That ‘Devil Wears Prada’ Scene Was Cut for a Damn Good Reason

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada by now. The movie catapulted Anne Hathaway to another level of stardom and gave us one of Meryl Streep’s best creations, ice queen Runway editor Miranda Priestly.

This week, the internet has been gagging over a deleted scene from the gala event that causes Hathaway’s character Andy to miss a birthday party for her boyfriend, played by Adrian Grenier. The scene, which has been on YouTube for a while, gained popularity this week when it was tweeted out by BuzzFeed’s Spencer Althouse.

In the scene, Priestly’s husband, who is not her husband by the end of the film, barges into the party drunk and begins insulting partygoers. Andy steps in to save “the Dragon Lady” some embarrassment. As Streep walks away, she mouths two words: “Thank you.”

“I’m just seeing this deleted scene from The Devil Wears Prada for the first time, and honestly it changed the whole movie for me,” Althouse wrote.

People on Twitter are flipping out over this ~ softer side of Priestly ~.

I mean, there’s a reason this scene was cut, right? Some scenes are cut for time, some for tone. This seems to be a character misstep. Would Priestly, editor of Runway, Lady of Optics, Queen of Secrecy, Mother of Ice really mouth these words in the middle of a crowded party? Wouldn’t she make Emily Blunt write a discreet “thank you” note and hand it to Andy after the rest of the staff has left for the night?

Best to leave this one on the cutting room floor.

That’s all.

A Hilarious ‘Will & Grace’ Super-Sized Sneak Peek Trailer Just Dropped

Everyone’s favorite foursome is coming back to NBC.

In a new, laugh-filled trailer that just hit the web, Will (Eric McCormack), Grace (Debra Messing), Karen (Megan Mullally) and Jack (Sean Hayes) are back together again and, as Will says in the clip, “We know it’s going to be exactly the same.”

Interspersed in the trailer are interviews with the cast and classic clips from the initial run’s funniest moments. But, rather than just riding the nostalgia train, the clip proves that there are plenty of new jokes to crack. In one scene, Karen and Grace are travelling together via train. When Karen keeps dancing in her seat with her headphones in, Grace pulls them out and asks what she’s listening to.

Karen’s response? “Fox News!”

It’s funny cuz it’s true.

Will & Grace graces NBC’s Thursday line-up again on September 28.

A Hilarious ‘Will & Grace’ Super-Sized Sneak Peek Trailer Just Dropped

Everyone’s favorite foursome is coming back to NBC.

In a new, laugh-filled trailer that just hit the web, Will (Eric McCormack), Grace (Debra Messing), Karen (Megan Mullally) and Jack (Sean Hayes) are back together again and, as Will says in the clip, “We know it’s going to be exactly the same.”

Interspersed in the trailer are interviews with the cast and classic clips from the initial run’s funniest moments. But, rather than just riding the nostalgia train, the clip proves that there are plenty of new jokes to crack. In one scene, Karen and Grace are travelling together via train. When Karen keeps dancing in her seat with her headphones in, Grace pulls them out and asks what she’s listening to.

Karen’s response? “Fox News!”

It’s funny cuz it’s true.

Will & Grace graces NBC’s Thursday line-up again on September 28.

LCD Soundsystem’s Gavin Russom Condemns Trans Military Ban: ‘It’s Heartbreaking’

LCD Soundsystem’s Gavin Russom calls President Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from military service “heartbreaking” in a Wednesday interview with Billboard.

Russom, who came out as trans earlier this year in an INTO profile, sat down with transgender rapper KC Ortiz to discuss the recently enacted policy. In a series of tweets posted in July, the president claimed that allowing trans people to serve in the military is expensive and a disruption. A Friday memo signed by Trump put that proposal into action, even despite the fact that both of the president’s claims have been debunked.

“When I found out about it, it was… heartbreaking,” Russom tells the music magazine. “I was getting on the plane to my job, being a touring musician, and I thought, ‘Well, what if the order was that there can’t be trans people in the music business?’”

Although the 43-year-old is “anti-war,” she claims that it’s a complex issue for the trans community. Many transgender people, Russom says, enlist in the armed forces because they don’t have another choice. Trans troops might be kicked out of their homes after coming out and struggle to find another job due to discrimination.

“The military is almost a refuge for them, especially people who come from economic backgrounds where college is out of reach,” Russom claims. “It’s a place to have basic needs taken care of.”

Ortiz, an air force veteran who came out after serving, says her experience was similar. The rapper initially didn’t want to sign up for the military. The reason she went into the armed forces, Ortiz tells Billboard, is that her mother thought that it would make her straight. The day that she left for the military, Ortiz says her mother reminded her that she wouldn’t be welcomed unless she changed.

“You’re not my child,” Ortiz remembers her mother saying.

“When I was in the Air Force, all I was thinking was ‘I have nothing to go back to,’” Ortiz explains, “and the first thing I thought of was how many people are in the military right now in the same situation where they have nothing to go back to.”

Estimates vary on the number of people who stand to be discharged by the military when the police takes effect in March. The Williams Institute, a pro-LGBTQ think tank at the University of California Los Angeles, hasclaimed that more than 15,500 trans peopleserve in the armed forces. The Rand Corporation, however,tabulated the military’s trans populationas numbering between 1,300 and 6,600 people.

The Trump policy will give Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis wide discretion to decide on whether or not to relive troops of their duties, which will be determined on a case-by-casis basis.

Ortiz calls the Trump memo “blatant discrimination.” Russom adds that the decision was meant to divert the public’s attention from the many scandals that continue to plague the White House. Prior to the announcement of Trump’s trans military ban, the president received widespread condemnation for his failure to condemn white supremacy following the violence in Charlottesville.

“It’s about distracting people from what’s really going on, but it affects real people’s lives,” Russom claims.

Russom is set to begin touring next month with LCD Soundsystem, the acclaimed indie band in which she plays the synthesizer. The dance punk group’s fourth album, American Dream, is due out Friday.

People Attacked Ruby Rose for Donating to Houston’s LGBT Center

Get ready for a deep and prolonged eyeroll.

On Wednesday, genderfluid icon, queer crush magnet and Orange Is the New Black actress Ruby Rose tweeted that she would make a hefty donation of $10,000 to Houston’s Montrose LGBT Center to help survivors of Hurricane Harvey. Rose donated the money after musician Jack Antonoff urged his followers to open their wallets for Houstonians in need.

Unlike Rose, the internet was not feeling very charitable after her announcement.

Rose later tweeted out images of critiques levied against her on social media. Several commenters complained that she was donating to “just one group of people,” and said that “all lives matter,” not just LGBTQ people.

LGBTQ people were also very vulnerable to the storm. Natural disasters disproportionately affect those living in poverty. Given the high numbers of LGBTQ people who experience homelessness and the community’s particularly high poverty rates, there’s no doubt that Houston’s LGBTQ community is in need of help, as well.

Snaps to Rose for putting her money where her mouth is. Haters, back off.

South Asian Drag Queens Are Often Erased — Until Now

As a scholar of queer South Asian nightlife and performance, I am regularly asked, “But Kareem, why hasn’t there been a South Asian queen on Drag Race?”

Not that RuPaul’s Drag Race has to be the measure of all things drag, but over nine seasons it has helped us take the temperature of a diversity of drag styles across cultures and communities. We’ve witnessed the show shift in trans inclusivity while remaining complicated in its representation of Asian Americans.

So why hasn’t there been a South Asian queen?

Some reasons include: our cultural references and fashion inspirations aren’t always legible to mainstream audiences (except as “Oh, so exotic!”), some of us don’t have permanent U.S. residency to audition, some of us worry about “log kya kahenge?,” some of us perform at house parties or community events and not necessarily in bars, some of us are not willing to compromise our commitment to local activism for the fame of a TV show, etc. Reasons abound.

In the absence of visible South Asians in the recent mainstreaming of drag and trans performance, it’s necessary that we take a second to ask where our queens are, especially when more visible queens constantly appropriate South Asian femme aesthetics: bindis, henna, nose rings, Namaste hands, and multiple arms.

There are SO MANY South Asian queens across the world who expand not only our understanding of who a queen is, but what South Asian genders look like. They are punk and Bollywood, burlesque and Broadway, aunties and animé, carnival and club kids.

Here’s a sampling!

Kumar

This Tamil-Singaporean comedian’s sharp wit has even my bio-family forwarding me his clips on Whatsapp! In addition to being a TV host and stand-up act, he is also one of the very few openly gay celebrities in Singapore.

Gigi Giubilee

A post shared by Gigi Giubilee (@gigi.giubilee) on

Gigi is a Hong-Kong-based advertising creative mixing corporate culture with couture, contour, and choreography to serve up animé advertising exec. Shout-out to her on-point backup dancers and her boy-mug highlight.

Masala Sapphire

Masala is the host of Trikone-Chicago’s quarterly queer Bollywood party Jai Ho! She sews her own outfits, builds her own wigs, and can serve you everything from Aishwarya Rai to Ariana Grande. Don’t miss her Priyanka Chopra Met Ball look!

Manghoe Lassi

Toronto’s Manghoe Lassi is just like her namesake drink: thick, tasty, and served best with a side of samosa. This bearded queen, a vet-tech by day, is padded with hips resembling the subcontinent, and she has developed a signature eye look: heavy black liner, a cut crease all the way in the middle of the forehead, and a dramatic glitter filling.

Poppea Victoria

This biracial Indo-Trinidadian queen in Toronto always serves a vibrant pop of color in her makeup, but don’t let her pop art looks distract you from her smarts. She’s an academic queen researching race, gender, and music, and also posts her musings on culture and diaspora on her Two Brown Boys blog which she shares with her boo, Manghoe Lassi.

Faluda Islam

Paahty time dahling

A post shared by Faluda Islam فالودہ اسلام (@faluda_islam) on

This fine arts Pakistani queen living in the Bay Area is famous not only for her politically savvy drag, but also her stunning visual and fabric art. Inspired by the cloyingly sweet and queerly textured dessert-drink she is named after, Faluda’s signature look is a Pepto-pink burqa and an ornate unibrow. She uses her drag not only to discuss the histories of nationalism, fundamentalism, and islamophobia, but also to make space for other Muslim queer and trans artists.

Zeeshan Ali

Also an art school queen, Zeeshan’s fantasy looks are devastatingly beautiful and are unlike any other queen I follow. Zeeshan draws inspiration from and sources materials by shopping in the streets of Bangalore. A former medical student, he enjoys the inspiration and support of his lovely mom in his pursuit of makeup magic.

Alok Vaid-Menon

watching you / watch me @themarlborough

A post shared by ALOK (@alokvmenon) on

Alok is widely known for their poetry, fashion, and multimedia performance. More recently, Alok has taken to incorporating the costume changes and punny pleasures we associate with drag artists into their shows. Don’t miss their jumpsuit printed withthemself!

Maya, The Drag Queen

Maya is a distinctly Malayali queen, reminding us that gender manifests differently in regions across the subcontinent. Beginning as Mayamma, a small-town queen in a signature Kerala look (white sari, jasmines in her hair, barefoot) but who could also belt out Broadway show tunes, she has now become a high funda Bangalore beauty in expensive ghagras giving TED Talks.

Abhijeet

From Mumbai’s Marine Drive to Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, this artsy queen serves impersonations, glamouuuuuur, and legs for days. Their performance tricks will leave you gagging: Arya Stark face peels, dresses and heels made of real glass, and outfits that change color while they dance. Building off the success of their Bad Betis photo series, they also hosted a night of Asian American drag at Berlin Nightclub in Chicago.

The Salamander

This Chicago-based transfemme artist draws on a variety of femmespirations, divine and profane alike. Their inspirations include high-fashion runway couture, Bollywood film, and their mother’s saris, which they use in their performances to celebrate brown queer trans power. Also, that booty!

Lal Batti

Lal Batti lives up to her name, “red light district,” serving all kinds of desi filth, hip thrusts, and bare midriffs. This sensational Bollywood dancer hosts the Yuva queer South Asian parties in New York City, as well as monthly Bingo at Le Poisson Rouge. She’s unmistakable with her signature three dots on the chin.

Tara Ryst

Tara Ryst, get it? TaraRystTarraryst. LOLZ. Not only does her name give the finger to racists who think all brown folks are terrorists, her salacious hip action will leave even the most xenophobic white boy hungry for some mutton biryani. When Tara gets out of her sexy Pakistani mujra drag, she is a muscle beefcake who can dance with swords. *drools*

Asifa Lahore

A post shared by Asifa Lahore (@asifalahore) on

This trans queen from the U.K. has been working hard to dispel assumptions about Muslims in the queer community and misconceptions of queerness in the Muslim community. She, like many UK nightclub performers, sings live and has several smart song parodies online that take on racism, interracial desire, and internalized homophobia.

Seema Butt

Seemaa Buttsee ma butthilarious! This big girl from Birmingham is serving you big fat Bollywood wedding every time she steps out onto the streets: paisleys, pearls, and pageantry! She has been an important mentor to many young Muslim queers and queens in the U.K. and is an outspoken advocate for trans equality.

Sundari Indian Goddess

An Indo-Caribbean queen hailing from Guyana, Sundari is heavily involved in the New York-based Caribbean Equality Project. A trained classical and folk dancer, she serves impeccable footwork in boy, girl, and half-masc/half-femme drag at religious festivals, cultural shows, pride parades, and carnival festivities.

Zeenat Parveen

Her name is drawn from the Bollywood bombshells of the 1970s and 80s, Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi. Like her namesakes, this Sydney-based queen is a sensuous Bollywood dancer, who also played the role of Sunderella, in a queer desi adaptation of Cinderella produced by Trikone-Australia.

Shiva Raichandani

When @prazchoreo first told me about our Britain’s Got Talent routine, he asked if I’d be open to performing in a skirt, with make-up, and although a little scared, I replied saying “No problems at all! I just want to dance!”. My only worry at that time was mum and how she’d react to it. Although my biggest champion, this IS someone who initially had a hard time accepting me as queer. Now to tell her that I’d be performing a gender-fluid themed routine on national television scared me to no end. But I knew how important this was and how much I wanted to do it. When I told her about it, her immediate response was “Who’s going to do your make-up?! You have to look stunning! Do you need me to send you any outfits? This is amazing!”. LOL! I love her so so much. She’s come a long way and I’m so grateful. When I sent her the picture above (left) from our audition, she said, “Stop clicking pictures with your face half cut! You look nice, show the world!”. I asked her if she was okay with everything and if she’d be able to handle any negative comments from family/friends/public and she said, “You don’t worry about that. Go and have fun!”. And I did. I’ll admit, I was petrified at first. But I had the time of my life. I love you, mam. A lot! ❤️ . . S/o to @shamina25 for my audition make-up and @hannahlonerganlondon for my semi-final look! . . #bgt #britainsgottalent #londonschoolofbollywood #desi #queer #genderfluid #gay #makeup #mua #fashion #indian #britishasian #asian #pride #poc #brown #transformationtuesday #love #ootd #dance #bollywood #instamakeup #instagood #instadaily #instamood #igers @bgt @londonschoolofbollywood

A post shared by Shiva Raichandani (@shivaraichandani) on

Apparently, Cinderella is popular with the desi queens! Hailing from Jakarta, Indonesia, Shiva (as part of the London School of Bollywood) took Britain’s Got Talent by surprise with a Bollywood rendition of the fairy tale. The judges weren’t just impressed by the fierce twirls, sequin costumes, and cute lipstick, but also by the bold reimagination of genres and the role model Shiva could be for gaybies everywhere.

Nicki Mahal

This thick brown femme is what happens when Nicki Minaj and Mindy Kaling make a baby! One of the few queens on this list who actually performs on a weekly basis, in bars in Philadelphia and Albany, NY, Nicki is always serving big hair and a Trinity-tight tuck.

ZakTheBarber

Oh it’s her again #tbt

A post shared by زکریا (@zakaria_is_my_name) on

This Seattle hair stylist will have you thirsty AF in their THOT boy drags (which mostly consists of thongs, chains, and tattoos), but their femme looks are ovah with more textures, braids, contacts, and piercings than a body can handle. This Pakistani-Irish multigendered artist is taaaalented, not only as a stylist to most of Seattle’s drag queens, but also as a gogo dancing pup and a burlesque artist.

Laila Gulabi

This queen embodies the multicultural confluences of New York as a non-binary, genderfluid, mixed-race, Guyanese, Muslim queen. She paints a sickening bushy Pakistani eyebrow, and can lip-synch in Punjabi, Hindi, Spanish, and English!

Tranie Tronic

Tranie Tronic drew on punk and 80s synthspirations to produce her debut album Transmission and several music videos in 2009. Wearing as little clothing as possible, she takes on politics, intimacy, and desire, and her music videos will have you longing for a collaboration between Anastacia and M.I.A.

And of course…

LaWhore Vagistan

Born in Gibraltar, raised in Ghana, living in Boston, trying to make it to Bollywood, and always putting the aunty back in cunty. Don’t I look great in this sari?

_____

Kareem Khubchandani is Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor of Drama & Dance, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Tufts University. He is working on a monograph about gay Indian nightlife, and co-editing a volume about queer nightlife. He has published essays on transgender theater, diva worship, diasporic film, and queer activism. Find him on Twitter and Instagram: @kareempuff

6 LGBTQ Books That Should Be Adapted For The Screen

The film that this year, arguably, will be the biggest contender for Best Picture at the 2018 Academy Awards is Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of André Aciman erotically charged coming of age novel Call Me by Your Name.

The film, the trailer for which was released this month, was universally praised at Sundance, and holds a 98 rating on Metacritic. Following the heated summer frisson between 17-year-old Elio Perlman and 24-year-old visiting scholar Oliver in the summer of 1983 in Italy, Call Me by Your Name has been praised for its intensity and how, like this year’s Best Picture winner Moonlight, their relationship transcends the LGBTQ experience.

Clearly, then, there’s an ever-growing appetite for queer films of prestige. And while there are, obviously, many original stories to be told, there are a multitude of LGBTQ novels, like Aciman’s, that could be mined and adapted for the screen. Here are just a few such books we’d love to see make their way on to film.

Guapa Saleem Haddad


Set in an undisclosed Arab country in the grips of a sea change, Guapa is a story, at its heart, about identity. The plot follows a day in the life of Rasa, a translator, as he navigates through the current political and personal turmoil in his life, be it his sexuality, his relationship with his family or his cultural identity. It’s a heart wrenching examination of what it means to be queer and an Arab. Interwoven into Rasa’s day a day that, much like Mrs. Dalloway’s, will change his life forever we are told about his experiences growing up with his depressed mother and ironclad grandmother, his crisis of identity while studying in America, and the unsettling and emotional impact that staying closeted can have on people’s lives. It’s an uncompromising, vibrant and powerful insight into a queer experience that, in the West, we often overlook.

Days Without End Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry’s latest novel, which recently won the Costa Prize in the U.K., is a novel that would translate well on to screen, mainly down to how multifaceted the story is. While there are certainly two queer readings of the book, both a transgender and a gay interpretation, the story also grips with themes such as colonialism, the Civil War, racism, as well as the massacre and genocide of Native Americans. Amid all this trauma, however, is a tender and poetic love story that could give any adaptation the feel of a great epic.

A Little Life Hanya Yanagihara


A film adaptation of A Little Life would not work due to its sprawling narrative, but this intricate and emotionally devastating novel could make a powerful and diverse mini-series. Those who have read the book are often divided over its difficult and disturbing subject matter, but the central relationship between Jude and Willem is restorative, showcasing the often-unwavering kindness of the human heart. Yanagihara mentioned in a now deleted Facebook post last year that a TV adaption of her novel was in the works, but as of yet there has been no movement on the project. It wouldn’t necessarily make for easy or comfortable viewing, but it’s a story that deserves to be told again and again.

The Microcosm Maureen Duffy


Published in 1966, a year before the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, Maureen Duffy’s seminal lesbian novel explored female sexuality during a time when, in the U.K. at least, the conversation about homosexuality was strictly limited to men who have sex with men. Stylistically very literary, the novel’s depiction of the insecurities about sexuality, be it internalised shame or sexual exhilaration, and the desire to find others like ourselves offers a universality that anyone can relate to.

The Art of Being Normal Lisa Williamson


While people might turn their noses up at YA novels, the genre is a place where, currently, more and more trans and non-binary stories are being told. One such novel, The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson, is an optimistic and emotive look at two teenagers’ experience with being transgender, and while at times it’s desperately sad, there’s also an optimism. At a time where, according to the Trevor Project, 40 percent of transgender adults have reported making a suicide attempt, 92 percent of which occurred before they were 25 years old, stories where the trans experience is realistic but also positive are still needed.

What Belongs to You Garth Greenwell


Published only last year, Garth Greenwell’s debut novel What Belongs to You offers an intimate journey of self-discovery and sexual obsession that, much like Robin Campillo’s 2015 film Eastern Boys, says a lot about loneliness. The central character, an unnamed American English teacher living in Bulgaria, is not unlike someone from a Michael Cunningham novel, as he explores his past to make sense of his present. A director with a deft touch someone like Andrew Haigh, whose film Weekend has a subdued and quietly poignant subtlety to it would be needed to handle the complex layers of storytelling, but it would could be a stirring and affecting film were it to be made.

Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper Call It Quits

Kathy Griffin’s infamous Donald Trump photoshoot cost her more than gigs it cost her a gay BFF.

In a new interview with The Cut, Griffin opened up about how her controversial photo shoot, in which a blank-faced Griffin held a bloody mannequin head vaguely resembling Donald Trump, and how it cost her her relationship with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

After the photo debuted, Anderson famously tweeted that he was “appalled” by the photo, calling it “disgusting and completely inappropriate.” While Cooper had no problem tweeting his sentiments, Griffin said that he never reached out to her before sending the tweet. Though the photo debuted in May, Cooper didn’t reach out to Griffin until August, according to The Cut.

Despite not reaching out to Griffin, Cooper told friend Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens! Live that they were still friends and that he hopes she “bounces back.”

After the mixed messages, according to The Cut, Griffin ended the friendship between the two.

Though Griffin is known for her no-holds-barred brand of satirical comedy, the image got a chilly reception when it debuted and set off a social media firestorm. Trump himself tweeted about it, claiming that the photo frightened his 11-year-old son Barron Trump, who reportedly thought it was real.

Griffin and Cooper’s friendship has been the central draw of CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live since 2007. This year, Cooper will appear without Griffin. CNN terminated her contract shortly after the photo hit the internet.

Why Do Gays Love Mediocre Pop Music?

Behind every mediocre pop act there remains one constant: a huge fanbase comprised of the LGBTQ community.

If you search any not-quite-Beyonce-level, women-fronted pop act who’s had a song that someone definitely described as “the song of the summer” someone like Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, or Charli XCX you’ll find fans of all ages, races, and sexualities, but the queer community, and specifically members of the queer community in their 20s, will without a doubt be vastly overrepresented in these fan bases. And while it’s easy to write off as a fun coincidence or a love of dancing, the relationship between the LGBTQ community and pop music is hard to ignore.

To understand why the millennial queer community likes music that wouldn’t be out of place at a mid-2000s middle school dance, you have to go back to what a middle school dance was probably like a young queer pre-teen in the mid-2000s.

A year like 2005, while only 12 years ago, feels like a different lifetime in terms of queer rights. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was in full swing, gay marriage was prohibited in the vast majority of the country, trans rights were rarely mentioned, and representation in the media was somehow even more abysmal than it is now; being “out” at thirteen seemed a far way off. While being thirteen is inherently awkward, it was almost definitely more awkward for a not-out queer kid in the midst of “that’s gay” pre-teen panic.

There’s an inherent level of guardedness when you’re not out, a layer that can cloak the innocence that usually comes with first dates, first loves, and first kisses. If you’re not dating, it can feel like you’re left out of some big life experience that all your peers have bought into. If you are datingand not outit can feel equally alienating. You can see other people feeling something that just doesn’t quite click for you; you can tell you’re missing whatever “it” is.

And pop music, good pop music, usually captures “it.”

So the pop music that came out in 2005, 2006, 2007, was capturing a feeling that queer kids could see, could understand, could sometimes feel fleeting, but would never be able to connect to at the same level as our straight peers. While you can love the music that came out in your teens, it often isn’t the soundtrack to your idyllic–or dramatic–young romances.

Good pop songs that come out today also capture the feeling of fleeting young love. But now, a 25-year-old member of the LGBTQ community has probably felt the adrenaline rush of having a crush on someone you could actually sleep with. Pop music captures all of these vaguely defined but strong emotions you have when you’re first falling for someone. Pop music is innocent, it’s sexual, it’s naive, it’s thrilling; it reproduces a feeling that many straight people feel as teens but the LGBTQ community doesn’t experience until adulthood. Connecting to pop music as an adult is a way to reclaim what the LGBTQ community often lacked in their teens.

The perfect example of this phenomenon is Carly Rae Jepsen.

While her commodification and romanticization of “girlishness” has irked some people, it’s that replication of naivete of falling in love for the first time that makes her music so popular with the LGBTQ community. A song like “Cut To The Feeling” or “Call Me Maybe” is quintessentially teen, despite Jepsen being over thirty. And her audience, at least for live performances, skews towards “queer white people ages 25 to 35.”

As Olivia Craighead wrote for Buzzfeed, Jepsen’s music is all about capturing “The Feeling.” But for the queer community this feeling is more urgent, more tenuous, and happens to us a little later; the music is relatable and popular because so much of the LGBTQ community is feeling “The Feeling” for the first time when they’re in college and not at a middle school dance. But it’s still, at least in the exact moment of feeling “The Feeling,” as innocent as it is for a preteen who just wants to dance with their crush to T-Pain.

Pop music does, and should, create a world in which desire, emotion, and love reign supreme. And while this world can be attractive to any person, it’s even more important to the LGBTQ community; pop music creates a world in which queer people can recreate a, perhaps romanticized, version of teenagedom that we never got to experience as actual teens.

The realm of pop music is one in which queer desire, queer emotion, and queer love are finally given equal footing, even if it’s 12 years after that middle school dance.

The VMA’s Gender-Neutral Category Ended Up Benefitting Ed Sheeran

Following in the footsteps of the MTV Movie and TV Awards, the 2017 MTV VIdeo Music Awards chose to take gender out of the equation. Categories previously divided into male and female variants were merged together, making for one artist of the year category, and the physical award given out, a Moonman, was changed into a Moonperson.

Things went quite differently at the VMAs, though. At the MTV Movie and TV Awards, Beauty and the Beast’s Emma Watson and Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown took home the two acting prizes, subverting expectations that men would dominate. At the VMAs, when Millie herself gave out the artist of the year prize, Ed Sheeran came out on top in a category that included nominees like Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars and more.

In a year with split categories, it’s easy to imagine Lorde taking home one prize for her “Green Light” video, with Sheeran or another man claiming the male video award. Instead, one fewer artist gets recognized and the one who does get the gold, Sheeran, is not short on accolades already.

There’s not one good solution to the gendered awards problem. Splitting up performances by the sex or gender of the actors is intrinsically an odd distinction; why not by age? Or by genre of work? Really, it only exists because of tradition. Dividing awards by some either criteria isn’t a bad idea.

But MTV’s solution has been to reduce the number of overall categories, both at the Movie and TV Awards and the VMAs. Their response is, in short, to honor fewer artists versus more. If the idea of genderless awards is to be inclusive, this seems more like a step toward exclusivity instead.

Removing gender as the dominant criteria in awards categorization is an ongoing conversation, and one that’s very much worth having. But it’s also very much worth continuing to experiment with different ideas. MTV’s fix isn’t the end-all, be-all. Anything that winds up crowning Ed Sheeran the sole winner can’t be a perfect solution, to say the least.