Could ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Really Win An Oscar For Best Picture?

On the surface, it seems like Bohemian Rhapsody might possess a kind of magic that few other movies could match. After topping the box office in multiple countries that criminalize homosexuality, the Freddie Mercury biopic went on to reign supreme as the highest-grossing LGBTQ film in Hollywood history. Not even middling reviews could stop audiences from going (radio) gaga over the film in cinemas, and now Bohemian Rhapsody seems to have won over the industry too, receiving two awards at the Golden Globes this week.

While Rami Malek’s win for his portrayal of Mercury wasn’t particularly surprising, many were shocked to see Bohemian Rhapsody beat out better-received films like Black Panther and If Beale Street Could Talk for the accolade of Best Motion Picture (Drama). Not only did Bohemian Rhapsody receive the weakest reviews of the bunch, but many in the LGBTQ community were also disappointed by the film’s portrayal of Mercury’s sexuality — and the less said about original director Bryan Singer, the better.

Despite all of the controversy, this double win makes it more likely than ever that Bohemian Rhapsody will also be recognized by the Academy Awards. Given that the cast has also been nominated by the Screen Actors Guild Awards, history tells us that the much-maligned biopic will almost certainly become a contender for Best Picture come February, alongside other favorites such as Green Book and well, The Favourite.

What still remains unclear though is whether Bohemian Rhapsody has what it takes to break free and secure the win. As Freddie himself once sang, “It’s a hard life,” and the biopic that tells his story will surely have a “long hard fight” on its hands too.

Both Best Film winners at the Golden Globes are usually guaranteed a nomination each year, but only nine of these have been awarded the Oscar since 2000. Although part of this has to do with the way that the Globes split Best Film across two categories (Drama and Musical/Comedy), the Globes also possess a populist streak which undoubtedly came into play here regarding this year’s surprise win.

Despite the film’s popularity, high box office earnings rarely translate to clear wins in the major Oscar categories, and what’s popular among the Golden Globe voters might not be so well liked by the Academy voters. After all, the voting pools that both ceremonies draw on don’t overlap too much, so the Oscar voters might have different favorites entirely, something which we’ve seen play out numerous times before.

Although a double win at the Globes helped propel Bohemian Rhapsody into the headlines at a crucial moment during the Academy’s deliberation window, publicity of this kind could also harm the film’s chances further come February 24. Remember when James Franco was snubbed by the Academy last year following his controversial Globe win and the sexual harassment claims that followed? The backlash that Bohemian Rhapsody is currently facing could derail any chance the film might have of taking home the Oscar for Best Picture.

In Bohemian Rhapsody, we watch Queen perform the song “We Are The Champions,” but in real life, it might be Freddie and Co. who bite the dust thanks to some pretty stiff competition from the likes of A Star Is Born and Roma. In fact, Roma could be the one to beat, despite some snobbery among cinephiles who resent its Netflix origins. At the Golden Globes, foreign language movies aren’t eligible to compete in the Best Film categories, and that’s why Roma wasn’t pitted against Bohemian Rhapsody there, but anything goes at the Oscars, and Alfonso Cuarón’s track record with the Academy isn’t to be trifled with either.

If I were a betting man, I’d say that Bohemian Rhapsody is unlikely to beat any of the aforementioned movies at the Oscars, and it looks like other betting men and women agree too. Oddschecker reports that the odds of it winning are unfavorable at around 5/2, and Gold Derby currently ranks Bohemian Rhapsody in ninth place with odds of 18/1. If these particular predictions are to be believed, then it’s currently a tight race between Roma and A Star Is Born, leaving Bohemian Rhapsody to languish almost out of sight completely.

Of course, the show must go on, and there’s still plenty of time for Bohemian Rhapsody to surprise us yet again by stealing the show completely. Freddie Mercury didn’t play by the rules, so it’s to be expected that a biopic based on his life might not either.

The 91st Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019.

Ranking Every Song On Britney’s ‘…Baby One More Time’ From Best To Best

On January 12, 2019, 20 years will have passed since Godney first blessed us with a holy collection of instant classics. While we wait for the world’s various governments to celebrate this anniversary as an official holiday, we here at INTO have decided to celebrate by ranking every song on Britney’s debut album from best to best.

Of course, such an undertaking is entirely subjective. Every single song on …Baby One More Time has been seared into the minds of young girls and fledgling gays everywhere since it first came out in 1999. Therefore, any attempt to rank each track is pointless. Indulge us though as we take a look back at a time when Britney Spears ruled the world, long before she made slaves of us all.

14. “I’ll Never Stop Loving You”

I stopped loving this bonus track a very long time ago.

13. “The Beat Goes On”

Fans are often quick to dismiss this early Cher cover, but if Beatney re-released it as a duet with the “Believe” singer now, it would instantly skyrocket to number one on this list and in our hearts too.

12. “I Will Still Love You” (ft. Don Philip)

Messy doesn’t even begin to describe the awkward reunion that Britney and Don Philip shared during the X Factor USA auditions in 2012, adding new and cringey layers of meaning to the line, “Time may take us apart, but I will still love you.”

11.  “Autumn Goodbye”

Like pumpkin spice lattes, “Autumn Goodbye” is a basic yet enjoyable treat that everyone should enjoy exclusively between the months of September and December.

10. “E-Mail My Heart”

Remember that time Britney Spears invented Email? Of course you do, and it’s all thanks to this ballad that Techney herself once claimed “everyone can relate to.”

9. “From the Bottom of My Broken Heart”

It’s somewhat ironic that Britney ditched her sexy schoolgirl image in a promo directed by someone who was once referred to as “the Martin Scorsese of the erotic thriller.” Gregory Dark’s previous career in porn worried the label once news got out, but the wholesome song and video still remain Britney’s most innocent.

8. “Thinkin’ About You”

Honestly, I spend my days thinkin’ about Britney’s gorgeous deep register which comes to the fore in this chilled deep cut. Modernney could learn a lesson or two from this track.

7. “Soda Pop”

Whether you originally encountered “Soda Pop” on …Baby One More Time or the first Pokémon movie soundtrack, the fourth track on Britney’s debut fizzes with some reggae vibes and a not so subtle metaphor about male ejaculation.

6. “Deep In My Heart”

“Deep In My Heart” is joy personified and it was foolish of Jive Records to leave it off the original US track listing. Facts are facts, America.

5. “I Will Be There”

Imagine a world where the southern twang of “I Will Be There” propelled Britney to country stardom and she ended up recording a whole album full of Shania Twain inspired ditties. Y’all know you want it too.

4. “Sometimes”

Sweet like bubblegum, Britney’s second single slowed things down to a surprising degree back in 1999, and unfortunately, she rarely sings it live these days, but diehard purists will always have a soft spot for this gooey classic.

3. “(You Drive Me) Crazy”

If the single remix was included on the album, “Crazy” could have potentially taken the number one spot, because honestly, what song doesn’t benefit from a breakdown where Britney shouts “stop!”?

2. “Born to Make You Happy”

Not only is “Born To Make You Happy” the soundtrack to countless pillow fights worldwide, it’s also one of the best ballads that Britney has ever recorded, something which we Brits knew when we helped propel it to number one on the UK charts.

1. “…Baby One More Time”

Dun DUN DUN…  You’re not surprised, we’re not surprised and anyone with ears shouldn’t be surprised either. This is the one true Mona Lisa of pop music and literally any other choice in the top spot just wouldn’t make sense. To suggest otherwise would be blasphemy against both Godney and the Holy Spearit combined.

First Transgender Homicide of 2019 Reported in Alabama

It’s a grim first that has gone unacknowledged by law enforcement and media.

Dana Martin is the first known transgender person of 2019 to be murdered in the U.S. The 31-year-old Hope Hull resident was found shot to death in Montgomery, Alabama Sunday night.

Police identified her as male. Local media consequently followed suit. Monica Roberts of the blog TransGriot first broke word of her death on Twitter.

“It’s clear that she was a woman,” said Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd, founder of Transgender Advocates Knowledgeable Empowering. Duncan-Boyd said she met Martin several times with her friends. “She was a person that was loved by many, and you can see it all over Facebook.”

Most of Martin’s Facebook page is set to private, so messages from friends are not publicly visible. But all of her Facebook photos dating back nine years show her presenting as female.

Shonta Dillard, a longtime friend, also confirmed to INTO that Martin was transgender.

“That’s a sister, even though she’s not here to defend herself,” said Duncan-Boyd. “We still have a community in loss that is willing to defend her…The justice system doesn’t know how to handle situations where trans folks are murdered. They always misgender, and when they misgender, it knocks the data off.”

Last year, ProPublica examined law enforcement response to transgender homicides from 2015 through August 2018 and found that in 74 of 85 cases, agencies misgendered victims in death.

Transgender people have faced an unprecedented wave of violence in the past two years. Last year saw 26 transgender people murdered in the U.S., and 2017 reported the highest number of trans homicides on record with 29. An overwhelming number of the victims are Black transgender women.

According to an MPD statement released to INTO, police and fire medics responded to a call for a vehicle crash at the 3900 block of Brewer Road at 11 pm Sunday.

“At the scene, they located a vehicle in the ditch line,” police said. “In the vehicle, they located Martin, the driver, who had sustained a fatal gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Asked if MPD was aware the victim identified as transgender, Public Information Officer Regina Duckett said that legal documents identified the victim as male.

“How a homicide victim identifies is a personal matter that becomes relevant to the investigation only if it is determined that it was a reason the victim was killed,” Duckett said in an email. “At this point, the circumstances of this homicide are unknown, and MPD will continue to pursue all leads and avenues for prosecution.”

Image via Facebook

North Carolina to Lose Netflix Show As Fallout Over Anti-Trans ‘Bathroom Bill’ Continues

House Bill 2 is set to lose North Carolina even more money, despite the law’s repeal.

Netflix’s coming-of-age drama OBX is reportedly pulling production from the Tar Heel State due to fallout from the anti-trans “bathroom bill.” Forced through during an emergency legislative session in March 2016, HB 2 would have cost the state an estimated $3.76 billion over the next 12 years if it remained intact.

The controversial measure was replaced with a “compromise” bill, HB 142, nearly a year after it was originally made law.

But according to Wilmington’s Star News, the streaming service did not feel the replacement legislation differed enough from its predecessor to justify filming in North Carolina. The “sticking point” was reportedly a clause in HB 142 forbidding local municipalities from passing ordinances “excluding them from the bill’s restrictions.”

That language prevents cities and counties from drafting pro-LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinances until Dec. 1, 2020—when the provision is set to expire.

In essence, HB 2 will remain in place for two more years.

Creator Jonas Pate claimed there’s still a chance OBX—which is set in the coastal town of Wilmington—could film in North Carolina. Pate told Star News “any effort to move the sunset date up… could convince Netflix to change course.”

“We have a tiny window where this could be pulled out of the fire,” he claimed.

The clock is quickly winding down, however. Netflix has already begun scouting locations in Charleston, South Carolina, despite its creator’s desire to shoot in the location where the show is set. OBX tells the story of a fateful summer, in which a hurricane cuts off power to Wilmington, through the eyes of four local teenagers.

“This show would be a postcard to North Carolina,” Pate concluded, describing it as akin to Stand By Me set in the Outer Banks.

Should North Carolina lose OBX to its neighbors to the south, it would result in an estimated $60 million in economic losses. Pate claimed it would also cost the already embattled state “70 good, clean, pension-paying jobs.”

Although the project has not been announced by Netflix, OBX allegedly plans to film a 10-episode season.

The news is further indication that HB 2 continues to have financial repercussions for North Carolina. Despite an offer of $2.4 billion in economic incentives from the state, Amazon announced its intent to build headquarters in New York City and Arlington, Va. According to the Associated Press, HB 2 was “still causing heartburn” with Amazon leadership.

Although North Carolina had been shortlisted for a new Apple facility, the company announced in December it would be taking 9,000 jobs to Austin instead.

Apple never stated that HB 2 was the reason it chose to open the $1 billion campus in Texas. But in an interview with Raleigh’s News & Observer, insiders euphemistically noted North Carolina’s “uncertain politics” as dissuading the company from doing business with the state.

Charlotte’s tourism board is reportedly spending $2 million in “Post HB2 Marketing/Sales support” to rehab the state’s image during the ongoing fallout.

Whether lawmakers will address this crisis by further compromising on HB 2 remains to be seen. Although Democrats flipped enough seats to break the Republican supermajorities in the State House and Senate, both chambers of the General Assembly remain under conservative control.

Image via Getty

What We Know About ‘Killing Eve’ Season 2 So Far

Sandra Oh made history twice at the Golden Globes last Sunday. She became the first Asian-American to host the ceremony, as well as the first Asian-American to win Golden Globes in multiple categories (her first was for her supporting role in Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Cristina Yang, and the second was this year, for her titular role in the BBC America’s Killing Eve).

The series, returning for a much anticipated second season on April 7, sounds as if it’s picking up right where it left off: Villanelle has disappeared, and Eve is left reeling, having no idea if the woman she stabbed is alive or dead. With both of them in deep trouble, Eve has to find Villanelle before someone else does… but unfortunately, she’s not the only person looking for her.

From the new teaser, we know Eve is being questioned by MI6 about what really happened in Paris. (You know, when Eve went nuts on Villanelle’s stuff, drank her champagne, and then recited a soliloquy of Shakespearean proportions to Villanelle before suggesting they take a little siesta together in her bed, and then promptly climbing on top of her and stabbing her in the stomach.) What we don’t know is how Villanelle is going to react to Eve’s unexpected attack once she’s healed. According to Jodie Comer, who plays the queer assassin, her reaction might not be what audiences are expecting.

“I think what happened in episode 8 brings them closer together in a way that neither of them expect,” Comer said during a red carpet interview at the Golden Globes. “A lot of relationships were tested in Series 1, so I think the dynamics have really shifted.”

Will Villanelle be impressed with Eve’s finesse with sharp objects? Will she be pleasantly surprised to find that Eve is, in fact, a top? Considering that Villanelle is one of the most complex, unpredictable characters currently in television, any reaction she might have is unexpected, yet completely true to character.

“She’s never just straight-up upset about anything,” says show creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge about Villanelle. “She sees the world in a different way, so it would have a different impact on her I think.”

For Season 2, Waller-Bridge, who is being kept busy with a number of projects, has handed over head-writer duties to Emerald Fennell, an author and actress who played lesbian nurse Patsy Mount in the British period drama, Call The Midwife. While the Fleabag star and creator remains active behind the scenes of Killing Eve, she’s taken more of an executive producer role, according to Variety.

As far as storyline details, we‘ve learned via Sandra Oh in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that Season 2 will spend more time with the two women interacting.

“It moves from a chase to being together — in the same room,” Oh said. “For me, it just gets so much more psychological. It’s trippy talking about it while I’m still in it, but these characters have established that they know who the other is. It just gets deeper and deeper.”

The story of Eve and Villanelle was introduced as one of mutual obsession, but their interactions were limited. It should be interesting to see how their dynamic evolves once the element of the chase is no longer a distraction.

Season 2 of Killing Eve airs on BBC America April 7 at 8pm.

Images via BBC America and Getty

Florida Governor Erases LGBTQ People From Nondiscrimination Order on First Day in Office

Florida’s new governor wasted no time in getting on the wrong side of the LGBTQ community.

On his very first day in office, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order affirming his administration would not discriminate on the basis of characteristics like race and sex in hiring. The pledge reaffirmed existing protections under Executive Order 11-04, which was signed by former governor Rick Scott.

The order was titled “Reaffirming Commitment to Diversity in Government,” borrowing the name of Executive Order 11-04.

There was one thing, however, missing from the governor’s so-called diversity pledge: LGBTQ people. The order does not prohibit discriminatory bias on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in either state agencies or government contracting.

Equality Florida took immediate notice of the snub.

In a statement, the state’s largest LGBTQ group said it is “deeply disappointed to see that LGBTQ employees and contractors” were left out of the order.

“It’s hard to believe that Governor DeSantis and his staff are not aware of the LGBTQ communities’ call for these protections following the Pulse tragedy and therefore it is hard to interpret this as anything less than a purposeful omission,” added Joe Saunders, its political director.

The omission is particularly glaring after his predecessor pledged to pass a nondiscrimination order following the death of 49 people at an Orlando gay bar.

Following the June 2016 tragedy, Scott is alleged to have offered his support for inclusive LGBTQ protections in government hiring during closed-door meetings with advocacy groups like Equality Florida. The Republican, who was recently elected to the U.S. Senate, failed to follow through on that promise before leaving office.

INTO reached out to DeSantis to inquire whether the governor would push for LGBTQ protections in the future. His office did not respond before publication time.

If the conservative politician does introduce a pro-LGBTQ order, it would be a surprise to those familiar with his record in U.S. Congress. In 2016, he scored a zero percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Index—its lowest score.

That very same year DeSantis voted against an amendment to a defense spending bill which would have forbid federal contractors who discriminate against LGBTQ people from receiving government funding. The provision was defeated by a one-vote margin as Democrats reportedly shouted: “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

The former Jacksonville representative also vowed to veto bathroom and locker room protections for transgender students if elected governor.

Meanwhile, DeSantis has offered a mixed message on LGBTQ nondiscrimination. In response to a question during the 2018 governor’s race as to whether he would sign an inclusive order on government hiring, he said he doesn’t “want any discrimination in Florida” but also expressed support for so-called “religious liberty.”

“I want people to be able to live their life—whether you are gay but also whether you are religious,” he claimed. “I think you should be able to do that. I don’t want them discriminated against as well.”

“We’ve got a big, diverse state and that is just the way it is,” DeSantis added.

Equality Florida noted that DeSantis’ refusal to fully support pro-LGBTQ protections “draws a stark contrast” with recent actions from other governors. Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin’s Tony Evers both signed nondiscrimination orders following their inauguration; Ohio’s John Kasich did so before leaving office in December.

Meanwhile, Kansas Governor-elect Laura Kelly has vowed to reinstate protections for LGBTQ state employees after she takes office on Monday. Those safeguards were nixed by former governor Sam Brownback in 2015.

LGBTQ advocates called for a meeting with DeSantis to ensure his administration does not repeat the alleged failures of the previous one.

“We look forward to a dialogue with Governor DeSantis about why LGBTQ employees have been omitted from this critical policy and how he plans to make sure that all Floridians, regardless of who they are or who they love, can be protected from discrimination,” Saunders said in the press release.

During his Tuesday swearing-in ceremony, DeSantis did not address LGBTQ rights.

Instead, the Republican stressed the need for limited government and to appoint Florida Supreme Court justices who won’t “legislate from the bench.” He also took aim at sanctuary cities, which he claimed “[incentivize] illegal immigration” and “[promote] lawlessness.”

During the midterm race, DeSantis infamously used the word “monkey” in reference to his black opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum.

Image via Getty

Asst. Principal Who Demanded Trans Student Use Urinal in Front of Him Reinstated

An assistant principal who challenged a transgender student to use a urinal in front of him to prove he was male will be reinstated next month, a West Virginia Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night.

Assistant Principal Lee Livengood will return to work at Liberty High School on Feb. 1.

Frank Devono Jr., president of the Harrison County Board of Education, told INTO that board’s decision to reinstate Livengood was based on an investigative report from Superintendent Mark Manchin.

“After that report had been filed, and after that report had been completed, [it found] it did not warrant termination, it warranted a suspension and unpaid suspension,” said Devono. “And that he at that point would complete the stipulations that the superintendent and the board came up with, and that he would be able to come back to work.”

The incident in question dates back to Nov. 27 when Livengood allegedly followed transgender sophomore Michael Critchfield into an otherwise empty boys’ bathroom and loudly challenged him to prove he was male, stating “Come out here and use the urinal.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of West Virginia, Livengood also repeatedly misgendered Critchfield and said, “I’m not going to lie: You freak me out.”

Devono said that since the incident, the district has met with the ACLU and experts at West Virginia University. He said that all staff will be trained in transgender sensitivity.

Board members met in closed executive session Tuesday night before voting to reinstate Livengood. The exact terms of his reinstatement have not been disclosed.

Initial reports from the district suggested that Livengood had been suspended with pay following the incident, but Devono said that board members objected to his continuing to be paid and placed him on unpaid leave through February.

Devono said the district held meetings with Critchfield’s parents and the ACLU on appropriate next steps before voting on Tuesday.

“They weren’t looking for termination so much as they were looking to use this as a teaching scenario that could benefit other students that are dealing with the same type of situation,” he said.

The ACLU of West Virginia appeared to support the vote, but declined to immediately offer any details about what transpired between the district, Livengood, Critchfield’s family, and the ACLU. In a statement from Executive Director Joseph Cohen, the organization said it was encouraged by discussions with Superintendent Manchin.

“Michael and his family were heartened with the outcome of the meeting and are now looking forward to working with the school district to make a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ students in Harrison County,” Cohen said. “Because of Michael’s bravery and willingness to come forward, we now have the opportunity to replicate and expand on inclusion practices in other counties across West Virginia to ensure this never happens again to anyone under any circumstance.”

Timothy Ward, a spokesperson for the ACLU of West Virginia said the organization would be releasing more information on what steps the district had taken that led to its positive statement, pending conversations with Critchfield.

The State of Queer Women in Pop Music in 2019

When lesbian pop star Hayley Kiyoko dubbed last year #20GayTeen, none of us were ready for how queer it’d it’d actually be.

Last year, queer women in music were more visible than ever before, with major releases from Lesbian Jesus herself, Halsey, Cardi B, St. Vincent, King Princess, problematic transgender queen Kim Petras, and the massive (and controversial) Rita Ora/Cardi B/Charli XCX/Bebe Rexha collab “Girls.” Just eight days into 2019, the queer women of pop haven’t wasted a single second; they’re already out here dropping new visuals and teasing us with new music. Yesterday alone, four super queer acts announced new projects coming soon. I’m elated, vibrating, and ready to dance. Here’s the current state of lesbian and queer pop music, and everything queer women have to look forward to this year that isn’t Captain Marvel.

To kick off 2019, Annie Clark (AKA one of Cara Delevingne’s exes AKA St. Vincent), announced the gayest of gay collaborations: In 2019, our queer lady thirst will be quenched with a brand-new Sleater-Kinney album—their first in four years—and it will be produced by St. Vincent herself. Sleater-Kinney frontwoman Carrie Brownstein has dated both her bandmate Corin Tucker and Clark, furthering my belief that the future of queer pop music is collaborations with gay exes. I also portend that the future of pop will be unanimously inspired by Cara Delevingne (see: Rita Ora’s supposed Sapphic single nodded to her fling with the British model). Please look for my dissertation on gay exes in pop music, coming this summer to Twitter dot com.

In addition to Sleater-Kinney and St. Vincent, it looks like lesbian alt-pop will have quite a moment this year, as Tegan and Sara revealed on their website that new music and a memoir was on the horizon. King Princess is set to tour her most recent EP, Talia, and even has some major festival dates set, like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Firefly.

Actually, it’s worth mentioning that Coachella is getting gayer and gayer (despite being owned by an anti-LGBTQ Republican donor). This year, queer female artists like Janelle Monae, Lizzo, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Christine and the Queens, and transgender DJ SOPHIE will also be performing. Plus, Ariana Grande will be headlining the California festival—she doesn’t identify as LGBTQ, but has been lovingly and aggressively adopted by the community. Grande will be the fourth woman to ever headline Coachella.

Speaking of A-List pop stars, queer Top 40 queens like Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga are already delivering in a major way. In November, the pansexual singer-songwriter released her first single post-Younger Now, a throbbing bassline, disco-meets-country collaboration with Mark Ronson called “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart.” She performed the song in a dazzling dressed-up tracksuit on Saturday Night Live. The recently married musician’s seventh studio album is due out this year, and I’ll be crossing my arms and impatiently tapping my foot awaiting more disco tracksuits lewks. I really need a new phone background—new year, new wallpaper!

Lady Gaga, who once came out as bisexual and maybe-kinda-sorta rescinded it, launched her brand-new Vegas show Enigma on December 28th. The show, which features robotic Transformer-like set pieces, has already stunned fans of the flamboyant performer, and is set to run through November, with four special jazz and piano performances. According to NME, Gaga’s sixth studio album is currently being recorded at NYC’s Electric Lady Studios, and the working title is LG6 (sound familiar, Little Mix fans?). Hopefully, we’ll get our grubby gay hands on that music this year rather than next. Until then, we have awards season to look forward to, and a possible Oscar for the decorated musician’s role and song in A Star is Born.

And JoJo Siwa is set to release music on—I’m totally kidding. Can you imagine?

Like Gaga, bisexual pop stars are dropping music left and right. Today, former Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui announced a second single from her debut solo album (untitled so far). “More Than That,” the follow-up to “Expectations,” is set for release on January 11th. The sultry singer revealed the goddess-like album art for the single, which offers a strong nod to Sandro Botticelli’s iconic painting of The Birth of Venus. Bisexual artist Halsey has already tweeted her support for her “Strangers” collaborator.

Speaking of, a new album is expected from Halsey either this year or next—no date yet, but the pop star said she’s started “collecting” new material. 

The very pregnant and bisexual Kehlani also teased a new song and video. The single, “Nights Like This,” is due out tomorrow (Thursday). It’s been two years since the release of her debut EP, and since then, she’s been featured on everything from Cardi B tracks, to Hayley Kiyoko’s album, a pregnancy, and my tombstone, probably. Can my epitaph please say “(feat. Kehlani)?”

Cardi B, Kehlani’s frequent collaborator and fellow bisexual mother in hip-hop, is reportedly in the studio working on her second studio album. Her debut record Invasion of Privacy swept pop and hip-hop fans off their feet last year. The reigning queen of hip-hop took to Instagram Live to announce the second album, which she hopes to release around the same time that Invasion of Privacy came out, which was in April of last year. Personally, I’m looking forward to more outrageous music videos, Instagram rants, and queer collabs from Cardi B this year. In December, the Bronx-native released her “Money” music video, which intercut shots of a strip club and the MC breastfeeding her baby Kulture. So, I’m definitely hoping for more motherhood meets hip-hop content, which was the most ambitious crossover event in history.

Another hip-hop/pop fluid queen, Lizzo, who told Teen Vogue last year that she refuses to identify as straight, released a new music video for her single “Juice” this week. The ’80s-inspired video is the vivacious performer’s latest release since last year’s singles “Good As Hell,” “Truth Hurts,” and “Boys.” No word on when her next album will drop, but according to Vulture, 2019 is the year. I want to say my body is ready, but how does one actually ready their body for a full album of Lizzo bangers? Unclear.

Of course, there’s R&B star Janelle Monae, who might just be the hardest working pansexual in pop music. As previously mentioned, the Dirty Computer singer will be performing at Coachella in April. She’s also set to headline Glastonbury this summer. After wowing queer fans with her gilded red carpet look at the Golden Globes, Monae released a music video for “Screwed,” another track from Dirty Computer, yesterday, and yes, it’s another video starring Tessa Thompson.

But wait, there’s more! Betty Who, who came out as bi in 2018 and gifted us with multiple Sapphic music videos, is currently on tour with the pansexual-led Panic! at the Disco (the same tour that Hayley Kiyoko opened for in 2018!). Last week, Betty teased a new song on her social media called “I Remember.” 

And finally, queer pop singer-songwriter FLETCHER has also announced a new project in 2019, hopefully coming soon—I adored her 2017 and 2018 releases “You Should Talk” and “I Believe You,” both of which perfectly blended the happy-sad sounds of pop with lyrics about painful memories and longing. Queer women love to yearn—it’s kind of our thing.

Currently, there’s more mainstream music being released by queer female artists than ever before. Just a year ago, while anxiously awaiting Hayley Kiyoko’s debut album Expectations, I felt severely underrepresented in pop music, which is not only my favorite genre, but is unimpeachably one that belongs to the LGBTQ community. Queer fans have created and elevated pop music since its very inception, but it wasn’t until very recently (arguably last year) that our stories were being centered in the art form itself.

In a post-Expectations, post-Dirty Computer world, I’m fucking thrilled that me and other queer women aren’t begging for scraps of music about women loving women, or once-a-decade male gazey bops like Demi Lovato’s “Cool For The Summer” and Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl.” I’m thankful for the sheer volume of Sapphic pop music that’s flooded my Spotify playlists in 2018, and am overwhelmed by 2019’s gay pop forecast. Consider me soaked—sorry, I meant quenched.

Header image via Getty

Queer Abby: Rapid Fire Dog Advice

Dear Readers, because this is a queer column, I get a lot of questions about pets — dogs in particular. This week, I present a cache of rapid-fire dog advice, written from a home full of tennis balls and chihuahua fur.

Dear Queer Abby, 

Why is my jack-chi such a dick on his leash and such an angel off of it? What’s the fix?

Wacked out in Wyoming

 

Dear Wacked, 

Leash aggression is real! 

As time-consuming as it may be, I do believe in positive reinforcement training. When you see another dog on the street, I want you to take out the best treat in the world (something stinky and chewy and meat-like that your dog will go bananas for), get your dog’s attention, make him sit, and then say some word, like “FRIEND,” in a nice voice as you give your dog the treat while the other dog passes by. 

It will take a while, but your dog will eventually get the picture that when a dog appears, it means he sits and gets a treat. 

In the meantime, project calm, assertive energy as your speed-walk past other dogs, and if people’s off-leash canines run towards you and they let out an easy-going “He’s friendly!” I want you to yell “MINE’S NOT!” and furrow your brow as them as you calm-assertively power-walk away. 

There is no reason to let your dog sniff strangers if your dog isn’t having a good time doing so. Sorry, strangers. 

Good luck. 

Q.A.

Dear Queer Abby, 

My dog is like Beija (Queer Abby’s anxious former dog, as described in the book Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home, of 16 years who disliked men and children, who barked and jumped at people and peed on the floor with regularity). 

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. How did you cope?

Signed, 

Stressed in Schinecktate

 

Dear Stressed, 

There are no bad dogs. Perhaps your dog isn’t doing the things you wish she could or fulfilling the destiny you’d hoped for her, but I know for absolute certain that there are times when she is comfortable and happy. She may be a terrible candidate for the dog park, or for babysitting, angry at posing for photos and hard to hug, but acceptance of the things she *can* do is going to offer you more than counting her losses ever will.

Focus on those moments of dog joy and appreciate her for who she is. If she’s like Beija, those are times when she gets to go for a walk in an unpopulated area, when she furiously wags her tail for a really good breakfast, or when she gets to roll on her back in the sun, grinding the scent of grass or a rope bone into her fur. 

Part of accepting these moments of joy is setting your dog up for success. If there are things she faithfully fails at, don’t make her do them. If she is going to pee in the house while you’re away, confine her to an area with puppy pads. If she is always going to bark at the door at 4 p.m. when the mailman comes, keep her in a different part of the house with the radio or white noise. 

Your anxious dog doesn’t mean to be bad, she’s just, in the greater scheme of things, reacting to a giant frightening world.  

Your dog is so so lucky to have you. Keep the faith!

Q.A.

Dear Queer Abby, 

My 4-year-old dog has a mast cell tumor and the excision is going to be really big. She also has six other growths that are growing, and the cost of the excisions is around $1200. The other growths may not be mast cell tumors, it’s possible it’s just the one. 

The biopsies are $200 each, and the vet says sometimes they grow back faster after removal. I don’t know what to do. 

Signed, 

At the end of my rope in Ann Arbor

 

Dear End, 

I’m so sorry to hear about these tumors in your very young dog! There is almost nothing worse than the feeling of your finances intersecting with monumental decisions regarding your loved one’s health. 

A sentiment that serves me in many situations is: More Will Be Revealed. 

Note: I am not a veterinarian. I’m not even a vet tech. I’m just a person who has handled dog cancer and end-of-life decisions for several senior pets. Please consult with a  professional, and just take my word as a sympathetic friend & dog-comfort advocate. 

With the vet’s approval, I think you should get all the tumors biopsied. Your dog is young. This is information worth having. 

If you can get rid of the tumors in one sweep and know your dog stands a good chance of being cancer-free, then wonderful, and it is worth the money to save your dog’s life. 

If your dog is just riddled with malignant, cancerous tumors that will continue to return no matter what you do, and if these tumors foretell the slide towards the rainbow bridge in spite of medical intervention, then I don’t see the point in putting your dog through unnecessary surgeries.

If this hospice-leaning scenario is the case, I think you should make your dog as comfortable as possible and give her the absolute best year that you can. Invest some of that would-be surgery money in the best raw or homemade food, dog walks, beach trips, and the fluffiest dog bed imaginable. Get a dog toy with the loudest squeak, and treats with the strongest smell. 

I’m rooting for both of you. 

Ponyo and I hold our wands to the sky for your pup. 

Sincerely, 

Q.A.

Donald Trump, Jr. Shares Meme Mocking Trans People on Instagram

Transphobia is the Trump family business these days, if an Instagram post from Donald Jr. is any indication.

On Sunday, the eldest son of President Donald Trump shared a meme mocking trans and non-binary people. In the photo, an individual walks down the street dressed in futuristic attire: space boots, a fur coat, and blue hair reminiscent of The Fifth Element.

The unidentified person is also holding a Louis Vuitton purse.

Meanwhile, a sign in the background reminds Virginia voters to cast a ballot in the midterm elections on Nov. 6. Reading “Blue Wave 2018,” it calls out candidates Tim Kaine and Don Beyer by name.

Given the juxtaposition of Democratic candidates and the individual’s colorfully avant-garde appearance, the photo apes the popular meme, “This Is the Future Liberals Want,” in which a Muslim woman sits on the New York City subway next to a drag queen.

This time around, the caption takes aim at the #NotMyPresident hashtag: “No, no, don’t tell me. Let me guess… Trump is not your president?”

Trump Jr. piled onto the mockery. “I’ll take that bet all day long,” he wrote.

The feedback on Instagram was largely negative. While a typical post on his account attracts 1,000 or 2,000 comments, there are more than 6,900 responses.

Choice comments include: “Not my president either, and that’s a totally fab ensemble,” “Keep this same energy in prison, kiddo,” and “I hope your children grow up to be gay and trans and a drag queen.”

The First Son, however, lashed out at followers who claimed the post was reflective of animus toward the queer and trans community. Responding to a comment asking if Trump Jr. is “against LGBTQ people,” he claimed, “Not at all, and you can find plenty of evidence against that.”

INTO took Trump Jr. at his word, and the results were a mixed bag—to say the least.

The 41-year-old has come out in favor of same-sex marriage in the past, telling comedy podcast The Six Pack in 2012 that he’s “totally for” allowing all couples to wed. “If I have to suffer through marriage, why shouldn’t they?” he asked.

In the next breath, however, Trump Jr. said he “wished every guy was gay” while growing up “because it just meant more women for [him].”

If that didn’t make one question the sincerity of his pro-LGBTQ stance, Trump Jr. has done little to voice support for the community since his father’s inauguration. Instead, he mocked queer and trans students who protested the opening of a Chick-fil-A at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, calling them “triggered.”

Luckily these students won’t likely have to tackle issues more stressful than a yummy chicken sandwich in their lives,” he tweeted in April 2017.

Trump Jr. also lashed out at Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon on Twitter last year after the openly gay athlete called attention to Vice President Mike Pence’s anti-LGBTQ history. Those bullet points include signing a religious freedom bill and contributing to an HIV/AIDS outbreak as governor of Indiana.

Meanwhile, Trump Jr. has yet to break from his father’s administration on any key LGBTQ issues—whether trans inclusion in the military or discrimination against queer and transgender employees in the workplace.

Fittingly for someone with such a mixed record on equality, Trump Jr. failed to see what was “homophobic about [his social media] post.”

The First Family member counts 1.5 million followers on Instagram.

Header image via Getty