital spaces — that much more important.

Despite her fears about being ostracized both by family and by the friends she worries will tire of her social media venting, Olivia is still here. The person she was in the U.S., where she could be more open about her queerness, isn’t entirely gone. You can still find that Olivia on Twitter, tending to herself until she can step back out into the light.

Want to get exposed? Email Chris at [email protected] with a short description of a time when you felt truly vulnerable — in either a positive or a painful way (or both).

Want more? Check out the previous installment of Exposed.

Image via Getty

Alaska Airlines Allegedly Split Up Gay Couple So Hets Could Sit Together

Homophobia at 30,000 feet is real.

According to a Sunday Facebook post by David Cooley, the owner of Los Angeles gay bar The Abbey, Alaska Airlines staff separated he and his partner from each other to “give preferential treatment” to a straight couple who could not bear a moment away from each other. Cooley said that his partner was asked to move from a premium seat to coach.

“We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane,” Cooley wrote. “I cannot believe that an airline in this day and age would give a straight couple preferential treatment over a gay couple and go so far as to ask us to leave. We will never be flying Alaska Airlines or their recently purchased Virgin Airlines Group ever again.”

In a statement to HuffPost, Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Oriana Branon said the airline has a “zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind” and called the incident a “seating error.”

“This unfortunate incident was caused by a seating error, compounded by a full flight and a crew seeking an on-time departure and nothing more than that,” the statement reads. “It’s our policy to keep all families seated together whenever possible; that didn’t happen here and we are deeply sorry for the situation,” she said.

She added, “We’ve reached out to Mr. Cooley to offer our sincere apologies for what happened and we are seeking to make it right.”

As of press time, the status had over 1,900 shares on Facebook.

Because irony never rests, Alaska Airlines also has a page on its website dedicated to queer travel.

Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Queer Legacy of Indie Oddballs CSS

This past week a milestone went unnoticed by indie music fans. On July 25, Donkey, the sophomore album of the Brazilian dance-rock band CSS, turned 10 years old. After their breakout song “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex” was featured in an iPod commercial, the party-hungry group of five ladies and a dude led by their yowling lead singer Lovefoxxx fell from grace, except in the minds of queer fans.

When Pearl toured after placing in the top three on Season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, she performed CSS’s “Alala.”  “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” is still a huge hit at parties, and the short teaser for indie queer coming of age story Kiki & the MXfits heavily features one of the band’s later songs “Into the Sun.”

“We have a lot of gay fans,” the band’s guitarist Ana Rezende said in a 2013 interview with Houston’s OutSmart Magazine. “It’s actually been a really big part of the fanbase since the beginning.” 

With a fab femme lead singer rocking bedazzled catsuits, out queer members, and a catalog of disco-punk odes to art bitches and wild nights, CSS deserve to be put in the queer hall of fame.

Despite having massive hype and a strong gay fanbase right off that bat, the Brazilian band has always received shade from critics.  

“CSS’s whole fast-and-cheap aesthetic is more fun to think about than to actually hear; more often than not, their songs end up sounding like the crappy filler tracks from the first Le Tigre album,” Tom Breihan wrote about the group’s debut self-titled album on Pitchfork. In a review of their third album, Rolling Stone described their music as “intensely annoying.”

Honestly, they had a point. The group’s buzzsaw guitars, tinny programmed drums, and cheesy synths were reminiscent of other groups on the scene, and maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but CSS pushed the post-electroclash sound to its extreme. This aesthetic, even in its ugliness, was precisely what endeared the group to queer fans.

The straight critics largely missed the camp value. In her essay “Notes on Camp,” Susan Sontag described the peculiar nature of camp, something gays have trafficked in for a long time: “The way of Camp, is not in terms of beauty, but in terms of the degree of artifice, of stylization.” CSS were stylized and artificial in a way that only a band made up of fashion workers and graphic designers could be.

Lovefoxxx’s whole persona was rigidly set. She was a pouty hedonistic art raver clad in rainbow leggings and bedazzled catsuits by Peggy Noland. Gay men love a drunken party girl, and Lovefoxxx was so over the top (three xs!) that you couldn’t help but laugh and cheer her on. Sure her shtick ripped off Karen O’s whole persona with a little bit of M.I.A. thrown in, but it didn’t matter. She committed and we lapped it up.

In addition to being camp themselves, CSS also loved the camp aspects of American culture. The superficial celebrity culture of the mid to late 2000s provided tons of fodder to play with. The band famously pulled their name, Cansei De Ser Sexy, from a Portuguese translation of the Beyoncé quote “I’m so tired of being sexy,” but it wasn’t a comment on sexuality or feminism. It was just supposed to be taken as face value: hilarious and sexy and fab because it was Beyoncé. The band’s song “Meeting Paris Hilton” is less about the heiress and more about meeting any celebrity who you think is That Bitch. “I ran into the bitch, the bitch was so hot,” Lovefoxxx drawls, a phrase that could apply to Kim Kardashian or even Wendy Williams depending on how hard you wanted to carry. Still, with think pieces extolling Hilton’s cultural impact continuing to pop into our news feeds, their choice to namecheck the star seems prophetic.

This love of mainstream and catchy choruses made CSS a black sheep amongst their indie rock peers. “Sometimes the serious indie bands don’t like us because we’re doing pop music and having fun,” Carol told the Guardian in 2008.  

While it made other bands shake their fists, CSS’s love of pop culture mixed with their hipster aesthetics is now the norm. At the time those taste-making elements were post-electroclash distorted guitars and cheap Casio keyboards. Now people signify taste with minimal production and the hushed inflections of Indie Pop Voice. The signifiers may have changed, but the merger of the avant-garde and accessibility that CSS pioneered is now the norm both critically and sonically.

Pop is no longer a dirty word, with critics giving love and attention to artists like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. With the rise in home recording, it’s now increasingly hard to sonically distinguish between a top-tier popstar’s latest single and a girl uploading a song to Bandcamp. The reach of the internet means that anyone could potentially blow up at any time, no iPod commercial needed. The band’s dismissal of the idea of being “cool” and their openness to selling out is no longer a rarity.

Beyond the camp appeal and embrace of pop culture, this was also a band with visibly queer members. Look past the fabulous heterosexual frontwoman and you’ll see several band members with clearly queer presentation onstage. Ana Rezende and Luiza Sá constantly wear flannel shirts, jeans, and sweaters, not to mention trucker hats. These were all lesbian staples before moving into straight hipsters’ closets.  The pair worked as the DJ duo Meuku (named after a t.A.t.U. song) and would try and top each other with the “gayest song ever.

Adriano Cintra, the band’s lone male member, dressed like a long-lost trucker member of the Village People. He openly brought his boyfriend to interviews while other indie stars like Kele Okereke of Bloc Party were still in the closet. Plus, Adriano didn’t fit the stereotypical gay creative mold of being a stylist or makeup artist. He was a musician making original music . Cintra’s remix of Kylie Minogue’s “Wow” was the only reason my teen self-found out about the undisputed gay icon from Down Under.

This visibly queer band acted as a flagpole for me searching for queer idols in a pre-Gaga, pre-Glee musical landscape. Blog posts compared Lovefoxxx’s over the top sexuality to Peaches, leading me to the pleasure chest of her discography (“Fuck the Pain Away,” amirite?). The band played shows with the Gossip, whose anthem “Standing In The Way of Control” got us through the Bush years and kept me from crying while I went to college in homophobic Mississippi. On “City Grrrl,” a classic story of moving to the city to become your freakiest self, the group collaborated with SSION. These bands were all wildly free, gay as heck, making cool art while also doing silly shit like “painting their teeth black, doing a moonie, just throwing food on everybody.”  Teenage me was smitten, completely into the idea of leaving the south behind to join these wild pals exploring hipster haunts while sporting clashing outfits.

CSS’s wacky sense of hedonism only grew more relatable as I started going to queer bars and parties. Lines like “Kiss me I’m drunk/don’t worry it’s true” and “Going back home, all alone” are prime Instagram captions. Lovefoxxx’s rainbow leggings are my ideal Pride accessory. I still believe in the vision of this ragtag gang of Brazilians, even after Adriano left and accused his bandmates of not being able to play their instruments.

At their best, CSS described the kind of queer underground I want to be a part of: unpretentious, lewd, arty, provocative, and fun. As an increasingly more tame and heteronormative life for queer people becomes possible, it’s important for us to remember the vision that CSS championed.