G Flip is Australia’s Latest Musical Export

If you look up G Flip on any music streaming app, you’ll only find two songs. Yet the 23-year-old Australian musician (née Georgia Flipo) has been performing for crowds of up to 5,000 people all over Australia, Europe, and now the United States, and the fans know words to even her yet-to-be-released tracks.

“I can’t lie when I write. I think it has to do with the fact that no one gives a fuck anymore,” G Flip told INTO. “We just say what we want to say how we would say it in normal conversation, it’s not overly poetic. And there’s so much truth in it.”

INTO met G Flip while she was in  L.A., kicking off the U.S. leg of her tour. She has a laid-back style that’s both evident in her lighthearted approach to love and relationships in her music, to her wardrobe (that day she was wearing beach shorts, sneakers, and a tie-dye shirt). She has multiple tattoos on her left arm including the title artwork of Michael Jackson’s album Bad, and others she calls random.

“This one here, I was drunk in Texas and I walked into a restaurant and the restaurant was like, ‘Get our logo tattooed and we’ll do it for free,’” she pointed out. “And I was like, ‘That’s a great idea.’”

She also has no qualms about using female pronouns in her music.

“I don’t hide the fact that I’m gay at all,” G Flip said. “It’s in my music because it’s in my life and I think it makes other queer people feel heard. Kind of like their feelings are valid and safe.”

In the past, queer artists weren’t able to be as forthcoming about their sexuality in their music. But G Flip exists in a time where openly LGBTQ artists such as Shamir, MUNA, and Hayley Kiyoko, among many more, are making queer-themed music and thriving. G Flip is a part of that new wave. And while there is no one “queer sound” that unites queer artists, the pop genre seems to be a mainstay for most of them. In that way, G Flip completely fits into the zeitgeist, even though she says she doesn’t frame her music in terms of strict genres.

“I always struggle to pinpoint what my genre is,” she said. “I kind of let the people decide that. I think it’s fair to say that it’s on the pop spectrum. I feel like the melodies are like catchy pop. The kind that gets stuck in your head and I like trying to do that. To me, it feels like a mixture of kind of indie rock and pop, definitely for the live shows. It’s very band-oriented because I’ve grown up playing drums.”

Both the songs she currently has out, “Killing My Time,” and “About You,” have catchy choruses and smooth bass lines. They’re about heartbreak and uncertainty in a relationship, which might have a lot to do with the fact that she claims to write her best songs when she feels the worst. This contrast of sad lyrics and catchy melodies layered on top of uptempo beats is a conventional formula of pop music, but she uses it to create a dreamlike vision of queer heartbreak.

“The way I write songs – it’s always different,” G Flip said. “Sometimes just to get in a better mood I just start playing piano or guitar or drum – just, like, zone out. I might just sit on a chord progression I like or melodies that I like on piano and then I’ll just start singing. Because I’m a drummer, that’s my whole background, I feel like my melodies are more rhythmic as opposed to like long-held notes.”

G Flip says her influences are pop stars and grunge garage bands. She’s big into pop stars and grunge garage bands.  “I love Michael Jackson, Prince, The Cure, The Rolling Stones, and, like, RnB Top 40. I love the Pussycat Dolls,” she said. “When I watched the ‘Don’t Cha’ music video that’s when I realized, ‘I think I’m gay?’”

At her first LA show at The Echo, G Flip’s energy was at a constant peak. She frequently took to the drums during her 15-song set for a solo, and spoke to the crowd as if she knew every single person individually. She told the crowd that her best songs come out of the worst situations; ardently thanking them for showing a new international artist like her such support. She leaned into the crowd, practically serenading the people in the front row during the slower songs. 

“It’s the same fans showing up for me every time,” G Flip said. “It’s crazy watching people in the audience sing songs I haven’t even released because they film it and then learn the songs by the next show.”

One fan even proposed to her partner on stage.

“One of the girls, Mary, told me how refreshing it was hearing female pronouns and know she could resonate with the music so much more,” G Flip said. “And it’s such a simple thing to just know this girl is talking about being in love with a girl.”

The queer community is nothing if not devoted. The debut album from Hayley Kiyoko, the artist dubbed “Lesbian Jesus,” Expectations entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 12 with 24,000 equivalent-album units earned in its first week. King Princess’ global breakout single “1950,” a song inspired by the lesbian film Carol, is certified Platinum in Australia and Gold in New Zealand, Canada, and Norway. The myth that being an openly queer musician won’t sell records, that it’s a risk to invest in queer artists, is homophobic propaganda.

G Flip feels supported by her fanbase. She knows that their passion is fueled by a community that has long been underserved in media. She noticed this strong sense of community not only at her own shows but when she goes out to other queer artists’ shows as well.

“I was actually at the King Princess [show] in Australia and so many of my fans were at that show,” she said. “Which is, like, so cute. The queer community is supporting not only King Princess, who is huge and amazing, but they’re also supporting me. It just makes me so much more confident and feel like I actually have a home in the music industry.”

She’s found a home in her audience, and they’ve found a home in her music. Now they just have to wait for more to be released.

“I want to just drop an album next year. My team is like ‘Should we do an EP? Should we do an album?’ I’ve spent the last two months in my bedroom every day just trying to finish these songs,” she said. “And it’s basically finished, there are two or three that I just have to make a little bit more rough. Something about them are too smooth. I just love making everything sound a bit dirty. But I’m pushing for an album. I’m ready for an album and I think the people that support me are, too.”

“Having that much support so early on in my career and having so much love, seeing the same faces and the same people that reach out to me,” she continued, “it feels like my voice is valued.”

Images via G Flip and Facebook

Barbara Sanchez-Kane Is Bringing the Macho Sentimental to Menswear

Inspired by sentimentality and love, Mexican fashion designer Barbara Sanchez-Kane is on a mission to create clothes for a muse she has dubbed the “Macho Sentimental.” The Macho Sentimental can be someone of any gender; any individual who is in touch with their emotions. It is out of that space that Sanchez-Kane creates her innovative, unique designs that take inspiration from both high fashion couture and Mexican streetwear.

Sanchez-Kane recently collaborated with Nike on their The Force is Female project and hosted a pop-up in Los Angeles in late November. INTO caught up with the queer designer to talk about the philosophy guiding her inspired menswear line.

Barbara Sanchez-Kane
Barbara Sanchez-Kane

What does “Macho Sentimental” mean to Barbara Sanchez-Kane? Is there a safe way for queer women to be masculine without embracing the toxic parts of masculinity?

MA·CHO SEN·TI·MEN·TAL

Noun

  1. A human being of either sex; a person. Strongly influenced by

emotional feelings and in contact with male and female forces.

synonymous: human being, human, person, mortal,

individual, personage, soul.

I think we need more education – that is the main problem with the toxic part of masculinity. That is derived in aggressiveness and violent response as we have been taught that masculinity is associated with these terms that need to be broken.

Barbara Sanchez-Kane

You are a lesbian fashion designer who makes menswear. Do you think the phrase “menswear” is outdated now since people of all genders wear what is considered “men’s” or “women’s” clothes?

Sanchez-Kane started as a menswear brand. I use the term menswear just as a marketing strategy in sizing purpose, but as I say, we dress the Macho Sentimental.

Barbara Sanchez-Kane

You used to live in Los Angeles where you interned for German designer Bernhard Willhelm. Do you see his influence on your work or the experience of having lived in Los Angeles in your clothes?

Well, my first collection Citizen Sanchez-Kane was designed based on an old love relationship I had during my time in LA.  So yes all experiences and places influence my work.

Barbara Sanchez-Kane

You’ve created pieces in your fashion line that were inspired/for your mother and in your pop-up in Los Angeles, your mother was there to assist you with the event. You also have an alter-ego called “SOLRAC,” which your father’s name spelled backward. How does your relationship with your parents inform your work?

I couldn’t have built SANCHEZ-KANE without the support of my parents.

Family is the main pillar of my education and will continue to be a presence in the brand. I am so blessed to share all the growth of the brand with them.

Barbara Sanchez-Kane

You publish love poems and journal entries on your Instagram signed with the name “SOLRAC.” The graphics on your clothes feature phrases such as “Mexikanemicorazon” and “Freelance Lover,” along with “Macho Sentimental.” Is Sanchez-Kane a brand for queer romantics?

I am a sentimental romantic 100 percent guided by my inner feelings. I found in clothing the best way to deal with my problems good and bad ones. Is therapeutic and a way of living. Women have always been the starting point to create a world where all the misfits are welcome to join.

Barbara Sanchez-Kane

All photos by Navi.

Living ‘The Bi Life’

The Bachelor. The Bachelorette. Love Island. Beauty and the Geek. Rock of Love. Flavor of Love. The Cougar. All these reality dating shows have many things in common, but an overarching, unavoidable theme is their focus on heterosexual relationships.

The highly problematic reality series A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila was 10 years ago now, and since then, there has been little visibility for queer people on dating shows. In 2016, gay men had Logo’s Finding Prince Charming, and the UK’s First Date has featured some LGBTQ cast members. But it’s only recently there has been an embracement of bisexual-identified people on television. Desiree Akhavan’s series The Bisexual recently premiered to praise from the LGBTQ community for its accurate portrayal of a woman exploring her bisexuality, all the while battling and dismantling the stereotypes associated with her sexuality. But that was fictional — where was our dating show?

E!’s The Bi Life, hosted by Australian drag queen, pop singer, entertainer, and Celebrity Big Brother winner Courtney Act. The show, which premiered late October, followed nine bisexual-identified millennials as they summered at a villa in Barcelona, getting to know each other and sharing their bisexual experiences. 

This isn’t a Big Brother or Survivor sort of show with challenges, alliances, and backstabbing to get ahead. There’s no competing for the heart of another with the result being kicked off or engaged a la The Bachelor, either. Think of The Bi Life as if you were hanging out with a bunch of friends, but it’s televised You’re observing their summer getaway as they discover one another and parts of themselves. Courtney Act advises the cast members on being an out and proud, offering advice and listening to their concerns. She plays part host, part guidance counselor.

“I couldn’t think of a single bisexual role model growing up, and so to have that now, to be able to see real people having real problems and most importantly talking about bisexuality is so important,” The Bi Life cast member Irene Ellis told INTO.

The Bi Life

Ellis, who identifies as pansexual and hails from Chichester, England, says she applied to be on the show after seeing an ad — a pure act of spontaneity.

“Seeing that there was going to be an LGBT show on TV, I just kinda felt drawn to it,” Ellis said. “I thought ‘You know what? My dating life is also getting a bit stale — maybe a TV show can help me find someone.’ And deep down, I still had that nagging feeling that I wasn’t being as open and as confident as I wanted to be with my sexuality, so maybe this might help that.”

An introvert and self-professed nerd by nature, Ellis was nervous heading into the house, but says her fears were quickly abated when she met her castmates. The cast is as wide and varied as bisexuality is. There’s Daisie, a fraud prevention officer from Manchester; Kyle, a support teacher from South Wales; club promoter Leonnie; an international swimmer named Michael; and London-based makeup artist, Mariella.

“I felt like I knew them all immediately, and we all just wanted to talk and learn about one another,” Ellis said. “One of my favourite things was that we all had breakfast together, often Matt … or Mariella would cook and we’d sit at the table chatting. And between filming, we’d be seen trying to catch up on telly together — often cuddled up on the big sofa inside.”

It was a big happy bisexual family, a positive and relatable space. Ellis said she felt comfortable being herself, explaining her love of cosplay to a very bewildered, but ultimately fascinated Matt. She also showed off her bee tattoo — an ode to her love of Sherlock Holmes to Ryan, a fitness influencer from London.

“Everyone just completely accepted me for who I was,” Ellis said.

As much as a bisexual Barcelona abode may have seemed like a dream vacation, they were all there for a specific reason.

“We would often have conversations in the villa about what might happen after we finished filming, and what people might say,” Ellis said. “However, we all said that the one thing we wanted was to have a mainstream show out there that just normalized being bisexual/pan. We considered that if we could make even one person feel like less of a stereotype, feel less like they had to justify themselves, then that would be one of the most important things we’d done.”

Judging by the immediate and ongoing reactions to the show, they’ve done their job.

One viewer, @Little_Ms_Wise, tweeted, “I’m really excited about #TheBiLife reality series on @e_entertainment it seems like it’s opening a lot of eyes and outing a lot of stereotypes about the #LGBTQ population.”

While there are the inevitable negative comments, they’re not in the majority. Ellis says that most people are “really just excited to see bisexual/pansexual people on their screens.”

“A lot of people messaged us and asked how we’d come out, and to thank us for being the guinea pigs, as it were, to go out and be the first faces of a show of this kind,” she said.

Her favorite reaction came from an Instagram DM she received from a viewer. “She let me know that watching The Bi Life with her parents made it a lot easier for her to explain her sexuality,” Ellis said.

Still, there’s’ room for improvement: Ellis is the only pansexual-identified person on The Bi Life, and the show has faced criticism for every castmate identifying as cisgender.  Those additions would only add more benefits to a show disseminating information about bisexuality that is ultimately helping to normalize it. There is a concerted effort to break down “the complexities” of being bisexual, moreover, the fact it’s not complex at all. Viewers are watching a television show about people who are sexually attracted to people of all gender identities. The conversations the cast mates have with one another both break down the barrier and inform the viewers, as conversations range from coming out of the closet to being told their sexuality wasn’t as important as a gay woman’s, the latter having been an early experience for Ellis.

“Bisexuality is completely valid,” Ellis said.  “You’re not sat on a fence, you’re not undecided, and you’re certainly not greedy. You just like both, and that’s perfectly okay. You can define to what percentage or level or whatever that is, but that’s yours to own.”

The Bi Life has helped Ellis to become more confident in herself and how she identifies, as dealing with bisexual erasure was something she’s struggled with. Even at Pride, she felt like she didn’t belong, with people telling her she was only there for the party; that she wasn’t “gay” enough. She said she was closeted in school because she saw how her bisexual classmates were called greedy or manipulative, people saying they didn’t know which side they were playing for. It stuck with her for years.  

“It’s only really since being on the show and finally talking about those experiences and those discriminations that I now feel proud to be who I am, and no one else can shame that,” Ellis said.

While The Bi Life has had an important impact on LGBTQ viewers, it’s also a show heterosexual viewers can enjoy and learn from.

“By watching the show and being a little more educated about LGBTQ+ issues, you’re going to become an ally that someone you know might really need,” Ellis said of straight viewers. The more people hear about the show and watch it, that’s “. . . one more person in your life that understands you and doesn’t judge you, [it] can make the world of difference,” she added.

“I certainly would have felt a lot more comfortable coming out at a younger age,” Ellis said. “Even if just to say yeah, well, I’m not weird, there’s a whole TV show about people like me!”

The Bi Life airs Thursdays at 9pm on E! UK & Ireland and is also available on heyu.

Party Dyke, Interrupted

Trigger. That was the name of the Castro bar where I attended my first ever lesbian party. I was 18 and the only two gay people that I knew in the world were closeted. I was in love with one of them, but they were in love with each other. Naturally.

As a freshman, I would overhear the seniors in my upper division queer theory class talk about the queer bars they were going to on the weekends. I sat anxiously in my seat, eavesdropping and hoping that one day they would ask me to join.

I wanted so badly for these older queers to accept me as one of them. The invitation I was waiting for finally came on the third week of class. I convinced my only friend with a fake ID to join. It wasn’t hard to convince my friend to come along — even straight people knew that the Castro was the best place to get drunk on a weekday.

My friend with the fake ID, like everyone else, thought I was straight. My tumblr page filled with vintage photos of Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie and the fact that I was in a Queer Theory class wasn’t a dead giveaway for them, nor for me, at the time.

Before that night, my forays into the Castro were by accident.  I used to wait on the corner of Market and Castro in front of the old Diesel store three times a week to transfer onto a bus that would take me to work after school.

Bored out of my mind at the stop, I would read the informational billboards offering drug counseling and free HIV tests featuring images of people with hairless, glistening chests. The artfully curated ads were everywhere, but I doubted that the group that I so badly wanted to be a part of had “real” drug problems. They probably just like to have a good time, I told myself.

My first real night out in the Castro took off quickly. After pounding dollar drinks at The Edge, a corner street dive that played classic ’90s movies to its mostly burly, bearded clientele, and then two-for-one wells at Q Bara strobe-heavy bar that is barely wider than a hallway, we walked over to Trigger.

Girl parties aren’t known for drink specials, but the rest of Castro is full of heavy pours. So by the time we reached our final destination, the fake ID I gripped in my hand, like everything else, blurred in front of me. I didn’t need to worry because the bouncer didn’t closely examine to check if it was fake. He was too distracted by a group of snapback-clad girls pulling at his shoulder sleeve, reminding him that he has to let them in because he let them in last time. They don’t have IDs, and Trigger would eventually shut down for letting in too many underage queers like the snapback lesbians and me.

Once I made it past the doorman, a bitter butch in a too-tight flannel stamped the inside of my wrist, and I zoomed in without waiting for my friend to make it inside. Everything was exactly how I dreamed it would be — bartenders with asymmetrical haircuts and lip piercings, go-go dancers gyrating on top of the bar, neon colored shots in lab-inspired tube glasses, and dykes everywhere.  

“It’s just like The L Word,” I muttered to myself. My straight friend asks me to repeat what I just said, but I couldn’t give away that I was an avid watcher of the most lesbian TV show in history. Plus, I was already at the bar ordering a Dos Equis because that’s what Shane drinks. The rest of the night was a blur.

Gay culture is deeply interconnected with drugs and alcohol. Blame it on the fact that most of us are reliving our adolescent years in our twenties, or that we need more sedation than your average hetero to put up with the daily attack on our human rights — either way, there’s always a good reason to order another round of shots.

Historically, the only places that queer people could be out were undisclosed bars, clubs, and parties. Queer people couldn’t fly their flags high back then, so underground venues and exclusive parties served as the primary place to meet other queers. Although we have more freedom now as queer people than our elders did, the desire to escape into a safe space still exists. Queer bars are spaces where we can embrace every part of ourselves without fear being perceived as “different.”

If we want to be around other queer people it often feels like the only option is to go to a bar, where we tell ourselves we will only have one drink. But, it’s hardly ever one. In my experience, gay bars are fueled by alcohol in a way that their straight counterparts aren’t. The drinks are cheaper, stronger, and you can find a party on any night of the week.

As a baby dyke, I drank to calm my anxieties before entering these unknown spaces without realizing that most of my peers were doing the same. Cheap drinks in the Castro, five dollar AMF pitchers in Boystown, double margarita pints in WeHo that make the extra $1 charge for an additional shot worth it.

Gays are taught how to party. It’s not a secret. Straights know it and we own it. It’s part of our Brand™. Bachelorette parties flock to WeHo in search of a Vegas-style good time, and by the time I moved out of San Francisco, the straight-to-gay ratio on Monday night at Q Bar was pretty much even. Cishets venture into our spaces for a “wild night out” away from their norm, but for us, it’s just another Thursday.

The reason there is such a disdain for straight people with an affinity for partying at gay bars is that these spaces are sometimes the only ones queer people have. Straight people already have everything else. For queer women and non-binary folks, the battle is even steeper. Unlike gay men, we don’t have Grindr to scratch that mid-week midnight itch. Dykes have to wait for the weekly or monthly girl parties. If not, then you can hit up Tinder, but that usually entails spending money to meet up with someone for a drink. Meeting other gays sans alcohol has been not an easy task for me.

I still remember the morning after my Tuesday night at Trigger, when I stumbled into class with a swollen jaw, burns on my fingers and very little recollection of what had happened the night before. I wasn’t a stranger to blackouts, but this night was different. My older classmates laughed and told me that I had probably been roofied at Q Bar.

“Everyone gets roofied at Q Bar,” they told me. I’d repeat that line every time I told the story with a smile or a laugh. It felt like a rite of passage. I finally belonged.

Gay adventures in San Francisco continued for me throughout college and those nights consisted of pouring half bottles of tequila into half emptied sprite bottles, hopping on the back of the train and downing the drink before the operator announced “Castro.” On those nights, I never saw the billboards that lined the MUNI station walls warning against addiction, inviting gays to focus groups that might help them. It wouldn’t have made a difference. Those billboards were talking about meth and ketamine binges. It wasn’t for me. I was a fun gay.

In the past eight years, I spent only two handfuls of weekends sober — eight, to be exact. I wish I could tell you that I had a moment of enlightenment that led me to sobriety, but the reality is that my body just gave out — twice in two years. Last year, I spent two weeks in a hospital being pumped full of blood and was released with instructions to stop drinking for eight weeks and “drink moderately” after then, if at all. It was easy at first. But those eight weeks ended up being more like six weeks and before long, I was back at it. I avoided doctor visits, ignored symptoms until it was too much to ignore.

I rolled my eyes at the nurse who said I had a drinking problem. “I drink the least out of all the people I know. I’m just cursed with a weak stomach lining. Faulty genes.” It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago, that while talking to some friends, I realized that I had drank despite all the warnings my body gave me. Just because I didn’t drink as much as I did before, didn’t make my problem any less severe. At first, I pretended to be stoked about my sobriety: “I wanted to quit anyway.” But, on a Saturday night, the only thing standing between me and a well whiskey on the rocks is the stack of hospital bracelets sitting in a box in my room. 

Seven years later and three hundred miles south, I’m now living in Los Angeles. I have been sober for a month. The queer bars with their shiny disco balls and sweaty, gyrating bodies aren’t as fun as I remembered. Sobriety is dulling at times, and the stark realization that so many of the things you enjoyed, you only did under the influence is lonely.

But the incessant hangover state is gone, and my days are longer. I get more stuff done. I look for experiences instead of drink specials.  Most of my queer peers still drink. Some of them don’t have the same issues with self-control that I do, none of them have a stupid stomach lining with a propensity for bleeding.

I’m starting to see a shift. More and more, young queers are opting for sobriety, taking breaks from drinking, tiring of the monotonous weekend festivities. Maybe we’re getting older, maybe the hangovers are getting too gnarly or I don’t know — maybe this is growing up.

Let’s Just Say It: Demi Moore’s Character in ‘Charlie’s Angels’ was Bisexual

According to the tabloids, Demi Moore has been up to some pretty gay shit.

The actress is allegedly dating Serbian stylist Masha Mandzuka. The headlines have been extremely homophobic, almost borderline comedic—most refer to the stylist as Moore’s “gal pal” or “secret girlfriend.” Regardless, my gay heart was set aflutter by these rumors, especially because Demi Moore is an actress that I grew up lusting over—and let’s be real, she’s done some pretty gay shit. From her MoC bald lewk in G.I. Jane (1997), to playing a promiscuous bisexual in Rough Night (2017), to her days as a Suit Lord in Now & Then (1995), she’s never shied away from a queer aesthetic. But there’s one Demi Moore movie in particular that sent my teenage self spiraling, and that was Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle—her gayest movie.

The 2003 action-comedy from director McG was a staple of 2000s culture. It was jam-packed with girl power, skin-tight leather pants, and (exploitative) flirtations between some of our favorite actresses from the early aughts. The latter were often instigated by Madison Lee (Moore), who I believe is and has always been canonically bisexual.

Now, just because someone is canonically queer doesn’t mean they’re, uhh, a progressive and accurate portrayal of a queer person. But as all girls who like girls know, people contain multitudes. So, while I understand that Madison may actually be a harmful trope of a bisexual woman and hasn’t necessarily done anything for the community, I can also appreciate her face and her mouth and what she has done for me personally. Yes, it’s true: You can be woke and pussy-blind at the same time.

With that being said, Madison fits flawlessly into the trope of the depraved bisexual—without actually being explicitly defined as bisexual. She’s deceitful, wicked, hyper-sexualized, and openly predatory. Every single one of those words is meant to be negative, and yet on Demi Moore, it fucking works. Madison is the type of morally compromising depraved bisexual that will make you say, “Why did they make her say that?” but then immediately follow it up with, “I don’t know but maybe we should see how this plays out.”

In Full Throttle, Madison seemingly has a crush on Natalie (Cameron Diaz). The bubbly blonde and the slithering brunette are foils of each other, which has all the makings of a great on-screen lesbian romance (See: Alex and Piper in OITNB). In numerous scenes, Madison attempts to seduce Natalie—although, admittedly, she uses that surface-level bad guy seduction technique. It’s not actually heartfelt. Even though it’s sexy, it’s about as sensual as Scar from The Lion King talking to Simba—AKA, uncomfortably flirtatious given the circumstances.

When they first meet on the beach, Madison stuffs her surfboard in the sand where Natalie is kneeling, and feigned tension is already bubbling. They exchange a deluge of sexual innuendo before Madison leans in close, just an inch from Natalie’s mouth, and whispers sweet nothings into her pores. Later, during their infamous “go to hell” face-off, Madison literally drags her ruby red lips down Natalie’s face, pointing the barrel of her gun at Natalie’s throat. Again, the sexual tension isn’t real and it’s all exploitative and male gazey, but look, when you’re 12 and questioning, these scenes are tight as hell.

But if the sexual tension between Madison and Natalie wasn’t enough, there’s also her outfits. Demi Moore loves a pantsuit, and while attending a movie premiere/bad guy summit as a villainous sex fiend, she sports a satin black button-up and matching trousers—perfect for leaping off buildings and ruining all your relationships. Then there’s the luscious, floor-length fur coat, the tiny black bikini, the killer stilettos, the golden guns! Madison was basically source material for Blake Lively’s character in A Simple Favor.

A few months ago, I ranked every Charlie’s Angel, past and present, based on lesbianism, and Madison came in at a fiery number 4 out of 14. Unfortunately, she couldn’t be number one, because Kristen Stewart has signed on to play an Angel in the latest iteration of the franchise, plus Drew Barrymore’s character is exquisitely dykey, and one of the Angels in the 2011 TV series dies before the first episode is over, which is lesbian as fuck. However, Madison deserves to be ranked highly because of her most lesbian quality: It’s not her masculine trousers, or her big lesbian crush on Natalie. No, it’s her penchant for revenge.

Once Madison’s wronged, she will hang it over your head and let it haunt you until you die—or until she comes for you at the Griffith Park Observatory wielding two goldslicked handguns, and she thinks you and your friends are dead, but as it turns out, you’re all wearing bulletproof vests. Us queer women carry our grudges to the grave, so we love a good revenge plot, even if we let it consume us. Madison isn’t just evil—she’s an avenger, and not the straight Marvel kind.

Demi Moore’s former Angel is a queer goddess, and I can’t believe we haven’t claimed her as our own sooner. But now that the actress has ditched Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher and has potentially started dating women, it seems like as good a time as ever to demand a spin-off where Madison is resurrected from the dead and elopes with Natalie to live a life of crime and lesbianism. I look forward to more queer roles in Moore’s future, and more hot Serbian girlfriends. A world with a queer Demi Moore is a world I’d like to live in.

Queer Abby: How To Handle Closed-Minded Family During the Holidays

Dear Queer Abby,

I’m getting anxious about Xmas. Being around (closed-minded) family. Any tips or mantras I should be working with?

Sincerely, 

Queer in Queensland

Dear Q in Q,

The best thing that ever happened to holidays was realizing I didn’t have to be around my family to celebrate them. 

I had about two hours of intense guilt the first time I chose not to attend biological Christmas, but after that, I felt free! The clouds parted, the steady drumbeat of “Rebel Girl” kicked in, and warm chunks of vegan gingerbread rained down from the heavens. 

What was once forced attendance at the lighting of a shopping plaza in the 20-degree Kansas City cold (with people who communicate almost exclusively via passive-aggressive jokes) became a warm, glittering group of talkative gender-queers and homosexuals gathered near a tofurkey and cider, laughing over bad first dates and Apples to Apples. This is the alchemy of holiday boundaries!  

I DIGRESS. 

If you must be around your family or other closed-minded individuals, I wish you my very best and I send you the astral-projected spirit of Ponyo, a soft, nine-pound chihuahua mix, who wants to sit on your lap eating scraps off your plate while offering a listening ear and unrelenting support.

Please take that visualization with you. 

(P.S. Ponyo is still alive, just very skilled at astral projection and spiritual face-licking.)

On a practical level, here is my very best holiday advice for queers who have to spend time with their families-of-origin this holiday season:

1. Take Breaks. 

Think about it ahead of time. How long can you hang out with any of these people without a blowup or meltdown of some kind?

I would personally say a 30-minute nap/phone break once every two hours, but that’s me. 

2. Stay in your own space if you can.

If you can afford a hotel, a hostel, any place that is private where you can stare at a wall and rock after hanging out with your family, I recommend it. At the very least, find a space where you can shut the door and lock it. 

3. Try to have your own transportation and escape plan.

You might break the bank calling an Uber after hopping out of a moving vehicle full of homophobes on the side of the road, but it will be WORTH IT. This is your mental health, comfort, and safety. It is not a time to be stingy. 

4. Keep the focus on yourself. 

Especially if you trip out on family members who drive you up the wall. 

If you find yourself spiraling, thinking of the ways they are imperfect and are living their lives wrong or have the wrong opinions or ways of acting, just say the mantra:  “I will focus on myself.”

What do YOU need in this moment? Is there a way you could support yourself in this situation? Are you focusing in on them because you’re uncomfortable or trapped? How can you amplify your own comfort in this particular moment? 

A walk? A nap? A snack? 

Let them be as freaky as they want to be, but if you are becoming irritable and grabbing for your gavel, make the choice to remove yourself and go look at astrological memes until you feel calm again. 

5. Front-load your food needs.

A metaphor. Here’s some real talk: I’m vegan AND food is one of my love languages. I give and receive snacks as an act of deep nourishment and affection. 

Thus, when I am at a giant joyful dinner with one dry lettuce leaf on my plate as everyone else is going ballistic on a highly-anticipated and carefully prepared smorgasbord, I’m going to enter a grim place, emotionally-speaking. 

But that is my problem, not their problem. 

I’m the weird eater when I’m in Kansas. I get that. So, I try to have expectation management. I assess whether the host understands what vegan is, whether they have access to that kind of food, and the likelihood that the information will stick and there won’t be bacon crumbles hidden in the brussels sprouts. 

I front-load when I need to (pre-eating so that my basic needs are already met and I can show up graciously to the meal without a feeling of scarcity), or I bring my own stuff. If my favorite thing is vegan gravy and my distant relatives are in no way equipped to prepare that item, I am *happy* to bring my own.

If you show up and the only thing you can eat is rolls, please remember this isn’t your last meal. This isn’t even your only meal option That Day. You can throw yourself into a Chipotle guacamole vat on the way back to the suburban hotel, or recreate Christmas dinner with your very best gluten-intolerant friends as soon as you get back to your home planet of Queerius. 

There is abundance for all of us! Of love and understanding and of food we can digest. Even if it’s not at this particular table, it is just around the corner. 

6. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, and you don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to talk about. (Even if people really really want you to.)

This is it. This is your life. You have autonomy. 

Even in family structures. Even if you didn’t grow up believing that, it is true.

You can say “I don’t really want to talk about that” or “I don’t want to do that” and just leave it there. 

People might give you pushback or start to guffaw, but you get to have your boundaries. No need to justify; no need to explain. Just shrug and keep your mouth shut. If they keep pushing, that’s on them. 

7. THINK ABOUT YOUR BOUNDARIES AHEAD OF TIME. 

Are you okay talking about politics? Your gender identity? Your (as my parents call it) “lifestyle”? 

Decide what feels okay to talk about (dogs, the weather, changes in the neighborhood) and what does not.

What do you like about any of these family members? Is there a way you can engage with them in that way? 

Make a list for yourself of what you will and will not talk about. Read this list to a friend (or your dog) before you go, so you can hear yourself saying it out loud and remember. 

Keep it in your pocket if you need to, and read this in the guest-room during one of your state-mandated 30-minute nap breaks. 

Back in the mix, before you jump in on a relative’s problematic conversation-starter, ask yourself: Is it worth it? Will getting riled up at the dinner table help you in the long run? If you’re going to want to tear off your skin regardless of the conversation, then I say keep it light. Smile and nod. If you are feeling robust around different subjects, go for it. 

But I’m here to support you, reader, not to change the minds and hearts of your ding-dong relatives. The onus of education doesn’t always need to be on the person who is Other. 

If you *want* to send them an article or have a heart-to-heart phone call about their behavior when you are not a sitting duck in a room full of hunters, great. But it gets to be on your own timeline, not in response to confrontation, and at the end of the day, you don’t even have to. 

You just get to live your life in a way that brings you joy and peace, and if they decide to use the resource known as The Internet to educate themselves on how to be a decent human being, they can figure it out without you having depleted your reserves.   

Tip: A nice way to stop arguing is to say “You might be right” and leave it there. In therapeutic environments, “You might be right” is code for “I’m done arguing with you, it’s not worth my time.”

8. Shift your perspective. 

Maybe you have a relative who is old and batty. They cannot get on the same political or identity page with you to save their life. Are they doing this out of malice, or their own mental limitations? What tools for living were they given by their parents? They may not have the thing you want because they never received it themselves. 

You might have an incredible set of skills for listening, empathy and reflection based on years of therapy or lesbian processing, but some relatives just aren’t there. It doesn’t mean they’re better or worse, it just means that you may be wishing for water from a dry well. 

If the intention of your relatives is sweet and kind, and your intention in seeing them is that you are doing an act of service to yourself (for your own conscience, making time for a geriatric family member before they’re gone) and to them, remember that. 

You’re not there because you have so much in common and you’re trying to be best buddies — you’re there to show up and give warmth to a person who is trying their best. It may not be perfect, they may never Get It, but you also don’t have to take that on. 

Good luck with your family, please feed astral-projected Ponyo anything you’d like that is not onions, mushrooms or raisins, and have a very very happy holiday. I have your back. 

Sincerely, 

Queer Abby

Kiss My Astro: Your December Horoscopes

The best piece of wisdom to remember from 2018? There are no guarantees in love.

This year brought us deep into the places in our hearts, minds, and bodies that need to get shaken up and refreshed. For some of us, that means major changes in what seemed like stable relationships — for others, it means powerful new connections that spring up out of nowhere. Maybe you’ve experienced both? In this last month of a year that’s been astrologically focused on transforming our relationships, you get cosmic permission to full release the pain of the past year and start building toward future pleasures. Nothing new can grow without something ending first. With Venus in Scorpio, still, just be aware relationships can take a sudden turn toward deeper issues without much warning. Draw on that optimistic energy of Jupiter in Sagittarius to get you through with your sense of humor intact.

If you’re in need of extra insights or holiday gifts for the astrology fans on your list, hit me up for readings and astrology presents! 

Aries

This year has been extra in so many ways, but you’ve really been feeling it at the deepest levels. The good news is 2019 won’t be nearly as grueling for your heart and body. The bad news is you’ve still get December to deal with. This month, recognize that you know how to survive a lot. You know how to get your needs met, however you can. What do you want, now, to thrive in the new year? You’re moving from a year of limping and slow recovery to a year where you’ll be soaring like a goddamn bird. Don’t expect too much progress all at once, but know you’re on your way out of whatever mess you feel stuck in.

Taurus

This year has introduced you to a theme that will be much more present for you in the coming years: You are learning to appreciate the pleasures of unpredictability. You’ve been letting go of old stories about what partnership means, particularly fixation on a kind of stability that can be stifling and smothering for your own spirit. You’re learning now how to ask for (and keep getting) what you need as life continues to churn and twist and leave us in unexpected situations. Part of how you’re coming back to life right now is through your erotic imagination. Let new desires help you become your next best self.

Gemini

This is a beautiful month for releasing stress from your body, especially stress about your body. Learn to trust your internal sense of joy more than you trust a mirror. The kind of love that is looking for you this month knows that our bodies are the expression of the energy that moves them. What is that energy like for you right now? Are you letting yourself choose the people that light you up when you’re with them? Anyone you feel ugly, small, or invisible with when you’re with them is no longer someone you need to make time for.

Cancer

Let’s talk about desire, darling. You’re someone who can feel it intensely, and this year has been really running you through the gauntlet. Whether you’ve gotten those desires satisfied or remain in a state of frustrated longing, desire itself can be a distraction that prevents you from noticing everything else in your life. Maybe there’s a lot you don’t want to notice? Nevertheless, something is calling you to tend a little more to your core wellbeing. Turn your energy inward, start getting curious about what (else) you need. Desire will still be there when you’re done — and you’ll be much better equipped to handle both satisfaction and disappointment.

Leo

The holidays are generally stressful, but there’s something about family that’s particularly tender for you this year. If you have the energy to explore that, this could be a time for some deep healing. Luckily, you’ve also got a little extra sparkle right now and you’ll find plenty of opportunities for sharing those sparks. Risk being a little more vulnerable and you’ll find it easier to share both grief and celebration. 2019 will be a year of reconnecting with joy — you can get an early start on that right now.

Virgo

As you move toward a year in which your sacred mission is to call in the kind of loving that will make your world feel right, your first assignment is to silence your internal chatter — particularly the part of you that likes to game out what you should say to the difficult people you love, and what they might say back to you, and what you can say next to help explain or solve the problem, etc., as you lay awake at night instead of drifting into mindless oblivion. The love you need right now is the kind that will knock you out and let you rest. What can you do to release your need to explain, justify, persuade, or negotiate with anyone? Who can you reach out to for some soporific tenderness?

Libra

Honey, don’t get too hung up on any one man right now. Even if it’s your life partner, or your kid, or the love of your life that you’re just now getting to notice you. It’s really not about them right now, it’s about all the friends that keep you sane when that man isn’t around or hasn’t done right by you. This month is kindly reminding you that there is a lot of love in your life, and that you can start to hold it in different ways when you start with self-love. Adore yourself first; everyone else can wait in line.

Scorpio

Oh, the things you’ve learned about love this year. It could lead you to cynicism, but you don’t have to get stuck there. Your relationships may have been tough this year, but your response gets to be magical. You get to be the phoenix rising from the flames of 2018. And as you’re reborn into 2019, it’s time welcome yourself back to life with decadent pleasures. Let yourself remember why it’s good to be in a body.

Sagittarius

You are so damn hot right now, no matter what you look like. Maybe you’re in ratty sweatpants and feeling bloated, maybe there’s spinach in your teeth — honestly, it doesn’t matter. You’re radiating a renewed sense of purpose and direction. You’re coming into your own. Do you feel it? Can you trust it? Is it a little scary to imagine growing into a more expansive version of yourself? Remember that you won’t be on this journey alone. You get to be your own hero this year, and there’s something magnetic about that kind of energy.

Capricorn

Dearest stoic Capricorn, repeat after me: Isolation isn’t the answer right now. We all know how tough and capable you are, but that’s not the issue. Everybody needs to know they’re not alone while facing anything they can’t control. What kind of support do you actually want? Let your imagination run wild. Notice where you start to shut down and tell yourself “It’s fine, I can handle this alone.” I’m sure you can. But what if you didn’t have to? Look a little more closely at who’s offering you some sweetness right now, and take a chance by accepting.

Aquarius

Sometimes it’s hard not to get caught between your idealism and your realism: hoping but not wanting to hope, dreaming but not believing in your dreams. This is a month for dreaming big. Believe in the possibilities you’ve talked yourself out of. Start looking for the collaborators you need to make things happen. Remember that you’re part of larger communities, and your voice is needed. What happens when you remember all the ways you’re already connected?

Pisces

Let’s talk about what it means to be sensitive. Toxic rules about masculinity teach us what men can and can’t feel, what they’re allowed to express and what they’re encouraged to repress. You’re one of the special ones who feels more than others usually do — like being an artist who sees a range of subtle differences in color. This sensitivity is a kind of intelligence, and this month asks you to claim it, learn more about it, and learn how to use it. Don’t let anyone shame you out of claiming what’s yours, sweetie. The ones who are worth your time will be grateful to have some of those healing powers directed their way.

‘Quiet Heroes’ Celebrates the Lesbian Couple Who Helped Hundreds of HIV/AIDS Patients in the ’80s

Dr. Kristen Ries moved to Salt Lake City on the same day the CDC first described HIV/AIDS as affecting gay men in 1981. A year later, after setting up her own practice, she had her first patient come in with what she thought looked like the disease. When she reached out to other medical professionals for guidance, they told her they had no interest in helping. She was on her own.

By the mid-1980s, HIV/AIDS was the top killer of men in the conservative, largely Mormon-based city, which struggled with supporting HIV/AIDS patients. Dr. Ries, whose specialty was in infectious diseases, becamse the go-to doctor in Utah, but couldn’t keep up with the demand. Soon, she met Maggie Snyder, a nurse-turned-physician’s assistant who she became romantically involved with, and the partnership evolved into a lifeline for those living with (and dying from) HIV/AIDS. Their work with Holy Cross Hospital and the nuns that ran the only hospital ward in the city that would take them in are the focus of the documentary Quiet Heroes.

“This is a cultural touchstone for the LGBT community in Salt Lake,” says co-director Jared Ruga. “The story in this film becomes something that the community is rallying around … a celebration honoring the work that Kristen and Maggie and the sisters of the Holy Cross and really the LGBT community came together to achieve in some of our darkest moments.”

Co-directors Ruga and Amanda Stoddard spoke with INTO about the love story that is Quiet Heroes.

INTO: How did this story come to you?

Jared Ruga: So I discovered this story through a law professor of mine who was working through the university that set up a special collection where they would archive materials from Kristen and Maggie’s practice, the medical practice that I found out was the only one that treats AIDS at the height of the crisis. And I thought it was a great story, wanted it to be more accessible to more people than the special collection at the library could attract, so I asked if anyone was making a film or writing a book or doing any sort of like mass media rendering of the story and the answer was no. And so I said, “OK, let’s get in there and see what we can do.”

I was introduced to Dr. Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder and immediately fell in love with them and upon hearing more about their story from others in my network who lived through that experience. I knew that it was something that needed to be memorialized for the sake of preserving that history but it also needed to be propagated to my generation who really doesn’t know that much. I’m 29 and, you know, the HIV crisis is like a ghost story to a lot of people my age. It’s something that happened in the past and is scary and terrible but we survived it and now we don’t have to worry about it anymore, right? But that’s not true.

There are lots of reasons to still be concerned about HIV and we really haven’t made that much progress toward a cure. We may be coming closer to a vaccine but you know, 35 years of research and we’re still not there and so and then we have other advancements in medicine like PrEP that can help prevent it but that relies on the medical system complying. You know, fortunately here at the University of Utah, we’ve got the state’s first free PrEP clinic opening up now and so that’s pretty fantastic, but people need to know about it and then once they have the free PrEP, they got to take it according to you know all the medical guidelines and so there’s a lot that goes into preventing and managing HIV and I feel like often my generation can be a little cavalier about it and I wanted to bring a historical story into the present to put it back on everyone’s radar.

In the last year or two, more HIV/AIDS narratives are coming out — I’m thinking about BPM and 1985  — and I’m wondering why you think that may be happening right now.

JR: Well, I think there’s that phenomenon of multiple discovery where there’s something in the zeitgeist and a lot of people read that at the same time and they pursue it, but I think right now, particularly for the LGBT community and other communities, we feel under attack. The administration and the White House is openly hostile to the LGBT community and just about every out underrepresented demographic and the AIDS crisis was in a lot of ways a very similar attack. It was something that threatened, it was an existential threat against the community that the government wasn’t helping to mitigate, so we had to turn inward, circle the wagons, and take care of our own. And reminding ourselves that that’s possible and that you can make it through, even a terrible crisis like the height of AIDS. That’s a good reminder to have today in our political climate and I think that story still resonates. There are people out there who are willing to self-sacrifice to protect their own and to give compassionate and comprehensive medical care. It’s a nice example of bringing out the best in people in the worst of times.

This story is specific to Salt Lake City — through your research, did you find a lot of other people like Kristen and Maggie doing this work in other cities?

JR: Yes. I mean, they had to, right? Throughout Utah and really the Intermountain West, it was kind of Kristen and Maggie. But I’ve heard stories out of Minnesota and Iowa where similar things were happening. But really, it’s just, I think Quiet Heroes tells the story that’s a little more emblematic of what was happening across the entire country. You know, New York, LA, San Francisco, cities with large LGBT populations that had a little bit more political capital and a little bit more force behind them, they were more organized, they had more resources, and so they were able to kind of get on the map and they god they did because that’s what ultimately drew change. But that didn’t really help people in suburban bedroom communities and more rural areas and even small retro areas like Salt Lake. So we wanted to tell the story that was actually closer to the dominant experience that most people affected by the AIDS crisis went through.

Kristen and Maggie weren’t really closeted around the nuns, but they also didn’t bring up their relationship. It wasn’t something they discussed with them. You make an interesting parallel in the film about the nuns also having this sort of like repression of their own sexuality. How do you think that the relationships between Maggie and Kristen and the nuns were ultimately able to be so helpful to all of the patients?

Amanda Stoddard: Well, they were helpful because they could and I think that’s, I mean one thing that brings it back to present day, there are no places like Holy Cross hospital anymore. Not in Salt Lake. There’s nowhere that anyone can go and get treatment and have people treat them out of the goodness of their hearts anymore. Like, we’re in dire straits when it comes to healthcare and so this kind of shows a compassionate care model and why we need healthcare for all and those nuns, I mean, they were really, really special and I think when we talk about the film being about quiet heroes, it’s not just Kristen and Maggie. There were a lot of people that kind of stood up. It would have been really easy for us to focus on  Kristen and Maggie’s love story and make it about that but that’s not what the story was about. It was about people who went in and did the work at their own personal expense.

Quiet Heroes is just such a perfect name for the film because they seem so — they make their work seem so easy and it’s not an easy choice for some people. What was it like when you went to them and said you wanted to make a film about them? Were they open to it? How did they feel being the subject?

JR: They were a little shy at first; were kind of questioning “Why us?” To them, they were just doing their job. They were taking out the trash and stocking the grocery store shelves and counting beans, right? They weren’t saving lives every day and creating a sense of community and extended family for those who were exiled from everyone they knew. To them, they had a job to do and they just showed up and did it everyday and they didn’t quite understand why there was so much fanfare around what they dedicated their lives to do. But eventually, I think they warmed up a little bit and we told them, you know, it’s not just going to be about you. We’re also interviewing some of your former patients of families of patients and we’re making it about the time period and we really want to juxtapose it with today and show how some things have changed and some things haven’t and I think that got them more comfortable to open up and then beyond that, it’s really just building and maintaining the relationship, letting your subjects know that you got ethics as a filmmaker and you’re not going to misrepresent anything and you’re not going to make them look bad but you’re going to tell the truth in the most interesting way you can come up with.

AS: We were talking to them last week and their house is just filled with all this memorabilia from all of the patients that they served, and so they really had, once they felt they were doing, they trusted us, they also really wanted to honor those patients and I think we did that.

Were there any particular challenges in creating this and anything that was really difficult to show visually maybe or getting anything done?

AS: Yeah, it’s historical so you have a lot of interviews to work with. You don’t have a shortage. So it was a big challenge and also the story was really big, so if you look at it now and say this is what the story should always have been, but getting it to that point was really tough because there’s so many people that wanted to talk about Kristen and Maggie and how do we do this and tell this story in a way that honors them and honors what they did and also the other quiet heroes, the nuns, Paula, all of the people that participated but I think that the biggest challenge was trying to make it relevant to honor them but we’re trying to work around how to we make all of these interviews come to life.

JR: We spent a lot of time and effort figuring out the cadence of the film and the visual aesthetic and the music and how all of that would assemble into a complete package that would tell the story in a captivating way and really make people feel what it was like to be alive back then, for those who weren’t alive like me or were very young, or for those who were alive to kind of remind them of what it was like without getting into it being to sappy of maudlin. We didn’t want this to be sympathy porn or inspiration porn, right? That’s not interesting. That’s an easy path to take with a film about AIDS and we were highly resistant to doing it that way. So I think what we ended up with was a spree of hope and resilience that is an inspiration without feeling too inspirational.

Quiet Heroes is now available on Logo.

Michelle Tea Gets the Tea From Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado’s debut collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was a finalist for like a bazillion impressive book awards, and walked away with honors from Bard College, Lambda Literary, Shirley Jackson, and the National Book Critics Circle tucked firmly in its pants pocket. (If books wore pants, incidentally, this one might be sporting a pair made from torn sequins, female flesh, autumn leaves, ribbons, hair, telepathy and, of course, denim.)

Her Body and Other Parties was selected by a Best Book of the Year by everything from the New York Times to Buzzfeed to O

If you are looking for work that mines the fantastical, surreal, horrific experience of being female and queer, do yourself a favor and get Carmen’s book today. Right after you check out her answers to my 15 questions, below!

What is the most uncanny thing that you have ever experienced?

Uncanny things happen to me constantly, but a memorable one happened a few months ago when I went to New York. I noticed that the train I took from Philadelphia was #666, and then when I emerged from the subway station at my destination the building number above me was 666. The first time it was pretty funny, and second time it was really unsettling.

What is in your bag right now?

Keys, my wallet, headphones, and a copy of The Naked Woman by Armonía Somers.

Please share the 15th picture on your cell phone.


How are you like or not like your sun sign?

I’m a pretty classic Cancer: moody, empathetic and loyal, pessimistic, imaginative, and a total homebody. And I love, love, love the water.

What is the last book you read? Song you listened to? Show or movie you watched?

Book:  Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg. Song: “Chant (Live)” from the Hadestown soundtrack. Show: Bar Rescue. Movie: Stranger by the Lake (2013).

What was the last meal you cooked?

Chicken, potatoes, and green beans with a creamy mustard dill sauce.

Where would you like to go on vacation right now?

The beach.

Tell me about getting to meet someone you idolize or admire.

I met Dorothy Allison earlier this year and she was even more brilliant and lovely and generous and funny than I ever could have dreamed.

What are you like when you’re sick?

Miserable. I just want to lay down with a blanket and watch TV and drink seltzer water.

What are you obsessed with or inspired by right now?

The history of mountebanks and medicine shows; also, the history of the Grand Guignol.

What are you upset about right now?

Male entitlement, in every form it presents itself.

What is the most recent dream you remember?

Last night I dreamt that a fox was coming through my window.

Who are your queer ancestors?

Gladys Bentley, Anne Lister, Frida Kahlo, Audre Lorde, Patricia Highsmith, Tallulah Bankhead, Eleanor Roosevelt, Josephine Baker, Willa Cather, Mercedes de Acosta, Alla Nazimova, Julie d’Aubigny, Virginia Woolf, Bridget Bate Tichenor

What is your dream project?

I have so many, but one I’ve been thinking about recently is editing a series of books that track literary influences through generations of authors — so, taking a contemporary author and identifying one of their influences, and then taking that influence and identifying their influence(s)… back and back.

What are you doing this weekend?

I’m at a residency in Taos, New Mexico right now, and this weekend my wife is visiting and we’re going to have a little mini-vacation in Santa Fe.

Make Harley Quinn Queer, You Cowards

Earlier this month, the new Harley Quinn-themed film was given an official title: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Though the film starring Margot Robbie isn’t set to be released until February 2020, more details are finally starting to be revealed.

This week, Robbie, who reprises her role in the DC universe as the titular Quinn, sat down with PrideSource to discuss the movie and her character’s sexuality. Although it’s unclear if the character will be portrayed as queer in Birds of Prey, she is canonically queer, and Robbie said she would like to see that fact play out on screen — in fact, she’s pushing for it.

If you read the comics you know that Poison Ivy and Harley have an intimate relationship,” she said. “In some comics, they convey it as a friendship; in other comics you can see that they’re actually sexually involved as a couple. I’ve been trying to – I would love to have Poison Ivy thrown into the universe, because the Harley and Poison Ivy relationship is one of my favorite aspects of the comics,” she said. “So I’m looking to explore that on screen.”

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy’s relationship was first confirmed by DC Comics in 2015. But back in August, the comic juggernaut revealed that Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are actually married. Although it sounds like Poison Ivy won’t be present in Birds of Prey, it’s nice to know that Robbie, the film’s star and producer, is lobbying for her character to be queer — because it’s canon. So, my message to DC is: Make Harley Quinn queer, you cowards.

As of yet, DC hasn’t portrayed any of its characters as queer on the big screen, even though some of them are. Wonder Woman hit theaters in 2017, starring Gal Gadot as the nominal hero, who is also canonically queer in the comics. But the movie, as well as Justice League, which prominently featured the character, erased her bisexuality, save one off-handed joke about the women of Themyscira not needing men for “pleasure.” This is not to say that Diana Prince’s sexuality won’t be explored in the future, but as of yet, she appears to be straight in the DC film universe.

Birds of Prey is Harley Quinn’s first solo movie, and the first major spin-off of 2016’s Suicide Squad, so DC has a big opportunity to give a queer character the chance to shine. The movie follows Quinn, who assembles a “girl gang” to take down a villain. Mary Elizabeth Winstead will play Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell will take Black Canary, and Rosie Perez will play Renee Montoya. The movie will be helmed by director Cathy Yan, and penned by Christina Hodson. So, with so much girl power, both behind the scenes and on camera, it seems believable that the movie will be queer. But don’t get your hopes up.

Both Marvel and DC have been purposefully exclusive in the past, at least in their film franchises. Marvel’s 2017 Hulu series The Runaways featured Karolina Dean, a lesbian superhero, as such in the show. Jessica Jones, another Marvel show, starred Carrie-Anne Moss as the power-lesbian lawyer Jeri Hogarth. DC has been super inclusive in its TV slate, with CW shows like Supergirl and Black Lightning including lead queer protagonists. And earlier this year, a Batgirl venture was announced, which will star Ruby Rose as the out lesbian titular hero. But still, an out, queer lead has never been featured in the MCU or the DCEU.

If Birds of Prey is about Harley Quinn’s emancipation, then according to the comics, she will be “emancipated” from her abusive relationship with the Joker. What better way to get over a shitty dude than to spark up a hot romance with a lady-villain? Maybe it’s not Poison Ivy yet, because really, we have to ask ourselves: Are gay people really emotionally prepared for a superhero rom-com between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy? My brain says yes, but my body stays shivering.

All I’m saying is, maybe Birds of Prey isn’t the Quinn and Ivy rom-com of our dreams, but at least give us something. So many fans of superhero franchises are queer — as proved by the untethered lesbian fanbase that Supergirl has accrued. LGBTQ representation in the DCEU is way past due — quite frankly, it’s embarrassing and insulting that it hasn’t happened yet. So, one last time, DC, I urge you: Make Harley Quinn Queer in Birds of Prey, you cowards.

And one last gripe: If a romance between Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck’s Batman transpires in the next Justice League, I will get the Marvel logo permanently branded on my ass. Not to be dramatic.